Interest collect for a new Sofirn design: tube style18650, magnetic ring control, USB-C charging, 500 lm max (AKA grandma light)

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08CivicSi
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in for at least one…maybe two Smile

Lagittaja
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Well, I’m interested. Put me down for 3.

—-

I’ll probably repeat a lot of what’s already been said but I’ll leave my few cents anyway.

As far as features go, I would prefer a TIR optic (but not too floody). With a high CRI emitter and an efficient driver. Detented off position would be lovely.
Strategically placed (thicc) knurling would be a good thing and the no-ano/SS ring should be slightly thicker than the rest of the body.
Suggested modes are fine, infinitely variable would be nice but not really necessary.
(Though if it ends up being variable then yes, please start from ~1lm but otherwise no.)

Regarding the charging port, like raven said, IPX7 and even IPX8 rated USB-C receptacles are a thing. The light needs to be designed around one and it needs to be implemented properly but I would pay a little bit extra for that.
Though that might be a bit too much to ask for in a ~20-25$ light, considering the BOM increase.
If someone wonders about the price, cheapest USB-C receptacles are ~0.1$ a piece in 100-1000+ quantities but if you add ingress protection then they start at around 1$.
Certainly not expensive but small things add up quickly and Sofirn needs to make a profit.
Though that was based on LCSC and glancing over some Alibaba listings I guess they could find something closer to 0.3-0.4$.

If an IPX7/8 port is not possible then hiding the charging port in the threads is the next best option in my opinion.
Since personally I find flaps to be fiddly, they will wear over time (no longer water resistant) or better yet just fall off.
Sure, with the in-threads-option an o-ring will wear as well but I’d say they’re lower maintenance? Threads will have grease so there’s probably going to be enough grease on the o-ring itself to reduce the wear rate. And if damaged then it’s relatively trivial to change.

Neilrazer
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Interested in one.

djozz
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Current interest, BLF+TLF combined: 312 flashlights.

@sbslider: yes, a 18350 tube will be a cheap, easy and very nice addition, not neccesarily for around the house duty, but this light makes a pretty good EDC too with that. Added that to the wishlist.

Jerommel
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Maybe 21350’s will be coming too.
There’s apparently a vaper on the market that can take 21350, but haven’t seen batteries yet.
(Yes, i know the title says 18650)

Agro
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I think I’ve seen some 20350s.

Jerommel
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Agro wrote:
I think I’ve seen some 20350s.

(Googles)
Oh, yes indeed !
iJoy apparently.
hank
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The Waterproof USB Type-C Connectors look great for this purpose, but how long will it take for some Chinese manufacturer to start turning out the cheap copies needed? And can they copy it correctly without making something that leaks eventually? It can’t just be “good enough to sell” it has to be “good enough to serve” and stay that way for years.

SKV89
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They dont have to reinvent the wheel. They can just buy some cheap local off the shelves part. Even the lowest end cheap Huawei phones Ive tried have waterproof USB. Infact they work better than my Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which had water infiltrate and couldnt get back out causing tinny echos in the speakers.

hank
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Quote:
cheapest USB-C receptacles are ~0.1$ a piece in 100-1000+ quantities but if you add ingress protection then they start at around 1$.
adirondackdestroyer
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I’m down for 2.

psmbfuer
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Interested in two.

m0nk33
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In for 1!

264
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In for two please.

No-2-Ageing
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Lagittaja wrote:

Regarding the charging port, like raven said, IPX7 and even IPX8 rated USB-C receptacles are a thing. The light needs to be designed around one and it needs to be implemented properly but I would pay a little bit extra for that.
Though that might be a bit too much to ask for in a ~20-25$ light, considering the BOM increase.
If someone wonders about the price, cheapest USB-C receptacles are ~0.1$ a piece in 100-1000+ quantities but if you add ingress protection then they start at around 1$.
Certainly not expensive but small things add up quickly and Sofirn needs to make a profit.
Though that was based on LCSC and glancing over some Alibaba listings I guess they could find something closer to 0.3-0.4$.

If an IPX7/8 port is not possible then hiding the charging port in the threads is the next best option in my opinion.
Since personally I find flaps to be fiddly, they will wear over time (no longer water resistant) or better yet just fall off.
Sure, with the in-threads-option an o-ring will wear as well but I’d say they’re lower maintenance? Threads will have grease so there’s probably going to be enough grease on the o-ring itself to reduce the wear rate. And if damaged then it’s relatively trivial to change.

It should perhaps get a mention that waterproof operation would require in addition to the suitably IP rated USB socket, that the electronics is so specified /designed that negligible volts appears on the socket terminals when disconnected. Especially true around salt water.

Also true around magnetic connectors I may add…

Vital:
Promote speedy arrival of proper ageing REVERSAL medicine. It IS possible. - It's going to end not only the persistent curse of old age - but therefore - dying! We don't want to be the last generation to miss the boat. - Are you in?

christoph
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I’m in for one please
Chris

Chris

richbuff said “Sometimes, I feel depressed about my spirit having been cast down to the hostile surface of this one-star planet, without my asking God first, and without God asking me first. I have found that a brief burst of maximum light from what is currently the smallest size flashlight per power makes it all ok/fine for a while, until the next time I feel the need to repeat.”

No-2-Ageing
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Mistake Correction Explanation

Recently I posted some comments within this thread which created a fuss. Upon re-reading these I observe that they are far too ambiguous and vague and as a result can read to appear to be rude and unhelpful. This is far from my intention. I will now try to take steps of correcting this matter.

Below I will re-post the comments with suitable explanation, amended as necessary and with appropriate disclaimer, away from the posts about the design of the light and charging system. Text specific to the light and charging, I’ll copy re-edited in follow-on post to keep that separate.

I wish to be as helpful as possible, but equally; do not feel it a good thing for posts or comments amongst adults to be nuked for putative Orwellian wrong-think or wrong-speak. Ideally; if a post is not spam and a problem is politely brought to the attention of person(s) concerned, they are going to want to re-edit posts themselves. This should hopefully make the forum run smoother.

When writing for too long, too late and too tired one is apt to make mistakes…

The charging port should be MAGNETIC!

Probably won’t be as the remit of this project would view that as an extra expense.

- Probably won’t be as the added cost increase would place it outside of a practical manufacturing price.

N.B. Somehow there persists a gross lack of respect unto elders which permeates much thinking in the west. The elderly are too often seen as charity cases; if they are poor in their old age it is their own bloody fault and they’re obliged to be grateful for crumbs.
This comment was tacked on as an afterthought to an otherwise coherent discussion about magnetic charging. It is me voicing my opinions about provisioning for the elderly in general. Although I still stand by the comment, it should not have been placed where it was.

If they are read as an attack upon the OP they do indeed appear very highly rude. It was not my intention to appear to focus on the OP.

These comments were general and none were intended to be specific about BLF or any member. I have considered this until now much more of a group project with a shared responsibility so attacks are not seen as criticisms of any one person /people.

The view point is now revised that it is less of a group project than perhaps originally thought and my comments should be suitably amended to reflect the shift.

Basically; the manufacturing / pricing constraints are far more real on this light than on say BLF GT and thus different to what I’d originally imagined. Negotiations for with the manufacturer are hard won, so it is not fair to write so as to leave open the suggestion of responsibility for penny-pinching.

I might have come across as sounding callous and dismissive about the abilities the elderly, and therefore by extension also appearing disrespectful unto the relatives of forum members. The reason behind the critical approach was or is to stress-test the design requirements of the potential future design of the light by deliberately assuming absolute worst-case operating conditions ahead of what such a design might actually expect to encounter in practice.

That means challenging the participants to envisage the most decrepit senior-citizen; the least motivated, the least bright, least technically provisioned, etc. But it may suggest I was being crass wanton provocative or bad-mouthing other people’s relatives! I hope it is not seen that way.

Remember Kids: If they are POOR by time they are OLD they SCREWED UP and deserve it.

Please note that this is intended as a joke, to add some levity to an otherwise heavy topic and above all -to make people ponder how they individually might wish to price lights. Any sentence that begins: ‘Remember Kids…’ -is not to be taken too seriously!

As this thread progressed it has become clearer that the design of the light is not intended first and foremost to be a leading offering for the elderly /disabled. Rather, it will likely cover some of those requirements by way of overlap. Therefore; now I am not obliged to stress the needs of towards older people, in the way that I did previously.

The light I now treat as conceptually being sort of a reluctant-spouses light. RS; or ring-switched if you prefer! Blf-RS. Anyway, that to is a perfectly valid use-case where luxury of magnetic charging is not critical and I wish it every success.

Vital:
Promote speedy arrival of proper ageing REVERSAL medicine. It IS possible. - It's going to end not only the persistent curse of old age - but therefore - dying! We don't want to be the last generation to miss the boat. - Are you in?

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Quote:

Quote:
Quote:
nuemtol wrote:
Quote:
No-2-Ageing wrote:

The charging port should be MAGNETIC!


Why? Let them use the same USB cables they use with everything else. More likely to get used & not be lost
Everything else? Annnd USB-C? Not even micro-USB?! – Seems to me you are rockin’ some with-it, well tech-savy, dextrous grandmas there …
MtnDon wrote:

Quote:
No-2-Ageing wrote:

The charging port should be MAGNETIC!

I disagree. I have Olights that use their special magnetic dock. or forget to take it along and then find yourself needing to scramble for a charger that you can borrow. Pretty much impossible at times. Whereas you can alomost certainly borrow a USB cord or if need be buy a USB cord at the grocery, the pharmavy, etc.

As you say : “They are most inconvenient when you can’t find the dock […] “ My well-meaning advice is the problem lies not that you have too may Olights; but rather not enough. With enough of them around you’d always be able to lay your hands on a charge kit…
BTW: You can order the cables separately from Olight so as to have spares to place in your travel-kit etc. Mean this as a real-world practical suggestion. – or Give Olights to your friends!

But Seriously:
You are highly mobile. Grandma is not. Nor is she dextrous. Plugging microform-factor connectors is no-joke. Seniotr citizens are prone to be forgetful. What works well for them is routine and certainty. They tend not-to charge around-pun intended but prefer the certainty of habit and place. So as others have already pointed out once a good spot, say by the entrance door, or next to the refrigerator is chose they will stick to it permanently.
What works in favour is despite being forgetful, senior citizens tend to be disciplined and come from an era when all devices had a fixed place. This is by far and away the most likely use scenario.

N.B. Docking encourages a responsible charging regime meaning the light is always kept on charge for when it wanted. Remember that in the past the universal practice was for the owner to fully use-up a battery before they took it out and got out another. This was responsible money-prudent practice. That is the way many shall still see it. You must let the light ‘die’ before you go on. Let that sink in. Even in the era of secondary cells myths circulate that in order to avoid memory effect the batteries should be fully discharged regularly. So a well meaning visitor, sternly warns the recipient of the torch that it must be drained to give the batteries exercise. You know the type…

The USB question had already occupied my thinking, it is not without merit. However, it must be maintained that for a disabled -as we should also consider them as a use case; and/or disabled-elderly or for plain elderly persons, they are going to be facing a tedious challenge bordering on cruelty by being made to link sub-miniature connectors! The finished product should therefore contain BOTH mag. port and usb port. -That’s the most responsible way. Lost charge leads can be replaced by a caring family member if this is an issue which, for the reasons explained above is unlikely to be the case.

Vital:
Promote speedy arrival of proper ageing REVERSAL medicine. It IS possible. - It's going to end not only the persistent curse of old age - but therefore - dying! We don't want to be the last generation to miss the boat. - Are you in?

TanteElfriede
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Please put me on the List for 4 pieces

korkfoto
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Interested for 2.

Thank you!

FIAT LUX!

rost333
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I’d be in for one or two.

ControlTheController
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Interest in one.

Thanks!

Umm, I want lumens but I want CRI too...

wolfstyle
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Interested in two.

djozz
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BLF and TLF combined: 344 flashlights sofar.

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Maybe drop the “grandma” in the title.
“user friendly” “ergonomic” “easy to operate” sounds more attractive.
(just a thought)

djozz
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Already considered that but it still is appropriate and a reference to the past discussion of how this light evolved. In the original post the goal of this flashlight is very well explained so people should not get a wrong impression.

AAMOF, my grandma was very attractive in her days Love

raccoon city
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My mom is 77 years old.

She's a great-grandma.

And she can handle normal 1x18650 flashlights just fine.

So not all grandmas need a "grandma" flashlight.  ;)

Nooner
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In for 1.

liquidretro
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I will take one

Great idea, we need more control ring style lights. Not only for ease of use but they are cool too.

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Djozz,
Wonderful concept.
Many have contributed very good ideas.
As someone who younger members would place in the grandpa category already. I’m someone who had to deal with parents who passed away at 89 and 102. While they were in a senior care home I met many of their fellows.
I also have many senior clients that I support computer wise. Never underestimate the gray hair network for passing along something that works for them.

Let me put my 2 cents in. Well actually more like $10 worth.
(I ramble– therefore I am)

First who is grandma?
Most who are reaching Gramps age now have been exposed to technology for many years. So dealing with a lightning plug for an iPhone is normal.
But as we age trying to get a Mico-USB plug in a poorly designed jack is not the easiest thing in the world. Still the concept that a device needs to be charged is an everyday thing for many.
A USB-C plug is significantly harder to work than a Lightning plug if the jack and plug are poorly done.

Then there are the current seniors that many here would consider in the Great-Gramps range. Say 75 plus years. Many of these folks have not been part of the Facebook revolution.
A cell phone may, or may not, be part of their daily activity, but other technology may not.

Physical infirmities will play a larger role as we age. I have 65 year old clients using walkers that can’t deal with anything that requires any hand strength.
I also had a client that played tennis every day and his kids/grand kids took him helicopter skiing in the Alps for his 90th birthday (and he could walk my ass into the ground). Texting was second nature. If Windows did anything unexpected, he needed to call me.

A light, for most of the world, is never going to be a a thing of beauty and a joy forever (well until the next one comes out).
There are many non-seniors who have no desire for something that is more complex than an on-off light.

You can often teach an old dog new tricks. But the trick needs repetition to make a memory. Using a smart phone, electric razor, TV remote, or computer – happens every day.
Fussing with the flashlight – what – twice a year – Maybe?
If the operation is not obvious – it’s not going to happen.

The cost needs to be kept low (as djozz intends) as the light is likely to get lost. Toward the end my mom would misplace her teeth. But she could still use an old fashioned slide switch flashlight. The concept that a flashlight needed to be plugged into a cord would have befuddled her.

I aim my opinions toward the elders of the clan who have missed the technological revolution and infirmities are starting to take a tole.
Or toward those who think of a flashlight in the same terms as a pencil. It should work when then need it and just sit there ready to use when it’s not.

The Muggle light
As djozz described. No moonlight mode, simple switch, 500Ln max, easy recharge.
21700 S2+ with a charging port and lighted when on switch?

Now let me ramble about features and possible additions.
Perhaps I’m thinking of 2 different lights. The grandma light that replaces the 2 D cell light with the leaking batteries in the kitchen drawer.
The second is something for the bedside of anyone who might need a light that has features I’ve not seen yet. It will cost more to create such a beast.

As I said there are seniors and there are seniors.
The smell of burnt popcorn in the halls of the senior center is a common occurrence.
Why? Because 30 minutes on high is just a little too long for microwave popcorn.
A dead simple UI in required.

NO BLINKIES! – Not ever never!
Unexpected flashing could easily lead to falls and confusion.

The UI. Dead simple – but …
I wonder if anyone has considered a sleep after no activity and shake to wake option?

As in: I need a light. I pick it up off the charger (with a nightlight built into the charger) and it turns on to low. I put it back on the charger and it dims fairly quickly to night light status.

Not sure about the timeout/shake implementation. It it adds much cost, it’s not worth it.
Maybe this is something that the flashaholic could set up as an option that would be intentionally hard to change.

Stick to your guns on a 10 lumen minimum (or even 50). I guarantee that it will be left on if the brightness is too low to be seen clearly in daylight. Old eyes need more light.
My dad held off cataract surgery for way too long. He needed lots of light to do typical activities. When he finally got the operation he was astounded how bright and colorful the world became.

The max lumens need not be all that much (as you have planned).
But it must be sustainable WITHOUT the head getting hot enough to burn the hand or start a fire if stuffed under clothes or paper.
Old hands may not feel the heat until after damage has been done.
The same goes for switches that need to be found by feel. The posters who suggest leather gloves are not wrong.

For old hands a positive click to off – low-med-high is desirable (even on and off would do). But it must not take a great deal of force.
Variable? The more adept oldsters might make use of it.
For most, it will simply be cranked to high or off.
Most won’t see the need for anything other than full bright.

Beam?
A TIR with a smooth wide-ish hot-spot or the equivalent reflector – thinks I.
A spot beam with a sharp cutoff is going to make seeing things off the hot spot hard to see for old eyes.
Lots of wide bright spill is needed.
Not tripping over a lamp cord at my feet is more important than lighting the back 40.
I think a good warmish high CRI will help identify objects that are normally seen under incandescent room or sunlight.

Anyone spry enough to be out checking the chicken coop for coyotes at 2am will be capable of using something with lots of throw and lumens (and the old 30’30).

There should be some sort of indicator when the light is on that can be seen from the side of the light.
A lighted ring that doubles as a charge indicator/night light would be nicer than a single LED.
This should stay on whenever the light is turned on and visible in daylight. Go off when the light is off. (or switch to night light mode).
But go with what fits the budget.

The bezel should clearly show that the light is on when placed face down on a table. Make it smooth.

Nothing on the light should be sharp enough to cut frail skin.
A brush against a rough textured wall would open my dad up like a can of tomatoes.
Un-rounded edges should not be there.

Cradle charging!
The light is either going to live in a drawer or in the charger it’s entire life.
If you have to use a plug. It’s got to be one that can be inserted without regard to position.
Hell, I have a hard time seeing which polarity micro-USB cables are.

Whoever thought black logos on black plugs was a good idea. Why not make them a distinctive shape in the first place (sorry got off topic there).

Plugs vs Cradle
I have had at least 5 desktop computers in my shop that people have managed to plug in the full sized USB–A connector in upside down. Not seniors – just kids or regular folk not paying attention. If it won’t go – just wiggle and Push! POP magic smoke gets out.

I’ve repaired numerous laptops that regular users have buggered up the charging port by not plugging in the power adapter correctly or jerking it out.

I guarantee if a charging cable is used – the cable is going to get jerked and bent while in the flashlight.

With the light in a magnetic cradle, that’s not going to happen.

Make sure the charging is correctly implemented.
Like I said the light is likely to live there – forever.
Make the cut off 4V (or whatever wiser heads than mine recommend).
Longevity and battery safety is the key here. Squeezing the last ounce of power out of a battery is not.

Make the low voltage cutout very noticeable. Have the light dim to a usable but noticeably lower level.
With some other signal like the red blinking on the switch or power indicator and make it a bright and easily noticeable during the day.
Pick a cutoff voltage that is consistent with long battery life.
It might be years before the light is used till the battery cries uncle.

Make the parasitic drain none or extremely low when not charging. It’s going to live in the drawer for months and months if not in the charger.

For a fancy version –
It makes sense to be that there be a lit LED on the flashlight when in the charging cradle.
And an LED on he cradle itself – that is always on – but not so bright as to be intrusive in a dark room.

(Getting too expensive with all this thinking – thinks I?)

For all that’s good and holy, don’t make the thing black.
A bright yellow/red/silver/?? body with a contrasting mag-ring or switch seems like a no-brainer.
Black light, black switch, dosn’t look like a 60s era light, in a dark drawer, on a dark night?
One that hasn’t been seen or handled since thanksgiving 2017… Yeah, that’s going to happen.

If the charging port is behind a threaded cap it will never be found. Unless the action to open the port is clearly etched into the light.
Even then it might not be recognizable to some who are not expecting a hidden charge port.
If it’s cable charged make the port cover a different color than the light and the switch and mark with with something other than an icon.
The words “Charging Port” come to mind.

As others have said the switch needs to be a different color from the body. The operation of the switch needs to be clearly etched into the switch or body so that old eyes can tell which way to move it to make the thing turn on.

A good anti-roll feature is a requirement. A trip to the floor or under the table is out of the question for some.

Buzzers or beeps as part of the user interface? Hell I can’t hear some of them. Many seniors won’t either.

The link about diameter and ergonomics is all too true.
Make it too short for the hand or too small in diameter, and it’s going to get dropped.
A wrist loop might actually be of use!

I like the idea of a 21700 for the extra capacity and diameter.
If it’s too head heavy I think it’s likely to be dropped when shifted about in the hand.
The body needs some sort of texture. Nothing too abrasive remember frail skin.

Should it appeal to flashaholics?
Depends on the flashaholic. Something dead simple and confusion proof (and safe) as possible is important to me to give to the muggles in my life – who may have no ability, or no desire, to learn anything new.

It also has to look like a vaguely like a flashlight!
Seems condescending, but if mental impairment is part of the game it had better look like a flashlight.

My mom could eat with normal metal utensils in the dining room. When with too many new inputs like plastics utensils and a picnic lunch out doors. It didn’t compute. She couldn’t figure out which end of the knife and fork to hold (literally).
She could still use the 2 D cell flashlight in her room. But couldn’t figure out what a min-Mag was.
In cases like this enloops in adaptors in something familiar is the only hope.

IPX rating?
It needs to be drop proof. Mildly waterproof for seniors. They are indoors mostly.
Better waterproofing for younger muggles who will use it outdoors.

There – I ranted enough and they tell me I need to take a pill or something or the men in the white coats will be coming again.

Keep this going.
All the Best,’
Jeff

I’m in for at least one depending on how the design ends up.

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