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Thread: SunDrop XR-U

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default SunDrop XR-U

    Hi Guys,

    With the thought of both concentrating the original beam of the SunDrop hosting the Nichia 083 as well as allowing the head to be host of light engines based on other LEDs with greater height, the SunDrop XR-U head was designed. The XR designates extended range, extended reach as well as compatibility with the Cree XR LED. I decided to throw in the U to designate universal although it may be broader in scope than reality would permit. Certainly there are a number of different LED's that could work below the sapphire lens in the XR-U head.



    The lens in the XR-U is approximately .125" further above the LED compaired to the original SunDrop and the head shows this in the extra length. From the front end, the LED is magnified further in the XR-U (left):



    I did some testing and evaluation of this head with a number of light engines:



    The Nichia 083 and Cree XR-E light engines have been used in the original SunDrop and the Haiku, respectively. The Seoul P4 High CRI proto and Cree MC-E proto were built just for test and evaluation purposes.

    The following beam shots were all taken from the same position with a Nikon D300 using a 20mm lens and exposure was the same manual setting for all.
    I consider the exposure and intensity of light seen in the images as reasonable based on a vision that has adapted to the dark in which the lights were photographed.










    I also put the XR-E light engine in a Haiku and the Seoul P4 High CRI light engine in a prototype Aleph head hosting a McR-27S reflector to get some sample collimated type beam shots for comparison to these flood beams.





    The 3S drivers in the XR-E and Seoul P4 LE's are both set at ~ 600 mA on high level. The MC-E light engine is closer to 700 mA driving the 4 dice in parallel. The Nichia 083 LE is at ~ 330 mA.
    There is measurable light loss with the XR-U head compared to the original SunDrop head because the lens is further from the LED. In the cases of the other LED's, their die are closer to the lens and the domes over the die wouldn't allow them to be situated much closer than they are.
    In some comparisons made with the integrating sphere, it was interesting to see not only a drop in flux on the SunDrop VS SunDrop XR-U but a change in the measured CCT as well. Although the flux dropped, the CCT increased from 5600k to 5800k with the same Nichia 083B LE.
    Spectrum and color info on the sample 083 based XR-U head:







    Since I was evaluating the Seoul P4 High CRI LED, I also tested it in the integrating sphere while mounted in a XR-U head:





    The outdoor beam shots don't show variations in tint or artifacts like a white wall would. In the case of the XR-U head, all of the light engines produced a relatively even and artifact free flood disk of light with noticible artifacts and tint variations limited to the perimeter of the disk. The Seoul P4 in the Aleph 27S proto (image below) has a noticible higher color temp in the spot portion of the beam compared to a warmer corona and spill, when viewed on a white wall.



    The basic goal with the XR-U head is to provide a middle ground compromise between full flood (no secondary optics) beams and collimated beams which have high lux in their center and relatively low lux as you move from center out to the spill. The idea is to retain the even distribution of a flood but concentrated in a narrower viewing angle to allow you greater range. Using the Nichia 083 LED, I estimate the effective beam angle of the original SunDrop to be approximately 82 degrees and in the XR-U head, I estimate 53 degrees.

    The effective beam angle I consider to be inside of any exterior rings or artifacts. The angle and extent of artifacts will vary among LED models used and be a function of the die size and its apparent distance behind the lens.

    Unlike a typical TIR optic that consists both of a lens and a reflector redirecting that light that does not pass through the lens but instead hits the side of the TIR and bounces forward, there is inherent light loss with a lens only, floating above the light source. The closer the lens is to the source, the greater the angle of source light it will manage and redirect.

    The XR-U head is clearly a compromise where you sacrifice some flux for an increase in lux.

    In the case of the Nichia 083 and Seoul High CRI LED's, I believe the compromise is favorable if one seeks an even and clean field of illumination with greater reach than that available from say a mule configuration.

    In the case of using a Cree XR-E LED, look at the beam shot of the Haiku VS the XR-E LED in the XR-U head. The same light engine is used and the overall beam angle coverage is very similar. In the case of the XR-U, the field of illumination is relatively even across the field whereas in the Haiku, the center is heavy in intensity with a drop in lux as you move off center.

    I personally prefer an even field of view provided it is 1) bright enough and 2) covers the needed viewing angle. When either 1 or 2 can not be met, a tighter collimated beam or simply more flux need to be brought to bear or is it bare.

    I have been turned off by many of the early lens based lights but I realize it is because the were designed to collimate tighter than I would like and as the projections were sharper in focus, the artifacts in the image were bothersome. The inherent tunnel vision in many of them made me think of them as a reflector beam but without the useful and sometimes necessary spill.

    I have been real happy with the Haiku and its three levels and feel that is beam distribution works well both on the low and the high. However since most of my personal illumination needs are near to mid range, I figured a beam that had a similar angle of coverage but without the hot center could and would have some merit. In reality, that does seem to be the case.

    The other thing I see favorable with the XR-U head is that it is friendly to multiple die LED's like the Nichia 083 and the Cree MC-E. Favorable at least in the core and interior of the beam. I grant that there are obvious artifacts at the perimeter but if the beam is adequate to more than cover the target of interest and provided it is on target, you aren't even looking at the outside edges.

    For the sake of nomenclature and hopefully less confusion, I suppose SunDrop should be limited to the inclusion of the Nichia 083 and if this head is used with a LE hosting another LED, the designation of XR-U alone should be used?!? Regardless, it's confusing and I am easily confused.

    One last observation I feel inclined to make is that there is something pure, simple and satisfying to me in considering the longevity and immunity of the sapphire lens to environmental degradation and threats that seems to be in sync with the titanium host itself.

    And thus we now end yet another long winded introduction of yet another niche type light design.




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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Holy crap. That MC-E is rediculous!

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    Flashaholic *Dusty*'s Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Thats a lovely beam indeed. I wish all flashlights gave that effect
    www.anarkypaintball.com Constantly looking for SHINEY things
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    Flashaholic* The Coach's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Holy crap. That MC-E is ridiculous!

    Yeah baby!!!

    .........................


    Hey, it was worth a shot. Nice work Don.

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    After reviewing the post, I realized I should have measured the flux of the XR-E LE in the Haiku as well as the XR-U head. Too late but I did just take another XR-E LE and measure it in a Haiku head and saw 151 lumens and in the XR-U head, measured 136 lumens.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    So basically it is a spot light, in between a flood light and a thrower. Ever since I got one of your sapphires, I have been wanting a light with a gently collimated yet uniform light distribution.

    If I may humbly suggest, maybe to distinguish the non-sundrop versions, they might be called the Spotlight XR-U?

    These look awesome, are they compatiable with normal aleph LEs?

    P.S. I would love to see that Proto Aleph 27S head offered in Ti.
    Last edited by RocketTomato; 08-21-2009 at 04:28 PM.

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    Flashaholic* FrogmanM's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    sweet beams Mr. McGizmo!

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Holy crap. That MC-E is rediculous!
    +1


    I need to save some money

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by RocketTomato View Post
    ...... are they compatiable with normal aleph LEs?

    ......
    I would say yes but I am not sure what all "normal Aleph LE's" might include. I have confirmed function with some Aleph LE's I have sitting around consisting of Luxeon, Seoul and Cree LED's. The Luxeons give you a really nice even large spot of light with no perimeter artifacts to speak of. Colored and invisible light LED's also will work. I have tried a red dragon LE as well as a Nichia 365nm UV LE, both with the 3S converters and they both give really nice even balls of light.

    It's interesting how much cleaner the Cree MC-E is compared to the Cree XR-E at the periphery. I made a custom LE using the MC-E and a SOB set at 1600 mA (400 mA to each of the dice in parallel provided good Vf match) I put this in a XR-U head mounted on a 2x123 Mcclickie pak thinking it would make for an ideal shallow water dive light. Unfortunately there is something amis in the LE and as often as not, it comes on at about 20% of the output it should?!?! When it does come on in full power, the beam is pretty impressive and the head gets hot real quick!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I would say yes but I am not sure what all "normal Aleph LE's" might include. I have confirmed function with some Aleph LE's I have sitting around consisting of Luxeon, Seoul and Cree LED's. The Luxeons give you a really nice even large spot of light with no perimeter artifacts to speak of. Colored and invisible light LED's also will work. I have tried a red dragon LE as well as a Nichia 365nm UV LE, both with the 3S converters and they both give really nice even balls of light.

    It's interesting how much cleaner the Cree MC-E is compared to the Cree XR-E at the periphery. I made a custom LE using the MC-E and a SOB set at 1600 mA (400 mA to each of the dice in parallel provided good Vf match) I put this in a XR-U head mounted on a 2x123 Mcclickie pak thinking it would make for an ideal shallow water dive light. Unfortunately there is something amis in the LE and as often as not, it comes on at about 20% of the output it should?!?! When it does come on in full power, the beam is pretty impressive and the head gets hot real quick!
    ohhhhh say, it ain't so!
    i'd love one of these to swap if it becomes a dropin

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    Flashaholic* maxspeeds's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I personally prefer an even field of view provided it is 1) bright enough and 2) covers the needed viewing angle. When either 1 or 2 can not be met, a tighter collimated beam or simply more flux need to be brought to bear or is it bare.
    I completely agree with you, Don. I find that I am more often carrying lights with bright spill (McR19xr +XR-E) or 100% pure flood (XR-E only). Even field of light distribution is the closest to what the Sun produces for us naturally.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    For the sake of nomenclature and hopefully less confusion, I suppose SunDrop should be limited to the inclusion of the Nichia 083 and if this head is used with a LE hosting another LED, the designation of XR-U alone should be used?!? Regardless, it's confusing and I am easily confused.
    XR-U works for me
    Cheers from the McGizmo state.

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    If I were going to build one of these the way I want it, I would put an MC-E and three hi-CRI LEDs in something resembling a LunaSol arrangement, but without any reflectors. Then I would put it on a PD body and have the low mode turn on the hi-CRI LEDs for high-quality light and have the high mode turn on the MC-E as well for high-quantity light.

    On another, more realistic note, have you had a chance to play with the Nichia 183 LEDs? They're supposed to be brighter than the 083s. Also, where do you get these Nichia LEDs from? I haven't been able to find them.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 08-22-2009 at 01:50 AM.

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Nice Job. I can see a SunDrop XP w/ high CRI P4 in my future.

    I have the SunDropB 3S (w/ Nichia 083B LED) from the MAN himself. It is very very useful as a reading light, or walk around the yard at night to search. It is definitely brighter than the SunDrop with 083A.

    My UV light and SunDropB:


    I put a Nichia UV LED behind the sapphire lens and mounted them in Aleph McClickie Mule. The UV beam is much more useful now.

  14. #14

    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    WOW! Well those photos are text book examples of what a flood, spot, and pinpoint thrower SHOULD be. Not sure I'd NEED the power of that MC-E, but it looks GREAT! Thanks, for taking the time to post that, McGizmo. Helps further my flashlight edumacation!

    Drew

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    It looks certainly great, but how low would be a low? Cause I use about 2 or 3 lumens for reading and writing at night. 5 lumens is than a lot and 15 lumens is way to much.

    I know I like the sundrop a lot: it lights the area I want to walk to in the garden and I can use it up close perfect. If you get more flux/lux it is possible to light up the whole garden better. but it is less ideal for close-up work. It's perhaps more of a compromise between a more regular optic/reflector and a mule.
    What I missed in the pictures is that the original Sundrop is able to light up the whole of my garden. When I've been out of direct lights for 5 minutes, it is bright enough to show everything in my garden. It isn't bright enough to light up the frog hiding in the back of my garden between the livingstone daisy flowers, but it doesn't blind me either.

    What I want to say is: I don't know if these new versions don't put out to much light, for close up work?!

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    If I were going to build one of these the way I want it, I would put an MC-E and three hi-CRI LEDs in something resembling a LunaSol arrangement, but without any reflectors. Then I would put it on a PD body and have the low mode turn on the hi-CRI LEDs for high-quality light and have the high mode turn on the MC-E as well for high-quantity light.
    I would buy two of those. That is a FANTASTIC idea!

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    gotta love that clean MCE beam. But would the high cost of the led justify this clean beam and just minimal increase in lumens? How about efficiency?

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by Ny0ng1 View Post
    gotta love that clean MCE beam. But would the high cost of the led justify this clean beam and just minimal increase in lumens? How about efficiency?
    How much more expensive is it than the Golden Dragon?

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    If I were going to build one of these the way I want it, I would put an MC-E and three hi-CRI LEDs in something resembling a LunaSol arrangement, but without any reflectors. Then I would put it on a PD body and have the low mode turn on the hi-CRI LEDs for high-quality light and have the high mode turn on the MC-E as well for high-quantity light.
    It would be interesting to see what size head you come up with as host to these 4 LED's and what the difference would be between your low and high in terms of flux. I dare say I don't follow your design or how it relates to the SunDrop XR-U as it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    On another, more realistic note, have you had a chance to play with the Nichia 183 LEDs? They're supposed to be brighter than the 083s. Also, where do you get these Nichia LEDs from? I haven't been able to find them.
    I got some samples, I think last year. I have a light engine with one and have tried it in the original SunDrop. Since it is also a multi die LED, it is not friendly to collimating optics but in the SunDrop, it is fine. It produces more flux by virtue of higher current capacity but at the time when my focus was on High CRI, it brought nothing to the table. I have been waiting and hoping that they would do a 183 with the High CRI phosphors.

    Another consideration here is realistically just how much current can you pull from a single CR123 or R123 and what are the thermal considerations in a small single cell light. Granted, the XR-U head will fit on any E series compliant battery pak so you do have more power available.

    I got these 083B LED's as samples from Nichia. Painfully, they prety much obsolete the hundreds of 083A LED's that I have already purchased and had mounted on expensive custom MCPCB's. In order to get more from Nichia, I would have to pop for a reel of 1400 LED's and although the unit price is very reasonable, 1400 of them is well beyond my needs and expectations. As an alternative, a friend in Japan has placed an order on my behalf with Nichia Japan for 100 of these LED's. The premium on the unit price is near double but it is still much more viable than the alternative. I didn't get many samples but what I did get will be used in a small introductory wave of these SunDrop XR-U's that I will be launching soon.

    Looking forward, I need to get some new MCPCB's made so I can expand the options and choices of LED used in the LE's.

    I mentioned the Nichia 365nm LE above and this particular LE fits in the Haiku Head with a really intense hot spot and the typical narrow spill beam is also intense. For checking currency and credit cards for their hidden marks, the spot on low (3S driver) is adequate. You have more power for other applications. The XR-U head gives you a really cool UV ball of quite uniform intensity and I would think it would lend itself to some applications better than the McR-17XR reflector. This is a real small niche but I am real impressed with the results. So much so that I thought I had a done deal arrangement with a fellow CPF'er for spliting a run of MCPCB's and I bought 25 of the Nichia LED's in anticipation of having the LE's assembled by now. The MCPCB deal fell through since it was not a priority for the other party and now I still have to go about getting a viable gerber file created and find a source for the MCPCB's.

    I got some new high flux dragon samples from my friend in Japan and I am going to build a few LE's with these to see how hey fare. I am not up on Osram's part designations but these have the secondary optic dome lens which might lend itself well in the XR-U application since more of the light will be directed at the sapphire lens.

    One thing I have found refreshing with messing with the XR-U head is the fact that the optic is not specifically tuned or oriented towards one specific LED and you get a concentrated flood spot from a very diverse group of LE's. And all you have to do is unscrew one LE and screw in the next. This is certainly the most universal head I have come up with in the regards of being host to diverse light engines.
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    *Flashaholic* precisionworks's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    I have been turned off by many of the early lens based lights but I realize it is because the were designed to collimate tighter than I would like
    +1

    The Surefire TIR is an example of too much spot with not enough spill.

    Regarding the XR-E and the MC-E, there doesn't seem to be a big difference in the two at the lower voltage & lower drive levels used in a regulated 1xCR123 light. There's a big jump running 3xCR123 @ 240 lumens (XR-E), versus 3xCR123 @ 500 lumens (MC-E). The X lamp still has a lot going for it in lower draw applications.
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I mentioned the Nichia 365nm LE above and this particular LE fits in the Haiku Head with a really intense hot spot and the typical narrow spill beam is also intense. For checking currency and credit cards for their hidden marks, the spot on low (3S driver) is adequate. You have more power for other applications. The XR-U head gives you a really cool UV ball of quite uniform intensity and I would think it would lend itself to some applications better than the McR-17XR reflector. This is a real small niche but I am real impressed with the results. So much so that I thought I had a done deal arrangement with a fellow CPF'er for spliting a run of MCPCB's and I bought 25 of the Nichia LED's in anticipation of having the LE's assembled by now. The MCPCB deal fell through since it was not a priority for the other party and now I still have to go about getting a viable gerber file created and find a source for the MCPCB's.
    Which specific type is the Nichia? NCSU034A? In that case the with differs only from 6,5mm to 6,8mm, which could be enough, I guess?
    Just want to help make this happen
    Are MCPCB difficult to make? I've made pcb's in a former life, so in theory I could do it, just never made MCPCB

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by AlecGold View Post
    Which specific type is the Nichia? NCSU034A? ......
    I am using the 033A but I think the package is the same as that of the 034A. The foot print for these is different than the 083 unfortunately and the MCPCB's I designed for the 083 were tweaked to also serve as a board for the Dragon. Unfortunately they won't work on the UV LED.
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    darn, that's a pity.
    033 and 034 are indeed the same, so that doesn't work out then.
    I'll just sit and wait then

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    In the past I always wanted throw - I recently picked up a triple LED P60 drop-in and was surprised how much I liked alot of light with reasonable throw with no hotspot.

    I can see how this XR-U would be very nice....


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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    After much reading, love the new light, Don. Slightly tighter, slightly throwier version of the Sundrop, with what sounds like great interchangeability of LE's down the road. Smooth beam from edge to edge and the wonderful CRI. Sign me up! I am assuming that the three levels are the same as the sundrop 3S? Can't wait to try to catch the wave!

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Awesome. This may just be the "compromise" (1) I've been looking for.

    -----------
    (1) Compromise between spot and flood - nothing else. I'm sure this light is top notch like all of Dons others.
    I spend my days in the light thinking about flashlights in the dark

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    It would be interesting to see what size head you come up with as host to these 4 LED's and what the difference would be between your low and high in terms of flux. I dare say I don't follow your design or how it relates to the SunDrop XR-U as it is.
    It doesn't relate to the SunDrop as it is, rather to the general concept of a high-powered pocket floodlight. The idea is to retain the usable low flood that the LunaSol provides, but with better color rendition, while adding (and this is a technical term) a "stupid-bright" high setting for when all you care about is lighting up as large an area as possible. I know the MC-E pulls a lot of current, on account of the 4 dies, so maybe it would be better to have the high mode shut off the hi-CRI LEDs instead of keeping them on -- but in any case, it appears that you've already figured out how to run an MC-E on a single RCR123. You might want to try using the new LiMn cells, as they have lower internal resistance than LiCO cells have, and can output higher amperage as a result.

    Depending on the size of the LEDs (I've never managed to get my hands on them), it would either be a 20 or 27mm head. My guess is 20mm is doable, but probably painful to work with.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I got these 083B LED's as samples from Nichia. Painfully, they prety much obsolete the hundreds of 083A LED's that I have already purchased and had mounted on expensive custom MCPCB's. In order to get more from Nichia, I would have to pop for a reel of 1400 LED's and although the unit price is very reasonable, 1400 of them is well beyond my needs and expectations. As an alternative, a friend in Japan has placed an order on my behalf with Nichia Japan for 100 of these LED's. The premium on the unit price is near double but it is still much more viable than the alternative. I didn't get many samples but what I did get will be used in a small introductory wave of these SunDrop XR-U's that I will be launching soon.
    Any way I can buy 5 of the 083B's from you?

    Also, what is a gerber file?

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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    I am not too familiar with building Light engines and I am wondering what is the purpose of the MCPCB? I think it is too provide good thermal contact between the LED and the escrew of the light engine? Or is it to make sure the LED is situated at the proper height for the reflector? Or both?

    Out of curiosity, what did you end up using for your proto-Nichia UV?

  29. #29

    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    I am not sure if I understand the issues with using the Nichia NCSU033A
    led, but if there be any plans to make some, it would be extremeley interesting

    If Don, were to consider making them, would a count on interested parties help?

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SunDrop XR-U

    The Metal Core Printed Circuit Board (MCPCB) serves as the mounting board and heat sink for the LED. The LED is bonded to the MCPCB by solder flow of its sink slug as well as anode and cathode. The solder pads provide for centering and orientation of the LED on the board as well as lead wire pads. The thickness of the board and means of securing it to the converter can are also issues to consider in its design as well as its impact on the overall height and geometry of the LE. I have designed these new LE's in such a manner that the MCPCB itself gets jammed between a shoulder in the head as well as against the nickel plated aluminum converter can of the LE. This aids in thermal connectivity and in use, you can feel that the heat takes little time getting to the surface of the light.

    It is my understanding that the Gerber file is some form or conventional file used by EE's to communicate the PCB and MCPCB layouts to the board shops. Although the trace design and layout for a LED board is quite simple compared to a typical circuit board, you still need to provide the geometry and other specs in a proper fashion to the board house. I was fortunate in some MCPCB's that I have designed that the houses that made them for me could take some SolidWorks drawings exported as dfx files and convert or render the critical info into a Gerber file. Any EE among us is welcome to correct any mistakes or ignorance on my part here!

    I underplayed the significance or at least what I consider to be significant regarding the 083B LED's but I should comment on how cool I think they are!! These are High CRI LED's that also have a relatively high color temperature and look to be "white" and not warm or cold. Their flux and efficiency is also really good compared to what has been available in the past. The Seoul sample is impressive in its own right as well. It slightly out performs the Nichia in output but you need to consider that it is being driven at almost double the current to do so.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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