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Old 12-03-2012, 10:35 PM #1
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Default What the Flex?!

Not to be rude, but...

There are so many other drivers out there that outperform the flexdrive by quite a decent amount, and I'm not talking about just the E-drive either. The X-boost, Foulmist's driver, Wolf's Blitzbuck, etc. Yet people are still clinging to them like a child to their mother... Is it just because they're proven to work or something?

Other than that I don't understand nor see a reason why, considering the plethora of cheaper, better specified options out there.


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Old 12-03-2012, 10:39 PM #2
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Lol, I'm glad you started this thread. I don't see why anyone would want them anymore but I wasn't around in their hayday so I'm interested to see what ppl have to say.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:45 PM #3
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

It was and still is the most flexible driver for the laser. With one li-ion battery it works with all diodes. That was the time with no competition around other than a LM317 driver.
Now there are other and better suitable drivers for our diodes if you know how to use the others drives.
And some sticky threads still mentioning the Flexdriver as a good driver for the build.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:47 PM #4
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Man I'm not dissing something that performed so well for the given diodes at the time. That driver was always ahead of the curve for a long while. Just imagine if things where diffrent what the good doctor could have provided us today.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:51 PM #5
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

I have never used a Flex, but I think people like them so much because they were the standard for a long time, and a lot of people (myself included) are wary of new drivers as they can kill diodes(AtmaBoost). The reputation for those drivers is not good. I have killed a couple diodes using those driver, then I have to throw away the useless diode-killing driver, and the diode. I've got 120$ invested in drivers that I will never use, and 100$ in dead diodes.

Before I had my oscilloscope there was no way to test the driver properly, now at least I can test them out before killing another 50$ diode.

Last edited by ARG; 12-12-2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:58 PM #6
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Ummm... how many of the drivers out there are using both the buck/boost operating modes? 1? Maybe 2? Are there 3?

Flexdrive was the first achieve this for laser hobbyists on an "easy to use" and flexible scale. And it always fit into the aixis module every time, and it always drove every laser diode, until the 12Xs came around - then Dr. Lava made a beefy boost drive called the microdrive.

I'm sure there are still some around today. It has been around a long time, and before Dr. Lava stopped shipping them himself, they were everywhere - very common. They are well known, and their behavior is very well documented which is nice for troubleshooting builds. Its nice to have an actual data-sheet/users guide is in a professional format that you can go back and reference to.

Sure, its not the best nowadays, but it was definitely on top for a long time until about 2 years ago. Andrew made those things for a longgggg time.

Some of my favorite builds of the past were made easy because of the flexdrive. Jayrobs' most famously tiny builds - used the flexdrive.

So yeah, it is fairly well known to those who were around before the 445 diode craze of 2010.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:00 PM #7
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Isn't the flex outclassed for 445's and 405's by the X-boost and outclassed by the E-drive for red diodes?
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:01 PM #8
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

No no, I'm not dissing the flex drive, I'm just curious as to why people still want it so badly, given the circumstances. I hope I don't sound negative about it.

So it's really just... tradition in a way?
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:04 PM #9
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Its familiar to many of us here, predictable, and reliable to put it simply. It was made in a time when diodes never exceeded a 4.5Vf or gobbled up gargantuan currents. For a simple red build using one cell, I would still consider using one.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 PM #10
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

The attention the Flexdrive receives is not unwarranted. It is a very good driver, and few other drivers can meet or surpass its capabilities even now.

How many of the other drivers out can even do boost-mode? The ability for a high powered laser to work off a single cell is just awesome, leading to smaller builds, single-18650 flashlight hosts, etc. Nearly all the drivers on Cajunlasers are buck-mode exclusively (X-drive, BlitzBuck), or linear (Mohgasm Driver). Some are just adaptations of the AMC7135 chip. Some of the boost-mode or boost-buck are huge compared to the Flexdrive (e.g. the FMT drive). I can only think of the X-boost as being on-par with what the Flexdrive ever was.

Flexdrives were as cheap as any of the other drivers that are out now--at least before they became scarce--at about $20 a driver. They went up over time as demand grew and supplies dwindled. Were they still available in quantity, they'd still sell like hotcakes, and many of those other drivers would probably never have been made in the first place.

The main claims to fame of these other drivers are: 1) they're actually available, and 2) relatively high currents which few diodes even need. The other drivers are rarely cheaper (ignoring scarcity), or smaller than the Flexdrive, and most don't have boost mode. Hell, the Flexdrive could probably manage most of the amperage needs with some tweaks, as it has been able to keep up in successive updates.

The best part about the Flexdrive is that it set the bar really high, and so every other driver that has come out has sought to mimic its success and features. It was--and is--a good competitor, and as such, the market has responded.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 PM #11
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meatball View Post
Its familiar to many of us here, predictable, and reliable to put it simply. It was made in a time when diodes never exceeded a 4.5Vf or gobbled up gargantuan currents. For a simple red build using one cell, I would still consider using one.
Why when the E-drive can support 2-Li's and is much less expensive? Note:.... and has several protection features.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:41 PM #12
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

The only thing the Flex isn't good at is supplying lots of current for the unanticipated 2W lasers people are interested in now.

It had a strong customer base and the demand was so high because it was simply the best available at the time. I still think it is a very good driver.
I have a Flex V4 + LOC in a pen casing that was built in 2009 on my desk at the moment. This one was given away as a gift to a good friend of mine and I took it back to refurbish it (it was pretty beat up on the outside). When I got it back last week it was still producing 217mW rock solid just like the day it was made.

Yes, there are other great drivers out there and some are capable of higher current output or higher input V but that doesn't mean the Flex is obsolete.

Edit: I think Bionic Badger pretty much covered it.

Last edited by RA_pierce; 12-03-2012 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:55 AM #13
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

The Flexdrive was the master of LD Drivers until drlava
dropped the ball and ignored his loyal customers and
refused to service their needs.

He shot himself in the foot by not feeding those needs
with his drivers.

Because of his inability or want to fulfill the needs of his
customers and his arrogant stance of superiority of his
flexdrive design he is now in the back seat of a newer
bread of LD drivers now available.

It is still a good drive but is not available....

Like I always say...
You snooze.... You lose...


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Old 12-04-2012, 12:59 AM #14
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RA_pierce View Post
Yes, there are other great drivers out there and some are capable of higher current output or higher input V but that doesn't mean the Flex is obsolete.
Doesn't the Le Quacks E-Drive beat the flex in stats, features, price, and support?
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:23 AM #15
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

^^Yes. We get it. It does.

BUT the E-Drive is not nearly as established as the flexdrive was at one time in the recent past. I'm sure the E-Drive will go through a few revisions as time goes by and if it holds its own by being reliable and predictable in the same way, it could become as popular as the flexdrive was. I'm not sure it was really well expressed, just how popular the flexdrive was. There must be a couple thousand of them out there yet.

RA_pierce is still right. The flexdrive is not yet obsolete. It is still a good and versatile circuit while there will always be something better to come.

I haven't seen one yet, but I for one would love to see an official E-Drive manual PDF appear posted, so I can download and keep it as a reference. There is a difference between documented circuits with documented support, vs a circuit which is documented over 12 pages of on online forum.

Mr. Duke,

I do not know how you've managed to accumulate 450 posts in 6 months of time, but realize that this hobby has been changing quickly during the last 4 years. Sometimes its hard to get excited about something new - because it might just look like yet another change which may ultimately be short lived as a fad.

I've seen over a dozen circuits (drivers, controllers, PSUs) go into production and be sold through this forum, but the only one I've seen since the beginning and up till now has been the flexdrive. Sorry if I'm a bit attached to them. I've just used so many in the past, and I want to make sure they get the credit they deserve as a circuit - even if its not the strongest or the best supported anymore.
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Last edited by Meatball; 12-04-2012 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:52 AM #16
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Default Re: What the Flex?!

Besides what every one else has said about the V5 it is set apart from the other drives by the fact it has a pot to set the current
and solder points to set the current range you want, so there is no resistors that need to be removed or replaced so you don't
have to tell the person your buying it from what current you want the output to be set at before he ship's it.

And I can not think of a laser diode that we use that needs more than 3 amps of current and you can get that out of two V5's

For my money the V5 is still on top of the growing pile

I just talked to DrLava on the phone and he the V5 drives are supposed to be here before Xmas so PM me and get your orders in now.
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