I have a couple of questions about these high power LED's, such as the cree xml-t6 and some of the others.
- Are drivers really that important? I googled this quite a bit before asking, and everyplace recommends a using a driver, saying led life will be shortened without one, and power won't be as steady, etc. But for something simple like a flashlight, where brightness is more important than steady light, is it really that important?
1A. Wouldn't it be somewhat of a benefit running it without a driver, but with a good heatsink, to make it even brighter, sort of like overclocking a computer?
1B. Even if life is reduced a bit, is it as big of a deal as people say? If the typical LED has about a 100,000 hour lifespan, or something huge like that, even if I reduced it to 1% of its lifespan, that's still 1000 hours, by that time whatever device I'm using it on will likely be obsolete anyways, or the LED would be obsolete, replaced by a better one.
- I bought some other 3w led's that say they are rated at 700ma. I also bought a driver that is supposed to put out 2800ma. I wired up the driver, and had 4 of these led's in parallel, and using a 18650 battery (3.7 volts, 4.2 on full charge). Should total 2800ma, which is what the driver is rated at. However, at full power, it only seems to be drawing about 700ma for all 4 of them, and when I hooked up the 4 led's directly to the battery, they are only drawing about 1 amp, when the specs say they should be drawing 2.8 amps. Can anyone help explain why these numbers aren't adding up?