Introduction: Rechargable LED Headlamp
First Instructable :)
I am a Caver. I love to run around underground. I also like to tinker with LED's (mainly inspired by Dan's instructable Ultimate Night Vision Headlamp
This is the third headlamp i have created, and the first i think might be worthy to post
Oh yeah a description, This is a LED headlamp made with 3 3.7V lithium batteries and 2 ~4 watt Cree Q5 LED's. The led is driven by the same device as Dan's headlamp, a 3021 BuckPuck from luxdrive.
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Step 1: Supplies!
Gather your supplies.
I bought/gathered my stuff from a few differant places
- 2x Cree Q5 LED
- 2x Reflector
- 6x 18650 Lithium batteries ( they come in packs of 2, so i got 6 total)
Radio Shack (some capitol purchases here.)
- Mini Tool Set
- Soldering gun
- 9-volt battery leads
- 3" x 2" x 1" project enclosure
- 3021 BuckPuck driver (the 1A version)
My Dad's Shop
- Curly cable from a cell phone car charger
- ~2 inch Aluminum heat sink
- Thermal Grease
- cheep headlamp strap
- Curly cable ( i got mine from an old cell phone charger )
Step 2: Testing
This round actually matters. How bright do you want your light to be? how many settings? what kind of batteries, how many? so i got out my old breadboard and played around for a while.
I got a set of reed switches to play with (they are really cool), but ended up going with a double pull double throw switch from radio shack.
Step 3: LED Casing
You have to protect these led's when they are driven for any amount of time with more than a couple hundred milliamps, so we found an old heatsink and cut it down to size. finding one can be annoying, and finding one small enough can be too... my first one i used a big CPU heat sink, the second one a big H - shaped alinum rod.
once you have it, drill holes in it where you want the led's to be to hold them in place. goop up the bottom of the LED's with thermal grease, stick them on and then screw them down.
Now the fun part.. solder them together. they are close, so fine work is required... make sure you hold the wires down when you solder them, cause if you dont, they will get in the way of the reflectors which are gonna sit directly on top of the LED's
once the solder has dried, cover all the circuits ( EXCEPT the lenses of the LED's ) with hot glue or RTV. this helps to hold them in place, and to protect them. Next, place the reflectors on the leds how you want them, make sure they are level, and glue them down.
Step 4: Main Body Constrution.
Building the main body of the system, driver, switch...
This step involves taking everything off the bread board and shoving it into a small box...
For cables that have to move around, go to Savers or Good will and get an old cell phone charger with the curly cable design. cut it up and use it for stress/strain relief. I didn't do this on my first light, and the leads broke... course that one uses a 3 foot extension cord from Target...
fully charge all the batteries first. solder them all in series. solder wires about 2 inches long to the remaining positive and negative leads. get out a mutlimeter and make sure the reading is around 12.5 volts (full charge they are at 4.2 V ).. if not check your wiring...
once the wiring is good, solder on the 9V battery lead.
BIG PART HERE: i used a 9V plug for each end of the connection, so make sure you don't wire them up both the same polarity, or your light wont work. i soldered the 9V to the curly cable with the red leads being positive, and the black being negative. This meant that the negative prong was the smaller of the two. so on your battery pack, make sure the negative lead is wired to the BIG prong on the connector. this took me a while to figure out :(
Charging the battery pack:
I bought a universal smart charger from batteryjunction.com that can handle 1-4 lithiums in series.
Step 5: Final Steps
Put it all together.
Hot glue the project box to the headlamp strap.
Secure the battery pack to the back of your strap.. notice I haven't done this yet..
its currently in a load testing session, its been on for two hours on the dimmer setting, and its still doing fine.. judging by the battery ratings i should get around 10-11 hours on low, and 2-2 1/2 on high power.
I will update this with what i find out, and upload some videos of the thing in action.
NEW: Video added showing the differences between the OFF, DIM and FULL settings.
Load Testing update: I ran the lamp on DIM for 12.5 hours and the voltage drop was around 1.1 volts. if this holds, the DIM setting should last just over 35 hours on a full charge.
I was caving this weekend, and I was underground for around 12 hours, and had the light on Dim for most of the trip, I would sometimes turn it on full blast to see all the details of the stalactites and other pretties on the ceiling.
I started a load test tonight on the HIGH setting, and after running it for ~15 minutes the heat sink was way too hot to touch and the hot glue was starting to melt :(.. I am going to investigate a larger heat sink, and using Silicone RTV in stead of hot glue to secure the reflectors down...
more updates to follow!