Author Topic: Custom Diving Flashlight ...  (Read 5442 times)

Offline wquiles

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Custom Diving Flashlight ...
« on: January 23, 2010, 06:05:36 PM »
Although the end result is a flashlight, you will see that the majority of the work is really machining.  Creating new parts, or fitting parts together - perfect use of a lathe and milling machine.

FIrst, I had to get the original U9 host in pieces.  Lens was already removed prior to the light arriving to me, but the Barbolight does a good job in making these hosts nearly indestructible, so it was still laborious to get everything separated:

I then had to heat the body/head in my Powder Coating oven to 450F, so that the factory epoxy would soften enough for me to unscrew the head off:

Since I wanted to use the hipCC (about 1.1" dia) and this host was about 1.0" dia, I would have to come up with a custom heatsink.  After discussing this a little with George (from, designer of these drivers) I proceeded to lightly sand two sides of the hipCC to make it fit on the host, but sideways.  :

You can see here in my hand written notes my original design:

I then continue work on the mill:

And for the first time I was able to test the fit of the hipCC on the new custom heatsink:

Here is a close-up of the heatsink next to the original paper design:

I continued to make progress on the inner part of the heatsink, which would be composed of a Delrin sleve, with an Al center piece to carry the "+" from the battery to the driver:

Here I am working on the inner Al piece:

The pieces:

Making a small groove to wire/solder the wire that will be going to the driver:

I then drill and tapped the location for the screw that will carry the Bat "-" to the driver:

I then drill a hole in the head that will mechanically keep the heatsink in position:

and then used the head to transfer punch that location to the heatsink:

I then drill and tapped that hole in the heatsink:

then counterbore the hole to make sure the screw head would be flush with the head (to prevent it from contacting the reflector later on):

Having done this one project, I would not do it again this way, but I decided to install a copper disk for the LED:

I left a thin self to help keep the press-fit copper heatsink in place:

I used my long jaw calipers (thanks Barry!) to measure the hole:

and then make a custom thin heatsink from C110 copper:

And here is how it looks once in place once epoxied in place:

Here I am trying the MC-E to line up where I will be doing the milling cuts:

Doing the actual milling cuts (these allow me to position the wires even lower than normal so that they would be even less chance of a short circuit with the metal reflector - I don't want to leave anything to chance):

I used the Barbo copper heatsink (which is perfectly centered in the head as a guide to center and epoxy the emiter to the head:

The reflector is perfect in terms of height, but not diameter-wise, so I need a centering ring:

This was my initial attempt at securing the Bat + to the wire going to the driver.  It did not work as good as I hoped, so I did it again (see further below):

I wired the rest of the wires:

Then used thermal tape to provide a thermal path for the driver:

And then I tested the driver (LED being an SST-50 emiter):

Input voltage/current:

Output current going to the LED:

I used epoxy to keep everything in place:

and then tried on the actual head/host:

The AW 26500 cells that the owner wanted to use were a tad larger in DIA than the host (this being a "C" size host), so I bored it out slightly:

I was having some intermitent behavior (more on this shortly), so I added a flat spring to the heatsink body to aid with the Bat "-" connection to the heatsink.  I first made a press-fit Delrin collar to keep the heatsink in place safely:

and then cut a groove for the flat spring (yup, the discarded negative contact from a Mag host - how is that for recycling!):

I also cleaned up the tailcap:

I decided I needed a better spring solution as it was not a great match for these cells.  I used silver conductive epoxy to attach it to the tailcap:

As I still had the same intermitent contact, I decided to re-do the Bat "+" contact by using a small screw instead, so that meant re-doing that section of the heatsink.  Here I am enlarging the hole in the Delrin sleeve to allow for a larger Al center piece :

Here I drilled a side hole and made a small delrin plug to limit the travel of the new Pos plug:

Making the new center Al plug:

And here are the new pieces:

The scalop edges visible here will provide a mechanical hold for the epoxy to that there can't be any rotational forces that would affect the "+" electrical connection:

And another quick test to make sure everything is still working fine:

I then sealed the head (this is a diving-rated host after all):

Now that I have taken care of the Bat "+" contact, I took care of making a much stronger Bat "-" contact by adding one extra screw between the head and the heatsink, and one additional screw tying the heatsink, the head, and the main tube/body:

After all of these "extra" steps, everything is just solid, perfectly reliable.  Since I am doing an SST-50 version of this host for the same customer, the next version will go much quicker and smoother :twothumbs

I took two layers of Kapton tape to further isolate the bottom of the reflector against the LED:

And then used 30min epoxy and Glow powder to attach the reflector to the head:

The host is complete, except for one of the o-rings that I am trying to find, but I have not yet heard back from Barbolight on the right size, but hopefully not much longer - I am sure the owner of this light is very eager to get his hands on it ASAP ;)

Machining and electronics -

Offline spuddevans

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Re: Custom Diving Flashlight ...
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2010, 03:29:44 AM »
WOW!! That is some mighty fine work there :bow: :bow: and very well documented too :thumbup: :thumbup:

Just out of curiosity, do you find that using ali for the electrical connections easier than maybe using brass, steel or copper? My understanding is that Ali is not easy to solder to and oxidises very very quickly, do you find this to be so?

Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe  -  MI0TME

Offline wquiles

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Re: Custom Diving Flashlight ...
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2010, 11:11:37 AM »
Yes, Al is harder to solder than brass or copper, but it is much easier to machine as well, so it is just a compromise.  In the end, I decided to have screws for both the "+" and the "-" battery connections, so the soldering was not a concern in this particular build.   Now, in terms of heat transfer, Copper is better than Al, and Al is much better than brass, so most of us always use Al for heatsinks, although using copper is even better specially right under the LED to that you can move the heat away from the LED in the most efficient way.

Machining and electronics -