D.I.Y. Illuminated tailcap

1813 posts / 0 new
Last post
djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 18078
Location: Amsterdam

Thing is, by buying that part you will have avoided nothing: you still have to experiment with bleeder resistor values and perhaps even tail resistor values, you still have to solder tiny components.

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 18 sec ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 3173
Location: Central IL

Definitely agree, djozz! Just thought it was worth mentioning, and tried to highlight those issues.

Though if you consider buying the boards and LEDs, if you only plan on doing one, this would be a cheaper route. And while you’d still need to solder small components, it’s only one instead of several (assuming tail resistors are OK).

Texas_Ace
Texas_Ace's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 40 min ago
Joined: 03/24/2016 - 07:44
Posts: 9401
Location: Everything is brighter in Texas

Ok, I need to correct myself. I made a few mistakes. PD you were correct in your statements.

I broke out the good equipment today instead of the harbor freight meter and ran some tests in a dark room.

Basically I could not see the LED’s glowing due to the direction they were pointed and the meter read 0 so I assumed it was not on. Turns out the meter was simply not sensitive enough.

Once I hooked everything up properly I noticed that I do actually have lit LED’s for most of the adjustment range up to 50k. at 50k it is pulling around .03ma.

What threw me off was that in the first ~5k of resistance (a mere hairs turn of the pot) the current would go from ~20ma down to .5ma. It appeared to turn off at this point as after reaching about .25ma at around 10k ohms it was a very slow drop down to .03 and was hardly noticeable.

I was basically only noticing the first 5k-10k worth of change as it was so sudden, the rest happened so slow comparatively it appeared to not be on.

I think going forward I am going to install a fixed resistor instead of jumping the pads on the top board. Something like a 4.7k-10k since I have a ton of them already. This will limit the max current to something like .2-.4ma depending on the LED VF based on my early testing (still need to try red, white and blue).

This would mean that even at it’s brightest it should not effect the driver with a 560ohm bleeder and then can easily be adjusted down to whatever I want.

Sorry I wasted your time, I should have finished testing before posting.

I can also see why you say that a bright tailcap is not needed, if you just forget about how it looks int he day a dim tailcap is still usable at night.

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 18 sec ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 3173
Location: Central IL

TA, I’m glad you’ve posted what you have. It reminds me of Edison and the light bulb… you learn a lot on the way from the “failures”. By sharing your experiences, it helps guide the rest of us!

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

I would probably have more bright ones if it wasn’t such a big power sucker. I keep them dim so I don’t have to lock them out on my shelf.

Glad it’s working out for you

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Texas_Ace
Texas_Ace's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 40 min ago
Joined: 03/24/2016 - 07:44
Posts: 9401
Location: Everything is brighter in Texas
gchart wrote:
TA, I’m glad you’ve posted what you have. It reminds me of Edison and the light bulb… you learn a lot on the way from the “failures”. By sharing your experiences, it helps guide the rest of us!

Yeah, I always find it annoying when you find an old thread with the same issue you have and the solution was never mentioned.

I hope to get a basic rundown of resistance needed to limit current to ~.5ma for a fixed resistor with various colors.

This should ensure that the sudden drop in brightness and the driver issues are no more and give a nice wide adjustment range from .5ma down to ~.03ma.

pilotdog68 wrote:
I would probably have more bright ones if it wasn’t such a big power sucker. I keep them dim so I don’t have to lock them out on my shelf.

Glad it’s working out for you

Yeah, I was also worried about the drain over time but I also am very careful with my lights and charge them up after basically any use. It is rare for a cell to enter the charger will less then 3.5V rested. They look so pretty glowing on the shelf!

That said I think that .5ma is enough for even this and anymore is wasteful, so capping the current there would make things simpler all around.

Plus I would like to find a parts list that is known to work together with the TA drivers and put it in the TA thread is that is ok with you. That way it makes things easy for people to build and use the lighted tailcap and TA drivers together.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Sure, go ahead

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

WillyD
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 10/10/2012 - 15:55
Posts: 796
Location: Ohio

I know my answers are buried in this thread, but there are just way too many pages. Trying to take what I can from the original post, though. So Gen2 is more efficient. Makes sense since not using the clear spacer. I want to buy all the parts to do my first cap on an F13 which I believe has a 20mm board. Am I correct in that I can use the stock switch board and just need the top board?

The largest board looks like the 19mm BIG SWITCH. Also, am I correct in that the large switch is not equipped for use with pots?

Appreciate all the time PD and everyone has put into this. Making a list of parts now and will post them before making the purchases.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Even if the switch pcb is 20mm in the F13, is the switch itself big? The BIG SWITCH version has a larger center hole to fit a larger switch under it. You are correct, it is only set up for resistors, though rigging up a pot on it wouldn’t be too hard.

Or you could use a smaller switch and therefore a different ring pcb. most of them will work fine with a 16mm silicone boot.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

WillyD
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 10/10/2012 - 15:55
Posts: 796
Location: Ohio

pilotdog68 wrote:
Even if the switch pcb is 20mm in the F13, is the switch itself big? The BIG SWITCH version has a larger center hole to fit a larger switch under it. You are correct, it is only set up for resistors, though rigging up a pot on it wouldn’t be too hard.

Or you could use a smaller switch and therefore a different ring pcb. most of them will work fine with a 16mm silicone boot.

Ok, thanks for the reply. I knew if I just jumped in this it would start to slowly make sense. You are correct…I compared the F13 cap setup and except for the switch pcb, everything else is the same, so I should be able to use a 16mm ring pcb.

So, I should be able to pair the stock switch pcb with the Rev5.1 or 5.2 ring pcb. And, for all other normal 16mm lights, I can just purchase a 5.1 or 5.2 ring pcb, or 5.3 with switch and ring pcb’s with more feature. Does that all sound right?

Other than that, I’ll put in some orders for clear boots, pack of resistors/pots, and bag ‘o LEDs.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

The 5.1,2,3 mainly work with the small omten 1288 switch. If it’s a bigger switch you may want to order the BIG SWITCH boards or order some of the small Omtens. The 5.3 top rings can also be used with a stock switch pcb (without the 5.3 bottom boards) by just using wires instead of the pins (same as the 5.1 and 5.2 can). If you go the smaller route just pick which of those three fits your need best as far as pots vs resistors, etc.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

lumenzilla
lumenzilla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 06/09/2015 - 04:18
Posts: 1004
Location: Java

Last night I swapped switchboard (with LED & resistors soldered) from Manker E14 to BLF Special Edition X6 and it works without bleeder. Amazing.

Have a great weeekend, guys!

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1608
Location: Georgia, USA

I haven’t built one of these tailcaps in months, but I got inspired today. I put a white tailcap in my polished/curly maple BLF A6.

As you can see, I like mine pretty dim. Its almost blue, definitely some cool white emitters, but I like it. It suits the light I think.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Looks very nice on that light

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1608
Location: Georgia, USA
pilotdog68 wrote:
Looks very nice on that light

Thanks, I think so too. It is truly a blf light — BLF A6 + rufusbduck wooden tube + pd68 lighted tailcap. One of my favorites.

Nicolicous
Nicolicous's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 6 days ago
Joined: 04/16/2016 - 08:28
Posts: 1604
Location: Australia

i reckon white colour is the best and you can use them as moonlight Big Smile

Nico -.-

Sirius9
Sirius9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 7 hours ago
Joined: 03/04/2012 - 19:23
Posts: 4651
Location: South Europe

Damn, never mad so many short circuit in my life until I started experimenting with this lights for switches.
I installed one in new C8 (clear one, with new driver), used 3 channel board and 3 × 220 ohms resistors, no modification on the driver. I must have done something wrong because it behaves unpredictably, sometimes works OK, light up nicely, when I turn on the flashlight tailcap lights turn off, when switch is in off position tailcap lights are ON… but sometimes just doesn’t work no light from tailcap and no light from flashlight main LED! this is harder than it looks Smile

 

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1608
Location: Georgia, USA

If the main light no longer works then it’s probably not the lighted “daughter” board to blame. Is the switch getting good ground to the tailcap body through the retaining ring?

One other thing to try:. When I’ve got one being ornery I wrap the whole outer edge in kapton tape, just don’t let it wrap under the bottom and insulate the ground contact.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

If y’all weren’t aware, Texas Ace has a few tailcaps for sale as add-ons when you buy one of his drivers. He is doing them all pre-calibrated to work with the driver, all you would have to do is fit them in your light and adjust the pot with a screwdriver to your desired brightness.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/50653

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Texas_Ace
Texas_Ace's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 40 min ago
Joined: 03/24/2016 - 07:44
Posts: 9401
Location: Everything is brighter in Texas

pilotdog68 wrote:
If y’all weren’t aware, Texas Ace has a few tailcaps for sale as add-ons when you buy one of his drivers. He is doing them all pre-calibrated to work with the driver, all you would have to do is fit them in your light and adjust the pot with a screwdriver to your desired brightness.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/50653

Thanks for the plug!

I am also putting together a spreadsheet with different resistance / current measurements from various color LED’s. I will post it once I get the last few colors tested (got to wait for more PCB’s to show up).

I will be installing some fixed resisters in addition to the pot in order to limit current to what the driver will be happy with on the ones I build. Not 100% fool proof but should vastly reduce possible issues.

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 13473
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Nicely modified emarkd. It looks real good, Thumbs Up

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Coolcat2005dj wrote:
Hi I tried to switch taillight swith of my astrolux SS in to Astrolux S41S. Yeah it works the switch, but led light of tail cap can only hardly visible. It doesn’t light up like in the SS

Doesn’t anyone know why is that? Does it have a affect of driver unit?

How an I make it well works on like in SS.


I will answer here to encourage asking questions here. I just happened to see your thread, but if you post here I get an email notification (as do others who can help when I am busy).

The S41 uses a different driver that was not made for the illuminated tailcap. You will probably notice that the modes on your light don’t work correctly when you turn it off either. You need to add a bleeder resistor to your driver. This information is in the first post

Quote:
This isn’t exactly “good” science. I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of how this affects drivers, but we have learned quite a bit from experience. Some drivers will work just fine without any modification when the Illuminated tailcap is added. I’m sure there are some drivers that simply won’t work correctly at all after it is added. Most drivers will have issues initially (like not changing modes when the switch is pressed) but will work correctly once a bleeder resistor is added. This is a resistor placed on the driver directly between Battery+ and GND (the flashlight body) to “bleed” power past the driver to the tailcap. It can be placed in a number of different ways on the driver. The needed value is typically between 500-800ohms, but will depend on how much power your tailcap draws. If you already have a bleeder resistor and still have problems, try a bleeder with lower resistance.

There are also pictures there to illustrate.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Coolcat2005dj
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 5 days ago
Joined: 07/03/2016 - 21:27
Posts: 61

Thanks alot for the quick reply pilotdog Big Smile

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Coolcat2005dj wrote:
Thanks alot for the quick reply pilotdog Big Smile

I don’t expect you to read this whole thread, but I’d say please read the OP, and maybe the most recent two pages of comments. Even if you don’t, please ask any questions you have. You’ll normally get an answer more quickly here.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Sirius9
Sirius9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 7 hours ago
Joined: 03/04/2012 - 19:23
Posts: 4651
Location: South Europe

Random clicking with freshly made red lightswitch

 

mrheosuper
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 1 day ago
Joined: 09/30/2016 - 12:44
Posts: 1515
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

pilotdog68 wrote:
Coolcat2005dj wrote:
Hi I tried to switch taillight swith of my astrolux SS in to Astrolux S41S. Yeah it works the switch, but led light of tail cap can only hardly visible. It doesn’t light up like in the SS

Doesn’t anyone know why is that? Does it have a affect of driver unit?

How an I make it well works on like in SS.


I will answer here to encourage asking questions here. I just happened to see your thread, but if you post here I get an email notification (as do others who can help when I am busy).

The S41 uses a different driver that was not made for the illuminated tailcap. You will probably notice that the modes on your light don’t work correctly when you turn it off either. You need to add a bleeder resistor to your driver. This information is in the first post

Quote:
This isn’t exactly “good” science. I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of how this affects drivers, but we have learned quite a bit from experience. Some drivers will work just fine without any modification when the Illuminated tailcap is added. I’m sure there are some drivers that simply won’t work correctly at all after it is added. Most drivers will have issues initially (like not changing modes when the switch is pressed) but will work correctly once a bleeder resistor is added. This is a resistor placed on the driver directly between Battery+ and GND (the flashlight body) to “bleed” power past the driver to the tailcap. It can be placed in a number of different ways on the driver. The needed value is typically between 500-800ohms, but will depend on how much power your tailcap draws. If you already have a bleeder resistor and still have problems, try a bleeder with lower resistance.

There are also pictures there to illustrate.


wait, what, why the bleeder resistor is 500-800ohm, it should be some K ohm, so that the led in tail cap don’t need another resistor( i disassemble 1 tail cap, and it has another resisor to limit the current)

Forgot my pen

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1608
Location: Georgia, USA
mrheosuper wrote:
wait, what, why the bleeder resistor is 500-800ohm, it should be some K ohm, so that the led in tail cap don’t need another resistor( i disassemble 1 tail cap, and it has another resisor to limit the current)

This is not my design and I don’t claim to fully understand it all, but I don’t think that’s how it works. You really need the two different levels of resistance — a low resistance path so that the OTC can bleed off quickly preserving the timing of the mcu, plus a higher resistance path to dim the tailcap lights sufficiently.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6422
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

This is my design but still don’t claim to understand it!

Mrheosuper if you’ve got an idea, try it! If it works and makes this better let us all know.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

mrheosuper
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 1 day ago
Joined: 09/30/2016 - 12:44
Posts: 1515
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

pilotdog68 wrote:
This is my design but still don’t claim to understand it!

Mrheosuper if you’ve got an idea, try it! If it works and makes this better let us all know.


Well, i will, just right after i receive my new solder

Forgot my pen

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 18 sec ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 3173
Location: Central IL

Success! (I may be a bit giddy at the moment)

Finally got around to trying this again, now that my new soldering iron came in. Overall, it went pretty smoothly. But it could have went a lot smoother if I had read more carefully.

Target: Convoy S2 with a nanjg105d 2.8A driver
Switchboard: stock Convoy
Illum. tailcap board: Rev5.3 (top)
LEDs: 6x blue 0805
Tailcap resistor: single 10K ohm (bridged the two channels)
Bleeder resistor: 750 ohm
Measured draw: 0.1 mA (my multimeter only reads tenths)

One difficulty: the nanjg105d didn’t have a good place (that I could see) to solder the bleeder to. I ended up soldering one side to the spring and the other side to the outside ring via a jumper wire.

Other difficulty: instead of starting out with a 10K ohm tailcap resistor, I used a 10 ohm. It was obviously too bright and the driver wasn’t working right, so I tried a 30 ohm. And then a 100 ohm. And then I finally re-read some posts and realized I should have been using a 10*K* ohm resistor. Once I put that in place, everything started working like it should. I might even try a 20K ohm next time, but I didn’t feel like opening everything back up on this one.

One other thing: the opening in the ring wasn’t quite big enough to seat onto the switch properly. So I lightly filed the switch casing. I could’ve opened the ring’s hole a bit, but the clearances seemed tight.

Thank you PD and everyone that has contributed to this thread!

Pages