[BLF Joint-Development] WildTrail BLF Tactical Flashlight

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Lux-Perpetua
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[BLF Joint-Development] WildTrail BLF Tactical Flashlight

Hello everyone,

As many of you know the BLF D80 V2 was a great and successful joint development between TheOnlyDocc, BLF and WildTrail. With his intention to launch another new flashlight Jacky ("Lucky Sun" / "WildTrail") asked me for support in multiple directions, i.e. coordination of the entire communication, later groupbuy as well as asking for interested people who want to assist (driver development, software development, testing and counselling). The target is nothing less than to get the best tactical EDC flashlight with dual switch design and Andúril UI. Smile

 

The project's scope:

  • 18650/21700 tactical dual switch flashlight
  • sophisticated UI (Andúril, NarsilM, Inferion UI, ...) ►change to a simpler UI for easier handling ◄
  • reasonable ratio between output, runtime and thermal heat generation
  • carefully selected tints and emitters for optimum beam quality

Current project status:

  • Basic host design is ready but subject to change i.a.w. BLF's sound advice. Once the final design is ready, WildTrail will be so kind to let us look behind the curtain. Wink
  • WildTrail is looking for a driver developer who could create a new appropriate driver or who could advise accordingly with existing drivers.
  • WildTrail is looking for a software developer who could assist adapting the firmware to the corresponding driver.

Please feel free to post your thoughts, suggestions, criticism or your interest in supporting WildTrail with the driver and UI development. Your feedback is deeply appreciated and will help to get not only a good but a real good flashlight later on. I will try to coordinate things as best as I can between BLF and WildTrail. However, please bear with me as I am not as experienced in these things as some long-term members. Thank you very much!

 

Cheers,

Thomas

 

Revised draft design based upon BLF feedback until 11/17/2019

 

 

Draft: User Interface (w/o strobes):

 

Rear switch

  • Tap: Momentary On (brightness i.a.w. mode memory settings)
  • Press: On / Off (forward clicky)
  • Default: High (Mode Memory = Off)
  • Alternative: Last used mode (Mode Memory = On)

Side switch

  • Click = On / Off (Standby)
  • Hold = Cycle modes (High, Medium, Low) / Ramping
  • Hold 5s = change between stepped modes and ramping mode
  • Click + Hold = Moonlight mode
  • Double Click = High mode
  • Quadruple Click = Blink out voltage

Mode memory On/Off

  • hold side switch + tail switch for 5s

 

Original draft design from 11/10/2019

 

Some initial draft design I have made with Microsoft Powerpoint (please excuse that some things may not match in scale and appearance). Please note that this draft design does not necessarily reflect the actual final design.

Edited by: Lux-Perpetua on 11/17/2019 - 13:28
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Stittville Ed
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Looks like another BLF Special in the works Smile

contactcr
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Please make a better clip

Caleb
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Thank you for taking on this project.

I would like to be on the interest list for 2 units.

USB charging in threads is a great idea.

Forward clicky (momentary on) tail switch is essential for a tactical flashlight.

21700 support is preferable.

Please make a “deep carry” pocket clip so the tail does not stick our of one’s pocket. Also, please make it reversible.

And of course… hi CRI led options.

SKV89
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My suggestions:

- 21700 is good.

- I hope no Anduril since this has a dual switch already. Anduril is a flashlight enthusiast UI and everytime a muggle uses it, they always end up in some blinking modes. I prefer simple UI. Rear button to turn on in the last mode. Click side swith to change modes.

- Add more surface area with deeper fins. What made D80v2 so special to me is the deep functional finning. The heat shedding is phenomenal especially when outdoors with a little night breeze.

- I hope the threads can turn with ease without grease. My experience with flashlights with usb ports built in the thread is that the greased thread is a dirt magnet. I love USB-C recharge though so hope this feature will stay.

- Maybe try a SST-70 emitter in there but not sure if driver will be too expensive. I would be willing to pay the price though since it is as bright as the XHP50.2 and throws farther than the XHP35.

Random Dan
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I think this light needs something special to set it apart from the crowd as right now it doesn’t look like anything that can’t be had in existing lights. IMO a major area of improvement would be a UI specifically designed around the two button interface. Having one for off-on and the other for changing modes is annoying as you need to switch grips all the time and doesn’t add new functionality. Anduril and Narsil work fine with one button and I don’t see a clear way to beneficially incorporate a second button.

My idea is allow the user to customize the functionality of each switch. So for example I could have the side switch activate Anduril while the tail switch has a simple l-m-h suitable for handing to non enthusiasts. Or you could market it to the tactical crowd with a ramping UI on the side switch and high-only or strobe-only on the tail switch. I realize writing such a UI would require a lot of work and it would be complicated to implement the configuration options, but I think it could really put this light above the competition.

djozz
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Are you ok with all the hours that you spend with BLF? It will not be the first time that someone spends too much of his life here, with too many obligations, and suddenly collapses.

That said, I think this design looks nice but also not different from other tactical lights out there (not neccessarily a bad thing, tactical people may have conservative minds Wink ) . For me for it to be attractive is that it is smaller than the other “tactical” lights, i.e. the Jetbeam Jet IIM is huge for a 18650 flashlight, and a large size is by no means a neccessity for building a tough light.

Satan@103TFS
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The design look good to me but only in 21700 .

Kilroy
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Tactical and sophisticated UI don’t go together in my head.
Potted?

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I agree with /u Random Dan that the light needs something to set it apart. And although I’m enthousiast, I like “muggle” UI as a default. The other thing is the design. It’s not only conservative, it’s outdated. I’d like a sleek, minimalist design and some very clever, innovative solution for heat dissipation. USB charging is nice but must be USB-C. But to me, this design makes it “meh”.

Marc E
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Kilroy wrote:
Tactical and sophisticated UI don’t go together in my head.

This Smile
For a tactical UI how about boot switch turns on in last mode so it can provide simple on/off switching (like the C8F), side switch is press on/press off, press and hold to ramp up, and again to ramp down.
Will probably get shot down but anything more complicated is not tactical or intuitive.
djozz wrote:
Are you ok with all the hours that you spend with BLF? It will not be the first time that someone spends too much of his life here, with too many obligations, and suddenly collapses.

And this! Make sure you look after yourself, the more intensely you function the easier it is to hit a bottleneck which causes everything to collapse in on itself.
Dioda
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I find the design rather pleasant, bit similar to Klarus XT series, Acebeam L16 or the Jetbeam JET IIIM, which are tactical classics. Support for 21700 cells and the “shrouded” USB C charging would be great.

I would be willing to spend more cash if the light had the following:

- decent quality regulated driver for balance of power and runtime. Im not interested in those ridiculous “novelty items” that eat up battery in minutes while overheating to the point of self destruction. Preferably potted for high reliability.
- tank like built designed to withstand abuse especially drops, shocks and humidity
- anti roll design so you can lay it down anywhere and lanyard hole
- 21700 tube that accommodates any cell thickness, tired of guessing games whether rewraps fit or only OEMs
- responsive switches with no mushy feelings
- customizable UI, potentially allowing to use rear switch as dedicated for turbo – similar to L16

id30209
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In for 2!

21700 please and tail sw for just Flash-and-dash situations, having 2 with the same function risk of getting smtg messed up is high

WTB Titanium 4sevens Quarks & Jetbeam TCR1

DavidEF
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  1. I like the basic look of the initial draft design so far.
  2. I’d prefer 21700 size.
  3. I like the USB-C charge port in the threads.
  4. I don’t like crenelated bezels. If the bezel is to be crenelated, I’d like it as low profile as possible.
  5. I agree with others about the clip. A good sturdy deep-carry clip would be worth having. Anything else is garbage and a waste of money.

With dual button interface, there is plenty of room for creativity. I would like to see the advanced features being only available from the side e-switch. Perhaps the side e-switch can be locked out by default at all times, and the bottom switch can be single mode on/off. The single mode’s level would be assigned by the side e-switch, using last-mode memory. Every time the bottom switch is turned off, the side e-switch would become locked again, so the bottom switch can be used for momentary (forward clicky). Or maybe there could be a delay after turning it off with the bottom button, using brown-out detection, so if you turn it back on in a short period of time, it will not have locked out the e-switch yet. After the delay, to use the side e-switch, it would have to be unlocked with the assigned series of presses (“four clicks” I believe with Andúril). Also, the light can be turned off electronically, and it will then continue to be operable like any other e-switch light. I think if it was set up this way, it would allow using the light either as a tactical light or as an advanced-feature-set light, and the two wouldn’t interfere with each other.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

kanton
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To my knowledge, Anduril can’t really do dual e-switch (as the underlying FSM does not support it – TK might correct me on this and everything else I say on this topic). Getting Anduril to support it might be some work. Andurils is meant for single-switch lights. If you don’t opt for dual e-switch but the one in the back is a regular one you won’t have a light with two independent switches and the rear one is only for on/off + some auxilary function. This would be possible with FSM though (but is also not part of Anduril afaik) – example: https://bazaar.launchpad.net/~toykeeper/flashlight-firmware/trunk/view/h...

I personally would prefer something more in the XT2CR/M2R size category (potentially even shorter, around 11cm would be great). I don’t need USB-C port necessarily.

But honestly.. designwise it seems like a 1:1 rip-off of the XT11GT. Literally every element is copied. And it’s obvious because you even copied the two different cuts in the tailcap. In the XT11GT one is for the main switch, the other,m steeper one for the paddle, which does not make any sense if you only have a single button. But as you wrote, it’s just a first drawing, so I am interested to see the final product.

atobe
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I don’t care for 21700 size and that clip. Deep carry clip would be better, I can live with or without USB onboard charging not major factor for me.

Anduril maybe too complicated but ramping would be awesome to have, may be UI like the sofirn sp32 v2 ?

Two light Groups:
Group 1—-multi-modes: ECO / Low (50lm) / Med (160lm) / High (500lm); double clicks for Turbo(1300 lm); Triple click for Strobe (1300lm)
Group 2—-Ramping: from 5 lumen to 1300 lumen; double click for Turbo (1300lm); Triple click for Strobe (1300lm)
Change From Group 1 to Group 2: hold& press the switch for 3 sec on any modes, 2 blinks confirm success.

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ

contactcr
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FSM works pretty well with a rear fwd switch it will turn on in the last used mode and you can signal with it and everything. It wont change modes or anything though.

raccoon city
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Looks promising!

(I'm not a fan of side switches, but I doubt that will be changed.)

texas shooter
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I prefer that the tail switch be used as an on/off only and the side switch as mode selection. Low to read in the car. Medium for casual search ie “I dropped my keys buy the car” and with a traffic cone. High for building searches. Turbo for woods and parking lots. Fifth mode strobe. 21700 great. Cree XHP-50.2 3v might need looking at, at 6 amps. I don’t need to see 400 yards away but I do need a lot of spill to fill that room or alley way side to side. Slight flared tail cap to help hold into a leather holster. Don’t be stingy on weight. A little extra mass goes a long way in durability and cooling. Double o-ring very much appreciated. Real tactical lights need to be very simple because we’ve got other things going on.

Astrolux FT01/Mateminco TK01 comes really close for me but not all of the modes are tail switch accessible. The charging port while a nice idea, when the rubber plug fails it becomes a water and crap magnet. Your plan to place it under the threads is great. It’s o-ring protected. Please pot everything to waterproof and hold into place. I’ve had a few charging port break off. USB-C charge port so I can plug it in the dark. No charging port to keep things simple would be my first choice.

I’ve never seen S.O.S. or beacon modes used in real life. For mode changing in full tacticool setup place the flashlight head into your leg. Turn on and mode select until you got the right one.

raccoon city
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texas shooter wrote:

I prefer that the tail switch be used as an on/off only and the side switch as mode selection.

If the side switch will not turn on the flashlight, then that's a side switch I can get behind.

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Tail switch needs to physically lock out the current flow. No parasitic drain! Would need to be turned on for recharging.

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Interested

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djozz wrote:
Are you ok with all the hours that you spend with BLF? It will not be the first time that someone spends too much of his life here, with too many obligations, and suddenly collapses. [...]

So far, I still feel fine but let's see where this ends... Big Smile If they ever find my corpse someday, the odds are good that I have both a flashlight and my smartphone with BLF's website opened up in my cold dead hands. Sick Maybe we should vote for flashoholism to be acknowledged as a serious addiction?

Being serious again:

Thank you all for your thoughts. I will try to collate the valuable information and update the OP accordingly a.s.a.p..

Driver-wise and Firmware-wise we still need someone to help WildTrail. I totally prefer a compact EDC light with a simple, foolproof UI that anyone can use even in distress. That said, maybe it's better to use a proprietary UI or a significantly stripped down Andúril with only basic functions (no strobe, no blinkies, preset to a 3-4 stepped mode group but with thermal config still in place?).

kanton wrote:
[...] But honestly.. designwise it seems like a 1:1 rip-off of the XT11GT. Literally every element is copied. And it's obvious because you even copied the two different cuts in the tailcap. In the XT11GT one is for the main switch, the other,m steeper one for the paddle, which does not make any sense if you only have a single button. But as you wrote, it's just a first drawing, so I am interested to see the final product.

Very well recognized! Wink Actually, I used the XT11GT as a "template" to reproduce the shape of a typical tactical dual switch EDC light. The flashlight we are talking about here could look different. So, any similarity with WildTrail's later, actual design is purely coincidental.

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I just picked up the new M2R Pro, but I am watching this with interest.

Another vote for 21700 and simple “tactical” UI!

Wieselflinkpro
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XM-L3 ???

Gammel
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Looks very good for me!!

But for tactical use I don‘t like a Tailclicky for on and off and the sideswitch for choosing the different modes, because it‘s not a proper one-hand-use…

My suggestion would be a tailcap like the Klarus XT-series or, what I really would like, a sideswitch at the tail of the flashlight, like the „old“ Thrunite T30s and TN11s or the
Olight M20SX.

That would really be a great tactical one-hand-operation!!!

I like the idea of the SST70 – emitter, if possible….

Greetings,

Bodo

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Gammel wrote:
Looks very good for me!! But for tactical use I don‘t like a Tailclicky for on and off and the sideswitch for choosing the different modes, because it‘s not a proper one-hand-use... My suggestion would be a tailcap like the Klarus XT-series or, what I really would like, a sideswitch at the tail of the flashlight, like the „old“ Thrunite T30s and TN11s or the Olight M20SX. That would really be a great tactical one-hand-operation!!! I like the idea of the SST70 - emitter, if possible.... Greetings, Bodo

Hi Bodo,

As mentioned on TLF already, WildTrail is probably interested in the "classic" dual switch design, i.e. mechanical tail clicky switch + electronic side switch. Moving the e-switch into the tailcap would probably mean some additional changes, e.g. a double-tube design. However, nothing is decided yet so let's see where we go from here.

I asked Jacky about using the SST-70 (which would be my recommendation as well). Since it's a 6V/12V emitter it needs a boost driver to run at single-cell operation. As far as I understood Jacky, he wants to keep costs at a lower level if possible. Thus, a 3V emitter with a CC driver might be a good trade-off?

I'm not sure about alternatives like XM-L3 (available as of 12/2019) or XP-L HI (more intensity but less lumens). A 3V XHP50.2 is not something I would like to see in that light for it is known to have an ugly tintshift and being available in coldwhite tints, only.

Cheers,

Thomas

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Interested in 2.

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