Osram Substitube tear down

I recently purchased two packs of 2x Osram Substitube LED replacements for a T8 36W florescent tube. The price per tube was about double that of a T8 fluorescent, and claimed life was 30,000 hours.

Note that LED life is usually an estimate of the time for 50% failure. Curiously, Osram individual LEDs have lower lifetime estimates for single LEDs, strings of LEDs will have lower lifetime, and lifetime for say 5% failures would be even lower. On the basis of experience with LED lighting, it might be optimistic to think that most of these lamps will last at least 5,000h.

In the event, three of four tubes had broken glass (yes, they use a glass tube much like the T8 fluorescent tube… though not sealed at the ends), and the other was DOA, no light output.

The LED driver is attached to pins at one end of the lamp, and covered by a label over the glass. Note that there are several incompatible schemes used in T8 fluorescent replacement LEDs, the other scheme bonds the adjacent pins at each end of the lamp and connects line and neutral to opposite ends. Osram calls this a “Type A” connection, and as the name suggests if can be fitted to an ordinary magnetic ballast luminaire PROVIDED the original starter is replaced with Osram’s “LED starter” which is actually a HRC fuse of around 1A rating.

Above is the top view of the electronics. Continue reading Osram Substitube tear down

Conversion of oyster luminaire to LED

I purchased a kit to convert a oyster luminaire to single colour LED on eBay. The kit was nominally 18W, supplied with the 5730 LED plate and driver module for about $10 incl shipping.

A cautionary note: do not play with these things unless you have the necessary competencies.

The thing was packed in nothing more than a plastic mailing bag and was bent in several places in transit from China. It was not usable in that state and some LEDs were not working so my money was refunded in full (after the usual tug-o-war eventually resolved with eBay intervention). It had to be straightened to be usable, but at the risk of damaging LEDs and possibly cracking or compromising the insulation layer.

Above, after flattening the back plate, nearly half the LEDs are not working. Continue reading Conversion of oyster luminaire to LED

Milton Moore’s power supply test

When I was a student at TAFE in 1970, a teacher, Milton Moore, explained why the lab power supplies that were used, Perini & Scott 30V 2A, were the largest power supplies given their modest capability.

He explained that they were almost student proof. He went on the classify students in three categories, the average students constituted the bulk, then there were the quite inept who damaged the best equipment by doing things that no one could have anticipated, and the very bright who sought to understand equipment and expose their weakness.

Milton explained that they tested these power supplies using the rat tail file and hacksaw blade test. One output terminal was attached to the rat tail file and the other to a hacksaw blade, the voltage and current were set to max and the rat tail file and hacksaw blade were rubbed together yielding a shower of sparks… and possibly smoke from the DUT.

At the time I was very interested in overcurrent protection of linear regulators, so this was especially interesting.

ua723 – the darling of power supply designers of the time

Lets look at the issue with the ua723, recently released at that time and appearing in lots of designs.

Above is a schematic from the ua723 datasheet. Rsc is the current sense resistor and it is chosen to develop 0.6V at the current limit, so for instance in a 20A power supply it would have a value of 0.6/20=0.03Ω. So, the current sense circuit presents a Thevenin equivalent circuit of Vth=Rsc*I and Rth=Rsc. Continue reading Milton Moore’s power supply test

Current regulation dynamics of Atten APS3005S

This article documents a simple test to ascertain whether the current regulation dynamics of are good enough to use for testing strings of LEDs as found in much modern lighting


The APS3005S is a linear bench top power supply 0-30VDC at 0-5A with adjustable voltage and current regulation… so called constant voltage and constant current modes.

A pair of 900mm long small gauge (0.5mm^2) hook up leads were used to apply a short circuit to the power supply, and current was set to 0.1A. The resistance and inductance of these leads will to some extent limit the peak current.

The short circuit was removed and the power supply set to 30V out.

The short was reapplied and the current captured with a current probe. The current probe calibration is 1mV/10mA.

Above, the peak current is 6680*0.1=66.8A, that is 668 times the set value. Continue reading Current regulation dynamics of Atten APS3005S

Programming a certain type of Chinese 315/433MHz EV1527 compatible remote relay

This article describes the programming sequences for a common Chinese 315/433MHz remote relay which works with the common EV1527 transmitter.

The EV1527 should not be confused with high security protocols, the transmitter has burned into it four fixed supposedly relatively unique codes (in a space of 1 million code possibilities) and sends the burned in code associated with the transmitter key each time it is operated. This should not be confused with rolling code systems such as KeeLoq. This information is not usually disclosed by sellers.

These are usually supplied with little or no instructions, or bad online translations that are quite misleading. I dare say sellers have refunded money in lots of cases due to user confusion about programming them or compatible transmitters. This information might assist owners to find a working solution.

Above is an example remote relay (~$3 on eBay), they are available with a number of channels and may look physically different but use the same or similar firmware. Note that though the relay on this one is rated at 10A AC, that rating is for resistive load and it is rated at 5A AC for an inductive load (PF=0.4). Continue reading Programming a certain type of Chinese 315/433MHz EV1527 compatible remote relay

Chinese wattmeter / power analyser fix

I bought a little wattmeter / power analyser with SB50 style plugs on it on eBay for about $20.

These devices have been common in the RC market for many years, and I have found them useful for a number of things but note that the input -ve lead is NOT directly connected to the output -ve lead, you cannot use them where the input -ve and output -ve are common.


The problems

Above is the promo pic. Of course they are not Anderson plugs, but clones. Continue reading Chinese wattmeter / power analyser fix

Normalised RMS voltage of a full wave phase controlled power waveform

The recent article Soldering iron – temperature control failure gave a plot of V’rms vs conduction angle for a simple full wave phase controlled AC waveform, and I have been asked to explain the derivation.

The phase controlled switch turns on at some delayed time from the zero crossing of the AC waveform, and conducts until the next zero crossing.

With the simplest circuits, there is a practical limit to the achievable stable range of conduction angle, and a minimum of about 50° to a maximum of about 160° is typical.

The RMS voltage is the square root of the mean of the square of the instantaneous voltage. We can write an expression for the normalised RMS voltage as a function of conduction angle θ. Continue reading Normalised RMS voltage of a full wave phase controlled power waveform