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Astro Pneumatic light versus clones? (teardown and schematic)
- Published on Mar 23, 2019
- This video wasn't originally going to include the Astro Pneumatic mechanic's work light, but once you pop you can't stop. So they ALL got opened.
I'm not even sure who sent the original Astro Pneumatic work light, since it arrived in a box with other stuff at a time I was juggling work and videos and it ended up being buried on a shelf.
It was only when I spotted Eric-O of South Main Auto using one that I got intrigued about them and after ordering one on eBay came across the other while I was organising stuff. It's a bit embarrassing because it's quite an expensive professional light, so I'd just like to make it clear that I really appreciate it being sent.
Here's a summary of what I found.
The Astro version is probably a branded version of the original light. The unit is modular with the LED array, Lithium cell and intensity control potentiometer connected to the PCB with plugs and sockets. The LED (Light Emitting Diode) COB (Chip On Board) array is notably brighter and more efficient on the Astro unit, with a much better colour rendering, which is important for wire colour identification. It also has other important little features that make it more suited to a working environment. A proper cap for the USB charging port and a felt disk over the magnet to reduce the risk of bodywork damage.
The two clones are clearly based on the original with progressive economy. As is common of cost engineered products, components that they deem unnecessary have been removed. On one you could see where the original tracks had been shunted and component pads removed to save solder. It's inevitable that in future versions that get stripped back even more, the local cell protection will be removed.
All the units use linear regulation for the LED intensity. They are using a MOSFET transistor that is being deliberately used as a variable current regulator. This keeps the circuitry simple and also means there is no strobing from PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) that could risk making rotating components appear stationary.
One very intriguing quirk is that part of the main power control MOSFETs voltage divider circuit is switched by another MOSFET to change its range when the unit is being charged. With the charger the LED intensity is restricted to a lower level. This could be to protect the MOSFET from heat or even to prevent the LEDs from being left at full power continuously. I didn't realise the lights had this feature until I deduced from the reverse engineering that the function might exist. That was proven by plugging and unplugging the charger while the light was on.
All these lights can be upgraded to a longer run time by changing the lithium cell for a higher capacity one.
General eBay search link for this type of light. Target price $10 to $15 for a clone:-
Link to the real thing:-
Some links to the garage department of USclip:-
South Main Auto - usclip.net/channel/UCtAGzm9e_liY7ko1PBhzTHA
New Level Auto - usclip.net/channel/UCNZty_jKwN_LJ6oNBcDlWig
Eric the car guy - usclip.net/user/EricTheCarGuy
Humble Mechanic (for the beard) - usclip.net/user/HumbleMechanic
Pine Hollow - usclip.net/user/motoYam82
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- Science & Technology