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Old 12-05-2012, 01:32 AM #33
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meatball View Post
Take it how you want it. I'm saying that those of us who still like the flexdrive for what it is, have (did you notice) been here a longgg time. We've seen a lot of circuits come and go. You just aren't to that point yet - even for as much as you post.

Dr. Lava may not have been good to deal with himself, but when I bought from his website - they always arrived. They were always available at hightechdealz and modwerx (for those of you who remember those stores).
That's kind of my problem with people touting the E-drive or X-boost, etc. They may be great drivers, and even superior to something like the Flexdrive, but the only way you can buy them is by PMing some guy on the forum and seeing if one of his 5 drivers he's assembled in the past week is in stock. That's not a viable driver that I can suggest to anyone as a replacement driver. It's almost as if they're vaporware (yes, I know they're not).

At least when Flexdrives were available, you just go on the site, purchase a certain amount and go. It's the same way with the drivers at Cajunlasers or wherever: they're available and out there; they're something I can give someone a website and say "buy here" without PMing someone on the forum. That said, it's not like the Flexdrives have been available in those quantities until lately, but in the past they were, and that was a big reason they have retained the status as the driver to beat.

So please, flood the market with these great E-drives or X-boosts, or X-drive version-whatevers. I want to see them out there. Competition is awesome! Then when someone wants a driver I can say, oh hey, go to Cajunlasers or wherever and grab the E-drive or whatever. A product isn't a product until it is available to purchase.


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Old 12-05-2012, 07:55 AM #34
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

I could not have said this any better myself Thanks Trevor

There is just not a better buck/boost drive out there right now there may be less expensive ones and I have not tested many
of them but I do hear there were some out there killing laser diodes I am not sure which ones these were but I have been
using the V5 drive for over 3 years now and have never had a V5 kill a diode that I know of !

It's true the upper limit is 1.5 amps and if you need more then you parallel two and they run so cool you don't have a
duty cycle for them they can then be run constantly.


One more thing if these are so out dated then how come I have new and outstanding orders for 250 + V5 drives, people have been
told they were going to be out before Xmas and I just checked with the manufacturer last night and he has said before Xmas

Merry Christmas




Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
I've never been a big builder, but I do have a thought to throw in the pot here.

People who have been around here a while (more than a year or so - or before the Summer of 445) have personally heard about hundreds of builds that have been done with Flexdrives.

The few times you did hear about a failure, it was always due to a user error. I can't recall any Flexdrives killing diodes because of a defect - someone want to chime in and correct me?

None of the new drivers have that amount of field testing yet. Now that we're using $50+ diodes, and some builds are done with obscenely rare, freakily efficient diodes, some more established builders still prefer to use the older, much more proven drivers.

To me, putting a couple Flexdrives in parallel is a way to ensure a nice, long life for your brand new laser based on an indescribably rare efficient and high wavelenth 445nm diode.

Perhaps the new drivers will gain more acceptance once they've been shown to work trouble-free for months and years on end.

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:52 PM #35
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaminpyro View Post
...I do hear there were some out there killing laser diodes I am not sure which ones these were but I have been
using the V5 drive for over 3 years now and have never had a V5 kill a diode that I know of !

It's true the upper limit is 1.5 amps and if you need more then you parallel two and they run so cool you don't have a
duty cycle for them they can then be run constantly.

One more thing if these are so out dated then how come I have new and outstanding orders for 250 + V5 drives, people have been
told they were going to be out before Xmas and I just checked with the manufacturer last night and he has said before Xmas

Merry Christmas
That was boost driver only that killed the sensitive 405nm. Besides Flexdrive isn't capable of driving high power 405nm anyway due to IC's output limit of 5.5V.

In addition yes it is outdated because the chip it uses is several generations old. Its sister/brother IC's are successfully used in FMT and E-drive (and laserlukes opensource driver). I have a dual driver laser "pointer" that uses two of E-drives in boost and buck modes with ease.

Jeff with all due respect we don't know who ordered those 250+ drivers, it could be a mass order from 2 or 3 people who sell prebuilt lasers here, it does not mean anything...
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:06 PM #36
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Just because a design might be several years old doesn't mean it's any less useful. This is all just a matter of opinion really, as well as a matter of what fits a given build the best. The flex has been around awhile so it's time-proven, and it is produced at a level of volume that none of the other options can compare to right now.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:58 PM #37
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Right, I do understand tha bit now. I'm just gonna try hard to get the E-drive out there faster, and in hopefully larger quantities.

I found a way to make boards at my dorm without a toaster.

(hint it involves a pan)

I'll also keep looking into getting them assembled somewhere..
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:12 PM #38
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

As far as DIY reflow, a toaster would be the best option, as then you can ensure that the temperature profile is correct. I'm going to be building one myself using a toaster oven, a type-K thermocouple and an osPID module ($85) from RocketScream. Rocketscream's Reflow Toaster controller has just come back in stock too ($40), so you can get that for half the price of the osPID (I might have done that if it came back in stock when I was ordering). You'd need an Arduino attached to the shield though (the osPID already has one built in).

The slow part in assembly is usually putting the components on the PCB, and for that you can make your own vacuum pen to speed up the job. The guy uses a syringe, but you can also use actual vacuum pens from DealExtreme.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:09 PM #39
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gillza View Post
That was boost driver only that killed the sensitive 405nm. Besides Flexdrive isn't capable of driving high power 405nm anyway due to IC's output limit of 5.5V.

In addition yes it is outdated because the chip it uses is several generations old. Its sister/brother IC's are successfully used in FMT and E-drive (and laserlukes opensource driver). I have a dual driver laser "pointer" that uses two of E-drives in boost and buck modes with ease.

Jeff with all due respect we don't know who ordered those 250+ drivers, it could be a mass order from 2 or 3 people who sell prebuilt lasers here, it does not mean anything...

ok, by your logic, by the time all these new drivers are all tried and true and considered reliable (in 2 or 3 years) they will be out dated too, right???

I've noticed one thing from this thread, is that you guys are using the traits of all the new drivers to put down one flex lol. maybe the flex isnt the most versitile, but IS the most reliable. FACT!!!
And by mob logic, i will include lavas other drive the microboost, so now we can all compare all the new diodes to these two.

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:37 PM #40
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chipdouglas View Post
maybe the flex isnt the most versitile, but IS the most reliable. FACT!!!
Honestly, I think it is the most versatile driver out there that's fully tested.

Only a handful of builds have used the E-Drive, which is the only other buck/boost out there. ( EDIT: And FMT's? )

We are scientists. Every laser build is a long-term experiment on both the diode and driver. The Flexdrive has been proven hundreds of times over.

Get it in people's hands for testing. Most importantly - give it time to prove itself.

The Flexdrive didn't get popular because drlava argued with us until we adopted it...

Trevor

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:39 PM #41
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Only a handful of builds have used the E-Drive, which is the only other buck/boost out there.
I think FMT's driver is a Buck/Boost as well.

Last edited by ARG; 12-12-2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:43 PM #42
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

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people have been
told they were going to be out before Xmas and I just checked with the manufacturer last night and he has said before Xmas
Well that changes things. I was told before that they were practically no longer made and a dead end. Do we have an idea of the pricing on this next batch?

That being said I'd have to see them drop $ quite a bit, before I'd consider using them. The little extra work of PM'ing is worth it to me.

Really though, how much testing, use, and how widespread does a driver have to be before it's considered "proven" by LPF?
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:57 PM #43
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
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Really though, how much testing, use, and how widespread does a driver have to be before it's considered "proven" by LPF?
It needs to be in a good number of builds that have lasted a long time. It'll be more than a year and probably well over 100 builds (that last more than that year) before one of these new circuits is considered safe.

Even longer before it's considered basically 100% safe like the Flexdrive.

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Old 12-05-2012, 05:28 PM #44
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Another thing is that the Flexdrives were eventually assembled by a commercial PCB assembler. In addition to testing, the professional assembly ensured that the process was well controlled, and drives were consistent in their quality. Some chips, for example, should pre-heated to remove all traces of moisture or other contaminants before assembly.

In that light, we'll see how these new drivers fare. They're released in such small quantities that their consistency is unknown. Even the photos of the drivers indicate that the ICs and components are not consistently placed on the PCBs due to the assembly. I for one am hesitant to use a driver that's been cooked on a skillet in a dorm room. There might be cold joints, or other problems revealed from long-term operation, where the high-current power-application causes fatigue in the hardware. I might be okay with a PID-controlled toaster oven, but the process would need to be well controlled.

Remember that price is merely a feature of a product, and not always the most important. Spending more for a proven solution, especially when the difference is small at about $5-10, can be worth it especially when it's just a component in a far more expensive system. Hell, people are paying $8 for LASORBs to protect their individual lasers on projectors. Sure there may be alternatives, but people continue to buy them just for the peace of mind.

Good luck to the E-drive and other like it. There's a long road ahead, and hopefully these alternative drivers live up to their expectations.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:29 PM #45
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
It needs to be in a good number of builds that have lasted a long time. It'll be more than a year and probably well over 100 builds (that last more than that year) before one of these new circuits is considered safe.

Even longer before it's considered basically 100% safe like the Flexdrive.

Trevor
I have faith that this will happen for the E-Drive. We'll see more of them out as they're manufactured. I'm all for cheaper, but the circuit is still in its infancy as a part of the hobby. If all goes smoothly for the circuit, it will be around for another 3+ years to come.

Props to Le Quack for posting a PDF user's guide!
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:42 AM #46
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

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Originally Posted by gillza View Post
Besides Flexdrive isn't capable of driving high power 405nm anyway due to IC's output limit of 5.5V.

Jeff with all due respect we don't know who ordered those 250+ drivers, it could be a mass order from 2 or 3 people who sell prebuilt lasers here, it does not mean anything...

With all due respect:

Dose it really matter who ordered them yes it is mostly re-sellers and a few members who order like 10ea or less at a time and I am ordering 50 ea myself to put on the shelf and resell to members looking for 1 or 2 each.

Bottom line all 250 V5 drives will be used in laser builds so it dose matter, if you were to ask every builder of drives here, how many lasers are using your drive I bet most would say 20-50 maybe 100 but if you ask me how many V5 drives I have sold in 1.5 years I will tell you approx 1000 and maybe more as I didn't keep that info in my head but I can go through my books and look it up.

This obviously dose not take into consideration all the drives DrLava has sold or his other re sellers.

Please don't get me wrong I think it's good we have so many people designing and making new drives and when I see one that is as reliable as the V5 I will give it credit for sure but at this time I have not received a single one to test from any of the builders here that can do what the V5 can do so until I do I'm sticking with what has worked for years and what I suspect will be working for years to come.

And on that note I will add there is a V6 in the works a new higher powered Driver for those of you who like your amps

It may not be out and available for a few months we will have to wait and see as it is still on the drawing board.


Merry Christmas
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:44 AM #47
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Okay okay guys. I don't want to see any more arguing or bickering on the thread... I got the answer I was looking for, and I understand exactly why people love the flexdrive.

It's just time, that's all, because it's proven to work.

I understand that and well I really hope the E-drive proves itself once I get more and more out into the world.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:54 AM #48
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Your right, TIME in the saddle, it is well proven and is known to have no diode killing spikes


I hope it dose also, good luck




Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Quack View Post
Okay okay guys. I don't want to see any more arguing or bickering on the thread... I got the answer I was looking for, and I understand exactly why people love the flexdrive.

It's just time, that's all, because it's proven to work.

I understand that and well I really hope the E-drive proves itself once I get more and more out into the world.
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