home made sst-90 flashlight

frebird0798

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Mar 23, 2011
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ok, so i am a complete newbie at this. i'm not much of an electronic wiz either, i do have some basic understanding. so with that all out of the way. i want to build my own flashlight with at least one sst-90 led (unless you guys know of something brighter)

i plan on using this flashlight for work, johnny law man here (lol) i would like it to be some what small (mag light size or so is ok) also rechargeable would be great too. I will be using it during my 12 hour shift for searching cars, woods houses, traffic stops etc.... you get the idea. i really don't need any fancy flash patterns or things like that. just off and on would be great. i wan this thing so bright, everyone goes dam thats bright.

any and all help would be great, but please remember this is my first build and i have limited knowledge and funds.
 

vestureofblood

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hi frebird,

Welcome to CPF! :)

The simplest way I know to do what you are saying is to get a 3 C or D maglite
One of theses heat sinks
http://www.britelumens.com/
I recommend gluing the emitter down with a very thin layer of arctic silver epoxy.

You can run an SST-90 direct drive on 3 rechargeable C cells, you may need a resistor if using the D cells.

Since your going to use this on a regular basis a borofloat lens may be a good idea too.

I'm not sure how "basic" your understanding of this is so I will mention that your gonna need a soldering iron, solder, flux, some wire and a digital multi meter is is a great help too. If you want to use the stock plastic reflector from the mag you'll need to cut off the cam and bore the hole to 16mm for it to work as well.
 

CKOD

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A 3D mag will also hold 2 F cells, so LiFePO4 could be used. http://www.batteryspace.com/lifepo432900pfsizecell32v45ah90arate144wh.aspx They are about the same energy stored as a 3 D cells, though they have a slower self discharge (not an issue for something used daily) but that also gets you enough voltage to use some regulated driver boards. The der wichtel SST-90 kit (his heatsink + a 9 A single mode driver) would be a good simple first mod. But a SST-90 running full out at 9A is ~35W, and youre only fitting ~30watt-hours of capacity into light, so youre going to be running low quickly(<1 hr).

An SST-50 at 5A (der wichtel SST-50 kit) would run for ~1.5 hours ideally, though both of them would get overly hot in your hand before that. The last light I built for a friend had a SST-50 on a britelumens heatsink, and one of the taskLED H6CC single mode adjustable drivers in it. I put a micro trimming potentiometer in the switch body, next to the button, so that way I can adjust the brightness of the light by popping off the switch boot and using a screwdriver to tweak the current. The H6CC just has a batt+ batt-, LED+ LED-, and an optional pot+ and pot-. With the adjustabe output, it can be dialed into running longer without overheating, and longer battery life, or brighter, but still have the simplicity of a single mode light. It looks like a normal.


With a direct drive/resistored light, your output will vary as the cells go down. With the regulated option, it'll maintain the same brightness, until the batteries are low, and the H6CC kind of starts flickering. Both NiMh and the LiFePO4 will be safe. You can probably find an off the shelf cradle charger for the NiMh cells for both in the car/office/home, but most hobby chargers run off of 12v so putting together something to charge the F cells wont be that difficult.
 

Craigit

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Subscribed, I am interested to see how this turns out for you. I am looking into doing an sst-90/50 on my next build. Anybody have a favorite bin for sst-90's 50's?
 

PCC

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You can run an SST-90 direct drive on 3 rechargeable C cells, you may need a resistor if using the D cells.

Since your going to use this on a regular basis a borofloat lens may be a good idea too.

Actually, on the two SST-90 3D MagLites that I have built no resistor was needed with 3 D cells. It is pretty bright in this configuration and shouldn't pose any problems with the emitter turning blue from over volting it.

Borofloat lens? Isn't that for high heat applications? I know that the SST-90 makes some heat out the front from the sheer lumens being produced, but, not enough to warrant a borofloat lens, no? I wouldn't use the stock plastic lens with it, though the second one that I made used exactly that and it had no problems handling it.

frebird0798, a light like you are suggesting has its limitations: the light cannot sustain more than about 4 to 5 minutes of continuous use as the heat generated by the LED is something that really needs to be experienced to be appreciated. After 4 minutes the light is too hot to hold, for me at least. The thing is, you are now part of the cooling solution for the light so you cannot just choke down on the barrel of the light and keep going. The consequences of not heeding the heat problem is that the LED will burn out. I have a burnt out SST-90 (at $60 each!) to prove it.
 

vestureofblood

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Actually, on the two SST-90 3D MagLites that I have built no resistor was needed with 3 D cells. It is pretty bright in this configuration and shouldn't pose any problems with the emitter turning blue from over volting it.

Borofloat lens? Isn't that for high heat applications? I know that the SST-90 makes some heat out the front from the sheer lumens being produced, but, not enough to warrant a borofloat lens, no? I wouldn't use the stock plastic lens with it, though the second one that I made used exactly that and it had no problems handling it.


Thanks for the input PCC, I have not used the 3 D cells before (mine uses C). I thought I saw a thread where someone mentioned needing one with 3 Accupower D cells so I thought better safe than sorry.

The reason I said borofloat lens has nothing to do with the heat. I always recommend it over a UCL because of the durability. If even the least little thing happens to a UCL coated lens it can be tarnished or damaged, I have had several smudge beyond repair. With a borofloat you get almost exactly the same light transmission and no marks on the lens.

Subscribed, I am interested to see how this turns out for you. I am looking into doing an sst-90/50 on my next build. Anybody have a favorite bin for sst-90's 50's?


My personal favorite is the top bin 4500K. I like neutral whites. For some reason many of the neutrals seem to have a lower VF too making it easier to get to the 9 amp mark. When I made my SST-90 I powered it up on 3 C cells and it drove it to about 12 amps.

http://avnetexpress.avnet.com/store...toreId=500201&term=sst-90&topSellers=&x=0&y=0

One down from the top on the list, the 100 lumen 4500k. For some reason avnet doesnt even stock the top bin cool whites any more so there is nothing to be gained by going cool unless you just like the tint better.
 
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CKOD

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+1 on edging towards neutral. I used the 5700k in my light that I build instead of the 6500k, and the 4500k would probably be even better. The 5700k is a good tint from luminus however, I got some XM-Ls in the 1B (iirc) bin which is ~5700k but I dont find it anywhere near as nice as the SST-90 at 5700k. I think its because the XM-ls shift tint at different angles and the center is cooler than the edges. ((though the edges will be what lands on the reflector in a light, so it might not be as big of a deal in a light. I was just testing various bins to see what I liked)
 

PCC

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Thanks for the input PCC, I have not used the 3 D cells before (mine uses C). I thought I saw a thread where someone mentioned needing one with 3 Accupower D cells so I thought better safe than sorry.

The reason I said borofloat lens has nothing to do with the heat. I always recommend it over a UCL because of the durability. If even the least little thing happens to a UCL coated lens it can be tarnished or damaged, I have had several smudge beyond repair. With a borofloat you get almost exactly the same light transmission and no marks on the lens.

My personal favorite is the top bin 4500K. I like neutral whites. For some reason many of the neutrals seem to have a lower VF too making it easier to get to the 9 amp mark. When I made my SST-90 I powered it up on 3 C cells and it drove it to about 12 amps.

I think that's your answer right there. We couldn't get the top-bin cool white to come up to full power on 3 new D NiMH cells. We had to use 4 C cells in a sleeve to do that and ended up destroying the LED towards the end of the break-in period (saw the signs, but, it happened so fast that there wasn't enough time to react and it went :poof:)
 

Craigit

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My personal favorite is the top bin 4500K. I like neutral whites. For some reason many of the neutrals seem to have a lower VF too making it easier to get to the 9 amp mark. When I made my SST-90 I powered it up on 3 C cells and it drove it to about 12 amps.

http://avnetexpress.avnet.com/store...toreId=500201&term=sst-90&topSellers=&x=0&y=0

One down from the top on the list, the 100 lumen 4500k. For some reason avnet doesnt even stock the top bin cool whites any more so there is nothing to be gained by going cool unless you just like the tint better.

Awesome, that's good info. I actually prefer a more neutral light too and it will be even better knowing it will hit 9 amps easier.
 
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ma_sha1

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keep in mind that the 4500K do not come with the top bin, i,e, no N Bin.
The 5700K do. So the 4500K won't be as bright.
 

Techjunkie

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My personal favorite is the top bin 4500K. I like neutral whites. For some reason many of the neutrals seem to have a lower VF too making it easier to get to the 9 amp mark. When I made my SST-90 I powered it up on 3 C cells and it drove it to about 12 amps.

http://avnetexpress.avnet.com/store...toreId=500201&term=sst-90&topSellers=&x=0&y=0

One down from the top on the list, the 100 lumen 4500k. For some reason avnet doesnt even stock the top bin cool whites any more so there is nothing to be gained by going cool unless you just like the tint better.

Same experience here. The first light in this thread was a 4500K M bin which after burn-in pulls more than 9A from 3 AccuEvolution LSD NiMH C cells. The second was a cool white, which after burn in only pulled a paltry 4.6A from the same cells, but over 14A on 4 well used cells. Direct drive was a no-go on the cool white but worked perfectly on the 4500K.

Further to your point, no N-bin on 4500K is no big deal... an M-bin at 9A is brighter than an N-bin at 4.5A on any day.
 
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