Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hexbright Flashlight

I thought I take a break out of posting about my mousetrap mod and post a bit about the HexBright flashlight. This flashlight started as a Kickstarter project, which is now something you can buy. I first bought one just to play around with it. After I got one, I was so impressed with the build quality, brightness and lens that I bought 2 more! To get yours visit http://www.hexbright.com (I was informed the price will be going up soon once it hits distributors).



What makes this flashlight so special to me personally is that it is open source hardware. If you know me, you'll know that I'm an OSS/H junky. The MCU that the flashlight uses is Arduino compatible. This means that you can modify the firmware in the Arduino IDE with standard Arduino libraries and upload it to the flashlight like you would do with any of your Arduino projects. How cool is that? I've made some changes to the stock firmware and published them on https://github.com/jaebird/HexBrightFLEX/. There are several of us fairly active on github "improving" the stock firmware with things that we really want. I added SOS mode and a quick power off method where long-pressing the button in any mode turns off the flashlight so you don't have to cycle through each one. However, you can do whatever you want with it.

Here are some quick specs:

  • 500 Lumens (using CREE XM-L U2 LED)
  • Aluminum construction (very solid)
  • PMMA TIR Lens (instead of using a reflective mirror that can get dirty or corrode)
  • USB rechargeable and programmable
  • Arduino Compatible
  • Open Source
Dare I say this unit seems as good as any of those "tactical" flashlights you might be using.

Some of my non-Software Mods


Filter Mod



Amazon.com is selling a RED filter that mostly works with the HexBright FLEX. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051F7UF2

The bezel of the HexBright FLEX is 1 1/4" in diameter. The Olight M20 Red Filter is 1 7/16", so the filter is just a tad too big to stay on the flashlight. So I took out my hot glue gun and laid a bead of glue on the inside of the filter to make the diameter smaller. Now the filter stays on really well with very little light bleeding out the back of the filter.

Tip: Use a moistened finger to spread the hot glue along the entire inside circumference.

Battery Mod


I have some EagleTac 3100mAh 3.7 18650 Li-ion batteries that I picked up from (http://goinggear.com/eagletac-protected-18650-3100-mah-rechargeable-3-7v-li-ion-battery.html).

They are IC protected with over charge protection from 4.2-4.25V and over discharge protection from 2.7-2.9V and short protection between 4A-6A. They charge and work fine with the HexBright FLEX. I have not had time to test them for how much longer the flashlight will run with this battery. EagleTac also has a 3400 mAh battery available.








Note: I have no relationship to HexBright, just a very satisfied customer... and hacker!

2 comments:

David Hilton said...

Have you looked at the hexbright library?

https://github.com/dhiltonp/hexbright/network

Jae Stutzman said...

I have not. Thanks for the link!