AA Flashlights - "Cockroach" / "Vampire" / "Drain-me-till-I'm-empty"

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Hugh Johnson
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The 50,000 hour rating isn’t a failure rating. I think it’s rated down to 70% brightness. Someone correct me on the percentage if I’m wrong.

moderator007
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buck91 wrote:
moderator007 wrote:
timbo114 wrote:
Henk4U2 you’ll love it. Built like a tank.
They also have one of the smoothest tail cap twisty on and off’s you’ll ever use. Very fine threads with good machining. Not easy to get apart but can be modded with a better led.

People have had success with LED swaps in the infinity ultra? I’ll have to see if there are any pics or write ups. With all the warm/neutral and higher cri 5mm options out there that would be pretty sweet!


There’s a write up on swapping leds over at the other forum. Just look up “ Gerber Infinity mod step-by-step”. Its been several years since I modded mine, The head was really tough to get unscrewed but I didn’t add any heat to try to help loosen the loctite. If you get the head off the mod is really easy. Polishing the reflector hole helps too, while you have it apart.
These would make a pretty sweat swap in a infinity http://budgetlightforum.com/node/69056
slmjim
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I EDC a Thorfire TG06S as a pocket utility light that I use otherwise-spent alkaleak cells in.  Unlike my "gentlemens' dress pocket light" Acebeam M10, which always starts on L, the TG06S starts on H, which is what I want for general utility convenience.

Ive noticed the TG06S will commence starting on M as the cell weakens, eventually starting on L when the cell is mostly shot.  If I use the low cell long enough the TG06S will eventually fail to start at all even on low.  The light gives plenty of warning that it's about out of juice.  I've not tested a cell that's dropped that low, so I can't vouch for how depleted it is.  Next time I wring one out that low I'll post the resulting voltage of the spent cell.

TG06S might be a reasonably good vampire.

 

slmjim

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snakebite
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got a few free baby c8 $1.99 aa lights.
these drivers make useful light down to about .5v
and will restart at .7v
add a n219c on a cheap star and a dime.
and a energizer lithium.
stash in emergency kit.
not bad for something that can be considered by most to be disposable.
battery dead and tossed in the recycling ewaste box.
i get this places recycling stuff and have found all sorts of nice stuff.
lots of laptops.tons of battery packs.power tools.
a few weeks back i got a new looking magcharger.
it worked fine once i replaced the bad wallwart.

buck91
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Link to these “baby c8” hosts?

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defloyd77
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Not exactly a cheap option, but the Peak LED Solutions El Capitan would be an excellent cockroach/vampire light if you had it configured as a low output, no QTC light.

It doesn’t get much tougher than Peak’s lights and as far as being a battery scavenger, my Eiger AAA configured at level 1 beat even the mighty Fenix E01 on operating on seemingly dead cells, I’d imagine the AA El Capitan at a similar drive level would be no different.

slmjim
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slmjim wrote:

I EDC a Thorfire TG06S as a pocket utility light that I use otherwise-spent alkaleak cells in.  Unlike my "gentlemens' dress pocket light" Acebeam M10, which always starts on L, the TG06S starts on H, which is what I want for general utility convenience.

Ive noticed the TG06S will commence starting on M as the cell weakens, eventually starting on L when the cell is mostly shot.  If I use the low cell long enough the TG06S will eventually fail to start at all even on low.  The light gives plenty of warning that it's about out of juice.  I've not tested a cell that's dropped that low, so I can't vouch for how depleted it is.  Next time I wring one out that low I'll post the resulting voltage of the spent cell.

TG06S might be a reasonably good vampire.

 

slmjim

The TG06S finally ate the last few useful electrons from it's ancient (2/2005) Kodak Photolife alkaleak.  It's been starting on L for about six weeks or so.  The past week L has dimmed & begun flickering after about two minutes run time, eventually becoming nearly useless unless in a completely dark space.  Last night it shut down completely.  The cell tested 0.807v on a DMM immediately upon removal.

 

slmjim

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Lightbringer
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Usually a good 2×AA (or 2×AAA) light will wring more juice out of the weaker cell first, unless perfectly “balanced”. Luxpro, Sofirn, got too few that actually run down too far; the light seems to go mental first, then completely boembs out at about 2V total.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

wle
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you do have to watch, as lightbringer suggested, that as batteries deplete to zero, you make sure they are not leaking

because doing that, running them to zero, is the exact thing that causes the cell case to corrode through, and start leaking crud out

do that – and a flashlight can be completely killed in a week, for half a dozen different problems.

just saying – vampire usage sounds fun but it has risks

clocks are vulnerable to this too, if you have say 20 clocks on a wall with only some of them running
the problem is that if one quits, you may not even notice til a year later then the whole thing is corroded

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gchart
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A member here approached me about making a low output, long runtime boost driver to fit the Convoy T2 (aka Manta Ray S1, also available as a host at Kaidomain). Target output was ~1 lumen. No mode switching. Currently 17mm but could be made to be 15mm or about any size.

I went through a couple iterations and ended up creating one that ran an XM-L2 at 2.5mA for ~0.7 lumen for 98 hours on a 900 mAh AAA Eneloop Pro. So on a AA battery, it should run for 12+ days. It runs down to ~0.7 V.

Current is set with a single resistor. Current output could easily be set higher or lower as desired.

Oshpark link. BOM:

  • TLV61220 Boost IC
  • Inductor, 1210 footprint (I used a 10uH but 4.7uH should work as well; look for lower DC resistances)
  • 2× 0603 or 0805 capacitors with 10 uF (pretty much any 10uF cap should be fine)
  • 1× 0603 or 0805 current set resistor (resistance = 0.5V / desired amps, so for 3mA: 0.5 / 0.003 = 167 Ohms)
  • Spring and wires

buck91
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That sounds really interesting. Depending on cost I would be interested in a couple. Maybe at your tested output and maybe something a little higher like 3-5lm. Is this a constant current driver or PWM? What is the input voltage range (ie: is it adaptable to 2AA)?

gchart
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  • Constant current (though technically due to the inductor there’s a high frequency ripple… but that’s how boost drivers work).
  • 3-5 lm isn’t a problem, though I need to see which of these drivers would be most efficient at that output. While the ZXLD381 didn’t do great for super-low current, 3-5 lm might be in it’s sweet spot
  • Re: 2AA… in short: shouldn’t be a problem. Long version: the TLV61220 is rated for 0.7 – 5.5V. It has a 0.5V feedback, so if a LED is dropping 2.5V at the preset current target, the boost driver will put out 3.0V (2.5V for the LED and 0.5V for the feedback). If the input voltage exceeds what is needed to hit the current target, I think the TLV61220 will probably go into pass-through. In which case, it might be a touch brighter than anticipated until the battery voltage falls a little bit. With NiMH (2AA ~= 2.4V) this should be a non-issue. With 2 fresh alkalines and a very low current, it might start out just a touch higher than it needs. I can test this out more.
  • Cost: partially depends on how many I make. For the TLV61220 circuit (the better option for really low output) PCB + components are around $2.50 in materials (plus Mouser $3.49 shipping). I would charge actual shipping amount and next to nothing for assembly. For the ZXLD381 (good for currents in the 6.5 – 20mA range), I already have PCBs and components on hand… cost would be like $2 plus actual shipping.
hodor
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Is 0.7lm the lowest stable output achievable?

gchart
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hodor wrote:
Is 0.7lm the lowest stable output achievable?

Nope! I measured 0.7lm at 2.5mA to the LED. I could drop that down as low as 0.1mA (anything below that and efficiency would likely drop considerably). So even if you wanted 0.1lm, that should be well within reason.
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gchart wrote:
[…]Currently 17mm but could be made to be 15mm or about any size.

I went through a couple iterations and ended up creating one that ran an XM-L2 at 2.5mA for ~0.7 lumen for 98 hours on a 900 mAh AAA Eneloop Pro. So on a AA battery, it should run for 12+ days. It runs down to ~0.7 V.

Current is set with a single resistor. Current output could easily be set higher or lower as desired.

[…]. I can also build some more if anyone is interested in them.

This is great news Wink
I may be interested 2×17mm and at least 2×15mm, in case you can ship them internationally.
Would it be “good to use” with other leds too? (ex: Luxeon V2)

Thanks for your work Wink

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Yup, any 3V LED should work well.

I ship internationally. The first batch went overseas. But unfortunately the cost is high (around $14 usually). Domestic shipping is around $3.50.

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gchart wrote:
Yup, any 3V LED should work well.

I ship internationally. The first batch went overseas. But unfortunately the cost is high (around $14 usually). Domestic shipping is around $3.50.


Great Wink
Hum, I know it is a bit more expensive, I had to pay that when I ordered from MTN, but I don’t mind!
So, in case you accept my “order” (whenever you can make and ship them), I would definitely get 2×17mm and 2×15mm! Thumbs Up
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Hmmm tempting, although I have no suitable hosts atm and shipping is a bit pricey. Maybe if there were a lot of UK/EU demand we could do a group buy and have one person this side of the pond re-ship them?

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gchart wrote:
* Constant current (though technically due to the inductor there’s a high frequency ripple… but that’s how boost drivers work).
  • 3-5 lm isn’t a problem, though I need to see which of these drivers would be most efficient at that output. While the ZXLD381 didn’t do great for super-low current, 3-5 lm might be in it’s sweet spot
  • Re: 2AA… in short: shouldn’t be a problem. Long version: the TLV61220 is rated for 0.7 – 5.5V. It has a 0.5V feedback, so if a LED is dropping 2.5V at the preset current target, the boost driver will put out 3.0V (2.5V for the LED and 0.5V for the feedback). If the input voltage exceeds what is needed to hit the current target, I think the TLV61220 will probably go into pass-through. In which case, it might be a touch brighter than anticipated until the battery voltage falls a little bit. With NiMH (2AA ~= 2.4V) this should be a non-issue. With 2 fresh alkalines and a very low current, it might start out just a touch higher than it needs. I can test this out more.
  • Cost: partially depends on how many I make. For the TLV61220 circuit (the better option for really low output) PCB + components are around $2.50 in materials (plus Mouser $3.49 shipping). I would charge actual shipping amount and next to nothing for assembly. For the ZXLD381 (good for currents in the 6.5 – 20mA range), I already have PCBs and components on hand… cost would be like $2 plus actual shipping.

Yeah count me in for a couple! Maybe 3-4 unless you need more to help fill a quantity.

wle
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you have to be careful of one thing: alkalines are much more likely and fast to leak when completely discharged

if you let it run down, and then forget for some reason it is sitting there discharged, it might make a huge mess..

wle

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Alright, looks like there’s a bit of interest. So I’ll establish some pricing and get a list going. After gathering a list for a few days, I’ll order the parts to assemble however many I get on the list. I’ll try to keep this post updated.

Pricing: $4 per driver including spring and wires (TLV61220 version) or $3 (ZXLD381 version)
Shipping: $3.50 for US, $14 for International

When making your request, please specify:

  • Driver size (15mm or 17mm… or if there’s another you’d like)
  • Desired LED current and/or lumen output (I’ll try to guess about how much mA it will take to get the desire lumen output)
  • Special considerations (such as if you want to use 2AA… I will make sure to test this)

Request List (as of 2020-05-18 10:44 AM CDT):

  • MascaratumB: 2×17mm and 2×15mm, specs here
  • buck91: 2 0.5-1 lumen and 2 in the 3-5 lumen range (all 17mm for T2)

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gchart wrote:
When making your request, please specify:
  • Driver size (15mm or 17mm… or if there’s another you’d like)
  • Desired LED current and/or lumen output (I’ll try to guess about how much mA it will take to get the desire lumen output)
  • Special considerations (such as if you want to use 2AA… I will make sure to test this)


Sweet! Thanks again Wink

To specify the order:
- All to use with 1 x AA/Ni-MH batteries

- 1 × 17mm x TLV61220 version (0.3-0.5 lumens)
- 1 × 17mm x ZXLD381 version (5 lumens)

- 1 × 15mm x TLV61220 version (0.3-0.5 lumens)
- 1 × 15mm x ZXLD381 version (5 lumens)

Are these values (lumens for the specified driver) reasonable?

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gchart wrote:
Oshpark link. I can post a full BOM later.

Please do so I can see if I can source the parts and attempt to build myself or if I’m better off ordering from you!

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I just added the BOM to Post 72. It’s a pretty easy assembly and the only specific item to locate is the boost IC which is widely available.

Also… bump in case there is any more interest out there

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Thanks gChart!

Funnily enough the sense resistors are the hardest things for me to source in small quantities for a reasonable price.

So I’ll probably do the same as MascaratumB and buy four (one of each combo) direct from you.

Output wise I’m thinking of 0.1-0.5 lumens and 3-5 lumens with sliced SST-20 2700K JA3 and 4000K FB4. Would it be possible to buy extra sense resistors from you at the same time? Will be useful to tweak output in the future based on LED.

Based on my limited knowledge it looks like this driver doesn’t really have any brains so I assume additional modes are out of the question? How about lit tailcaps?

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Thanks for sharing this driver gChart!

I stumbled across this board recently when I was poking around OSH Park looking for joule thief drivers for 5mm LEDs and I’ve been meaning to ask you about it.

You’ve come up with some really great stuff lately. After you sent me some booster tail boards I ordered your LVP version. I finally got around to assembling it a few days ago (my first PCB assembly) and now I’ve got some of your indicator boards on the way.

Would this driver work with a red LED, or would the lower voltage be a problem?

Do you think it would be feasible to make a 10mm version for AAA lights? A couple of times I’ve purchased really cheap single mode AAA lights just to put the driver in a (slightly) nicer host that came with a high/low/strobe driver.

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hodor wrote:
Funnily enough the sense resistors are the hardest things for me to source in small quantities for a reasonable price.

Typically what we call sensor resistors are low-Ohm, high-wattage buggers that are expensive and less common. In this driver, though, a run-of-the-mill 0805 1/8 or 1/16 watt resistor like you can get in bulk kits from places like Banggood, AliExpress, eBay, or any electronics supplier for like $0.01 each will work just fine.
hodor wrote:
So I’ll probably do the same as MascaratumB and buy four (one of each combo) direct from you.

I can definitely build them and send them your way. But if you can locate the parts locally, it’ll probably be considerably cheaper to do so.
hodor wrote:
Based on my limited knowledge it looks like this driver doesn’t really have any brains so I assume additional modes are out of the question? How about lit tailcaps?

Nope, this was designed to be extremely simple with no modes… just extended runtime. Running an MCU would require extra power and would decrease runtime. Lit tailcaps are also a no-go (unless perhaps my “booster tails”) as they would still be seeing the ~1.2 volts of the battery, no enough to run a typical tailcap.

skinny_tie wrote:
Would this driver work with a red LED, or would the lower voltage be a problem?

Lower voltage shouldn’t be a problem. It should operate LEDs with a vF anywhere between 1.3 and 5.0 V.
skinny_tie wrote:
Do you think it would be feasible to make a 10mm version for AAA lights? A couple of times I’ve purchased really cheap single mode AAA lights just to put the driver in a (slightly) nicer host that came with a high/low/strobe driver.

I think so. I can play with the layout and see if 10mm will fit. Some AAA drivers have lobes on them. Are you thinking completely circular, or odd-shaped like that of the Astrolux A01 or Lumintop Worm or Tool AAA? Do you have a specific host in mind?
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Ah ok thanks, let me look into the resistors again.

For the capacitors I found 6.3V and 10V, does it matter which one or will both work?

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hodor wrote:
For the capacitors I found 6.3V and 10V, does it matter which one or will both work?

Either is fine.

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