D.I.Y. Illuminated tailcap

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pilotdog68
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emarkd wrote:
Oh, I guess I don’t understand all this as well as I thought :). That’s not surprising.

I thought Matt said his MtnElec Qlite drivers never needed a bleeder resistor. Regardless I can add one back. I did have one at first but removed it after I noted this memory issue, so I can already say that it’ll still do this with a 560 ohm bleeder resistor in there.

I guess it’s just a balance? Gotta play with resistor values until it acts right?


I don’t really know it all that well either, just what I and others have experienced. Typically drivers that use an OTC for mode changes need a bleeder resistor between Batt+ and gnd, and other types of drivers may not. The Qlite in stock form does not use an OTC (and may not need a bleeder) , but an OTC is often added to a Qlite to use different firmwares (like guppy, apparently).

It’s definitely a balance. I think your high tail draw was just too much for the 560ohm to “bleed”. So either lower the tail draw (higher value resistors) or use a lower value resistor for the bleeder

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

J-Dub74
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emarkd wrote:
Success!

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Matt, I guess I really should’ve tried to power the tailcap without the bleeder first, but I didn’t, so its in there. I may go back and take it out if parasitic drain is too high, but I’ll definitely try my other lights without it first. Its late tonight so I’m not going any further today.

Thanks again guys, this is great!


Man that looks awesome! I’ll be working with Simon on the possible redesign of the metal switch in the near future but he needs time to get things running smoothly in his new factory first.

If we do redesign it I’m trying to have the internal rubber seal replaced with a translucent material to let the light shine through.

Nice work guys!

pilotdog68
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emarkd, can you confirm was the 84ma figure a typo? Was it supposed to be 0.84ma? If so, that’s still high, but it makes more sense.

If it’s actually 84ma, I’m wondering if maybe the Rev5 ring is shorting on the metal switch in that S2+, I know it’s really tight up in there with the little switch button.

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

emarkd
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DavidEF wrote:
I think what they’re saying is that you need the bleeder resistor, not in the place you had it, but directly to ground, in order to get rid of the ‘next mode’ memory you’re seeing.

Hey David thanks for the input but I did try it directly between positive and ground. My original placement on top of C1 caused me to lose mode switching altogether. Still not sure exactly how that worked but the driver became a single-mode driver (on mode 1, moonlight) with the bleeder resistor stacked on C1. I moved it to a place directly between + and GND and my modes worked again, but then it was next-mode memory. I thought by removing it altogether as Matt suggested I could regain “normal” function but that’s not the case.

pilotdog68 wrote:
emarkd, can you confirm was the 84ma figure a typo? Was it supposed to be 0.84ma? If so, that’s still high, but it makes more sense.

If it’s actually 84ma, I’m wondering if maybe the Rev5 ring is shorting on the metal switch in that S2+, I know it’s really tight up in there with the little switch button.

Thanks PD, but no that was not a typo. I read 84 mA using my trusty old Fluke 76 meter. Its 20 years old now and hasn’t been calibrated since I bought it, but I think its probably still fairly accurate.

There could be some small short in there somewhere, but I don’t think its against the metal switch. I added waterproofing in the form of a disposable nylon glove just below the metal switch so there shouldn’t be any contact there. I’ll check better this evening though.

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ok, 84ma is crazy high, the highest I’ve ever measured was just over 1ma I think. There has to be a small short somewhere I think, I don’t think the resistors you said you used would allow anything close to that current. (and I think the tailcap would be ridiculously bright if it were getting that much current through the LEDs). At 84ma, it’ll totally drain a full 800mah cell in about 10 hours.

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

mattlward
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Agreed PD, that draw is over the top. Solder bridge or maybe problem with braided springs?

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
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S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

emarkd
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pilotdog68 wrote:
ok, 84ma is crazy high, the highest I’ve ever measured was just over 1ma I think. There has to be a small short somewhere I think, I don’t think the resistors you said you used would allow anything close to that current. (and I think the tailcap would be ridiculously bright if it were getting that much current through the LEDs). At 84ma, it’ll totally drain a full 800mah cell in about 10 hours.

You know, now that I’m saying all this I’m starting to doubt myself. My meter has two lead connections for measuring amperage and if I was using the low-amp input, which I should have been, then I actually measured MICROamps. I’m used to dealing with several amps of draw, not microamps, so its very possible that I’m now telling you all a lie. I’ll double-check it tonight but there’s at least a chance that what I read last night was 84 µA without realizing it. :-/

Would 84 µA be too low to be a realistic reading?

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ohhh Microamps would make sense, the Rev5 design is very efficient. My most recent build (the M6) was 20.7 microamps

………. but then I would also think the 560ohm bleeder would have worked fine with that level of draw.

This is part of why I don’t sell kits, there’s always something that goes wrong and doesn’t make sense Glasses

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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pilotdog68 wrote:
ohhh Microamps would make sense, the Rev5 design is very efficient. My most recent build (the M6) was 20.7 microamps

………. but then I would also think the 560ohm bleeder would have worked fine with that level of draw.

This is part of why I don’t sell kits, there’s always something that goes wrong and doesn’t make sense Glasses

Awesome, so lets assume I’m an idiot (not much of a stretch Smile ) and that my tailcap setup really is pulling 84 µA and is working properly. Then the thought process is that I really need that bleeder resistor on the driver, yes? I’ve already had a 560 in there with no change in behavior. Should I go higher or lower?

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The “next-mode” behavior suggests you still need the bleeder, and still lower value than 560

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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pilotdog68 wrote:
The “next-mode” behavior suggests you still need the bleeder, and still lower value than 560

Lower, got it. I wish I understood why I need a lower one but honestly I don’t. That’s okay though, I’m learning and I really appreciate you holding my hand through this Smile

I’ll report back later this evening after some experimentation.

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I’m no electrical engineer, but the way I think of it is that to make the driver work normally, we have to make it oblivious that the illuminated tailcap exists. So we want all of the power the tailcap needs to bypass the driver and just come from the bleeder. If the driver is still messing up, it must mean that not enough power is coming from the bleeder, and it must be pulling some through the driver, keeping the mcu awake or keeping the OTC charged instead of draining like it should. So we need to lower the resistance to make more go through the bleeder.

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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I hate to muddy up this thread with a post that doesn’t contribute in any way… but I just gotta say, holy wow have I learned a lot in the last two pages!

Ordering parts Trying to order parts as we speak, I wanna play too! Thank you guys!

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Okay, I got home shortly ago and make some quick progress. I dropped in several different sizes of bleeder resistor, just working my way down through the assortment I own. I got to 220 ohms but then my driver started working properly again! Tailcap draw is way up, 944 µA now, and the tailcap brightness is much higher too, so I may crack the tail back open and increase those resistors a bit. If I understand things that shouldn’t affect the driver though, so hopefully I won’t have to touch it again!

We’re getting there! Thanks a lot PD and others!

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emarkd wrote:
the driver “acquired” mode memory, well more accurately it acquired next mode memory. … I can swap this blue lighted tailcap onto those other lights and replicate this same effect — “normal” tailcap has no memory, lighted tailcap has next-mode memory. … I’m measuring 84 mA of drain through the tailcap, which seems kinda high to me.

That is kind of high. And current going through the driver may be keeping the OTC from draining or could be keeping the SRAM from decaying to its powered-off state. Either of these can break the interface on an offtime-based driver.

I’m not entirely sure how guppydrv (guppy2drv) works, but DrJones’ page says it uses off-time memory. So, it probably needs a bleeder to let power through without keeping the rest of the driver lit up.

It seems you’ve already figured this out though, and are in the process of fine-tuning it. I can at least say that the lower the tailcap power, the less the offtime-disrupting effect. Also, the less-resistive the bleeder, the lower the offtime-disrupting effect. However, less-resistive bleeders also make the normal running modes less efficient, IIRC. So, it should probably be the highest value which still works.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
wight wrote:
Care to elaborate?

Er, your most recent designs, actually. They seem very promising. Smile In general, drivers designed with more recent developments in mind… like more consistent OTC timings, parasitic tail lights, and protecting the MCU from power ripples. Perhaps fitting tiny45/85 too, though 25 is already a huge upgrade. I like the idea of having those things accounted for up front instead of trying to kludge something together afterward.
Hehh. I would avoid getting too excited. Very little of that has been fully thought out. :-/

ToyKeeper wrote:
emarkd wrote:
the driver “acquired” mode memory, well more accurately it acquired next mode memory. … I can swap this blue lighted tailcap onto those other lights and replicate this same effect — “normal” tailcap has no memory, lighted tailcap has next-mode memory. … I’m measuring 84 mA of drain through the tailcap, which seems kinda high to me.
That is kind of high. And current going through the driver may be keeping the OTC from draining or could be keeping the SRAM from decaying to its powered-off state. Either of these can break the interface on an offtime-based driver.

I’m not entirely sure how guppydrv (guppy2drv) works, but DrJones’ page says it uses off-time memory. So, it probably needs a bleeder to let power through without keeping the rest of the driver lit up.

It seems you’ve already figured this out though, and are in the process of fine-tuning it. I can at least say that the lower the tailcap power, the less the offtime-disrupting effect. Also, the less-resistive the bleeder, the lower the offtime-disrupting effect. However, less-resistive bleeders also make the normal running modes less efficient, IIRC. So, it should probably be the highest value which still works.

The 84mA number was a mistake – turned out to be 84uA, much lower. The bleeder isn’t hurting the efficiency in regular modes very much. For example:
4.2v / 200ohms = 0.021amps

So in the case of a 200 ohm resistor: with the light turned on we’d be wasting 21mA constantly through the resistor if the battery maintained 4.2v (which it doesn’t). That’s less than 1/10w, which is probably quite a bit for a little 0805 resistor… but definitely not too much I think.

pilotdog68 wrote:
Since wight is back, maybe he can shed more light on the technical aspects of what is going on with the driver. I really just have my observations.
Your observations seem accurate. This is a pretty weird thing to be doing to the overall circuit; I think that your assessment is close enough to the truth to run with.

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

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I’ve had that issue, with pot boards, and once you dial in the leds so the modes/memory works right, you’ll run into issues with the light after it heats up, even just warms up. I was using guppy but decided to build a few blf a6(+7135) drivers for a change, and the same happens. Also attempted lighted tailcaps the same way you did with a 3.04A qlite, same outcome as you experienced, I pulled the lighted parts and gave up on that because it was just to try it. Ive put the bleeder on the +spring to ground, and on top of the OTC cap, from otc to gnd, I have no idea what could be going on here.

Could the bleeder resistor and the led resistor in series acting as a voltage divider be something we aren’t taking into account?

When the light is off we are putting +470/560/200 ohms worth of positive power into the host, when we turn the light on we overpower that with – power making the host more neutral than the bleeder resistors bleed off, killing the tail leds and not losing any power at all from the main led(s).

Maybe we need a diode in series with the bleeder? Or is there already one lined up with c1? Or maybe there should be one in line with the OTC cap to keep power from backfeeding when the light is off? It seems like power is backfeeding into the mcu or a component causing it to get heated and mess with the modes.

I measured the voltage at the tail leds set up with blf a6/mtn17ddM/470ohm resistor/.67mA draw and it was only 2.1 V, same light before without any lighted tailcap parts it was 4.2v & .06mA draw.

I really don’t know, I’m just spitballing what I’ve done hoping someone with actual knowledge can say “hey dummy do this..” I’ll try about anything.

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I got the alu X5 in today (what a great little light! The bling of the CU/SS set was nice, but IMHO this little black X5 is what this GB was all about) and since I received the 6-led dumb board as well this week, I could not resist instantly modding it. Pulled out the blue led tail assembly and build a new one from the 6-led ring, a new small Omten switch and a BLF-A6 switch board that had come spare. The resistor before the single blue led in the stock light was 2K Ohm, so I did not dare to go different in fear of messing up the driver UI: 3x 6.8K Ohm parallel for the new board, 6 orange leds. It all worked very well and I also reflowed another led: XP-L Hi 3000K 80CRI for added cuteness. Smile

 

Happy camper. Thanks PD68 for another winning design! cool

 

 

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Looks very nice djozz.

I’m interested in installing a Rev5.1b in the S2+ and Solarforce tailcaps. Will that 19mm PCB fit in either?

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

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wight wrote:
The bleeder isn’t hurting the efficiency in regular modes very much. For example:
4.2v / 200ohms = 0.021amps

So in the case of a 200 ohm resistor: with the light turned on we’d be wasting 21mA constantly through the resistor if the battery maintained 4.2v (which it doesn’t).


But the extra 21mA is pretty huge in some modes.

On an unmodded Kronos X5, I measured 14mA on moon. On an unmodded BLF A6, I measured 3mA. It’s a pretty big jump from 3mA to 14mA. FWIW, neither measurement included the tailcap.

Anyway, it matters to me when the moon runtime drops from ~42 days to ~9 days.

But then, on the lights which use moon a lot, I don’t install bleeders. ;P

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djozz wrote:
The resistor before the single blue led in the stock light was 2K Ohm, so I did not dare to go different in fear of messing up the driver UI: 3× 6.8K Ohm parallel for the new board, 6 orange leds.

Very nice.

Also, good to know the board actually fits those small boots. Might be a good idea to flatten the +/- solder blobs though, to help with waterproofing. (more even pressure)

I wouldn’t worry about side effects of using higher-value resistors. It’s not like the driver was actually calibrated for this in the first place… I didn’t even get the opportunity to calibrate it this time, though I did try regardless. The hardware got changed like four times after sending the code they used, and each change invalidated the calibration. In the end, it was way out of spec. You might actually be able to improve it a bit with higher-value resistors.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
Might be a good idea to flatten the +/- solder blobs though, to help with waterproofing. (more even pressure)

I did, after taking the picture I filed them flat Smile
As for the higher resistor, I like the current brightness, but will measure the current current to see how long the battery will last.
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djozz wrote:
ToyKeeper wrote:
Might be a good idea to flatten the +/- solder blobs though, to help with waterproofing. (more even pressure)
I did, after taking the picture I filed them flat Smile As for the higher resistor, I like the current brightness, but will measure the current current to see how long the battery will last.

I measured the current through the tail when switched-off on an almost (4.14V) dark purple Efest battery, it was 0.855mA. So about a month to drain the battery if this current will be constant, which it will not be, so perhaps 1.5 months? Good enough for all the uses I have for this flashlight, keeping it as an emergency back-up light in a glove box will not be one of them.

Whenever I change my mind and after 30 years without it after all decide to obtain my driver’s licence and then buy that matt black DB9 in which glove-box this gem of a flashlight will have its worthy residence, I can always unscrew the tail a quarter turn for lock-out of the tail-leds.

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djozz wrote:
I measured the current through the tail when switched-off on an almost (4.14V) dark purple Efest battery, it was 0.855mA. So about a month to drain the battery if this current will be constant, which it will not be, so perhaps 1.5 months? Good enough for all the uses I have for this flashlight, keeping it as an emergency back-up light in a glove box will not be one of them.

With that high of draw on a Rev5, it must be pretty bright, eh? Or maybe the LEDs are a little inefficient, it doesn’t look blindingly bright in your pictures.

emarkd, did you ever get yours dialed-in?

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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pilotdog68 wrote:
djozz wrote:
I measured the current through the tail when switched-off on an almost (4.14V) dark purple Efest battery, it was 0.855mA. So about a month to drain the battery if this current will be constant, which it will not be, so perhaps 1.5 months? Good enough for all the uses I have for this flashlight, keeping it as an emergency back-up light in a glove box will not be one of them.
With that high of draw on a Rev5, it must be pretty bright, eh? Or maybe the LEDs are a little inefficient, it doesn’t look blindingly bright in your pictures.

It appears about as bright as that one blue led of the stock tail. In other words, in the dark it is a good bright indication light visible from quite a distance but not disturbingly bright (the orange colour helps with that), it can be much dimmer and still be useful.

Here it is next to my keychain fob, that has three big bright trits (way brighter than the small ones in my Ti Reylight):

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Hi guys!

@djozz

very nice X5 you got there!

@wight

like you, I want to upgrade some Solarforce tailcaps. I can’t help you with the S2+, maybe someone else can chime in here. I opened up the three Solarforce tailcaps I’ve got and found that they differ. My L2T is one of the first batches, it has the glossy type ano, smaller tailcap boot and smaller PCB in there. It’s about 19mm, maybe the 19mm LTC-board would need a little filing. My L2N and L2M have similar tailcap internals, same boot size, about 21mm PCB. Notice, all these lights have the forward clicky installed.

Some pics:





Obviously I converted the L2M to reverse clicky

I’m very sad since I found out the L2N is discontinued. Well, at least I got one. But it’s such a nice light to play Solarforce lego with… Crying
Pick one up if you find one for a acceptable price…
Also, the spare switches are gone from the Solarforce site.

@PD68

What are the specs I should watch out for, when searching for some nice LEDs for LTC purposes? 0603? current rating?

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The L2n is discontinued?? That was my favorite one.. guess I won’t be selling the one I have left.

I have had LTC in multiple solarforce tailcaps, but none with the Rev5/6 ring design yet. Previously it was hard to get the forward-clickies to fit on the board, but that shouldn’t be an issue with the ring design as long as the ring fits over the post on the forward clicky

I have successfully used a Rev4 board in an S2+, and at least one other person (emarkd) has used the Rev5.1 board, I’m guessing the smaller size.

There are a couple boards that require 0603 size, but most use 0805 size pads. You can use 0603 on 0805 pads though, which is what Djozz has done.

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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Yes, L2N is discontinued, I asked them… Couldn’t resist and picked up a spare L2N from KD, I hope it’s genuine.

Thanks for answering my question about the LEDs. What kind of current rating would you chose? I’m currently packing some stuff into my mouser cart and can’t decide what LEDs to get. For example, blue Osram 0603 LEDs, which one should I order, 2mA, 10mA, 20mA rated? Or even higher?

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I buy my LEDs from Lighthouse (linked in OP). For example the blue 0805 is rated for 20ma and luminosity of 120mcd. The red is rated 20ma and 180mcd. I think what you want is the highest mcd possible.

maybe the lower power rated will be more efficient at the lower power we give them (less than 1ma)?

Lighthouse also has theirs rated as “LED Brightness Class: Super/Ultra/Extreme”, but I don’t know if that’s actually some kind of standard or if it’s just marketing hype.

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

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

chouster
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Thanks PD!

Quote:
maybe the lower power rated will be more efficient at the lower power we give them (less than 1ma)?

That’s an interesting point. I will be digging through some datasheets and eventually someday I’ll complete that mouser order… Big Smile

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