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Thread: HDS Design... My observations

  1. #1

    Default HDS Design... My observations

    Now, we all know HDS has a point of pride in being, what has been called "bomb proof" (I have yet to blow one up to see if it is true, but that is on my list). I certainly see several different lights out there claiming "Worlds toughest flashlight" blah blah blah, a title HDS doesn't, and won't claim, simply because how the heck do you quantify and test this? Just more marketing BS to sell lights with even less backing those those claims than typical lumen output or run time claims.

    I used to figure... well, being potted makes it tough, but Henry has gone way beyond just potting. To me, any light that isn't so much as potted, is simply a toy to use around the house (of which I have far too many). Henry specifically engineers the electronics to withstand stupid amounts of G-forces. Not long ago, we were looking at different switches (just the tiny component part) and Henry was comparing weights of the switches. These things are tiny... they get mounted on a circuit board... soldered on then epoxied as well. I'm pretty much shaking my head thinking... huh? Henry explains it has to do with shear strength and the forces necessary to make the switch "fail" and goes on to compare about 50 different switches, narrowing it down to about 20, then dissecting these little switches under a microscope, then designing ways to shield them from electromagnetic interference... (I should think one would have bigger problems in an EMP than if one's flashlight is still working).

    It just makes me wonder if any other company that claims "worlds toughest/strongest/most reliable flashlight" goes through 1/100th this much engineering. In 10 years, the end user of HDS lights has seen very little change in these lights simply because all the changes are internal where they can't be seen... and Henry has done a horrible job of explaining this to the end user... Great job engineering, horrible communicating these changes and the benefits of these changes... that no one sees... unless it is a software upgrade... and for every software upgrade, there were probably 2-3 hardware upgrades unknown to the end user... and that is continuing.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogokansatsukan View Post
    Henry has done a horrible job of explaining this to the end user
    Henry is really good at explaining that sort of thing. I just wish he'd write more often than every 3 years.
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    Flashaholic* RCS1300's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I am surprised that the HDS light is not the first choice of State and Local police around the Country and around the World.
    Last edited by RCS1300; 08-22-2019 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Brevity

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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    This attention to detail and how the items work together as a light is precisely what attracted me to HDS systems as a brand.

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    Flashaholic* Slumber Pass's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Hey Hogo, I watch a guy on YouTube named Derek Bristol. He makes really good caving videos and does gear reviews including some high end caving lights. Although not high end, in a Zebralight review he mentioned that the magnetic field generated by the battery can interfere with compass or DistoX readings when doing surveys. I'm wondering if that was Henry's purpose for protecting the light from electromagnetic interference?

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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Hogo, can you put together an appendix of unadvertised changes to the HDS? Or at the very least, can you mention a few more here?We'd love to obsess over these things.

    Great thread, by the way. Thanks.
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Thanks for sharing, Hogo. Stuff like this is why a AA HDS is in my go-everywhere bag...
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  8. #8

    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I would have to ask Henry... and this would take days!
    I will certainly post all the new ones... that I know about. He doesn’t always tell me either! I see him on solid works and ask what he’s doing and it’s always some tweak here or change there... often for something I have very little understanding of. I will say there are some neat things coming... a Henry “two weeks” away, but they are coming.
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I imagine Henry's work would become very boring if he allowed the thing to plateau and never improve. It's those tweaks that make it fascinating.
    He probably doesn't think anyone but him would be that interested.
    P
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Hogo, thank you for sharing Henry's ethos about his lights. I was using mine on the ride back from the bottlo (liquor store) and now find I have a deeper appreciation for the " toughest work of art" I own.

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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I wonder if there is a way to further simplify or reduce the amount of electronic parts inside. Also is there anything inside that can fail / disintegrate after 10 or 20 years (even when not used)? Capacitors used to fail after 10-15 years, but I am not sure if there are any inside HDS (probably no) and if that's still an issue. A lot of the plastic parts tend to get more brittle by time. Probably same for rubber gaskets .. On the other hand, I don't need a flashlight to last a lifetime, but knowing it will turn on after 10 or 20 years is nice...
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_sk View Post
    I don't need a flashlight to last a lifetime, but knowing it will turn on after 10 or 20 years is nice...
    My oldest HDS was made in 2004 and still works quite literally like new. I've never even replaced the o-rings or switch boot, although its a simple job when the time finally comes. I'm sure the parts inside have a lifespan specification provided by their manufacturer, and I'm sure its not "forever", but I'd be willing to bet this one still has tons of life left.


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    Flashaholic* Daniel_sk's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Thanks, that's quite impressive. I am contemplating about buying a HDS (I had a Ra Rotary with that double white/red LED many years ago, but sold it). What about the rotary component? Are there metal plates touching/scraping metal while being operated? But I guess I would have to turn it a milion times to destroy the contacts.... I remember the SF U2 had a magnetic rotary switch with no moving parts.
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    Flashaholic* emarkd's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Magnetic systems (Hall effect sensors) like you mentioned are used by lots of flashlights but the HDS Rotary has mechanical contacts. They're gold-plated "fingers" atop gold contacts. Gold is perfect for this application because it's basically inert, it will not oxidize or corrode, and it's highly resistant to abrasion or frictional wear. I don't know what the lifespan of those gold fingers is, but I do know the Rotary had been around a long time now and I've never heard of one just wearing out.

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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Dan, there's pictures of the rotary mechanism here....
    https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...=1#post5115167

    There's a few banks in the tail(can't rmember how many) of gold plated combs which brush over gold plated plates to send the signals to the driver in the head.
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    Flashaholic* Daniel_sk's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Thanks guys! The link with pictures of the inside is very helpful.
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    You should try one, pick it up on the WTS Forum, if you don't like it you can probably sell it again for the same price and just lose the shipping cost.
    There's a guy on here called indigon, his signature is...
    "Do yourself a favor, pick up an HDS Rotary and EDC it for a week.. -You can thank me later."
    I cannot say more. I bought my first HDS from him.
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    Default HDS Design... My observations

    Daniel_sk
    I ve had both clickies and rotaries and still have a few that I don’t see going anywhere.
    Only 1 of those is from 2014 and another one’s tail from around the same time period. Never had a failure on a rotary or a Clicky but clickies aren’t for me.
    Henry’s design is amazing and very adaptable for different situations. many think 200, 250, or even 325 lumens isn’t much but with HDS it’s plenty of you have the right emitter, reflector, and lens. I ve taken several lights, bought several parts used and new, switched and tweaked and figure I have some of the best configurations there is that give the best of what a HDS has to offer.
    In addition you can buy a Clicky as in the high noon case (they don’t do any more high noons), get you a Rotary tail... and have the head programmed to a rotary or tactical rotary.
    You can take a rotary and have it reprogrammed to a Clicky... but you d have to get a Clicky tail. Costly but worth it in the long run. Basically options are many and that’s something no other manufacturer will offer as far as I m aware.

    Another note: the older rotary tails I prefer because they are very smooth and quiet. The switch takes about 2.5 lbs weight or what I call “trigger weight” to activate the light. The newer tails are very robust and improved design but I ve not seen one as smooth as the older ones and the trigger pull weight to activate runs up as far as 7.5 lbs. depending on your use you may want 2.5 or you may want 7-7.5 lbs the latter being much more stiff. If however the weight was at about 5 lbs that would be the best in my opinion.

    But if you can only buy one then go for the rotary for sure unless it’s a case of getting a discontinued emitter and Clicky is the only option.
    My recommendation is the 325 NLT xpg-3. Great throw, nice useful tint and though it’s not hi cri it’s still an excellent all around light and there are still ways to improve what you see.
    Last edited by usdiver; 08-22-2019 at 01:18 PM.
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    Flashaholic* Daniel_sk's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Thank you :-). I don't want to take this thread too much off-topic, but I think I would only settle on one HDS for now, I am kind of a minimalist. So I guess rotary would be a better choice. On the other hand I prefer simple solutions and clicky sounds more simple... Tough decision. I had the SF U2 which had variable 7 (?) levels and I felt like I don't need that many options, I need low/medium and then maximum. But that's probably okay as long as I can get the rotary behave this way and hide the rest of options. I found a Rotary XP-L 325 in EU for a quite good price (new). I would prefer the XP-G3 but this is sold out in EU and it's quite expensive to get from US... I think I don't prefer a warm-white option, more like neutral or I can "tolerate" a slightly cooler temperature as long as it's not blueish....
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Henry's emitters are as close to clean white as you can get. It's only when you cross beams that you'll see the difference.
    The straight 325 XP-L is an excellent choice.
    P
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  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Brasso's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I'm a Clicky guy. Don't care for Rotary. I find it easier to hit a preset level. Also, I quit buying lights that weren't high CRI about 10 years ago.
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  22. #22
    Flashaholic* emarkd's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    ..and I'm a Rotary guy because I don't care in the least to know the exact "mode" I'm in. Click the switch - rotate 'til bright enough - get crap done. Can't get much simpler.

    To bring this back closer to the topic, I'm not sure if I would've ever bought an HDS if Henry hadn't developed the Rotary UI. It's that design that sold me, and continues selling me. It's the best UI on a flashlight out there, bar none.

    PS: I'm glad the Clicky exists for you Clicky guys though. Choice is a good thing; use what you like.

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  23. #23

    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    The pride HDS take in the design and build of their lights is the cherry-on-top intangible which gives them the extreme value they have. I had a Basic 42 returned to me beat all to snot, it still works. The rotary, honestly, is on another level.

    Handmade leather goods and PNW boots such as Nick's and White's come to mind to compare mindsets.

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    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I see what you did, Hogo. I'm reading this thread all misty-eyed about HDS pride and now I'm looking at the custom build page wondering which emitter would best compliment my current collection.

    I may carry a brighter light with me when I intentionally go into the darkness, but an HDS (or two) will always be on my person. My wife teases me, rightfully perhaps, because I won't go from the bedroom to the living room without at least one HDS.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    I just still get surprised sometimes by Henry... the things I would never have thought about, he obsesses over (this is a good thing). He was actually dissecting the tiny electronic switches... a bunch of them. He has the specs and drawings for them, but still wants to see for himself and evaluate it. It is definitely one of the reasons things move a bit slowly at HDS.

    Even when I suggest a "new" emitter, it ends up several hours pouring over the manufacturers website, looking for the exact bin code, then searching for someone who has that exact bin code (if the emitter looks promising), and then more often than not, the bin code we want, doesn't actually exist (sure, it's on the manufacturers website, but that doesn't mean that bin code is actually made... frustrating as hell).
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  26. #26

    Default Re: HDS Design... My observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_sk View Post
    I wonder if there is a way to further simplify or reduce the amount of electronic parts inside. Also is there anything inside that can fail / disintegrate after 10 or 20 years (even when not used)? Capacitors used to fail after 10-15 years, but I am not sure if there are any inside HDS (probably no) and if that's still an issue. A lot of the plastic parts tend to get more brittle by time. Probably same for rubber gaskets .. On the other hand, I don't need a flashlight to last a lifetime, but knowing it will turn on after 10 or 20 years is nice...
    Are you planning on putting it in a time capsule? Throw in a combat commander or an uzi while you’re at it. They’ll still be working when you dig it up. My ra clicky sat for almost 10 years. When i used it again I didn’t even change the orings
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