Texas Avenger "TA" Driver series - Triple channel + Bistro or Narsil + Clicky or E-switch - The Ultimate open source driver!

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Tom E
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PD68 - Yea, that's definitely true. For single LED lights, the 2.1A-22.A is a nice #, where you figure 5A or so is 100% FET, so top medium mode of 42% is excellent, and like you say, it's a stable PWM-less medium mode. From what I see in the output level table in bistro-tripledown, almost all the modes are on the single 7135 or bank of 7135's, so for ramping, you get the same benefit, accept you don't know where the 100% of 7135 bank is, unfortunately. But still w/ramping, you get the benefit of not drooping output as the cell depletes for all levels accpet the brightest ones that use the FET.

I suppose though the ramping, if tweaked for cells at full charge, and as the cells deplete, the top levels won't change much - but still not a totally bad thing.

Scaling it for multiple parallel LED's is another thing - if max amps is 16A on the FET for example, then 2.1A is only 12% or so.

FOr Mtn MAX Buck, it's totally open - you can buy the parts and PCB separately.

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Tom E wrote:

More I think about, it seems quite easy to update Narsil to support this triple output. Between what I know, and code, in bistro_tripledown to enable the 3 PWM channels, and TK’s level_calc utility for generating the ramping table, that seems to support 3 outputs, I should be able to come up with a pretty good smooth ramping, then the fixed modes look pretty easy to update.


For ramping, it will be different tables, depending on 350 or 380 7135’s. I prefer a 350 for the single because of it’s lower moon mode, but for the 6 7135 bank, it doesn’t matter, but will need to know (I think) what they are when the table is generated. You can also easily tell it how big you want the ramping table assuming a 16 msec update rate. So if you want a full ramp to take 1.5 secs, or 2.5 secs, you can control that via how many entries to spec when you run level_calc, then it’s easy to confogure Narsil to match it. I experimented a lot with different table generations til I got, what I felt, looked real good — this would take a lot of time again, I’m sure, but might go quicker for me now, knowing it a bit better.

That would be great if you got that done. Is it possible to get the 4th PWM channel on the reset pin? And/or move the voltage divider to the reset pin?

If so then the freed output could be used to control an indicator LED, which would be quite cool itself. Or it could control another channel of 7135’s. I am thinking 2x single 7135’s would give you moon, low and med modes, then all of them together could give you a nice high mode.

Course really you could make one of the single 7135’s non-PWM if needed as well, the key is if the reset pin can be used for anything. I doubt removing the voltage divider is possible with more then 1s setups.

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Most of us can’t reprogram if we use the reset pin though.

Here is the link for parts on the MTN-MAX, though I noticed he doesn’t list values. Might have to PM Richard

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Tom E
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Ahh, supposedly you can use the reset pin if you got the full development kit for the Atmel parts. Not a lot of money, can be bought at Mouser, think'n $50 or $60 or so?  Now, I'm not sure what the limiting factor is - can you program it just once witha the USB dongle, or can't program it al all? Once the reset pin is used for I/O though, you can't program with our standard cheap dongles. Richard of course has the full dev kit, not sure if anyone else around has it - I've been debating buying it for a long time.

It's this: http://www.atmel.com/tools/avrdragon.aspx, purchase here: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Atmel/ATAVRDRAGON/?qs=%2fha2pyFaduhmHOAilKIdN%252bhVgiKoKD8waM5I7zDMzC0%3d

 

 

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Tom E wrote:

Scaling it for multiple parallel LED’s is another thing – if max amps is 16A on the FET for example, then 2.1A is only 12% or so.


FOr Mtn MAX Buck, it’s totally open – you can buy the parts and PCB separately.

I ditto PD’s statements, that is the main reason I am building these drivers.

Far as the Q8, whats to say you are limited to 7-9× 7135’s in a Q8? I started playing around with a SRK driver based on this same setup but stopped since there was no firmware for it and I could not improve on the Q8 design by PD if not adding the 7135’s.

If the 7135’s were added in my early testing you could fit upwards of 16-20 without much hassle and still not be crowding the board, if you really wanted to maximize space I bet you could fit 24-26 but things would get cramped.

So that is up to around 7-8A of regulated current you could use in a Q8, which I honestly think is more then you need for a med mode but you also don’t have to install all the 7135’s from the factory. From my own testing I think around 5A is a good regulated number for a SRK light, the light itself can handle that amount of heat long term without getting too hot and it is still ~1800+ lumens (have not actually tested it at this level since getting my sphere working but good guess, might be more).

Plus turbo would seem way brighter if jumping from 5A to 16A. Can always add another mode between as well, say around 8-9A.

I will look into the MTN MAX buck parts and see what I find.

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Tom E wrote:

Ahh, supposedly you can use the reset pin if you got the full development kit for the Atmel parts. Not a lot of money, can be bought at Mouser, think’n $50 or $60 or so?  Now, I’m not sure what the limiting factor is – can you program it just once witha the USB dongle, or can’t program it al all? Once the reset pin is used for I/O though, you can’t program with our standard cheap dongles. Richard of course has the full dev kit, not sure if anyone else around has it – I’ve been debating buying it for a long time.


It’s this: http://www.atmel.com/tools/avrdragon.aspx, purchase here: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Atmel/ATAVRDRAGON/?qs=%2fha2pyFaduhmHOAilKIdN%252bhVgiKoKD8waM5I7zDMzC0%3d


 


 

Interesting, not being able to flash at home with the cheap dongles is a bit of a bummer. oh well, I knew it was hopeful, as if it was easy I figured ya’ll would have done it by now.

Good idea for a pre-manufactured board though, the Q8 for example could use that if needed since I doubt anyone will need to reprogram that once Narsil is done.

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Tom E wrote:

Ahh, supposedly you can use the reset pin if you got the full development kit for the Atmel parts. Not a lot of money, can be bought at Mouser, think’n $50 or $60 or so?  Now, I’m not sure what the limiting factor is – can you program it just once witha the USB dongle, or can’t program it al all? Once the reset pin is used for I/O though, you can’t program with our standard cheap dongles. Richard of course has the full dev kit, not sure if anyone else around has it – I’ve been debating buying it for a long time.


It’s this: http://www.atmel.com/tools/avrdragon.aspx, purchase here: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Atmel/ATAVRDRAGON/?qs=%2fha2pyFaduhmHOAilKIdN%252bhVgiKoKD8waM5I7zDMzC0%3d


 


 

ah… This has bugged me for a while as ive known these attinys can do four channels, but i have failed to see that implemented. this explains alot. Specifically for me is the lack of rgbw drivers.

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I got a 5X SRK running Richar'ds 32x7135 board and added 18 more stacked, so it has 50 on a SRK, running an 85/Narsil. I waa disappointed with the amps I was getting, so I took an educated guess the traces for all those 7135's was killing it, and added a few 22 AWG teflon wire jumpers, and sure enough I gained 2A as a result.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
I think around 5A is a good regulated number for a SRK light … Plus turbo would seem way brighter if jumping from 5A to 16A.
Big Smile

I don’t like a lot of modes in general, all of my lights have either 3 or 4 modes only (except my S8, because it has red modes too) so they have big jumps between modes. On a single-emitter light I put my last regulated mode at either 1 or 1.5amps (rough). For a bigger light, I put it at 2.28amps. So my M6 goes from 2.28 to 14+amps in one jump. It’s so fun because the uninitiated think it’s already bright, then I click it again and… Steve

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Tom E wrote:

I got a 5X SRK running Richar’ds 32×7135 board and added 18 more stacked, so it has 50 on a SRK, running an 85/Narsil. I waa disappointed with the amps I was getting, so I took an educated guess the traces for all those 7135’s was killing it, and added a few 22 AWG teflon wire jumpers, and sure enough I gained 2A as a result.

This is a problem true but since we know about it, we can also design the traces larger, plus there is a pretty big difference from 16-20 and 50 7135’s in a bank lol.

The design I was working on had one ring of 7135’s around the outside of the driver with the same current/signal rings like the other TA drivers.

This left plenty of room for all the other components on the inside.

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pilotdog68 wrote:
Big Smile

I don’t like a lot of modes in general, all of my lights have either 3 or 4 modes only (except my S8, because it has red modes too) so they have big jumps between modes. On a single-emitter light I put my last regulated mode at either 1 or 1.5amps (rough). For a bigger light, I put it at 2.28amps. So my M6 goes from 2.28 to 14+amps in one jump. It’s so fun because the uninitiated think it’s already bright, then I click it again and… Steve

I would agree, more then 3-4 modes is silly for most lights, in day to day use you end up just getting annoyed trying to figure out which mode is the “right” mode for the job.

Having a 3-4 modes and knowing that all but the top 1 or 2 are regulated is ideal for me, I don’t mind large steps in brightness as long as the steps are reaonably spread out (turbo being the exception, I find it kinda fun to have turbo 2 steps brighter then the rest), I either need more light, or I don’t.

EDIT: That said the ramping that TomE has been working on is a very unique alternative that I look forward to trying out. Not sure if I will use it long term as I tend to like a bit more control over things but I really like the idea for gift / loaner lights.

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Been looking at the MTN MAX buck thread and I think that it will be simpler then I first thought to convert that into a SRK driver.

The only issue is the parasitic drain issues. Where does this drain come from? I assume it is from the Buck converter itself.

Tell me if this sounds reasonable:

Could this drain be eliminated by powering the MCU from the batteries directly as in the driver I posted above and not using the voltage regulator on the Buck converter.

Then adding a small FET to another pin of the MCU that would cut power/ground to the buck converter when the light was off / the MCU was in sleep mode?

This would seem to eliminate all of the parasitic drain when the light is off past what the MCU is using normally since everything else would have the power cut. The buck converter should not have any issues with delay on turn on as it is used in clicky lights.

Thoughts? If this is the case then it would seem that the standard MYN MAX setup with a bigger inductor would be a great match for a SRK setup.

An inductor such as this random unit I stumbled across that is rated for 18A http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=7z%252bmIopC6%2fImzUD...

It is also easily small enough to fit in a SRK / Q8 without a hassle. I am sure there are better options as well, just not got that far yet.

18A for a Quad XHP35 in the Q8 would be way more then enough for ~2500 lumens each and a total of ~10,000 lumens. It would also be a blistering 130+ watts I am guessing. The equivalent to a 16x XG-G2 SRK.

Yeah, I must build one of these now that I put it into words like that…..

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I would propose to move the whole discussion about the skyray driver to a new thread if this is possible.

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finges wrote:
I would propose to move the whole discussion about the skyray driver to a new thread if this is possible.

Yeah, that is a good idea since it would not be the same as these. Think I will leave the FET version here as it would work the same minus the second 7135 bank but the buck driver would be very different.

So to get this thread back on topic, I am about to order the TA drivers from OSHpark. I was curious what peoples opinions are on the 2oz copper / .8mm boards vs the normal 1oz?

I have only ordered the 1oz in the past but was trying to figure out if the thicker board has any benefits over the thinner one?

Think I will order one of them in 2oz just to see how it looks.

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The 2oz option is actually half the thickness, but double the copper.

They are really really thin. Might be ok for a 17mm driver, but anything bigger I can see snapping in half under a lot of pressure or 26650 battery or something. I would just stick for 1oz for drivers, which is a shame because the 2oz gives better performance

I’ve used the 2oz option for some little 14-15mm boards and they’re pretty nice though. It seems whatever fab they come from has better QC or consistency than normal for Osh

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Ok, made a new thread for the SRK buck driver here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/48616

The possible Q8 driver changes to a triple channel driver with 7135’s are welcome to remain here since it would fit in perfectly with the current lineup of drivers here.

I would personally love to see the Q8 driver add some 7135’s for a regulated med mode. In a production light the reset pin could be used for an indicator LED as well, which would be super cool!

Or since the Q8 driver would be 1S only, you could move the voltage divider to the internal voltage reference. It seems to work well. That would free up a pin as well and allow for both the bank of 7135’s and the indicator LED without having to use the reset pin.

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pilotdog68 wrote:
The 2oz option is actually half the thickness, but double the copper.

They are really really thin. Might be ok for a 17mm driver, but anything bigger I can see snapping in half under a lot of pressure or 26650 battery or something. I would just stick for 1oz for drivers, which is a shame because the 2oz gives better performance

I’ve used the 2oz option for some little 14-15mm boards and they’re pretty nice though. It seems whatever fab they come from has better QC or consistency than normal for Osh

I noticed the thickness difference, I could not figure out if it was a big deal or not but I can see your point, it would be thin enough to possibly crack under compression loads. Plus even just it bending a little could wear on the solder joints.

1oz it is.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
... I would personally love to see the Q8 driver add some 7135's for a regulated med mode. In a production light the reset pin could be used for an indicator LED as well, which would be super cool! Or since the Q8 driver would be 1S only, you could move the voltage divider to the internal voltage reference. It seems to work well. That would free up a pin as well and allow for both the bank of 7135's and the indicator LED without having to use the reset pin.

Back when we started the Q8, I didn't see the 7135 bank as a possibility, since then for me, there were too many unknowns, and didn't want to take the risk , plus the risk of having to spend more time in development/testing. Now however, it's a different story. But still, I have no triple board with to test. I could start the development in Narsil now for triple support, but I got nothing to test on. So, chicken & egg - do I go ahead and order some of your untested boards? smile I'm think'n - yes...

Also, not sure what you mean by the internal voltage reference working well? Uhhh, do you mean in Dr Jones boards? If so, there's no source code, no help there to cut down on development... It would have to be developed from scratch - all his work/efforts just means it's possible, that's all. Dunno if it would take me 4 hours or 80 hours to develop and test. I'm a full-time software consultant. I can't afford to take days off for my hobby, unfortunately at this point - I'm more than full-time bizy on my consulting gig, least through the end of the year, probably more.

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Tom E wrote:

Texas_Ace wrote:
… I would personally love to see the Q8 driver add some 7135’s for a regulated med mode. In a production light the reset pin could be used for an indicator LED as well, which would be super cool! Or since the Q8 driver would be 1S only, you could move the voltage divider to the internal voltage reference. It seems to work well. That would free up a pin as well and allow for both the bank of 7135’s and the indicator LED without having to use the reset pin.

Back when we started the Q8, I didn’t see the 7135 bank as a possibility, since then for me, there were too many unknowns, and didn’t want to take the risk , plus the risk of having to spend more time in development/testing. Now however, it’s a different story. But still, I have no triple board with to test. I could start the development in Narsil now for triple support, but I got nothing to test on. So, chicken & egg – do I go ahead and order some of your untested boards? smile I’m think’n – yes…


Also, not sure what you mean by the internal voltage reference working well? Uhhh, do you mean in Dr Jones boards? If so, there’s no source code, no help there to cut down on development… It would have to be developed from scratch – all his work/efforts just means it’s possible, that’s all. Dunno if it would take me 4 hours or 80 hours to develop and test. I’m a full-time software consultant. I can’t afford to take days off for my hobby, unfortunately at this point - I’m more than full-time bizy on my consulting gig, least through the end of the year, probably more.

I totally understand the busy with work thing, only reason I have had time to work on these the last week is because I have some downtime ATM. Also why I am in a bit of a hurry to finish them before I get too busy to work on them again lol.

If no one else has said it recently, I must say thank you for all the work you have given to this site (along with everyone else).

Far as the driver boards go, you could try some of these, I am about to place an order myself. Then going to order the parts to make them work from digikey.

PD has his version of the tripledown which we know works but doesn’t have the new layout. I could send you one of those if you needed, I think I still have one not in use. Or they are on oshpark as well.

I forgot that Dr jones is closed source, yeah that does make it harder. The reset pin would seem to be the easier option for the Q8 driver since it would not need to be re-programmed once installed by 99.5% of users.

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Thanks for the thoughts!!

Hhhmmm. Thought I ordered tripledown's recently, but turned out they were doubledowns... Yours though have all the bells&whistles for the clean 25/45/85 support - nice!! I could of course air-wire something up, specially in something easy to work with - SupFire L5, M2-Z, M6, or even just an open bench setup. Funny - all the easiest lights to work with are SupFire... They still have that classic design, didn't cheap'n out with the masses, or add the advanced features, reduced size, etc.

Well think I'll order one set of yours - gotta pick a size I can use first. If I got time and meld something into Narsil, I can always hot wire up a tripledown setup - can use a Nanjg in air, re-wired pin#3 to the FET, etc.

Hhmm - yours need 0603 parts, but probably can use my existing 0805's - I have all sizes needed in resistors. Been stocking 0805's, but nothing in 0603's much. Got more 85's and SIR800DP FET's on the way from Richard, though the USPS tracking doesn't exist yet... He supposedly shipped it Saturday.

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I just placed an order for all the sizes I currently have made, figure I need to look them all over myself. If anyone else places an order for some please do let us know!

I have to agree, I really like the supfire line of lights, them and convoy are my go to brands. Astrolux is good for some interesting designs but not as good for modding.

Reading online you can indeed us 0805 parts but obviously it has not been tested yet. I am ordering some 0603 components since I am missing some of them anyways. Anything else besides the ones on the parts list by DEL that you think I should order while at it?

I need to order some 85’s as well, only have a few here. Didn’t think Narsil would support these so only stocked up on the 25’s for bistro.

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Narsil is up to about 80% of 8K used for code space, so only an 85 will do.

Texas_Ace
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Tom E wrote:

Narsil is up to about 80% of 8K used for code space, so only an 85 will do.

Yeah, I didn’t figure you would be fitting it on a 25 anytime soon lol. I have a few on hand, just not enough to really mess around with it. This is why I like stocking up on little things ahead of time.

One thing when picking a board size, the 17mm will not fit the 85 without taking up half the stinking board, so you will have to bend the pins as you know. The 20mm+ versions have the full sized 209mil pads so it would be simpler to fit the 85.

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It will be not very funny when bridged pads will short cut 4S high current cells:

Meanwhile in Russia: https://twitter.com/CrazyinRussia

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kiriba-ru wrote:
It will be not very funny when bridged pads will short cut 4S high current cells: !https://i.imgur.com/Pjs6aPH.png!

I am not sure what you mean? How would it short the cells as long as you insert them into the correct tube? The cells would have to be inserted from the tail, the battery tube would need to be glued into place and springs installed onto the driver pads.

You would not be able to screw the battery tube on like normal, there is no way to allow that in a 4s/2s setup.

The driver simply makes the conversion easier, it is still very much a DIY project. Now in the Q8 it is possible we could have the tailcap designed to allow for easy battery insertion, in fact this is something to consider.

We could change the design quite easily to have the batteries always inserted from the tail. There is really no reason that they have to be inserted into the battery tube and screwed into place. This would also solve the issue of wearing down the contact ring and needing button top batteries at the same time.

Something to think about actually.

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Im not sure you are right.
If we want to use various of different cells, we need to use springs.
If we have springs from driver side, and glue tube to the head, so cells are fixed and then screw tail with tail pcb, you will short cut 2 from 4 cells in 4S config and the only way to avoid this is tail pcb that can slide around incide tail (Klarus G30 and etc.)
If we have springs from tail side, and use fixed tail pcb (insulated from host) and cells that inserts from head side, we have same problem with some extra solutions.
If both – and + pads are on head side, we can use some extra part that is made from plastics and inside it – pad goes to host, + goes to driver and all extra space are insulated to prevent unforeseen short-cuts.
If both pads are on tail side, we can use same plastic insulator for intermediate cell connections and connect negative to host through tail pcb, positive should goes to tail pcb center with should be connected to some solid rod which should goes through center hole between cells to the driver.
All posted describes 4S connection and I think this solutions are much better that tail switch and big bada boom if it is on when you screwing the tail.

Meanwhile in Russia: https://twitter.com/CrazyinRussia

Texas_Ace
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kiriba-ru wrote:
Im not sure you are right. If we want to use various of different cells, we need to use springs. If we have springs from driver side, and glue tube to the head, so cells are fixed and then screw tail with tail pcb, you will short cut 2 from 4 cells in 4S config and the only way to avoid this is tail pcb that can slide around incide tail (Klarus G30 and etc.) If we have springs from tail side, and use fixed tail pcb (insulated from host) and cells that inserts from head side, we have same problem with some extra solutions. If both – and + pads are on head side, we can use some extra part that is made from plastics and inside it – pad goes to host, + goes to driver and all extra space are insulated to prevent unforeseen short-cuts. If both pads are on tail side, we can use same plastic insulator for intermediate cell connections and connect negative to host through tail pcb, positive should goes to tail pcb center with should be connected to some solid rod which should goes through center hole between cells to the driver. All posted describes 4S connection and I think this solutions are much better that tail switch and big bada boom if it is on when you screwing the tail.

I am not totally sure what you were describing but I am also into a pile of buck drive data sheets and can’t really focus on it at the moment.

I was talking about the conversion that many have done to the SRK over the years where the battery tube stays fixed meaning it can not short at the front of the light.

The tailcap is then modified to allow the PCB to spin as you screw the tailcap into place.

Just like the Klarus G30 now that I look it up, that would seem to be the simplest option. Anyone can do it, particularly if the Q8 already had the screw hole machined into the tail cap and PCB.

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K, just ordered the 17's and 22's, 3 each, 17's in 2 oz. copper. smile For $6 shipped, not much of a risk.

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Tom E wrote:

K, just ordered the 17’s and 22’s, 3 each, 17’s in 2 oz. copper. smile For $6 shipped, not much of a risk.

Curious how the 2oz version holds up, I forgot to change one of mine to that sadly.

Mine are supposed to be made on the 29th, curious when yours get done.

Last time I ordered I got them in like 5 days! lol.

TA's words of advice for this week:

If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. -- Douglas Casey , Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

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How I made a True integrating PVC sphere with no math involved

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Sometimes they upgrade to the express service, simply because they got room on an express panel our small boards fill in to. It's happened to me several times. The17's are nice in the thin size. I really don't think it makes much of a difference for us having the heavier copper, because typically the batt+ is connected direct from the spring w/bypass to the LED, and the other critical power path is batt- (grnd) to the FET input. When I piggyback a driver in, I make sure I got a nice wire connected from a good grnd point on the contact board straight to a FET input pin. I also sometimes will wire a jumper from the grnd ring to the FET, all depends.

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