My Crank Generator MagLite Modification [With pictures][Now with YouTube Video!]

Cydonia

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Preface

YouTube Video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdbjWrrhWII

:popcorn:


Back in the Summer of '06 I had some good luck on ebay and scored 2 awesome monolithic Kollmorgen ServoDisc 12Volt DC 150:1 geared motors. Removed from Medical equipment as part of routine servicing.

Made entirely in the USA with stainless steel, weighing about 6 pounds each! Used in various military motion systems and optical scanning sensor arrays AND medical equipment. My tentative investigations reveal a nominal price of about $400 US each.
I got mine for $19. :rock:

Quote from the KollMorgen ServoDisc Catalog:

"Rugged design, reliability, long life, compact packaging and outstanding performance have put ServoDisc products in the front lines. Gun turrets, gun loaders, fire control drives, smoke generators and antenna rotation drives are just some of the applications where we serve."

Obtain your copy of this 2.04Mb .pdf catalog from Danaher Motion here: Danaher Motion page. Click on the left side index "DC Motors and then "ServoDisc" in the drop down menu to find it. Just look at the products and the quality and you know your talking big bucks.


The ServoDisc as a Generator

The particular model of motor I was able to obtain contains an integral 150:1 gear system with a stainless steel connecting arm and bolt holes.
Making a crank to attach to this arm was easy.

Bracing the motor with one hand and slowly cranking at a rate of about 10rpm generates 12volts with no load. My volt meter doesn't show current. A 12volt 1156 auto taillight bulb can light to full brightness with no difficulty by cranking at approximately 35rpm with noticed resistance from the load.


Maglite Mod

Nothing complex here:
  • Took an old 4D Maglite and cut off the excess length.
  • Drilled a small hole in the edge about ½ inch back from where I cut the tube off.
  • Put a stainless machine screw into this hole to hold a wire. Nut and washer holds it. On the inside of the Mag tube.
  • Soldered a wire onto the positive contact inside the Maglite.
  • Took a rubber plumbing cap, made 2 holes in it, put stainless bolts, locking nuts, washers etc., through these holes.
  • Connected the two wires from the Maglite to these stainless terminal posts.
  • Put the rubber plumbing cap onto the Maglite end and tightened the hose clamp down.
  • I've omitted the careful measuring instructions and common sense details that all this entails.
Motor housing and essembly

Got a "big metal" handle (only good one Home Depot had) and some stainless bolts, nuts and washers. And some big fender washers too. On the plumbing isle I found exactly what I was looking for to house the motor itself. A huge ½ thick rubber pipe fitting meant for connecting 4" clay pipe to 4" cast iron. Had stainless hose clamps on each end in grooves. Only $13!
Motor plopped in like it was custom made. Mark where you want the handle. You have to put the handle in a vise and bend the ends outwards so it matches to the contour of the rubber pipe housing when attached. Mark the rubber, drill holes into the rubber, and attach handle with stainless hardware using big fender washer inside to secure handle solid. In goes the motor, tighten up the hose clamp.
3" PVC end cap stop the other end. Drill 2 small holes in the cap to pass the motor wires through. Thread em through, position cap, tighten down the hose clamp. Awesome.
Making the crank handle for the motor was just an 8" piece of 1" wide 1/8 thick soft steel. Various holes drilled in it to connect to the motor arm. A simple wooden dowel as handle, connected with 3" stainless screw and washers. Clamp and pre-drill into the dowel so it accepts the screw without cracking.

Total cost in Home depot parts was about $30.


Maglite straps onto the handle

This is just too easy. A few scraps of black rubber pipe as stand off pads placed onto the handle, position the Maglite, and strap it with 2 stainless hose clamps. And get this… the front hose clamp screw acts like a finger trigger grip!


Electrical hookup

I took a coiled wire from my junk box and put 2 new alligator clips on the end. Threaded it through the 3" PVC cap and connected to motor leads by means of auto electrical crimp connectors. Insulated and no hassles. This way I can power not just the Maglite. Works good with a radio, very slow cranking about 5rpm causes a 2AA radio to start up. Limited only by imagination and power requirements.


Results

A big heavy chunk of metal that balances surprisingly well in the hand. Feels good. The Mag blazes to life within a second of cranking. Slow cranking! Easy cranking! One finger cranking possible.
At first I burned out the Maglite bulb so now I use a 5D bulb in it. Perfect balance has been achieved with this bulb! Comfortable cranking produces a safe consistent bright white light.


Internal Storage Compartment

I've got quite a bit of room inside for spare bulbs and other items. A few film canisters can fit inside packed with foam and bulbs. To open compartment just use your Swiss Army knife flat blade screwdriver.


Voltage Control and Cranking rpm

Absolutely amazing control over the voltage by regulating your crank behavior. You quickly get a feel for how much juice your putting out. This ServoDisc motor puts out a smooth voltage, that's the only way I can explain it. Hooking up a big 12volt 1156 socket auto taillight bulb and running to a brightness that is close to burn out is quite easy. Have to up the rpm to 35 or so… gets uncomfortable to keep this up for more than a minute unless you simply put the generator down onto the edge of a table. The rubber grips any surface and with that huge handle formed by the Maglite on top, you won't be losing your grip that's for sure.


Battery charging capability

No doubt about it. Some type of regulating charger circuit would be required I guess.
But I don't have rechargeable batteries of any kind. Got rid of them years ago…


Contains No Electronics components

This is my ideal light system. Forever light. Armageddon Atomic Doom End of World Light. No electronics. EMP pulse anyone?


Waterproof

Almost… only the actual mechanical crank poses an entry point for water. Every other point is sealed up. (Clear GE Silicone covers the 4 hex head bolts that are exposed on the motor.)


Conclusions

My favorite light. Conversation piece. Heirloom piece. Unique. Probably One of a kind…
You need strong hands to grip and crank this machine, so this weeds out the pencil necks!
Get training your grip today.


Second back up copy

Using the second identical motor I have made another unit, minus the Maglite. I'm reluctant to cut up my remaining Mag!


Other inferior crank lights

This is what really annoys me. For years I searched in vain for a kickass all metal hand crank light.
All I've seen are these cheap plastic shells full of plastic gears with plastic crank handles. I would have sprung a few hundred on a good one had I found it available. So I went onto ebay and by sheer good luck found exactly what I needed to make my own. There is a BIG gap in the market that needs to be filled.


Inspiration to others

I hope this post inspires others to take generator lights more seriously. The potential is immense. The market in certain survivalist circles would be fairly sufficient to sustain a small manufacturing company I would say. Scan ebay for motors. Build your own and experiment.

But above all I wish someone like SureFire would create a military spec generator light.
I hope they are reading this.

There is a BIG gap in the market that needs to be filled by top quality generator lights!!!

And last but not least, some pictures. No pictures of Mag in operation but I take it you've all seen a maglite running before :whistle:
(Will try to take picture while holding it AND cranking if enough people demand it!)

18615ServoDisc_Maglite.jpg

GenLightStrip.jpg

18615ServoDisc_Maglite2.jpg




18615ServoDisc_Maglite5.jpg
 
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russtang

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Re: My ServoDisc Crank Generator "Armageddon Light" MagLite Modification [With pictures]

Neat.

Does it edc well?



:laughing:
 

bombelman

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Aug 26, 2005
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Re: My ServoDisc Crank Generator "Armageddon Light" MagLite Modification [With pictures]

hmmmm :ohgeez:

Great effort tho !!
 

stonehold

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Nov 18, 2006
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Phoenix
Re: My Crank Generator MagLite Modification [With pictures]

That is a wonderment. A light you can pedal. I've got to do this myself. Do you have any leads on where the motor or one similar might be found? Have you tried hooking a capacitor to it? Do you have any beam shots?
 

fnmag

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Re: My Crank Generator MagLite Modification [With pictures]

What type of lanyard do you use? I'd like to see a pic of you cranking it while holding the light. Very good use for that military surplus motor.
 

Xrunner

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Re: My Crank Generator MagLite Modification [With pictures]

Neat... have you considered upgrading the bulb to a LED of some sort?
 

Cydonia

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Thank you all for the interest. I took a new video clip and put it up on YouTube for all to see. Any questions about this Maglite generator? Just ask.
 

2xTrinity

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One thing that's cool about this motor is that the flashlgiht component of it is interchangeable. Someone mentioned trying this with LED flashlights -- if you have one with a constant current regulator that runs on a variety of batteries (there are some that run on anything from 1V to 3.7V) I wonder how that would work out being driven by the cranklight?

I've always thought that it would be good for someone to come out with a generator light that was both fairly high output and had an efficient motor. Energy could also be stored inside some ultracapacitors that could be rapidly charged with a short time of vigorous cranking, which is more efficient in terms of human power VS quantity of stored energy than spending several minutes cranking one of those small commercially available ones. The ability to have a lot of light on demand with a few very hard cranks IMHO would be a lot better than many easy cranks.
 

Burgess

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Nice job, indeed, Cydonia !

:twothumbs


Just stumbled upon this thread,

and i'm glad i found it.



Certainly deserves a

:bumpit:

_
 

Fallingwater

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Trieste, Italy
Needs a Cree LED in place of that ugly obsolete incandescent bulb :p
Also a battery, so you can reliably point it somewhere without having to crank it all the time.
 

Cydonia

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Oh... better this thread was laid to rest really :(
I sold both of these crank lights 1 1/2 years ago...

Put some pictures back in original post!

The full intentions of this project were about simplicity and no electronics or semiconductors whatsoever, and no batteries either!
A system that could be put into a time capsule and found to still produce light in that far off day...
 
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Fallingwater

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If properly designed, a system with a battery will still do what you want; the battery just won't work many years from now, but power would then go straight to the emitter.

Or use a decent sized, good quality supercapacitor. That would power a high-flux LED for a useful time while not having the problems typical of batteries. It ought to last at least ten years, probably a lot more.

I'd like to be able to build something like your lights, but I'd have trouble with finding a decent generator around here.
 
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