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 -
    New Level Auto -
    Eric the car guy -
    Humble Mechanic (for the beard) -
    Pine Hollow -
    If you enjoy these videos you can help support the channel with a dollar for coffee, cookies and random gadgets for disassembly at:-
    This also keeps the channel independent of USclip's advertising algorithms allowing it to be a bit more dangerous and naughty.
  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 442

  • S.0 0.0
    S.0 0.0 20 days ago

    One thing not mentioned is the hammer end

  • colin poellot
    colin poellot 2 months ago

    Panasonic 2.4 volt screwdriver is great. I have 2 and use them all the time. I bought nimh batteries to replace the original nicd. Also opened up the original. Its sub c. So i put in 2 tenergy 5000mah. Runs forever on a charge.

  • viatronmac
    viatronmac 2 months ago

    The Astro lamp is obviously excellent quality, the cheap knock offs however aren't that bad and are soooo cheap as to be practically disposable, we have about 5 of them knocking around the workshop,

  • Trapperx89
    Trapperx89 2 months ago

    I think you could help out the mosfet by placing a thick thermal pad over it and several components.
    That's how they did it in my Amazon Fire Stick so it should work for a work light.

  • Just a Potato
    Just a Potato 3 months ago

    We missed your bearded face too Clive!

  • Rick Bailey
    Rick Bailey 3 months ago

    19:58 That's what she said... 😁

  • Kris
    Kris 3 months ago +1

    It's kind of interesting how a simpler circuit = "cheaper" as in cheaply made, cutting corners, etc. for you electronics guys. I'm a controls engineer. If I can do the SAME thing with LESS code or simpler code that means quicker scan times and a smaller program which equates to a higher quality program (as long as it's still robust and debugged). It's interesting how those things are viewed in different circumstances.

  • christhesnaildriver
    christhesnaildriver 3 months ago

    Interestinly, the data sheet for the genuine lamp (the product page Clive linked) states that they are fitted exclusively with either Samsung or Panasonic cells. The one that Clive found in this one seemed rather generically Chinese to say the least. Maybe they made the change in more recent production...?

  • Paul Drake
    Paul Drake 3 months ago

    I thought this was "Should I Stick This Thing Up My Butt?" Part 2

  • Mark Modray
    Mark Modray 3 months ago

    First search for the cheapie had the tag word "Fashion" that pretty much sums it up!

  • Cam Smith
    Cam Smith 3 months ago +2

    My cheap Chinese rechargeable LED garage light worked great, until it didn't!

  • Sinjinator
    Sinjinator 3 months ago

    That Magenbrot is some great stuff. I grew up with it.

  • bob4jjjj
    bob4jjjj 3 months ago +2

    Excellent, but not at all dangerous!!!

  • TheNorthForty
    TheNorthForty 3 months ago

    I've been watching you since you popped up on "WUW" on South Main Auto. You guys are great !

  • D Pyles
    D Pyles 3 months ago

    This may be your best video yet !!! Thanks!

  • Attila Asztalos
    Attila Asztalos 3 months ago

    Arguably the Big Chinese Insight is that "by the book" designs seem to include quite a lot pf components the absence of which makes absolutely no damn discernible difference whatsoever in practice. Granted, they seem liable to sometimes take just that one step too far over the line, omitting something that definitely _does_ make a difference and then things rapidly go south fairly inevitably; but I have to admit there is a great deal of stuff where their approach seems to work perfectly "good enough" with a far less fancy solution than a "proper" design would involve...

  • ejonesss
    ejonesss 3 months ago

    1. often faults are put in intentionally maybe to get past customs without problems and avoid duties.
    i know this because i had to send 2 hard drives to a canadian data recovery house and by declaring them as broken no duties had to be paid and possibly no inspection either.
    2. there is pwm going on it is probably flickering in sync with most cameras so you dont get a flicker.
    if you get a professional variable speed camera used for filming tv screens and down/up converting film you may get a flicker.

    and it is possible to pulse in analog because vhs uses a sync pulse and a series of pulses for the macrovision copy protection

  • klystron
    klystron 3 months ago

    thanks ordered one.

  • jeremie johnson
    jeremie johnson 3 months ago

    Cool led light

  • Steve Leahy
    Steve Leahy 3 months ago


  • Teardown Dan
    Teardown Dan 3 months ago

    I am a little disappointed that even $50+ LED lights still don't use PWM as there is no shortage of inexpensive high efficiency regulators operating at 100+kHz these days that could provide essentially flicker-free operation even without additional output filtering. If you absolutely require minimal strobing due to having your nose into something that moves at speeds in excess of 10m/s and phosphor on the LEDs isn't enough to smooth the light out, most of whatever flicker may be left can be eliminated by adding a 10uH 10uF output filter for an extra $0.20 in parts.

  • Robin Wells
    Robin Wells 3 months ago

    I wonder to what extent you can identify the designer or school of designers, of a circuit from idiosyncratic touches like the mosfet lamp power limiting applied during the charging cycle?

  • David Lapworth
    David Lapworth 3 months ago

    You are using a cordless driver.😀

    BRUXXUS 3 months ago +1

    Oh man... really is something great about clever analog circuits like that. I love it.

  • Wheel333
    Wheel333 3 months ago

    I just found one of these in the road, slightly run over and a couple of leds gone. After charging it is pretty damn bright. I like it.

    • bigclivedotcom
      bigclivedotcom  3 months ago +1

      Someone somewhere has left their light in an engine bay after working on a car. Maybe making it yellow would be a design improvement.

  • horrovac
    horrovac 3 months ago

    This video is a huge disappointment. I first saw the thumbnail and the title and got all excited before I could watch it. A pneumatically driven light, how interesting! the thing at the end must be the pump knob. Doesn't look terribly ergonomic, but ok. Wonder how it works! Perhaps a small turbine with a generator, perhaps integrated in one. Wouldn't that be loud? Possibly a tesla turbine then. Oh, oh! - or could it perhaps be a kind of a reed like in a musical instrument, with piezo crystals on it, or made of piezo crystals entirely... Wonder how much air it will hold, and what kind of pressure it needs... And then I finally get to watch the video and it's just an ol' stinkin' USB rechargeable light. And it's pneumatic because the company making it apparently has "pneumatic" in the name. Bleh.

    • horrovac
      horrovac 3 months ago

      @bigclivedotcom "USB rechargeable lights from Astro Pneumatic - original vs. clones" perhaps?

    • bigclivedotcom
      bigclivedotcom  3 months ago

      I'm trying to work out how to reword that so people don't think it's a pneumatic light.

  • South Main Auto Repair LLC

    Astro for the win!! Great video Clive. I sent it to my friend who is the designer of that light. His name is Chris and of course works for Astro :)

    • South Main Auto Repair LLC
      South Main Auto Repair LLC 3 months ago

      @bigclivedotcom Chris from Astro tools designs the Astro 40sl light (as well as many other tools). I am not sure who is responsible for the clone knock offs. He is a really smart dude if you have any questions I am sure he'd be happy to answer them over an email. Let me know, I can put you in contact with him.

    • bigclivedotcom
      bigclivedotcom  3 months ago +1

      Ah, so they did design it? And these are clones of the original? Not so sure about their oil test. Not so much the oil bit, but the washing in soapy water afterwards.

  • Dan Hiteshew
    Dan Hiteshew 3 months ago +1

    The real "Astro Pneumatic" is $55 on Amazon.

    • Jusb1066
      Jusb1066 3 months ago +1

      and the knocks off around $5 if you sort by price on ebay,i bought 2 for that, considering they are 1/10th of the price and 90 percent of the brightness, worth it

  • Froedl Metallmann
    Froedl Metallmann 3 months ago

    Big Clive likes Magenbrot. Good taste, good indeed!

  • makitadog
    makitadog 3 months ago

    Ive got the cheapo one with a hinged light section. For the money it's very good tbh.

    ZENOIST2 3 months ago

    My favouite topic.

  • Bruce Qu
    Bruce Qu 3 months ago


  • Garth Goldberg
    Garth Goldberg 3 months ago

    I can't see a reason to spend 300% more for the Astro-Pneumatic branded unit.

  • Ron McMahon
    Ron McMahon 3 months ago

    Interesting that the Astro unit's battery doesn't have any circuit board attached to it, but (and I probably missed it) there doesn't seem to be that circuitry on the Astro's main board either that offers the same functionality. When it comes to saving pennies on each device, I'd assume that copying Astro's single circuit board design would be cheaper.

  • Dustin Buckingham
    Dustin Buckingham 3 months ago

    How about the harbor Freight version! I believe it's called Braun.

    • athhud
      athhud 3 months ago

      The Braun is a far superior light! I’ve bought several over the last year and haven’t had a single problem with any of them. Even IF you could easily replace the batteries in the Astro on the fly, I would still prefer the Braun, but the “non-serviceable” battery is the nail in the coffin for me.

  • Patrick McLaughlin
    Patrick McLaughlin 3 months ago

    voodoo fix?

  • Felix F
    Felix F 3 months ago

    FWIW, I've purchased two of the clones for ~$10 each. One died after about 6 months of use and the other is still going strong after ~18 months.

  • Choice777
    Choice777 3 months ago

    What's pneumatic about it ???

  • Robert's Smorgasbord
    Robert's Smorgasbord 3 months ago

    The 2305 (Si2305DS) MOSFET in the original is specified for a gate turn-on voltage as low as 1.8V (at 0.108 Ohms drain-source resistance). Cheapest price in volume (>1000) I could find: $0.16. The A1SHB (Si2301DS) in the Chinese clones is specified for a gate turn-on voltage as low as 2.5V (at 0.180 Ohms drain-source resistance) - at 1.8V the A1SHB it basically off. Cheapest price in volume (>1000) I could find: $0.14. Every Chinese engineer who's worth his or her money would of course swap those parts to shave off 2 cents. I mean it's simply to tempting: Putting in a part that barely meets the requirements, slowly cooking off in operation and making 2 cents per unit while doing so? Who could resist?

  • apollo robb
    apollo robb 3 months ago +1

    And remember viewers if Clive can do it ...You can do it

  • Jason Halverson
    Jason Halverson 3 months ago +1

    had no idea Clive also watches South main auto, Eric's a great guy

    • S.0 0.0
      S.0 0.0 20 days ago

      Jason Halverson Eric often mentions Clive in his WuW sessions. I was surprised to hear Eric shouting out to Big Clive!

  • ThatOneGuyYouKnow
    ThatOneGuyYouKnow 3 months ago +1

    Huh, I have one of these but mine is branded Matco I got off the truck never knew there where other types lol. The matco one is also very bright and well made.

  • Corkoth55
    Corkoth55 3 months ago +3

    Oh I've never heard of the brand I figured it was hoping it was gonna be a pneumatic powered light.... Hahaha

  • Nigel Johnson
    Nigel Johnson 3 months ago

    Wouldn't a switch mode power supply avoid the problem of flicker by providing either a constant voltage or current via a LC filtered output?

  • joe jane
    joe jane 3 months ago

    I seem to have missed something or misunderstood. @bigclivedotcom the drive for the mosfets
    was there or not a high value resistor "10k thru 1M" on gate of mosfet to ground to force open the A1SHB.
    mosfets are a Voltage device if gate left floating it wont change state or at least remain at the previous state.
    if you have omitted for clarity or confusion i understand.
    or is their no need for said resistor because of the potentiometer must be scrolled to zero before the switch cuts connection.
    it is odd that youtube finds that it wants to correct mosfet to samoset or marmosets if it is mosfets.
    potentiometer is not in the dictionary as well.

    • bigclivedotcom
      bigclivedotcom  3 months ago +1

      The divider on the gate of the MOSFET biases it hard off if the potentiometer switch is off.

  • Matrix29bear
    Matrix29bear 3 months ago

    There is the old maxim of, "The fault is not in ourselves, but in the solder joint. "

  • reviews and repairs
    reviews and repairs 3 months ago

    I have both off the astro and the cheep ebay ones and the cheep ones tend to snap at the magnetic base

  • John
    John 3 months ago

    At moments you went so stuttery that you seemed like you were fangirling the thing. Shows how interesting this stuff is to you. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  • insanity54
    insanity54 3 months ago

    Clive, your videos often feature high quality photos. Do you have a trick to make printing at home economically viable?

  • Shanjaq
    Shanjaq 3 months ago

    light on the cob?

  • Arno nümuss
    Arno nümuss 3 months ago

    I like the use of the magnets as screw holder.

  • William fforbes-Rutt
    William fforbes-Rutt 3 months ago


  • Jeremy Schoonover
    Jeremy Schoonover 3 months ago +1

    Astro Pneumatics Work Light: Amazon first listing $63 US

  • Will Robbinson
    Will Robbinson 3 months ago

    It makes sense not to use pwm dimming in this case due to moving parts that may look stationary

  • Big Nasty HVAC
    Big Nasty HVAC 3 months ago

    Reminds me of one of the lights we can get here in the states from everybody's favorite chinese tool import Warehouse harbor freight.. The Braun slim folding. However the difference is it's an all metal case with a removable battery. Quite a handy little light. My testing on their battery was 2300mah I went out and purchased some of the orbtronic high capacity which are 3400mah. So Rather than constantly charging through the USB port I keep an extra set of batteries in my tool bag and charge the batteries as needed. Quite handy indeed in my opinion.

  • Everyday Tool
    Everyday Tool 3 months ago

    Someone please send Clive a Harbor Freight version of this light. I believe it's a Braun 390 lumen.

  • Mark Joseph
    Mark Joseph 3 months ago

    I got a cheap copy for £12 off Amazon after watching South main auto but the 1200mAh wasn't doing it for me so in went a 5000mAh 21700 cell with a little bit of trimming

  • Ben Ng
    Ben Ng 3 months ago

    imagine having one of your designs being analyzed by some guy on youtube

  • 101rotarypower
    101rotarypower 3 months ago

    Is there a searchable name and type of potentiometer that has a on off switch but into the potentiometer?
    One that will cut through power?
    Having difficulty finding suitable potentiometers that will also cut source voltage also in a single component. Specifically a thumbwheel 10k pot.

  • Damions LiftedLife
    Damions LiftedLife 3 months ago

    most people take things apart to learn how it works you do it to see why it doesn't work maybe that's why your method has brought you a lot of views

  • TEAC Fan
    TEAC Fan 3 months ago

    I just finished watching a South Main Auto video where he had his Astro light in perfect view of the camera so I could write down the model number. Then on the right side was this video showing the lights so I had to click on it for your diagnosis. Think I'll get the quality Astro one...not the cheapo clones.

  • Gamer Martin
    Gamer Martin 3 months ago

    Given the cheapy has lesser quality components, it seems more like that they copied the astroneumatics rather than astro repackaging an existing cheap product.

  • Jonathan Dean
    Jonathan Dean 3 months ago

    Hey Clive,if your not too busy could you write a book on elecronics? You do teach and explain quite well

  • Priviledgier Sheevlord
    Priviledgier Sheevlord 3 months ago

    The 33322 IC is probably the m34 LED flasher IC. The only ones I could find are through hole ones but they too have 3 pins, so it seems to be the same chip

  • JAMES! Since the 70's
    JAMES! Since the 70's 3 months ago

    Nice one!

  • MyBigThing2010
    MyBigThing2010 3 months ago

    What's with the cob blob on the astro? Anything significant?

  • Dave Micolichek
    Dave Micolichek 3 months ago

    I'm surprised that they didn't use a Mosfet with a 2.5 volt gate. That way they could have ran it saturated, at full brightness, and it wouldn't have been so hot. I don't understand why they would have designed it so that the Fet was still in the linear region at full output?? Hmm, that is kind of strange. Maybe you could replace the Fet, and make it better. Wouldn't it be more efficient if the Fet was fully on also?

  • John Pilgrim
    John Pilgrim 3 months ago

    I know my 40sl has a red led when charging, a blue led when fully charged, and a flashing orangish led when the battery is low. I would guess that’s why it has three leds

  • John Pilgrim
    John Pilgrim 3 months ago

    I love my Astro 40sl so much I just bought a 65sl too. I think I like it even more. I am an auto diagnostic tech as well.

  • TOASTEngineer
    TOASTEngineer 3 months ago

    Hey Big Clive,
    When I was a tiny kid, I had a snap circuits kit; it's a kit made of electronics components encased in big hunks of plastic with clothing buttons set up to electrically connect them. One day, I was building one of the project circuits when a red LED started quietly screeching, increasing in pitch, until the diffuser violently burst open, hitting me quite hard in the forehead with a tiny piece of plastic. The LED was running on normal voltage it was designed for; the kit must have been about six or seven years old at that point.
    What could have caused the LED to explode like that, considering it was only running on two AA batteries and the package it was in was designed for exactly what it was being used for?