The Z6 LED
Today Master Footman, and I are very pleased to bring you the worlds first 6 die RGB LED! With this LED you can conquer the galaxy with every color in full brightness; no more having to decide what the main color of your blade will be when buying an LED, as every color combination is rich an bright with this LED. Here at NEC we say down with color discrimination; all colors are created equal and no color should be held back to do brightness (isn't that in the constitution or something? :P)
Pat (IndustrialAction), Footman and I have been designing, prototyping, testing and generally living this LED for what seems like a year. It actually started back when Quib was active. We had discussed doing something like this with him, but he wasn't interested. Well, I cannot take no for an answer so I decided to proceed with the design on my own. After countless revisions and prototyping, printing cardboard mock-ups, having Pat hand-make a board, redesigning, send to manufacturing...(you get the long boring picture) we finally have an LED that the entire community can enjoy.
Without further ado we can dive into the LED specifics.What is it exactly?
This LED is actually 6 independent high-brightness LEDs on one star (read circle, as I became too frustrated to create the actual star shape). This is a 19mm circle, so just under the standard star size as those are 19.2mm. Each die is rated at 700mA but can be over-driven to 1000mA, meaning that this is a 6amp LED!What makes it special?
Unlike the Tri LEDs that have only 1 die per color or something like the quads where only one color can be doubled up, the Z6 has 2 die for all three colors
. Specifically, there are two Royal Blue, two Green, and two Red die. Thus this LED is the best of both worlds as it provides the even mixing similar to Tri LEDs but with doubled up brightness.
Here's a few pictures of different color combinations that the LED can make. Notice how the green isn't as minty as other LEDs and that the blues are very rich and bright. This is the first LED that I've successfully gotten all the shades of purple I like without being pink, as shown below. Also notice that the gold color is a true gold, not too yellow or orange. Again, this is the first LED that has made that color to my liking.
Also, here's a comparison of the sky-blue color from a RGGB LEDEngin (left) vs a similar color on the Z6 (right). Notice how dark the picture with the Z6 looks - this is because the camera had to adjust way more for the brightness put out by the Z6. These pictures are in the same light and were taken less than 5 minutes apart. I could even add more green to the color to make it even brighter, but like the more blue mix, which is another color the LEDEngin had trouble with.
And for you techy folks I've given the LED ratings for this LED vs. a TriRebel below:
luminous flux (lm) / radiometric power (mW) @700ma:
2 x 77lm = 154 lm
2 x 128 lm = 256 lm
2 x 823mW = 1646 mW
In other words the two reds are a good amount brighter; the two greens and two royal blues are way brighter, which is consistent with the results I've shown above.How do I install it?
You can use the new style TCSS holder with an 8.7deg lens, all 6 LEDs fit under the 8.7deg lens no problem. I've toyed with using a very small O-ring that goes around all the die as well to give a small cushion for the lens. The PCB itself is on an aluminum substrate so you can just use thermal tape or thermal compound to hold it to the heat-sink as normal.
You'll also notice that there are only 4 pads, making this a super easy install. Just hookup positive, and R-, G-, and B- and you are done. You don't even need a diode/resistor for red as I put one on-board to make your install a snap!
Finally, to make configuration a breeze for the Mini, I've updated the Config Editor to now have a nice dropdown that sets the three drive percentages on the main tab. This makes it much simpler to setup the LED. You can see this below:
Please use this dropdown for MINI only as it would be way to high for the original Igniter(TM)!What products does this work with?
Obviously you can use this in a stunt saber with no problem. As for soundboards, this was designed to work with Igniter Mini(TM), so it works great there as well. I do not recommend using it with the Igniter(TM) as the extra work that needs to be done for the board to tolerate the extra heat is more than is worth it in my opinion. However, I do have it installed in my Luke V3 MHS saber, so if you really want to do this contact me and I'll tell you what is needed.
I cannot really speak for other companies boards. It won't work for any board that has const. current regulation and requires each LED to have a separate + and - since this LED is wired for common positive (common anode), at least not in the default configuration. There may be some workarounds for this issue. For other boards that do support common anode, you'd have to make sure that it could handle not only the excess amperage (2+ amps per channel) but also the extra heat build up. That's why I created the TruDrive(TM) board in the first place - to make sure that when this LED came out there would be sufficient cooling area on the board to prevent any heat buildup. For other boards this may not be the case. Again I don't really know so you'd have to speak with the individual manufacturers to be sure.Is there any reason I wouldn't use this LED?
While this is the brightest, and probably nicest color blending LED on the market, there are a few things that you need to consider before installing in your saber.
First, this LED draws 6A+ if using all die. I've found that some batteries (including the TCSS Panasonic 18650) will actually trip the protection circuit during use, even when using a mix of 4 of the 6 die. If that happens you can turn the drive down to 70-75 percent, and still be running like 1400mA per channel and still have a bright LED without tripping the battery. I highly recommend the AW 18650 in the 3400mA or 2900mA package though, as those never tripped for me, and still had plenty of battery life (~1 hour).
Second, the LED itself gets really, really hot. So this would never work in a PVC build or a build where the heat-sink was free-floating and didn't have a good portion of the hilt to use as a heat sink. You do not need active cooling with a sufficient heat sink that can sink to the body of the hilt.
Finally, cost may be a factor, as this LED isn't cheap.Okay I need it! What's it going to cost.
The cost is going to be $35 shipped ConUS, and will be listed on my site in the next few days. I'll put a post once I have PayPal setup for the new item and have updated the site.Is it really bright?
In case the info and picture above were not enough to convince you of the inconceivable brightness, he's a picture of Master footman using his laser-deflect shades during testing of this. It was required the entire time to protect his sensitive eyes!
Thanks for looking everyone, Godspeed and MTFBWY!