Is there a better way to sample LEDs?

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twhb
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Is there a better way to sample LEDs?

I have a pretty rough time figuring out which LEDs I’ll like online. I understand CCT and CRI, but I seem to never quite know how beige/yellow/green/rosy/etc it’ll be until I’ve bought a flashlight that uses it. What’s maybe worse, the inconvenience keeps me from trying things I’m only 80% sure I won’t like, like very low CCTs. What are you guys doing? Are there real flashlight stores near you? Does somebody sell a sampler? Do I just need to get better at reading graphs?

UliBär
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In the beginning i used the following link: Flashlight wiki ANSI white
The ANSI White jpeg graphic gives a good estimation of the tint of a corresponding LED.
I personally prefer tints below the BBL in the 3A to 5D range.

Aloha, Uli

LumenFanBoy
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Well sometimes you can get a rough idea from graphs as regards how the tint will look, but there’s still some guess work involved because of the binning process. You could have an LED get top marks in a test from a forum member, but it could turn out much worse if you get it in a light, especially if you don’t know every detail about which bin a certain manufacturer got.

I’ve got LED’s on their own before but I have to put them in something to get an idea of what they’re like. You could always ask some more experienced members about a particular LED and where they got it from, that’s helped me in the past. Convoy lights can be one of the cheapest ways to try out certain emitters, especially in smaller and cheaper lights like the T2, T3 and S2+. Often times I’ll just wing it and see if I like it.

I’m not aware of there being any particular way of testing emitters on the cheap besides buying lights that have them installed already, besides bench testing them with fancy graphs and spectrometers etc. I tend to wait a while before jumping on the hype train for a particular emitter so I can tell what the general impressions are of it, which ones to avoid, where to buy from etc. If you ask around on here on or on the r/flashlight Reddit page you’ll get some idea of what’s good and what isn’t.

Edit: I’ve learnt to read some basic info from LED datasheets like where a particular tint bin is on the ol’ BBL chart etc, that’s been very handy in the past

FearOfTheDark
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If you have a soldering iron you don’t need to buy many lights just order MPCBs or Emitters and swap

jon_slider
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> I seem to never quite know how beige/yellow/green/rosy/etc it’ll be until I’ve bought a flashlight that uses it.

that makes sense

there are a lot of choices:
.

you have to try lights in person, to discover what colors and tints you like, for the way you use your lights.

I can tell you my favorite all around, general carry, most used, is the Nichia 219b 4500K, aka sw45k, but it may not be yours.

I have tried to learn to read graphs, but they only help me after I first have some personal experience as a reference

here is an LED I dont like, because it is Low CRI, and has “green” tint:
.

I changed the LED to my favorite, it has “pink” tint, and more importantly for me, it is High CRI (the only way I fly)
.

note above photo was during the day, at night the beam does not show that pink tint:
.

when people decide what LED they prefer, it partly depends on the time of day they use it most. iow, the ambient light that our brain is adapted to.

Warmer LEDs are not very useful during the day, but they excell in full darkness.. when camping, on the nightstand, for relaxing before going to sleep…

Cool LEDs excell during the day, but they are unnecessarily blue and glaring, in fully dark adapted conditions. Good as a work light during the day, for staying alert in a workshop at night, but not very good for relaxing.

Good luck w your selection process.. I agree convoy is an inexpensive way to buy and try, to discover your preferences..

Chicken Drumstick
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Mod lights. Only the cost of an LED often to change.

P60’s another good way. Agin mod yourself. Or buy. There are still a lot of cheap p60 drop ins.

lfb
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Looking for beamshots and tests here and on Reddit.

Boaz
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I'd start with high cri leds and use minus green filters to bump tint to acceptable levels . 
Tint is tough since there always seems to be a few that really irritate your sensibilities. I really dislike green and that dirty beige.
Experience will tell you …what you hate and what you love . The truth is there's an acceptable range of tints that won't make you crazy.  
  JohnSlider talks about daytime tints and nightime tints …I understand what he's saying  But I rarely use a flashlight in the day. Or if I do it's only for a matter of seconds.

Hank has been a pretty good source for decent tints .
  The hunt for the perfect tint can be a long and arduous one that generally ends up in one favorite tint and the rest in acceptable compromise. 


happy hunting 

                 υμεις εστε το φως του κοσμου ου δυναται πολις κρυβηναι επανω ορους κειμενη

                            Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

xevious
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I have yet to find a good writeup or video that covers the more popular LEDs offered, what tints are available for each, and what kind of output & efficiency values you can expect. I guess there are just too many variables to do this as a gratis project.

So, really the best thing you can do is just formulate an idea of what kind of usage you are looking for (e.g. short range, moderate spill, medium range, thrower spotlight, etc.), any necessary options (like side switch vs. tail switch, simple UI vs. complex/programmable, EDC pocketable vs. larger format / holster), built-in charging vs. high water resistance, etc… then start scouting out flashlights that fit the profile AND offer LED’s in your tint/performance range. From there, go through available reviews. Usually any flashlight model of note has someone who does a review with beam shots. If you see what you like, then dig further for other reviews. An LED is one thing, a host is another! Hosts can vary dramatically… and really, they’re just as important as the LED installed. It’s the “whole package” that is ultimately what you want.

Of course, lastly, you can also fixate on a particular LED that you like, then if you can’t find the candidate host you want for it, make a new hobby and delve into emitter reflowing… put the emitter you want into the host you want (of course, not as simple as it sounds!).

nicodimus22
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Does somebody sell a sampler?

Yes! It’s called the Convoy S2+ and it’s an inexpensive way to try out different emitters. Of course, you should do some research and narrow the field somewhat before pulling out your wallet, but it is essentially the ‘sampler’ light.

Xyrium
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nicodimus22 wrote:
_Does somebody sell a sampler?_ Yes! It's called the Convoy S2+ and it's an inexpensive way to try out different emitters. Of course, you should do _some_ research and narrow the field somewhat before pulling out your wallet, but it is essentially the 'sampler' light.

 

Haha, I was going to write something along those lines. Totally agreed!

QReciprocity42
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Do plenty of research by looking at maukka's emitter tests and various beamshots online. Ask for emitter recommendations that match your preferences, and see if the flashlight community converges to the same opinion.

Sadly, there is lots of valuable information and experience that is widely known among flashlight enthusiasts, but never written down anywhere visible and just floats around as folklore. This kind of info could save you the effort of trying out emitters you know you won't like. A few examples:

  • 90CRI rating is not the same across different emitters. LH351D, 219C, 519A are all ranked 90CRI, but LH351D is generally on the lower end (occasionally dropping below 90), while 519A is consistently 95+ or 97+.
  • Some emitters have huge tint variation depending on your luck, and some are known to have green tendencies. SST20, LH351D, and 219C have hugely variable tint from batch to batch, and the SST20 and LH351D tend to be quite green. 519A is consistently neutral, neither green nor pink.
  • Domed emitters almost always have worse tint consistency compared to their dedomed or domeless counterparts, with the only exception I know being the domed 219B.
  • TIRs blend tint much better than reflectors.
  • Shallow reflectors (height to diameter ratio) can produce terrible fried-egg beams with yellow centers, while deeper reflectors blend tint much better.

You also pick up intuition by trying out various emitters.

James C
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As QReciprocity42 mentioned, a lot of the popular emitters like SST20 and LH351D have green tints. I highly recommend trying some minus green filters to alleviate the green. It’s cheap and doesn’t have a noticeable impact on light output.

Chicken Drumstick
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nicodimus22 wrote:
Does somebody sell a sampler?

Yes! It’s called the Convoy S2+ and it’s an inexpensive way to try out different emitters. Of course, you should do some research and narrow the field somewhat before pulling out your wallet, but it is essentially the ‘sampler’ light.


Worth noting, emitters are also more than just tint & CRI. Performance and beam profile will vary too. Which can be just as important in some situations.

Also, not all emitters are equal. 5000k in one make might look quite different to 5000k of another type of LED.

Optics can also impact what you see. I had an XP-L HI warm white in a Convoy S2+, it was horrible. The spill beam and hot spot where different colours with a nasty corona. Replaced the reflector with a TIR optic and now it still has a hot spot, but the beam is all one colour and vastly improved.

pingywon
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This was posted to Reddit real recently. I kept it for myself. This could help be what you are looking for.

Edit: Guess I dont know how to post pics here. Here is a direct link.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fggngoqzve63lml/IMG_0316%284%29.JPG?dl=0

raccoon city
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pingywon
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raccoon city wrote:

 

Yeah, that. Thank you!

Chicken Drumstick
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raccoon city wrote:

 


Me thinks the the white balance on the camera must be off, or that isn’t a white wall.

No way do any of my W2 emitters look blue cyan!!!! Silly

xevious
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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Worth noting, emitters are also more than just tint & CRI. Performance and beam profile will vary too. Which can be just as important in some situations.

Also, not all emitters are equal. 5000k in one make might look quite different to 5000k of another type of LED.

Optics can also impact what you see. I had an XP-L HI warm white in a Convoy S2+, it was horrible. The spill beam and hot spot where different colours with a nasty corona. Replaced the reflector with a TIR optic and now it still has a hot spot, but the beam is all one colour and vastly improved.

Exactly. There are many factors that can affect the CCT appearance of an LED. The host matters (reflector/TIR and size, driver & amperage). This is why it’s such a challenge. And it has helped inspire a lot of people to get into emitter reflowing. I still haven’t gotten into it, but hope to do so in the future.

But it must be said again… filters. Some balk at the thought of inserting a filter layer inside the flashlight head, worried about lumens loss. Yet, with minus-green types the loss can be minimal. And really, with actual application it’s a wash.

TheGreenLED
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If you are ambitious you can find most of the common LEDs from a parts distributer like Digikey, Mouser, or Arrow. You can buy a few samples of each LED and solder them onto a breadboard (perf board).

You’ll need a constant current source to drive them at their rated current drive. This could be as simple as a resistor in series with your LED and a power source (battery or other DC bench supply). You’ll want to check the data sheet for the correct current.

NeutralFan
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Come to my house if you want a sampler!

BUT, like mentioned earlier, go to the Convoy store and buy different LED flashlights at a reasonable price. And even better, start modding your own flashlights to experience the variety of LEDs that are available.

I’d rather use my flashlight around the house than turn on the lights.

Nachtfeuerzeug
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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
nicodimus22 wrote:
_Does somebody sell a sampler?_ Yes! It's called the Convoy S2+ and it's an inexpensive way to try out different emitters. Of course, you should do _some_ research and narrow the field somewhat before pulling out your wallet, but it is essentially the 'sampler' light.
Worth noting, emitters are also more than just tint & CRI. Performance and beam profile will vary too. Which can be just as important in some situations. Also, not all emitters are equal. 5000k in one make might look quite different to 5000k of another type of LED. Optics can also impact what you see. I had an XP-L HI warm white in a Convoy S2+, it was horrible. The spill beam and hot spot where different colours with a nasty corona. Replaced the reflector with a TIR optic and now it still has a hot spot, but the beam is all one colour and vastly improved.

Totally agree with above but my sampler is the S21A where I enjoy the 20mm MCPCB with more solder pads (over the 16mm), better isolation between the reflector and solder pads (usually prefer a TIR) and the 21700 battery (you could still use an 18650).