Headlamp with wireless telemetry (Armytek Wizard)

My Armytek Wizard now has a pretty unique feature for a headlamp - a packet radio to send wireless telemetry data:

While doing long pre-dawn marathon training runs I found myself wanting runtime information from my headlamp so that I could maximize the light output for the duration that I would need it. In the past I’ve added displays to lights to do this, but that doesn’t work on a headlamp that you can’t look at while using it. That led me to build this modified Armytek Wizard that contains a small packet radio (NRF24L01+) with instrumentation (INA219) added to it so that I can remotely monitor power consumption, battery status, and predicted runtime.

As a first step I disassembled the light and did some reverse engineering so I could take control of the driver. I had previously done this with an Elf C2 which used a very similar design so this step was pretty painless.

Above is the result of my preferred method for doing this - I put a hi-res picture of the board on the computer and add annotations as I go. An interesting side note - these Armytek drivers are the only ones I’ve ever encountered that use a DAC output from the microcontroller to control the brightness. I am doing the same with my modified one using the PIC’s internal 5-bit DAC, but I can double the range to 64 levels by turning the moon FET on or off.

Next I removed the stock microcontroller and built up this development platform to get the firmware started. In the top right is an INA219 power monitor breakout from eBay, lower right is an NRF24L01+ board, and bottom left is a PIC18F26K40 on a custom breakout board. The INA219 measures both sides of a current sense resistor inserted between battery positive and the rest of the driver in order to monitor cell voltage and current. In order to get the sense resistor in, I temporarily removed the inductor and made this cut:

After getting the basic firmware implemented, it was time to make all the new hardware fit. Here’s everything that’s going inside the light - stock driver with uC removed, INA219, trimmed radio module (wire whip antenna instead of trace antenna) and a smaller version of my PIC microcontroller breakout:

The first step was to mount and wire in the power monitor:

In the above image you can see the current sense resistor standing on-edge to the left of the inductor, and in the center is the INA219 mounted dead-bug on top of another component.

Next I glued my microcontroller board on top of the inductor and wired it in to power, the INA I2C connections, and the connections required to take control of the driver.

I wired up the radio as well. A few additional connections were also made to the driver board so that I can use the existing contacts on the bottom of the driver to allow reprogramming after the light is reassembled. You can see the details of this in the annotated driver pictures above.

Then the LED, thermistor, and switch/indicator connections are made. I also insulated the radio with kapton.

The radio just barely fits in sitting at 45 degrees just behind the TIR optic. The antenna was wrapped around the optic as close to the window as possible since this is its only “view” out of the metal housing.

With the light done I now needed a device to receive and display the data. I laid out all the components (OLED display, custom radio/microcontroller breakout board, shaker motor, lipo cell, charger and USB connector, and switches) and built up a housing around it in two pieces:

These were 3D-printed in ABS and I started assembling:

And wiring:

And after some programming and adding a wrist strap here is the result:

This control watch shows the two important data points (battery percentage and estimated remaining runtime) in large font, and above also shows the headlamp’s brightness level, LED temperature, remaining milliamp-hours, instantaneous current draw, and battery voltage, as well as the battery voltage of the watch. These radios are already performing 2-way communication, so I considered adding the ability to adjust brightness from the watch, but after using it I decided this wasn’t really useful. The watch is just a remote display that I can look at while using the other hand to adjust the light to make sure the brightness I pick will last the required time, and this accomplishes the goals I started with. Thanks for reading!

Super interesting - thanks for sharing

Sure puts the “tek” in “Armytek”… :laughing:

Wow. I’m always blown away with your builds. That must be a very efficient radio. How much power do you estimate this upgrade has cost?

This is an amazing invention

Wow….quite some micro engineering going on !

Your builds were always complicated, but you got worse over the years! :open_mouth: What a terrific project!

After a startup period it only transmits a packet every 250ms, and the burst is very short so the average added power consumption is much less than 1mA

Very cool project. I’d buy one.

And all I did to mine was an emitter swap.

You did too, as to my knowledge they ship with an XHP50A, and that’s an XHP50B. What tint and CRI did you use? I have a 5000K, 90 CRI in one of mine. I don’t like it as much as the 144A, but the honeycomb TIR mitigates the usual downsides of a flip-chip Cree emitter.

Actually I left the emitter stock, I liked the CCT it had originally

How is the stock soldering from AT? Good or bad?

No quality issues that I could see

Interesting. That means at some point Armytek switched to the XHP50B without documenting it.

Of course, now there’s a 144A version available, which is obviously the right choice. Who me? Biased?

Dass m-m-mazeballz ! :open_mouth:

How come you didn’t enter the O-L comp Everett?

Could you remotely switch it on/off, or programming time of work?

I haven’t added that yet. In use I haven’t had the need to remotely control it. Also, being able to turn off adds some complexity since I can’t leave the radio in receive all the time (consumes 15mA) so there would be a lot of decisions on how long to listen for a turn on command after off, etc.