Instructables

This is one mother of a flashlight, and at about thrice the power of a good car headlight, its got quite an impact. The whole build cost me about $50 total, but buying everything new would increase the price a bit. Its got about a 2 hour battery life on a 12V, 7.2Ah lead acid battery. It uses CREE XM-L LEDs for intense light and longevity. The build requires minimal knowledge, but it is pretty easy to destory parts instantly if something is assembled wrong. And unlike commercial flashlights, this will not heat up at all, and will actually pump out all 3450lm for a long time.

However, I must make some notes on safety.
First, this may just be a flashlight, but it WILL cause damage if you look too close. Don't point it in someone elses eyes, or look at the spot on a bright surface too closely.
Wear welding goggles when first testing it, or any other time you have a chance of accidentally looking directly at the LEDs. Wear sunglasses if you test it inside. It may seem like petty over-safety, but this can and will cause damage if you use it wrong.
Point is, don't be stupid or complain that I didn't warn you.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
jduffy54 (author) 5 months ago
I know it's been about a year, but I just wanted to note that I was wrong in calculating this, it is in fact 3v@3a, and therefore only 9w. A 10w resistor could theoretically be used, though it would get exceedingly hot.
RushFan1 year ago
Nice. Gonna make me one of these!
jduffy54 (author)  RushFan1 year ago
Cool, but I just found a new product today that I'd recommend you use. the new-to-DX.com XM-L L2 is 20% more efficient, and 1150 lumen, instead of the normal 975. They're avaliable here (round) : http://dx.com/p/16mm-cree-xm-l2-10w-1150lm-white-bulb-board-for-flashlight-black-199057
as well as here (star board); http://dx.com/p/20mm-cree-xm-l2-1150lm-cool-white-bulb-board-for-flashlight-black-grey-199058

They both get free shipping, to boot.
jduffy54 (author) 1 year ago
The reason I over-specified the resistors was because despite the voltage drop on the LEDs, the resistors are still taking 36W, because there is still a 12V differential, and you're running 3A through them. Even if it is 2.25W each, the 10W resistors I used at the beginning ran at over 200C, which is WAY more than they ever should in an enclosed space. Hence, I recommended (and later used) a greater total wattage of resistors, to keep the ammount that each resistor takes (and thus the overall temperature) down. Though the same ammount of heat is created, it is better dissipated, and thus does not reach the same temperature with more resistors.

Also, the LEDs do not get very hot for a while, but will heat up the heatsink I had (which was not exactly a high-quality one), but a good computer heatsink could last quite a while, and much longer if it's moving or there's a breeze.
wobbler1 year ago
Hi, nice design. These look like interesting LEDs.

The resistors are however over-specified in terms of the total wattage needed. The LEDs are specified at 3-3.5v@3A. The LEDs therefore are taking 9v@3A. Thus the resistors must drop about 3V@3A or 9W in total. Because you are using four resistors of the same value (is 9 x 1ohm above in the parts list a typo?) , this load is spread across all four, so each resistor only has to take 9/4 or 2.25W watts each. This means you can use either 3W or 5W resistors. 5W resistors would probably be the ones to use as running the 3W ones at 2.25W means they would get fairly hot.
Alternatively you could use 4x4.7ohm 3W or above in parallel. Although slightly over 1ohm at 1.2ohms, this would give a bit of leeway on the battery voltage being over 12v when fully charged (typically 14v).

Also, how hot does the heatsink get when the fan isn't running?
wobbler1 year ago
Hi, nice design. These look like interesting LEDs.

The resistors are however over-specified in terms of the total wattage needed. The LEDs are specified at 3-3.5v@3A. The LEDs therefore are taking 9v@3A. Thus the resistors must drop about 3V@3A or 9W in total. Because you are using four resistors of the same value (is 9 x 1ohm above in the parts list a typo?) , this load is spread across all four, so each resistor only has to take 9/4 or 2.25W watts each. This means you can use either 3W or 5W resistors. 5W resistors would probably be the ones to use as running the 3W ones at 2.25W means they would get fairly hot.
Alternatively you could use 4x4.7ohm 3W or above in parallel. Although slightly over 1ohm at 1.2ohms, this would give a bit of leeway on the battery voltage being over 12v when fully charged (typically 14v).

Also, how hot does the heatsink get when the fan isn't running?