ASTROLUX MF01 Mini - common issues thread

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JasonWW
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I’m trying to think of how the average Joe could fix their lights performance quick and cheap.

Maybe ditch the plastic piece and get some better screws that can transfer heat. Copper screws? That may not do much.

Maybe make a flat C shaped copper bar from some copper sheeting and thermal epoxy it on top of the 7135 chips?

Maybe cut a section of iron pipe that is 4mm thick and drop into place where the plastic and screws go. Then the battery tube will tighten against it?

None of these ideas are all that great, but they can be done without a cnc or milling machine. That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

Ah, the only good fix might be a machined piece, but I doubt they would be cheap to produce.

It would be nice if we could just turn off the thermal stepdown and use our hand to adjust the brightness if it gets too hot.

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kiriba-ru
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I think I can add few toughs to this thread.
1. AMC chips are not as rigid as everyone used to think. They start dimm or turn off after overheat. Some of them a better than others, not sure if any brand ones are still available. Those that can be found from ali are the worth.
(Most of you know – Im not a fan of 10-sec output tests, and one of the reasons – they never show real usage issues. You wont recognize that some of AMCs have turned off with 10-sec hotrod. Use power supply and 1-hour test to see this).
2. They can transfer heat to the central pad and even 1V difference between cell voltage and Vf will cause 0.35W heat that does not seem too much for this way. Yes then they heat up drivers outer ring.
3. Next thermal way is too hard for analyzing. Copper coated through holes on the outer edge are possibly to small to transfer heat to another pcb side. I would guess chips №5 and №6 are heating mcu from the backside.
Once again, see #1 – AMC chip can lower output by themself, without program step-down.
We are not able to set different temperature range for components mounted on one pcb inside enclosed aluminium case. With different mode sequence you will get different parts and components overheated (i.e. one part could heat up other after one situation and vice versa in different situation).
To make this thermal exchange more stable (dont forget that most components have properties that change with temperature raise), we need to limit temperature delta. Inside one pcb or whole host. Using thicker copper layer, alu core based pcb, thermal pads or grease, extra parts to transfer heat to the host. Using any sort of thermal materials between pcb shelf and driver components may looks strange – in first suppose led will heat up driver and not vice versa. But in real life, you wont be able to cover any component with “thermal shield” and leave it colder than whole host – this is not possible (unless you are making 10-sec test). And temperatures mentioned in this thread can rarely cause any issues – usually there is one or several true overheated (over 85 C) components on driver board.
Now few questions for MF01 mini users:
1. Have you tried using thermal pads between MCU and shelf?
2. Have you tried more straight solutions? Simple ring that faces driver outer ring with one side and tube with other side? (Not sure this is possible, probably they should be electrically isolated).

led4power
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JasonWW wrote:
Dr.Phillip wrote:
Hi eneorors. The way I understood it is this: the chips responsible for ramping drop a lot of power during ramping.
Let me try to explain this part. The chips you are refering to are "AMC7135 current regulators":https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.electro.... These accept voltages from around 2.7v to 6v and what they do is only allow around 0.35A (350mA) to pass through them. The mini has 3 channels controlled by the MCU. Channel 1 uses a single 7135 chip as seen in the pic below. !{width:100%}https://i.imgur.com/CD7lewG.jpg! This is pretty low current so it doesn't produce much heat and the brightness range is small. It makes for a nice moonlight level and up to maybe 150 lumen. Now channel 2 uses the 6 chips plus the 1st one. So now you have 7 chips that allow up to (.35 x 7) 2.45A. This is what the top of the ramp is set to. So all 7 chips do produce some heat, but you can see the ground tab is soldered to the outer copper ring and that is pressed against the battery tube. That is your heat path (red arrows). This looks pretty decent. The temperature sensor is built into the MCU on the other side of the driver board as seen below. !{width:100%}https://i.imgur.com/lIw1ZbM.jpg! The way heat gets to the MCU is through the 8 metal legs.
Dr.Phillip wrote:
At max ramp they should drop the most power. They get very hot very quickly. There are several of them on the driver and they are very close together on a small board. This heat doesnt get transfered to the flashlight body as well as the heat from LED emitters. They do disipate the heat slowly, but there is really nothing we can do about it (I dont think there is thermal paste between them and flashlight body).
There is definitely no thermal paste on the 7135 chips as they are soldered. On Turbo, all 7 chips are not used and all the power goes through the FET. You can see there are a lot of vias around it to spread the heat to the other side of the driver. I really don't know if this quick step down from the top of the ramp is a standard problem of the 7135 chips getting hot and heating the MCU much quicker than the body or if something strange is going on in the software. I believe the 7135 chips may not have to shed as much heat at lower voltages. If so, then that might explain why the lower voltage allows for longer runtime before stepping down. Maybe there is some unknown thermal path between the 7135 chips and the MCU that is causing the problem and this mystery path is not between the FET and the MCU which is why Turbo does not step down early. IDK, it's a bit of a mystery.

Kiriba assumption is correct, problem are badly placed (no 5 and 6,but possible only no 5) AMCs directly below MCU on the other PCB side. And if there are any GND vias under MCU which connect top and bottom GND area, it's a recipe for - measuring AMC chip temperature instead of driver board temperature. 0.35W of heat dissipated in single AMC is more than enough to cause false MCU OTP triggering if that AMC is in thermal contact with MCU. While AMCs are soldered to GND ring, that heat path is not as nearly as good as it intuitively looks - 35um thick copper trace has very limited "reach" after which it doesn't conduct heat better than FR4 core itself.  So it's a basically PCB design flaw, but even with AMCs far away from MCU, they are still on same PCB, so problem would be not completely solved, but definitely reduced.

Removing AMC no5 and/or 6 would show if all this is correct (I don't own this light,but I suppose staciking them onto other AMCs is not possible due to height).

All drivers (linear,switching) generate heat, I noticed similar issue back in 2014 with now ancient LD-1 driver, mid. mode would trigger OTP while light is still cold, but high mode was fine.

That's why decided not to use internal MCU temp. sensor and use external NTC sensor on LED MCPCB, which is the simplest and best way for accurate light temperature measuring - all my MCPCBs have place for NTC and in case of 1S lights it needs only one additional 30AWG wire, I expected BLF drivers would switch to this logical step, but for some reason till this date no BLF drivers have NTC support.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
Quick question, what exactly is a linear-Fet driver? Is that a thing?
As posted above it is the same style that LED4Power uses and the Texas Commander was designed around. Basically it uses the FET to do what the 7135's do. The issue is that the FET is not really designed for this so it is much harder to deal with the heat it produces since it does not have a dedicated thermal pad like the 7135. Thats why I suggested putting the FET on the mcpcb to give it a better heat path, which ended up working out quite well from what I have seen from LED4Power.

To be "historically correct", putting FET on MCPCB predates texas commander thread (2017) and your suggestion couple years before, LD-1 "expander boards" and LD-M2 used that principle, and in LD-2 thread from 2015:

http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/809544#comment-809544

is description with measurements of LD-2 driver with only FET mounted on external MCPCB which shows how beneficial is to not have FET on driver PCB, so I had idea of mosled/mosX MCPCBs (mosled = mosfet + led) for quite some time in my head before actually making first mosled MCPCBs.

Dr.Phillip
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man of light wrote:
JasonWW wrote:
I think a quick fix could be to just add a metal ring, aluminum, copper, etc…, just to connect the edge of the driver to the battery tube. Give the heat some mass to soak into so the MCU doesn’t get too hot, too quick. Touching the top of the 7135 chips may not be necessary.

Yes, there will be definitely a positive effect. Was also one of my first thoughts. I tested it with one aluminum ring without the two screws and without thermal paste. The ring was 3.7 mm high, so that there was proper contact to the battery tube. The results where better but I was not statisfied yet, step down on max ramp was around 1 minute. Ich thought there is not enough mass for the heat and designed the described plate.
Sure, a copper ring (Outer-Ø 29,8mm, Inner-Ø23,5mm, height 3,7 – 4,0 mm) will show better results with some thermal paste. But I would recommend to add two bores for the two screws to fix the driver and the ring.
If there is interest, I could provide a design proposal with a drawing for such a ring, for somebody who want to try it.

Texas_Ace wrote:
Nice mod, that should be made standard in the next run of lights honestly.

I bet you could sell some of those to other BLF members as well.

Unfortunately, I have no possibility of producing such parts, I’m depending on others who have such toolings.
I can provide the 3D-CAD data and drawings, maybe somebody is able to manufacture a small batch for a reasonable price.

Hell man, those look amazing. Great design, now I am envious :D. Such an elegant and well executed solution. Texas_Ace is right, this should become standard in future lights. I would buy 5 of these if someone produced them. Or at least two for my sad copper and brass ones to give them that premium feel. How long did it take you from idea to fully functional prototype?

JasonWW
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led4power wrote:

That’s why decided not to use internal MCU temp. sensor and use external NTC sensor on LED MCPCB, which is the simplest and best way for accurate light temperature measuring – all my MCPCBs have place for NTC and in case of 1S lights it needs only one additional 30AWG wire, I expected BLF drivers would switch to this logical step, but for some reason till this date no BLF drivers have NTC support.


External temp sensors are definitely the way to go. Unfortunately a lot of BLF software (Anduril, NarsilM) are still tied to the Attiny85 chips. Toykeeper has been working on using Anduril with the attiny1634 MCU (as seen on the Emisar D4 v2). I have not looked into this MCU, but it does have a lot more input/outputs. Does anyone know if it supports an external temp sensor?

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man of light
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Dr.Phillip wrote:
Hell man, those look amazing. Great design, now I am envious :D. Such an elegant and well executed solution. Texas_Ace is right, this should become standard in future lights. I would buy 5 of these if someone produced them. Or at least two for my sad copper and brass ones to give them that premium feel. How long did it take you from idea to fully functional prototype?

In total it took me 2 working days, with some waiting time for the prototype in between. For such a design i don’t need much to time, have some years of experience developing heat sinks and cooling solutions for electronic devices.
At the moment i’m in contact with some possible suppliers for a small batch of this heat sinking cover plates. They will be CNC-machined out of copper and a further improved design. No magnet needed at the positive pole, more efficient space usage.
Estimated price 10 – 15$ / pcs. depends on batch size. It’s clearly not an low budget mod and maybe not that interesting for many, but sure for some of us.

.. .-.. --- ...- . ..-. .-.. .- ... .... .-.. .. --. .... - ...

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man of light wrote:

Estimated price 10 – 15$ / pcs. depends on batch size. It’s clearly not an low budget mod and maybe not that interesting for many, but sure for some of us.

I would like 3 of them

middle age man
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I would like to buy one.

nobody
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Definitely interested

JasonWW
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led4power wrote:

Removing AMC no5 and/or 6 would show if all this is correct (I don’t own this light,but I suppose stacking them onto other AMCs is not possible due to height).



I think this can be done. If someone wanted to test the theory they would ditch the plastic cover, screw the driver down, remove these two 7135 chips and stack them on nearby ones. Then maybe use a magnet to move the battery away if you need more height.

I don’t have this light, so I cant try it out either.

How could Mateminco change the design to improve the light?
Ditch the screws and plastic cover and make the battery tube longer to press against the driver? I think the battery tube screwed down and pressing firmly into the driver should get some good heat transfer. Man of light says it extended top of ramp to about 1 minute. Would this mod be a good enough fix for Mateminco to do?

man of light wrote:
I tested it with one aluminum ring without the two screws and without thermal paste. The ring was 3.7 mm high, so that there was proper contact to the battery tube. The results where better but I was not statisfied yet, step down on max ramp was around 1 minute.

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Dr.Phillip
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Well, I would take at least 3! It looks like a great mod that allows the flashlight to reach its full potential.

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I am in too for mu unit. Just curious what the shipping and payment method will be.

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Maybe I will try this 7135 remove thing if it helps.

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I also saw another design flaw that one of the purple leds on aux led board is too close to the main led and the optic sits right on it and crushed it.

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Mine wasn’t too close – but putting it all back together after reflashing was a pain. I think I’ll replace the wires with longer ones and stuff them in the cavity next time.

Image opens to larger size.

edit:: while I’m at it:

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I would like one heat spreader made of copper too. Big Smile
Chris

Chris

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I was wondering if any MF01 mini owners can say anything about the charging port cover. Is the cover useful and functional? Does it stay in place when carrying it around?

I once ordered an Astrolux S42 and the charging port cover was garbage. It just wouldn’t stay in place, felt foamy instead of solid soft rubber, and flopped around every which way. I ended up getting a refund and selling it on eBay but ever since then, I vowed to never purchase any Astrolux lights especially with built-in charging.

Thanks for any input.

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You mean you got a refund by selling it?

I got the S43 and that cover seems fine. It’s made of silicone I think.

Vowing to never by a brand based on one bad thing, sounds extreme. Like people vowing to never by a ford, because one broke down on them. No lights, or cars, are perfect.

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GioScar
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@ man of light
I’m in with 2 !

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Silicone cover is solid, takes a decent pull on the tab to pull it out.

RantapihanKauha
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I’d buy one or two heatsinks as well.

christoph
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The tab on the cover is a little annoying, I may shorten it.
c

Chris

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DEL

Sorry for my poor english.

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I’m in for two. Have two minis, thanks

are you alone in the house?

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Conducted a series of tests on my instance. He determines the voltage on the battery quite accurately. I calibrated the temperature sensor. I set the temperature control to 55°C (25 taps in the configurator), but during the tests the flashlight warmed up to 67°C and I interrupted the test.
Test Charts. Air temperature 24°C, without cooling.
1) Cold start. Ramp mode. Starting the “ramp ceiling”, after the decline in brightness, I again turned on the “ramp ceiling”, and repeated several times.

As you can see, with each launch of the “ceiling of the ramp” the drop in brightness occurs more smoothly. This is strange. Flashlight temperature at the end of the test 46°C.
2) Hot start (~ 36 ° C). Step mode brightness switching. Starting the “upper mode”, after the brightness declined, and again turned on the “upper mode”, several times.

The result in this mode is quite similar to the previous one. But there are differences.
3) Cold start. Ramp mode. Launching the “ceiling ramp”, after dimming, and again turned on the “ceiling ramp” several times. Next, the launch of the turbo mode and the forced completion of the turbo.

Flashlight temperature at the end of the test 67°C.

Sorry for my poor english.

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I’ll wait on final pricing for those copper shims, but I’d potentially be after one. Shipping to AU will cost the same as the shim though I’m sure Wink

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I’m in for 3

man of light
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For all who are interested in getting one of my heatsinking cover plates for the MF01 mini (see post #25 & #38), thanks for your interest so far, I will create a separate thread for this with all informations and an overview of interested so far. So watch out for the new thread in next few days.

This thread here should stay for general discussions around the issues and their solutions of the MF01 mini.
The presented heatsinking mod is only one of the possibilities to solve/improve the throttling down issue. Maybe or hopefully there will some other solutions coming up for.

I’m still looking forward to the results of the idea from led4power and the testings of it by ZozzV6.

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JasonWW
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It’s easy to miss a new thread, so post a link here when it’s ready. Thumbs Up

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