Some thing new at cpfreviews.com -- Runtime Engine... DONE!

ViReN

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Hello Everyone,

It's been a while, I have not posted or actively browsed CPF... I had been 'busy' ! :)

Busy, with building a Flashlight Reviews Database. Currently it's still in its initial stages, sample of 2 lights (Civictor V1 & Fenix L0P) have been updated and a sample Comparison of that two lights is also available. There is a lot to do at this moment.... runtimes, values etc, but hey, it's just a begining of somthing new.

The Rating system is also put in place, it's such that light rating will keep on changing with change in time, technology and as new led's come by. The ratings are now more parameterized and will be based on calculations apart from trival things. This rating is basically based on my experience with other (non flashlight) reviews site, so it is not a very orignal idea though ;)

have a look at http://www.cpfreviews.com/compare-lights.php :)

yes, currently you cannot choose lights to compare, but shortly you will be.... a parametric light search engine is also being built up :D ... you will be able to search for lights based on batteries etc... parameters... the parameters are still being refined and some things like beamshots and runtimes (dynamically generated) and compared ;) will also be added.... aaah... lots to do...//

I still have some hurdles :( .... my request for getting a good (gossen) light meter (at a lesser) cost was refused ($400+ for a good light meter, no this is NOT the only option .... but other extech request was also rejected :( ).... and i am looking for a better digital camera (to have exact beamshot parameters for comparison.... Nikon D80 and EOS350/400 is still a dilema .... (of course... along with the kind money required to get these equipments... :p) .... no worries though... i will be looking for some workaround to these hurdles.... ....

enjoy... and have a great time ahead....

your comments / feedback is appreciated :)

laterz :nana:
 
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bobby68

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

It looks really nice, I'm looking foreward to the official launch :)


If I may suggest one thing? In the comparison chart, it would be nice to see at little picture of the different flashligts on top of the chart. Just to get a quick impression of what you are comparing.

Good work Viren !

:sold:
 

ViReN

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Thanks for the comments & compliments :)

I am still working on it... I will add pictures of flashlights in next couple of days. I am also in process of fine tuning the parameters, like waterproofness etc are still not there...

Also the Beamshots .. but beamshots could take a while, as specific equipment (SLR camera with full manual control) is required to put up true comparative pictures. My idea is to put up all pictures at ISO 100, with 1/1 to 1/1000 at a fixed aperture and Focal length in steps of 1/50 or 1/100, my current camera is not capable of doing this.
 

Frank_Zuccarini

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

I like the extreme close-ups.

Thanks for doing this for us.

Frank
 

EV_007

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Awesome site! Just bookmarked it. Very thorough. Look forward to visiting it often.
:goodjob:
 

Quickbeam

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Nice database. I was going to do the same thing, but the daunting task of entering about 40 different parameters for 500+ lights by hand into a PHP database was just too much... :( I bought the software and everything to automatically set up the database, but just couldn't budget the time.
 

atm

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Very nice ViReN, looks like it will be a great resource.

I also started building a DB recently to act as a one-stop source of links to reviews of various lights, but as so often seems to happen when setting out on a project such as this other things such as work demanded more of my time so it stalled.

As Doug says, finding the time to search out and enter all the available info would be pretty difficult at the best of times. It's a job for a small team of enthusiasts really, not an individual.

A very basic start to the project is here: http://www.atominternet.com/flashlightlinks (try selecting Night-Ops from the list for an e.g.).

I look forward to watching your site develop and grow! :)
 

ViReN

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

I am in full agreement with Doug (Quickbeam) and atm, more so, because just with a handful of lights, it seems such a big task to me, i can only imagine 500+ lights * 40 to 50 parameters, and all data and information has to be manually fed....

In my case, i had to develop the Database, PHP application and the interface too, whole code written by hand.... and to make matters worse, the runtime data that i have been capturing (with a cheap meter) is also manual.... good heavens... the XP Power Tools is there to capture images of the readings from the LCD readout of the lux readings. (but still i have to manually punch in the data... readings taken once a minute).. wish it was once a second...

Today, I completed 1 more light information (without runtime's) ....it's gonna take some more days to complete a handful of lights...yet to upload the data on live site, as the data still under testing....

once again thanks for kind words, support and boost ... ... keeps spirits high.... will try to update 2 lights today... will update by tomorrow :)
 
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bobby68

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

If there is a need, I would love to help. Eventually fill in data or something, I don't know a lot, but I could maybe do some manual work?

Karma to you Viren, and to you Quickbeam. FR was/is my flashlight bible, and I'm looking foreward to cpfreviews :)
 

pilou

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Quickbeam said:
Nice database. I was going to do the same thing, but the daunting task of entering about 40 different parameters for 500+ lights by hand into a PHP database was just too much... :(.


You could limit the database to lights that have received four stars or more, but even then, it would be a task for a whole team, not a single person doing it in his spare time!
 

ViReN

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

bobby68 :) thank you very much for the offer, its really kind of you.... but that manual work has to be done on raw db.... sql .. as it will require another time to develop an interface to update information remotely....

pilou said:
You could limit the database to lights that have received four stars or more, but even then, it would be a task for a whole team, not a single person doing it in his spare time!
...You are very right, it will take a team!....

You know, in two days i was able to update only 2 lights (Mini Mag LED & Peak's McKinley), also updated the comparison chart (will contain selected lights, currently i am just showing all available in database) ,i thought of updating more lights but it was simply not possible. :( .. it just takes so much of time....! and it's still not including any runtime data! imagine that....

To simplify the things, I have setup following plan to implement the Flashlight Database at www.cpfreviews.com

1) Upload all the information (excluding runtimes) 1 light per day, try to make it 2 per day....
2) Update Review Rating Parameters and other fine tuning (adding/removing) of other parameters/data... this is going to be an ongoing activity, until i am settled with some what stable and comprehensive information....
3) Develop a Simple Comparison Engine, initially it will show all data, later on advanced compare (with selected features) will also be added... (warning: gonna take some time)
5) Develop a Search Engine, users should be able to search based on selection of parameters like light name, battery ... (other search parameters such as material / LED etc.... will be added later(warning: gonna take some time))

seems like an never ending task, but... i am doing things 1 step at one time....

ViReN
 
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atm

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

ViReN said:
bobby68 :) thank you very much for the offer, its really kind of you.... but that manual work has to be done on raw db.... sql .. as it will require another time to develop an interface to update information remotely...
ViReN, it may be worth spending this time now, especially if others are willing to help enter data? I've done more behind the scenes with my aborted (or suspended anyway) site than on the publically accessible page simply so it would be quick and easy to enter data when I had some time. I think if I hadn't done the "admin" area and was still entering the data manually into the MySQL DB I wouldn't have even done the bit I have (and my site presents much less data/light than yours). Certainly if I decide to pick away at it again in the future it will be easier for having done the back-end work early on.

I realise it's time consuming manually coding these things (like you I'm doing it from scratch) but maybe in the medium to long term it will put you well ahead? Apart from anything else I always find a good site admin setup is satisfying to create and use. :)
 

C4LED

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Excellent!

Have you given any thought to having a throw measure as well as the total output measure you already are using?

I liked the 'bang for the buck' rating.

:goodjob:
 

Calina

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

Thank you Viren.

This is so elaborate I'm afraid you will get discouraged in a short time. I hope not!
It would be great if a team could be set up, this is simply too much work for a single individual.

Best of luck on this project.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :goodjob:
 

ViReN

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com

atm, you are so very right, I am sure gonna develop an interface to update the data, i have added 6 more lights information, 3 more to go.....adding things manually through raw DB is kinda difficult, especially when you have to remember so many relationships and constraints in the Flashlight DB (actually it's an RDBMS).... once all the current lights are done, i will start working parallels for the Data Upload Interface as well as developing the search engine.

Calina, C4LED and all, without your boost and encouragement... it would not have been able to work this quick... i will try to keep the flame burning :)

Currently basic comparison engine is now active and can be accessed directly on home page http://www.cpfreviews.com, as of now, you can only select lights and by default, all parameters are selected for comparison. The selection of comparison parameters along with lights will be added later on in Advanced Compare Screen...

So here is the current and task list
1) Upload all the information (excluding runtimes) ...just 3 lights remaining...
2) Develop Simple Comparison Engine... DONE!
3) Update Review Rating Parameters and other fine tuning .....adding runtimes... Pending....
4) Develop Simple Search Engine
5) Develop Advanced Comparison Engine
6) Develop Advanced Search Engine
7) Develop Data Upload / Update Interface

Long list.. but I am taking one at a time...

Thanks once again ...

ViReN
 

The_LED_Museum

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Re: Some thing new at cpfreviews.com -- Simple Comparison Engine... DONE!

Your review process is far more complex than mine.
To wit:

================================================================
Testing of flashlights for The Punishment Zone consists of a number of discrete steps, each designed to place the sample in an abusive environment, to measure it using known physical parameters, and to determine how usable the unit might be once it ends up in the hands of a real consumer.

These steps are:
Examine the light and the packaging it came in. Note any difficulties I had in removing the light or any of its accessories from the package. Note whether or not it came with batteries.
At this time, I've already opened a template and begun constructing the flashlight's web page.


Install the batteries, and attempt to operate the light without referring to any instructions first. This determines how much difficulty a typical consumer might have if they also fail to read the instructions, or if the instructions are disposed of, crushed out on the carpet like a cigerette, fall in the toliet and are then disposed of in the garbage can or by flushing, or become lost.


Loose accessories included in the same package, such as split rings or lanyards, are also installed at this point, and note is taken of any difficulties I had beyond the ordinary. If the unit turns into a pile of loose parts when opened, this is also noted. When possible, the packaging is preserved for future reference.


The steps needed for correct battery installation are recorded for future reference, and for the benefit of website visitors.


Measure the light output while the batteries are still new. This is done by holding or mounting the light so the LEDs are aligned with a precalibrated bar located exactly 12" from the face of the light sensor, and recording the resulting figure(s). A Tektronix J-16 photometer is used to take this measurement. A Wavetek Meterman LM631 light meter has been in use since mid-2002, and it performs the same duties the Tektronix model does.


Take the flashlight's picture. Say cheese!!
Typically, this would include one photo of the flashlight itself, and a second shot of the light in my hand, which is usable as a general reference to its physical size. Sometimes, a third picture is taken of the light's bezel (head) for inclusion on its web page.


Photograph the light's radiation field on a precalibrated test target. Most lights tested need only one picture of this; however if there are any unusual beam characteristics, I'll adjust the camera exposure to a lower and/or higher value and take another picture or pictures so these artifacts can be seen in the photograph. I may also take an additional picture from ~10 feet away if the flashlight uses a Luxeon Star LED and is touted to "throw" far away. I don't have access to an outdoor "testing range", so I cannot take any outdoor photographs. And if the flashlight uses a "rear-firing" mechanism and produces a square beam, I'll take another photograph showing this square shape, underexposing the photograph if necessary.

Beam photographs on this target are taken at 12", and the markings on the target itself are exactly 1" apart.


Take a spectrographic analysis, using the Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from WWW.TWO-CUBED.COM.


Mount the light to a carrier and fire up the ProMetric beam profile analyser and start taking readings. This analysis will display all aspects of the light's beam, highlighting various defects, rings, and other artifacts. This instrument is also capable of taking more standard photometric measurements as well, which will be posted with the ProMetric's chart on each light's page. This will not eliminate the need to take the measurement with the Tektronix photometer; but is intended to augment it. The ProMetric will also not replace the traditional beam photograph, as it records its images in black & white and/or false color; while the traditional picture will be used to show how you might see the beam with your own eyes.

A seperate computer system will be running specifically for the ProMetric and for a recording meter that gets used later on in testing.


Closely examine the sample(s). This examination is to note the overall fit & finish, and to note any features like split ring attachment points, knurling or texturing, note how the switch operates, the material(s) the flashlight is made from, note the LED lamp (to see if there's anything different about it than in other products), examine the reflector and note whether or not it is actually useful, examine the battery contacts, check for the presence or absence of a catalyst pellet, and to examine it for anything else that would be deemed noteworthy.

Unusual characteristics or special features are noted and/or photographed at this point for inclusion on the web page.


For flashlights that aren't specifically marked or sold as "fragile" or "not impact-resistant" and do not look delicate, conduct the first series of drop tests. The first test is from chest high onto medium loop carpet over an unknown flooring material. Then the unit is dropped from the same height onto concrete, and any breakage is noted.

For "consumer level" testing I will wander around the test area with the lit flashlight in hand and purposefully run into doors or corners, being sure the flashlight is knocked to the floor. Lights with belt holsters are mounted, and then I purposefully get jammed in a metal framed doorway so the flashlight takes the brunt of the "accident". If the unit tears away or becomes broken, that is noted on the web page

Smaller to medium sized flashlights may also be left on chairs and then "accidentally" sat on.

If it happens to a flashlight in real life, I try to recreate the same type of occurance here.


Next comes the real abuse. I start by holding the light near the bottom of the barrel, and strike the head or bezel assembly against a concrete patio floor, and note any breakage. I then hold it by the bezel, and strike the side of the tailcap against the same target. The force used is "moderate", something a bit more than might be achieved by sombody spinning around in alarm and whapping their light against a rock face, metal doorway, car door, or other hard surface. The test is repeated until each part of the light has been struck five times, or until breakage occurs.

Flashlights marketed specifically as being "extremely tough" (Mag Lites, Tektite, Princeton Tec, etc.) may also be subject to an even more brutal version of this test, where I swing the light like a ball peen hammer and strike the concrete patio floor. They may also be run over with a 450 pound motorised wheelchair, or intentionally stomped on. Smaller metal lights tend to do well with this particular test.


Now, assuming I haven't destroyed the test sample (and very few actually are totally ruined by this), I turn the light on and immerse it in a tank of water (a sink or a cistern is typically used for this test) for a period of time. This can be anywhere from 1 minute to several days, depending on manufacturer's claims of water resistance. Lights that are clearly *not* water resistant generally aren't dunked, unless I am specifically asked to do that test.
When possible, lights are turned on and off while still submerged.


Flashlights or other products which were destroyed during or after testing will receive a (
x4.gif
) icon next to their listing on this website. This effectively acts like an (
x.gif
) icon; in that I will no longer be able to perform additional testing or comparative analyses on the product.


Now I wait until darkness falls, and then try to use the flashlight for as many situations as I can get myself into. Such situations can include:


Raiding the refrigerator; making a simple snack (sandwich, etc.) using only the flashlight.

Reading a paper or reading a magazine.
Wandering around the house without stubbing toes, breaking lamps, or stepping on squeaky little rat tails.
Unclogging a sink or toliet (or pretending to do that) at 4am with only the test light.
Looking for various objects (TV remote, other flashlights, cigerettes, etc.)
From bed: Groping for the flashlight on the nightstand or floor and turning it on as quickly as possible. Note how easy or hard this is to do in total darkness.
Attempting to change the unit's batteries in total darkness.
Checking the breaker panel.


Some of the brightest lights are also tested by being mounted to the steering arm or front kick panel of my electric wheelchair and then going out at night to see how well they perform outdoors as a headlight.


Finally, many of the units will be "adopted" as a daily carry light, and then used in any situation calling for the use of a flashlight. This can go on for several months, and any breakage or malfunction that crops up would be noted in the "Updates" section of that light's web page.


Products (flashlights, lasers, etc.) which are "loaners" (sent by private individuals / fans of the website) are not subject to some of these tests, particularly those which could result in breakage. Most people who loan their lights for testing on this website want them returned in working order. These lights are shown in the pick list with (No longer have) in red lettering. Please do not e-mail me asking me to compare one of those to some other light - there is no way for me to re-test or compare what I don't have anymore. These are also marked with a red "X" in a yellow box when they're moved to their right place in the left-frame menu.


When time and instrument availability permits, run-time tests are performed at this point. This determines how long the batteries last if the unit were used in a full-time situation, such as the admittedly extreme case of nuclear winter or the slightly more likely scenario of being trapped someplace dark after a natural disaster.
================================================================
 
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