BLF A6 FET+7135 Light Troubleshooting and Mod thread

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fnsooner
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@cccpull, i wonder if there are some V1s still floating around.

ToyKeeper wrote:

One of the common gripes for the BLF X6 v1 was that the levels weren’t spaced evenly at all. The output levels I measured were:

  • low: 5.5 lm
  • med: 240 lm
  • high: 560 lm
  • turbo: 922 lm

On a visually-linear (cube-root) scale, the X6 v1’s perceptual brightness goes 1.77, 6.21, 8.24, 9.73. These represent how bright it looks to a human eye, in arbitrary units. Big gap at the beginning, then only small gaps for the rest of the range. The gaps are 4.44 visual “steps”, then 2.03, then 1.49. The brightest mode looks about 5.5 times as bright as the lowest mode.

This is fixed in the BLF A6 and in the BLF X6v2. The approximate output levels of those are (so far):

  • 0.35 lm (visually 0.70)
  • 11.8 lm (visually 2.28)
  • 65.9 lm (visually 4.04)
  • 190 lm (visually 5.75)
  • 427 lm (visually 7.47)
  • 832 lm (visually 9.41)
  • 1494 lm (visually 11.43)

The “visual step” gaps here are: 1.58, 1.76, 1.71, 1.72, 1.94, 2.02. Those last two are a bit brighter since it was calibrated without spring bypasses, and this sample had a spring bypassed. In stock form, each level is about 1.7 “perceptual units” away from its neighbors. And the brightest mode looks about 16 times as bright as the lowest mode (though in reality, it’s ~4200 times as bright).

Or in the 4-mode group…

  • 11.8 lm (visually 2.28)
  • 143 lm (visually 5.23)
  • 588 lm (visually 8.38)
  • 1494 lm (visually 11.43)

cccpull
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You know, that might be it, since there’s another forum member (not sure if here or cpf) with the same readings. In that case; is there a fix?

jescereal
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Hi everyone! Smile I’m having an issue. The driver works normally, until I use the high mode. If I use the highest setting, afterwards the moonlight mode is VERY dim. So dim that it flickers and the pattern in the emitter is easy to see, AND the next two medium modes are exactly the same brightness. In the bike mode, all that you can see is the flashing, not the continuous light.
Randomly the modes go back to normal with the proper moonlight mode and distinguishable medium modes. But once I use high for a bit, the problem starts all over again.
Has this happened to anyone? I have the driver in a BLF-X6 with the XM-L2 on copper that the X6 had.

hank
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the support from Banggood (Neils assistant) just don’t want to help me but wants me to order a new driver. WTF?

That is a little weird. But it’s your 2nd post here; is it fair to guess that you came in, leaped at the light, but maybe didn’t read all the comments about it?

They started off hearing from people with a lot of experience taking these things apart and improving them.

Over time, word got out that there was this super flashlight, and a lot of people jumped in.

People with very different experience, or none, with this kind of light.

Have you made clear you don’t know how to install a replacement driver?

Have you asked if they will give you a free temperature-controlled soldering station to install that?

No, don’t do that. Seriously, the biggest mistake you can make is generating a LOT of email and posts while trying to get their support to respond.

Dealing with China support folks takes at least as much practice to get right, as soldering drivers. You need to know how to do both things, for this kind of light.

Lilien
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Yesterday I received my exchange long(er) body tube from Banggood (Thanks!), it was a long wait, but it actually helped – less force needed to make contact and even wall thickness.
But for a second run tube I’m a little astonished, there was a lot of burring of the aluminum inside one end, actually at first it was difficult to insert a cell before I removed the burr.

Potassium
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Hi,
you’re right that I have not posted much here, but I am quite active in the sister forum (TLF) an read quite a lot here.
The flashlight is great but as was already mentioned quite a lot the quality differs a lot between each light.
I told them and I think after about 3 or 4 emails the agreed to send the driver, when I mentioned that I have read the whole thread and tried everything that was written here. I even went to a friend with much more advanced soldering skills than mine who had a look on the driver and resoldered the 7135, but with no effect.
Currently I hope that I will get the replacement head quite soon, because I really miss the moonlight and battery level function.

hank wrote:
That is a little weird. But it’s your 2nd post here; is it fair to guess that you came in, leaped at the light, but maybe didn’t read all the comments about it?

They started off hearing from people with a lot of experience taking these things apart and improving them.

Over time, word got out that there was this super flashlight, and a lot of people jumped in.

People with very different experience, or none, with this kind of light.

Have you made clear you don’t know how to install a replacement driver?

Have you asked if they will give you a free temperature-controlled soldering station to install that?

No, don’t do that. Seriously, the biggest mistake you can make is generating a LOT of email and posts while trying to get their support to respond.

Dealing with China support folks takes at least as much practice to get right, as soldering drivers. You need to know how to do both things, for this kind of light.

ToyKeeper
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jescereal wrote:
The driver works normally, until I use the high mode. … afterwards the moonlight mode is VERY dim. So dim that it flickers and the pattern in the emitter is easy to see, AND the next two medium modes are exactly the same brightness. In the bike mode, all that you can see is the flashing, not the continuous light.
Randomly the modes go back to normal…

I have the driver in a BLF-X6 with the XM-L2 on copper that the X6 had.


That sounds like the 7135 chip is flaking out sometimes. It may be fixable by re-melting the solder joints on that chip. It’s the one with three pins on one side and one big pin on the other side. It only takes a quick touch to melt, and you should melt the two outer pins plus the big one on the other side.

I’m guessing, if you’ve moved the driver, that you can solder. Smile

jescereal
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I’ll definitely try that. Thanks for the help ToyKeeper! :bigsmile:

UPDATE: Issue fixed! I’m so happy!

dudunphy
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Starting work on post #2

Off the subject….. I ordered parts from RMM to mod one of my a6’s into a triple! Everyone in my house will need 8) . Richard has already shipped my parts and I’m pretty excited to say the least. I already went and stocked up on some flux and solder as I need to complete some more spring bypasses as well. Party :bigsmile: Big Smile

Dustin

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I love this light but I’d love it more if it had more throw. Is there a drop-in reflector that would help in this regard? A less-than-perfect beam pattern would be OK given a great hotspot.

Not looking to go into any ‘heavier’ changes, this light is nearly perfect as-is in every other way. Just wanting to get it closer to what my C8 does.

Phil

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Probably not going to happen, due to the size of the light, specifically the diameter of the head.

dudunphy
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SawMaster wrote:
I love this light but I’d love it more if it had more throw. Is there a drop-in reflector that would help in this regard? A less-than-perfect beam pattern would be OK given a great hotspot.

Not looking to go into any ‘heavier’ changes, this light is nearly perfect as-is in every other way. Just wanting to get it closer to what my C8 does.

Phil

I’m no reflector expert but there is a link for a tir lense in the op. I’m not sure what the hotspot is like with that lens. But I think someone did put it in their light. Maybe you could find a smooth reflector in the same dimensions.

Dustin

dudunphy
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The current reflector is approx 20mm in diameter by 12mm in depth.

Dustin

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dudunphy,

Infreakingcredible thread…. This thing just keeps getting better… Your time and dedication on this thread are doing many people much good in helping with not only the BLF A6 lights, but any others they may have problems with…

The problem is never the problem, SOLVING the problem is a always the actual problem, and this thread is a huge help…

dudunphy
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Wouldn’t be possible without some of the organizers/developer’s showing up here! Standing on the shoulders of giants as they say! Wink Thanks RemanG!

Dustin

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I don’t think an optic will give a tighter spot but a smaller emitter should. It’s possible there’s a deeper reflector with the same OD but the head might not screw on all the way.

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

Scott

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I think I’ll try that TIR lens and look for a SMO reflector, or maybe a longer head and reflector I can lego on. This is my first 18650 tube light and there’s nothing else about it I want to change in the least way. I’m not the kind to put a moustache on a Mona Lisa :bigsmile: If I go further in this direction I’ll get another host. Thanks to all!

Phil

(Adding- I just noticed Dudunphy is collating the spread-out info into the early part of this thread for easy access- that is MUCH appreciated!)

DB Custom
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I found an optic that nearly doubled throw, but it was quite a chore making it fit in the A6. Smaller emitter would help most, be easiest to accomplish, but only the XP-G2 would be feasible as this is a direct drive light and an XP-E2 would fry. So a de-domed XP-G2 would be about the best you could hope for, throw being an element of die size combined with reflector/optic diameter the small tube lights just can’t compete.

SawMaster
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DB Custom wrote:
I found an optic that nearly doubled throw, but it was quite a chore making it fit in the A6. Smaller emitter would help most, be easiest to accomplish, but only the XP-G2 would be feasible as this is a direct drive light and an XP-E2 would fry. So a de-domed XP-G2 would be about the best you could hope for, throw being an element of die size combined with reflector/optic diameter the small tube lights just can’t compete.

I’d rather alter an added part than the light itself and IIRC you posted about that here so I’ll check it out. I’m not quite up to speed with mini-electronics without the proper tools, eyesight, or bench setup for that yet so I won’t try an emitter change till I toast a few cheaper lights and parts as I learn. This one deserves a better fate than that and I have a work rule I follow religiously: If I am not very very sure that I can make it better, then I’ll leave it alone since I might make it worse trying. It’s been a decade since I tried doing fine soldering and I’m rusty at it. No sweat with drop-in parts though, those can always be as easily changed back if I screw up.

Yeah, I do understand the diameter limiting what can be had (as does the reflector length and die size). I’m not expecting a C8 style throw, just wanting more of a defined hotspot in the middle even if that takes a little from the edges. It won’t take a lot to make me happy and besides, who is ever completely content if there’s a decent chance for more or better? :bigsmile:

Phil

DB Custom
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Putting a new emitter in this light is actually quite easy. The shelf the emitter sits on is right up top, not down in a hole, so it’s very easy to get to when the bezel is off. Get a de-domed XP-G2 from Richard when he gets back, on a 16mm Noctigon, and simply swap it out. This just takes a touch on the pad of each wire to release them with the soldering iron, put the new one in and again touch the wires to solder em on. Done. Not a skill set there. I mean, yeah, you have to be somewhat careful not to smash the dome or something, but it’s not ittty bitty stuff or really tedious. Pretty sure you can do it and it doesn’t entail taking the driver out or anything.

Give it a go! Smile

dudunphy
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Had to post quick. O.m.goodness I’m nerdin out here. I got my stuff from Richard today. Did some finagaling and got my triple a6 together. Holy crap what did I check first? The amps! 12.7a and climbing! Then pzzzzzffffp. It melted the negative off of the star and the carclo lens legs. (Probably not the best heat sinking going here….) But holy heck it was cool while it lasted! D.B. had mentioned to me how cool the first triple would be and it’s really fricken fantabulous. I’m not sure what else I fried…. Will update soon and hopefully get some beam shots.
Big Smile Party

Dustin

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Well…. Still having heat sink issues. I had ordered a copper spacer from mtn. But those are for a convoy and I couldn’t bring myself to hack almost 9mm off of it to fit in the a6. (nor do I have the tools at home) So I had coiled some solid #12 wire up to make the spacer. I’ve since melted the positive off of the star and again the negative. So I may have to bring my spacer to work tomorrow so I can get a nice straight cut on it. Smile

Goes to show why heat sinking is so important and I believe we’ve also found a new method of thermal protection! Albeit permanent for those who don’t solder. Wink

Fwiw it made the ui pretty funky. Lost strobe and after one cycle bike mode goes to moon. Hmmmm.

Dustin

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Could you describe the funky UI in a bit more detail?

I’m investigating some issues which only happen at high power, and I’d love to know if what you’re seeing is the same.

dudunphy
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ToyKeeper wrote:
Could you describe the funky UI in a bit more detail?

I’m investigating some issues which only happen at high power, and I’d love to know if what you’re seeing is the same.

@ToyKeeper. Yes I believe first and foremost timing was changed. Super fast clicks would cycle forwards but erratically. I could reverse to turbo but reversing again to the hidden modes was tricky. I got it into battcheck mode quite a few times. Only once was I able to get into strobe but it was very slow I let it sit there for a while just to make sure it wasn’t batt check. I could get into bike mode with the right click timing but it would cycle back to moon on its own. It would also jump lower or flicker once I got to mode 4 or 5. Getting into config was very difficult – however a series of very fast clicks would get me into it. But it seemed that it had almost put itself into 4 mode sometime before I ever tried to config it. I also reinstalled the old led and it was working fine. One thing I want to try is a weak laptop pull but that seems to defeat the purpose of a triple.

So changing the Vf or just the heat involved by doing this messes with timing? Also seems to mess with pwm?

What were your issues?

Dustin

dudunphy
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Okay back at it. I ditched the optic and the crappy home made spacer so I could get the copper spacer from mtn in. Much better! Pretty much normal u.i. now! Proper heat sinking makes all the difference. Now just need to find a way to squeeze the optic back in…… Wink

Not sure if that helps you much TK. :~ We already knew the capacitor didn’t like heat.

Edit: Also batt check is at two blinks. So that’s kind of what I was wondering as well. If a weak cell would function better. ———— And yep throw in a fully charged 30q and strobe hates me. Goes straight back to moon. If I reverse click fast enough I can get to batt check and then to bike but bike would revert to moon until I had enough voltage sag to normalize.

Dustin

ToyKeeper
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It sounds like you encountered multiple different issues, some related to temperature and some related to current spikes. Maybe others too.

I can’t tell for sure if part of the driver might have been actually damaged. It sounds like it went out of calibration and never quite returned (battcheck being extra low, high modes stepping down by one, maybe the button timing too).

The button timing is probably a temperature thing, since no heat sink means the only direct connection is the emitter wires (so heat goes directly to the driver). Also, I found out they used X5R capacitors instead of X7R.

The thing you described about strobe going slowly, or about PWM slowing down… I have no plausible theory for that. That happens when the MCU is under-clocked, which requires changing the fuse settings. But if you didn’t reflash it and it recovered on its own, I have no idea what happened.

When strobe and bike mode fail and reset to moon, that’s the issue I’ve been trying to debug. It seems that big current spikes (or high sustained currents) cause the driver to lose power just long enough to reboot (so it thinks the button was pressed). But it only happens with really big spikes. I think it’s something about wight’s driver design when coupled with relatively cheap components. It doesn’t happen with top-of-the-line components or other designs.

I’m not an electrical engineer though, so it’s mostly Greek to me. Sad

hank
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Quote:
Also, I found out they used X5R capacitors instead of X7R.

Which “they” and where, as far as you know?
Wondering if this spilled over to the copies as well.

This is how it all goes, over time, I think.
One little variation plus or minus — any single change that would still be, maybe, barely in spec or almost.
Then another of some other component

A fiddle here, a diddle there, and eventually … what happens?

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+1 hank.

@ TK. I think you’re on the right track. It definitely acts like a loss of power and with a triple the strobe is almost unbearable to watch. Even a bounce from a concrete floor was too much. I don’t have a big understanding of drivers yet but maybe some spikes like that plus heat are enough to drain the off time cap – putting it into moon. And all is fine with a weak battery. Honestly I’m probably better off with a laptop pull for this thing so I don’t fry any components. The darn thing smokes in turbo! I’m not sure what it’s burning off. My guess was flux.

Dustin

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The high amp problem sounds similar to the symptoms I've had on the Tiny85. Could be cap related, since I've been adding a cap (0.1 or 1.0 uF) close to the MCU Vcc input and it fixes the problems. Could be the 10 uF cap, as TK said - the X7R's are more robust.

Dustin - how did you get 12.7A out of a triple? If it's Nichia's I can understand. I recently built up a 219C 18650 tube light with a FET+1 driver and ended up backing off on the amps by using a higher resistance battery (LG 4.35V rated cells worked out well - LGABD1 or ICR18650E1) - even 10A rated cells resulted in over 6A with 22 AWG LED wires. With a high amp cell, the light's head would get quite hot within 5-10 secs.

hank
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I recently built up a 219C 18650 tube light with a FET+1 driver and ended up backing off on the amps by using a higher resistance battery

Dang, I was about ready to try that myself.

I think we’re reinventing the flashbulb here.

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