TheStar - BLF driver firmware for a GB light - What options do you want to be selectable by stars?

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Customscene
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scottyhazzard wrote:
Disable mode memory, change mode order either ascending or descending. If capable of getting a host that can have a momentary button I would like that so that I can use the double tap for strobe.

Double tap for strobe would also be good. I think for most people, strobe is either a novelty or to be used in an emergency type situation. To be able to get into strobe quickly without cycling through modes and to be able to bypass strobe when you just want to cycle through modes is ideal.

This is way out there, but it would be cool if you could have a flashlight that could be set up for the first mode to be red light, rather than moonlight mode. More light without causing your eyes to adjust.

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A feature i would greatly enjoy is an indicator that the light is running out of regulation, when the battery voltage under load falls to about 3.6V the current to the LED starts falling (105C 2.8 or 3.04A) because the battery voltage is below what the LED needs, so the brightness starts falling (the current starts falling till battery is depleted), a flash once a minute or some key press that turns on and off the one flash a minute when out of regulation would be a great feature.

The Journal of Alternative Facts

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of Alternative Facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists."

 

_the_
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Thanks for your input so far! Highly appreciated! Please keep on commenting.. Smile

 

Couple of further questions:

1. Turbo timer

I have been thinking of the turbo timer thing.. Some testers have been indicating that the subtle ramp down from turbo is hardly noticeable. Maybe it would be ok to leave it as is and have an extra hidden mode: "Turbo (no timer)", so it could be selected if really needed.

That would leave one star for possibly more important things like "Single mode Turbo (with hidden goodies)" or "Tactical config" (= Strobe, Turbo - no memory + hidden goodies like lowlow).

Would that be ok for most of you?


2. Number of modes

I use the lowlow so much that I really like the current four mode config. Some people use it only seldom (or never) and would like to disable it..

Choices here are:
- 4 modes: LL->L->M->T (+ hidden modes) -- easy to select LL, bothers some people
- 3 modes: L->M->T (+ hidden modes, including LL) -- LL doesn't bother, harder to select if needed


3. Type of the hidden strobe

What is the strobe preference of BLF?

Should it be a:
- tactical disorienting strobe (10-20Hz)
- slower signalling strobe (2-5Hz)?
- or something else? 

Of course "Make both" would be ideal, but I'm not sure if I can fit those in the ATtiny13 memory. Sad


4. SOS & Beacons

I have received requests to put in a hidden SOS mode too -> that can fit in the memory, but replaces one of the beacons.

Options:
- Keep the 1s beacon
- Keep the 10s beacon
- or maybe a 2.5s beacon would do?


Thanks in advance for your opinions!

=the=

 

djozz
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Too many choices, overload! Wink

No, I'm simple, this will be good whatever the outcome. That said: I use LL often so if memory can be switched off and I can choose to start with LL I'm happy!

(there was a thread about random strobe, can't find it just now, someone wrote some lines for it, that would be neat Laughing)

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Turbo timer: I think no timer is more risk, so should not be default, but selectable.

Number of modes: for me, I like moonlight mode also. Everyday tasks like helping to put my key in the lock, this is much better.

Type of strobe: I think that if it is bright enough, even a slower rate can be disorienting. (still strobe rate, not beacon)

SOS / beacon: I would be happy if I never saw the SOS feature again. I think the odds of ever needing this is extremely small. If this was for a dedicated survival type light then this might be more important but there would be a lot of other features that would be equally important. Also, if I’m ever in a survival scenario, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my battery for a beacon. I would much rather have a very small waterproof dedicated beacon.

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Maybe a better solution is to come up with more than one solution? It’s kind of like we are trying to build a tank that can transport people to work every day while still being very agile and has a high fuel economy.

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I agree with O-L - same as him with priorities. I've rarely heard of any use for SOS - think just for biking, but I thought they used SOS just because there isn't any nice beacon frequency available?? Beacons do make some sense.

Questions:

  • mode switching is based on ON time, not OFF time? Why not if so?
  • with mode memory enabled, does mode changing continue to the next mode, or resets back to mode #1, like luxdrv?
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I think SOS should be the one to go, if you don’t have any memory. I like the low low, and prefer one in all my lights.

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Tom E wrote:

Questions:

  • mode switching is based on ON time, not OFF time? Why not if so?
  • with mode memory enabled, does mode changing continue to the next mode, or resets back to mode #1, like luxdrv?

Yes, it has ON time memory. Mainly because there are no pre-made Nanjg 105C drivers with capacitor installed for off time memory and we don't want to do any hardware changes (= add any manual work for the manufacturer).

Next mode. Didn't really even consider using short cycle memory as most people are not familiar with it. Maybe I should reconsider? Would be nice to have a separate star for that, too.. Wink 

=the=

 

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Ahh - ok, for the OFF time memory issue. Think what you have is fine, no short cycle - I just wasn't sure. The short cycle memory is nice when you have strobe and beacons in the regular mode traversal list - you don't have to navigate through them to get back to the 1st mode.

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I don’t know about anyone else, but I like my beacons rather dim… like, on-time of 1ms and then off-time of 1999ms. Just so I can find the thing in the dark, mostly.

As for strobes, I’ve never used or needed a SOS. However, a high-visibility flasher can be useful for biking or signalling for assistance. The best ones I’ve seen stay on at a low mode and flash quickly a few times every second or so. Like, maybe run at ‘low’ or ‘low low’ and then quickly flash three times at ‘high’ or ‘turbo’, with a timing such as: 10ms high, 35ms low, 10ms high, 35ms low, 10ms high, 900ms low, repeat.

I might make a red one like that for the back side of my bike. I think 700mA through a red XP-E should work, alternating between ~3 and ~30 lumens. That would give me like 15 hours of run time from a 16340 battery, but it might be a little too bright so I’ll have to try it and find out.

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M4D M4X wrote:
i use conductive paint to connect the stars…

easy to remove (when on Batteryside) with some thinner and a Q-tip Wink

so playing around with the funktions is easy…


got linkies for the conductive paint sir…that does sound very ingenious for sure!
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Old-Lumens wrote:

Change Mode order (L->H vs. H->L)

 

Well, that's "Other".Laughing

This ^
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Old-Lumens wrote:

Change Mode order (L->H vs. H->L)

 

Well, that's "Other".Laughing

This ^

May I ask why are you so eager to disable the turbo timeout? IMHO the timeout is really good to have because of the following reasons:

1. Not easily noticeable: In a XM-L2 based light, step down from 3A to 2A can't be easily noticed by eye (without comparing to 3A light side by side)

2. Protect the light from over heating (especially if modded to 4A, but useful also at 3A)

3. Saves batteries: Step down to 2A gives you 50% more runtime (compared to 3A)

 

Other than that, the current test version of TheStar FW supports your needs:

- Change mode order (L->H is on by default, H->L by shorting the star #3)

- Disable moonlight (yes, removed from main modes cycle by default - for this GB light - still accessible as the first hidden mode)

 

All in all, the current version supports quite many different needs:

1. Normal modes: L->M->T or T->M->L, with or without memory []

2. LL available if/when needed, but not in the main mode cycle (first hidden mode) []

3. Turbo without timer available if/when needed (as last hidden mode) []

4. Hidden blinky modes: Strobe, SOS, 1s Beacon (or Strobe, 1s Beacon, 10s Alpine Distress Beacon) []

5. Also hidden modes memorised (if memory enabled) []

+ Extra: Single mode config: Turbo (with hidden goodies) []

(can be replaced with Tacticool config: Strobe->Turbo->Low, without memory, only 0.5s time to change modes - but only if majority wants so!)


Are there still some useful configurations, which can't be catered with this FW?

 

Edit: Does anyone want to try out this FW (= help me in testing it)?

=the=

 

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I agree with all that _the_ stated in the above post. 

I've tried out version 0.1  and have say to the turbo timeout is my favorite.  Even when I time it and watch it happen, it's very difficult to detect.  I did verify that it works with a DMM.

_the_, thank you for sending me v0.2.  I haven't had a chance to put it in an light and run it though it's paces yet, but the changes you made sound real good.

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I’d love to try it… but the attiny-flashing tools I ordered still aren’t here, even though the post office marked the package as “delivered” two days ago. I’ll have to have a word with them about that…

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Just want to point out why this build but based on off-time wouldn’t work.

Very simple actually; memory isnt selectable by star! It can only be changed in the coding (the additional cap is a valid point too).

_ the_ I have v01 installed in a pair of P60’s that I’ve loaned out to some folks, its fair week and we have several of our horses up there and have different lesson kids (and a few adults) using them and they need to be able to work on stuff / access the barns at night but there are no internal lights so they’re getting a lot of use and people seem to like them. I also have one other P60 loaner light up there [with one of my custom versions of Off-time] and from the people that have used both they do like the off-time better but they cant describe why (its obvious whats different to us but not to muggles) and there are no complaints about this version, they like the hidden strobes and stuff to play with.

Once I get them back I’ll be flashing v02

 RIP  SPC Joey Riley, KIA 11/24/14. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

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I have had the pleasure of trying the v03 and it is amazing, I love all the functions, the strobe and beacon accesible in the second cycle mode switches. The turbo timeout is really very good, I liked it because as ImA4Wheelr says is hard to see the decrease in output power.

I do not know the changes that will have the final version but this version seems very good. Thank the his great work he is doing in this driver firmware!

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WarHawk-AVG wrote:
M4D M4X wrote:
i use conductive paint to connect the stars... easy to remove (when on Batteryside) with some thinner and a Q-tip Wink so playing around with the funktions is easy...
got linkies for the conductive paint sir...that does sound very ingenious for sure!

I use a pencil to connect stars... even easier to remove, just use the other end of the pencil, assuming you have a deluxe model with an eraser installed. Only costs $0.02 vs. $10+ for a conductive paint pen + thinner. No inhaling paint thinner, either. Can easily be done in the field, keep a pencil in your car, pocket, briefcase, even borrow a pencil most places. And you never have to sit around watching paint dry.

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Thank you all for your valuable input!

The current version of the FW contains the following modes:
- LowLow (only in 4-mode config - GB light will most probably be 3-mode, but I have this 4-mode for my smaller lights)
- Low
- Med
- Turbo (step down after 2min to ~half of the max power)
—-Hidden Modes—-
- LowLow (only in 3-mode config)
- Strobe (randomly alternating between 8.5-16.5Hz)
- 1s Beacon with 10% background light (50ms blink, 950ms bg)
- 2.5s Slow beacon with 10% background light
- 1s Beacon (without any background light to save battery in case of emergency)’
- Alpine Distress Beacon (6 blinks with 10s delays + 60s delay)
SOS
- Turbo that stays on

Additional goodies:
- Single mode turbo, with timer (+ hidden modes) (connect star #2)
- Tactical mode: Strobe, Turbo, Low – 0.5s time to switch modes, without memory (+ hidden modes) (connect stars #2 & #4)
- Change mode order, connect star #3
- Disable memory, connect star #4

..and of course it has high PWM and features low voltage protection as it has done from the beginning.

I’m pretty happy with it so far, but keep finding “nice to have” things or possible enhancements all the time.. Well.. All software developers are perfectionists.. Wink

=the=

 

ImA4Wheelr
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Damn, that's a whole lot of stuff you managed to cram into a Attiny13a.  Sounds great.

_the_ wrote:

The current version of the FW contains the following modes:
- LowLow (only in 4-mode config - GB light will most probably be 3-mode, but I have this 4-mode for my smaller lights)
- Low
- Med
- Turbo (step down after 2min to ~half of the max power)
—-Hidden Modes—-
- LowLow (only in 3-mode config)
- Strobe (randomly alternating between 8.5-16.5Hz)
- 1s Beacon with 10% background light (50ms blink, 950ms bg)
- 2.5s Slow beacon with 10% background light
- 1s Beacon (without any background light to save battery in case of emergency)’
- Alpine Distress Beacon (6 blinks with 10s delays + 60s delay)
SOS
- Turbo that stays on

Additional goodies:
- Single mode turbo, with timer (+ hidden modes) (connect star #2)
- Tactical mode: Strobe, Turbo, Low – 0.5s time to switch modes, without memory (+ hidden modes) (connect stars #2 & #4)
- Change mode order, connect star #3
- Disable memory, connect star #4

..and of course it has high PWM and features low voltage protection as it has done from the beginning.

I’m pretty happy with it so far, but keep finding “nice to have” things or possible enhancements all the time.. Well.. All software developers are perfectionists.. Wink

Thank you all for your valuable input!

The current version of the FW contains the following modes:
- LowLow (only in 4-mode config - GB light will most probably be 3-mode, but I have this 4-mode for my smaller lights)
- Low
- Med
- Turbo (step down after 2min to ~half of the max power)
—-Hidden Modes—-
- LowLow (only in 3-mode config)
- Strobe (randomly alternating between 8.5-16.5Hz)
- 1s Beacon with 10% background light (50ms blink, 950ms bg)
- 2.5s Slow beacon with 10% background light
- 1s Beacon (without any background light to save battery in case of emergency)’
- Alpine Distress Beacon (6 blinks with 10s delays + 60s delay)
SOS
- Turbo that stays on

Additional goodies:
- Single mode turbo, with timer (+ hidden modes) (connect star #2)
- Tactical mode: Strobe, Turbo, Low – 0.5s time to switch modes, without memory (+ hidden modes) (connect stars #2 & #4)
- Change mode order, connect star #3
- Disable memory, connect star #4

..and of course it has high PWM and features low voltage protection as it has done from the beginning.

I’m pretty happy with it so far, but keep finding “nice to have” things or possible enhancements all the time.. Well.. All software developers are perfectionists.. Wink

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Wow! That is great. The strobe rates are supported by data from Grizzlyb out of Amsterdam and 7 or 8 years of research and field use of strobe lights to subdue individuals without escalating violence. The point light source does not induce seizures, but is disorienting to light source. So person trying to hit you can’t tell if you are 6 inches away or 3 feet away and when they put their hand up to shield their eyes they provide a wrist to grasp and place in a submission hold. Very nice in my line of work as most hospitals frown on the staff striking patients and we staff don’t like being struck.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."

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scottyhazzard wrote:
The strobe rates are supported by data from Grizzlyb out of Amsterdam and 7 or 8 years of research and field use of strobe lights to subdue individuals without escalating violence. The point light source does not induce seizures, but is disorienting to light source. So person trying to hit you can't tell if you are 6 inches away or 3 feet away and when they put their hand up to shield their eyes they provide a wrist to grasp and place in a submission hold. Very nice in my line of work as most hospitals frown on the staff striking patients and we staff don't like being struck.

Well. I'm well aware of Grizzlyb's research, but actually both of the alternating frequencies (especially the lower) are below Grizzlyb's recommendation (18-20Hz). I tried multiple different 18-20Hz strobes, but found them be significantly less disorienting. Maybe my eyes are damaged by too many bad budget lights, but 18-20Hz looks more like a bad PWM than a real strobe.. Wink

Grizzlyb's main finding is that 18-20Hz strobes are "still extremely disorienting", but have "less unwanted side effects" (for LEO: meaning that the opponent can't move his hand without LEO noticing it, unlike with 10Hz strobes).

As the frequencies are alternating (pseudo) randomly, the unwanted side effects are less than with normal constant 10Hz strobe.

So, the frequencies in TheStar driver are chosen based on lots of research and my own opinions. I may want to come back to this and continue tests with higher frequencies.. Maybe with lower duty cycles.. Let's see.

=the=

 

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Can I assume that this is for use with a clickie switch? If so how can I get some of these or can we download the firmware?

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."

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scottyhazzard wrote:
Can I assume that this is for use with a clickie switch? If so how can I get some of these or can we download the firmware?

Yes, for standard clickie switch.

The firmware is still on development. v0.7 is being tested by couple of volunteers (Thank you for helping me with this! You know who you are.. ;))

I can send the .hex file to you by email if you happen to be interested in helping in the testing. Smile

=the=

 

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Writing you a PM now.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."

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With regard to the strobe that most don’t use, for those that use it to grapple with violent people, Grizzlyb wrote in their research and findings that strobe rates of 8-12 Hz were effective, the assailant was also able to move without giving the officers enough time to react so they chose a higher rate of about 18-20 Hz if memory serves me correctly. Strobe use by Grizzlyb

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."

_the_
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scottyhazzard wrote:
With regard to the strobe that most don't use, for those that use it to grapple with violent people, Grizzlyb wrote in their research and findings that strobe rates of 8-12 Hz were effective, the assailant was also able to move without giving the officers enough time to react so they chose a higher rate of about 18-20 Hz if memory serves me correctly. "Strobe use by Grizzlyb":http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?356772-Police-Study-o...

You remember right. I have been reading and re-reading that thread during the last two weeks. Very informative stuff, and totally worth reading, but not the whole truth.. They didn't test different duty cycles at all, and at least in my opinion that affects the characteristics of the strobe a lot. 

=the=

 

_the_
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Damn, that's a whole lot of stuff you managed to cram into a Attiny13a.  Sounds great.

Thanks. That wasn't easy, at all.. I spent days and nights basically thinking where to squeeze away 2 or 4 bytes, trying that in practice, noticing that the compiler had already optimized that part for me, moving to next spot, etc. Usually after adding a new feature or enhancing something I was left at 1028 or 1040 bytes (limit is 1024 bytes) and spent literally hours refactoring the code to fit in to the memory limits. (Luckily I know something about C.. ;))

=the=

 

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Oh, yes, I know what you are talking about…

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