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Author Topic: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight  (Read 24983 times)

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2016, 06:27:42 AM »

Thanks for those tips, TK, i'll check out the specs

np
 

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Offline itsu

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2016, 07:14:33 PM »

Back on track after some PC problems.


I still had my bat42 setup running from the first battery (750mAH) after 1 week, so i have interrupted it to
make a new setup using some 3V/3W leds powered by 2x  4 2000mAH NiMh in series providing 2x 5.5V.

I made a blackbox in which i have tested one of the 3W leds and calibrated it using DC from my bench PS.

So now i can crosscheck the measured power calculated by my scope with the equivalent DC power from a graph i have made.
It turns out to be fairly accurate.

Video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOTWG0F914

I will do some run down tests with the filled up supercaps only.
The blackbox also enables me to find the max output on a given frequency at the lowest possible input.


Regards Itsu

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2016, 05:40:39 AM »
...
I still had my bat42 setup running from the first battery (750mAH) after 1 week, so i have interrupted it to
make a new setup using some 3V/3W leds powered by 2x  4 2000mAH NiMh in series providing 2x 5.5V.

I made a blackbox in which i have tested one of the 3W leds and calibrated it using DC from my bench PS.

So now i can crosscheck the measured power calculated by my scope with the equivalent DC power from a graph i have made.
It turns out to be fairly accurate.

Video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOTWG0F914

I will do some run down tests with the filled up supercaps only.
The blackbox also enables me to find the max output on a given frequency at the lowest possible input.
....

Nice work Itsu - good progress!

If, as you say, you're getting good agreement between scope math value for LED power and the DC Equivalent reading from your photosensor graph, then my earlier comment appears to hold true about the mismatch you reported between measured values for LED power compared with i/p supply, that it was more likely that the scope LED power value was the more accurate

You mention that your 750mAh i/p cell has been running for a week - using 'ball-park' figures, i/p cell was approx discharged at end of run (1.18V), although these pulse circuits can extract almost the last 'drops' of energy from cells (and continue to operate down to approx 0.5V or less); the o/p cell is showing almost fully charged at 1.4:V (some of which could be 'phantom' charge, of course!)

If your mention of 'running for a week' is indeed 7 days non-stop operation, then as an order of magnitude the LED was running for 7×24h at approx 16mW average, ie. approx 2700mWh 

i think i calculated in an earlier post that a 750mAh NiMH cell would store approx 1000mWh of energy

So your circuit appears to have achieved some interesting efficiency, if these numbers hold true, to both run at that power and, in addition, to charge the o/p cell

Is that correct?

Thanks for sharing
np

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2016, 05:40:39 AM »
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Offline itsu

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2016, 11:28:04 AM »

Hi NP,

Yes, it seems that this way of checking on the led power consumption agrees with what my scope calculates.
Around 32mW with this new heavy duty setup, but still when measuring the individual battery/supercap stacks it does not add up.

So i still make some measurement error there (allthough i also used a csr in the battery lead which makes it even more confusing) or the signals (pulses) interfere somehow.
It annoys me that i do not get any logical data out of this setup.


Anyway, with the old setup it was running for a week, but i am not sure about the 16mW consumption of that 10mm led.
It might have been for a short while with fully charged batteries, but it will drop fast till about 5mW when the supply battery get lower.
Perhaps i could retry that setup with the blackbox attached (have to calibrate that led first) to see how fast the power drops off.

Thats the problem with batteries, they can decive you easily.


More to come,   regards Itsu

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2016, 03:57:56 PM »
...
Yes, it seems that this way of checking on the led power consumption agrees with what my scope calculates.
Around 32mW with this new heavy duty setup, but still when measuring the individual battery/supercap stacks it does not add up.

So i still make some measurement error there (allthough i also used a csr in the battery lead which makes it even more confusing) or the signals (pulses) interfere somehow.
...
Anyway, with the old setup it was running for a week, but i am not sure about the 16mW consumption of that 10mm led.

It might have been for a short while with fully charged batteries, but it will drop fast till about 5mW when the supply battery get lower.

Perhaps i could retry that setup with the blackbox attached (have to calibrate that led first) to see how fast the power drops off.

Thats the problem with batteries, they can decive you easily.
...

Lol, yes, tricky beasts, batteries!  But they can still give up some of their secrets to us - we just have to be trickier than them  ;-)

I wouldn't expect the LED current draw to change very much over a test run - we're only discharging  the input cell in that 1st test by approx 0.25V, equivalent to a drain from max voltage to around 80%

In my supercap rundown illumination tests you can see that the illumination level is almost constant for the first 40 seconds or so, while the supply volts drop from max to aprox 60% - this is a significantly greater difference in voltage to our tests with NiMH input supply

Hopefully, if you're able to repeat the 1 cell test with your photometer box, this will confirm the power profile - if the LED power is fairly constant (or just reasonably linear) then we can apply the maths in my previous post with an average value for the LED power and the run time to find the total energy converted by the LED

Finding the amount of energy in the output cell, due to charging, could be determined by an initial full charge, then time a discharge from max to 1.2V  into a measured resistor (say 20ohms, .5W or 1W). This enables a calc of an approx capacity of the cell.  The energy in subsequent charges of that cell can be compared by discharging the result through the same resistor and using the time to reach 1.2V as a proportion of the time to discharge the full cell

Obviously this is quite time consuming (but it works), so better to try & get the test equipment to agree with each other about measuring equivalent values !

I think you've made a very useful addition to your test bench with your blackbox - i'm inspired to use one of those solar cells like yours, in place of my photodiode, when comparing brighter sources

Hope you have a more productive weekend than last - PCs can be a real pain in the butt when Windoze goes AWOL !

All the best with your experimenting
np
 

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2016, 03:57:56 PM »
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Offline conradelektro

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2016, 05:12:42 PM »
So i still make some measurement error there (allthough i also used a csr in the battery lead which makes it even more confusing) or the signals (pulses) interfere somehow.
It annoys me that i do not get any logical data out of this setup.

@itsu:

I watched your video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOTWG0F914 and extracted the attached picture.

Thinking about your measurement problem (illogical result) it comes to my mind, that the only cause could be the board with the caps (see arrow on the picture).

There seems to be an unintended partial short or a cross-connection between input and output on this board. If it is not too much work, a separation of the input caps and the output caps onto two separated boards would be a prudent measure? Just to be sure and to eliminate all possible causes.

I like the black box and the calibration of the LED light output very much. Such careful measurement methods are needed to be sure about the "true happenings" in a circuit.

Measuring batteries over days and weeks is probably not very useful. The chemistry of batteries is very hard to track accurately. I am sure that nobody suspects that the "miracle" is in the batteries, therefore one should use caps, may be 1 F or 10 F super caps (one for input and one for output) to bring down the measurement cycle to a few minutes. Once one has a pretty good idea with the caps one could return to batteries and a test cycle of days or weeks.

Greetings, Conrad

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2016, 07:15:02 PM »
Inspired by Itsu's use of a solar cell for photometric readings, i've setup a similar cell in a sealed tube with the multi-LED head i'm using at tbe moment

Current draw by the circuit is 60mA, so you were right, Itsu, using a more heavy-duty load certainly moves the readings into a more accessible zone  - fortunately, it also reduces tbe run time, which in my case should be around 12+ hours for me, using 750mAh NiMHs

I can see by a glitch on the supply line trace, causing a similar glitch on the intensity trace, that there will likely be a closer correspondence between supply voltage and sensor o/p than i anticipated, compared to my results posted above, using a photodiode

I've had to apply some filtering to the sensor because the light pulse peaks were overloading my datalogging system, and i think that the filtering is an order of magnitude more than i used with the photodiode, so this will produce a certain difference in behaviour

However, since this test is only to determine the intensity profile of the LED drive within its own setup, from full input charge to end of run discharge, nothing needs to be quantified to refer to any other test results

More later
np
 

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2016, 07:15:02 PM »
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Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2016, 09:20:52 PM »
Here's an example of the sort of application i anticipated for this approach:  at the centre is the basic flyback converter; arranged around the periphery are a variety of inputs, outputs and funky bits (no, i've no idea what that means, either!)

The general idea is to provide a compact 'workhorse' which can accept energy input via a variety of methods (storage, active, and renewable) and which can then convert or transfer that energy into light or a different storage type, respectively

The simple controls allow selection of function (charge/light) and power-level

The 'funky bits' are related to efficiency

I've called this device the 'flyback flash-lite' for reasons which escape me

More later
np
 

Offline itsu

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2016, 09:47:20 PM »
Conrad and NP,

thanks for your suggestions, but i have sorted it out, as expected it was a measurment error, my error.
It has to do with calibrating/degausing the current probe which was done the wrong way causing all current measurments to be around zero (kind of when you use AC coupling on your scope).
I never used this wrong calibration way, and i don't know why i did it here, probably my head was more at the PC problems.

Now the data makes sense (allthough somewhat dissappointing), see screenshots.

1st is the supplying battery/supercaps, it shows it delivers 103mW
2th is the receiving battery/supercaps, it shows it receives 29mW (thus charging the battery/supercaps)
3th is the led under test in the blackbox, it shows it consumes 32mW (backed up by the solarcell which shows 1126mV = 36mW)
(current controller was set in all 3 screenshots to 10mA/Div., so similar as Ch4 shows)

We are missing 103-(29+32)= 42mW, which probably can be accounted for in the 100K resistor, bc547 transistor, 2x bat42 diodes and transformer.

I did notice in this high power setup that lowering the 100K pot, there will be a point where the pot starts to smell and gets really hot.
Lowering the ohmage decreases the oscillator frequency and increases the leds output (higher pulse duty cycle)

Anyway, i am glad thats out of the way.



Nice going NP, i like that: 'flyback flash-lite'.

I was also playing with the idea to throw in some small solar cells, so this flashlight would probably never run low when used/stored outside (car/camper).

Need to run over your new circuit while doing some rundown tests on my high power setup, i do see L1 still is in, its still needed?


Thanks all,  regards Itsu



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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2016, 09:47:20 PM »
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Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2016, 11:49:16 PM »
Hi Itsu

Glad to hear that you sorted the power measurement - and that you didn't have to carve up your suoercap board to find it!

The circuit in these initial tests is based on a conventional boost converter type arrangement - the switching device draws some current through the primary inductance to ground, then when it switches off, the stored charge in the inductance is released through the LED into the output storage.  The majority of the remaining energy will be returning via Q1 emitter to deplete the input supply

The intention of the whole setup us to re-use that part of the energy which has been diverted into the outout storage to    extend the runtime - hence the swapping of the output & input stores - a proportion of the input energy can be used again  - its already lit the LED once, then it can be used to light it again - and then maybe a third time - as in the 2nd graph i posted above (see my energy estimations there)

So - don't be disappointed!   We are making progress!

...probably a good idea though not to adjust VR1 too low in resistance - the increased base current of Q1 could overheat the resistance track inside the Varpot - they're only intended to dissipate low mW of power!

My 2nd circuit variation uses a different arrangement - no output swapping

Yes, the inductor L1 is necessary - the sink for the LED flyback energy is back at the input and the inductance assists this action.  On my test circuit C2 is not populated at the moment

Sounds like a good application for this device - travelling off-grid, etc

Hope the high current tests go well - don't forget to factor the storage swap runtime energies into your totals

All the best
np
 

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2016, 09:36:53 AM »
Hi Itsu

Here's an example of the comparative stability of illumination, taken from my current photometric test run using a solar cell and a 24 LED head with nominal drive level around 50mA (+/- 10mA say) from 3x 750mAh NiMHs

Over a 6 hour period in the centre of the runtime, the supply volts decreased from 3.9V to 3.77V, a 3.3% drop

During the same period the illumination intensity reading decreased from 3.64V to 3.55V, a 2.4% drop

The NiMH cells spend the largest proportion of their time in this 'flattened' section of their discharge profile, between approx 1.4 - 1.2V, with 1.3V indicating approx 50% charge.  This region can be considered reasonably linear (for all practical puposes)

This all goes to show that the flashlight illumination from this circuit will be perceived to be reasonably constant, for the duration of its effective working voltage range

I've been investigating LED drive circuit technology as a result of this project, and i find that it is quite common to use pulse drive circuits based on boost converter chips, eg. to supply LED backlighting in portable equipment

You can understand that the designers will have 2 important design goals on their list:
 - good efficiency for battery operation;
 - stable illumination levels

Most of these application notes for the different devices show the LEDs driven in grounded mode (as we saw in my comparison tests above), so i believe we were performing a valid comparison with our circuit in this project

If i understand him correctly, Conrad believes that there is no 'free lunch" - ie. we can only extend runtime at the expense of illumination, in which case we would just have to make a tradeoff as to what was most important for us at a certain occasion - a brighter illumjnation for less time - or dimmer illumination for more time

But - if we can achieve more work (because work is not conserved) from the same input energy, then we can extend the runtime by a proportion (losing a little voltage each time, of course, due to losse), and as we've just seen in these preliminary results from my current test, the illumination decreases proportionally less than the voltage

Since our eyes are very non-linear with regard to illumination intensity, we can extend the effective voltage discharge slope and our eyes/brain will interpret the illumination as remaining relatively constant

This is of course *extra* to any effective gains made by pulsing light with an appropriate duty cycle - i am saying that we can use a circuit like this to provide additional work to that other gain, using the same original amount of energy

Tests continue to provide real data in order to make informed decisions, rather than just offer unsupported opinions

Keep up the good work guys
np
 

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2016, 09:36:53 AM »
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Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2016, 10:15:08 AM »
Results are in for comparative 'Illumination vs Runtime' tests between a commercial 24 LED head with straight DC drive, and the same LED head driven by a 'flyback flash-lite' circuit being tested in this project thread

Both setups used the same 3-cell 750mAh NiMH battery, fully-charged to the same initial voltage, with circuit settings adjusted to provide the same initial intensity of illumination

This is to test the suggestion that the flyback flashlight only extends the illumination runtime of the device by decreasing the illumination intensity (ie. actual, not perceived, illumination ) - so this is not merely extension due to duty-cycle

The red traces record the battery terminal voltage, the blue traces record the illumination intensity profile; please note that the 2 graphs have different time scales - the DC run lasts 5 hours, the flyback flashlight run lasts 10 hours


For readers who aren't interested in actual data, i'll include a little story which i heard many years ago, to keep you amused while the rest of us consider the implications of these results...

Quote
A famous fast-bowler, who was a member of the English cricket team, was once invited to join a village cricket match, by his friend whom he was visiting

Let's call this bowler 'Henry' (after the unit of inductance)

The visiting team provided the umpires for the game

Henry, not wishing to take unfair advantage of his skills, bowled modestly and soon realised that he was not only playing against 11 members of the opposing team, but also against the umpire

When one ball, bowled by Henry, hit the batsman's leg-pad and was deflected away from the wicket, Henry's team cried out "Howzat!" to claim the dismissal of the batsman

"Not Out!", replied the umpire

Shortly afterwards, another delivery by Henry was heard to just 'snick' the bat as the ball flew past the batsman, into the wicket-keeper's gloves

"Howzat!" shouted Henry's team

"Not Out!", replied the umpire

By this time, Henry realised that the umpire was not interested in fair play, he was only interested in making sure that his team won

So, with some reluctance (see what i did there?), Henry took his celebrated long run up to the delivery end and sent an express-train of a bowl, rocketing down towards the batsman

The middle stump was knocked clean out of the ground and went flying past the wicket-keeper, who had to dive for cover

Henry turned to the umpire, winked, and said in his gentle Lancashire accent, "We nearly 'ad 'im THAT time, eh?"

...meanwhile, back at the bench...

The data not only disproves the idea that the approach being used in this thread is only making a gain in runtime at the expense of illumination intensity, it also shows that whilst the runtime has been doubled by the circuit, the illumination remains at a more consistently high proportion of the same initial level than the commercial DC drive arrangement, using NiMH cells


"We nearly 'ad 'im that time,eh?"  ...he was a card, old Henry!
np

Offline itsu

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2016, 02:43:44 PM »
Nul-points,

Quote
...meanwhile, back at the bench...

The data not only disproves the idea that the approach being used in this thread is only making a gain in runtime at the expense of illumination intensity, it also shows that whilst the runtime has been doubled by the circuit, the illumination remains at a more consistently high proportion of the same initial level than the commercial DC drive arrangement, using NiMH cells


Those are amazing results indeed, its a win win situation looking at the doubled time and stable / flatter light output.

I will be collecting some parts to be able to build a 'flyback flash-lite' circuit myself as i have a project in mind which is using leds and for which this circuit would be perfect.

Thanks,   Itsu

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2016, 08:01:25 PM »
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ...So - it's true....
 
 
 
 
 
 .....the drugs really *don't* work.....
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Offline nul-points

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Re: "...that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!!!" ...er, OU flashlight
« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2016, 08:02:41 PM »

Lol
 
 

 

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