All-in-one rechargeable torch/ commuter light- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    All-in-one rechargeable torch/ commuter light

    right, this is just a tease shot as I lost the whole post I'd just written (frikking Chrome and it's bloody resizing tabs to just larger than the close tab symbol) and I'm far too pissed off to rewrite everything again tonight

    Parts: 1A USB charger, XM-L T6 3c (first go with a NW emitter!), AK-47 ever so kindly donated and programmed by JonnyC on BLF, with 2 380mA chips added for a total of ~1.8A (a good spot for a single XM-L on a single cell), Judco switch from Digikey, LC1 optic (will be used without holder) and ubiquitous Cateye spacer.

    Aim: to build an all-in-one light I can use for commuting (no more fiddling with battery straps), a spare light along with my current commuter light (XM-L @1.5A) that I can lend out to new riders on night rides and a torch for around the house/ camping.



    and



    I really need to cut that 1in.sq. bar in half, it's a royal pain in the backside to fit in the vise.

    More tomorrow when I'm not such a foul mouthed grumpy old man.
    Last edited by mattthemuppet; 08-21-2012 at 08:20 AM.

  2. #2
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    Very interested to see this. I would really like an all in one xml commuter w/ internal battery that can be thrown together w/ aluminum tubing and basic tools. Looking forward to your progress.

  3. #3
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    nice, I saw that 1A USB LIPO charging board the other day...makes a 'all in one', totally doable..

  4. #4
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    that reminds me, I need to reorder a collection of cateye mounts and parts - I love using their stuff, and the prices are great.

  5. #5
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    Well used workbench Matt. Look forward to seeing it all come together.

  6. #6
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    Come on Matt no need to be grumpy lets see some more .

    I just turned a day and a halfs machining into scrap metal in one brain fart , You only lost a few words .

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy13 View Post
    Very interested to see this. I would really like an all in one xml commuter w/ internal battery that can be thrown together w/ aluminum tubing and basic tools. Looking forward to your progress.
    thanks, should be pretty straightforward really. Progress will be slow and completion will be waiting on the NCR18650 cell from CNCQualityGoods to arrive, but the aim is to get it done before the clocks change in some direction or other.

    Quote Originally Posted by ktronik View Post
    nice, I saw that 1A USB LIPO charging board the other day...makes a 'all in one', totally doable..
    I'm completely with you there, they're cool little things. This'll be my 4th light using one, after:
    rear light
    Coleman camping lantern mod
    Ugly but effective camping light
    I love the fact that I can recharge my lights from the car 12V socket or my laptop at work, instead of digging out the balance charger. It's also a handy workaround for the fact that I can't turn threads on my lathe - now I don't have to take the battery out to charge it

    Next use will possibly a Maglite LED conversion to 18650, if I can figure out how to wire it up and still be able to swap out the battery.

    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalnjunky View Post
    that reminds me, I need to reorder a collection of cateye mounts and parts - I love using their stuff, and the prices are great.
    I agree, can't beat them for the price. The fact that they work well helps too!

    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Well used workbench Matt. Look forward to seeing it all come together.
    thanks. That bench is an enigma. Every time I clean it off and tidy it up, I come back and it looks just the same

    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb View Post
    Come on Matt no need to be grumpy lets see some more .

    I just turned a day and a halfs machining into scrap metal in one brain fart , You only lost a few words .
    ah, that's a bugger for sure. Part of the grumpiness came from being told to cut 1 1/2 years work from a paper I'm writing. Was not a happy bunny.

    here are a couple of pics of the LED sled being made



    Started work on the back plate, but a friend came round and we went out to clear a trail of brambles (got to use my machete!). Feel much better, although I now can't lift my right hand above my waist.

  8. #8
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    Nice, can't wait to see the final product. I'm a big fan of battery included lights.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBARK View Post
    Nice, can't wait to see the final product. I'm a big fan of battery included lights.
    thanks! I used to pooh-pooh them until I spent a winter fiddling with battery straps in the snow, now I'm a convert

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    thanks! I used to pooh-pooh them until I spent a winter fiddling with battery straps in the snow, now I'm a convert
    Oh yeah, not having any external wires is awesome. There are lots of ways to skin that cat. https://i180.photobucket.com/albums/...G_4141_low.jpg

  11. #11
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    yeah, I remember that light, especially the sweet battery cover.


    Added some of the text that I lost in the initial post (parts list, aim etc). If anyone wants links to the parts, let me know!

  12. #12
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    I'm guessing the optic is the new ebay one? Could you please link to the USB charging board?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum9 View Post
    I'm guessing the optic is the new ebay one? Could you please link to the USB charging board?
    I have some of those on the way, but this is a spareLC1 RS I had lying around from before those LED-DNA ones became available (or were found by Ofroad'bent ). Should be a little less spotty than the LED-DNA ones, which would suit its role as a bar light just fine hopefully.

    Charger board can be found here(where I bought mine from, super fast shipping for China) or a bunch of other sellers. There are way more sellers now than there was when I got mine!

  14. #14
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    what battery will you be using with the usb charger?

  15. #15
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    Panasonic NCR18650 2900mAh with this PCB. I figured that stumping up for a new cell vs. one I had lying around was a better plan when there's only one cell and I can't replace it with a fresh one on a ride. That Panasonic cell should give me ~1 1/2h on high, which is more than enough on a standard night ride.

  16. #16
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    How are you going to keep it waterproof specially the usb port

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb View Post
    How are you going to keep it waterproof specially the usb port
    ride so fast the water vapourises on impact?

    More prosaically the USB port is covered with one of these. I've ridden a few times in the rain with my rear light which has the same cover and is facing into the rain (more or less), without anything going "poof" yet. Time will tell and this winter's supposed to be thoroughly disgusting when it gets here

    As for the rest, front lexan will be sealed with 5min epoxy, back cover and screw holes with non-acetic acid silicone sealant. Seems to work ok as best as I can tell on my other lights, some of which have been through biblical weather.

  18. #18
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    see, told you progress was going to be slow. Took a night off yesterday and got the back plate cut and USB charger cut and soldered to my desired shape.

    Back plate


    Piece of material back plate should have come from if I'd measured it properly


    USB charger with the connector at an angle


    and lying in roughly the position it'll end up in, once I've drilled the hole for the USB plug


    Having the plug still mounted on the circuit board (I previously removed the plug) made the whole thing a lot easier and it will help a bunch with gluing it to the back plate. I better make sure I drill the holes in the right place

    No idea when I'll next get to it, after I finish the first draft of the paper I guess.

  19. #19
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    first draft of the paper done (yay!), so got a bunch of work done on the light over the weekend. Everything's wired up and works (!), which is always a relief. Charger works, driver works beautifully, hopefully it'll all fit.











    and optic in place, with driver being JB welded to the sled. I got it into my head that this would help heatsink the driver and/ or allow the temp sensing to be more sensitive, but even if that's bunk, it'll help give me a more accurate measurement of the length of the gubbins before I cut the outer tube.



    Outer tube should be another evening's work I reckon, so it should be finished sometime this week

  20. #20
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    Nice one Matt. I feel so slack not doing anything for weeks, then again the days are getting longer so no real rush.

    You can purchase nice little waterproof mini usb ports with sealing caps that might be the go. PX0458 - BULGIN - MINI USB TYPE AB, RECEPTACLE, | element14 Australia

  21. #21
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    Wow you guys have some talent! Very cool project, subscribed.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Nice one Matt. I feel so slack not doing anything for weeks, then again the days are getting longer so no real rush.

    You can purchase nice little waterproof mini usb ports with sealing caps that might be the go. PX0458 - BULGIN - MINI USB TYPE AB, RECEPTACLE, | element14 Australia
    Yeah, I know how it is. Approaching daylight savings time (bletch) is a strong stimulus, plus there are a few riders in our group who don't have lights, so this will make a handy spare light to throw in the car.

    Those waterproof USB ports are sweet! They'd be a piece of cake to wire up to one of these charger boards. I'll have to do a tear down next spring to see how my two lights hold up. I have a feeling that the dust covers will do fine, but it wouldn't hurt to know for sure (and have an option if not).

    BTW, what's happening with that kickarse remote controlled light? I thought I was on to something with those tx/rx boards I found but it appears that they'd need extra stuff to provide the correct output to the *flex board.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Live2rideUtah View Post
    Wow you guys have some talent! Very cool project, subscribed.
    thanks, although I wouldn't put myself in the same league as a lot of the guys on here. "Ugly, but functional" is my motto

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    Yeah, I know how it is. Approaching daylight savings time (bletch) is a strong stimulus, plus there are a few riders in our group who don't have lights, so this will make a handy spare light to throw in the car.

    Those waterproof USB ports are sweet! They'd be a piece of cake to wire up to one of these charger boards. I'll have to do a tear down next spring to see how my two lights hold up. I have a feeling that the dust covers will do fine, but it wouldn't hurt to know for sure (and have an option if not).

    BTW, what's happening with that kickarse remote controlled light? I thought I was on to something with those tx/rx boards I found but it appears that they'd need extra stuff to provide the correct output to the *flex board.
    I will be back on that build this week. The extra bits you will need are 2 transistors for the output and to illuminate an led so you can see that it is reading the remotes signal, and some breadboard to make wiring it up a bit easier. Once tested I'll do a diagram and parts list.

    I was going to start last weekend but I hurt my ribs again overdoing it cleaning the pool so couldn't lift the 45kg rotary table onto my mill. Stupid rib injury

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    damn, you're still dealing with that? That sucks Next time you'll learn to land on your head, much fewer problems then

    I have a lot of self-edumacating to about the electronics, which isn't exactly my strong suit. Looking forward to the end result though.

  26. #26
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    the light is finished! Woohoo! Decided to get my ar$e in gear and finish it for the ride tonight (beer + mechanicals + lots of people = riding in the dark).

    6in of stiff aluminium (ahem)


    and my complete inability to drill a hole exactly where I want it (you would have thought I'd have figured it out by now)


    everything assembled





    I drilled some holes in both sides of the head end to give a bit of side visibility as this'll mostly be doing commuter duty


    obligatory beam shots for the LC1 optic, first control, then 2s exposure, then 1s:



    the usual reason why I like the LC1 optic so much, it just has such a lovely beam and great for bar or head. It'll be interesting to compare it to one of those narrow LED-DNA optics I have. The beamshots don't really show it but the Neutral White tint is amazing, I'm really blown away. Everything looks more natural, clearer and just more pleasant! I have a feeling that all my lights will end up NW eventually.

    Body heats up well too, so the heat is getting transferred well. It'll be interesting to see how well it copes on high in the woods/ on the road.

    I'm going to have to take a bit of a break for a while, I have a big scary time coming up at work so I'll be working all hours for the next few months. Still, at least I'll have a couple of really cool lights to ride home with when I work late!

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    Looks Sweet Matt. Sensing it is a bit of phallic symbol (6" of stiff aluminium) I also like the way you have prioritised beer first which in essence means there is a 50/50 chance of a ride actually taking place.

    As for the output it looks like i will have to get some neutral white tints based on your report.

    Good luck with work. I hate the way it gets in the way of a hobby.

  28. #28
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    Nice one Matt
    It looks er like a square tube
    Function over form and nowt wrong wi that

    When you going to start using the lathe in anger .

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Looks Sweet Matt. Sensing it is a bit of phallic symbol (6" of stiff aluminium) I also like the way you have prioritised beer first which in essence means there is a 50/50 chance of a ride actually taking place.

    As for the output it looks like i will have to get some neutral white tints based on your report.

    Good luck with work. I hate the way it gets in the way of a hobby.
    what is it that women say, 6in is all you need?! Turned out there were only 3 flat tires and no one fell off a bridge, so it was quite a success. Nearly got hypothermia drinking beer and eating cupcakes afterwards though as the nights are getting properly chilly now (10C drop in an hour, brr).

    The light got used by a new rider last night and he loved it. I wondered why the light looked so yellowy brown until I realised that was the actual colour of the trail! Makes me wonder what those high CRI neutral white Nichia 219s must be like. As soon as the XM-L2s come out I'll be swapping out my U2 CW for neutral white tints. I'll get them from Cutter next time and stomach the postage as both CNCQualitygoods and Intl.Outdoors XM-Ls had serious quality issues (crap on the dome, incompletely reflowed LED).

    Oh, and the light is currently sitting on my desk being recharged by my computer, how cool is that?

    Thanks for the work wishes, it'll be worth it in the end. Then you call me ProfessorMattthemuppet and the world will be mine, mwah ha ha ha!

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    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb View Post
    Nice one Matt
    It looks er like a square tube
    Function over form and nowt wrong wi that

    When you going to start using the lathe in anger .
    thanks Troutie, from Mr all-in-one that's quite a complement! I'm all about function over form, so as long as it's bright, I don't care what it looks like. Those sharp corners do murder my apples though..

    As for the lathe, I did do a little project on it (that Coleman lantern), but anything more serious is waiting on tooling and funds. I need to get a 4 jaw and make a vertical slide/ milling attachment to do the helmet light which is percolating in my head right now. Hopefully this winter, time allowing.

    Quick Q - can you make 2 flute end mills by grinding down the ends of HSS drill bits and relieving the flutes properly? I've got a bunch of old drill bits that are dull and aren't used any more. They'll be held in the jaws of my chuck, so I should be able to support them well.

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    edit - forgot to say, the only downside of this light is that the AK-47 driver has a very high pitched whine on low and medium. It doesn't have any PWM flicker that I can discern, although my ears work much better than my eyes do. I don't have a dog to hand to test it on though

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    Quick Q - can you make 2 flute end mills by grinding down the ends of HSS drill bits and relieving the flutes properly? I've got a bunch of old drill bits that are dull and aren't used any more. They'll be held in the jaws of my chuck, so I should be able to support them well.
    No, not really. Drills don't have the strength of a proper endmill/slotdrill. It may work but you'd really struggle to get it to cut or leave a vaguely decent finish.

  33. #33
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    ah, ok, thanks for the heads up. A small starter set of endmills isn't too expensive, I'll put it on my Xmas wish list

  34. #34
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    If you go for a set of 'throw away' cutters, you should find that they are centre cutting too so you can plunge with them. Look for something with 2 or 3 flutes that go into the centre of the cutter. You should be able to get a set that range from 2/3mm to 12mm fairly cheap. I wouldn't go for carbide if you're using a hobby type mill as they need to be held rigidly to work properly. If not held right they can chip really easily..

  35. #35
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    thanks Deesta, I appreciate the tips! I was thinking about something like
    End Mill Set, Miniature, 5 pieces 2 Flute - LittleMachineShop.com
    or similar.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    thanks Deesta, I appreciate the tips! I was thinking about something like
    End Mill Set, Miniature, 5 pieces 2 Flute - LittleMachineShop.com
    or similar.
    These would also be a good set, a couple of slightly bigger cutters:
    End Mill Set, 6 Piece 2 Flute - LittleMachineShop.com

  37. #37
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    nice, thanks! I can always get a smaller end-mill if I need too. I just wish they sold metric stuff, all these fractions make my head hurt. I can't believe that I grew up with metric and imperial (in the UK), then escaped to metric land (ish) and now I'm in 100% imperial land. I get so confused!

  38. #38
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    I too hate imperial...we still get some jobs that are drawn in it.

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    really? that must be a pain. Large distances I can do fine in imperial, but small ones, especially fractions of an inch, really suck. I couldn't do fractions well at school and I haven't gotten any better over the last 20yrs!

  40. #40
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    just a quick follow up. I've had a couple of rides using this light on my helmet (30s from backpack to noggin!) and it's pretty awesome. It gets drowned out by my twin XM-L bar light, even on medium, so it would be a better match with my other commuter light, but beam shape, throw and colour is beautiful.

    I did one ride in the rain and the USB cover held up fine, although the one on my rear light (on a horrendous morning commute) let a small drop onto the inside of the rubber bung, probably because it's facing into the rain. I might have to get one of those waterproof covers for it if it keeps happening over winter.

  41. #41
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    just for a bit of fun.... night mowing!




    the neighbours already think I'm crazy, so no worries there

  42. #42
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    Instead of using an 18650 for an all-in-one how about one of the flat polymer Li-Ion cells?

    Polymer Li-Ion Cell: 3.7V 5000 mAh (896474-2C, 18.5Wh, 10A rate) UL listed / UN Approved (NDGR)

    Stack the items in a layer vertically to make the light shorter?

    I need to make a light for riding to work, thinking the USB charging would be great as I usually forget to charge at home and I can just plug it into my work pc.

    Use an XP-E with a night tight beam for commuting.

  43. #43
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    If you can fit it inside whatever housing you're after, go for it! I know that some of the airsoft lipo packs are pretty narrow (enough to fit inside a maglite) and some of the smaller RC planes and the like use really dinky packs. I just new that a 18650 fit fine inside the tubing I had so I went with that I could have made mine a bit shorter (1/2in at least) if I was more particular about cramming stuff in, but I was happy to have the extra surface area for cooling.

    I agree about the USB charging, it's so incredibly convenient. Any time I use this light (walking, riding, mowing etc) I just plug it into a spare USB cell phone charger when I get home and it's charged by the time I go to bed/ get up next morning.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    I agree about the USB charging, it's so incredibly convenient. Any time I use this light (walking, riding, mowing etc) I just plug it into a spare USB cell phone charger when I get home and it's charged by the time I go to bed/ get up next morning.
    Is the USB charger smart enough I can set and forget it overnight?

    I currently don't leave my 18650 cell's in the charger overnight or if I am not around to check on them. I have a cheap DX charger that does two cells at a time, not sure I trust it. I plan to upgrade to a hobby charger and charge them as packs instead of as individual cells.

  45. #45
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    it uses the CC/CV method so it won't overcharge the cells. I tested one when I first started using them and it charged to 4.2V, plus wouldn't start charging again if it was plugged back into the charger. I think that's about as safe as it gets I guess. I also use a cheap DX 1S PCB too, for an added layer of protection.

    My cheap DX charger sits in a bucket of sand in the garage and I balance charge my multi cell packs in a li-po sack, so I'm a relatively cautious person

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