Budget headlamp setup...beginner needs some second opinions.

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y0bailey
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Budget headlamp setup...beginner needs some second opinions.

Hello friends. My first post here, hoping to get as many opinions as possible on my build. I am a beginner, so bear with me please.

I am looking to make a headlamp using 2 XM-L LEDs. I want the option to drive them at full blast (3Amps), and to realistically use them at half of that power to not just burn through batteries. This will be used for mountain biking at night.

I want to keep it as inexpensive as possible. I have a large number of high quality Sanyo AA 1.2v nimh batteries, so I want to use them for this build. I don’t mind the weight, and I have them already. The number and configuration is up for debate, the use of nimh AA’s isn’t.

I have tons of battery holders to wire things in series, parallel, you name it. I am basing my current plan around two 6xAA battery holders wired in parallel.

Drivers for these high amp requiring beasts are more of a pain. I don’t want to drop the money on the more expensive taskled drivers, and they are out of stock and I am impatient.

I have purchased two of these drivers: http://www.lightmalls.com/super-output-ssc-p7-led-driver-board-low-high-...

I was planning on running them in parallel, each supply a full 3A at high if wanted.

Here is my crude drawing:

Please correct the things I have messed up. I am worried I have this wired incorrectly. My goal is the wire the two batteries in parallel, and wire the two drivers in parallel.

My main question is switch placement. Is this in the correct spot? How will this control the various modes the drivers have to offer. I know I need a high amp capable switch, but does anyone have any exact recommendations? I feel like putting it between the battery and the drivers might not be correct?

Thanks folks. I wish this stuff came more naturally to me, but it has been like 10 years since I have taken a physics class!

Edited by: y0bailey on 09/13/2012 - 19:06
gunner12
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Looks like you got it right. Most of those drivers change modes via power interrupts, so a quick on-off-on will get you to the second mode, or a quick off-on will move to the next mode.

Ledsmoke
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Welcome to BLF y0bailey.

Looks like a fun project you're about to build there. Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

Other then that? What gunner12 said Smile

~ Ledsmoke ~

Dutch humor:

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scaru
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Yep, looks right as far as I can tell. What drivers are you using? Or are you slaving them?

y0bailey
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scaru wrote:

Yep, looks right as far as I can tell. What drivers are you using? Or are you slaving them?

Thanks for the responses guys! Out of all of the forums I have posted to, you guys get the big award for speed!

scaru, the drivers can be found here: http://www.lightmalls.com/super-output-ssc-p7-led-driver-board-low-high-...

I don’t know what slaving them means (I am a noob), but please inform me if it will make a more effective setup!

Last thing for you folks to check. Would this switch work?: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/GPB554B05BB/SW644-ND/2235516

It is rated at 6amps, on-off so I can just double click to cycle, etc.

scaru
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Slaving is a way of making a 4.2 volt driver work with higher voltages. That switch would work but it would be best to use a reverse clicky since it will be a multimode light. And a quick word about that driver, it generally only supply around 2 amps. However that is probably better since this will be 2 XM-Ls in a headlamp. 

y0bailey
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scaru wrote:

Slaving is a way of making a 4.2 volt driver work with higher voltages. That switch would work but it would be best to use a reverse clicky since it will be a multimode light. And a quick word about that driver, it generally only supply around 2 amps. However that is probably better since this will be 2 XM-Ls in a headlamp. 

Cool..reverse clicky it is.

The driver states 3A on the website, but in reality it will be closer to 2A? Is that due to efficiency? You used it before or read about someone who did? In reality you are right…2A might be more desirable in this setup!

It doesn’t seem like I would need to slave this setup, due to this driver doing the voltage regulating? Correct?

scaru
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Yeah, I have used that driver before and measured around 2 amps unless you get above 12 volts. I think it just needs higher voltage to supply more current. I would suggest wiring it something more like this so you could turn on only 1 LED if you wanted to. 

y0bailey
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scaru wrote:

Yeah, I have used that driver before and measured around 2 amps unless you get above 12 volts. I think it just needs higher voltage to supply more current. I would suggest wiring it something more like this so you could turn on only 1 LED if you wanted to. 

Hah….I just ordered an extra switch for that reason! Funny how that works.

Anyways, thanks for the info. I am looking forward to getting this up and running.

I have already ordered everything, but just to make myself angry, how would you achieve a similar setup (using AA nimh batteries and 2 XMLs)?

scaru
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I would probably power it from 4 eneloops (around 6 volts at full charge) using a E1320 7135 driver. It is a driver that a member here(E1320) buys and reprograms so they have 5 modes going from moonlight to 3.1 amps. Then just repeat for the second XM-L.

Or if I got adventurous I might try to make one of the QTC variable output ones. QTC is a material that when pressure is applied conducts electricity, and more pressure is more conductive. With that it can be infinitely variable. What your are doing definitely has potential and sounds like a fun mod. 

y0bailey
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scaru wrote:

I would probably power it from 4 eneloops (around 6 volts at full charge) using a E1320 7135 driver. It is a driver that a member here(E1320) buys and reprograms so they have 5 modes going from moonlight to 3.1 amps. Then just repeat for the second XM-L.

Or if I got adventurous I might try to make one of the QTC variable output ones. QTC is a material that when pressure is applied conducts electricity, and more pressure is more conductive. With that it can be infinitely variable. What your are doing definitely has potential and sounds like a fun mod. 

Very cool. Well hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a complete fail! Hehe. If I can get 1000-1500 lumens out of it and 2 hours of runtime, I am sold. You think that is possible?

Gnarly
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Interesting project! but this is SO far above my comfort level pay grade....I have nothing to add....but will watch the thread.

Ship finally came in. I was at the airport.

scaru
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Yeah that sounds like a fairly realistic goal.  What are your plans on heatsinking them? And what about optics? I'm guessing one flood one throw?

@Gnarly, why don't you try modding something. It isn't that hard to make a P60 drop in. Smile

Unkl Ian
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yObailey had the switchs on the +, scaru has them on the -.

Does it make a difference ?

y0bailey
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scaru wrote:

Yeah that sounds like a fairly realistic goal.  What are your plans on heatsinking them? And what about optics? I’m guessing one flood one throw?

@Gnarly, why don’t you try modding something. It isn’t that hard to make a P60 drop in. Smile

I bought several optics with various beam widths to see what I like best. Basically mix and match until pleased. They were $1 a piece, so I splurged a bit here.

I have tons of computer heatsinks around, so the LEDs will be very well cooled. I run a more “wide open” design so they get plenty of airflow.

The drivers themselves I worry about slightly, but I will probably find bits of aluminum and epoxy em on to be safe. I am hoping I have the newer revision of the drivers, which seem to overheat less frequently.

y0bailey
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Unkl Ian wrote:
yObailey had the switchs on the +, scaru has them on the -.

Does it make a difference ?

Shouldn’t matter. The switch basically just closes the circuit to allow electricity to move through (think of it like cutting the wire). If you cut the wire on either + or -, things still shut off. If you reconnect it, things turn back on.

Unkl Ian
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y0bailey wrote:
Unkl Ian wrote:
yObailey had the switchs on the +, scaru has them on the -.

Does it make a difference ?

Shouldn’t matter. The switch basically just closes the circuit to allow electricity to move through (think of it like cutting the wire). If you cut the wire on either + or -, things still shut off. If you reconnect it, things turn back on.

That would be my uneducated guess.

raccoon city
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It's a pleasure to know you, y0bailey!

Best0270

bailey

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I built a double XML headlamp thingy for my helmet a while back but, eventually took it apart because the heatsink, reflectors etc, were a bit heavy and cumbersome. If ambient temperature is low and you’ll be going fast enough on high mode, then, you may not need something that stresses your neck. I wish you luck with the build!

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

scaru
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You guys were right it shouldn't matter which side the switches are on. 

y0bailey
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Newest plan thanks to some ideas here and at another forum. Basically adding dual switches like scaru suggested, and slightly changing the wiring to make sure that both batteries drain equally, even if one light is completely switched off.

This prevents the drivers from getting out of sync (meaning one is on medium, on on high, and being unable to get them back to the correct mode simultaneously), and allows even more adjustability. Aka I can cycle and have both on high, on high one medium, both medium, one off one on, etc.

Does this look correct to you folks!?

These parts cannot get here fast enough!

gunner12
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Seems right to me.

scaru
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Oops. Not sure how I missed this. Looks like it should work. I'm guessing the white lines are not wires or anything? Make sure you wire it up to test it before you do final assembly though. 

eebowler
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scaru, the white lines were where the original parallel connections were.
y0bailey, the drivers I used were different from what you’re using however, I got ‘interference’ when both drivers were on ie, there was NOTICABLE flickering on low and medium modes. With one driver/LED was on, there was no flicker. Not saying it’s going to happen but just letting you know it possibly can.

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

Gnarly
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scaru wrote:

....@Gnarly, why don't you try modding something. It isn't that hard to make a P60 drop in. Smile

Barely can INSTALL one, let alone: make one!

If I did, it would be as big as a haybale. And use a Farmall headlight.

Thanx for the encouragement....I'll just hang here & try to learn.

Ship finally came in. I was at the airport.

Rufusbduck
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Sorry, late to the party. This looks much like one of my first mods. I think the driver is a clone of the KD Super output P7 driver. Mine is still going strong after 3 years. I used it to power 3 xreQ5’s in parallel from 14 nimh cells 7s2p. I found that with 5 or 6 cells the low voltage warning would cut in before the cells were actually low. The build thread is on mtbr under same Rufusbduck. I used vistalite nightstick bits for lamp housings, wire, switches, batteries, holders, just about everything but the bulbs. Swapped the original subc cells for new 4/5 subc to get 7 in the space of 5. I like your idea for 2 drivers/switches. The drivers are not great for efficiency especially on lower modes. I think Subjohan at CPF did some testing with them. See this thread. Others have found them to be of inconsistent quality which is not surprising for a buck driver that inexpensive. Do what you can to avoid the driver sharing heat with the led as the driver has a thermal cutout. I know they do work but some people have had issues. Good luck

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

y0bailey
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Rufusbduck wrote:
Sorry, late to the party. This looks much like one of my first mods. I think the driver is a clone of the KD Super output P7 driver. Mine is still going strong after 3 years. I used it to power 3 xreQ5’s in parallel from 14 nimh cells 7s2p. I found that with 5 or 6 cells the low voltage warning would cut in before the cells were actually low. The build thread is on mtbr under same Rufusbduck. I used vistalite nightstick bits for lamp housings, wire, switches, batteries, holders, just about everything but the bulbs. Swapped the original subc cells for new 4/5 subc to get 7 in the space of 5. I like your idea for 2 drivers/switches. The drivers are not great for efficiency especially on lower modes. I think Subjohan at CPF did some testing with them. See this thread. Others have found them to be of inconsistent quality which is not surprising for a buck driver that inexpensive. Do what you can to avoid the driver sharing heat with the led as the driver has a thermal cutout. I know they do work but some people have had issues. Good luck

Yea. I am thinking that in order to avoid the lower efficiency medium mode (I will never use low), I will just turn one off one on, for around 1000 lumens. That might be the realistic sweet spot, and I should get 3-4ish hours of runtime in that mode.

Did you heatsink the drivers at all? I am trying to find some good methods, and wondering if you had suggestions.

Rufusbduck
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Yes I heat sinked the drivers. the CPF thread I linked above has a few different methods in it. The inductor and fet both get warm. Whether you use cu or Alu, get it as close to those two parts as possible(ideally touching with a thin layer of AA) without shorting any pins/wires and then pot it with fujik to keep the wire leads from breaking off. I built up layers of cu sheet to the height of the inductor, added another piece on top and potted it in 3/4” cu tubing ~1/2” long. The layered pieces were soldered together and AA’d to the tube which was then AA’d to the housing. The LEDs were mounted to a separate heat sink to avoid heat pollution of the driver. I’m out of the house today but later I can post some pics of another build that uses this driver( the “dog-walking” light).

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

y0bailey
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Rufusbduck wrote:
I’m out of the house today but later I can post some pics of another build that uses this driver( the “dog-walking” light).

Would love to see this. I am thinking of basically just building up some alu, and once tall enough sticking it to a small motherboard chipset heatsink. That should hopefully work.

Rufusbduck
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The light is an old Techna-lite 8AA. I disposed of everything but the shell then dropped in 5 dead AA batteries and poured in melted wax. After it cooled I extracted the mess and used the wax core to make a mold which I then filled with epoxy. I made two of these and drilled down the center of each to run wires and a barrel jack. This gave me a rechargeable 5s2pAA pack that fit in the same space as the original. The light was a waterproof twisty that I did not want to drill through to install a switch so I did this:

The switch is mounted in the center facing the butt end of the light. A bump turns it on/off and a light jog is enough to compress the switch to change modes. it could also be operated by twisting the head to compress the switch. Note the three tiny springs that augment the switch spring.

The driver is located to the side of the cup in the short cylinder. It is very carefully installed with Artic Silver into that cylinder to closely couple the driver to the cu and in 3 years the driver has never gone into thermal shutdown. It blinks and drops to low mode when Vb drops to ~5.5V but only then. I use a 7.2V 350mA Vistalite charger and plug it in overnight. 2 plastic screws located on either side of the switch hold the switch and attach the cup cover which the barrel jack is mounted to. This allows me to unplug the battery pack and plug the pack into the charger. Both copper pieces plus the bits inside are cut, bent, soldered, and filed to fit by hand(I did not own a Dremel then).The leds are 3 xre R2’s run in parallel with a cheap Dx triple optic. It lights up the entire road at about 30’ and makes and 1’ circle at 3’(nice for locating dog business before I step in it) with some spill left over. I first drilled holes in the led sink to locate the optic then used the optic to locate the stars and hold them in place until the fujik cured. Although not an edc this is my light of choice when walking at night. Cars stop 50 yds away thinking a motorcycle or another car is approaching then come on more slowly when I dim the beam and shift it to the side. I’ve never bothered to do a tailcap measurement. I took it to work once and it fell out of an attic, bounced off a shelf, then the ladder and onto a ceramic tile floor changing mods at each bounce(think Jamie Lee Curtiss dropping the machine gun in True Lies). For a plastic light that was free, it has been a real work horse.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

y0bailey
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That is awesome dude. Thanks for the post.

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