Review/Test of XM-L Multi-cell Circuit Board, 3A, 5.5-12.6V

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HKJ
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Review/Test of XM-L Multi-cell Circuit Board, 3A, 5.5-12.6V
Review/Test of XM-L Multi-cell Circuit Board, 3A, 5.5-12.6V

DSC_3722 DSC_3725
DSC_3724 DSC_3723
DSC_3726 DSC_3727

Driver is from Intl-outdoor.com, but he does not sell it anymore.

Official specifications
  • Suitable for 2*18650 to 3*18650 batteries or 26650 batteries
  • Suitable for 1 LED, or even 2-3 LEDs in series
  • Input Voltage: 5.5v-12.6V
  • Step-Down(Buck) driver
  • Current: 3A
  • Constant current
  • Modes: High-Medium-Low (100%-30%-5%)
  • PWM: 3900Hz
  • PCB diameter: 19mm
  • Contact board diameter: 21mm
  • Height: 9.5mm, 15mm with the contact board.
  • Leads: 24AWG
  • Tinned leads
  • Thermal management, overheating protection 55-60C
  • Low voltage protection
  • Memory function
  • Thermal pad included (5mm thick)


Protection functions:
Flashing 1 time every 5 seconds - High temperature
Flashing 2 times every 5 seconds - Low voltage
Flashing 3 times every 5 seconds - High temperature and Low voltage



Measurements

Tested with: 1, 2 and 3 Cree XM-L2 in series.
Diameter: 21mm and 19mm
Height: 10mm
The driver can be used with 2 or 3 LiIon batteries in series.
The driver has high, medium and low.
PWM is at 1kHz
Switcher frequency is about 460kHz
The driver has memory, the actual mode is stored when the light is off for a short time.
A fast off/on will select next mode.
Medium duty cycle 48% at 1 KHz
Low duty cycle 9% at 1 KHz



High 1xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL

The driver has very good stabilization down to 5.5 volt, where it warns about low battery. This warning is only useable for two cells.
The efficiency is not that great with 3 cells, but gets better with two cells.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HLDriver

Up to 4 watt is lost in the driver.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HLLed

The led as supplied with 13 watt and 3.6 ampere. This current is to high for the led and can be a problem.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20LH

Running the test in reverse, i.e. slowly turning up the voltage, shows that the driver starts at about 4.8 volt.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20LHDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20LHLed


XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%2010.8V
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%207.2V

The current to the led is very smooth, only a small amount of the buck converters frequency can be seen.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20Warning%205V

Low voltage warning is two flashes, but it is only useable for two cells.



Medium 1xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20medium

Medium is about half the current of high, in my opinion it is a very high medium level.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20mediumDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20mediumLed

I do not measure the led voltage, but assumes it is the same as in high, this is necessary to do the power and efficiency calculations.
The led has about 6.3 watt in medium.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20medium%2010.8V
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20medium%207.2V

The driver uses pwm to set medium level and the duty cycle is 48%, this matches the 50% current very well.



Low 1xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20low

In low the current is 0.35A.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20lowDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20lowLed

The power to the led is about 1.2 watt.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20low%2010.8V
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20low%207.2V

The driver uses pwm to set low level and the duty cycle is 9%, this matches the 10% current very well.



High 2xXM-L2

This driver can also drive two leds in series.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%202XML

With two leds in series, the driver does some funny stuff, just before it goes out of regulation. As can be seen on the curve I measured a peak current of 4.25A.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%202XMLDriver

The loss in the driver goes down with two leds.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%202XMLLed

And power to the leds is double up, i.e. 25 watt.



Medium 2xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20medium%202XML

In medium the current peak can also be seen.
The over 100% efficiency is, of course, not correct. This is because the fixed led voltage is wrong, when the input voltage gets below about 7.5 volt.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20medium%202XMLDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20medium%202XMLLed

The medium mode is about 12 watt with two leds.



Low 2xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20low%202XML

The current spike is also present in low mode.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20low%202XMLDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%20low%202XMLLed

The led power is about 2.3 watt.


High 3xXM-L2

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%203XML

This test did not work as expected. The driver delivers a bit more current than the leds is rated for and either that or an even higher spike killed one of the leds.
The led is rated for 3A, but the actual current was between 3.75A and 3.9A.

XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%203XMLDriver
XM-L%20Multi-cell,%203A,%205.5-12.6V%20HL%203XMLLed


This terminates my test of this driver, I am not going to risk more leds



Conclusion

The driver has good stabilization for one led, but does supply to much current. The low battery warning can only be used for two batteries.
Using it with 2 or 3 leds, does increase the risk of blowing the leds, due to the current spike just before going out of regulation.



Notes

How do I test a led driver
List of all tested drivers

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

Werner
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Thanks for the review, I just got such a driver last week.
I ordered this one which looks similiar
http://www.lightmalls.com/super-output-ssc-p7-led-driver-board-low-high-...

And there is never too much current Wink

Looks suitable for mtg use

RaceR86
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Thanks for the review.

Seems like intl-outdoor have just stopped selling the 4,5A large torroid version too. They had it very recently..

Oh, well. This driver and its siblings are quite popular.Sold from many stores.  Easy to resistor mod, and seems to do direct drive when using 3 cells in series combined with 3 LEDs in series (Something Tom E have done a lot with the 4,5A version from IOS).

There seems to be some inconsistency (from some stores) if the the drivers use a small or a large toroid. But several of the high output versions seems to have a large toroid, atleast sometimes..

 

3A

3-Mode  (no contact board)

3-Mode (no contact board)

2pcs, 3 mode (no contact board)

5 pcs, 3 mode (no contact board)

3-mode  (higher price, with contact board)

5 pcs, 3 mode

5 pcs, 5 mode

5-mode

 

5A

3-mode

5 pcs, 5-mode

5pcs, 3-mode

BLF LED database – collaboration spreadsheet and latest news about where to buy LEDs
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19342

TheGloriousTachikoma
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Just wondering, why is 3.5A too much current? I thought that is well within the envelope of a XM-L2 or a copper-sunk XM-L.

And thanks for the review! Smile I saw this driver on Fasttech and wondered about it. It looks like this driver does need a contact board since there is no plated edge on the main board. How hot does the driver itself get? Is the driver supposed to be mounted on something inside the pill, or does just the contact board need to be mounted and the main board can simply ‘float’? Or does one pot the driver to the contact board in a scenario as this?

HKJ
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TheGloriousTachikoma wrote:
Just wondering, why is 3.5A too much current? I thought that is well within the envelope of a XM-L2 or a copper-sunk XM-L.

The maximum rated current for XM-L2 is 3A and I do not expect a driver for XM-L2 to deliver more than that, without modifications.

That the driver increases the current, when the voltage is low, is a very bad design.

I do suspect that one of the leds in my setup was a bit weak (It had been tested at 3A).

TheGloriousTachikoma wrote:
I saw this driver on Fasttech and wondered about it. It looks like this driver does need a contact board since there is no plated edge on the main board. How hot does the driver itself get? Is the driver supposed to be mounted on something inside the pill, or does just the contact board need to be mounted and the main board can simply 'float'? Or does one pot the driver to the contact board in a scenario as this?

 

As you can see in the photos, it does include a contact board.

I do not measure temperature, but have added a high speed fan to my test setup to get rid of heat. I.e. you only measure of heat is the driver curve with watts lost in driver. 4 watt is a lot of power and do require a small heatsink to get rid of.

When working with electronic I usual expect a TO220 package (Old style flat transistor or 78xx package) to handle up to 1 watt without a heatsink.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

moderator007
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Thanks for the detailed testing HKJ. Very nice work. Wink
The driver appears to be the same one I played around with here from lightmalls, but without the battery board. http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25717#node-25717

TheGloriousTachikoma
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HKJ wrote:

TheGloriousTachikoma wrote:
Just wondering, why is 3.5A too much current? I thought that is well within the envelope of a XM-L2 or a copper-sunk XM-L.

The maximum rated current for XM-L2 is 3A and I do not expect a driver for XM-L2 to deliver more than that, without modifications.

Is that the manufacturer’s recommended maximum? Because I see all the time on here people driving almost twice that through copper-sunk L2’s. Match tested the L2 on Al and Cu and on both he took them to at least 5 amps.

HKJ
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TheGloriousTachikoma wrote:
Is that the manufacturer's recommended maximum? Because I see all the time on here people driving almost twice that through copper-sunk L2's. Match tested the L2 on Al and Cu and on both he took them to at least 5 amps.

Yes, it is the manufacturer rating, usual a led can take considerable more current, if it has enough cooling.

I do not know if the driver had a huge current spike or if the led was a bit weak, but the led was not very hot.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/