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JasonWW
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The Miller wrote:
Wavien collar, search BLF Jason

Okay, I’ve seen those before. That seems useful only for an extreme thrower. We already have the GT.

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1. That is useful for any thrower regardless of size. What I find the most appealing is zoomie that fits in pants pocket, but puts 800 lm in a 500 kcd hotspot. With SST-40. (Though I have some unsolved problems with it, that’s why you haven’t seen me mentioning it here).
2. Frankly, I think that flat LED itself is a prior art (assuming it’s earlier than the patent). The flat silicon-air boundary reflects more of side-facing light back to the die, further energizing it. But even if it is indeed prior art or we find another one, patent invalidation is very hard and costly.

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I have made a 3d design for someone to experiment en test with it.

So the idea is out there. Wink

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Agro wrote:
* Is it possible to do without a patent license? Is there any real risk for a Chinese manufacturer? If yes, any chance of finding a manufacturer who won’t be scared off?
From what I’ve seen, patent lawsuits generally fall in one of two categories: settle for money (ideally lots from a large company but a little from many small business is just as well for patent trolls) or block your competition from delivering their product (megacorp patent war).

So I’d say the risk for small scale Chinese manufacturer of flashlights is very near zero. If they were selling, say, millions of dollars of street lighting equipment, then someone might try to block import of their product. For a few flashlights sold directly to customers? Good luck trying to do anything about it.

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When it come to copyrights and patents, China is like the Wild Wild West. That’s why they copy and clone pretty much everything, including iPhones.

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Agro
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There is a light that I’ve been dreaming of for a while:

  • zoomie
  • good throw, OK (or better) flood
  • big-edc size (think B158 or a little bigger). 45-50 mm lens, 21700 battery.
  • e-switch

I spent quite a lot of time thinking through several obstacles. Today I made the fist sketch. It uncovered other ones.

First, some numbers. A focused zoomie with a lens that has f-number of 1 collects only 20% of light. All the rest hits the flashlight body.
I wanted to improve it and I evaluated several options.

  1. Mirror adds rings to the beam around the emitter image.
  2. TIR lens should be similar
  3. Precollimator lens increases the projected emitter size without significantly affecting throw.
    It also greatly narrows the flood beam. Maybe it should be defocused together with the main lens to get rid of that effect…
    It’s relatively cheap. It can recycle nearly all of the lost light.
  4. Waiven collar. It makes the image of the same size, but brighter. It’s less good at improving efficiency, can recycle only about a third of collected light. The rest is wasted either by not being reflected (as far as I understand it reflects only the most promising frequency) or not re-emitted (and probably ending up as heat). It also reduces beam width, though slightly less than a precollimator.
  5. 2-stage collar. A part of the collar is mounted on LED PCB and a part near the lens. It should collect slightly more light than a regular one, but the main advantage is that it has smaller effect on the flood beam. Since the near-led part doesn’t have to collect a lot of light, it can have wider opening and thus:
  • block less light from the lens
  • be slightly lower, allowing deeper de-focus
    2-stage collar acts funny when zooming. It comes out of focus very quickly, making the beam lose a lot of intensity in the initial zooming stage and much less later.

2-stage collar seems like the best option as it allows a fairly wide beam and extreme throw distance in the same light. Though the legal challenges may make it infeasible. Legalities aside, it’s going to be costlier too. For the budget we can have either a good thrower or a good flooder. Or neither. But I see no way to do both (though maybe some precollimator defocusing would help).

When it comes to the emitter / driver I see 3 good options:
1.Dedomed SST-40 with buck-boost driver to keep it exactly at the current that we want. FET won’t work because 21700-30T will blow the LED.
Very high throw, good efficiency, the highest price.
2. XHP35 HI with a boost driver. Less throw, less price, easier to manufacture, better efficiency, better flood. But throw is much worse and there’s the dark cross in the middle of the focus beam.
3. XP-L HI. Oldie, but still a good option. Paired with FET+1 for a good price.

Now, my drawing:

For the purpose of drawing, I used a 50 mm lens. I guess a 45 mm would be better really. And I certainly made some parts too thin. And tolerances too tight. It’s a sketch, you know. Also, the drawing uses a 2-stage collar where the moving part is Fresnel style. Being Fresnel style is not important, I just liked to draw it like that.
Problems:

  • I failed to account for the threads for battery insertion. Easy fix.
  • There is no switch. And the only sensible way to put an e-switch that I see is to FW3A it.
  • Cooling is bad. I mean really, really bad. And I see no way to fix it.

At the end, I’s also point out one potential obstacle. Collar needs to be positioned very precisely. Will various abuses that EDC light will endure make the collar lose focus over time?

Thoughts?

Enderman
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For zoom to flood, you can’t really beat led lenser’s optics.
Can’t use a collar with it though, but it does collect 100% of the LED light when zoomed, which is the main problem with normal zoomies.
It is half TIR and half aspheric.

A precollimator makes the beam diverge more and create a bigger spot, it does not make it narrower.
A wavien collar does not change the beam divergence, it slightly more than doubles the lux and lumen output, increasing the efficiency from ~25% to ~50%.
(assuming the lens collects all 60 degrees of light coming out of the collar)

Two stage collar is an interesting idea, that would give you basically two different lux measurements and spot sizes.
Only problem is that it would cost at least several hundred dollars to get the small collar made, and probably ~1000 for the secondary one.

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Agro:
For better heat management I think you need to make the tube much thicker where it contacts the zooming part. IMHO this is the only option to make it better. Thick tube like 5-6mm walls and bigger diameter for zoom threads. The light’s thickest point still will be the head so I think it is acceptable.
Or to make it even better The tube can have 3mm holes in almost full length and we can insert 6-7 3mm thick round heat pipes in all length and those will send the heat to the tailcap part. Also at the tailcap it can be some fins to help the heatpipes.

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Enderman wrote:
For zoom to flood, you can’t really beat led lenser’s optics.
Can’t use a collar with it though, but it does collect 100% of the LED light when zoomed, which is the main problem with normal zoomies.
It is half TIR and half aspheric.

Yes…it’s an interesting optic. But I’m yet to see a light with good throw (per size) and this type of optic.
Even if it can’t compete with collar, it still may be a great option.

Enderman wrote:
A precollimator makes the beam diverge more and create a bigger spot, it does not make it narrower.
A wavien collar does not change the beam divergence, it slightly more than doubles the lux and lumen output, increasing the efficiency from ~25% to ~50%.
(assuming the lens collects all 60 degrees of light coming out of the collar)

The way I understand is:
Before the main lens, precollimator narrows the beam significantly. After the main lens it becomes wider.
That’s in focus mode.
In flood mode, the narrowing means that light hits only a small part of the main lens, creating a narrower beam. I actually did some basic ray tracing of this and that’s where it made the beam narrower than blocking the light directly (with collar) would.

Enderman wrote:
Two stage collar is an interesting idea, that would give you basically two different lux measurements and spot sizes.
Only problem is that it would cost at least several hundred dollars to get the small collar made, and probably ~1000 for the secondary one.

I guess you mean a custom collar made from glass and custom coating tuned to reflect the desired frequency, right?
A regular aluminium reflector already reflects ~90% of light. May lose some more by being less smooth. But the price in volume shouldn’t be a problem.
Being tuned to the light will help recoup some of the loss. If it captures more light than the stock collar would, it’s likely to be a win.
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ZozzV6 wrote:
Agro:
For better heat management I think you need to make the tube much thicker where it contacts the zooming part. IMHO this is the only option to make it better. Thick tube like 5-6mm walls and bigger diameter for zoom threads. The light’s thickest point still will be the head so I think it is acceptable.
Or to make it even better The tube can have 3mm holes in almost full length and we can insert 6-7 3mm thick round heat pipes in all length and those will send the heat to the tailcap part. Also at the tailcap it can be some fins to help the heatpipes.

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into it.
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BTW, Enderman, do you have an idea how much would a top-notch collar cost in volume?

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isn’t it just a reflector with a very large hole and a specific wider curve?
I don’t see why such thing would be very much more expensive then a reflector

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OK, did some tweaks:

  • added a switch
  • added threads for battery insertion
  • enlarged zooming threads a bit
  • switched lens to 40 mm EFL one. This is a big change. It freed a lot of space all over the light.
    Not done: I should redo the collars as now one blocks the other. This would lead to redoing the head. Outside dimensions wouldn’t change much, so I skipped this step for now.

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A note about collars vs. other techniques:
Collar is the only optics that actually improves beam intensity over a simple lens. Otherwise, to get the same effect you would have to increase lens diameter. The zoomie above has a 50 mm lens and does 400+ kcd with SST-40. If it was collarless we’d have to scale it up to 70 mm to achieve the same effect. Body length would increase by nearly 20 mm as well.

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Agro wrote:

Yes…it’s an interesting optic. But I’m yet to see a light with good throw (per size) and this type of optic.
Even if it can’t compete with collar, it still may be a great option.

I haven’t found any 14500 or smaller flashlight that can do 250m throw for 4h on max like my P5r.2 can do.
If you put a more powerful LED in it you can probably get 500+m throw out of that tiny thing Smile

Agro wrote:

The way I understand is:
Before the main lens, precollimator narrows the beam significantly. After the main lens it becomes wider.
That’s in focus mode.
In flood mode, the narrowing means that light hits only a small part of the main lens, creating a narrower beam. I actually did some basic ray tracing of this and that’s where it made the beam narrower than blocking the light directly (with collar) would..

It’s not really a beam until it exits the light, the precollimator just reduces the output angle from the LED.
The spot created by the flashlight will always be larger when using a precollimator.
It collects more lumens, and makes the spot larger, essentially leaving the same intensity.

There are other things such as glass transmission and surface quality that will affect the performance though, so you can probably expect less lux when using a precollimator.

Adding a precollimator essentially reduces the focal length of the dual-lens system (this can be mathematically calculated), and as you probably already know a shorter focal length will mean more lumens collected and a bigger spot.

Agro wrote:

I guess you mean a custom collar made from glass and custom coating tuned to reflect the desired frequency, right?
A regular aluminium reflector already reflects ~90% of light. May lose some more by being less smooth. But the price in volume shouldn’t be a problem.
Being tuned to the light will help recoup some of the loss. If it captures more light than the stock collar would, it’s likely to be a win.

It’s called a cold mirror, and they typically reflect 99% of light in the visible range.
Some people were discussing in PMs about getting some aluminum ones machined.
A typical aluminum reflector like you see in flashlights is 75% reflective, not 90%.
If you want to get 90% you will need an electroformed reflector, which is also expensive, especially since nobody produces them at the size that would work for a collar (yes i’ve checked).
A custom job will cost several thousand dollars because they need to produce a mandrel for it.

Agro wrote:
BTW, Enderman, do you have an idea how much would a top-notch collar cost in volume?

No idea, it would depend on what manufacturer you go to, and how many you want produced.
A single one will cost about $1k.
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Thanks, I need to get some basic optical design knowledge…

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Enderman wrote:
A typical aluminum reflector like you see in flashlights is 75% reflective, not 90%.

Where did you get this number?

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> where …

Lots of instances: https://www.google.com/search?q=typical+aluminum+reflector+like+you+see+...

click/tools/verbatim to limit the search results

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hank wrote:
> where …

Lots of instances: https://www.google.com/search?q=typical+aluminum+reflector+like+you+see+...

click/tools/verbatim to limit the search results

I checked all the first links.
I did not find any statements regarding this except an older post from Enderman where he claims the same thing because he thinks that normal flashlight reflectors are polished. From what I can tell the majority are coated (after first being polished). Every standard flashlight reflector in good lights has a coating of vapor diposited aluminium. Even the plastic maglite reflectors have this in some form (maybe not aluminium, not sure). It’s nothing special and not very expensive.
.
I have never seen anyone do actual measurements with a high degree of certainty and low possible error which prove that standard flashlight reflectors only reflect 75%, never.
.
It also has nothing to do with electroforming. Electroforming is the process of creating the actual shape of the reflector. This shape (made of nickel) can then be coated using different methods. It’s mainly needed for higher accuracy!
.
Sere here for an interview of the ceo of 4Sevens where he explains how they produce their reflectors: https://gizmodo.com/how-led-flashlights-are-designed-and-manufactured-15...
4sevens offers a 30$ regulated EDC light with bluetooth functionality and such a reflector. It can’t really be that expsenive to use such coating if they can do it at this price point!
.
Here post from Ra (optics engineer) also agrees with this. He says that aluminium reflectors reflect 88% of the light (the total efficiency he talks about is referring to how much light actually goes into the hotspot compared to a TIR lens, which he prefers).
.
Or here:

hank
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First 2 results I see include the 75% figure. But Google does not show identical search results to everyone for the same query.

Quote:

Shining a Light on Reflective Materials – Maximum Yield

https://www.maximumyield.com/shining-a-light-on-reflective-materials/2/1487

Jul 11, 2017 – One good example is the use of a reflector hood to divert light that would … like grow tents that include light reflective walls, ceilings and floors. … Mirrors – If you’ve thought of using aluminum foil to reflect light onto … Flat, bright white paint from any local home improvement store will be 75% reflective or more.

Some reports place that figure at closer to 90%.

Reflector, efficiency? – CandlePowerForums

www.candlepowerforums.com › Forum › Flashlights › General Flashlight Discussion

Jun 8, 2007 – 28 posts – ‎11 authors
Nowadays, most reflectors use aluminium as reflection material. … That’s why I wish we would see more flashlights, especially LED lights, … It all boils down to A) getting the light out of the flashlight and B) directing it where you want it. …. and because those 75 % have been common some xx years ago and …

More turns up with a focused search:

Quote:
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Acandlepowerforums.com+reflector+e...

(I try not to get caught up in arguing over there, some of those threads get a bit snarky)

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http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?111807-Reflector-effi...
http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?106790-bLu-vs-tLu-IS-conf...

The reason it seems like less than 25% loss when you measure the flashlight lumens is because not all of the light is actually hitting the reflector, about 1/4 to 1/2 of the light exits the flashlight as spill, unaffected by reflector losses.

Maybe newer technology has changed this since then, like with the new nitecore reflectors and stuff like that.
It’s not going to be anywhere close to 90% though, you need electroforming for that.
Maybe like 80-85% at best.

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Enderman wrote:
http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?106790-bLu-vs-tLu-IS-conf...

The only real testing being posted so far.
But even their test is not perfect. They didn’t actually test the bulb without the reflector. Bulbs have manufacturing tolerances like everything else. Also, they are using a potted bulb. The base that it is pottet into obviously absorbs some of the light that the bulb reflects towards it’s legs.

So in general it doesn’t make much sense to compare the values the way they did. The should have tested the potted bulb without the reflector first.

Their 65% factor is probably accurate, but only for flashlights with bulbs and uncoated lenses! The lumens of lightbulbs are reduced more compared to LEDs.

Concerning Nitecore:
I would be rather suprised if they actually did something special. To me it sounds like they invented nice marketing terms for the same processes that 4sevens uses (aluminium pvd coating and afterwards a clear coat to prevent oxidation).

EDIT: I found another test. He tested a regulated, modded LED maglite with different reflectors, lenses, with and without bezel. He also tested for a baseline value. His numbers seem a bit off though. Borofloat glass should be around 94%, he measured 98.
The problem here is that one really needs to use a rather accurate luxmeter-sphere (if one doesn’t have access to a real calibrated IS) to get meaningful results. Otherwise you just never know if you measured something useful.

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Point is, the reflectance of the reflector is not anywhere near 90%, it’s closer to 80 I would guess.
Electroforming doesn’t only make a more accurate shape, but a lower surface roughness also increases the reflectivity.
Absorption and scatter depend on how accurate the surface is, to fractions of a wavelength of light.

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No matter what the actual values are, I think this topic deserves a more in depth Look.

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Agree.

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So when you guys are talking about the efficiency or reflectance of a reflector your talking about how much light hits the reflector and how much goes out the front, missing the reflector.

I thought you were talking about the efficiency of the reflector coating which has to be like 97+%.

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Enderman
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JasonWW wrote:
So when you guys are talking about the efficiency or reflectance of a reflector your talking about how much light hits the reflector and how much goes out the front, missing the reflector.

I thought you were talking about the efficiency of the reflector coating which has to be like 97+%.


No, we’re talking about the reflectivity of the reflector surface.

It is 75-85% for the typical aluminum flashlight reflector.

A precision electroformed reflector with aluminum coating is 92%.
An extremely expensive and delicate silver coating is 97%.
A dielectric stack or cold mirror is even more expensive and approaches 99%.

JasonWW
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Enderman wrote:

It is 75-85% for the typical aluminum flashlight reflector.

A precision electroformed reflector with aluminum coating is 92%.
An extremely expensive and delicate silver coating is 97%.
A dielectric stack or cold mirror is even more expensive and approaches 99%.


Yikes! I see a mirror looking finish and just assume it’s more than 85%.

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JasonWW wrote:

Yikes! I see a mirror looking finish and just assume it’s more than 85%.

Nope, not even close Sad
Even the silver coating was unaffordable for me for my custom reflectors I’m ordering.
In order to not react with oxygen it also needs special protection coatings.
The problem with cold mirrors is that they need to be made of glass, so instead of $400 per reflector I would probably be paying $4000.
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Another set of zoomie drawings.
First, in the zoomies I drew before I confused some optical parameters. Most importantly focal length with back focal length. Zomming action needs to be much shorter than I anticipated.
Second, I actually used a real lens in the drawings. It was very expensive, but I hoped there wouldn’t be a big difference if a cheaper one was used. I switched to a cheaper one now (though still not cheap, €49 when buying 1 piece).

As you can see, threads are way longer now and I stopped worrying about thermal transfer. The whole light is slightly shorter too.

Since focal lengths can be really short, I wanted to investigate a zoomie suggested before: where the precollimator is the only moving part.
But I haven’t acquired the skills to draw one yet….so instead I drew a non-zooming aspheric with even stronger lens

Side switch, thinner battery tube, ~13 mm longer than the zoomie above. With a pre-collimator it could possibly be even slightly shorter. As it is, even taking into account my drawing’s sloppiness, it should be shorter than B158.

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