Brainstorming: Tritium Alternative

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Photonica
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Brainstorming: Tritium Alternative

Just a crazy idea I had kicking around the back of my head...

 

Trits are cool. The world needs more bling.

Pros: Cons:
Rugged Expensive
Bright vs GITD materials Very Dim vs Daylight
No Charging vs GITD materials Half-Life ~10-15 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rise of auxiliary lights made me think, "What if you could replace a tritium light with an aux? Even better, what if the Aux were a self-contained light?" You'd eliminate the need to get power to it, at the expense of being always on. The devil is in the details.  I think the energy budget is what will kill the idea today, but in 5 years?

 

Imagine an LED-based tritium replacement.  Call it a LIT. It would have 3 main components:  LED, energy storage device, and charger.  Either the storage device or the charger would have a micro-driver built-in.  Package the devices in 1.5x6mm clear or frosted epoxy.  If that's too limiting, some other comparable form factor like 3mm x 6mm?

 

LED: SMD, of course. (http://led.linear1.org/surface-mount-leds/).  0402 is the smallest, with overall package size of 1.0 mm x 0.5 mm x 0.45 mm.  Use them back-to-back or 2 pair in a square so that the LIT doesn't need a "right-side up".  They're still ~35mA at 3.6v, right?  Electroluminescent would be cool, but requires high voltage (100v-1000v?).

Energy Storage:  Depends on the charging circuit.  Are there capacitors that could store a useful amount of charge?

Charger:  Two things come to mind.  Photovoltaic or energy harvesting.  Imagine an EDC light that charges the LITs from the motion of walking around.

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G0OSE
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I wouldn’t say they are brighter than GITD, but I would say they last longer……lol, much much longer!
GITD is good for 5 minutes, then it pretty quickly drops – but it lasts long enough for me to say ‘night night’ to my FW3A Silly (GITD disc from CRX)

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If what is happening with watches is any indication, mechanical energy harvesting is super inefficient and prone to failure at these little scales if you have to store the energy in a battery or capacitor as opposed to a spring, Seiko kinetic for exemple is not held in high regards, while their solar models are much more simple and work very well as is the case with their fully mechanical.

hank
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I’m just waiting for some genius to figure out that decontaminating the huge tank farm at Fukushima would involve harvesting a large amount of freshly produced, highly salable tritium that they’re currently planning to dump into the Pacific. Not that there’s any way to do that right now, but someone should come up with a good idea. Itty bitty centrifuges maybe.

Photonica
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Tritium costs ~$30,000 per gram. Unfortunately, even at F it’s extremely difficult to extract from seawater:

Quote:
In June 2016 the Tritiated Water Task Force released a report15 on the status of tritium in tritiated water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, as part of considering options for final disposal of the stored contaminated cooling water. This identified that the March 2016 holding of tritium on-site was 760 TBq (equivalent to 2.1 g of tritium or 14 mL of tritiated water) in a total of 860,000 m3 of stored water. This report also identified the reducing concentration of tritium in the water extracted from the buildings etc. for storage, seeing a factor of ten decrease over the five years considered (2011–2016), 3.3 MBq/L to 0.3 MBq/L (after correction for the 5% annual decay of tritium).

According to a report by an expert panel considering the best approach to dealing with this issue, “Tritium could be separated theoretically, but there is no practical separation technology on an industrial scale. Accordingly, a controlled environmental release is said to be the best way to treat low-tritium-concentration water.”16

Wikipedia

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hank
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Sigh. Another opportunity unclaimed by the free market.

beggindog
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How about LEDs built into the tail cap?

t ouellette

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hank wrote:
Not that there’s any way to do that right now, but someone should come up with a good idea. Itty bitty centrifuges maybe.

Why not? Same way to enrich UF6. That or gaseous diffusion (membranes).

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We’ve successfully done aux LEDs at low enough currents that it’s literally over a year to drain a battery. While this may not work for all lights (a good counter-example is a CR123-driven emergency light), it’s fantastic for any light that’s used regularly.
Also, in my personal experience trits are vastly dimmer than GITD… as long as the GITD has been charged (like, at all).

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Depends how bright you want ‘em, too.

My Cometa’s backlit tail-button is so damned bright at night, I call it the Blue Lighthouse. Can’t keep it in the same room as where I’m sleeping, else it’ll keep me awake.

I’d be okay with a small trit buried in there, though.

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I agree with Scallywag, aux LEDs driven off the main cell are the best option. Especially RGB.

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Aux LED with coldcap? Charges from main battery, but still survives for some time after the cell is removed.

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UV LED hidden under a GITD button? Could extend GITD glow by 10 or 100 times.

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found this youtube vid that somewhat fits what you asked?

I am also trying to find an aux keychain fob once discussed here. Something along the lines of AAAA light powering 5mm with joule theif

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Agro wrote:
I agree with Scallywag, aux LEDs driven off the main cell are the best option. Especially RGB.

If you power the aux leds (could be an illuminated tail or behind the optic or wherever) with the output set at trit levels, directly from the battery so no MCU is involved, they could last for 10 years on a battery charge. But of course the temptation is to set them brighter, because you can Smile
wle
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would EL (electroluminescent) make any sense?

it is what they use for ‘indiglo’ backlights

it can;t be all that power hungry or expensive for lights of that size

but i am too lazy to do the design and research

i just say no one mentioned it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroluminescence

wle

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Photonica
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power911 wrote:

found this youtube vid that somewhat fits what you asked?

I am also trying to find an aux keychain fob once discussed here. Something along the lines of AAAA light powering 5mm with joule theif

Glo Toob? I had one in red, and the battery seemed to last forever.

Another DIY light used a resistor and a 9V battery. I believe you could even skip the resistor, since the battery’s internal voltage is pretty high.

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Photonica
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wle wrote:
would EL (electroluminescent) make any sense?

it is what they use for ‘indiglo’ backlights

it can;t be all that power hungry or expensive for lights of that size

but i am too lazy to do the design and research

i just say no one mentioned it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroluminescence

wle

I looked at EL, but it seems they are 100v+, even if the current is low. It’s mentioned in the first post. I think it would be really cool to have an EL ring around the head and tail of the light, and cover it with frosted clear epoxy. It would look like a giant round tritium vial.

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Honestly, im content with having a lighted tail switch board, and simply want there to be more compatability of it with drivers. That said i still have yet to switch over from blue to amber, or red on my kronos set, but i will at some point

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It would be interesting if such a LIT module could be developed. Not sure 1.5mm x 6mm would be possible. Might need to be larger.

So the output for the LIT would be an extremely small drain relative to LED emitters.
The backing that the LIT is mounted upon would have photovoltaic properties, for charging.
The charge would go to a micro capacitor, built-in behind the photovoltaic layer.
If material specifications would allow, the LIT would output tritium level brightness, or perhaps a slight bit more. The capacitor would be capable of storing up to 48 hours of run time. If the LIT is stored inside the LED chamber, the spill from the LED would be enough to fully charge the LIT in 30 seconds, maybe less. If the LIT is in the tailcap or some other location away from the emitter, all you need to do is hit it with another flashlight LED emitter for 30 seconds or less. Of course, ambient light in a room or sunlight would charge it. The LIT would not emit while it detects sufficient light, thus always in charge mode when available light is above the threshold.

I’m not an engineer, just brainstorming off the top of my head. Does this proposal above sound viable?

wle
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Photonica wrote:
wle wrote:
would EL (electroluminescent) make any sense?

it is what they use for ‘indiglo’ backlights

it can;t be all that power hungry or expensive for lights of that size

but i am too lazy to do the design and research

i just say no one mentioned it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroluminescence

wle

I looked at EL, but it seems they are 100v+, even if the current is low. It’s mentioned in the first post. I think it would be really cool to have an EL ring around the head and tail of the light, and cover it with frosted clear epoxy. It would look like a giant round tritium vial.

i know they use a high voltage, i was thinking maybe some of them come with the booster built in now, or EL drivers are available

wle

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power911
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Photonica wrote:

Glo Toob? I had one in red, and the battery seemed to last forever.

Another DIY light used a resistor and a 9V battery. I believe you could even skip the resistor, since the battery’s internal voltage is pretty high.

Yes yes glo toob
Those are definitely in my wishlists till now but the price just made me buy proper lights instead hahaa

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hank
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Someone needs to invent coin cell batteries assembled with built-in LEDs or a COB strip. Pull out a little insulating strip, and it lights up.
I wonder if solid state electronics exist small enough to do that along with an off-during-daylight sensor/switch.

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hank wrote:
Someone needs to invent coin cell batteries assembled with built-in LEDs or a COB strip. Pull out a little insulating strip, and it lights up.
I wonder if solid state electronics exist small enough to do that along with an off-during-daylight sensor/switch.
Or, you just make a slightly larger coin cell sized light that has a slot for a coin cell battery you just slip in. It can have an incorporated pull tab where you pull it to activate then push in to turn off. Magnet on the back.
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hank wrote:
Someone needs to invent coin cell batteries assembled with built-in LEDs or a COB strip. Pull out a little insulating strip, and it lights up.

Y’mean a throwie?

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There is always this, the cost is pretty high, but if you get a high enough content of radium it is pretty bright. of course there might be some health considerations

I point to others in this group to justify how many flashlights I have.

Photonica
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hank wrote:
Someone needs to invent coin cell batteries assembled with built-in LEDs or a COB strip. Pull out a little insulating strip, and it lights up. I wonder if solid state electronics exist small enough to do that along with an off-during-daylight sensor/switch.

Here’s the DIY version. About a dollar each or less in quantity.

Here’s an instructable how-to.

A photoresistor or phototransistor allows more current when it’s in the light, so you can’t just put them in series with the LED to shut it off. You’d need a slightly more complex circuit as in” this instructable”:https://www.instructables.com/id/LED-nightlight-that-turns-on-in-darkness/. With SMD devices, you could fit it all in the outline of the coin cell.

@wle – I was mentioned the high voltage to point out that it probably puts it out of the energy budget. Maybe not, though.

Adafruit: Each meter of high brightness EL draws about 10-15mA at the high voltage, which means about 1.5 Watt/meter (at 100VAC).

The boost / invertor circuit would probably not be all that efficient, but could be tied to the main battery. If you could drive a reasonable (1cm?) length at a 1-10mA budget, you’d be looking at only 30 or so hours per battery.

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xevious wrote:
hank wrote:
Someone needs to invent coin cell batteries assembled with built-in LEDs or a COB strip. Pull out a little insulating strip, and it lights up.
I wonder if solid state electronics exist small enough to do that along with an off-during-daylight sensor/switch.
Or, you just make a slightly larger coin cell sized light that has a slot for a coin cell battery you just slip in. It can have an incorporated pull tab where you pull it to activate then push in to turn off. Magnet on the back.

You guys have my wheels turning on this, despite me having no actual use for it Facepalm

I had considered trying to integrate a 10180 with openings for charging, a small PCB, some SMD LEDs, and a 3D-printed housing. But now I’m wondering if it would be better to just use a CR1632. With a small draw (0.05 mA, perhaps) it would last approx 4 months. You could go even lower for longer runtimes. It could probably be as small as ~22mm diameter x 6mm tall.

The coin cells (such as CR1632) have an extremely flat voltage curve at ~2.9V until they’re dead which means fairly consistent brightness and very little excess voltage to burn off. And with a coin cell, there’s no need for a protection circuit – just run it until it’s dead. Hmm…

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I have lighted tail caps for sale, they can last well over a year with low drain

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For sure, I agree Lexel. Where you can, a good lighted tailcap is indispensable.

While we have your attention, have you ever seen the HM1160 ? Sure, it’s not as configurable as individual voltage references or voltage reset monitors, but having a SOT23-6 footprint 4-level battery monitor IC sure is compact and convenient (and cheap, too!).

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some coin cells are rechargeable iirc
those for rtc clocks. Even some keychain solar light uses them.
looks similar to cr2032 but rechargeables

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