BLF LT1 Lantern (4x18650): Good but...

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Markus
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BLF LT1 Lantern (4x18650): Good but...

…also a dead end in my book. It is great as a lantern, offers amazing light quality from warm to cold white, long runtimes, good brightness, does not run hot and offers everything a Anduril UI can give you. Please check out my review with many shots showing the stunning light this device provides:

My criticism is that it provides the very best UI one can realize with a single electronic button and that this leads into a dead end not providing the user experience that would be possible in 2020. I also come up with a solution requiring some innovation.

peabody
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It really MUST have a remote control (wether a separate physical control or a phone app of some sort)
Clap on-clap off!

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Ok lantern … reading light, warm.

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Markus
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peabody wrote:
It really MUST have a remote control (wether a separate physical control or a phone app of some sort) Clap on-clap off!

I talk about blutooth and a smartphone app in the video. Imagine: Having multiple lights under a single control, tie in proximity sensors, set timers and clock functions. The same light plus blutooth and the right software could bring us something amazing like this.

bmengineer
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All I’m imagining is the standby drain associated with maintaining a Bluetooth connection.

Find all my reviews of flashlights and more gear at www.bmengineer.com

MascaratumB
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And I was imagining that developping and implementing BT on this light would probably make it cost twice its actual price…

[REVIEWS] ACEBEAM: H20 / TK16 // AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 // BLITZWOLF: BW-ET1 // BRINYTE: T28 // DQG: AA Slim Ti // FIREFLIES: ROT66 GEN II // HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA // KLARUS: XT1C // LIVARNOLUX: 314791 // LUMINTOP: Tool AA V2.0 + Tool 25 // NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 // ODEPRO: KL52 / B108 // OLIGHT: M2R Warrior // ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro // ROVYVON: A2 + A5R / E300S / A8 // SKILHUNT: M150 / M200 // SOFIRN: SF14 + SP10A / SP32A / SP10B // WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 / E10 / TO50R / E19 // XTAR: PB2 Charger // Tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 // TIR: 1 / 2 // Others: Biscotti 3 + 1*7135 / Triple TIR w/ XP-G2 /// My Collection /// My Review's Blog (PT) /// OL Contest 2019 /// GIVEAWAY: 1 / 2

SammysHP
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bmengineer wrote:
All I’m imagining is the standby drain associated with maintaining a Bluetooth connection.

Bluetooth LE consumes so little power that you won’t notice it. The lighted switch needs more energy.

MascaratumB wrote:
And I was imagining that developping and implementing BT on this light would probably make it cost twice its actual price…

That sounds reasonable. It’s not the BOM (maybe just a few $), but the development. With so few units produced this would increase the cost of each dramatically.

Markus
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SammysHP wrote:
bmengineer wrote:
All I’m imagining is the standby drain associated with maintaining a Bluetooth connection.

Bluetooth LE consumes so little power that you won’t notice it. The lighted switch needs more energy.

MascaratumB wrote:
And I was imagining that developping and implementing BT on this light would probably make it cost twice its actual price…

That sounds reasonable. It’s not the BOM (maybe just a few $), but the development. With so few units produced this would increase the cost of each dramatically.

It should not increase the price buy much. The hardware is cheap. I’m sure Narsil/Anduril could accomodate the input through bluetooth and a app. What you need to develop is a app which could cost some money. But you would use the app as base for an entire ecosystem of lights that support bluetooth thereby spreading the development costs to many units of different lights.

jp9mm
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Hardware cost + programming integration. I don’t know about that…. i remember seeing ‘ Our workers have better things to do’ in response to making extremely basic code changes in Arduil.
They stated they just plop the software on and don’t touch it. Don’t see it happening Smile

Serifus
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If you want to drive some innovation why dont you hack a bluetoth le board into your lt1 and write an app for it? Im certian, the laziest way would be to patch the bluetooth board into the switch conmection. At that point all it costs is your time, and a couple dollars for the bluetooth moduals. Tbh, i may end up doing that with a 433mhz tranciever.

SammysHP
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A simple I2C Bluetooth board might be an easy solution. Some rewrite of the firmware to handle commands via the Bluetooth stack. Might not have the same power efficiency as an optimized integrated circuit.

Another interesting idea would be to use a ZigBee interface.

MascaratumB
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This was DBSAR reply at the time (11/05/2017):
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1215465#comment-1215465

DBSAR wrote:
angerdan wrote:
DBSAR wrote:
Indeed, there is tons of space above the driver in the mid-section to add the charger & USB bank electronics.
What about the option to add an optional wireless remote control&status modul (bluetooth) there?

Bluetooth remotes would just drive the price way to high, and to complex and a feature that many would never use. I have a couple remote control lanterns and the Manker Godmes Bluetooth flashlight. A feature rarely used.

[REVIEWS] ACEBEAM: H20 / TK16 // AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 // BLITZWOLF: BW-ET1 // BRINYTE: T28 // DQG: AA Slim Ti // FIREFLIES: ROT66 GEN II // HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA // KLARUS: XT1C // LIVARNOLUX: 314791 // LUMINTOP: Tool AA V2.0 + Tool 25 // NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 // ODEPRO: KL52 / B108 // OLIGHT: M2R Warrior // ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro // ROVYVON: A2 + A5R / E300S / A8 // SKILHUNT: M150 / M200 // SOFIRN: SF14 + SP10A / SP32A / SP10B // WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 / E10 / TO50R / E19 // XTAR: PB2 Charger // Tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 // TIR: 1 / 2 // Others: Biscotti 3 + 1*7135 / Triple TIR w/ XP-G2 /// My Collection /// My Review's Blog (PT) /// OL Contest 2019 /// GIVEAWAY: 1 / 2

Markus
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Serifus wrote:
If you want to drive some innovation why do you hack a bluetoth le board into your lt1 and write an app for it? Im certian, the laziest way would be to patch the bluetooth board into the switch conmection. At that point all it costs is your time, and a couple dollars for the bluetooth moduals. Tbh, i may end up doing that with a 433mhz tranciever.

I lack time and skill for that. I look at all the cheap bluetooth toys on the market and reason it must be possible to build a light that offers something like that.

drewski
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If there’s anything I’d want to see on the LT1, it would be an old-school lantern-style rotary knob for on/off and brightness. That takes 0 knowledge of any UI to operate. Also an available 8× 18650 base would be cool. (Wider, not taller somehow.)

jp9mm
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7:45 , not sure why people say things like this. I don’t think its hard to remember number of clicks to do things after the first couple times. Don’t need to know what blinkies / strobes are either. you see what they are – 2 clicks cycle through ….find what you want.

I think its funny we have advanced so far with tech that now we need to design things so simple a ape that was alive 1 million years ago could be transported to present day and learn how to use it.
‘I could hand this to an amoeba and they will easily use it’ Big Smile

drewski
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jp9mm wrote:
7:45 , not sure why people say things like this. I don’t think its hard to remember number of clicks to do things after the first couple times. Don’t need to know what blinkies / strobes are either. you see what they are – 2 clicks cycle through ….find what you want.

I think its funny we have advanced so far with tech that now we need to design things so simple a ape that was alive 1 million years ago could be transported to present day and learn how to use it.
‘I could hand this to an amoeba and they will easily use it’ Big Smile

I see your point. The ease of use (once you get used to it) given the complexity of Anduril is great—I love it. However, sometimes the simple things in life are nice too. I enjoy being able to hand a flashlight to someone without having to explain how it works. I have to remind myself that most people are not flashlight enthusiasts. Also a rotary knob allows you to control the speed of the ramp based on how fast you turn it. I wonder how feasible it would be to have a rotary knob that can also depress in (ie click) for all other Anduril functions.

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Could it be possible to make the LT1 better with Bluetooth control? Almost certainly, if it is well-implemented.

Is it really a shortcoming of the LT1 that it doesn’t feature Bluetooth control? I don’t think that is a reasonable criticism. If any Bluetooth light exists, I haven’t seen it yet.

Actually, I bet there’s more than one Bluetooth controlled light out there, somewhere, but if they don’t get the lighting features right, they will be inferior products. Most LT1 buyers are enthusiastic about it because it first and foremost gets the lighting features right. DBSAR invested a significant amount of time and effort testing and modifying a very wide variety of lanterns to determine what works well and what doesn’t to make sure it serves it’s primary purpose. The tint-shifting and highly advanced yet simple-to-use firmware add to its appeal.

Is it a dead-end? Absolutely not. The firmware is open source, and if the driver is not open source (I don’t recall), it at least is derived from designs fairly well-known in the flashlight community. Several individuals put a significant amount of their time, as far as I know with little or no pay, to give the LT1 its existing features. It’s absolutely an option for others to do the same to increase the feature-set of the LT1, such as by figuring out a way to integrate Bluetooth with the existing driver (maybe it could be as simple as piggy backing on the button input pin), or creating a new driver intended to work with a Bluetooth chip.

I’m glad you like the light overall, but it’s not fair to call it a dead-end on the basis that it doesn’t have a feature no other similar light has, on the assumption that it is simple to add. Even the features it has are not simple to create. Anduril has had a fairly long evolution of continuous improvement by Toykeeper, incorporating a lot of feedback from those of us who use it.

I want to end by emphasizing something you observed in your video: the basic functions of turning it on, or off, or changing the brightness are very easy to use. That’s what I think makes Anduril such a good user interface. It has a lot of other handy or novel features, but even though those are more complex to access, their inclusion does not make it hard to learn the main features.

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drewski wrote:
I wonder how feasible it would be to have a rotary knob that can also depress in (ie click) for all other Anduril functions.

It should not be complex, but it would take some skill, and you’d want to make sure it is robust, and it might be more difficult to keep waterproof.

I’m pretty sure a potentiometer could be used to provide a varying voltage to one of the microcontroller pins that a modified version of the firmware could use to determine what the output should be. If I understand right, the Jetbeam RRT-01 rotary flashlight using a hall effect sensor rather than a potentiometer, so that’s another possible method.

It’s not a flashlight, but the popular Viltrox photography lights have something similar – a knob controls the brightness, or if you press the knob in, that triggers a button that switches the knob to controlling color temperature.

Markus
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@iamlucky13

I meant no disrespect when I talk about a dead end. It is the observation that a large bulk of excellent functionality is squeezed through a UI based on a single button. It is done in the most clever way but still represents a dead end as from here on out you need a new interface to really improve the lantern. Wether you ad on a rotary switch, more buttons or a bluetooth function is not so important, but it all would represent a more drastic change in design.

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A rotary pot switch would be mechanical, right? They tend to get ‘dirty’ and not work well over time unless maintained with a good cleaner.

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Markus wrote:
I talk about blutooth and a smartphone app in the video. Imagine: Having multiple lights under a single control, tie in proximity sensors, set timers and clock functions.

DO NOT WANT. Honestly. I plan on my LT1 being used for at least a decade.

Who is going to fund software development over that period of time? How many “smart” devices out there today are sitting in the bin because the software wasn’t updated / isn’t compatible with newer operating systems? Not to mention how buggy many smartphone apps are these days.

Chances are, if I’m using my LT1, there’s no power for miles. Burning up electrons to avoid getting out of the chair doesn’t sound appealing to me.

If you want that sort of stuff, go take a look at Mr Beams Netbeams thingy.

agent80
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Great review. I guess you used a drone?

Markus
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agent80 wrote:
Great review. I guess you used a drone?

Thank you, yes I used a drone. So I operated the drone and the lantern at the same time. This shows that the basic UI of the lantern is very good. My complaint is that the UI blocks the lantern from unleashing its full potential.

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bmengineer wrote:
All I’m imagining is the standby drain associated with maintaining a Bluetooth connection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_Low_Energy

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jp9mm wrote:
I think its funny we have advanced so far with tech that now we need to design things so simple a ape that was alive 1 million years ago could be transported to present day and learn how to use it.

Maybe you’d like to give gramma a lantern. Maybe to keep on its lowest setting as a nightlight, crank it up slightly to be able to walk to the can without turning on all the lights along the way.

I can picture gramma being overwhelmed by having to control-alt-doubleclick’n‘hold just to adjust the brightness.

“Oh, c’mon, gramma! Even an ape could use it! So who’s smarter, you or the ape?”

“Uhh, how big of an ape?”

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Markus wrote:
I talk about blutooth and a smartphone app in the video. Imagine: Having multiple lights under a single control, tie in proximity sensors, set timers and clock functions.

I can imagine and imagine it unecessary.

Markus
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MtnDon wrote:
Markus wrote:
I talk about blutooth and a smartphone app in the video. Imagine: Having multiple lights under a single control, tie in proximity sensors, set timers and clock functions.

I can imagine and imagine it unecessary.

Maybe. But If you look into the BLF LT1 half of the functions are not really necessary. And half of the functions are on top of it basically out of reach unless you have patience and the manual at hand. You have all that potential that is already there in a high tech fully electronic light that runs a software but the interface is just not there. It is like having a big engine but a weak transmission and flat tires.

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Markus wrote:
MtnDon wrote:
Markus wrote:
I talk about blutooth and a smartphone app in the video. Imagine: Having multiple lights under a single control, tie in proximity sensors, set timers and clock functions.

I can imagine and imagine it unecessary.

Maybe. But If you look into the BLF LT1 half of the functions are not really necessary. And half of the functions are on top of it basically out of reach unless you have patience and the manual at hand. You have all that potential that is already there in a high tech fully electronic light that runs a software but the interface is just not there. It is like having a big engine but a weak transmission and flat tires.


The design of the LT and programming of the software were done for free by people who could have spent that time on other things, and clearly it was a substantial amount of time on top of that. It’s easy to ask for improvements/changes but who’s going to compensate people for their time and effort? Given that you feel these changes are must-haves are you willing to spent time/effort/money on making it happen?

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Right, I could and do without much of what is available with my LT1’s. But, they are hidden or far enough out of the way that they don’t bother me and having them there did not really increase the cost as Anduril was mature firmware by the time the LT1 was ready to be produced in prototype form.

I really do not see any advantage to using technology (Bluetooth) just because it is available. But then I do not have a Smart TV, nor any SmartHome devices other than a single Fugoo bluetooth speaker and a Ecobee thermostat. I do have a smartphone but only gave up my very dependable flip phone three years ago, and mainly because I wanted some map and GPS functions I didn’t have.

If one wants a tech filled item, one is welcome to purchase or design one. However, I prefer to have a choice of more simple devices as well. So, there is nothing wrong with LT1, version 1. Start a group to develop a more technically advanced LT and see how it goes. I would not want a device like a flashlight that required the use of a smartphone in order to operate more than the basic functions.

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I’ve used my LT1 quite a lot, 99% of use has been at warmest CCT setting, I use sunset mode most nights, not much else.

I agree with other users who feel simple is better for the LT1,

I can see the market for a LT1+ or LT1 Smart, with Bluetooth, wireless charging, etc, but it’s not something I’d be interested in.

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Markus wrote:
@iamlucky13

I meant no disrespect when I talk about a dead end. It is the observation that a large bulk of excellent functionality is squeezed through a UI based on a single button. It is done in the most clever way but still represents a dead end as from here on out you need a new interface to really improve the lantern. Wether you ad on a rotary switch, more buttons or a bluetooth function is not so important, but it all would represent a more drastic change in design.

No need to apologize. Courteous discussion is good even when we disagree. Personally, I think it’s worth emphasizing how much the light offers compared to anything else comparable.

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