Make a 1000w equiv. LED flashlight – aka DIY Sun-Blaster!

In this video I'm going to show you how tobuild a phenomenally bright 1000w equiv.

LED flashlight.

It's designed to be operated with just onehand, with easy control of brightness, and can be powered by either batteries or an acadapter.

It has two modes, flood light mode and spotlight mode, which makes it very useful for a variety of different situations.

Just like with my DIY LED panel it uses avoltage based dimmer, making the it suitable for video or photography work due to a completelack of flicker.

As it's such a bright light you can get somereally interesting shots with it, whether you want to illuminate a scene to emulatemoonlight, or add some drama, or raise the suspense with some UFO invasions.



For indoor shots it can be bounced off wallsto act like a giant softbox, or used as a rim or hair light.

The possibilities really are endless.

Non-photographic uses range from using itas a work light to help visibility while working, to just using it as a super bright portablefloodlight rather than those puny little flashlights most of us have.

Handy if you ever go camping! You can find a complete parts list in thedescription, along with purchasing links.

This is going to be a long video so grab adrink and let's get going.

So the first thing we need for this buildis obviously the LED itself.

These LEDs are extremely bright, but theyalso get extremely hot.

So to keep it cool we'll be mounting it toa computer processor heatsink.

These vary in size and shape depending onwhich you buy, but you should be able to adapt the design if you can't find the one I used.

As the LED requires around 30v, we'll be poweringit with a voltage booster so that we can use lower voltage power sources, like batteriesor laptop adapters.

As this voltage regulator will be handlinga lot of power we need to enhance its cooling.

To do this, we could simply put a fan on topof it, which would make the build simpler.

This however would add more noise, so instead, what we'll be doing is mounting it between the main heatsink's heatpipes so that thevoltage regulator can be cooled by the main heatsink instead.

As it's a bit of a tight fit we need to re-arangesome components.

We'll start by removing the regulator's ownsmall heatsinks.

To do this we need to remove the screws holdingthem in place and melt the solder on the supports underneath, using a screwdriver to pry themoff the board.

Once they're both removed we need to alsodetach the ICs they were screwed to.

We can just rock them back and forth untilthey come free, but as they aren't identical we'll work on one at a time so that we don'tmix them up.

Once the first one's off, we can get threeshort lengths of wire, around 6cm long, and use them to re-attach the IC, making surethat each pin gets connected to its original contact point.

It's literally just an extension.

We need to repeat the process for the otherIC as well.

As the capacitors are also a bit too tall, we can desolder them as well and, using some stiff wire to extend the contact points, mountthem horizontally instead.

We need to keep the polarity same by connectingthe pins marked by the striped edges to the sections marked with diagonal lines.

The regulator is now thin enough to slot inbetweenthe heatpipes with plenty of room to spare.

Now it's time to work on the dimmer controls.

The first step is to remove the regulator'strimmer potentiometer.

To do this, we need to add plenty of solderto the three pins underneath so that they join up, and pull the trimmer away from theboard at the same time, being careful of any flying solder.

Once the trimmer is disconnected, we can makesure that the pads on the bottom are no longer joined up by the extra solder that was added.

So now what we're going to be doing is buildingthis simple circuit, which is basically an adjustable resistance divider.

We'll start with the actual brightness knob.

So we need to get a 10k potentiometer andsolder a coloured wire to its left most pin, with the shaft facing upwards.

Now we can solder an 11k resistor to the middlepin, adding a black wire to the other end afterwards.

Next we can twist some additional wire lengthsto the ends, keeping the colours the same for consistency.

This leaves two exposed points to which wecan solder to in a second.

Now we can get the trimmer potentiometer thatwas removed from the voltage regulator and again solder an 11k resistor to its middlepin.

Now we can solder the exposed section of theblack wire to the other end of this resistor, and solder the exposed section of the greenwire to the pin underneath the golden adjustment knob.

It's now ready to be connected to the voltageregulator.

So we'll solder the green wire to innermostcontact point where the trimmer pot used to be, and the black wire to the outermost point, ignoring the centre pin.

The next thing to do is extend the input andoutput connections using reasonably thick wire.

An old mains cable is perfect for this.

We need to take careful note of the polarityso we don't accidentally connect it up the wrong way later.

The polarity is written on the top of thePCB, but when looking at it from underneath, the two sets of pins on the left are the outputset, which get connected to the LED later, and the two pins on the right are the inputset, which will be hooked up to a power source.

The last thing to do is crimp an additionalpair of wires to the input connectors.

These are for adding a fan later.

So that's pretty much it with the electronics.

Now we can mount it to the heatsink.

So let's slide it between the heatpipes anduse a sharp object to mark the centre point of each of the screw holes in the aluminiumfin below.

Now we can use a 2mm drill bit to drill throughthe fins at these points, using a screwdriver afterwards to push out the waste.

As we don't want anything on the bottom ofthe voltage regulator to get shorted out when it's mounted to the aluminium fin, we cancut out a piece of clear packaging plastic and again punch holes through it correspondingto the holes on the voltage regulator.

Now we can push some m2 (2mm) screws throughthe regulator into these holes, with a nylon spacers in-between.

Once that's done we can now screw it in place.

Before doing so we need to add the retentionbracket that came with the heatsink as we won't be able to add it later.

Now we can use some pliers to hold some m2nuts in place and use them to firmly attach the voltage regulator.

So that just leaves the ICs, which can nowbe mounted to the heatsink base using some heatsink plaster, which is essentially thermalglue.

We need to use a decent amount as the metalbacks on the ICs does not want to make electrical contact with the heatsink base.

We can clamp them in place and use a multimeterto check that the metal pads really are isolated from the aluminium they're glued to.

If all is well we can leave them to dry foraround 10 hours.

After which we can remove clamp and againconfirm that the metal pads are indeed isolated from the aluminium.

Now we can hook the input wire up to a DCpower source, and monitor the output wires with a multimeter.

We have to make sure the main potentiometeris turned fully clockwise, and then adjust the trimmer potentiometer until the multimeterreports that the regulator is outputting exactly 30v.

Adjusting the main potentiometer should nowslide the output voltage up and down between around 26v to 30v.

Before we start working on the frame we mightas well sort out the power source for the fan.

The power source is going to be a mini voltagestep down regulator, which we can use do finely adjust the fan speed later.

So we need to take off the top fin of theheatsink, and drill two holes in it for the mini voltage regulator.

Now we can screw it on with two nuts and twobolts, again using some packing plastic to prevent it from touching the fin.

The fin can then be mounted back on the heatsinkand secured in place again with a small amount of superglue.

Now it's time to start on the metal frame.

To make it we'll need four 60cm aluminum rightangle lengths.

The first thing to do is get one length anduse a knife to mark its centre.

Now we need to make four marks – two 8cm fromthe centre, and the others 25.

7cm from the centre.

Now we can use a right angle to score a Vshape at each of these marks, with the point of the V meeting the central edge of the aluminiumbar.

We can now cut out these v shapes using ahacksaw, smoothing the edges off afterwards using a file.

The next step is to position the heatsink'smounting bracket at the center of the bar, but on the side without any v cutouts, andmark its hole points using something sharp.

We can then use an M3 bit to drill throughat these points, making sure that we don't drill into the table by using some scrap woodunderneath.

In addition to the bracket holes we need todrill two holes on either side of the Vs, about 1cm out from their central points, againon the uncut side.

The last step is to drill a hole at each endof the bar about 1cm from the very end.

We need to do all this twice so that we havetwo identical bars.

Now we can get a spare piece of aluminiumbar and use it to bend the v cuts against a table.

We need to use plenty of pressure to makethe bends as tight as possible.

Once they're done they should look somethinglike this.

Now we can cut a 16cm length off one of thespare bars and drill a 10mm hole in its centre for a quarter inch to 3/8 inch adapter screwto fit through, and use a 3/8 nut to bolt it in place, tightening it up with a penny.

This can now be screwed to the one of the frames using m3 nuts and bolts, forming the base.

Next we can cut out four 11cm uprights forthe base, but before screwing them on we need to cut down the edges and then file them downso that they fit nicely inside the bends.

As you can see here, I already drilled a matchingpair of holes in the uprights for the screws.

This was done using the same 3mm drill bitso that the screws can just go right through and get secured in place with m3 nuts.

The last step is to add some rubber feet, and that's the base completed.

Now it's time to work on the handle whichattaches to the upper frame.

The first thing to do is make the supportsfor it, so what we need to do is get a 17cm length of aluminium bar and cut out a 90 degreev in its centre, and drill two m3 holes on the opposite side.

Lastly we can make two 130 degree cuts, both1cm from either end.

Using a clamp on the 1cm offshoot we can thenbend up the bar so that it becomes parallel with the adjacent cut.

Now we can bend the v-cut and screw it tothe upper frame.

We need to make two of these supports, onefor either side.

Now the supports are in place we can workon the handle itself.

What we need to do for this is cut off anotherlength of aluminium, this one 17.

5cm long, and cut two large holes in it for the potentiometerand a power switch.

The diameters of both of these holes dependon the size of the components you choose, so use your own judgement here.

The power switch I'll be using is a high-currentcircular one, which required quite a wide 15mm hole.

Just like with the uprights, each end hasto have its corner filed off for when it gets screwed to the supports.

To make the padded handle we need to get adishcloth and roll one end up a few times to fill inside the aluminium bar and thenwrap the rest of it the whole way around, using gaffa tape to hold it in place.

To make it look a bit neater, we can get apiece of false leather and fold it in on itself, with the underside of the material facingoutwards.

Now we can staple it together along the outeredge, and then invert it so that we're left with a cylinder.

We can now fold over the edges and use somesuperglue to hold them in place.

The whole thing can then be pulled over thepadding and held firmly in place with cable ties.

Now we can add the switch, but before securingit in place we need to solder two thick wires to it.

Again, an old mains cable is perfect for this.

Now we can add the switch and pull throughthe main potentiometer, securing it in place with its nut.

The handle can now be screwed to the supports.

As you can see, I used some cable ties tohold the wires in place, and to secure the trimmer potentiometer so that it can be adjustedif needed.

So now we're at the point where we can placethe heatsink inside the bottom frame, and screw the upper frame to it, encasing theheatsink inside.

Now we can finally add the LED, but beforedoing so we need to add a small strip of electrical tape on each side of the base.

This is to prevent the LED's contacts fromaccidentally touching the heatsink and shorting out.

We won't add any heat paste yet, but insteadsolder the voltage regulator's output wires onto it.

It's important that these are connected theright way around as the LED simply won't light up if they aren't.

After the wires are soldered on we need toadd some more electrical tape on top to protect against shorts.

Now it's time to add the heatpaste to helpthermal conductivity.

So we need to lift up the LED and add a pea-sizedamount to the centre of the base, and squash the LED back down on top.

We don't need to press it down much as that'llbe taken care of when we tighten up the brackets which we can now add.

The brackets may vary depending on what heatsinkyou use, but the process should be similar overall.

Once they're in place they can be very tightlyscrewed together, ensuring a secure mount and good thermal contact for the LED.

With the light now almost complete, thereare only a few small jobs left.

The first thing we can tackle is the powerconnection.

For this all we need to do is connect a femaleXT60 connector to another length of thick wire, and then have the negative wire of thisconnect directly to the voltage regulator's negative input wire.

The positive wire can be routed through theswitch before connecting it up to the regulator's positive input wire.

It's important that you don't get the polaritymixed up as it can damage the regulator and pop the capacitors if it gets hooked up thewrong way around, so double check before powering it on for the first time.

We can also add a knob to the potentiometerat this point.

So now we can try it out! All we need to do is hook it up to a powersource capable of delivering at least 100w.

An old laptop adapter is ideal for this, andit's just a case of either making a little adapter with a male XT60 connector and a femaleround connector, or by chopping of the end and soldering the XT60 connector directlyto it.

We will be going over more power options, including batteries, in more detail in just a minute.

As it's very bright be careful not to lookat the LED directly.

We mustn't have it on full brightness forvery long at the moment as we still need to add the fan to keep the heatsink cool.

So what we can do first is solder the additionalfan wire connectors to the mini regulator's input, again being careful of the polarity.

Now we can mount the fan, but before solderingit to the mini regulator we need to power on the light again and turn the regulator'strimmer potentiometer counter clockwise until its blue light goes off.

This just means that we won't fry the fanwith too much voltage.

We can now solder the fan's red and blackwires to the mini regulator's output, ignoring the yellow wire.

The mini regulator's trimmer potentiometercan now be adjusted clockwise again until the fan starts spinning.

We need to adjust it so that it keeps theLED cool whilst not making too much noise.

A good way to check whether the LED is coolis by simply touching its aluminium base.

You should be able to keep your finger onit indefinitely even after 10 minutes of being on full power.

Don't touch the front of the LED whilst it'son as the light output itself can warm up your hand, giving you an inaccurate perceptionof how hot the LED really is.

As the heatsink is so large it's possibleto have the fan barely make any noise at all whilst keeping the temperature under control.

So, as this is a flashlight it'll be prettyuseful to have it run off batteries, so what we'll work on now is the battery mount.

The way this is done with elastic allows thelight to be used with many different battery sizes and shapes, and it also allows you tostrap on an ac adapter if needed.

So to make it we'll get small aluminium sheet, just big enough to cover the back, and cut two groves in each side.

I cut mine too close together; ideally theyneed to be the same distance apart as the height of the battery we're planning on using.

After cutting them we can smooth them offwith some sand paper.

Now we can drill four holes in the corners, corresponding to the spare holes on the back of the flashlight.

We can also prepare an aluminium angle toact as a support for the battery.

The fifth hole in the middle is to allow adjustmentof the fan speed, as it goes through to the mini step down regulator.

To make the straps it's just a case of gettingsome elastic and stapling them into loops, then slotting them into the groves and gluingthem in place.

The whole panel can then be screwed to theback of the flashlight.

Lastly we can mount a battery low voltagealarm, so that we can avoid over discharging li-po or li-fe batteries, should we chooseto use them.

Although, if you'd rather have the batterydisconnect itself automatically rather than just beeping, I have actually designed a circuitthat can do just that.

You can find a link to an extensive guideon how to make it in this video's description.

The light can be powered by any source thathas a voltage between 12v to 24v, so long as it can supply 100w.

If you want to use an AC adapter, you cancheck its output wattage by multiplying its output voltage by its output current.

As for batteries, RC lipo or li-fe batteriesare a good cheap option, and are readily available from webstores like HobbyKing.

My particular battery didn't come with theright connector, so it's just a case of carefully soldering on a male XT60 connector, takingextra precautions against short circuits, as the battery can be killed if the wirestouch.

Now that it's wired up we can plug it in.

Before we turn on the flashlight we can pressthe button on the voltage alarm to cycle through the trigger voltage.

We can set it at 3.

6v, as when lipo batterieshit this voltage they're more or less empty.

I found the beeper to be way too loud so Ibunged up the horns with some blue tack.

Now we can try it out.

As you can see, the light is incredibly bright.

The throw is also quite wide, like a floodlight, which is handy for some situations but not when you need it to shine into the distance.

So, what we can do is make a removable lensto focus the light.

To do this we'll need a reflector and lens- both of these are designed specifically for the LED we used and aren't very expensive.

The problem is that when the lens is put infront of the LED it brings the LED's yellowish rim focus, which looks pretty ugly.

So what we can do before fitting it is sanddown the flat part of the glass element, using some water to help the process, until it becomesfinely frosted.

Here's what it looked like before.

And now after.

Much better.

Now we can get the reflector and file offthe noggins on the bottom.

Once they're removed we can glue the lensto it.

To allow the lens to be removed we can tiesome thin elastic into a loop and thread it over the heatsink's bracket, and then insertthe glass.

Now we can glue the elastic to the lens'srim.

This makes it easy to attach and remove, allowingyou to quickly switch between flood light mode and spot light mode.

Anyone else think it's looking like the shipfrom Flight of the Navigator? Anybody? No? Just me then.

So that's the light completed! As I mentioned earlier it's useful for manydifferent things, making it a very versatile light.

So I think this is the longest DIY Perks videoI've done so far! If you've enjoyed it don't forget to hit thatlike button and maybe consider subscribing.

I hope you stick around for my next videoin which I'll be showing you how to make some really charming LED mushroom lights.

They're very fun to make and you can createa great variety of designs for either indoor or outdoor use.

You can watch it by clicking the annotationon screen or by following the link in the description.

So, stay awesome guys.

I'll see yuh next time.


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