2*AA side-by-side aluminum flashlight - DCF01 by Sofirn (Formerly: Resurrection of Duracell Durabeam)

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Scallywag
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As much as I like the UI you've designed, I know if I handed a light like that to my dad he would get frustrated. I think if we simplified the UI, it could be the kind of light people would pick up at Target (next to Energizer's LED lights and whatever else) and truly like it when they get home. Not that I really expect Sofirn to end up in Target, although it would be cool if they did.

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@Boaz. Groucho Marx once said: I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
There are not many “clubs’” that have asked me to join them. And Mensa was certainly not one of them.
But I would feel very unconfortable if all those stupid lights on Ebay actually were bought by stupid people.
Or by young people who are not yet able to make up sound decisions or elderly people who lost that ability.
So let’s give them a light that let you and me sleep (separate) at night with a clear concience.

For I still remember my father being unable to manage simple things like using the zipper of his pants.
Days later they had to hoist him out of a foundation trench near the locked psych ward he was committed to.

EDIT: Don’t worry. Just some bruised ego’s. Including the management of the institution he “escaped” from.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

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rost333 wrote:
Updated:


This looks to break a couple of common UI paradigms we’re all used to, and having only 3 modes seems very limiting – even Olight uses 3 plus hidden turbo and moonlight.
I would start by looking at how Nitecore does two button UIs on their EC4 series of lights – you’re already using the same form factor and symbols on the switches. Most importantly, they use holding the mode switch as momentary Turbo from either on or off, which is incredibly useful.
For the emitters used at turn on, if you’re sticking with throw and flood I would go with memory of the last used mode – but I’m not sure the throw will be focused enough to justify a separate flood emitter on a light this sized.

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Boaz wrote:

I disagree..  make it smart and simple people will understand it . We’re not here to make stupid lights that stupid people can understand . there are a hundred thousand of them all over ebay for $6.

If you’re taking the time to do it, do it right .

Make it say BLF on it  … let them steal it after and call it whatever they want . 

Make it a High Cri light with a great tint  ..let them screw it up with cheap C.W. emitters later.

Assuming the second version will be better than the first means you just screwed up the first time .

I totally agree with you: Sturgeon’s law also holds true for flashlights. The horror! The horror!

However: if something/somebody is smart, simple, or stupid: who am I to judge?
Such perceived qualities are relative to context.

Most of the flashlight muggles that I personally know, are absolutely not stupid, they just have other priorities than most flashaholics.

Personally, I have no clue at all what “regular people” would prefer as user interface for a flashlight.
I know what I like in flashlight design, but how to design for people who are very differently?

Barry0892 wrote:
: I found flashlights for kids is a big need, it will be great if we can make one or improve one existed, simple UI, kids friendly, tough, cheap, nice looking for kids…..

I am not sure if in this thread by now consensus is reached about the actual target audience(s) of a resurrected Duracell Durabeam.

Nonetheless, some suggestions for designing flashlights for non-flashaholics.

Suggestion 1: Test with users

If the target audience for this light is non-flasholics then test a prototype with actual non-flashaholic people as users.
The people can be anyone: family members, friends, neighbours, random people in the street, colleagues.

Let people test the user interface, the ergonomics, the beam.
Let them try to turn it on, and off, or change modes.
Let them try to change the batteries, and let them put in the batteries backwards.
Let them drop the light on the ground. Facepalm
Let them rejoice in high-cri goodness. Smile
Let them stare into the flashlight while they turn it on. Innocent

Observe how they respond to the flashlight.
Ask them what they think of it.
And what could be improved.

Even better, let them actually use it for a while; and then let them report back.
Or let them film their actual use themselves; watch it back together with them, and discuss what you saw.

Aim for maximum diversity of people included from as many categories as possible: young children, teenagers, non-technical people, workmen, elderly people, disabled people, people who fear technology, gadget lovers. Perhaps even include flashaholics Wink

User testing results in better designs.
Users are not stupid, even if they have other priorities or perspectives.
As Alay Kay stated: “A change of perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”

Suggestion 2: Iterative design

Learn from your mistakes.
Try to make the best, and then test.
And then aim to improve useability.
In the words of Jakob Nielsen, make stuff that is:

Quote:
  • Easy to learn: The user can quickly go from not knowing the system to getting some work done with it.
  • Efficient to use: Once the user has learned the system, a high level of productivity is possible.
  • Easy to remember: The infrequent user is able to return to using the system after some period of not having used it, without having to learn everything all over.
  • Few errors: Users do not make many errors during the use of the system, or if they do make errors they can easily recover from them. Also, no catastrophic errors should occur.
  • Pleasant to use: Users are subjectively satisfied by using the system; they like it.

Suggestion 3: Cute design

Give the design character, so people can establish a connection with it.
Flashaholics attach to flashlights in different ways than non-flashaholics.
Make it look cute, friendly, fun.
Make the body white, yellow, or hi-viz orange.
Give it a face, literally.
Make it look non-technical.

Just my two cents.

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There's a few questions that dictate how simple or complicated the UI must be.

How many switches/buttons/whatever will there be? It looks like currently two e-switches.

Will there be fixed modes, ramping, or both? Personally, I have no problem with well-designed fixed modes. These should be based on the lumen output and the human perception of brightness (four times the lumens looks twice as bright). I've seen some bad lights with modes based on linear current values, like 0.5A, 1.5A, 2.5A.

Who is the actual target audience? If it's enthusiasts, you can go hog-wild on the interface. You could have a "simple" front-end with a hidden advanced mode. If it's not, then you need to make sure that if someone picks up the light and starts clicking, they will not only a) figure it out, but b) not end up in some configuration menu somewhere (sorry Anduril, I still love you). This also to some extent dictates what types of interactions you can have. For a muggle, you can probably only really use "click" and "click and hold", because they'll tend to rapid-click and they'll struggle with the interface if their clicks do different things at different times.

I'm currently leaning towards mode-based (not ramping) with two switches that have different purposes. An early idea I had was to use two switches, one per emitter. It's very simple, and basically turns it into a "two-flashlight" problem with the normal one-flashlight-one-button UI problems; those are well-addressed already in many lights and I could return to that and give a finished sample quickly. But I kind of like the other one better.

I'd like some feedback, though, on the bolded questions. For now:

  • Power button: Turns on, turns up, turns off.
    • Click from off to turn on at low (last emitter used)
    • While on:
      • Click to cycle brightness modes L->M->H (IMO 3 is enough, more is too much for muggles)
      • Click and hold to turn off. (Important that the hold is not too long, as this feature can frustrate some users)
  • Emitter button: Changes active emitter
    • What should a click from off do?
    • While on:
      • Click to switch between flood and throw
      • Click and hold to toggle "both emitters" mode on/off
        • So, if you're on flood, this toggles the throw emitter while leaving flood on.
        • If you're on throw, this toggles the flood emitter while leaving throw on. 
  • Also remaining unused is possible functions for "both switches at once"

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I think this should be a muggle friendly light that even your great grandma can easily use. Muggle friendly flashlights with good performance and features like hi cri is almost non existant. The best one I can think of is the Thrunite Archer. All the flashlights with good performance, tint, cri are all catered to enthusiasts. Even BLF lights with Anduril and Narsil are too complicated for most muggles from my experience.

I’m hoping this light will be successful and allow Sofirn to get some good reviews from non flashlight gadget review sites and gain recognition by the general (non flashaholic) public like Maglite, Duracell, Energizer but with better features and performance.

rost333
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Barry0892 wrote:
there are two ways sofirn can help.

One is you guys find a plastic light in alibaba, sofirn improve it according to your ideas and do the group buy.

the other is design a aluminum light you wanted, such as the 2*AA light.

the difficulty is not to fulfill it but to fulfill it at a low price.

The Durabeam modern version will have to wait until Sofirn is able to directlty produce high quality plastic flashlights.
At the same time sofirn gave us (I mean BLF members) a free hand to design 2*AA the way we would build it ourself.

Henk4U2 wrote:
I thought this thread was about reviving one (or some) of the iconic primitive flashlights that we remember from our youth(s)… Lights that last half a lifetime, at least in our minds…

Initially this thread was about reviving one (or some) of the iconic primitive flashlights, but after Barry’s post about the plastic light target of this tread has changed.
Now I’m trying to design 2*AA aluminum light.

Henk4U2 wrote:
You present us a well-thought, but not-very-simple, UI. That’s a bit beyond the original scope (IMHO) … That’s why I propose to reserve your UI for implementation in the S-version of this revival light.
slowtechstef wrote:
Produce the simple version first. If that works out, develop a second “improved” version.
Boaz wrote:
Make it smart and simple people will understand it. If you’re taking the time to do it, do it right. Make it say BLF on it, make it a High Cri light with a great tint

Sofirn C01 was build to the specification wished/requested by BLF community. Why not to build this 2*AA same way?
Let’s make it BLF version from the beginning. Later sofirn can simplify/change UI the way they want.

MascaratumB wrote:
I have some doubts and comments. - “runs on single AA battery”: Alkaline and Ni-MH? Also, this is just to inform that 1 single cell will power the flashlight, but it will not achieve the lumens it is supposed to with 2 cells, right?

This is an option to consider. Probably won’t happen due to cost.
Other things mentioned below UI are subjects for discussion .

MascaratumB wrote:
- As Henk4U2 mentioned, isn’t this UI too complicated for muggle people? Pressing ON/OFF in the button 2 and cycling between three well spaced and useful modes (L-M-H) through singles clicks in button 1 would be easier. This is more a flashaholic UI, even if we think it is simple!
slowtechstef wrote:
Please also keep the UI as simple as possible and use something that always starts on low.
Scallywag wrote:
I know if I handed a light like that to my dad he would get frustrated. I think if we simplified the UI, it could be the kind of light people would pick up… and truly like it when they get home.

There is more simple version of UI, but would it be accepted by BLFers? I mean will it be possible to gather 500 orders with such a simple UI?
The UI contains a functionality that is hated by most BLFers. Long press to turn on/off:

Full size: https://i.imgur.com/0l8EuIw.jpg

MascaratumB wrote:

- The single clicks on button 1 to change emitters is a smart move – as we may wrongly “click” that button and still have light, just with a different beam – but wouldn’t double clicking on button 1 be more appropriate for this?

That’s a good idea, but what will do single click on button 1 on that case?
slowtechstef wrote:
No LCD display… A LED voltage indicator in the button would be good enough.
Scallywag wrote:
How many switches/buttons/whatever will there be? It looks like currently two e-switches.

Two e-switches.

Scallywag wrote:
Will there be fixed modes, ramping, or both?

Not decided. Please see above UI’s.

Scallywag wrote:
Who is the actual target audience?

Anyone who is looking for a nice 2*AA gift flashlight.

SKV89 wrote:
I think this should be a muggle friendly light that even your great grandma can easily use. Muggle friendly flashlights with good performance and features like hi cri is almost non existant.

Completely agree. I think that this can be slightly more expensive than other Sofirn lights if it will deliver unquestionable reliability, a good performance and features like hi CRI.
This reliability is a key as it will bear durability in its name:
Dependable Compact Flashlight – DCF01 BLF edition.

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Boaz wrote:
I disagree..  make it smart and simple people will understand it . We’re not here to make stupid lights that stupid people can understand . there are a hundred thousand of them all over ebay for $6.

If you’re taking the time to do it, do it right .

Make it say BLF on it  … let them steal it after and call it whatever they want . 

Make it a High Cri light with a great tint  ..let them screw it up with cheap C.W. emitters later.

Assuming the second version will be better than the first means you just screwed up the first time .

I prefer a simple light with high quality components and high build quality, and to heck with what everyone else is doing.

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rost, thanks for that reply. 

As an edit to the UI I posted, since it's for BLF I'd recommend double-press to turn off instead of long-press, and use long-press for ramping.
Click and hold ramps up,
Click -> Click and hold ramps down,
Click -> Click turns off.

Also, my UI design would allow for a press-both-buttons lockout mode. 

BLF Edition:

Power: Turns on, turns up, turns off.
Click from off to turn on at low (last emitter used)
Double-click to turn off, or just have single-click turn off (and have it wait a slight moment, as Anduril does, to see if there's a second click.)
Click and hold to ramp up
Click -> Click and hold to ramp down

Emitter button: Changes what emitter is active
What should a click from off do? Mode shortcuts, probably.
While on:
Click Switches between flood and throw
Click and hold Toggles on/off "both emitters".
So, if you're on flood, this toggles the throw emitter while leaving flood on.
If you're on throw, this toggles the flood emitter while leaving throw on.

Press-and-hold both buttons to lock out.
Press both buttons to unlock.

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RobertB wrote:
Boaz wrote:
I disagree..  make it smart and simple people will understand it . We’re not here to make stupid lights that stupid people can understand . there are a hundred thousand of them all over ebay for $6.

If you’re taking the time to do it, do it right .

Make it say BLF on it  … let them steal it after and call it whatever they want . 

Make it a High Cri light with a great tint  ..let them screw it up with cheap C.W. emitters later.

Assuming the second version will be better than the first means you just screwed up the first time .

I prefer a simple light with high quality components and high build quality, and to heck with what everyone else is doing.

Me too, for this light.

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Quite sure the more people involves, the more options we’ll get. But let’s take a wider look.
Assuming the Authors aim in creating an over – time classic, widely accessible and for many applications. Shouldn’t we think of ‘the market’? I don’t think (with all due respect) BLFers are a representative group. We’re all crazy about flashlights. To make it right, the Authors should ask a question, who is the potential customer. Let’s say it’ll be very lucky at BLF and sells in number of 1000. And then what? Mugles who bought are likely to return due to too complicated UI.
Why not to use advanced processor and program it (flash the bios) just before sending? The same way we choose led temp. or ref type, we could choose software. Like at MTN. This way the light could reach more people, be more flexible and satisfy each group. Moreover, modding this light could be extended by multiple software versions.
Anyway, I think the success of this light depends on its sales. BLF won’t bring more than 1000? But if it becames common at gas stations.. BOOM,millions….
So… The software could be developed, best if market research could prove which exactly functions are desired most by a regular buyer. Who that buyer is (statistics on many factors) etc…

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If people are going to flash it, then design it with “pogo pin” access and sell it bundled with the pogo pin connectors.

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Well, let’s make a high CRI light with a simple, but good UI like this:
Moonlight (0,5 lumens) — Low-Low (5 lumens) — Low (40 lumens) — Medium(200 lumens) — High(500 lumens)

Shouldn’t be too hard now, would it?

With a SST-20 95CRI 4000k, a reverse tailswitch, simple coated clear anodization, OP reflector, 2x AA compatibility, it could be a killer.

The only problem would be the cell choice and USB charging.

USB charging could be implemented with 1x AA NiMH LSD cell included in the box, but the cell would’ve to be included at all costs.
2x AA could be doable, but not required.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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bmengineer wrote:
I would suggest staying away from built in charging and the OLED. There are almost no AA lights with built in charging for a reason, and the screen is just a point of failure and a major design challenge. The two combined don’t bode well for water resistance or AA support.

Multiple cells except for parallel Li cells (eg, the DC7) do not take well to in situ charging without at least some kind of rudimentary BMS, so yeah, stay away.

And alkaleaks will take a crap in the light, so the pricier the light, the more bux someone has to throw away to replace it. And smart people who experienced that before will likely stay away from such a light unless it’s cheap enough to be considered disposable.

As much as I like my TK4As, I rarely use them anymore except with brand-new cells, and at the slightest hint of a weak cell, dump them and burn them down as singles or doubles in cheaper lights. One of the brass nipples in the tailcap is already “browned” from a hateful little alkaleak that started to do its thing.

Suggestion? At the risk of making the light slightly bigger, stick the cells in a separate sleeve to at least try to contain leaks, and insert the sleeve in the light itself. Alas, pennies count, so I doubt that’d happen.

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Well, that’s a great idea actually.

Since people will stick Alkaleaks anyway, a sleeve should be included to put in the cells.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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rost333 wrote:
1) What about Power button ? Which emitter should be turned on? Upper (throw) or lower (flood) emitter? Both?

What about cycling? off/flood/throw/both/off/…

Of course someone’ll want to be able to fade between flood/throw in a continuous way (like the T1 lantern mixing CW⇄WW), so of course people’ll be demanding that as well. Facepalm

Or have buttons fade between flood/throw, and overall brightness up/down.

Designed for muggles, overcomplicated by demanding “flash[ao]holics”…

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Are the cells in series or parallel? I'd ideally like good NiMh support. Parallel would be cool for the "use on 1AA in an emergency" factor, and I believe Sofirn is getting some experience with boost drivers of that type already

 

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slowtechstef wrote:
Interesting thought experiment: would a slemi-permanent slide-diffuser a la Manker E02H work as well as two different emitters and reflectors? But with a cheaper, simpler design?

Damnit, I was just thinking that. Boaz was going on about having a sort of snap-on diffuser cap for I think a Q8, so yeah, something like that would/should work fine.

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Here’s a revolutionary idea…

Everyone’s fixated with pushbuttons to control things, but what do most crappy plastic lights have since the 1930s? A slider. Slide forward to turn on, backward to turn off.

In that vein, and thinking of the magnetic slider in my DV-S9s, a 3-position slider can be used to turn the light off|low|high and that’s it.

Or if pushbuttons are a must, an “up” and “down” button.

Up goes off→low→high→high→high→…

Down goes high→low→off→off→off→…

and that’s it.

Add another brightness mode or so, but that’s it.

No blinkies, no shortcuts, no nothing. No longpress, no click’n‘hold, nothing.

So simple a monkey could use it. So who’s smarter, you or a monkey?

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Lightbringer wrote:
Here’s a revolutionary idea…

Everyone’s fixated with pushbuttons to control things, but what do most crappy plastic lights have since the 1930s? A slider. Slide forward to turn on, backward to turn off.

In that vein, and thinking of the magnetic slider in my DV-S9s, a 3-position slider can be used to turn the light off|low|high and that’s it.

Or if pushbuttons are a must, an “up” and “down” button.

Up goes off→low→high→high→high→…

Down goes high→low→off→off→off→…

and that’s it.

Add another brightness mode or so, but that’s it.

No blinkies, no shortcuts, no nothing. No longpress, no click’n‘hold, nothing.

So simple a monkey could use it. So who’s smarter, you or a monkey?

This. It’s also an easy way to figure out in the dark.

“Electricity is really just organized lightning”
― George Carlin

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One “maybe”, press’n‘hold both buttons for battery-check or some not-critical function, for those who can handle it.

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Do waterproof slider-switch designs exist? I think they are used in diving lights, right? Slide for off-low-high would be cool. (and it will make this light more attractive than my MT22A)

At least I agree on a very basic UI, 3 or 4 brightness modes and nothing else. And it helps if the flashlight is really budget. And if it runs on 2 AA cells, I think that USB charging is overkill, everyone has a NiNh charger and is used to charge these batteries. You can give this to muggles no problem.

Oh, and batt-check could be a plain indicator led somewhere, if it lights: charge soon, if it blinks: almost dead.

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Lightbringer wrote:
Here’s a revolutionary idea… A slider. No blinkies, no shortcuts, no nothing. No longpress, no click’n‘hold, nothing.

I love slider switch. Actually this was my initial idea and reason I tried to resurrect Durabeam.

Here are my initial sketches from April: 1 & 2

and thanks to huge help from i_me_andrew we had first rough drawing



djozz wrote:
Do waterproof slider-switch designs exist? I think they are used in diving lights, right? Slide for off-low-high would be cool. (and it will make this light more attractive than my MT22A).

Example:

hank
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Yep, I liked the 2D Eveready flashlights that had the old 2-way slide switches with the button in the middle to lock them

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Sofirn is already familiar with magnetic slide switch

(above: Sofirn MS11)

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Magswitches usually have about 10mA parasitic current, though. And probably need a fairly higher voltage (closer to 5V than 3V, let alone 2.whatever when under load).

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You can probably put 2 pb switches under 1 boot to make it look/feel like a rocker switch, but a (nonmagnetic) waterproof slider might be hard to come by (read: I haven’t ever seen any).

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OK, so a simple light with high quality components and high build quality.
No USB and no LCD, but a plain led indicators as batt-check, like this one:

This is the most simple UI that I could think of:

https://i.imgur.com/6zPTNsN.jpg

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Lightbringer wrote:
You can probably put 2 pb switches under 1 boot to make it look/feel like a rocker switch, but a (nonmagnetic) waterproof slider might be hard to come by (read: I haven’t ever seen any).

Immediate thought, may or may not be sensible Smile

Put the two e-switches under a single flat rubber cover, with a space between them. Put a roller on the bottom of a captive slider. Two detents on the slider.

Off is the centre position, with the slider on one of the two detents and the roller on the gap between the switches so nothing happens.

Push forward is momentary-on. No detent there, the roller engages the front e-switch, with a spring pushing the slider back to the centre-off position when the user releases it.

Push backward is constant-on, the roller engages the rear e-switch, with the slider on the other detent. Push forward to the centre-off position to turn the light off again.

Extra constant-on modes are possible by having extra rear e-switches in line, each with its own slider detent.

BREAK

Alternatively, you could do it magnetically with a magnet in the slider and using reed switches (no parasitic power requirement) instead of the constantly-powered Hall Effect sensor that continuously-variable controls have to have.

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Too complicated, too many movables. Rubber boot with a stiff top. Pressing down on the front activates the front switch, and v/v for the rear switch.

Doesn’t need to quite literally be a slider, ‘though if you want to “contour” the boot to be somewhat concave (press the edges) or convex (somewhat of a slider, but nah).

Now, you wanna take that rocker switch and put a sort of lever sticking up-top like a paddle switch, that’d work, too.

Eg:

to show the (rather bulky) actuator.

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