VL 162T Teardown15 Apr 2019
With Nicky’s recent puppy photography and the photos/videos I’ve been taking it made sense to get a fill light. Nothing too big, preferably something that would fit in the small camera bag I have, but enough to fill-in the shadows, at least partially.
After a quick look around Amazon I decided on the Viltrox VL-162T, which at around £25 seemed a good deal. It uses standard Sony batteries (NP-F550) so it’s easy to get spares if you’re going to be using it a lot. The specs claimed adjustable brightness and colour temperature so it seemed a good choice, and if it wasn’t any good, I could always modify it into something else.
The unit seems well built, the plastic feels sturdy and doesn’t give or twist.
The diffuser attaches with four small magnets, stays in place, but is still easy to take off. It might be worth building a slightly thicker one as you can get multiple shadows at close range. Of course, a thicker diffuser would absorb more light.
Speaking of the output, it’s puts out plenty of light, even on the lowest setting. Not enough to cope with bright sunlight, but a reflector might be a better choice then. The colour temperature adjustment is achieved by having two colours of LEDs and adjusting the brightness of both to get an average output. This seems to work quite well, but there does seem to be some sudden changes are you sweep over the range.
Of course, as soon as I knew it worked it was time to take it apart and have a look inside.
The main LED panel, with alternate LEDs, there’s 162 of them (that’s where the name comes from).
This is the main PCB, with the important bits highlighted.
There are no massive surprises here, it doesn’t need too much in the way of parts, but it doesn’t seem like they cut any corners to keep the price down.
The processor is a Nuvoton n76e616al48, an 8051, nothing powerful, but all it’s doing is controlling the screen and the LED drivers.
There’s two AX2003 which are buck switching regulators, the downloadable datasheet is in English even if the preview is mostly Chinese. It uses current sensing feedback to control the brightness so I’m guessing the light it either biasing it or there’s a controllable resistor somewhere in there. I can’t be bothered to try and trace out the circuit and black PCBs make it harder to do. The nice thing is that the regulator runs at around 330kHz so there’s no visible flicker on the LEDs, even with high frame-rate video.
This seems like a pretty good light, especially for the money. You can some ones with fixed colour temperature for £12-15 but they all seem to have internal batteries and have half the number of LEDs.