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An AA (Automobile Association) light that was sent by Robert for our exploration.
The circuitry is minimalist and interesting, the LED mounting and reflector are good, but the battery itself is a bit lacklustre, and the intensity rapidly declines with battery voltage. The choice of a lead-acid battery is odd. If I was being cynical I might ponder whether this was China's way of getting rid of its "toxic" metals.
Still lots of scope for hacking and customisation though.
This is also the video where I realised that the word "PISH" is very "Glasgow". To quote:-
"Pish. Translation: Urine. However, in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland, it's a common word for something that evokes a negative vibe."
This light is "Complete and utter PISH!"
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#ElectronicsCreators #landfill

A fairly chunky led flashlight torch searchlight, whatever you want to call it, and this was sent by robert who said torch. Is duff bought a load in bulk to resell but naf and have given almost all the way to folk as freebase? So basically it's one of those things that you buy loads of things at a good price thinking. You know this could be a good product and then you end up giving them away to friends. I often buy things and then just if i like them and just give them away to friends, it's just one of those things.

So this thing has uh well i'll turn on a very sharp point of light in there looks like uh looks like a standard. One watt emitter could be three watt emitter, but it's that package and when i shine it at the well i'll show you at the table, i shall show a table a very small dot of light. The beam angle of - and this is very narrow, for instance, if it's roughly a one in ten, so if you're ten feet away, it'll be one foot diameter beam if you're, 10 meters away it'll be a one meter diameter beam, it's very narrow, indeed um. Let's take it to bits and analyze it and see why it's duff so provisionally.

I thought this might just unscrew along this seam here, but it doesn't appear to do that. There is a screw here. Let me just grab a screwdriver to fit that so take the screw out and hopefully it'll just hinge off now, maybe it's held in by, i don't see any more screws and i should have to take other stuff apart first or if it's glued. Oh it's rotating.

It's rotating, it's it's been it capped and there's a connector off comes the connector. What's inside, we've got a circuit board here doesn't seem to be much on it and what looks in the back a bit like a sealed lead acid battery. Okay, let's take it to bits further. I can see a couple of clips here and screws here: loads of attacks on the side.

Let's attack say eu china design patent. Oh yeah right, not convinced, there's a patent on this. Maybe the patent isn't the crappiness these screws? All appear to be the same is that going to come out hold on. I shall push this little catch down.

That is not coming out. That one has already popped out. Is it held together by the handle? Yes, it is held together by the handle. So are some more screws to the handle.

The sealed acid batteries are very common in these products. I'm guessing. Maybe they felt the pinch from the lithium manufacturers, so they made this of, like the sealed, lead acid, a lot cheaper. They they're fairly valid as battery technology, but they often abuse them.

Oh, this has got a spring in it. This has got a spring in it. Oh, it's feeling very, very springy up, okay, right i'll, put that to the side it's gon na come apart. Now.

Yes, it is, what do we got? What do we got? What have we got? There's our battery, so how many cells is this? Let's set pop the cover here if we can and that might give a clue, usually they've got little filling ports. Is this glued? It's not glued two little ports. This is a two cell battery, so it's roughly rated about four volts, which kind of fits for an led and also for charging it from a usb. So let me just work this out: a 12 volt battery, which has six cells uh charges up to about 13.8 volts.

Roughly, do we just round up, say 14 volts uh divided by the six cells equals roughly 2.3 volts a cell. In this case times, two equals 4.6. So if there's a diode, i don't know if i'm going directly to this, if there's a diode, that's fairly close to charging this properly and not over charging it. That depends on what's in the circuit board here, let us whip the circuit board out that these screws can be the same length as well.

They are it's one standard screw used throughout. That's nice! Oh! Is this just going to be a diode and a resistor? Maybe oh there's a no diode, there's a resistor another resistor. What's that for that's for the little led here? Is this resistor for the right? Tell you what i'm just going to reverse engineer this one moment. Please reverse engineering done.

It does turn out that there was a sneaky little diode hiding in here, which, let's see if i can find it uh it's in here, just sneaking in between the charging connector and the uh the switch here so that little uh diode um. I suppose it protects against reverse current flow when it's not charging. It also takes the five volts here and drops it by roughly half a volt, which means it's well within. The range of this sealed lead acid battery, which is just as well because it goes straight through the diode to the sealed, lead acid battery, there's also a 1k resistor and a red led to show when it's charging.

That's in that side the diode, so that once you disconnect the charger, this led will go out. It's just a little gimmick. It's like i am charging. There is the power switch that goes through a two ohm two watt resistor, which is quite generous uh, based on the current time.

I've tested it and i'll show you the current. I test that uh, it's only going to be dissipating a half or anyway, because it's only dropping about one volt. Most of the time there is the power led. The mounting of the power led is particularly worthy of note.

It's actually quite nice, and then this switch here is in the charge socket. So when you plug it into charge, it actually disconnects the led. So it doesn't try running it at the full 4.5 volts all the time it must just be so you can't leave the led lit all the time and that is the circuitry not really much to it. Okay: let's get that out the way, let's brighten the image up a little bit like that, bring this in and do some tests.

So i shall grab my meter and we shall test the voltage across the battery because i've charged the battery up to the hilt. Let's focus down on to there that's a good height, so the voltage across the battery is roughly it's relaxed a bit now so about measure 4.4 volts. Okay, let's light the led, while the clamp meter's in position, grabs, clamp meter. So i shall untwist this battery.

I shall strategically put the clamp meter here. Uh turn it to dc current, oh you're, going to see that yeah uh zero out zero out again. Oh it's all over the place at the moment. Right tell you what that's one of the pearls of the little uh! The dc clamp meters, they use a hall effect center, so they can be the slightest movement that will actually skew them.

If i turn this on now, oh that's on ac that'll. Be why right one moment please and proper test about 300 milliamps, not that much um. So well within the range of the led, and it will go as the battery discharge. It'll go down, lower and lower.

It's a very simple circuit. It's a tiny battery, huge big case. They could have fitted so much in there. Let me bring in this because this is quite neat.

If i grab my screwdriver and take this off, i expected the led to be mounted directly in the back of this, but it's not i mean yes, it is, but it's also not so i shall unscrew these two three screws, even and the first thing it reveals Is a little aluminium heat sink plate with recesses that go onto these pins and squish down onto this, which is a standard superflux? Well, superflux is a luxian star style led and it looks the standard dimensions. So ultimately you could just pop in your own led here. That's quite nice, and it just sits up that little bit proud. I can feel it with my fingers here that when this goes in and clamps down, it is just sitting against that little dab of heatsink compound would have been nice, but having said that, it's only running about one watt.

So it's not that significant. So there we have it uh, it's not that bad, but it's got a very low capacity. Sealed lead acid battery in it it would have been nicer to stuff that with loads of oh, you know what it's designed. This is designed to take uh an 18650, but you know i kind of want more than 18650 in there.

Oh look at that seriously like. Let me just zoom out here. It's got a little housing here and you can see this a round hole here that it is designed to take an 18650 in there uh, but look at all this space. It's just like you know it's a big, huge box with a tiny battery in it, which is always disappointing with these.

I kind of you know for something like this. You want it filled up to the brim. So the answer there, then, is to take the screw out and that screw they just put one on each diagonal corner here and stuff it with 18650s in parallel, and perhaps a tp4056 charge module and just hack it and just tap on here and uh and modify It to your own requirements, but as supplied it's it's just a bit cheap as uh as robert said it was a pretty naff as supplied. It's just basically doing its function, it will light up and it is rechargeable other than that.

You know it's a nice design. The reflector is very accurate. The led mounting is nice. The only thing that really lets it down is the battery capacity.

Here they could have drawn gone so much bigger, but they didn't uh. So there we have it interesting little light well worth taking apart.

15 thoughts on “Big light, but it’s pish! with schematic”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Barry Ford says:

    It would appear that "Pish and Tosh" has its origin in "The Mikado", whilst "Pish" itself dates back to at least 1606. Henry V act ii, scene 1:
    "Pish for thee, Iceland dog! thou prick-ear'd cur of Iceland!"
    Not a lot of people know that!
    Beware the rabbit hole!

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars The Internet Helpdesk says:

    As soon as I saw it, I saw the LED was stationed behind the reflector, I'm sure you'll get some light Ray's bounce back from the cover but would it make more sense to place taller LEDs that would make use the reflector ?

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fishbait075 says:

    Looks like the cheap peices of tat that they usually offer for £3.99 or £5.99 when you spend so much on fuel at certain fuel filling stations.
    So much wasted space, considering you could cram that into a much smaller form factor.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars dandel351 says:

    You could stick on one of those 3D printed sockets you made and whack a battery in out of a cordless drill. That would keep your little light going for a while. Or out with a bang if you hooked it straight to the existing circuit board…

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Vaughan Ellis says:

    I had a previous iteration of this lamp, it had 7 individual LED's with 12v lead acid battery, which died fairly rapidly which has been next to impossible to find a replacement for, the light spread from the 7 LED's was reasonable with about a 1hour run time.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Crooks says:

    I was thinking the same thing, big case for so little inside. Why make such a large bulky housing for something that could have been a quarter of the size. I was saying to myself, Clive you twat, you've got the meter on AC, LOL.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eiv Gaming says:

    Just going to quickly comment before watching. I love the title. More Scottish swears please. Reminds me why I love this country 😀

    Ok, watched it now. Would you be able to show us a video of you modifying it?

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Massimo says:

    I think this has LOTS of room to hack it, not just with perhaps a more powerful LED but also to stuff it with 18650 (or bigger). It also seems to have room for a bigger heatsink eventually.
    I mean the lamp itself as is might be a bit meh, but seems a pretty nifty "platform" to thinker with

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chris Robinson says:

    It also looks like the cheapest possible moulding and plastic. It's funny how they did the LED so well and everything else so badly. That sort of "lantern" is more useful as a work light (changing a flat tire etc) so the 1;10 spot would be pretty useless. I have a work light as part of my (very cheap) 12V hand tool system, and it's very useful with almost a 1:1 illumination and is still bright enough for most jobs. I've even used it as full room emergency lighting in a blackout – just point it at the ceiling.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ian Dann says:

    I have a Vango lantern that uses a Lead Acid battery, annoyingly it failed and I could not get a replacement (well if I wanted to bulk buy I could have) so converted it to NiMH by using a standard AA battery holder in its place, and setup to trickle charge of the original charger….

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Lost In Tech says:

    I'm a simple man, I see that word in the title, I click…

    On SLA batteries, I always think they're great for people who only ever want to use the first 20% of the battery.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Uhrwerk Klockwerx says:

    That's probably the saddest flashlight I have ever seen. Perhaps you could hack it and replace the garbage bulb with a COB LED panel and stick some boost circuitry in there to power it! Of course you would have to find a way to manage heat but that's ok. Shouldn't be too difficult.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ecospider5 says:

    20 years ago I had one of those hand held spot lights. 1 Million candle power. I had the battery out so thought I would throw it onto my lead acid charger. Came back an hour later to the pore 6v battery bulging to almost twice it’s size. Sizzling and sputtering as it tried to vent the boiling gas. I learned to check voltages more closely that day. Lucky It didn’t explode and spray acid all over my garage.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Al Banana says:

    My parents spent a few years in Scotland and I have unknowingly picked up some obscure vocabulary from them. Pish was no problem. But, pop quiz, who can tell me what a pluke/plook is.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars George Dorn says:

    For free, it does seem like a pretty good project box for a much better light. Maybe add a swappable fresnel lens when you want more flood and less spot, and swap out the batteries for something else; heck, you could replace the SLA with NiMH and your super-dumb charging circuit, and have an always-topped-up emergency flashlight. And as a bonus, no flashing SOS mode!

    Sad about what they actually did with the design, though; maybe they had a pile of otherwise-useless tiny SLA batteries they needed to use up?

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