Mini review + mod test: 6-18V, 3-mode, 3000mA - 5$ driver from LightsCastle

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RaceR86
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Mini review + mod test: 6-18V, 3-mode, 3000mA - 5$ driver from LightsCastle

This is basically just my simple impression of this driver along with some measurements and resistor fiddling.  I paid 5$ for it. Link to driver.

:
Its 22mm wide and about 14mm tall (when the toroid is flat against the board). It could fit inside a pill that is around 12,5 to 13mm tall.
Driver is 3 mode like advertised. Stock emitter current was about 2,32 high (after it had sinked fast from about 2,4A), low was 0,46. It was advertised as a 3 amp driver. Strobe was most likely the same as high.
Output seemed to be pretty much the same no matter what the input voltage I tested it with in the 5,5-16V range.
Its got next mode memory.  :Sp
It does not work with an MT-G2.
I did not notice any PWM whine, but I was not in a quiet environment. I can not comment on PWM.
_______________________________________
Can output be increased?
There are 3 resistors in the middle of the board (having the markings R2 and R3 beside them on the board) The two resistors on the board are R270. The white one, which is stacked upside down on top of one of the R270, is marked R220.
I placed one R120 on top of that again.. With some devilish horns..  >)
High was then 4A, but after fairly short time I saw hint of smoke, and the board was super hot. I guess it was too much. Especially with the board hanging in the loose air. Probably too much in general. Especially considering what this driver board was originally. When the driver had two R270 resistors (I removed the white upside down resistor), output was 0,71 on high, and 0,15 on low.
I tried combining 2xR270 (the ones on the board) and the R120 instead of the upside down R270. That gave me 2,46A on high and 0,5A on low. Not much more than when it arrived. I could probably push it further, but I do not know how healthy that is.
_______________________
Efficiency: 
With the 2xR270 + 1xR120. Output on high was 2,46 to an XM-L. I did not measure output voltage, but I assume 3,25V.
I measured input amps and volt and came up with the following numbers:
Driver efficiency (after a little mod) is around 75%.
_________________
Conclusion so far:
It might be decent if I can get rid of the next mode memory. Help/tips appreciated!
I had hoped this driver had the advertised 3A output , and could easily handle 4-5A+ if modded. Would be great to have a cheap compact driver that had a flexible input range and could deliver some decent amps. Maybe even be a nice driver for an MT-G2. This was not it...
It is flexible in terms of input voltage, and it is cheap. If it just arrived with anything else than next-mode memory I could probably find it useful for something. Right now its collecting dust.

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Edited by: RaceR86 on 08/21/2013 - 14:26
djozz
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Thanks for the very informative testing, a pity that it is not a very good driver.

I started reading with the hope it would be the driver for a 1x26650 mod I am working on (should also be 22mm) , but this is totally not it.  (so I will use the cheapo direct drive stock driver with the resistors shunted)

garrybunk
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Thanks for the review.  I could see using this in my Lawnmower headlight mod (with next mode memory removed), but then again the Fast Strobe on a lawnmower might appear out of place Smile . Watching for the "mods".  Would like to see a little more output.

-Garry

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RaceR86
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Thanks for the feedback..

Djozz. Sorry to disappoint you. I had hoped this was driver was a hidden treasure. 

When that is said, its a buck driver. It will not light up an emitter with a single battery. That I expected.

It will stay regulated down to about 5,25v input. It will light up an emitter with 5V input, but not with proper output.

 

Garry, for all I know, it might be fine at 3A or more, but for now, Ill wait and see if anyone have tips for improving the memory.

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MRsDNF
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Thanks RaceR86. Nice try.

 

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.

 

garrybunk
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No input on removing the next-mode memory?

-Garry

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RaceR86
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Oh, I had already forgotten about the annoying next mode memory when I posted about this driver in the other thread.

Hoping someone will offer a possible fix for the next mode memory.

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garrybunk
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Hmm - found a very similar driver over at DX.  Then found this customer image showing a resistor added.  Not sure if that helps any.

Oh, and one of the reviews says "doesn't remember last mode".  Hmm. . .

EDIT - OOOHHH!  Found this!  And this thread discusses.

EDIT #2 - Another DX thread showing updated board like LightsCastle's with single mode mod. 

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

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NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).