SWIFT Solar Wide Functional Headlamp, developing and discussing.

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Reyden
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SWIFT Solar Wide Functional Headlamp, developing and discussing.

Hey there! To begin with, I would like to say a short foreword about my project, it’s non commercial but more hobby etc.

Preface
A few years ago, I started to develop a solar powered powerbank, it was a first sheet of paper, not perfect due to some disadvantages: the linear charger bq24210 couldn’t provide a real mppt and as a result maximum efficiency. The main place of applying is hiking and usage in city. In order to feel comfortably during the active outdoor, a portable solar panel must have medium size, therefore efficiency issues take 1st place. I’ve learnt a lot about the solar energy ever since. Of course, there’re other ways – lithium bucket or large solar panel, it’s not for me.

Soon after, I’ve met the guys from fonarevka forum and things changed for the better, my heart lighted up with flashlights Smile That was dark times.. 2013 you know.., a lack of light had been feeling as never before. I started to think.. how is it possible to combine all this function in one device? The components were found, sharp issues solved, so let’s have a look on it.

Starting
The main idea and philosophy of such multi functional device takes their roots from simple criteria: it must be optimal and rational comparing to price, efficiency and weight at least for outdoor and traveling. Unfortunately specific devices cost rather expensive and often don’t give us enough functions. Schemes of the boost converter, mppt li-ion charger and led driver united together are allow to get better efficiency at lower price of components, by the way the only one construction and power source is required instead of a few separately ones. Reliability, convenience and quality is also important. You may agree with me, upgrading each purchased device, that manufacturer offers is not cheap.

The first examples didn’t survive due to lack of experience and instruments. I decided to left some parts for memory.

Battery charger
Li-ion charger ZSPM4521 with a real mppt (temperature/weather independent) provides additional capability far away from traditional power sources. IC programming is achieved by I2C interface. I used Kali Linux and USbasp adapter with I2C firmware. Here is the test video, charger is supplied from the stable power source. Efficiency graph was received from IC engineers and shown below.

Internal setting provides maximum 1.6A charge current. I’ve tried to increase up to 2A but the IC temperature is highly increasing, it’s not worth. Input is protected by zener diode 6.8V. It becomes rather hot, especially on the light load when the solar panel voltage is rising.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ezqwaVXjSg

Solar panel
Seriously, I was thinking many times about DIY portable solar panels, finally Poweradd 14W is my choice. I cut off a native dc-dc converter, now the SC voltage is about 7.1V and maximum power achieved 10W. There’s nothing to add, works perfect.

Boost converter
High efficiency step-up converter TPS61032. Cut off voltage 3V, controlled by voltage detector. The time is past, now I’m going to use the next generation TPS61235.

Led driver
A Led driver is one of the most critical parts. Thanks to custom flashlight builder “Tamagotchi”, one of the best step-down drivers for single led/li-ion is available. So, detailed description is too large, I’m not sure whether you need it or not, otherwise ask any questions. It has wide features – cut off voltage (2.5, 3V), light beacon variations, strobe lights, SoC indication, blocking the button, flexible modes, everything is adjusting through the engineering menu.

Placing all the components that generate heat in one construction is quite complicated task with some limitations. But we can improve characteristics using best end components and do not exceed the barrier. In my case led current is about 800mA, I suppose, it’s enough for headlamp. Well, there’s no perfect devices, that’s why there’re so many different flashlights on sale.

Light system: XP-L BV3-F5 but XM-L2 U3 3D planned due to larger sink pad, Carclo optics 20mm medium.
Lux output vs led temperature. Special Thanks to “Egroeg” for testing.
https://youtu.be/9UdjnIpfVD4

Conclusions
Total leakage current 20uA, li-ion can be left inside, there’s no need to worry about excessive discharging. Quality plugs is essential that’s why you can see XT30, from now micro usb is also in the past. All requirements to the efficiency are met using best end components.

To summarize, you can use flashlight, power bank, charge and discharge at the same time, assuming mppt presence, device has maximum efficiency with solar panels. In addition there’s a plug on the board for the external 3.7V li-ion.

At the moment I stuck at one point, designing 3D model. Alright I’m gonna solve it. Problems? Heh, problems is for pu*sies! The case can be made on 3D printer. When I’m asking “what is the best filament for flashlights”? Silence. Choice between Nylon or PET, also may be ABS because it’s cheaper. If I succeed, without doubts, I’ll do it. It’s gonna be an open source project. I mean, everyone would be able to print a flashlight and customization capabilities are great. Seems not bad, you would agree with me, don’t you?

Why I’m here? Fresh point of view, new ideas exchange and a little bit of motivation. To the surprise, that’s my first and the only one flashlight. Thanks to all guys supporting me.

What you think about that? If you’re enjoyed, leave comments, subscribe the channel (oh it’s not youtube) Facepalm Anyway, you’re welcome! Smile

Outdoor
What can be better than love and respect to the nature? Furthermore we depend on each other. So that, lifestyle determines a lot. On my mind, everything should be in moderation, especially while traveling and solar panel with a wide functional device could give us more freedom. I’ve seen different wonderful places but definitely Crimea is on the 1st place in my heart.

References
Theory is everything. For those, who wants to learn more about the solar energy, I would recommend to acquaint with this thesis. It reveals basics (secrets) of solar energy efficiency technologies. Material understanding does not require any special knowledges, overview is starting from the beginning step by step. In my time it helped to satisfy my thirst in questions.
MPPT Algorithms for Photovoltaic Applications “:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5UZoGmkPR9UWnZlWjVKRUF1c3c/view?usp=sh...

Debug path
Everyone who has passed through this way, should know what is that. Sometimes the dark side rises inside me.

Update 1
What’s new? First of all a new pcb, TPS61235, 5V on average 3.5A supply load? Pff, what can be easier. Compact Attiny85V, cheaper and better driver inductor, improved layout, XT30 plugs on the board, reverse polarity protection was removed (everything depend on you, believe.. I’ve learned this lesson). I had to dedome XP-L, led silicone got rust, that’s the 4rd prototype pcb, I’m not surprised, so the time has come.

I wish, I could push the button and turn back the time. TPS61235 chip got burned into ashes. Obivan! Nooooo! Shocked Anyway the 1st start was successful, I had got 5.1V output under the load before an epic fail occurred. The rest of the scheme works well. Diy pcb soldering requires a lot of attention, time and nerves. As I said, debug path is painful. As soon as I design the final version, I will order factory pcb.

My topic on a profile 3D forum didn’t bring any results. Current issues haven’t been solved yet.
I’m pumping Solidworks skill at the moment.
http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?159,704360

If everything were so smooth, I would show you much more. Hope it’s gonna happen soon. Have a nice evening!
https://youtu.be/H5tEnUCSkuY?t=100

Update 2
What did you say, a quality power supply circuit? It’s not an issue any more. I dont know how about the photo but in reality it looks quite reliable. Obviously, that micro usb plugs is more compact but minor difference in size no matter. Of course I wish the flashlight had smaller diameter. Hope I’m on the final straight.

As I mentioned before, step-up converter got burned during debug. I’m going to order one more, when it becomes possible. It should not influence on the whole process.

The device has some functional, setting better components we get benefits in efficiency and power limit, so that typical power banks are losing their advantage. Based on needs, it’s convinient to vary amount of li-ion through the external plug. Wide functionality is getting real.

Update 3
Long time no see. I have some cookies for you Smile
Here’s a short time video, that shows end parameters after all losses and conversions. The tester was connected between the li-ion and charger. About 2PM, light clouds, 10C outdoor.
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPGepxSf6utB3ppyO6c4f1jvL-cLTXcbdIF...

We have made “fonarevka” in Dnipro on the days. That was really technical and productive meeting due to many unique customs and ideas exchange. I’m the only one who brought the solar panel at night Facepalm But.. it can’t be dark, where the meteor M43 is Smile Motivation raised, now I know the only one thing, we must keep going!

Edited by: Reyden on 11/14/2016 - 03:52
djozz
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I will read this post thoroughly when I have time tonight, thanks for the write-up, but for the moment I was a bit distracted by the word ‘Reylight’, because we have a member here at BLF (WWEFANS) who makes his lights and special editions under the same name: ‘Reylight’.

Reyden
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djozz wrote:
I will read this post thoroughly when I have time tonight, thanks for the write-up, but for the moment I was a bit distracted by the word ‘Reylight’, because we have a member here at BLF (WWEFANS) who makes his lights and special editions under the same name: ‘Reylight’.

I heard about this brand, when I google “Reylight” for uniqueness. Unfortunately my nickname is very similar. I can rename the topic if it’s necessary. Yes I’ll do it right now. SWIFT – Solar Wide Functional Headlamp.
akhyar
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Seems like the photos never appears at my end.
As someone already mentioned, we already have “Reylight” branded lights by our member here, and his lights are also sold with the same name over at CPF, so a new name can remove any misunderstanding

The Miller
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SWIFT is a good name Wink

In simple post editor there is a little icon to add pics, click , paste link in first field, type max.100 in second field and paste link in last field to have the pics show and not be to wide for us phone gazers Smile

Reyden
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The Miller wrote:
In simple post editor there is a little icon to add pics, click , paste link in first field, type max.100 in second field and paste link in last field to have the pics show and not be to wide for us phone gazers Smile

New interface.., it’s like a spacecraft. The first link is for phones? I’ve found a normal database for pics, eh.. all night long..everything from the beginning. My apologies, I’ll try to fix it.
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Can’t see the pics but sure sound interesting.

Reyden
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Did some fixes. Does everybody can see the photos right now?

akhyar
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Reyden wrote:
Did some fixes. Does everybody can see the photos right now?

I can see the photos now

sidecross
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I am glad you told me about this thread you stated, and I tip my cap to your work and creativity. Nice work!

“You must have a plan, if you don’t have a plan, you will become part of someone else’s plan.” Terence McKenna

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sidecross wrote:
I tip my cap to your work and creativity. Nice work!

Thanks for the positive! Hope it’s gonna to be worth it in the end, nope it’s already worth, I keep this device always with me in backpack. Unfortunately the solar panel is often stay lying in the box because there’re lots of power sockets around. But from time to time, we face the adventures!
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Nice project! It is interesting to hear about how to make a light as efficient as possible, starting with the solar panel all the way to the amount of light that is produced.
I have litlle input for this because it is very much an electronical thing and that is not my subject.
Keep us informed! Smile

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djozz wrote:
Nice project! It is interesting to hear about how to make a light as efficient as possible, starting with the solar panel all the way to the amount of light that is produced.
I have litlle input for this because it is very much an electronical thing and that is not my subject.

I do appreciate your interest! I agree, it impresses, when light – produces light. Searching for the li-ion solar charger was a challenge. I digged everything around, it’s very rare IC, even TI Instruments had nothing suitable, I wish, the charger could consume more power but 10W is maximum at the moment. All other components have strong characteristics, for example step-up converter can easily provide 3.5 A (90-97% efficiency depending on li-ion state of charge SOC) load up to 8A maximum, of course it will heat but even an average power bank isn’t always able to do the same.
Quote:
Keep us informed!

Tomorrow will be the judgement day, the time to solder a new pcb has come, if something burn out, you might be the fist who hear my voice Smile Debug path is painful.

By the way, I’ve read your “Springs” test recently, find out it extremely useful. Thank you man. I decided to choose Fasttech ‘carobronze’ because of not high load currents of the single li-ion, current path of the external li-ion will come through the XT30 plug.

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Efficiency is the high-ground.

Look forward to your results and further steps you take.

“You must have a plan, if you don’t have a plan, you will become part of someone else’s plan.” Terence McKenna

finges
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Interesting topic, I am also looking around for solutions to charge li-ions from solar.

Do you know about the CN3722 chip? Here is the datasheet http://admw.uk/j5

Here is a ready made charge controller using this chip http://www.ebay.de/itm/181908611611

And here a review of this charge controller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liYZ5pYOZDE

I plan to order this and use a 75W solar panel I already have lying around to charge a 3S li-ion battery pack, should work I hope.

edit: Where do you got the li-ion charger from?

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If you can make your led engine fit some headlamp that already exist, it can be popular, you will be able to sell them as transformation kit.
Otherwise making plastic cases on 3D printer by 1pcs will cost more than zebralight for 95% of users.

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Quote:
Do you know about the CN3722 chip?

Yes, it’s well known from me. But as for the efficiency, it doesn’t have a real mppt, so if weather conditions changing, device won’t track solar panel’s IV curve, basically this device is functioning with a static mpp instead of tracking. It will work and not really bad, anyway there’s an issue whether it worth to use advanced system, that in a few times more expensive. Check here, some good fully integrated solar chargers.
http://genasun.com/products-store/mppt-solar-charge-controllers/mppt-for...
Quote:
I plan to order this and use a 75W solar panel I already have lying around to charge a 3S li-ion battery pack, should work I hope.

I’m just worrying about rather high system power, you know.. pcb will heat. I’m not sure that it’s possible to load this charger more than 25W without radiator, you should take it into account. As a rule power is growing together with lossless therefore a total efficiency should be in a priority here or not really if you have enough solar power. You know, if it weren’t for so expensive solar W/$ and mppt controllers cost, everything would be ok, that’s why we have to find balance.

I know one man, who’s actively exploiting CN3722 at the moment. As for me, I always read his blog with passion, especially the electronics chapter, but there’s no english language. Here’s is the link. Just try to translate, hope you’ll find it useful.
http://www.shpilev.net/archives/663

Quote:
Where do you got the li-ion charger from?

Well, I was lucky and bought a few pcs in my local store, when it costed around 3$, but Zmdi company is rebranding to Idt, that’s why this IC haven’t been selling so far. The total cost of the charger’s pcb is about 8$ including all recommending components. You may find test boards on mouser or farnell but they cost quite a lot.
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kiriba-ru wrote:
If you can make your led engine fit some headlamp that already exist, it can be popular, you will be able to sell them as transformation kit.
Otherwise making plastic cases on 3D printer by 1pcs will cost more than zebralight for 95% of users.

I wish, I could.. Look, there’s no suitable headlamp having enough place inside for all this electronics. I might find some examples but they’re not wide spread, their quality and price deserve better.

About the price, I don’t know, what’s a real self-cost of an average zebralight. There’re much more functions in my device, that’s why it’s hard to discuss price difference. It has already cost me 45$. I can’t mark any benefits of zebralight headlamp compared to my fully completed device, except one – more lumens but happiness lies not in lumens.

That’s really nice, when you’re not tied to a certain flashlight. 3D printing has began available as never before, even a kid is able to create a simple model. Prices are mainly depend on the filament and weight. I’m going to spent about 10$ for the first example, it’s not really expensive as seems. No matter, you order 1 pcs or 20 pcs, technology is the same. Therefore I suppose that’s a right direction. After making a 3D model, we could back to this point.

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finges wrote:
Interesting topic, I am also looking around for solutions to charge li-ions from solar.

If I were you, I would prefer this charger (link below) to CN3722. Just because it’s TI, pcb probably has better thermal perfomance. I know very well this chip, that was my first acquaintance with this topic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjvV_yBvZdw
I would reccomend you to check YZXstudio DIY on Taobao. I have no idea what the voltage of your solar panel, it’s all up to you.
https://shop35123736.world.taobao.com/?spm=a312a.7728559.2015080705.3.JF...
finges wrote:
Where do you got the li-ion charger from?

Try this one, it’s must be the same and still available on sale. There are also chargers for Ni-Mh and Supercap.
http://eu.mouser.com/new/semtech/semtech-ts52001/
finges
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Thank you for your suggestion with the BQ24650. This looks like a good match to my 75W panel.

Edit: just ordered a board with this chip

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Thread have been updated. “Update 1.”

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A food for thought. What type of plugs would you choose? If you had a mini-power bank, that can provide high current 5V output. Especially, when there’s a possibility to connect external li-ion with higher capacity.

I’m using XT30 plugs at the moment, their disadvantage is low compatibility with different interfaces to accelerate the charge process. Usb type-c plugs might be widespread in the nearest future but they’re not serious in front of XT30 due to higher resistance. During the hiking, a tiny plug can be dropped in the mud and become unusable. So compatibility vs efficiency and reliability. On my mind there’s no sense to complicate current concept, you have 2 output wires, all the rest depends on your wishes. Am I on the right way?

About reverse polarity protection. Plugs will not allow to mix up the polarity. There’s only one path to burn the board while inserting the li-ion. Hope everybody has eyes. Yes, sometimes shit happens, it’s sad but also teaches us to be more responsible. I am for consequences Facepalm

Let me know if you wanted to see more detailed DIY (Do It Yourself) guides dedicated to this project.

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cool idea. Smile building Solar-recharged lights always catches my attention. Big Smile

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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All the best for your project Reyden. DBSAR is the resident camping light expert. Do I see a collaboration here in the future? Smile

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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MRsDNF wrote:
All the best for your project Reyden. DBSAR is the resident camping light expert. Do I see a collaboration here in the future? Smile

Thank you! Well.. who knows, I told you why I’m here and always opened for discussion.

For now, I have a few tasks: designing 3D model, soldering another pcb (hope sucsessful), layout changes are not expected. Once all the parts are adjusted, I will be able to improve each of them. I don’t ask for help but if someone wants to support me, that would be great. Failed debug slows down the process, I’m going to order new TPS61235 chip.

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Solar charger, power bank, and led driver all in one, definitely an interesting and ambitious project. Best of luck with this.

No reverse battery protection? A lot of investment at risk for a sub $1 part? http://www.ti.com/lit/an/slva139/slva139.pdf

Kent

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nickelflipper wrote:
Solar charger, power bank, and led driver all in one, definitely an interesting and ambitious project. Best of luck with this. No reverse battery protection? A lot of investment at risk for a sub $1 part?

Thank you man! Frankly speaking, I didn’t find suitable place on the pcb without additional metallization holes. As for me I dont need it. But you may have been right. For example, any kid can spoil the device easily. I’ve bought a few SI7655ADN-T1, exactly costed 1$ each but decided not to use. Alright I’ll take it in attention.

By the way, I have one idea how to improve thermal resitance. Thermal vias on the factory pcb must be filled with solder. As a reult the surface become rough. To smooth roughness I would like to solder copper termopad 1mm on the back side or use silicone thermopad. I’ve not decided yet.

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As I said, open source project is in priority. Manufacturers spend years developing upgraded versions. A great advantage when you’re able to make changes by yourself and not a small fix but a brand new case, that can be created from plastic filament on 3D printer. The same thing with a scheme, it’s quite easy to provide improvements, especially with a fresh ideas and great community.

So there are two ways: half and full DIY. I could order a factory pcb, that would be available on sale as a module with other parts and attached stl 3D model. For the rest people, it might be a guide, how to do it by yourself. Particularly, delivery and mass production issues are a part of most projects, as a result it goes slowly and require a lot of money. I would like to avoid this path.

What kind of realization do you expect from this project?

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Reyden,

I want to congratulate you on your initiative and vision.

I use Solar panels to charge my Li-on cells on almost a daily basis. And I use a head lamp (NICHIA emitter modified) to read every evening.

With that said I have read your mission statement but to me I don’t see why. (but I am not a hard core climber either)(I will never sleep in a mummy bag spiked to the side of a mountain face)

Issue: Solar Panels are often sub optimized (don’t meet test max specifications in real life) I use a 50% fudge factor meaning I only expect 50% output from spec.
Solution: used overrated panels for task.

Issue: Power Banks Capacity, Maximum current, Weight
Solution: use Larger Power Banks and realize that the weight penalty is simply a current technological requirement, or bring extra cells to be charged.

Issue: Headlamps are often wanted to have high CRI floody beams and are light weight. Floody beams take lots of power to cover large areas.
Solution: High CRI is easy, Floody is easy and one needs to accept limits of how much area is/can be covered in flood with the power availible.

For head lamps close work is a good use and the obviates the issue of needing “large” flood lights. Use small light replaceable batteries with out carrying a large power bank around all the time.

My solution is to have a separate solar panel, a separate charger/power bank, and a separate head light. There is no doubt that my solution costs more and weighs more but it allows so much flexibility, for me it is simply a better solution.

For situations where more then one device needs power the ability to move batteries is so much more effective and efficient then trying to have every device have its own, (Charge controller/power bank) and possible solar panel.

Again, I am glad that you are out there solving the all in one solution.

(“It’s good that most people can’t remember their previous lives. Otherwise
things would be a lot more complicated than they already are.”
Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo)

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Thank you for the response Ronin42. I’m glad to hear.
I will try to comment current issues through the prism of this project.

Quote:
Issue: Solar Panels

My Poweradd 14W is about 10W in a real life. But there are so many factors that could influence on the output parameters, in most cases users do not realize how to provide correct measurement. So, it’s a usual situation, when max specifications doesn’t not match. I do not exclude manufacturer’s fault. Yeah.., more powerful and quality solar panel, mppt controller have to solve this issue.
Quote:
Issue: Headlamps

I appreciate high CRI light but it has much lower efficiency compared to normal CRI led bins. Sometimes it’s really hard to notice the color difference at the same temperature. I suppose that HICRI is not so important while reading, because paper color is mainly black and white. High CRI XHP Cree series has a bright future, they’re more powerful than Nichia leds and allows to get more lm/W. In addition EasyWhite technology helps to achieve more stable color without artefacts. Here’re the test reports of Nichia218B/XHP50.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5UZoGmkPR9URTQzMUlnQm1vN1E
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5UZoGmkPR9UbnNkN0prMy1tdFk
Quote:
My solution is to have a separate solar panel, a separate charger/power bank, and a separate head light.

As for more flexibility of a separate concept rather than everything in one. There’s no doubts, everything depends on the needs. Devices are usually fit on each other, if one of them does not meet the requirements the other one can be chosen. A separate device could have more functions as a result good flexibility. It’s all up to you, what exactly you want take. But I don’t want to pay for unused functions.

This project called “wide functional” because it combines a sufficient amount of quality functions for the outdoor/hiking/city usage. First of all I look at characteristics, some of the them are unique and rather hard to find analogs, therefore I appreciate customs. Of course it can’t be perfect for everyone. I’m on your side and understand why you decided to choose this way.

The question is next, what can I improve? There’s no other li-ion mppt charger on sale but 1.7A must be enough for a single li-ion. Headlamp power (at the moment 1.2W and 2.5W turbo) depends on the heatsink and power supply. I chose plastic case for a several reasons. 3D printing is cheap and available for everyone, easier to manufacture, can be made aluminium case from 3D model in future. No sense to develop another one headlamp like zebralight/skilhunt, their customs is also on sale. But I’m ready for the experiments.

Reyden
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Joined: 08/24/2016 - 16:09
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Location: Ukraine

Hey guys! I’ve gathered the most actual information in one video. Especially must be interesting the flashlight control and boost converter test, that I had never mentioned before.

SWIFT project begins here. Hope you enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRPI_2HU6a0