Potted flashlight

22 posts / 0 new
Last post
bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37
Potted flashlight

All this talk about potted flashlight like Fenix E01 made me wonder so I took a picture of one of my other AAA flashlights (Inova XS).

I hope the picture is clear enough to see, that black substance is that epoxy?

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 2411
Location: The Land of Enchantment

your first post, welcome to the fray

it does look like some form of “potting” (conformal coating and encapsulation are both “potting”)

there are a number of different materials used, but yes, you could generically call them “epoxy potted”, although technically there are differences

a difference between fully potted (encapsulated), and conformal coating, is that fully potted is not repairable, conformal coating is easier to remove if a repair is needed, but both serve to bond and protect.

HDS and Zebra seem to me to use conformal coatings, though they call their lights potted, and they do withstand gun recoil
Malkoff actually does full epoxy encapsulation, it also withstands gun recoil
I think the Fenix E01 is epoxy encapsulated, which is why they cannot be LED modified.. IF I understand correctly

now, tell us a bit what your question means to your situation? Are you happy with your Inova, are you trying to chage the LED? Have you dropped the light and did it keep working? (some unpotted lights also work after dropping) Smile

neo71665
neo71665's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 25 min ago
Joined: 02/21/2016 - 10:53
Posts: 198
Location: Arkansas

If it’s super soft then maybe silicone. If its like a really hard rubber then polyurethane. Finally if it rock hard maybe a resin.

There are others but those 3 are the most common that I can think of.

bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37

Oh wow, didn’t know there are several kind form of potting.

Lately I became interested in flashlights again but this time more severely then a few years ago. I found this forum among others and start reading about all bunch of stuff I’ve never heard before like how everybody is saying Fenix E01 is bombproof because it’s potted.

Well I happen to have E01 on my keychain and because what I’ve read about it, I start to compare it with my Inova XS that I always keep in my leatherman sheath along with my Charge. I can’t find much about the XS on the net like if it’s potted or not, so I was wondering if that black substance what I’m seeing is also some kind of epoxy potting. So thanks for your replies.

On a side note, because of all the reading about what flashlights nowadays can do, I’ve bought a few the last couple of months and a few more are coming shortly. I really should stop reading all the reviews and such or this will get out of hand (if it’s not already).

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 2411
Location: The Land of Enchantment
bonC wrote:
because of all the reading about what flashlights nowadays can do, I’ve bought a few the last couple of months and a few more are coming shortly.

yes, spending time on any forum, results in spending money
to control my impulsive buying, I have added several requirements that help limit my purchases
the most important one for me, is the light must have a High CRI LED

I do have a Fenix E01, but I only use it to compare its angry blue cool white, low CRI to other LEDs whose Tint, Color Temperature and CRI I like better

bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37

Yeah that’s true. Now I’m finding out about what kind of tints are out there, I’m starting to like NW tint more and more especially after I bought the Sofirn SP10b (in black). What I’m interested in right now are brass flashlights shaped like Maratac AA/AAA with Nichia led and no PWM and fortunately they don’t exist yet as far as I know Smile

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 2411
Location: The Land of Enchantment

hang on to your wallet
theres an AAA brass tool w Nichia
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-brass-aaa-pocket-flashlight

and a brass Maratac AAA also exists but is not in stock, and did not have a Nichia
there is a brass right angle version
https://countycomm.com/products/brass-tactical-personal-flood-tpf-aaa-li...
but also no Nichia

imho, the Copper versions are better than Brass, for me, because copper conducts heat better, is more germicidal, and does not contain Lead in the alloy the way Brass does. Also brass is just as heavy as copper, but is only 1/3 as conductive.

fwiw, the head of a Tool is a direct swap with the head of a Maratac

here is a copper Tool w mechanical clickie, available w Nichia
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/lumintop-copper-tool-aaa

and here is the copper Maratac AAA w Nichia
https://countycomm.com/collections/aaa-flashlights/products/copper-marat...
that is my personal favorite off the shelf

fwiw, the AA Maratacs have PWM, so I avoid them

I have a “thing” for small copper lights

Niko
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 02/08/2018 - 09:55
Posts: 153
Location: inside flashlight

This is cleaner Cool
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mechanic-BGA-IC-Adhesive-Removing-Liquid-Glue-Epoxy-Remover-CPU-Mobile-LCD/263411583689?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37

Jon, now I see your picture I think it’s one of your pictures that got me looking into brass flashlights! Especially the maratac one, that’s one hell of sexy looking flashlight I’ve ever seen!

I saw indeed that one in Massdrop before, but I couldn’t find more info about having PWM or not and besides that, I read it’s a PITA to have it shipped to Europe (I live in the Netherlands). Maratac itself won’t ship to Europe so sometimes this is a blessing (save some money) but in this case it’s a curse!

Well, copper it’s fine for me too actually it’s just it’s so shiny and bling bling in the beginning Wink

Enderman
Enderman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 45 min ago
Joined: 11/03/2016 - 22:42
Posts: 3966
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Usually potting will cover all the components to waterproof it and assist heat transfer.
This just seems like some epoxy around the center contact to maybe hold it in place or prevent the battery from touching nearby components/solder points.

bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37
Enderman wrote:
Usually potting will cover all the components to waterproof it and assist heat transfer. This just seems like some epoxy around the center contact to maybe hold it in place or prevent the battery from touching nearby components/solder points.

I saw indeed fully potted drives pictures on the net, and the XS looks like someone spilled some stuff on it by accident. I wonder if it’s indeed epoxy potting why they just didn’t do it all the way since more then half it’s already done anyway.

Enderman
Enderman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 45 min ago
Joined: 11/03/2016 - 22:42
Posts: 3966
Location: Vancouver, Canada

bonC wrote:
I saw indeed fully potted drives pictures on the net, and the XS looks like someone spilled some stuff on it by accident. I wonder if it’s indeed epoxy potting why they just didn’t do it all the way since more then half it’s already done anyway.

Because it’s likely just glue epoxy, not potting material, and it’s there for reasons other than heat transfer or waterproofing.
If it’s just to prevent a battery from touching electrical parts around the contact then it doesn’t need to be potting material.
They wouldn’t waste more than necessary to save cost, since it’s a cheaper flashlight.
bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37

Make sense alright. That would be probably it.

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 2411
Location: The Land of Enchantment

bonC wrote:
I saw indeed that one in Massdrop before, but I couldn’t find more info about having PWM or not
no PWM, since Oct 2015 models, on AAA Tool and AAA Maratac

Enderman wrote:
This just seems like some epoxy around the center contact
maybe someone should ask the manufacturer

not all “potting” is the same, here is Zebralight “potting”

more info on various types of “potting, encapsulating, and coating” types (epoxy, polyurethane, and silicone). Some are thermally conductive, some are for high temperature, most are waterproof, some are more resistant to other chemicals and solvents.. etc:
https://www.epoxysetinc.com/product-reviews/potting-encapsulating-compou...
.
.


Thermal cycling can take a toll on your electronics so can unprotected assemblies. Our potting & encapsulation can make a difference in your electronic components.

Enderman
Enderman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 45 min ago
Joined: 11/03/2016 - 22:42
Posts: 3966
Location: Vancouver, Canada

jon_slider wrote:

not all “potting” is the same, here is Zebralight “potting”


Yes, in that Zebralight flashlight it is for heat dissipation and possibly shock/vibration resistance.
But when it is not covering all the components, like in the OP’s picture, then it is obviously neither for waterproofing nor heat dissipation. It’s just glue.
jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 44 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 2411
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Enderman wrote:
…when it is not covering all the components, like in the OP’s picture, … It’s just glue.
thanks for explaining

bonC wrote:
Jon, now I see your picture I think it’s one of your pictures that got me looking into brass flashlights!

happy shopping
when in doubt, get both lol
pic from here
https://www.edcforums.com/threads/maratac-aaa-copper-rev-3.124567/page-4

I do post a lot of pics of copper maratacs, its my edc, and I have an assortment of LEDs in them
the greenish one in the middle is the new 219c Copper eSwitch Tool, the others are not stock

the AAA Maratacs are not potted afaik, but have been reliable, even when dropped (seldom). They also still work after going through the clothes washer… (cant say if thats true for the Tool, have not tried)

bonC
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 02:14
Posts: 37

Great way to wake up, to see those Maratacs smiling at me Smile Thanks!

slowtechstef
slowtechstef's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 8 hours ago
Joined: 02/17/2018 - 12:39
Posts: 213
Location: the Netherlands

Anyone here has experience with do-it-yourself potting — in the sense of fully encapsulating — of flashlight electronics for improved reliability?

PFlexPro mentions that he uses Stycast 2850FT (https://www.pflexpro.com/Potted-Flashlight-and-P60-Drop-In-s/1841.htm). This stuff seems a bit expensive though, and not available in small quantities.

I also found a previous thread where 18sixfifty mentioned he uses a 50/50 mix of silicon carbide and JB Weld. However eas mentioned JB Weld contains 5-10% powdered iron which might lead to slow shorting of circuits.

Macka17
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 49 min ago
Joined: 05/08/2017 - 02:31
Posts: 894
Location: Queensland Australia

I played with some “potting” on some of my lights recently.
EX yachttie (Timber and steel) and have several part used packs of marine epoxy sitting in shed.
Overcooked with extra hardener (sets quick) and one I added Carbon to darken it.
5 min epoxy should work too.
The remnants of a 2 pack Ceramic epoxy I had to repair something (old Laptop cover casing).
did same job. and is coloured white not clear.
Some Commercial Marine electronics are potted too in the major parts. Old Navy HF and VHF Radio’s are.

As long as you NOT intending to play with it. Potting should make them more substantial/reliable?.

Anybody else tried?.

KawiBoy1428
KawiBoy1428's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 57 sec ago
Joined: 04/11/2014 - 18:05
Posts: 3874
Location: The Motor City

slowtechstef wrote:
Anyone here has experience with do-it-yourself potting — in the sense of fully encapsulating — of flashlight electronics for improved reliability?

PFlexPro mentions that he uses Stycast 2850FT (https://www.pflexpro.com/Potted-Flashlight-and-P60-Drop-In-s/1841.htm). This stuff seems a bit expensive though, and not available in small quantities.

I also found a previous thread where 18sixfifty mentioned he uses a 50/50 mix of silicon carbide and JB Weld. However eas mentioned JB Weld contains 5-10% powdered iron which might lead to slow shorting of circuits.


I use MG Chemicals thermal potting https://www.mgchemicals.com/products/potting-compounds/epoxy-potting-com... Used Stycast too, when the company buys it..

KB1428 “Live Life WOT

slowtechstef
slowtechstef's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 8 hours ago
Joined: 02/17/2018 - 12:39
Posts: 213
Location: the Netherlands

At hackaday someone mentions using 3M ScotchCast successfully in the context underwater robotics up to depths of 5000 meters. Perhaps this could be also be useful for encapsulating flashlight drivers.

I also found an interesting theoretical reference:
Goosey, M. 1999. Plastics for Electronics (2nd edition).
DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-2700-6. It is also available on Library Genesis.
Especially Chapter 6. “Materials for advanced encapsulation” seems interesting.

slowtechstef
slowtechstef's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 8 hours ago
Joined: 02/17/2018 - 12:39
Posts: 213
Location: the Netherlands
KawiBoy1428 wrote:
I use MG Chemicals thermal potting https://www.mgchemicals.com/products/potting-compounds/epoxy-potting-com... Used Stycast too, when the company buys it..

Thanks for sharing. Looks really interesting:

Quote:
834HTC potting and encapsulating compound is a black, flame retardant, thermally conductive two-part epoxy that offers extreme environmental, mechanical and physical protection for printed circuit boards and electronic assemblies.
834HTC is designed for applications where thermal management and self-extinguishing are critical. It also provides excellent electrical insulation and protects components from static discharges, vibration, abrasion, thermal shock, environmental humidity, salt water, fungus, and many harsh chemicals.
834HTC can be cured at room temperature or higher.