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Old 02-19-2012, 03:11 AM #1
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Default Flashlight drivers?

So I'm new to this and trying to learn fast. Realizing that this hobby and flashlights are kind,of like cousin (or sibling) hobbies, I decided to check our flashlights.

I ordered a 7W Cree V-Shark light with 800mA current. Neat little light. Cheaply made, but 400 lumens in a small package with hi, Li and strobe.

My question is, could you just use the driver in this to power a laser build in the host?

I tried to search this but wasn't using the right terms...

EDIT: At first glance, THIS looks like the information I am looking for...

Compatible flashlight boost converters, cheap 445nm drivers


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445nm Survival Laser @ 1.25W - GIFTED
445nm Stainless Steel Monster with H140 diode @1.62A - 2.15W!
450nm rhd single mode @ 190mW

532nm O-like 50 mW pen from Cajun Lasers - small dot, tight beam!
532nm O-like Crown, rated @ 400mW, metered @ ~450mW with AW battery!
532nm O-like Crown rated @ 500mW, not yet tested
532nm RPL-165 @ 204mW
532nm RPL-375 @ 427mW

635nm rhd Lipstick Tube @ ~485+ mW
638nm Fat Boy @ 825mW - custom build

650nm Bolly BL-8006 @ 319mW

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Old 02-19-2012, 09:45 AM #2
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsteele93 View Post
So I'm new to this and trying to learn fast. Realizing that this hobby and flashlights are kind,of like cousin (or sibling) hobbies, I decided to check our flashlights.

I ordered a 7W Cree V-Shark light with 800mA current. Neat little light. Cheaply made, but 400 lumens in a small package with hi, Li and strobe.

My question is, could you just use the driver in this to power a laser build in the host?

I tried to search this but wasn't using the right terms...
maybe if you hook the driver to a test load and see. or take a picture of it and post it here so we can see what it's about.
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:37 PM #3
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahHead View Post
Is there any reason why it won't work? (voltage, current...)

One thing I quite couldn't grasp is the concept of voltage. People seem to mention currents while driving their laser diodes but I don't think I encountered anyone mention volts. Why is that?

Thanks!
because we are using drivers with constant current rather than constant voltage.

changes of temperature affect the laser diode's forward voltage and thus increase/decrease the current. So if you are using constant voltage excess current will eventually kill the diode.

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Old 02-19-2012, 04:13 PM #4
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahHead View Post
Oh, now I understand.

Many thanks to you, buddy! +1

Could we share successful instances where a flashlight driver was used as a LD driver?

I dug through Google and found out that the NJG-18 driver could be used both as flashlight and laser diode drivers.

It would be cool to have a 5-mode driver with high, med, low, strobe, and SOS mode. haha

Cheers!
yeah there are lots of drivers which use constant current to drive LEDs. Search through the forum there are some in the drivers section
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:42 PM #5
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

18V 5W Cree Circuit Board for Flashlights (16.8mm*5.5mm) [LEDBRD] - $4.99 : Cajunlasers Store

18V 5W Cree Circuit Board for Flashlights (16.8mm*5.5mm) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

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Old 02-19-2012, 06:08 PM #6
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Here was my thinking...

I just ordered a small flashlight for a laser build. I see in the specs that it has an 800mW current driver. It already uses an 18650 so if I could use the driver that came with it, the build could be greatly simplified. I just need to choose a diode that can take 800mA. (445 I suppose)

But what voltage do the diodes need to see?

I assume since constant current drivers are the way to go with lasers, that the voltage can vary a bit - but what are the ranges and do different diodes have different requirements?

I've been trying to learn fast, but I haven't stumbled on anything that addresses this yet. I'm sure it is in Sam's FAQ. I'll just have to dig for it.
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445nm Survival Laser @ 1.25W - GIFTED
445nm Stainless Steel Monster with H140 diode @1.62A - 2.15W!
450nm rhd single mode @ 190mW

532nm O-like 50 mW pen from Cajun Lasers - small dot, tight beam!
532nm O-like Crown, rated @ 400mW, metered @ ~450mW with AW battery!
532nm O-like Crown rated @ 500mW, not yet tested
532nm RPL-165 @ 204mW
532nm RPL-375 @ 427mW

635nm rhd Lipstick Tube @ ~485+ mW
638nm Fat Boy @ 825mW - custom build

650nm Bolly BL-8006 @ 319mW

Laser Safety and Eye Injury

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Old 02-19-2012, 06:22 PM #7
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

I am new at this too, but my understanding is that it is totally dependent on the driver. For example, the driver above's specs are as follows:

1*Cree 5W regulated power output
- Output current: 1.25A
- 16.8mm diameter base, 5.5mm overall depth
- Voltage: 3V-18V
- Fully regulated circuit design

If my reading of this is correct, you feed that thing anywhere from 3 to 18V, allowing for the voltage drop of the circuit (maybe use 2x 16340's, according to Cajun) and it will output a regulated 1.25A, which would be midrange specs on a 445. Some of them are being driven at 1.8A.

Based on my personal experience, I am getting 1.50W out of a DTR 445 driven at 1.62A with Moh's driver and with a regular 3 element glass lens and 1.95W us a G2 lens. According to Cajun's description page, he got 1.1W using the above Cree driver at 1.25A. My diode sounds more efficient than his. I any case, you should be able to easily get 1W out of this driver I would think.

Anybody else?

Glenn
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:41 PM #8
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
I am new at this too, but my understanding is that it is totally dependent on the driver. For example, the driver above's specs are as follows:

1*Cree 5W regulated power output
- Output current: 1.25A
- 16.8mm diameter base, 5.5mm overall depth
- Voltage: 3V-18V
- Fully regulated circuit design

If my reading of this is correct, you feed that thing anywhere from 3 to 18V, allowing for the voltage drop of the circuit (maybe use 2x 16340's, according to Cajun) and it will output a regulated 1.25A, which would be midrange specs on a 445. Some of them are being driven at 1.8A.

Based on my personal experience, I am getting 1.50W out of a DTR 445 driven at 1.62A with Moh's driver and with a regular 3 element glass lens and 1.95W us a G2 lens. According to Cajun's description page, he got 1.1W using the above Cree driver at 1.25A. My diode sounds more efficient than his. I any case, you should be able to easily get 1W out of this driver I would think.

Anybody else?

Glenn
Another member PM'd me to point out that these drivers may be poor quality and have current spikes. So not a good idea for a high current build near the limit of the diode.

But for a lower power build, it might be worth it to get some of the effects, like low power and strobe that a lot of the flashlights come with?

Might be worth trying on some cheap reds?

EDIT: I noticed the following comment on your driver...

Quote:
Other Thoughts:
The top of the IC is polished, but I think, this is came with AX2002 (the driver board color is red).

It's a one mode, good efficiency switching driver. The diode is SS34 (3A current limit).

If you change the sense resistor to 0.125 ohm, the output current is changed to 2A (the AX2002 has 0.25V feedback voltage).

I use this driver with two serial connected 18650 battery.
That adds an interesting angle to it as well. A simple resistor change could let you tailor it to your liking.
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445nm Survival Laser @ 1.25W - GIFTED
445nm Stainless Steel Monster with H140 diode @1.62A - 2.15W!
450nm rhd single mode @ 190mW

532nm O-like 50 mW pen from Cajun Lasers - small dot, tight beam!
532nm O-like Crown, rated @ 400mW, metered @ ~450mW with AW battery!
532nm O-like Crown rated @ 500mW, not yet tested
532nm RPL-165 @ 204mW
532nm RPL-375 @ 427mW

635nm rhd Lipstick Tube @ ~485+ mW
638nm Fat Boy @ 825mW - custom build

650nm Bolly BL-8006 @ 319mW

Laser Safety and Eye Injury

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Old 02-19-2012, 07:52 PM #9
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

@tsteele93,

which cheap reds could be used?

Glenn
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:57 PM #10
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
@tsteele93,

which cheap reds could be used?

Glenn
I'm assuming LPC-826's... Let me check. (not the 1.25 a board, I'm saying a lower current board for experimenting with a red) The LPC-815 might even be a better place to start.

We could use the help of more experienced members here. I'm sure there must be a reason why Ben, RHD, dr. lava and so many others are designing their own drivers, so I might just be spinning my wheels here. I'm just curious as to why this isn't a viable way to drive a laser pointer, if it isn't.

This driver is super inexpensive on DX

3.6V~16V 925mA Constant Current LED Driver Board for Cree and SSC LEDs (4-pack) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme
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405nm tsteele93 12x build @ 545mW

445nm Survival Laser @ 1.25W - GIFTED
445nm Stainless Steel Monster with H140 diode @1.62A - 2.15W!
450nm rhd single mode @ 190mW

532nm O-like 50 mW pen from Cajun Lasers - small dot, tight beam!
532nm O-like Crown, rated @ 400mW, metered @ ~450mW with AW battery!
532nm O-like Crown rated @ 500mW, not yet tested
532nm RPL-165 @ 204mW
532nm RPL-375 @ 427mW

635nm rhd Lipstick Tube @ ~485+ mW
638nm Fat Boy @ 825mW - custom build

650nm Bolly BL-8006 @ 319mW

Laser Safety and Eye Injury

Last edited by tsteele93; 02-19-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:06 PM #11
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

If you want to use a single battery operation for 445nm diode and bluray, you need boost or boost buck driver. Most flashlights use regulated buck drivers or some non regulated which are not current steady

you can use buck but you need at least 2 batteries for full current output when diode's forward voltage is above the battery's voltage + drivers drop voltage.

that's why there are other drivers developed... I am currently finishing mine as well - a boost/buck driver capable of 2A

and guys these things have been discussed widely here please do some research first

Last edited by foulmist; 02-19-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:33 PM #12
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foulmist View Post
If you want to use a single battery operation for 445nm diode and bluray, you need boost or boost buck driver. Most flashlights use regulated buck drivers or some non regulated which are not current steady

you can use buck but you need at least 2 batteries for full current output when diode's forward voltage is above the battery's voltage + drivers drop voltage.

that's why there are other drivers developed... I am currently finishing mine as well - a boost/buck driver capable of 2A

and guys these things have been discussed widely here please do some research first
I searched with no luck. Search in forums is really not consistent.
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405nm tsteele93 12x build @ 545mW

445nm Survival Laser @ 1.25W - GIFTED
445nm Stainless Steel Monster with H140 diode @1.62A - 2.15W!
450nm rhd single mode @ 190mW

532nm O-like 50 mW pen from Cajun Lasers - small dot, tight beam!
532nm O-like Crown, rated @ 400mW, metered @ ~450mW with AW battery!
532nm O-like Crown rated @ 500mW, not yet tested
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:37 PM #13
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

How laser diode drivers work; An Explanatory Thread

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Old 02-19-2012, 08:44 PM #14
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsteele93 View Post
Here was my thinking...

I just ordered a small flashlight for a laser build. I see in the specs that it has an 800mW current driver. It already uses an 18650 so if I could use the driver that came with it, the build could be greatly simplified. I just need to choose a diode that can take 800mA. (445 I suppose)

But what voltage do the diodes need to see?

I assume since constant current drivers are the way to go with lasers, that the voltage can vary a bit - but what are the ranges and do different diodes have different requirements?

I've been trying to learn fast, but I haven't stumbled on anything that addresses this yet. I'm sure it is in Sam's FAQ. I'll just have to dig for it.
Build a test load, test the driver, if the current appears to be safe for your diode use it. The voltage draw will only change as the diode's need changes. They're current hungry, not voltage hungry. Which is why we used constant current drivers.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:44 PM #15
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

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Originally Posted by tsteele93 View Post
I searched with no luck. Search in forums is really not consistent.
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:10 PM #16
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Default Re: Flashlight drivers?

Ok, well I was searching for keywords flashlight and driver. Obviously not searching correctly... But I DID search and wasn't just throwing this out there.

Also, I'm trudging through Sam's page but finding it tough not to end up in a bunch of HeNe topics that don't apply to diodes.

Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Quack View Post
I've read that, not sure if I'm too dense but it doesn't seem to help me much with understanding why a DX 325mA flashlight driver would, or wouldn't, drive a laser diode.

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