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What main IC does the flexdrive use?

tsteele93

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benmwv

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Yeah in that picture I can barely make out TPS63010 on the second line.

Tom the actual max output depends on input voltage and output voltage. The datasheet may say something like you can expect 1.2A out when boosting from 3.3v to 5v, but that doesn't mean the 1.2A applies to every situation.
 

Hiemal

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Would someone be willing to send me a dead flexdrive? I'll take some measurements, and also figure out what op amp it uses as well. I can also get an identification on what main ic it uses for sure, by figuring out what kind of pin type it has underneath it.
 

gillza

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I have a flexdrive v5, never used. Got it almost 2 years ago before I put laser hobby on ice. Willing to donate it for a good cause. Perhaps another opensourced buck/boost driver? :)
 

tsteele93

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Here is my question, if he is using the 63010, aren't there better options now anyway? It seems like there is room for improvement and the flex drive is starting to show its age. 2A+ is really becoming necessary.

I know the blitz buck is out there but I feel like it still needs some testing and just in general it needs to be run through the wringer by some vets.

Luke's driver is coming along as well and it uses the TPS63020 and I think FMT's driver does as well. Tom needs more capital and cheaper shipping options, but I think he has the price of the driver down some. I have the new revision of FMT's driver here and I need to take an afternoon and put it on the scope.

AnthoT is also working on the ATmaBoost but I think it is similar to the Ben Boost and current limited compared to the flex and TPS based chips.

Personally I hate that little bugger (the TPS6 package, to be clear) and wish they offered an external pin version of the TPS6 series instead of the package it is in now. It is not a hobbyist friendly chip,I guess ultimately you have to bake it or maybe hot air reflow it. I've killed several so far and at $3.50+ per chip it is painful. Some of the TPS6's only seem to be available from the UK so that adds to the per-unit price as well.

That is one of the truly great things about the BenBoost is that the LM3410 is so inexpensive.

LeQuack is working on a very promising driver, but those of you who have done this (Ben,RHD,Wolf,AnthoT etc) know that it is a long process to get it RIGHT before you start selling. And development is expensive! Lots of parts that don't make the cut and PCBs that get scrapped...

I will say that if LeQuack's driver comes through, it may be a flex drive alternative. But I don't know if it will be a the next step beyond the flex drive in current. It might be though... I am almost sure it should be better than the flex, but I don't think it will be the 2.x amp answer for the 9mm 445 diodes yet.

Also, how important is the adjustable pot? I know the buck blitz has that and I think AnthoT is working on a version with an adjustable pot.

I'm still looking for the 3A buck/boost IC.

Heck, I'd settle for a 3A boost and a 3A buck...

Ben, what are you doing with the boost? I saw your post but I don't know if your main goal is to shrink it, or do you have other plans too? I think that has proven to be a very good driver and with the right caps on output it is pretty solid.

I have started some testing with 10uF caps and 22uF caps and I can see an improvement on startup with the 22uF's. I have some 47uF's and higher tantalum and niobium oxide I want to try as well. They are 1210's though so I probably need to rework the board to use them.

I've tried putting 1210's on an 0805 pad before and it just doesn't go well.

LeQuack, you should get that flex drive and see what you can find out. It would be awesome at the very least if it could be reverse engineered to some degree. I might feel differently if Dr. Lava / Andrew was actually pursuing the laser driver sales, but he seems to have gotten away from it and the product is there with people wanting it, but not being able to rely on it being available. And he charges a LOT for that bugger!
 
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benmwv

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Yeah Tom I know what you mean developing a driver is a long and expensive process. Usually right when you think you've got it, it doesn't work. It took about 6 months, 30 board files, and at least $200 to release the benboost. Then there are updates that have to be made, we have five release versions of the benboost right now I believe, and there are over 50 board files in my "lm3410" eagle folder.

The goal of that mini version was to increase heatsinking and therefore increase current output and decrease overheating. I went ahead and made it smaller too. There is actually still a good bit of room on the board. Later updates on the board will add a pot, and maybe change over to the 8 pin+thermal pad version of the IC for easier reflow.
 
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I sence the Dr. is reading this as it's unfolding and laughing in a sith lord type of laugh.
 

tsteele93

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EDIT: After talking with Dr. Kibler on another, more projector-oriented, forum I would like to redact some of what I said below. He does appear to be alive and well and was moving across country. That probably doesn't excuse everything that has happened with his customer service but I will say that if you can get in touch with him, he seems like a nice guy who is still involved in lasers.

I would suggest that something I wrote earlier in this thread would apply more accurately, it seems like maybe it is time to find one of these new high-power chips and see if we can't build something that is simply better - rather than reverse-engineering the flex. Just my opinion, and based partly on the fact that I have "spoken" to him and he is very much alive, well and not AWOL.

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Original Post:

Maybe a year ago, but he seems to have disappeared. Ideally it would be best to come up with a totally independent design using a different IC that could do even better than the micro flex drive. But it would also be interesting to dig into it at this point.

I don't understand what is going on with Andrew that he can't find a way to support the products and make enough for it to be worth his time.

If,he makes so much money that the laser stuff isn't worth his time, why not give it away or license it to someone and just collect a small check each month while someone else does the work? If he has personal problems, again why not license it and just collect money? As it stands now, the artificial shortages created by his absences are pushing people to design new drivers and in this case, even to seriously consider trying to figure out a way to reverse engineer the drive.

If he was actively selling them, 90% of the people who want them seem willing to pay the rather pricey fee for them without complaint, but he isn't making them available leading to necessity being the mother of invention.

I know it is a dead horse, but I can see how people who would have once considered it bad form to try and reverse engineer the driver are able to rationalize doing so now.
 
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gillza

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I guess I will be one of the 10%, being spoiled by the availability of opensourced benboost and laserluke buck/boost drivers, I will never buy flexdrive again. Although, I don't think I am going to ever make a large number of either of these drives for my own purpose (perhaps just a few for fun), but I certainly see the availability of schematics and components as a great plus. Opennes leads to the design of better drives.

That said I will continue to purchase currently available drives but my preference will always be towards open-sourced units.

So, Le Quack, do let me know if you need the driver.
 
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It's definatly a good time to be in the hobbie 445nm + all these young bucks comming up with these sweet drivers.
 

gillza

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Le Quack,

One flexdrive v5 is coming your way. Expect it early next week.
Looking forward to your findings :)

Cheers!
 




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