LEDs Applications OPTICS Misc. Power Links

Stanley Tripod mini-review

Stanley (the tool manufacturer) has a pretty neat looking flashlight out now... I just bought one today (11-16-05) although Wal-Mart has had them on the shelves for about a month for just under $23.00.  Rather than describing the basics and taking photos, I'll just refer you to their website which has a full description, photos and even a Flash presentation:

While the concept is neat, the execution IMHO leaves much to be desired.  Here is what I found:

With one leg filled (3AAs) Lux readings @ 1 meter:
1 LED : 26 LUX
3 LED : 61 LUX
6 LED : 121 LUX

All three legs filled: (9AAs)
1 LED : 26 LUX
3 LED : 65 LUX
6 LED : 135 LUX

So, contrary to the blurb on the package, it is a little brighter with all the batteries with 3 & 6 LEDS, the 1 LED is the same.

One LED / about 10-12 ft of useful brightness... Enough to get around the house in a blackout, or walk slowly through the woods. Three LEDs not much more throw, a little more brightness though.

With all 6 LEDS running maybe 30 ft of useful throw.

I don't even know how to describe the beam. I don't like it myself, but other people may.

Here are some beamshots:  The light is one meter from a 20X30 inch white foam board with the dot grid on 2 inch squares, and the words  RED GREEN BLUE written in those colors with a Sharpie felt pen of the appropriate color.  The camera is about 1.5 meters from the target, with F stop 2.8 and exposure length 1/60th second for each shot.  The images should be pretty close to reality, depending on your monitor settings.  All done with a full 9 fresh AA alkaline cells operating.

The first shot is with one LED on:


The next is with three LEDs operating:


And this one is with all 6 LEDS on:

And this one, the light is about one foot away from the target to show the kind of weird beam pattern, with six LEDs operating:

As you can see there are a lot of artifacts that may or may not be distracting to you.

As a worklight, ... say for wrenching on your car, the the 3 LED setting is barely, barely adequate for non-detail work. 6 LEDS almost adequate, but leaves much to be desired. My Petzl Myo 5 headlamp with the 5 LED beam is better.

It isn't a positive mechanical latch that holds the tripod legs in when you are using it as a handheld. Just a couple of small magnets,,, and they don't hold very securely. the "open" button just slides the little rod that the magnets are on out away from the little steel buttons on the tripod legs. All in all, that setup is a waste of materials and manufacturing steps IMO. Coulda just used solid mounted magnets if that is the way they wanted to go... I suppose a mechanical latch would have either had to been more bulky or would have been to delicate for extensive use. so I don't know which would be preferable in the long run.

In the hand, it feels like holding a M*G 3D, except a little softer grip due to the rubber center. Length is about an inch shorter then the 3D, so, about halfway between the 3D and the 2 D.

The lens/optical assembly is held on with a rubber? bezel and three small TORX screws.  I think a #4... This may be important, as this light is just begging for a modification.  I'm not sure what LEDs are in it, but the new 18,000 MCD Nichias should be one way to improve it....

I just opened up the head... Man, there is a lot of electronics in there....  Considering the battery configuration, I don't  see the point.  Ten transistors two ICs and assorted capacitors and resistors.  wow.

Here are some photos of the electronics.  Click them to see a bigger view.

DSCN2062.JPG (787423 bytes) DSCN2064.JPG (786890 bytes)  DSCN2066.JPG (897183 bytes)

On the reflector assembly, there are two transistors per side (total 6) so I guess there is one per LED.

I have no idea what all this stuff is for... This light would be better off as a direct drive with a simple resistor to drop the current, and it sure doesn't take all that stuff to make a four way switch work.

UPDATE: 11-18-05:

OK, I won't pretend to understand the circuits, but I have learned a couple of things and measured a couple of things...:

It is a "smart" (electronic) switch that turns it off and on and changes 1-3-6 modes. The mechanical part is just one of the ubiquitous super sub-mini momentary contact switches that you see in everything from computer keyboards and reset switches, garage door openers and whatever.

Click for bigger

The LEDS may be LCK type... They have that stippled pattern on the metal parts on one side of the die... but the ones on the Stanley OEM have about 1.5 X- 2X as many stiples (dots) as my 26,000mcd LCKs.

Sorry, I'm not up to doing a super-macro photo of the LEDs tonight, to show you, You'll have to just take my word for it.

Here is a photo of the LED circuit board with the reflector removed though:

I de-soldered the LED that comes on with the one LED setting and swapped in a few different LEDS: Well, the Stanely OEM is DEFINITELY a low mcd LED... under 10,000 mcd at least. A single OEM gives you 26 LUX at 1 meter:

A COU bin 18,000 mcd Nichia puts out 53 LUX drawing 65ma@ 3.7V (load). Unfortunately, the led gets that "angry blue' color.

A 26K mcd LCK pulls 75ma @ 3.6V(load). Keeps a nice white color, but we all know how short a life these have at >30ma

A TXOK LuxeonIII draws 107ma... so, we can assume that somewhere around 100ma is about all the circuit can supply... at least per channel... Maybe by paralleling all three channels you could get 300 ma out of the circuit??? I don't know, and I don't intend to bother to find out. Or, I wonder if the 3 & 6 LED channels push out more current... Hmm, I guess that is possible.

So, as it stands now, I'm not sure how to best mod this unit. Nichias would seem to be the best idea for simple, direct replacement since they handle overdriving a little better than the LCKs. But I don't like the color exhibited by the one I tried.

You could modify this to DD one or more Luxeon... I did figure out how to heat sink it moderately well, but it would be a lot of work; Not worth the hassle unless you are just trying to prove something or have a specific need for such a configuration.

Could put in some higher value current dropping resistors in series with some LCK 26Ks, but that is a lot of extra work too.

If I can find them, I'm going to try some of those supposed 35,000mcd LCK dual die white LEDs that are spec'ed to run at 40ma. I haven't been impressed with them in the couple of things I've tried them in, but maybe they would be OK in this application. Hmmm... Where did I put them.

Or, Maybe some MJ LEDS??? Don't they run at 100ma? Oh well, never mind, I don't have any anyway.

If I can find the dual die LCKs, I'll post the results of that here later.

Oh, Wait! I just checked something out: The Stanley OEM LEDS are exactly the same as the LEDs in Emillion's inexpensive PhotonII clone keychain lights.... So, definitely low end China manufacture.



LEDs Applications OPTICS Misc. Power Links

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