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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Fellows lamps forum.
ttxela

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Joined: 04/09/2007
Location: Cambs

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Posted: 31/07/2012 22:12:50
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Ah, I see. At some point I'll have to send mine back for a re-work, it still has the niggle with the "flick" settings on the switch. Not a massive issue as there are plenty of other settings to use and I'm not getting underground much at the moment Sad IP: 92.0.53.141
royfellows

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Joined: 13/06/2007
Location: Great Wyrley near Walsall

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Posted: 01/08/2012 09:34:15
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In truth, my most powerful lamps are unlikely to go for ever without some service attention. Unfortunately, the same can be said for some lamps out there from other producers that don't come anywhere near the output of mine.
Its odd, but my latest EcoStar is possibly the most inherently reliable lamp now available, and yet waiting lists are all Trigons and MagnumStars.

I suppose one could say its Skodas and Ferraris
Laugh

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Vanoord

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Posted: 01/08/2012 09:37:02
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royfellows wrote:

I suppose one could say its Skodas and Ferraris
Laugh



Skoda = reliable cars thanks to VW Group's build quality
Ferrari = have a a habit of catching fire

Or is that not what you meant? Laugh

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Filling space until a new signature comes along...
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droid

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Location: Tamworth

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Posted: 01/08/2012 16:48:23
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I don't care.

I only live 20 miles from Fellows Towers Laugh
IP: 86.20.198.141
ttxela

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Posted: 01/08/2012 22:16:02
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Aye, I have no complaints. It's a fantastic lamp. Should be in use this Friday if all goes well. Smile IP: 92.0.53.141
royfellows

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Posted: 18/10/2012 09:42:37
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SHOP CLOSED FROM 19TH TO 28TH OCTOBER 2012

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Whatever you find difficult do more not less, then it become easy.
IP: 78.148.241.79
royfellows

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Posted: 26/11/2012 16:25:05
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Having recently played around with an experimental lamp for which I still have to perceive a practical use, there has been a bit of a payback in the form of some useful ideas to incorporate into the MagnumStar, I have now given up the quest for more lumens.
My thinking is a lamp with better cosmetic appeal, easier to produce, and with more useful features as well as enhanced reliability.

MagnumStar Mk 7

In essence it’s the same as the previous, except that I have completely dumped the rotating Oldham switch and moved everything into a slightly larger side box. This has given a diversity of advantages as follows:

1/ No moving parts inside the lamp to snag on loose wiring etc. Less chance of short circuits as well.

2/ Only 2 possible water ingress points, the front seal and cable gland. Front seal is 5mm neoprene, cable gland is silicone sealed.

3/ More interior room, less chance of electronic components put under tension, plus more front space. To this end I have been able to now include three XPG emitters rather than the previous two, better matching the 12V input voltage.

4/ The front of the lamp looks a lot tidier inside

Another design improvement from the experimental lamp is the detachable plug XPG module that fits onto a lug through which passes the mounting screw for the LED module. This mounts 3 emitters.

The battery is still a 10 ampere hour, 12 cell, 4 in parallel X 3 in series belt mount pack, but I have dumped the built in voltmeter. No matter how hard I try I cannot make this waterproof, my own lamp got through 3 of them.

Switching is by 2 X double throw toggle switches with waterproof covers mounted in the side box. No 1 is beams or floods, change mode by flicking on and off. No 2 switch is XPG floods or Emergency Light.
Awareness of the ease with which these could be accidentally switched such as in a car boot has caused me to fit a green ‘power on’ LED in the side box, there is also a red low battery warning. The beauty of mounting it here is that switching to full power will cause the maximum voltage drop across the battery, so doing this and holding say a wet glove to the side of the head will enable the user to perceive whether or not the red light has come on. This is like having a more sophisticated fuel gauge, I will even include a guide to battery levels relative to the red light plus different power settings. Aren’t simple things wonderful?

Here are the new power settings

There are 3 XM-Ls in series behind the same small reflectors as the old MagnumStar and driven from the same basic driver as used in the Trigon to a maximum current of 2.75 amps to give 2625 lumens.
There is another 3 series bare XM-Ls, but with the driver being outputting 2.75 amps same as the beams, plus 3 bare XP-Gs at about 900 mA to give about 940 lumens, total 3565 lumens of flood, or the 940 lumens of flood in addition to the beams.

Standard beam remains the same at about 160 lumens

Emergency lights are now 3 X 5mm LEDs which is the new design following problems with the old.

Finally I have moved a bit further in what is to me the Holy Grail with the MagnumStar, actually managed to reduce the weight. It’s not much more now than the first Trigons, just over 300 grams. This has been achieved by using thinner copper in the LED module. Also the side box now has no metal cable glands.
The cable to the lamp is PVC coated multi core and is solvent welded into the side box. The Oldham cable to the battery is retained by a plastic Oldham cable secure. Water ingress is not an issue as the side box is potted. Simple.

Anyone who wants more detail will find pictures etc over on mine-explorer, a haven for the lunatic fringe of lamp building.
Laugh

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Whatever you find difficult do more not less, then it become easy.
IP: 78.148.241.79
royfellows

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Posted: 12/12/2012 16:37:08
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State of the Lamps

With the end of 2012 coming close I have decided to upload a report on the current state of things. I have now dumped the idea of producing more powerful lamps as completely pointless. I am aiming more in the direction of making MagnumStars lighter and Trigons more reliable. EcoStars are good enough, full stop.

Upgrades
I have had quite a lot lately including one of the old UniStars, remember these?
Unfortunately, I am unable to increase the sustainable output of any low voltage (4V) lamp to a level greater than that of the EcoStar. (520 lumens)
I could probably get it up to a lot more than this based on a new battery pack with high quality cells such as genuine Sanyo fully charged but it would certainly not be sustainable for any time.

EcoStars
Since dumping the red Deans connectors there have been no returns at all on EcoStars sold this year, with exception of a brand new Oldham headset with a crack at the cable gland aperture which was unnoticed by me when assembling the lamp. I have had 1 charger returned. No battery failures either, but bear in mind they only have 2 cells so odds of a 4 cell Trigon pack having a duffer are double.
This reinforces my opinion that this is probably one of the most reliable lamps available.


Trigons

Emergency lights and floods have been the main issues. I have also had the 12V mains adaptors fail as well as the main drivers. I would say about a 4% failure rate. Beams now have a low current back up circuit which would probably still work with lamp full of water; this says a lot for simple linear drivers. This accounts for about 90 mA of the output and gives enough light to get out of anywhere.
There have been 2 instances of the Oldham switch contact springs failing, so I suppose ‘you know what’ happens. In truth a lot of lamps have been sold and things have to be viewed in that context. Most lamps sold have not given problems, but some customers have had 2 separate issues.

Emergency light issues have been addressed and I have been giving consideration to the issue of failure of the twin XPG floods; however the problem does seem to be dying out.
I am wondering about quality control issues with the XPGs?
In any event I am now reducing the drive current to 1.2 amps anyway, for an output of 780 lumens. If failures continue I intent to change over to a single XML. The existing driver can be set to output nearly 2 amps and would generate about 600 lumens from a single XML.
I have never ever had one of these drivers fail, or an XML emitter.
Customers who return lamps with failed floods will be given the XML option.


There have also been issues with the quality of some of the LiIon cells so now I tend to duration test power packs on the lamp they will ship with before potting and sealing.
If problems persist I will change over to genuine Sanyo cells, but this will necessitate a price increase.

MagnumStars
Very few of these are sold, 1 return with a wire that had become insecure and snagged on the rotating switch. I tried out the new model last weekend and the lighter weight was immediately noticeable. This pleases me.
I have already proved that thin copper conducts heat faster than thick aluminium.


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Whatever you find difficult do more not less, then it become easy.
IP: 78.148.241.79
royfellows

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Posted: 01/02/2013 13:47:08
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Trigon Floodlight Failures.

As I have posted before, I have now lowered the drive current from 1.46 amps to 1.2 amps causing the emitters to run slightly cooler. However, I have also remarked before that this could be due to quality control issues with the Cree XP-G emitters.

I have just noticed a change in the mounting of these emitters to the heat sink base, look at the pictures below. Ignore the burning on the one on the right, its been used for experimental purposes, but compare the base soldering. It appears that the manufacturers have beefed it up quite a bit.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

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Whatever you find difficult do more not less, then it become easy.
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ChrisJC

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Joined: 13/10/2007
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Posted: 02/02/2013 13:22:02
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You can't tell from those pics. The actual soldered area is underneath the emitter. It looks like they have made the hole in the solder resist larger on the left photo, which doesn't make any difference to the amount of solder underneath the device.

Chris.
IP: 86.146.165.218
Strangely Brown

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Posted: 02/02/2013 21:27:43
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Think Roy's right, the larger pad on the left coincides with a larger terminal on the LED, transmits more heat that way. There is often another larger solder pad under the LED neither connected to + or - just to transmit heat to the sink.

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Strangely Brown

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Posted: 21/08/2013 14:06:53
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A quick review of Roy's Magnumstar (think it's Roy's prototype MK 7) after a week of photography with Mr Friend
Very good lamp, perfect for almost all photographs, nice spread of light on flood for close work, a broad beam with soft edges for distance. With just XPGs illuminated a very good work lamp. Modes easy to select, the three for both beam and flood are more than enough, any more and it would be difficult to remember which mode was best for similar environments. Simple green/red LEDS on the control are intuitive.
Battery fits nicely in a visi jacket pocket. Has cut down on the number of different lamps we need to take, probably only need a small low power torch and my special home made thing. Temperature colour of the LEDs gives a very real sunlight illumination, gives a good representation of colours.
Charger is easy to use and intuitive, volt meter on charger is handy for checking state of batteries before, during and after charging. During charging it also displays the state of the three banks of cells, this will be useful for checking the pack is operating correctly and diagnosing faults.
A big Thumb Up

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Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
IP: 86.172.60.178
royfellows

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Posted: 21/08/2013 15:45:41
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Well thank you for your kind review, I just wish I could produce more lamps.

As far things are going with them, the old Trigon issues seem to have disappeared, EcoStars we never have one back, only issues a couple of chargers and one of them had suffered transit damage, this latest MagnumStar seems to be a reliable piece of kit as well.

On another point, I really have to heap praise and highly recommmend the Fenix E11 as a backup/emergency light. They run on a single AA battery but can output as much light as a Trigon on Walk Mode for a couple of hours, if stuck deep under they will do about 40 lumens for 8 hours. I use a couple of cable ties to lash mine to the Trigons Oldham cable on the side of my helmet.
They are just so tiny for what they will do and well know about Fenix quality.



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Better a NAMHO delegate than an organiser, that way you just get the disappointments not the aggro. LOL
IP: 2.98.226.50 Edited: 21/08/2013 15:46:51 by royfellows
Strangely Brown

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Posted: 21/08/2013 16:57:27
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I'm pleased too as I'd recommended it to Mr Friend in the first place Smile. Although the Magnumstar would seem expensive I priced the value of all the various lamps, torches, headlamps, battery packs etc. we'd been using before and the Magnum star was actually financially efficient too, bet few others would say that Laugh .

I've a miniature Fenix bolted to my helmet as back up too.

--

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
IP: 86.172.60.178
royfellows

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Posted: 09/09/2013 16:56:00
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I am announcing a new 'Pro' version of the 4.2V dedicated Li Ion charger desgned for my low voltage battery packs. (EcoStar and Workstr Pro)

This is a high quality compact little beast that will accept any input voltage from 12V to 24V so power packs can be recharged from a variety of different vehicles as well as from mains using a supplied 12V adaptor.

The main advantage over the standard model is that this can operate from either a 12V mains adaptor or a cigar lighter socket vehicle adaptor.

The input range of 12 to 24 volt suits a wide range of vehicles, boats or whatever, and similar to the standard model it can charge one or two power packs simultaneously.

They are £40 plus p and p, a little expensive for me but it has to include some extra kit and the internal PCBs are a lot more expensive that usual.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

--

Better a NAMHO delegate than an organiser, that way you just get the disappointments not the aggro. LOL
IP: 2.97.67.119 Edited: 09/09/2013 16:57:22 by royfellows
royfellows

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Posted: 01/01/2014 11:05:15
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State of the Lamps

Happy New Year to customers old and new and indeed everyone else.

I like to post like this at the start of each New Year to report progress and issues etc.

EcoStars remain possibly one of the most reliable lamps available, there has been no RMA returns at all this year and I cant remember having an RMA on an Eco. All returns have been early lamps to have the red Deans connectors upgraded to XT60.
I think that the Eco could well be the most reliable lamp available. Not only inherently reliable due to low voltage design but also multiple circuit redundancy. Sales of these have increased.

Trigons have done well. I RMA with floodlights which was the last one sold before Cree beefed up the soldering on the XPGs.
The latest MagnumStar is proving reliable as well, 1 auxiliary floodlight return, again the duff batch of XPGs.

Sales have done well, unfortunately now we are back into waiting lists.


--

....she has SRT kit, but its not what we know as SRT kit.
IP: 78.148.244.41 Edited: 01/01/2014 11:07:34 by royfellows
Dean Allison

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Posted: 01/01/2014 23:14:07
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Roy, do you have a website where I can see the different specs of the lamps you make please? I need a new lamp after my Sten exploded recently and I like what I hear about your lamps. Thank you. IP: 84.13.77.23
rikj

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Posted: 01/01/2014 23:23:22
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Dean Allison wrote:

Roy, do you have a website where I can see the different specs of the lamps you make please? I need a new lamp after my Sten exploded recently and I like what I hear about your lamps. Thank you.


http://www.iriscom.co.uk/M002/index.htm




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Dean Allison

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Posted: 01/01/2014 23:25:59
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rikj wrote:

Dean Allison wrote:

Roy, do you have a website where I can see the different specs of the lamps you make please? I need a new lamp after my Sten exploded recently and I like what I hear about your lamps. Thank you.


http://www.iriscom.co.uk/M002/index.htm




That's grand, thank you Rik Smile
IP: 92.17.13.7
royfellows

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Posted: 02/01/2014 11:55:16
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Yes its a sub domain of the old Iris Computers Ltd, its own domain is www.ledcaplamps.com

Sten exploded recently!!!
Can you please define "explode" within the contex of your posting
Oh My God

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....she has SRT kit, but its not what we know as SRT kit.
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