Sunday, April 30, 2017

Flashlight Tuning

Some time ago, I got a G700 zoomable flashlight. I've been very happy with it; however, thinking back on a scout flashlight that I used to have way-back-when, some improvements could be thought of:

  • Color filters
  • Morse code sending
  • Dimming
Now, my old scout light didn't have any dimming, and the G700 has some; three stages, full-bright, and two steps of brightness below that. These are cycled so that the first full depression of the butt cap switch turns the light on; subsequent strokes of the switch cycle the modes, in the order of full - less - least (and then strobe - SOS - back to full). Now, pushing and pulling on the emitter hood (the part of the flashlight usually furthest away from the holder) applies the zoom. I would really like the hood to be turnable along the light's body axis, as well - actually, it turns, but what I'd like is for this turning action to function as a dimmer. I don't understand much about electronics, but seeing how there are already discrete dimming steps, some kind of Pulse Width Modulation is likely to already be at play, no? So, what remains to be added are electronics similar to a camera's focus ring, to control said PWM dimming.
Another thing, adaptable from a camera, that would be a great addition to an already neat flashlight would be a half-depressible button: such that, when pushed half-way, it would turn on the light, but turn it off again when released; then, as the light currently functions, when pushed all the way, the light would remain on. Kind of like some cameras, where you can push half-way for autofocus, and all the way for shutter release. This would yield a true Morse-capable flashlight: it kind of seems backwards that I could Morse to my heart's content with my scout's flashlight, but can only set this modern torch to a preset SOS pattern (the way it worked in this scout light was that you could push the switch for momentary light, then turn it for persistent light).
Well, seeing as modifying the dimming, or the butt cap button were beyond my skill level, I decided to at least add color filters and a way to Morse, albeit in a hacky, workaround kind of way.
So, with the help of my friend spiikki, we modelled a ring with blender to fit the hood of the flashlight, into which I drilled some dimples at the 5w hacklab. This, combined with a filter, allows for a snap-on filter, in this case red.

The next step would have been to make a hinged shutter for this same mount using the filter ring as a base, but unfortunately, I lost the flashlight that had these modifications. I've since gotten a new one, but this one hasn't been modified, at least not yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment