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Thread: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

  1. #61
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    First, sorry for keeping everyone waiting, again! But In addition to working on two other light projects, plus a lot of other stuff, I had more problems on this one. First the small problem. So I made the control circuit and it consist of the microcontroller, Arduino Nano, a step down converter and the volt and temp reading components.

    This board is then connected to the Nextion touch screen and the relay board. I can apply almost 50V to the input, as it go to the step down converter that supplies 5V to the Nano and screen. So during the test I started with about 10V and slowly cranked up the input voltage to check the voltmeter readings, and everything seemed fine. But when I reached about 28V, the magic smoke was released and everything went dead. For anyone that has worked with strip board, you probably already know what I did wrong. I had forgot to cut a strip! In my case, of all 23 possibilities, it was of course that one strip from the input that ended up in VIN pin on the Nano. How it even survived 28V is beyond me, but I guess I found the limit The overvoltage also took out the temp sensor and it somehow managed to fry the screen too. I couldn't care less about the $3 Nano and temp sensor, but the $45 screen was not that fun. I guess the good thing about this, beside not making that mistake again, was that the extra effort by adding sockets and plugs on all the major parts, paid off big time. Only takes minutes to swap out the components! Anyhow, I finally received a new screen last week and everything is up and running again. And luckily, the screen and microcontroller is seemingly not affected by the ignition circuit at all. My precaution with the alu box was probably smart though. I was also able to locate the dead part on the old screen, by the smell and the visible blob on a tiny chip, so I ordered a new one that I just received. I installed it and lo and behold, it worked! So now I have a spare screen too.

    To fix the EMI issue with the BMS, I wrapped the battery pack in copper tape, made sure all the tape had continuity and soldered on a ground wire that I connected to the backplate. Twisted some wires, extended the Bluetooth unit outside the tube and installed a few ferrites, aaaand, it doesn't work My last attempt was wrapping all the cables in more copper tape, but no luck. Starting to get more than average frustrated with this, but I guess I'll just have to throw money at this contraption til it eventually work. Considering changing the name to BFMP - Big F... Money Pit. For the record, as already seen in the beamshot post, I can "fix" it by simply making a small box on the outside of the tube for the battery, but this is not an option for me. I'm not an extreme perfectionist by any means, but I simply refuse to ruin the sleek look of the carbon tube by bolting on a cheap looking plastic box! I can of course also thether it, which would work perfectly fine, but that wasn't part of the original concept here. Fortunately, I'm not out of ideas, and the one I'm planning now is pretty radical, but I believe it will overall improve the light a lot. However, it will take a few week to get the parts, so sorry for more delays, but it will be finished.

    PS: I also changed out the Xenon lamp. I guess that's pretty radical too! Long story that I will write more about another day.


    A closeup of the stripboard layout, that ended up killing the board and screen. The 2 pin input socket (marked with a small red dot for positive) was accidentally placed on the same strip that went to VIN on the Nano.
    Normally not a problem - if you actually remember to cut it...


    First floor. You also get a good look at the aluminium box I made that hold everything in place.


    Second floor.


    Atleast something works.


    The fried LED driver to the screen.


    New one installed





    Took this a few weeks ago when I tested the new lamp. Pretty long exposure, but I deserve to have some fun
    Last edited by PolarLi; 12-28-2018 at 09:24 AM.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  2. #62
    Flashaholic Enderman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Excellent, I like how you can still use the light and have fun even though it's not portable or finished yet

  3. #63
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Yep, got to have some fun. What else is the point of it I guess. Especially in this project where I've had an incredible amount of problems.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  4. #64
    Flashaholic Enderman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Making a short arc light is already complex, making it run off a battery and have a full computer on board is another step up.
    I'm trying to simplify the designs of my future projects as much as possible because of how many things can go wrong during construction.

    I've had more than one project where I realized half way through the design stage that I wouldn't even be able to open it up xD

  5. #65
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Definitely wise words!

    Normally I do try to keep things pretty simple as evidenced by my previous projects. But sometimes one thing just leads to another. For example, the whole idea with the touchscreen was to keep things safe and user friendly. If I didn't have it, I would have needed several manual switches, a key switch, cutouts for volt and temp meters, and a printed instruction manual to actually use it. For instance, the xenon lamp needs post-cooling, which is included in the code, so when I switch off the light, the fans keep running for a couple of minutes without me needing to babysit it. I think the user interface I ended up with is actually more intuitive than 90% of the ordinary flashlights on the market that all use their own unique combination of short clicks, long clicks, double clicks and who knows what.

    But the "smart" BMS was definitely a mistake. And the whole Inverter setup could have been done in a much better way, plus a lot of other small things. But you live and learn. I will say this though. When I'm finished with this project and the other two that I have lined up (that are less complicated) my next light build is probably making some wax candles. I bet I can increase the output from 1 candela up to 1,2 candela.

    Stay tuned for the Xenon lamp saga.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  6. #66
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Here is the long story about the Xenon lamp, and why I replaced it.

    A while back during a test with the original lamp, I saw the arc suddenly move on the anode. I noticed this when I saw the hotspot on the wall shifted. Had never seen it before, but it was a sign that something wasn't quite right.
    In general, "Arc jumping" is a big no no when it comes to Xenon lamps because it will damage the electrodes over time. But it would be a problem regardless of light source because you also lose the focus setting. A side effect is that the owner may also lose focus

    My initial thought was that I had somehow been wrong about the lamp being designed for horizontal use, but the information I had didn't indicate this. But I contacted the manufacturer and asked for advice. And they did confirm that lamp would indeed work fine in horizontal, but they casually revealed what the actual problem was. The lamp needed something called magnetic arc stabilization (MAS) For some reason, they had not put that information in the datasheet! Needless to say, I was pretty pissed about that. I later talked with one of the engineers, but I didn't get any more info from him than a simple google search provided.

    So I had heard about MAS, but I didn't actually know much about it. The basics of it are that the arc in a Xenon lamp in the horizontal position, want's to travel up on the anode (the big electrode) because of the buoyancy of the hot Xenon gas. In the vertical position you don't have the problem, because the gas just pulls in the axial direction. Usually, MAS is only required for lamps with a long arc gap, and this lamp has an extremely short arc gap, so it's a very unusual combination, caused by other factors in the design. Normally, you fix this by installing one or two permanent magnets under the reflector, below the lamp. The magnetic field then pulls the arc back in place and everything is good. You just need to find the exact right sized magnet first, which is an another can of worms. Magic almost makes more sense than this, but this is how it's been done for ages, so it's certainly nothing new.

    The problem is that all light that actually uses MAS, is only designed for horizontal position or just slightly up and down. Typically a movie projector or a searchlight. But I was making a portable light. I wanted to use it all the way from 0-90 degrees without any limitations what so ever, and this created the biggest problem. Because if I didn't remove the magnet in the vertical position, it would now pull the arc off center in the opposite direction and do as much damage it originally did without magnet in horizontal position. Phew!

    So I did come up with an ingenious, albeit, untested plan. Instead of a permanent magnet, I would install an electromagnet under the reflector, then tune the strength of it by adjusting the current. The main trick was to hook it up to a tilt switch that turned it off when I tilted the light over 20-30 degrees or so. It would probably been the first and only light in the world with a system like that, not to mention in a homemade flashlight(!) But just when I started to experiment with this, BVH came to the resque He had found a new lamp with the same wattage that didn't need MAS. I obviously jumped on the offer as it saved me tons of experimenting in unknown territory. The new lamp even gave me a little more candela, so that was a nice bonus.
    The old lamp may be retired for now, but there is nothing wrong with it per se. It's a solid performer. And I do know of a perfect application for it so that would be fun to try out sometime in the future.

    The moral of the story is, If you think Mercury HID lights sound complicated, good luck with the Xenon build!
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  7. #67
    BVH's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Just a slight clarification.....PolarLi discovered the existence of the lamp and I just happened to find it for sale. Right place at the right time.
    WWII 60" Carbon Arc (Sold), 1.6KW NightSun, 1KW VSS-3A, .8KW TrakkaBeam, 600W M-134 Light, 500W X-500-14s, 500W Starburst, 500W A120b, 450 Watt AEG German Leopard 1 Tank Light, 300W Locators, Megaray, 150W Communicator, Maxabeam Gen3, Pichel 75W Mini-Novas

  8. #68
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    The badass meter pointer continues to rise.... Friggin' awesome.

  9. #69
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Thanks! But as always, the most important meter, is the lux meter
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  10. #70
    Flashaholic Pöbel's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    You good sir have me impressed beyond imagination. Love your project!

  11. #71
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Thanks man!
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  12. #72

  13. #73
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Long story short, but I tried a new BMS instead of going for my "radical" plan. That was a mistake. The new BMS wasn't even able to power up the inverter in standby... so a almost a whole month wasted and back to what I should have done from the start, throwing out the inverter and going for a high voltage DC system. And when I had sorted out all the parts I needed: CNY. The last package was shipped 3 days ago.

    Edit. Forgot to add, all this downtime makes me do crazy things. I just finished this photo LED light tonight. CXB3590, 93 CRI, 5600K, making about 9400 lm. 80mm "passive" heatsink with fan cooling, 3D printed housing (just a prototype) homemade anodized front ring in aluminium with AR coated glass lens. Anodized LED holder, Brass insert with 3/8 threads for light stand. Light head is semi waterproof. Takes an Anton Bauer gold mount battery or an plug in DC adapter.
    I really need those Xenon/battery parts now before I end up too far on the dark side

    Last edited by PolarLi; 02-18-2019 at 09:46 PM.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  14. #74
    Flashaholic Enderman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    BMSes are usually very limited in their output capabilities.
    The best method is to wire your electronics directly to the battery, bypassing the BMS.
    Then the BMS is only used for charging, where balancing the cells is actually necessary.

    This is how it is always done in RC, because the motors draw hundreds of amps, sometimes thousands, and there is no BMS that can handle that so everything goes straight to the battery.
    Then a balance charger is used for recharging the lithium cells.
    As long as all the cells are identical and of similar age (which they pretty much always are, since they are in packs) there is no need to balance them during discharge, only recharge.

  15. #75
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    That is more or less what I'm going to do, except I will use a regular charger and built in balance board(s). Plug in balance is still an option. One of the things that kept me from doing all this from the start, was that I need a 36S batterypack, 151 volt. The selection of chargers and balancers for that is very very limited. So I eventually figured out that I will split the pack. Then, of course I had to find out how to split and reconnect a pack you don't have easy access to, and also make it fail safe so you accidentally don't forget to split it. So I think I figured it out by using a 4 pin charging port, and a blind plug that acts as a "key" that connects the packs together when plugged in. To charge it, you obviously need to unplug it, and the packs are split. Simple!
    Last edited by PolarLi; 02-18-2019 at 09:42 PM.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  16. #76
    Flashaholic Enderman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    There are some auto-balancers that can be connected together to balance as many cells as you want.
    Then you just connect the + and - to the battery pack using a non-balancing charger and the balancing circuitry takes care of the rest.
    I don't know how much parasitic drain these passive balancers use though, since they need to be connected to the cells 24/7.

  17. #77
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    I know, there are a few on the market, but most are designed for EV's, so they are big, heavy and expensive and/or have very limited documentation and poor user interface. What i'm making will basically be the same, except the two 18S balance boards have no connection between them, so the downside is of course that the two halfs technically can come out of balance in relation to eachother. However, with the easy access thru the charging port, I can hook up a big resistor an pull down the voltage if one pack get's to high. The main thing is that I don't have to worry about the individual cells.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  18. #78
    Flashaholic* Alex1234's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Just curious what is the general cost of a buold like this? Your work is so fun to watch. It seams like short arc will never die like Hid did when led surpassed them however for pure throw Led has a long way to go still to beat short arc. My best thrower atm is the blf gt with CFT 90 led mod from Vinh. 2 million CD 5,500 lumens. I remember when the raidfire spear came out and everyone was stunned at an led flashlight hitting 20k CD. Then the olight Sr 90 with the 100k CD milestone and then kept sky rocketed then after.
    Flashlights: X65vn,Tn42vn, Boss1vn, X6vn SSCU, X5 kronos, U21vn, m43vn, FD41vn, SDminivn, H20vn, E01vn, Catapult v5, Bkfa09s, XT15, S10R Baton III, 55w hid spotlight 1,100,000cd



  19. #79
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Most things will eventually "die" from a performance standpoint, assuming there is a market that wants more of whatever it's best in. But nothing will ever beat some of the allure of short arc, being the closest you get to your own personal sun. It's bright, hot, high pressure, exotic elements, temperamental, and can kill you
    Part cost is around $2500, but I have paid a bit more with VAT and shipping on some of this. I have also changed out a few parts that adds on top, like the inverter and lamp, but those still have value.
    Last edited by PolarLi; 02-21-2019 at 09:26 AM.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  20. #80
    Flashaholic* XeRay's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex1234 View Post
    It seams like short arc will never die like Hid did when led surpassed them however for pure throw Led has a long way to go still to beat short arc.
    I beg to differ on your over generalization of the performance of high Powered well focused HiD at say 70 to 85 watts getting more than 115 lumens per watt, still better than high Powered LED efficacy. That's 8000 to 10,000 well focused lumens and more practical for real life use than short arc which can be focused even more tightly.

  21. #81
    Flashaholic Enderman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Quote Originally Posted by XeRay View Post
    I beg to differ on your over generalization of the performance of high Powered well focused HiD at say 70 to 85 watts getting more than 115 lumens per watt, still better than high Powered LED efficacy. That's 8000 to 10,000 well focused lumens and more practical for real life use than short arc which can be focused even more tightly.
    Well, LEDs can do more than 115lm/W, and they can do more than 10,000 lumens, and short arc and LEP can do more throw.
    HID is just a middle ground in between all of them, it doesn't win at any one thing.

  22. #82
    Flashaholic* XeRay's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Enderman View Post
    Well, LEDs can do more than 115lm/W, and they can do more than 10,000 lumens, and short arc and LEP can do more throw.
    HID is just a middle ground in between all of them, it doesn't win at any one thing.
    Well, heat management is much less of an issue for HID than for high Powered LED.

  23. #83
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Maybe we can all agree that all of them are fun to play with and make life interesting.
    WWII 60" Carbon Arc (Sold), 1.6KW NightSun, 1KW VSS-3A, .8KW TrakkaBeam, 600W M-134 Light, 500W X-500-14s, 500W Starburst, 500W A120b, 450 Watt AEG German Leopard 1 Tank Light, 300W Locators, Megaray, 150W Communicator, Maxabeam Gen3, Pichel 75W Mini-Novas

  24. #84
    Flashaholic* XeRay's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Quote Originally Posted by BVH View Post
    Maybe we can all agree that all of them are fun to play with and make life interesting.
    Kudos BVH, for cutting through all the opinion, posturing and dogmatism, thank you for your fair objectivity. A "scholar and a gentleman" !!

  25. #85
    Flashaholic* djans1397's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Fantastically awesome pic!!


    Took this a few weeks ago when I tested the new lamp. Pretty long exposure, but I deserve to have some fun [/QUOTE]
    For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8 NIV)

  26. #86
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Thanks!
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  27. #87

  28. #88
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    I hope I will have it up and running during a week or so. So I needed to redo the backplate layout with holes for a DC meter and a DC breaker. I also changed the fan layout because the light will run cooler now. While I did that, I also knew I had a big order for some other laser cut alu parts comming up, so I just paused this project, and waited til the other parts were ready to save on shipping. Today I actually received it from the anodizing shop:
    I've got lux in different area codes.

  29. #89
    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Looks nice and neat!

  30. #90
    Flashaholic PolarLi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1?? Mcd Xenon Flashlight Project - BFF

    Thanks. Well, it's alright. I liked the old one better with just one screen and the bigger vents. But it should be functional, that is the main thing now.

    Battery pack is more or less finished. Interesting form factor Have tested the charger, AUX psu and the breaker on the DC, and it worked fine. Still a bit more to do before a proper test with the Xenon, as I have to redo pretty much everything inside the tube. But it's finally plugging along now which I'm pleased to see.



    Made this fiberglass form for the batteries to sit on.


    A few wires, but when you get the first one right, the rest follow naturally.


    The black little piece will be the "key" for the light that connect the two halfs of the pack together.
    I've got lux in different area codes.

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