BLF Lantern Project: Possible SRK-Based BLF-Lantern*UPDATES/Sept 2017 OP Images fixed!

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DBSAR
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BLF Lantern Project: Possible SRK-Based BLF-Lantern*UPDATES/Sept 2017 OP Images fixed!

UPDATES / September 2017 – Field-Test a success! (read below) – the prototype was a hit at the camp this weekend. It was the smallest of all the modded bright LED lanterns we had on the trip, ( it could hang from a belt carabiner easily, and fit in a hoodie or jacket pocket as we tested. – it was also the brightest with best tint of all the LED lanterns we had there. (i did the field test with a XP-L V3 5D tint emitter, that has probably the best neutral tint available from a CREE emitter for this type of use) also it emitted the light in the widest direction range than any of the other lanterns in the test at the camp, ( widest angle of light emitted from down to up with the down-firing LED location and the flat white base beneath the emitter)
For run time, it was as expected, it ran the entire 4 night trip on a single set of four 18650 2500mah cells, (an average of 3+ hours per night on high-mode continuously, from 9 pm to midnight or 1am) (On this field-test its Q-Lite Driver was set to use two 7135 chips, for average of 700mah on high-mode, which gave the light the best balance of output & long run time that is needed for these types of uses.)

- Here below is the BLF/SRK lantern prototype (the one at the far right of the photo) compared to my two best & brightest modded LED/Li-Ion lanterns in my arsenal, along with a Coleman 321 Easi-Lite Naptha Camp Lantern on the far left of the pic.) The 2nd from left is a coleman LED modded with an XM-L 3D tint & 3-mode driver, the 3rd-from-left is a Defiant modded with with 30 warm white (3000K) Luxeons and Q-Lite driver with 2-7135s:

- Below photo showing the BLF Lantern prototype on the log in the center of the photo, ( on high mode)

*+UPDATES below
Here is the basic Specs of the prototype:

- one, two, three or four 18650 cells. ( soon possibility able to run on single 26650 or 32650)
- four modes, ( moonlight, Low, Medium, High. – Zero parasitic drain with lockout. – easily moddable. – 7A3 natural warm white XP-L
- Glareless Down-firing design, with flat-white up-reflector.
- can be hanged or tabled upright or upside down, with balanced all-direction degree flood.
- Tested Runtimes & output: (***have not Sphere-tested the lumens yet) >High / 7 hours (equivalent to 40-watt Incandescent Lamp >Medium / 41.5 hours ( roughly a 20-watt Incan. > Low / a month ( same as a 3-watt night light) >Moonlight / so far un-measurable, but estimate 3 to 4 months continuous based on amp-draw from four 3000mah 18650’s in parallel. ( i cant wait that long for the test of run time.
- Beer-can sized, able to fit in jacket pocket or pack-sack pocket.

-This began as an idea noted to me from Southland, and as a lantern guru i was immediately interested. Along with Kronological joined in on this as he has the contacts with manufacturers & sellers along with great Group Buys, it all began.

I am building somewhat a “prototype”, a lantern based from common components we all are familiar with, and this will be designed with a a lot of room for modding for those who wish. As we all know 99.99 % of all LED lanterns available commercially are absolute crap in stock form, usually with crap tints, inefficient garbage 5mm LEDs, low run times, bad modes, made from cheap plastic & components, low output, very glarey on the eyes when at eye levels, the bad list goes on. I have some 125 + LED lanterns in my collection, and at least 95 % of them are modded in some way at different levels. Almost none of them however have the “perfect” set of perimeters to serve as a perfect lantern for camping, power outages, survival, long term use, compactness, durability, output balanced with run times, good useful modes for lanterns, etc.

What i will be building here is a compact, durable lantern with the best perimeters & features that my best lanterns have combined into one, using known components, to combine the best run times, output, lighting tint, least glare, compactness, & features. It will be LiIon 18650 based, can run a single 1, 2, 3 or even 4 18650 cells, all will be in parallel for safety & increased run times, have the best warmer high CRI tints suited for continuous lantern use, compact, sturdy, durable, great modes, zero-parasitic drain when off, etc, I will start with the best battery tube for that purpose i could think of, the popular SkyRay King.

Of all the different drivers, LED tints, etc. i have modded into many lanterns & tested, this project will use the Nanjq 105C Q-Lite Rev. driver, with the fourth-star set for using the moonlight, Low,Medium, and High modes. The best tint range for lantern use i found to be between the 2700K to 3500K warmer white range, (Warmer whites are much less “glarey” on the eyes, have much better CRI than the cold whites, and as tested by independent university lab studies warmer colored light to amber light can reduce eye fatigue, & oddly reduce stress & hypertension during longer exposures (as lanterns run continuously as the main ambient light.)

face it, as humans we lived for thousands of years lit by warm, amber colored fire, lamps, and the sun, not by blueish light from fluorescent or cold white LEDs. (as in the fact that the blueish, gloomy, gray light from cloudy days, & mercury vapor glarey street lighting can be depressing, while the warmer light from the sun does the opposite.

I will start with a XM-L 6C tint, (3500K warm white) and may switch it over to a 7D4 tint later for testing, (close to 2700K incandescent) Others may prefer neutral tints, & i do have some lanterns with 4000K & 4500K tints, but from experience the most preferred tint range from people that seen my lanterns in use at night seem to prefer the warmer tints. I will be using a clickie switch, to avoid electronic switches to avoid any parasitic drain. The Q-Lite driver will also have a reduced number of 7135s, most likely three from my other lantern tests. Keep in mind, from testing i found most XM-L2 & XP-L LEDs are most efficient between the .700MA to 1 amp range, producing the best lumens versus amps usage balance. For lanterns, ( unlike directional flashlights & throwers) over-driving an LED for more lumens don’t seem to be as beneficial as getting the best run-times, as lanterns will run continuously for many hours at a time, and need to possibly last for days, & even weeks on single charges. (some of my lanterns modded with a 2-7135 Q-lite 105C (700mah on high) on High-mode driving an XM-L2 6C & 7D4 tints, running on four average 2200mah 18650 laptop-pulls in parallel, will run 20 plus hours continuously on highest mode, (a full weekend of camping use) and produce the light close to that of a 60 watt incan household light bulb.

This build will be a design variant that can be built in mass numbers by a manufacturer, and allow a lot of room for those who wish to mod it for more output, tints, etc. It will be also “down firing” meaning the LED will be mounted on a heatsink from the top facing down, this method produces the best side & down direction lighting and the least eye glare when used on a table, shelf, or hung from a tree or ceiling. Most cheap LED lanterns bought tend to be up-firing, and basically glares in the eyes when on a lower table, and practically useless when hung outdoors in a tree or for camping. ( also face it, there are no ceilings outdoors to “bounce” light off for up-firing lanterns or tail-standing flashlights. ( i will get into the disadvantages of using diffusers lon regular flashlights later.

- In the first photo below, is an SRK clone host, a Q-Lite, LED, and some basic common components that i will begin with on this Lantern project. ( including a sturdy acrylic jar that will be used for the “globe shade” of the lantern.
Second photo, shows the first mod to the SRK clone host, (i band-sawed the top section of the SRK off just above the threadded LED plate, then polished it smooth. The third inset-pic shows the basic start to the lantern build idea.

  • For those interested in a possible Group buy on a manufactured variant of this lantern when its completed, let us know here.

I will post more on this as the project continues with more photos as it progresses. Smile

UPDATES #2 – February,23,2016

Below image collage shows next steps on this prototype build:

- Next i stripped all the junk of the original driver plate. (will clean it up later before i install new components) ( IMAGE #1)
- As this will be a mechanical clicking instead of an electronic switch, (to avoid parasitic drain, and better adaptable for future mods.) i will have to modify the driver body section of the lantern to adapt a rubber clickie switch boot and switch. (IMAGE #2 )
- I bored out the original electronic switch hole to fit the boot, but i made sure the hole is slightly smaller than the boot, so it seals water resistant/tight in the body. I also counter-sunk the boot below the body surface, (notice the counter sink chamfer, familiar with Zebralights) to help prevent accidental turning on in packsacks, camp bags, etc and protect the switch boot from damage. ( IMAGE #3)
- Here with boot in place. ( IMAGE #4)
- The switch will mount on a bracket i will install on the original stripped driver plate on the inside. ( IMAGE #5)

UPDATES #3 – April,1,2016

Ok so more progress on the BLF Lantern Prototype!

  • Below image descriptions:
    - after stripping the original SRK driver board bare, i dremeled it clean of the traces, except for two pads to solder the switch back plate to, and the positive & Negative trace contacts. (IMAGE #1)
    - i then soldered the steel angle back to hold the clicky switch in place. Also added the wires and support to mount the popular Nanjq 105c Q-Lite Rev. driver in place. i removed 5 of the 7135s to lower the amps for the LED emitter to bring the LED into that “sweet spot” of its most efficient amp range vs. output to increase the run times in all modes. ( it would be easy to leave more 7135s on the driver for more output, but at a sacrifice of run times and loss in heat. with this design there are many options of modding the lantern with custom firmware, modes, even different drivers. ( IMAGE #2)
    - Here showing the driver & clickie switch in place. (IMAGE #3)
    - This design also has tons of extra space between the driver plate & the lantern head, to add a TP4056 built in charger, ( to charge the four 18650 cells in parallel. This configuration woudl take longer to charge the cells, but some advantages are that its much safer to charge them this way, (unlike the Supbeam X40 built-in charger imbalanced charging issue fiasco last year we had to endure.) also each cell will charge balanced with each other in parallel and a lower charging amps, helping to extend the life of the cells.
    For off grid use, a 7-watt USB solar panel phone charger will charge the four cells in this manner in a day’s worth of sun. But for now i will not install the charger until i get the Prototype lantern completed and testing is performed. ( IMAGE #4)

*Below image Descriptions:

- Ok next is the top cap of the lantern, which will serve as the heat sink for the LED emitter. I used a solid block of billet Aluminum, then machined it down to sort of match the Lantern body and fit to the top of the Acrylic lantern lens that will be used. The center is left protruding down to serve as the base mount for the LED star. This is a hefty, solid chunk of aluminum, so it will make a great heat-sink to allow some modding of driving the LED of your choice with more amps if so desired. I also drilled holes on each side for the para-cord handle/lanyard. ( IMAGE #1, #2, and #3)
- i painted the head with a high-solids enamel paint, then baked it on in a toaster oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. ( its not as durable as anodizing like on the original SRK body, but it is tough and looks very close to the anodized aluminum.

I forgot to take a photo of the acrylic cup (used for the lantern lens) epoxied & bolted to the original SRK threaded Star mounting plate, and will do so later)

- so far shows the Lantern prototype before i wire in the LED , secure the lantern top, and add the Para-cord lanyards. (I decided i will start with an XP-L U5 7A3 tint for the first tests, as they are very close to that of an Incandescent 40-watt household bulb. :

UPDATES #4 – April,3,2016

Ok below is the first test of the beam profile of the Prototype lantern! (Test done 3 hours ago tonight, dark outside, and all lights turned off in the house, camera shutter settings are close to what the human eye would see it.)

- Here is the lantern on “High mode” , XP-L U5 7A3 tint / Q-Lite Rev driver with three 7135 chips / Four CGE18650CG light green laptop pulls, (all tested at 2200mah avg. The lantern is on the top of the red popcorn machine on the island in the kitchen. Here you can see the lantern emits nearly the same amount of light up, as it does upside-down, with a lower percentage out the sides at 90 degrees to cut eye glare to a minimum. The tint of the 7A3 is a beautiful warm white with good color rendition and warm hue. On high it appears to illuminate the room equally to a 40 watt incandescent light bulb.

- Below i moved the BLF Lanter to the top of the fridge:

Now below are indoor beamshots of the lantern in the same spot, but one is right side up, and the other is upside down, showing how “balanced” the directional output is. ( Red arrows shows lantern inverted & right side up)
Unlike 95 % of all factory lanterns which has the LEDs upfiring causing glare and almost no downward illumination, this design works both great in a room and outdoors while reducing eye-glare which is a big issue with bad factory designs.

—- More beam shot photos coming soon, some comparing the prototype to my other “best” stock & modded LED lanterns, to Electric lamps with incandescent bulbs, and to gas camping lanterns, both indoors and outdoors. In late May this prototype will get 4 days of testing on a wilderness camping trip planned too.
I will also do a tint test, using some different tints to get a feel of what will work best. ( though it is possible for a manufacturer/seller to offer a production version in various Tint & LED choices. I will also draw up a specification sheet and blueprint drawing so that Kronos can work with a manufacturer on a production version. Smile

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

Edited by: DBSAR on 09/15/2017 - 20:53
pilotdog68
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I’m probably not in myself, but I like the idea! The side-flooder on my M6 has a medium mode at ~600ma, and it really is more light than you might expect. Perfect for long-endurance illumination.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

SaniPE
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Sounds just what I’m looking for! I’m in.

brad
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I’m excited, and I think that high doesn’t need to be very high at all, even when using a lantern for working on something like a generator, the kind of guy that has a quality lantern won’t be looking to light up the entire garage brightly, he will have a headlamp to handle the boost he needs for detail work.

In the living room we want the family to have a good bright light available, but we don’t want it so bright that people avert their eyes and shade their eyes from it.

But I think you made it clear that you have already thought of all that, long ago.

I look forward to this thread. Have you thought of a setting for simultaneous lantern and ceiling bounce, for a better room filling effect, and flashlight use?

Gunga
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Sounds very well thought out. I’m in.

Andyman
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Looks great! Wouldn’t you know, a lantern sits firmly next on my list of “new lights I can rationalize,” but as you clearly stated, decent stock options are essentially non-existent. My best thought until now was to start with something like this (modded to run off 18650’s, of course), but a down-firing SRK variant sounds simpler, more durable, and more compact.

I’m very interested in a potential group buy (depending on price, of course), but also interested in following your prototype build… The challenge of a home-made version also sounds attractive, so I might need to buy one + make one, because, you know, it’d probably be smart to have something in a different tint as a backup…

Thanks again for getting this started! Excited to see how it progresses regardless of outcome. Cool

emarkd
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Yeah this is intriguing. I’ve got one lantern, a Fenix CL25R, but this seems like a very different project. So consider me interested.

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I’m Interested!

-Chuck

DBSAR
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brad wrote:
I’m excited, and I think that high doesn’t need to be very high at all, even when using a lantern for working on something like a generator, the kind of guy that has a quality lantern won’t be looking to light up the entire garage brightly, he will have a headlamp to handle the boost he needs for detail work.

In the living room we want the family to have a good bright light available, but we don’t want it so bright that people avert their eyes and shade their eyes from it.

But I think you made it clear that you have already thought of all that, long ago.

I look forward to this thread. Have you thought of a setting for simultaneous lantern and ceiling bounce, for a better room filling effect, and flashlight use?

!{width:50%}http://img.diytrade.com/smimg/2069312/43410369-4858116-0/_Nitefighter_Ni...!

for indoor use in rooms with white ceilings, the design of this lantern with a down-firing LED, simply set it on a higher shelf or table upside-down, and it will bounce quite a bit of light from the ceiling around it if preferred. (those tests & photos will be coming too. Smile I thought about the idea of building it with two switchable LEDs ( one on the top facing up and the inside one facing down) but that would just add complexity & cost to a manufactured version.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

Andyman
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DBSAR wrote:
I thought about the idea of building it with two switchable LEDs ( one on the top facing up and the inside one facing down) but that would just add complexity & cost to a manufactured version.

Agreed – I really like the idea of a simple, dedicated, non-crappy lantern. If we want something to aim at the ceiling, well, we all have at least a dozen options for that, don’t we? Wink
I have one that’s switchable between upward (flashlight-ish) and downward (lantern-ish) firing, and it doesn’t do a good job at either.

DBSAR
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Andyman wrote:
DBSAR wrote:
I thought about the idea of building it with two switchable LEDs ( one on the top facing up and the inside one facing down) but that would just add complexity & cost to a manufactured version.

Agreed – I really like the idea of a simple, dedicated, non-crappy lantern. If we want something to aim at the ceiling, well, we all have at least a dozen options for that, don’t we? Wink
I have one that’s switchable between upward (flashlight-ish) and downward (lantern-ish) firing, and it doesn’t do a good job at either.

Very true, we all already have tons of flashlights for ceiling bouncing/tail standing indoors. But when it comes to acual lanterns that can be used outdoors for area lighing there are way to many crappy, plastic, bad-tinted, low-runtime lanterns with unreliable “gimmics” added to them already available from sellers & stores,
But for outdoors, or in places/rooms where white smooth ceilings are not an option, a simple, durable, long running, 360-degree lantern is needed.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

Bc412
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I’m interested
As long as the cost doesn’t get too crazy

Lonelydad
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Depending on the price, I may or may not get one, but I am interested.

You don't really need a parachute to skydive. But you DO need one if you want to skydive twice!

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I am in!! Possibly multiples if price is agreeable.

tebeve
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Very interested.

qandeel
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Interesting project. I’m in.

 عُمَانْ

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I’m in!

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so can bones.

southland
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Can’t wait for this one. The way I look at it, this lantern will have no competition. Nothing else like it on the market, everything now is plastic, alkaline powered, and no name emitters. Can see this being a huge seller to campers, hikers, fishermen, hunters, and such. Looking good DBSAR.

DBSAR
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southland wrote:
Can’t wait for this one. The way I look at it, this lantern will have no competition. Nothing else like it on the market, everything now is plastic, alkaline powered, and no name emitters. Can see this being a huge seller to campers, hikers, fishermen, hunters, and such. Looking good DBSAR.

The plan is to build a lantern than can fit in a coat pocket, produce the light of a 60 watt light bulb, have good high CRI tint, and run for several nights of use on high, (Or for weeks on lower modes) without the need of recharging the batteries, be durable, solid, compact, useful when needed, and do what a lantern is supposed to do. (and be open to further modding like all of here like to do if we wish to. Smile

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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This sounds like a great project.

Just one question; Where are you getting the SRK clone with threadded LED plate?

Easyrr
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I am in Smile nice project!

jkbam
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I could certainly use a good lantern, I’m in.

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Put me down for one please, dependant on price and absolutely no detectable PWM.

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I am almost with you, I’d love to see a really good led lantern come to life. But there’s one thing that all that plastic garbage has to its advantage, and that is the use of safe chemistry batteries. So I’m not really sure I would like to see this with 18650 batteries, but perhaps rather with AA-type batteries. It will be a bit less compact but much easier to sell or give away.

raven38571
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I’m definitely interested

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I’m in for sure


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Definitely interested – Great concept

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We have a plastic thingy with
Solar panel Ln top costs were $16,-
Crank in bottom
Shaped like those old fashion storm lanterns.
The light it produces is not warm but we used it camping and it sits next to the kitchen door
We have cranked it up once but the solar charging has provided light for about a year now when we needed it.
Is it possible to sacrifice the space of 1 cell for charging parts? Solar panel on top, crank at bottom? Maybe USB out port for cellphones.
To have that in a nice ALU housing would be very nice.

I was planning on just using a diffuser with a modded SRK but this is a much cooler project!

But as you go right now I am interested so put me on the list.

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I have a few lanterns but none run off of 18650s . I could use one of these!

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Interested

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Definitely interested.

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