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Thread: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the driver.

  1. #1

    Buttrock Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the driver.

    Well qip sent me his murdered LxD head. The little wires dropped through the hole and were unrecoverable. So, I asked qip for the head so I could try to get the circuit out and maybe do some testing. So...after an hour or so thinning out metal with a dremel and giving myself a couple blood blisters when trying to bend little bits of metal out of the way of the PCB - I extracted the LxD/P2D boost module intact. Here are the pictures:











    I am going to go to work with some toothpicks and such to get the red goo out of the way before the next pics - but wow, I have to say, Fenix does not want users servicing their own lights. I can't imagine how anyone could get this thing out intact without killing the head as we did.

    More to come.
    Last edited by wintermute; 07-16-2007 at 07:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Red goo looks like it would make the PCB pretty moisture proof - and maybe provide a little shock protection as well...

    Loss of "user" serviceability is a pretty reasonable tradeoff for improved reliability, from the view of the manufacturer.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* qip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Good job getting that bad boy out of there must have been fun

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    It would be great if you could measure it's efficiency in different modes.

    Also would be interesting to see what boost converter and microcontroler they are using?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Any tips on getting rid of the red goo? Does heat work to soften it up??

    As far as the testing goes - my testing will have to be limited at this time, simply because I am preparing to move and have already started packing up some of my workshop stuff - but I am going to send the driver to RV7 for further testing, since he is in the process of buiding a similar driver himself, and has all of the testing equipment required to really get into this thing I believe.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarzaa View Post
    ...Also would be interesting to see what boost converter and microcontroler they are using?
    I don't KNOW, but I betcha Fenix has sanded off the ID numbers on all their chips to keep this information proprietary.

    And it's nothing against CPF - they would do it to prevent other manufacturers from copying their exact circuitry (whose excellent performance and efficiency helps Fenix command a higher price) when they design their Fenix clones.

  7. #7

    Buttrock Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Here is a top view of the circuit:



    And the bottom of the circuit:



    EDIT: Any information regarding the operation of the driver will not be divulged any further - to respect the R&D of Fenix, I will not post any information regarding the reverse engineering of the light. The only thing which will be made public will be the efficiency numbers of the light - nothing else.

    It's almost impossible to be able to see any of the chips due to the stacked configuration of the driver. I suppose if I de-soldered the board I could see more, but it seems like the main microprocessor board on the bottom also has a layer of black epoxy (hence to prevent identification of the processor and hence copying of the circuit).

    All in all, what a great looking board. I am interested to see efficiency specs and such as soon as I sent it to RV7 for some real testing of the efficiency.
    Last edited by wintermute; 07-16-2007 at 09:42 AM.

  8. #8

    Party Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    This kind of board is what separates the men from the boys. Very well put together board. It will be interesting to see what the boards look like in the inexpensive lights which I ordered from Kai and DX (although DX canceled another one of my orders today - even though the light is still on their site). The efficiency numbers are really going to tell the tale, but since right now I don't have the time, the space, or even 2 multimeters available to test this - we'll have to wait on RV7.

    I'll probably send it out to him tomorrow for testing of efficiency at all levels. Hopefully, if we ask nicely - we can get him to test efficiency on 1xAA, 2xAA, and 1xCR123. I'm excited to get the real numbers.

    There's nothing on this board to suggest that 2 boards could perform differently. No trim pots or anything else - everything is 100% digital (not much of a surprise), so the difference between two Fenix lights would have to just be due to variations of the Cree LEDs, not the driver.

    Cool stuff...what does everyone else think?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anyone wonder what a Fenix LxD/P2D boost circuit looks like?? (pics inside)

    Good work in getting the circuit out and good assessment. One thing to clarify is that variation does still come from the circuit, but most of it is likely from the emitter variation. Any circuit has a stack-up of tolerances and if not accounted for in the design, the variation will show thru the output, but in applications such as this, that is not a deal breaker and an easy design compromise to make.

    The overall mfg and even the components (all SMD) look MUCH better than a driver someone posted from a Lumapower light. Considering Lumapowers are the priciest of the high-quality chinese lights, the Fenixes seem like good deals. Tho, the Lumapowers seem to have better machining...mechanical tradeoff for electronics I guess.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Awesome job, wintermute! Nice job on getting it out intact. Thanks for all of the info.
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  11. #11
    Flashaholic* qip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    wintermute do you have the pic i sent in the pm still, i erased it , you should show what you had to go through after i really got into it lol ....when it snapped my pliers i knew i couldnt get out by twisting it so i started to cut into it with some heavy duty wire cutters , didnt take though

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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    i must say. fenix have one of the most efficient circuit of the lights in market.
    own a l2p and still using it...
    although dimmer then those new cree lights...
    if killing was legal, i would have killed countless number of people...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Quote Originally Posted by qip View Post
    wintermute do you have the pic i sent in the pm still, i erased it , you should show what you had to go through after i really got into it lol ....when it snapped my pliers i knew i couldnt get out by twisting it so i started to cut into it with some heavy duty wire cutters , didnt take though
    I do. I will post the pics of qips destruction followed by what I had to do as well. I'll do that tomorrow morning. Getting tired at the moment.

    Overall though - I am happy with being able to get the circuit out intact...now, if we can only find a way to disable the strobe function.

    If we could - then we could put a forward-clicky in the tail, turn the bezel to Turbo, and actually have momentary. So, when the bezel is not down all the way, we have all lower functions (low, med, high, SOS, strobe) - but when the bezel is tightened...there is only turbo...no strobe, and then a tactical switch would work. Similar to the Lumapower M3.

    With that kind of option - I think that Fenix could bring in more customers! Tactical switch could be sold separately - or in a Fenix Tactical set, which could retail for $5-$6 more.

    How many people would be on board then??

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Nice Job.

    I'd like to see a picture from the side.

    I'd suggest that if you have no need for the three wires (red, black, white) that you clip them down to a quarter inch of identifying insulation to maximize the views of the circuit board.

    Hope you unsolder the assembly and dig inside.
    Last edited by NA8; 07-14-2007 at 04:56 AM.

  15. #15

    Buttrock Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Quote Originally Posted by NA8 View Post
    Nice Job.

    I'd like to see a picture from the side.

    I'd suggest that if you have no need for the three wires (red, black, white) that you clip them down to a quarter inch of identifying insulation to maximize the views of the circuit board.

    Hope you unsolder the assembly and dig inside.
    Ask and you shall receive. I know they are crappy though...that's why I didn't post them at first, my SLR is trashed (2 year old got a hold of it), and this little digital camera doesn't take the best shots.








    That little black goop on the chip in the front is the microcontroller I believe. All you can see from this angle is a shiny black dome.


    It was really hard to get any shots of the side. As far as desoldering it all to see inside - after I send the unit to RV7 to test the modes - maybe I'll do that...but for now, I think everyone wants to know actual efficiency numbers out of this board.
    Last edited by wintermute; 07-14-2007 at 06:19 AM.

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    Flashaholic* rizky_p's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Salute.

    cant wait for real numbers
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    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
    Ask and you shall receive. I know they are crappy though...

    It was really hard to get any shots of the side.
    Wow. Not that crappy. Good stuff. An improvised light tent might help light up the dark corners inside. (pillowcase and floodlighting ?).

  18. #18

    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Nice job and nice pics Wintermute

    Do you plan to dump the contents of the microcontroller?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Great Pics, well done

  20. #20

    Buttrock Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    More side pictures - I used a soldering rig with a magnifying lens and a Fenix L1D to illuminate into the middle of the driver:

















    Planning to send this thing off today to RV7 for some testing. In these pics you can really see that microprocessor covered with a layer of black goo. Also, if you look close, there seems to be another coil behind the main large one. Can anyone come up with any more ideas on this thing??

    Take care.
    Last edited by wintermute; 07-16-2007 at 07:10 AM.

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    Flashaholic wakibaki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    If I was setting out to build one of these, I'd be thinking LM2735 SEPIC reg, maybe with an external pass FET, and a 6-pin Microchip PIC.

    I'd be trying to stay away from those big black SMT electrolytic caps (looks like they got a few in there).

    Ugly little SOB isn't it. Great gobs of solder. Tch, tch!

    Has anybody tried to get a circuit diagram and description from Fenix? It's a pretty trivial little design really, not much of an industrial secret. There's a 500mA example circuit in the 2735 datasheet...

    w
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Quote Originally Posted by TeK View Post
    Nice job and nice pics Wintermute

    Do you plan to dump the contents of the microcontroller?
    Could that actually be accomplished??

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Microchip offer several versions of their microcontrollers:

    Preprogrammed: Not dumpable. Basically you place a large quantity order and microchip ship them preprogrammed and not rewriteable.
    One time programmable: Not dumpable usually but I think there is a trick to do it.
    Reflashable: If Fenix have any sense they would have enabled the lock/reprogram protection, which stops you being able to reprogram the chip or read out the contents. However, there are probably tricks around it.

    (This is assuming fenix use microchip branded microcontrollers)

  24. #24

    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    Quote Originally Posted by zipplet View Post
    Microchip offer several versions of their microcontrollers:

    Preprogrammed: Not dumpable. Basically you place a large quantity order and microchip ship them preprogrammed and not rewriteable.
    One time programmable: Not dumpable usually but I think there is a trick to do it.
    Reflashable: If Fenix have any sense they would have enabled the lock/reprogram protection, which stops you being able to reprogram the chip or read out the contents. However, there are probably tricks around it.

    (This is assuming fenix use microchip branded microcontrollers)
    How would we be able to tell if the chip is dumpable? scratch that black goo off and see what the chip is labeled??

    If we could bump the chip and figure out the programming, it would be sweet to fix the flash before low and then move the Strobe to the lower levels "Low, Med, High, SOS, Strobe" and leave "Turbo" by itself, so I we can use true momentary tactical switches.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. More pics inside!! Theories of operation wan

    I agree, it would be sweet. We should start by identifying the chips before trying to work out if they are reflashable. And yes the part number is a big help here, that atleast will tell us if it's preprogrammed, OTP or reflashable.

    I'd love to have a Fenix with the flash before low fixed, and a lower low!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the dri

    May want to think about how far you take the Public reverse engineering of the Fenix light...

    The US Digital Millennium Copyright act (or what ever it is called) does have sections that deals with dumping of code and reverse engineering (I personally don't agree with this law).

    And there is just the other issue of using CPF to reverse engineer, compile and distribute "trade secrets"...

    Not that this is against the law--or even really unethical--but it can damage the commercial property of a vendor that has been very friendly to CPF.

    I don't know the answers--but does make me a bit concerned.

    -Bill

  27. #27

    Buttrock Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the dri

    Quote Originally Posted by BB View Post
    May want to think about how far you take the Public reverse engineering of the Fenix light...

    The US Digital Millennium Copyright act (or what ever it is called) does have sections that deals with dumping of code and reverse engineering (I personally don't agree with this law).

    And there is just the other issue of using CPF to reverse engineer, compile and distribute "trade secrets"...

    Not that this is against the law--or even really unethical--but it can damage the commercial property of a vendor that has been very friendly to CPF.

    I don't know the answers--but does make me a bit concerned.

    -Bill
    I really could give a crap less about the US Digital Millennium Copyright act (or what ever it is called) - I also think there are parts which are a major infringement on my personal rights. That being said, out of respect for Fenix R&D and preserving their head start above many other manufacturers, I will not reveal any more information about the operation of the circuit. I still plan to test efficiency numbers with a variety of types of battery configuration (i.e. 1xAA, 2xAA, 1xCR123) at all of the different levels. Stay tuned.

    Beyond that if I should happen to have a Fenix with a tactical switch that works, you can imagine how that might happen. Also going to look for that software glitch which makes the light flash before the low setting. I have ideas to preserve all of the functions of the light while still having a forward-clicky tail which has a usable momentary switch - we can call it the P2D CTE...Cree Tactical Edition!
    Last edited by wintermute; 07-16-2007 at 09:57 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the dri

    I understand that you might not care about the DMC act--but since this is a US hosted board--the people here have to care to keep out of trouble.

    Posting pictures, about how efficient the circuit is (and if it is buck/boost, etc.), what voltages it can safely operate with, how to break it down/modify and stuff into another host--no issue at all (for me).

    Internet reverse engineering is something that all manufacturers have to worry about today--And it is not like every other "flashlight" company with $60 has not ordered one and is taking the light apart and reverse engineering as we type...

    -Bill

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the dri

    Some extra photos beneath the board.






  30. #30
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    Default Re: Fenix LxD/P2D boost driver revealed. 7/16: more (good) pictures of inside the dri

    hi Yennit did you break the inductor? The thing with the coil.
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