November 2006. Sadly, the ianman4000 was lost at
the end of August 2006, along with the purple carabiner it was attached
to. Possible locations include a friend of a friend's place somewhere
near Pukekohe after a possum shooting trip and Middlemore Hospital
while visiting a sick friend. After two years of good service, I'm
sad to see it go. (Actually I didn't see it go, which is even sadder,
since I don't know it's in a good home.)
Onward and upward, though. I'm planning a new torch that will use
a 1 watt star LED instead of 6 individual 5mm LEDs, and will be
powered by a 6 volt 4LR44 battery (aka 476A, A544), which is just
four LR44 cells (aka A76, aka AG13) in series. Testing of the star
LED has produced satisfying results, and the star heatsink can get
quite hot over 200mA.
trying to find a replacement torch body to modify I've managed to
find out that the ianman4000 body was probably a Dorcy
torch (Dorky torch? Dorch? Or is it pronounced "Dorsey"
to rhyme with "horsey"?). I've seen a different N cell
powered Dorcy model in a local hardware shop, so it seems it may
be available somewhere. Sounds promising. The hunt is on.
In the meantime I've bought a 3 LED torch from a $2 shop. It's
powered by just three AG13 cells. I've already checked that a 12V
A23 battery fits, although the back cap doesn't screw on completely.
I guess the spring takes up a lot of the slack. It looks like there
isn't enough room for a 6 volt 4LR44 because of the extra width
of the battery jacket holding its LR44 cells together. The torch's
switch can operate momentarily or push-on/push-off but is quite
easy to operate – I can imagine it would easily get pressed in my
pocket. The torch is reasonably bright with fresh batteries so it'll
tide me over quite well until I can find another Dorcy of the right
sort to modify.
Update Jan 2007. OK, I didn't count on the 8.5 year old
nephew who quite liked it. It turned out the switch was too
easy to turn on in my pocket, so I'm not too upset to see it go.
Update Oct 2007. Yay, I've found a new source for these
things, in orange, blue and green. [Later in the month:] And
Update 27 August 2008. It's
back! And it's purple! The ianman4000 mark 2
is now in operation, using a single Cree XR-E P4 running directly
from four AG13 (LR44) cells. I gave up on using an 4LR44 because
it's just a little too wide to fit. It's also a fair bit longer
than four individual AG13 cells. At the moment the cells are taped
together, but I don't think they need to be – they would be fine
being loose. (I later decided it's too fiddly if they're loose.)
With fresh cells the Cree draws 320 mA and the TIR optic throws
a very nice beam. A very pleasing result, and with a silicone glowring
(glow in the dark o-ring) just behind the head, it can be found
in the dark.
Update 2 September 2008. Um... well.... I don't have it
any more. I gave away the guts in another keyring torch. The ianman4000
mark 2 is now orange.
Update 22 September 2008. OK, now it's back
(my keyring torch, that is, not the mark 2 which is
still orange). With a Cree XR-E Q5 LED it's very bright, very portable,
and has an improved, simplified design over the mark 2.
It's the ianman4000 mark 3. Fresh cells gave an initial
current of 360 mA, although that was heading downhill pretty fast.
But even with less than 150 mA with a slightly tired battery it's
impressively bright, and it still has that great beam from the Cree
8° TIR optic. (TIR = total internal reflection.)
Update 2 & 10 May 2009. The LED of the orange mark
2 has now been used to provide a backlight for the screen
of a radio and a Cree Q5 has been put in its place in the orange
torch, thereby upgrading it to a mark 3. Even so,
the owner reports that with the Cree P4 he had one of the brightest
torches at a recent camp he went on.
Update 13 May 2009. There are now three ianman4000
mark 3 LED torches in existence, in purple, orange and green,
each sporting a Cree Q5 LED. Converting the green one today took
about an hour and ten minutes – it's quite a fiddly process and
I trimmed the back end of the optic holder a fair bit to make room
for the wires which I soldered directly onto the LED (not the board).
I also had to insert the TIR optic into its holder a second time
as it wasn't quite straight so I wasn't quite happy with it.
The percentage improvement in brightness this modification makes
to these torches can no longer be measured in percentages: It's
infinite, since with the old N cell the original incandescent lightbulb
was drawing 250 mA but making no light at all! The LED also
draws 250 mA from its four LR44 cells (when they're newish) but
makes a very impressive amount of light.
Update 15 September 2010. My ianman4000 mark 3
LED torch was stolen on Saturday 11 September from a locked car
at Twin Bridges, Northland. It's the purple one in the above photograph,
and had a small purple carabiner attached. A reward is offered for
its return and information leading to the arrest of the pond scum
that stole it and the other items taken in the same incident.