High-Speed LED Pulsing Experiments

This page is currently being populated with past experiment data.  All future experiments will be added shortly after their completion.

The plans for Edgerton are available for anyone to build their own high-speed flash.  I designed the flash by building a prototype and doing lots of testing.  Until now, I haven’t kept an updated log of all the experiments performed on the LED’s.  Maybe some people would like to see all the details behind the designing and prototyping of the flash.  Others may be interested in designing their own high-speed LED flash.

The complete experiment logs can be found at github.com.

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Edgerton, A High-Speed LED Flash #DIY

2019-07-25 – The list price of the well-designed Vela One has recently dropped.  I originally quoted it at about $1,750 CAD but unfortunately don’t have any proof.  As of today, the Vela website indicates it is exactly $1,526.70 CAD. The archive.org website shows that the price has indeed fluctuated over time.

2019-08-01 – A big THANK YOU to NQTRONIX who has kindly gifted me an active light probe of his own design.  The probe will be used with an oscilloscope to measure the flash duration, trigger response time, light output -v- current, and other helpful things.  I will update this post with the data once testing commences.  NQTRONIX put a TON of time into designing, testing, and optomizing his probe.  Please consider checking out his instructable page and leaving him a like or comment!


EDGERTON

Named in honour of the legendary Papa Flash.

Some time ago I designed and built a ballistic chronograph and used it to take some high-speed photos of bullets striking glass. The results were great, but the photos were somewhat limited by the standard ‘speedlight’ flashes that I used – there was always some motion blur. Edgerton is a ‘High-Speed Flash’ which uses LED’s to make one-microsecond flashes to freeze motion.

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Ballistic Chronograph #DIY

DIY Ballistic Chronograph

2019-09-03: I’m considering manufacturing some sensor circuits and selling them for a reasonable price (probably ~$25 plus shipping for a pair).  Eventually I will put a listing on tindie.com, but until then if you’re interested in building a ballistic chronograph and would like to buy a set of sensors, please contact me at vtgerritsen@gmail.com.

Preamble:

A ballistic chronograph is an instrument which measures the speed of very fast things (like bullets).  I decided to build one which could be used for high-speed photography, such as glassware getting shot with an air-powered rifle (see my other post on this topic or my Flickr album).  In order to take such a photo, you need to be able to trigger a flash at just the right moment, which will freeze all the juicy action.

DIY Ballistic Chronograph

There are numerous resources available which give very limited information on how to build such an instrument.  Unfortunately all of the resources are incomplete or describe an instrument which only works for slower objects, such as paintballs or airsoft pellets.  I designed and built this using the information available on the internet, my modest understanding of electronics, and many hours of trial-and-error.  To somebody who has some knowledge of electronic components, this post can be used to build an instrument useful for measuring the speed of objects travelling up to 1,000 m/s (such as high-powered rifle bullets), and even photographing a projectile ‘interacting’ with other objects!

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