PFlexPRO Advance Program Driver (lucidrv)
Most PFlexPRO lights and drop ins are now available with an Advance Program Driver option.
This AP driver provides and incredible amount of user configurability using only the switch for programming.
The AP driver consists of 2 user configurable mode groups, each mode group can have up to 7 unique modes (or as few as 1 mode).
Each mode group also has 1 hidden mode that is also user configurable and can be accessed by a double tap of the switch.
Each mode can be assigned one of 24 brightness levels and can be set to constant, strobe, beacon or bike mode.
There are over 16 billion unique combinations that can be set for each mode group...if you created a new mode group combination every minute, it would take over 30 thousand years to set each unique mode group.
The mode configurability will allow you to start in low, start in high...even start in medium, then go to low, high...anything you want. Since there are 24 brightness levels, you can have Turbo, High, High/Medium, low, Super low and Super-Duper Low all in one mode group in any order you want. You can add modes, remove modes, change the intensity of modes, change the mode to strobe or beacon and even change the intensity of the strobe, beacon or bike modes to any of the 24 intensity levels.
The AP driver has a user configurable active thermal regulator that is worth the extra cost by itself. The driver will maintain a target temperature by reducing the output in small increments as necessary. If the light is running on high or turbo and left unattended, the output will lower to maintain a safe temperature. but when you pick the light up and it cools down, it will automatically increase the output again. There are 11 temperature settings to select from, but for each light, the recommended setting will be set before shipping...this setting will be provided in case you decide to reset the light to the default settings.
The active thermal control allows a P60 to have a Direct Drive mode without fear of frying an emitter.
There are 3 memory types that you can assign to each mode group: No Memory, Memory and Hybrid Memory.
You can also lock a selected mode so the light will not change modes...it will act like a single mode light. This a good option if you let someone borrow your light and don't want them running it continuously in turbo. It is also useful if you want a single mode light and don't want to alter your mode group settings.
The driver is bump proof, meaning , if you use it on a bike and the battery loses contact when you hit a bump, instead of changing to the next mode, the light will recognize the bump and will maintain the current mode.
The AP driver uses 3 separate power channels -one for the lower modes, one for the higher modes and one dedicated to the two direct drive Turbo modes. This means you can have direct drive and regulated output modes in the same light...even in the same mode group. The power channel dedicated to lower output levels will allow very low, stable and efficient firefly and moonlight levels.
The AP driver uses a very fast, invisible, inaudible 16kHz PWM frequency, but there are 3 output levels that do not use PWM at all.
The AP driver has a low voltage feature that will reduce the output when the battery drops to 3 volts. It will continue to lower the power down in 1/2 step increments as the battery continues to discharge. Each time the light level drops, the battery voltage will rebound and give you additional run time. This means, you will not be in the dark, even with an almost dead battery.
If you want the highest level of user configurability, the AP Driver will give you everything you're looking for.
Cree’s XPL HI –What’s it all about?
First, lets understand a little about the XPL HI.
There are 2 variations of the XPL:The XPL HD (high density) and the XPL HI (high intensity). If someone says ‘XPL’ they probably mean XPL HD.
The XPL HD (aka XPL) has the same die size (the actual yellow emitter) as the XML. To make an XPL, the XML emitter was put on a smaller XP platform.While the XM die will fit on the smaller XP mount, the dome is too big, so Cree chopped off the sides of the dome. In practical ‘flashlight’ use the XML and XPL are the same.
The XPL HI...it is simply a XML die put on the smaller XP mount and instead of putting a dome on it, the ‘dome material’ is just a flat layer...more on the effect of this domeless design later, but just keep in the that the XPL HI is really just a domeless XML or XPL.
Throw is determined by how intense the light is in the hotspot… if you want to increase throw, just increase the intensity of the hot spot. You may think the best way to increase the intensity of the hot spot is just to increase the amount of output from the flashlight, but this is actually the least effective way to do it. Many flashlights are already running close to their maximum output. The best way to increase the hot spot intensity is to make the hot spot smaller. If you want to burn something with the sun, you just use a magnifying glass and concentrate the light into a small ‘hot spot’.
Let’s look at how throw in a flashlight works and how to control it. There are 2 major factors controlling throw: reflector size and apparent emitter size. The light output from the flashlight is a third, least effective way to increase throw.
Reflector Size: A reflector is just a mirror...it reflects and focuses the light from the emitter into a hot spot. As the reflector gets bigger (wider), the reflecting surface is moving away from the light source and, to the reflector, the emitter ’looks’ smaller. The reflector will reflect this smaller looking emitter into a smaller, more intense hot spot...remember, the intensity of the hotspot determines how far the light will throw. If you make the reflector twice as big, it will make the hotspot is ½ as big and the intensity of the half sized hot spot is 4 times greater...this means 4 times more throw.
Apparent Emitter Size: You may wonder why I describe emitter size as ‘apparent’. In the first case, with the reflector, the emitter didn’t change size, but moving the emitter further from the reflecting surface made the emitter ‘look’ smaller to the reflector. Well, there’s something else that makes an emitter look different…’the dome’. The dome on an emitter is nothing more than a high power magnifying glass. It does protect the emitter, but it’s main purpose is to take the light from a flat emitter and spread it into a hemisphere shape. This magnifying dome makes the emitter appear much larger than it really is.
Using a smaller emitter: The size of emitters vary...there’s the very small MCE, the small XPG and what I call the normal sized XML/XPL.Remember, the XPL is the same size as the XML, it’s just on a smaller, XP sized mount. Before, I said that increasing the light output from the emitter is not the best way to increase throw, but in this case, you will see emitter size and emitter output fight it out to increase throw.
(the following is simplified a little, but you will get the point):
How much light an emitter will deliver has a lot to do with how big its surface area is.If the emitter’s surface area is ½ as big, you can expect about ½ as much light from it. When we change to an emitter that is ½ as big, we should increase our throw 4 times, but because it only puts out about ½ as much light, we only double our throw (and loose a lot of the spill around the hot spot).
Dedoming: It’s a common practice for flashlight modders to remove the dome using heat or solvents. The benefit of dedoming is to remove the ‘magnifying glass’ from the emitter so when the reflector ‘sees’ the emitter, it sees it as smaller, unmagnified emitter and will project (reflect) this smaller looking emitter into a smaller, more intense hotspot. Dedoming’ works very well for increasing throw, but there’s a few drawbacks. The big problem, the color (tint) of the emitter changes when the dome is removed. The color change is somewhat predictable, but will vary depending on the dedoming method used. The light will typically shift to something much more yellow and slightly more green.In reality, with dedoming, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you do it. Another problem, with dedoming, it removes the protective cover from the emitter.
Cree’s XPL HI throw benefits:
As mentioned earlier, the XPL HI emitter is factory dedomed...it shouldn’t be called dedomed because, it never had a dome in the first place. The XPL HI doesn’t have the weird color shift of emitters that are dedomed...if the XPL HI is a 1A tint when Cree made it...it stays a 1A tint when it’s in the flashlight. Another benefit is that the emitter is protected by the clear, factory applied non-dommed ‘dome material’.
To the reflector, the emitter looks actual size since there is no ‘dome magnifier’ mounted on it. To the reflector, the XPL HI looks about the same size as an XPG, but it has the output efficiency as the XML2, so you have high output from a small ‘looking’ die.
Conservation of Energy—Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another...What does this have to do with flashlights?
Emitters like the MCE, XRE and XPG2, because of their small size, are great for throw, but where they fall short is in efficiency. At a given current, they deliver much less light than the XML or XPL, so, when we apply a given current to an emitter, it can only transform into two things...light or heat. Since the XPL and XML are more efficient than the smaller emitters, they will deliver more light and therefore less heat at a give current. With the domeless design of the XPL HI, it can compete with the smaller emitters for increased throw, but will do it with more overall light output and less heat.
Which flashlight should the XPL HI be used in?
The short answer is any of them. The XPL HI doesn’t take the place of the XPL or the XML2.The XPL HI just gives the user another option for increasing throw without using a larger reflector or resorting to a smaller, less efficient emitter.
Here are a few examples for using the XPL HI:
Convoy S2 with XPL HI:
The Convoy S2 is a small flashlight with a very small 18mm reflector. With such a small reflector, the S2 will never be a great thrower but if I install an XML2 emitter in the S2...it’s all flood.In the past, I typically suggested using an XPG2 emitter in the S2 to give it a little better throw... while this combination will increase throw, it will also decrease the output from the light. Now I recommend using the XPL HI in the S2 for increased throw and high output.
P60 and XPL HI:
I like the even beam pattern from an orange peel reflector in my P60 lights, but really like the additional throw I get from the smooth reflector. The XPL HI allows me to use an orange peel reflector and get better throw than I would have with a smooth reflector. If I want the best throw from a P60, I will combine the smooth reflector with a XPL HI.
M1 and C8 with the XPL HI:
The M1 is only available with an orange peel reflector but it’s a little larger than a P60 reflector. Because of the great thermal design of the M1, I can push a XML2 emitter get really good ‘mid-range’ throw. If I want to get ‘near C8’ throw from a M1, I will use the XPL HI.
The C8 has the largest reflector of any light I build. For me, the head is a little big for everyday use, but if I need throw, it’s the best choice. So, what happens when I mount an XPL HI into a C8...it has crazy throw...the hotspot is still tight at 200 yards. Using ANSI FL1 throw tests, I’ve measured the C8/XPL HI throw to well over 500 meters.
I consider the XPL HI to be the best way to increase throw because. the other methods for increasing throw have some drawbacks:
Increasing reflector size works well, but who really wants a big reflector...a smaller reflector with big reflector performance is be better.
Decreasing actual emitter size also works for increasing throw, but you must give up a lot of flashlight output to gain additional throw.
The XPL HI provides a very easy and effective way to reduce reflector size without compromising performance. If you have 2 identical flashlights except for the emitter...one with XML2 or XPL and the other with XPL HI, you will have 2 distinctly different lights. So choose the XPL HI in any flashlight where you want more than typical throw or combine it with a flashlight that already has great throw and get incredible throw.