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Thread: Micro-Pill Solitaire

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* modamag's Avatar
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    Default Micro-Pill Solitaire

    Alright, I'm finally got around to knock this off my to-do list.
    I also tried to documents a bit for those who are pursueing the same thing.
    I followed lambda's instruction with some changes.
    Sorry for the poor pictures, still practicing [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Level of difficulty 4/5
    Total time required 2 hours.

    === Parts List ===
    Mag Solitaire
    Lambda's Micro-Pill
    1/4" Acrylic rod
    Dremel & cutoff, grinding, carving and sanding bit.
    Caliper
    7/32" (5.56mm) drill bit

    1. Using my Dremel at the lowest speed setting I used the carving bit to open the hole slightly. Then "hand" drill the reflector with the 7/32" bit to get it to the Luxeon LED size. Then I just washed the head with pressure water to get all the filling out and left it in the sun to dry. <font color="green">15 minutes</font>

    2. Again with the Dremel carving bit, I started boring the Solitaire head 0.1mm at a time by the time I finished it was 9.8mm - 9.9mm. Yes, the wall is really, really thin, but it's enough, thank goodness. The widest part on my Micro-Pill was 9.6mm due to the opposing resistor. Afterward I sand it just a bit to smooth things out. <font color="green">45 minutes</font>

    3. As for the Micro-Pill I used my Dremel with grinding bit and started triming away. When I finished there was less than 0.4mm of trace left. I was quite worried of the negative contact. <font color="green">15 minutes</font>

    4. For the spacer I needed 6.5mm total. I cutted a 6mm section and sanded so it would be pretty flat. I then drilled a hole directly in the middle for my conductor. The first spacer I made I used some connector pins with solder top. It was a piece of junk and I just threw it out. The second time around I used couple high power mini magnets I got from shiftd and they worked like a charm. <font color="green">30 minutes due to 1st time err</font>

    If I was to do it again it would probably be less than an hour. No need to keep checking with the caliper since I now know what it should look like [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]













  2. #2
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    I did mine Thursday night. I was also concerned about the small amount of trace left after sanding the pill down to size. My pill had a couple of spots where the components and some epoxy stuck out so I had to file the side of the Solitaire pretty thin at a couple of spots for the pill to fit. It takes about 1/8 turn of the head to turn the light on or off. If you open it up more then a lead or solder blob that is showing through the epoxy touches the side of the body and it comes on again. I was so concerned I was going to ruin the pill or the Solitaire itself but everything worked out. It took me about 2 hours also. I need to spend a little more time filing and make a new spacer so I'll feel a little better about it.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* knifebright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    i'm finishing up a second right now.. With my 2xaaa mod i made i was able to get away without a spacer by useing a large solder blob and an extended spring. Also i didn't take as much material off the solitare (as i destroyed a few as well) and i'm using the spacer under the pill as opposed to under the battery. It seems to be a sturdier that way.
    jimmy

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    very cool.. i recommend using the emery wheel vs grinding disk for shaping the likes of pcb material.. it's smoother and you can run it faster so you can use less pressure and it'll work out smoother and rounder... for the cutting out the inside i use the carbide bit that looks like an 'end mill' bit.. kinda like a flat-ended drill bit.. spin it pretty fast and use light pressure.. it'll heat up fast cutting aluminum so be careful not to burn you fingers.. most of the nano heads i'm building i need to mill out the inside to get the emitter far enough out into the reflector..it's a very similar operation.

    -awr

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    If you use a Dremel to open up the end I think you only have to go 3/16" deep or so- just enough to clear the depth of the pill that fits into the body. The body already holds a AAA battery, so the small space between the battery and the pill can stay at its original diameter, which is 5/16" or less. Just make an insulated spacer to fit in this reduced diameter and you're set to go. According to my measurements the spacer needs to be about 0.250" long. For people with a Dremel and the right bit this is probably easier than drilling the entire body. The problem with drilling is that you don't have a good way to hold the body while drilling, without crushing or marring it.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    Nice and well documented mod! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/clap.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/happy14.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    My modded solitaire is also a little tricky to turn off due to an exposed lead that will sometimes touch the inside of the body. This has pretty much prevented me carrying it everywhere with me which is too bad since I really like the light this little mod puts out. I though about covering it with more epoxy but the pill is a pretty tight fit so I suspect it would just wear off over time. Also a little bit of the trace on the underside of the top board is showing signs of wear from (frequent) use. The wall of the body is pretty thin from all the grinding and even though I smoothed things out as much as possible with sandpaper, it can really cut into the trace if you tighten it down too much when turning it on.


    [ QUOTE ]
    bjn70 said:
    I did mine Thursday night. I was also concerned about the small amount of trace left after sanding the pill down to size. My pill had a couple of spots where the components and some epoxy stuck out so I had to file the side of the Solitaire pretty thin at a couple of spots for the pill to fit. It takes about 1/8 turn of the head to turn the light on or off. If you open it up more then a lead or solder blob that is showing through the epoxy touches the side of the body and it comes on again. I was so concerned I was going to ruin the pill or the Solitaire itself but everything worked out. It took me about 2 hours also. I need to spend a little more time filing and make a new spacer so I'll feel a little better about it.

    [/ QUOTE ]

  8. #8

    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    PhotonAddict,
    Thank you for your advise regarding the wear of the negative connection of the pill. I did not realize this until now, I have sanded and polished the body contact real smooth.
    BTW, I had the problem of exposed leads touching the body too, I just covered it with epoxy and it is working fine at present.

    [ QUOTE ]
    PhotonAddict said:
    Also a little bit of the trace on the underside of the top board is showing signs of wear from (frequent) use. The wall of the body is pretty thin from all the grinding and even though I smoothed things out as much as possible with sandpaper, it can really cut into the trace if you tighten it down too much when turning it on.

    [/ QUOTE ]

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    I thought about polishing the end of the tube to help with wear. Right now I just take care not to do a lot of on/off. I also thought about adding a tiny solder blob that would make contact and provide something to wear.

    I have that exposed contact but it isn't a problem in normal use. If I turn the light on, then turn the end about 1/16 turn it turns off. If I keep turning the end after about another 1/2 turn it allows this contact to touch and the light comes on again. But if I operate in that 1/16 turn range it is not a problem.

    Another thing I thought about is to epoxy a small strip of Aluminum to the inside of the Solitair body and file a corresponding slot in the bottom circuit board of the pill. This would hold the pill in position and not allow it to rotate when turning on/off. This way I could file bigger relief notches where the exposed contact is but still allow other parts of the end of the tube to make contact. I have not done this yet because it hasn't been necessary with my light and because it would be difficult to get it just right. If the pill is not turning it might not wear the negative contact as fast.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    Thanks for your comments/suggestions guys.

    bjn70 - for the most part turning the head within a limited range works for me as well but not always. Also, if I hold the head and wiggle it a little the light will flicker on &amp; off so I'm a little reluctant to carry it around in my pocket for extended periods. I think part of my problem is I made the larger bore too deep so that probably allows the pill to shift around a bit more when the head is loosened to far. I wish i had read your earlier post before I modded the case, it never occurred to me to only make the smaller bore just deep enough to accomodate the depth of the pill until after I was done [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    I also thought about trying to prevent the pill from rotating when being turned on/off. I was contemplating either a notch like you described, or grinding a small flat area on the lower circuit board and gluing a matching surface on the inside of the body. I didn't want to modify the pill any further though (for now at least) for fear of messing it up - I think I'm getting attached to the little fella [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]. I really like light from this mod - even on rechargeables. I also found that initially my reflector was a pretty tight fit on the emitter so i opened up the hole even further so that the friction won't cause the pill to rotate against the edge as much.

    Takifugu - glad to hear adding epoxy worked for you. I guess I should actually try it before I completely dismiss it as a solution [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]. I'll try that tomorrow, thanks. I guess any non-conductive epoxy will do?

    btw: what are you guys using for a spacer? At the moment I just have a piece of aluminum rod with tape around it for insulation and to bring it up to the size of the bore.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    PhotoAddict,
    I used 5 min 2-part non-conductive epoxy. Must resist trying it out untii it is competely cured [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
    As for spacer, I hacksawed a cheap aluminum carabina to size and insulated it with tape.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Micro-Pill Solitaire

    For a spacer I used a steel rod with tape. I was anxious to test this thing so I went for quick and dirty, thinking I would make a more elegant one later on.

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