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Thread: Variable output control in a small light?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Variable output control in a small light?

    I know that there is a ton of information out there. I have tried to read what I could to do my do dillagence, but I have not been able to find what information I was looking for.

    I am really enjoying all the cool discussion of these high lumen lights and the ability of some of the MODDers out there to put some awsome stuff in such small packages!

    I was not able to find or understand why it was not possible to get more lights with the capability to have variable brightness? Or to find out which lights I can get variable brightness? I thought this would make a much more versital light for me. Something I can dial down the brightness as needed but I can get 100% brightness when I need it in a small package.

    Is the only way to get this kind of control in a custom light with some kind of PIC controller and with some kind of booster/buck circut?

    I am expecting that the control of the light capability is something like the LionHeart and soon LionCub. But are these the only lights out there with this kind of control? I guess I am really looking for a 25%, 50% and 100% or so, but I don't really see that. I usually see small and 100% or large and 2 stage switches that click on low -- click off -- click on high -- click off -- repeat... Any one help here?

    I know there is a PIC open source project going on, but is this going to be the only source for variable control the way I am looking for?
    The open source project has the use of a magnet as a way to get the light into programming mode instead of adding access to an extra switch. This is really cool I think.

  2. #2
    Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Need to know just what you mean by "small".

    The Nuwai ALX-352L has 3 light levels plus a blink mode. The ALX-352L is a 5w light and I seem to remember that the 1w and 3w versions also have multiple light levels.

    The Streamlight Twin Task series have multiple light levels.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Photon Freedom Micro.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    I have a Q3 that has only one light level. I know there is a mod for the switch that can give 2, and I am considering it.

    Small is the Ivonva x0.

    Not MAG 3D sized or larger.

    A MAG 2D sized light might be ok, but I really would like lights that can be small and versitile in the 2x 123 size or smaller.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Do a search for the "nFlex" switch. It has very intuitive UI that has been incorporated into some mag mods- though these aren't especially small nor cheap. I'm with you waiting for a practically priced production light that takes an intuitive approach to variable output. As someone mentioned above, the Photon Freedom Micro is really the first inexpensive (relatively, though not for a coin cell) light to do this well, but who really needs variable control in a 5mm led powered by coin cells? The breakthrough product might just be from the same company though; the "Proton" by LRI promises over an hour at 60 lumens off a AA battery (via a new, more efficient Nichia LED) with fully adjustable brightness including a red LED at the low end for night vision preservation. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait for the summer (or longer) to see if it lives up to the hype.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Actually Weylan, the capability for immediate 25% 50% 75% and 100% steps that you desire has already been adressed in the LionHeart which is smaller than most 2x123 lights to begin with. Just set the LH to User Interface 2 where you can, at the single press of a single button (unlike the Chinese cycling versions where you may need to press their buttons multiple times to reach the brightness level you might want) go from off to 20-40-60-80-100 percent brightness and release the button to set it there, and at any time while using the light on a lower level, get immediate fully 100% LATCHED brightness at the press of the same button. Release it and it stays at 100% until you press it again, whereupon it returns to the former level you were at. Could not be simpler.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    And yes indeedy Solstice, I do have four Protons on preorder myself. If is does as they say for $70, I can finally quit makin' lights and go back to being a simple Flashohlic just like when I started!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Great! A LionHeart refference again! :-p By the man who makes LionCubs too! Yea! The LionHeart sure sounds like it will do what I want most of the time. Oh, wait, $250, hummmm. Oh, worse. None available? Oh, well that solves that problem... Used, maybe... ARGH!!!!

    Oh, look salvation, the LionCubs are coming out soon! ARGH waiting again... Well, at least I am on the list for a LionCub that may help provide a solution. (Charlie, please keep up the good work. I feel frustrated that I can't find what I want, not at you. I am anxious and awaiting the LionCub happily! If not happy waiting. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    I will look into the Protons light as we know more about that one too since it is not released yet. I am hoping that I can find a compromise in lights and runtime. Is there a link for more information on the Protons? Who makes it etc?


    I have a MAG3D as I would say is the major benchmark. No snickering! :-p I have now a Q3 and love that. I have a CMG Bonfire Blaze and that works too. But consolidation and small size would be great!

    Can I not find a nightlight, reading light, and flashlight in a small package? The 2 year old son wants it. Full 100% light on the Q3 goes though batteries pretty fast with a 2 year old walking around the house durring the DAY and not wanting me to turn it off.

    Weylan: "Kai, let daddy turn off the light..." Reaching for light.
    Kai: "No DADDY!!! MINE!!!" Kai pulling light out of reach and stamping foot.


    [ QUOTE ]
    MR Bulk said:
    Actually Weylan, the capability for immediate 25% 50% 75% and 100% steps that you desire has already been adressed in the LionHeart which is smaller than most 2x123 lights to begin with. Just set the LH to User Interface 2 where you can, at the single press of a single button (unlike the Chinese cycling versions where you may need to press their buttons multiple times to reach the brightness level you might want) go from off to 20-40-60-80-100 percent brightness and release the button to set it there, and at any time while using the light on a lower level, get immediate fully 100% LATCHED brightness at the press of the same button. Release it and it stays at 100% until you press it again, whereupon it returns to the former level you were at. Could not be simpler.

    [/ QUOTE ]

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Mr Bulk- not to hijack, but firstly I'd like to say BEEUtiful job on the Lionheart- I played with one at PF3, but alas do not have the financial resourses to procure one of my own. But my question: How do you have 4 Proton's on preorder? Do you get some sort of "special famous modder guy" priveleges with LRI? If so, ya wanna sell me one when you get it early [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/naughty.gif[/img]?
    Weylan- as mentioned, the Proton is by LRI, aka Laughing Rabbit Inc., who first became famous (and rich) by inventing their Photon Microlight, one of the first (and many consider best) keychain sized coin cell lights. Their website is www.photonlight.com, but I doubt you'll find much info about the Proton there- better luck searching CPF.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    This thread's been here a week and no one's mentioned the HDS lights? That's just weird. There's a thread here and there's http://www.hdssystems.com itself. Comments on the lights seem generally favorable, but the lights seem to be coming out at a mystifyingly slow trickle.

    There seem to be 3 kinds of brightness regulation out there. The first is typically used with twisty tailcaps, so that between off and on is a position where there is conduction through a resistor. This only gives you two settings; also, in low mode, the resistor burns a fair fraction of the power, but since the power is much less anyway it's bearable. There may be some reliability issues with these; there certainly were with the one I made for myself!

    The second type, per the Lionheart and Lion Cub, uses pulse-width modulation. The third, per the Arc and HDS lights, controls the voltage or current. I don't know which of the 2nd and 3rd schemes is better. Voltage- or current-regulating circuits are not 100% efficient, which PWM nearly is. On the other hand, LEDs are less efficient at full power, which favors regulation over PWM. On the other other hand, it may be that the LED time-averages its input power over sufficiently short time scales, in which case PWM might be fine after all. I'm not sure. As the Arc and HDS and Mr Bulk lights prove, both methods are more than acceptable.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Jarhead/Newbie did some fairly exhaustive tests a while back and determined that PWM dimming is less efficient than using a resistor.


    Current control using a switching power supply will be more efficient than using a resistor.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* 14C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    IF someone could make a proper spring out of a resistive material....like nichrome (not necessarily)...although I have doubts nichrome has the ductile strength and can be repetitively compressed...just a material for thought...and the spring was made such that it compressed consistently...it might have to be flat or eliptical if it was a spiral spring. Other considerations arise if it were to be a flat or leaf type but they could be overcome with the result possibly of some extra length to the body. As you screwed down the tailcap with such a spring the resistance would become progressively less although never reaching zero. A direct drive LED could be used or a converter. A proper design might be able to do this.

    Unfortunatley, while the idea is not beyond me, the tools and finances are.

    I think if such a tailcap were properly designed it could be retrofitted to quite a few lights.

    Might take some machining skills to prototype and follow through.

    Just tossing rocks into the pond..............

  13. #13

    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Solstice, I went to the Photon booth during the SHOT Show and simply asked to be put on the preorder list. They had me provide my info on a form w/name, address, phone, etc., and they will contact me when the lights are available, latest forecast is July now. No special privileges or anyhing, I believe anyone can do it - although going through their website you might have to call or e-mail them as I do not believe the Proton is yet shown there.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* voodoogreg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Weylan said:
    Great! A LionHeart refference again! :-p By the man who makes LionCubs too! Yea! The LionHeart sure sounds like it will do what I want most of the time. Oh, wait, $250, hummmm. Oh, worse. None available? Oh, well that solves that problem... Used, maybe... ARGH!!!!

    Oh, look salvation, the LionCubs are coming out soon! ARGH waiting again... Well, at least I am on the list for a LionCub that may help provide a solution. (Charlie, please keep up the good work. I feel frustrated that I can't find what I want, not at you. I am anxious and awaiting the LionCub happily! If not happy waiting. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crackup.gif[/img]

    Sorry, nothing against the bulk, but that was FUNNY!!!!!

    I think as was said, the freedom UI is killer a gradual step up, start low go high or vis versa. great UI.
    It could even have a preset patch that once you get say
    4-8 you like, double click and store. beat of both world's. VDG

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?

    Thanks for the info Mr. Bulk. I'm going to try to get on that list today. Hmm... July is far off. I'm gonna have to get one of those Freedom to the Max's at the end of this month to tide me over.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Variable output control in a small light?


    Any HDS Ultimate 60 owners have the arc 4+ as well? How would you compare them? I'm debating on buying an HDS GT60, I have an Arc 4+ and a Longbow Micra. Are the waterproof capabilities of the HDS 60 the same or better than the Arc 4+? I'm a Scuba Diver and so far I've taken my Micra on every dive. I've taken the Micra to 160ft several times and still works great no leakage, but with the Arc 4+ (knowing its not a dive light) I've taken it down to 50ft during all of my tropical night dives and no leakage, Still works great. I wanna know if the Ultimate 60GT is better/just as good.

    Also, I called HDS and they said that they were comming out with new lights within the next 6 months, but they wouldnt tell me anything about them, some kind of "top secret" stuff... Does anyone have any info on the new lights comming out? This is the only thing holding me back from buying the GT60 now. I was gonna buy the 60GT, but after hearing about the new lights I decided to wait. Also, is the GT worth getting? should I just get the 60?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I hope you guys can help.

    Thanks
    Ken

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