Noctigon KR1 and KR4 driver upgrading project

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Haukkeli
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Noctigon KR1 and KR4 driver upgrading project

Many know by now that Noctigon/Emisar flashlights are available with boost driver if led configuration allows it.

Boost driver definitely brings many advantages, but it also has disadvantages such as high lowest mode. I wanted to alleviate this.

Luckily here in BLF we have people with many kind of skills and I have made friends with one particular individual that has interest in driver designing. He is of course our friendly neighborhood driver guru: TheFreeman.

He’s been refining his HDR driver-series, that combine low moonlight with good output and great efficiency.

He was willing to help me build one of his boost drivers, particularily BST21, that fits KR1/4 lights and has switch ring incorporated.

That’s it for now. To be continued…

Edited by: Haukkeli on 08/20/2022 - 04:20
Haukkeli
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First I ordered boards. I ordered them from Aisler this time. Next I ordered components from Mouser. Component shortage made things more difficult than they needed to be.

I searched many alternative parts and in the end TheFreeman sent me few low resistance mosfets from his personal stash with Attiny 1616 programmer.

When I had everything at hand it was time for assembly. I first build 6V 6A version for KR1. And here it is, straight from the hotplate:

To be continued…

Haukkeli
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Next phase was flashing the MCU. TheFreeman had modified the Anduril 2 code I think previously made for HDR linear driver.

I used AVRDudess and programmer TheFreeman also provided. I could have made one by myself, but this way it was easier.

First version of the firmware had some bugs, that were quickly smoothed out.

Next I did some testing.


I soldered wires to the ground ring and spring pad. I also added switch for ease of testing the driver and of course the led wires.

Notice that the driver has additional 5060 P-Fet capability on the backside for even better efficiency and pads for aux and switch lights. I plan to install that P-Fet next.

Bonus shot

To be continued…

Haukkeli
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I did some quick efficiency measurements.

Turbo output 6,15V; 5,9A
Turbo input 4V; 10,0A

Efficiency 90,8% without that bigger 5060 P-Fet.

Very good result.

Lower modes have even higher efficiency.

To be continued…

Haukkeli
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I did final tweaks to the driver. Added 5060 P-Fet, spring and bypass for it. I also changed R1 value to 180 kOhm for 6.3-6.4A output.

Next I need to disassemble KR1 and reflow XHP70.3 HI.

To be continued…

Haukkeli
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I dismantled KR1, added switch spring to the new driver. Then I decided to take some comparison photos of drivers.


And all together

Keen eyed viewers might have noticed that Noctigon/Emisar driver uses 50mOhm sense resistor. So it causes ~0.1V voltage loss in sensing stage. My earlier boost driver from Intl.Outdoor had 20mOhm one.
To be continued…

Haukkeli
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Next I reflowed XHP70.3 HI D2 M2 90cri on 20mm 7070 board. Then I added thermal paste and dropped it in flashlight head.

Next I mounted the driver and soldered the wires.

I assembled the head. I used Convoy M21B green AR coated lens for tint improvement.

Light is ready for use. I also added bypass to tail spring.

Next I’ll do some beamshots and Opple measurements.
To be continued…

Sk9
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Very nice! I hope to build one for my FW1A when components are available. Is the height of the inductor 3mm?

Haukkeli
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Sk9 wrote:
Very nice! I hope to build one for my FW1A when components are available. Is the height of the inductor 3mm?

Yep
Haukkeli
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It can take 6*6mm and 7*7mm inductors.

Haukkeli
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Here I took some Opple readings.
First stepped mode stock step 4

Then turbo

This led has very neutral tint for whole output range. DUV 0.0029. Beam is very pure white. It seems to sustain top of the ramp easily. If checked from XHP70.3 datasheet it corresponds to about 1000 lumens after reflector and lens losses. Not bad for 90cri led in small flashlight(led bin: 2D M2 90cri). Turbo output corresponds to little over 4000 lumens after losses.
Here’s still one photo of the lowest mode.

Next I planned to took some beamshots and maybe compare moonlight modes of different flashlights.

To be continued…

Haukkeli
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Quick moonlight comparison between this KR1 and Convoy M21B. Both in lowest mode and both using a boost driver of similar max output. Both also have same led.

Can you guess which is which?

Haukkeli
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Some beamshots
2m distance

5m

15m

Some piping in darkish enviroment ~20m away.
Control photo

Turbo

That’s it for now. I’m happy with this build. Only con of this light is the capacity of 18650. This driver will allow me to use every drop of it.

I suggest everyone to read TheFreeman’s driver thread. He’s closing the point of making these public. Still some UI things to solve. Anyone with skills in that regard is welcome to offer some help for him.

I will continue in near future with KR4 and 12V build.

Thanks for reading.

Ocelot
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Outstanding design and execution!

I applaud your impressive skills.

 

Now if only Hank would adopt your modifications into the regular production line...

 

I'd love to have one exactly like it.

 

Enjoy your well earned success with this gem!

Haukkeli
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Ocelot wrote:

Outstanding design and execution!

I applaud your impressive skills.

 

Now if only Hank would adopt your modifications into the regular production line…

 

I’d love to have one exactly like it.

 

Enjoy your well earned success with this gem!


Thanks Smile
Scallywag
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I am eager to see the final release. I’d love to put one in my Jaxman X2

Haukkeli
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Scallywag wrote:
I am eager to see the final release. I’d love to put one in my Jaxman X2

That seems to be good looking flashlight, but not available anymore.
clientequator
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It would be good if Hank can make a KR series flashlight with 21700 battery!

Haukkeli
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clientequator wrote:
It would be good if Hank can make a KR series flashlight with 21700 battery!

Truly
thefreeman
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Very nice to see the first of my HDR boost drivers assembled and used by someone other than me Big Smile , Haukkeli was very motivated to go through the whole process and he provided valuable feedback, he’s a great beta tester Thumbs Up .

In this configuration (6.4A6V) the lowest mode is ~75uA, for comparison the lowest output (li-ion) Zebralight is the SC700D at 50uA (6V), with some tweaks it can go lower but I think this is low enough.

Scallywag wrote:
I am eager to see the final release. I’d love to put one in my Jaxman X2

That light looks pretty good, what driver size is that though ? it looks very small for a 26650 light.

Scallywag
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thefreeman wrote:
Scallywag wrote:
I am eager to see the final release. I’d love to put one in my Jaxman X2

That light looks pretty good, what driver size is that though ? it looks very small for a 26650 light.


About 22mm. I was looking at D4v2 boost driver in it. It’s very compact, though not the most compact. The machining is excellent and I have a soft spot for Jaxman. But figure if you buy Jaxman you need to plan a driver swap before you purchase.

Here’s a comparison to some familiar friends:

I have XHP50.3 HI 90cri that I’d love for it.

Haukkeli
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I have one Jaxman. Their S2+ equivalent. E2 I think. I baked it, modded it to triple that uses 18500 tube but takes 18650 battery and has H17Fx driver.

Nice little hotrod.

Quadrupel
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Do we see a PWM in 2m distance pic? Have you tested it for PWM (stability) in various modes and batt voltages?

thefreeman
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It couldn’t be PWM but it could be oscillations due to instability, Haukkeli can check with the Opple though we don’t know how high it can go in frequency and since there is no noise it must be higher than audible frequency if indeed there are oscillations.
I never tested it above 6A so it’s possible the compensation values are not adequate for 6.4A. The values from the suggested schematic in the datasheet for example are only good below ~4A (at 6Vout).
I’ll assemble one with the same values as Haukkeli’s and check with the scope.

Quadrupel
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Im just asking because of Lume1 project. There was no any info of instability in nicely made data sheets, but that drivers was flickering in some cases. Stability in switching drivers is important.

thefreeman
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Very true, even if it’s not visible/audible it can decrease the efficiency.

Haukkeli
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My bet is a bad camera user fiddling with settings he fully doesn’t understand. But I can check with Opple soon.

Haukkeli
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I tested flicker from moonlight to turbo with Opple. I took maybe 7 samples. There was no flicker in any of them. Distortions in pictures could be from camera noise or flicker from led “fluorescent lamps”.

Haukkeli
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I continued with this KR1 little bit more. I swapped in XHP70.3 5700K M4 90cri and dedomed it. Now it is really neutral, duv 0,0016 and 4500K

Haukkeli
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I continued with building 12V driver for KR4. I used stencil I ordered along with boards

On the hotplate

And flashing

I had some problems with low modes. Here I did some troubleshooting.

I ended up building another one. I also used 1uH inductor this time. TheFreeman did some efficiency tests and 1uH gained 1% more efficiency compared to 1.5uH.

Then I did some output measurements. Battery voltage was ~4.14V
Input amps

Output amps

Driver in place

2 *XHP35.2 4000K 90cri +6500K 80cri +3000K 80cri. Calculated output OTF should be~3200lm.

Aux board connected

And finished. Here are 2 KR4’s. Nichia 519A 5700K dedomed with linear driver and this one. Both on lowest mode.

Here it’s alongside the KR1 I built earlier

Here are some measurements. Anduril 2 stock stepped mode step 4.

Thank you for reading this thread. These drivers will hopefully be available soon for everyone willing to build them.

thefreeman
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Great job !

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