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Old 08-07-07, 10:54 AM   #1
hr2510
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Landscape flood for headlight?

I'm looking to put a headlight on a cruiser tandem. Probably won't be going any faster than 15mph. I found a 12V 20W halogen landscape flood light that looks like it might work "OK" to light the unlit roads a bit and to help me be seen. I have a 8Ah (10 hr rate)SLA battery for power. The light is $12. What do you think?
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Old 08-07-07, 02:08 PM   #2
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You probably want something a bit more directed. I used a 20w flood last winter for a while but replaced it with a 12w 7degree spot which lit up where I was going just as well.

Thats a very big light too, heavy?
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Old 08-07-07, 09:33 PM   #3
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I don't think you will be happy with the wide flood beam. It probably wouldn't provide sufficient light in front. I would go with a 10 degree spot rather than flood. I was recently running twin 10 degree 20W spots, but switched to twin Philips "Energy Advantage" 8 degree 20W lamps which give me an effective 16 degrees spread.

Your yard light does look rather large and heavy. I'm using driving light housings from JCWhitney. You can get inexpensive MR16 spot and flood lamps at your local hardware store and experiment with them in the housing to see what you like best.


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Old 08-08-07, 01:36 AM   #4
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Thanks. I did find a spot with a 12 degree 20w MR16 bulb. It's smaller than the other although I'm not too concerned about adding a pound or two extra to a 60 pound tandem.This one has a o-ring seal and looks easy enough to adapt/mount and to drill and add a switch.It's about $3 cheaper also.
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Old 08-08-07, 03:01 AM   #5
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I like fooling around with gadgets and McGivering things but at some point you have to wonder if what you are attempting to do is more trouble than its worth. Why not just buy a light made for a bicycle?
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Old 08-08-07, 09:23 AM   #6
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I like fooling around with gadgets and McGivering things but at some point you have to wonder if what you are attempting to do is more trouble than its worth. Why not just buy a light made for a bicycle?
I already have some SLA batteries and strobes laying around. The only 12v bicycle lights I've found are either the generator type (I want more light than those unless they have greatly improved over the years) or ones nearing the $100 mark. I'm sure I could spend $20+ on a generator set then throw everything away but the headlight then rip the guts out but then I would be looking at more "McGivering" than the yard light. Using the yard light would only require "McGivering" a bracket to bolt the light to and drilling a hole for a switch. Maybe I just haven't seen all the 12V bicycle lights. Is there something around 20 watts that you know of in the $5 - $15 price range?

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Old 08-08-07, 10:22 AM   #7
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I haven't seen too many 20W (even 10W) sub-100 dollar lights either. Plenty of 1W LED headlights though.

I did the 20W halogen light from Home Depot, the Malibu spotlight. I can't tell if that's why you are looking at or not--darn work internet filters. I've been ok with the light as-is: I'm using the stock 20W bulb, which is not very directional at all. I suspect it'd be the ticket for offroad riding, as the large cone of light does work well at showing a large area. Problem is, it washes out with oncoming traffic, and there is a dark-ish spot in the center. I don't ride with a lot of traffic at night, so it hasn't been a problem. I did buy a 10W MR16, but just haven't bothered to swap it in to try yet. The bulbs are kinda pricey, at $7.29.

It's certainly worth trying for $12. I'm in the same scenario, I had some batteries already. The battery is pretty heavy, 7.5Ahr, must be like 8lb (someday I'll weigh it); but I'm pretty sure it'll work just fine for my sub-hour long bike rides. I also just carry the battery in a fannypack, so it's not weighing down the bike. I'm not sure what the light weighs, but it's not made with steel. Probably a pound.

[The wiring is a quick disconnect type of connector--Anderson Powerpole--so it shouldn't be a real problem in case of accident.]

Oh: I did post some pic's of my setup in the "Total Geek" sticky on this forum.
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Old 08-08-07, 11:43 PM   #8
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Yes it's like the ones Home Depot sells. I took a look at them yesterday afternoon. I've decided to go with the smaller round light with a spot bulb. I like what I saw. The housing is cast aluminum with fins all around. It should work great as a heat sink for the HOT bulb. I found the same light and bulbs on-line at http://usalight.com/malibu_spot_low_..._1_pr_584.html for just over 1/2 the price of Home Depot I'm not in a big hurry so I'll order it. I couldn't find any pic.s of your set up but the description was pretty clear. I plan to use a "U Clamp" and two L shaped brackets to mount the light to the handlebar stem. I'll post a pic of the whole set up when done.
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Old 08-09-07, 04:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by hr2510 View Post
I already have some SLA batteries and strobes laying around. The only 12v bicycle lights I've found are either the generator type (I want more light than those unless they have greatly improved over the years) or ones nearing the $100 mark. I'm sure I could spend $20+ on a generator set then throw everything away but the headlight then rip the guts out but then I would be looking at more "McGivering" than the yard light. Using the yard light would only require "McGivering" a bracket to bolt the light to and drilling a hole for a switch. Maybe I just haven't seen all the 12V bicycle lights. Is there something around 20 watts that you know of in the $5 - $15 price range?
I understand where you are coming from and am not trying to be dismissive or insulting in any way. I realize that you will spend much less on parts for your McGiver lighting system than purchasing a pre made bicycle lighting system. But you have to add all the driving (or riding) around you will do to find parts that work and time consumed by the actual McGiver process as well as the extra time to use it (unless its as easy to use and charge as a pre made system) to the expense along with the gamble that you will end up with something that actually fits your needs rather than falling short and requiring a rebuild (just because a 20w light exists doesn't mean the lamp is focused in a way that suits a bicyclist's needs) and I myself couldn't justify that time expendeture for something I can just purchase. Now if it were something that didn't exist and I needed it, then no question.
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Old 08-09-07, 09:17 AM   #10
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OH no, no insult taken! I just like to tinker. When I decided to start riding bicycles again, the thought never crossed my mind to look at the ones in a LBS. I immediately started searching Freecycle and Craiglist for a free fixer/junker bike. I answered one ad, picked up 4 rusty MTB's and a old tandem. I stripped them to the bare frames, cleaned,inspected and greased everything and ended up with 2 MTB's(one mens,one ladies),a tandem and two parts donors and have less than $60 in the three. We found we like riding the tandem and wanted one better than a single speed/coaster brake so we did actually order a new tandem(what I'm putting the light on). One stop at a tractor supply on the way to work yesterday and I got the things I need to mount the light and a small push-pull switch. I'm just the opposite is all. I can't see paying more $$ for something I can do myself. As far as being able to justify the time ependiture, I ended up with lots of extra time to do things many years ago when I tossed the TV into the trash. Now THAT was a waist of time!
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Old 08-09-07, 10:31 AM   #11
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hr2510, I see now that I didn't post them. I thought I had; I certainly meant to put them into the "Total Geek" thread. I'll do that tonight.
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Old 08-09-07, 02:45 PM   #12
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hr,
Sounds like you've found your niche. I hear ya when it comes to the tv, I'm a reader so thats where my non riding time is spent. Have fun!
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Old 08-09-07, 03:32 PM   #13
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*cough* macgyver *cough*
who is this micgiver you speak of. He an irish feller?
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Old 08-09-07, 03:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supton View Post
I haven't seen too many 20W (even 10W) sub-100 dollar lights either. Plenty of 1W LED headlights though.

I did the 20W halogen light from Home Depot, the Malibu spotlight. I can't tell if that's why you are looking at or not--darn work internet filters. I've been ok with the light as-is: I'm using the stock 20W bulb, which is not very directional at all. I suspect it'd be the ticket for offroad riding, as the large cone of light does work well at showing a large area. Problem is, it washes out with oncoming traffic, and there is a dark-ish spot in the center. I don't ride with a lot of traffic at night, so it hasn't been a problem. I did buy a 10W MR16, but just haven't bothered to swap it in to try yet. The bulbs are kinda pricey, at $7.29.

It's certainly worth trying for $12. I'm in the same scenario, I had some batteries already. The battery is pretty heavy, 7.5Ahr, must be like 8lb (someday I'll weigh it); but I'm pretty sure it'll work just fine for my sub-hour long bike rides. I also just carry the battery in a fannypack, so it's not weighing down the bike. I'm not sure what the light weighs, but it's not made with steel. Probably a pound.

[The wiring is a quick disconnect type of connector--Anderson Powerpole--so it shouldn't be a real problem in case of accident.]

Oh: I did post some pic's of my setup in the "Total Geek" sticky on this forum.
It's pretty easy to retrofit commercial 5 to 10 W lights with 15 or 20 W bulbs. BatterySpace sells them for around $3 each. Your run time is less, of course but it's not hard to do. Niterider sells the TrailRat or the Road Rat for around $100. If you can find them, they also sell the Sport NR50 for around $40. That one takes D cells but can be easily adapted to rechargeables. The lamp head itself is pretty good.
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Old 08-10-07, 05:34 AM   #15
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I have had really good luck using a submersible pond light from Harbor Freight. Takes only a little bit of modifying. Take a look.

PondScum Homebrew bikelight
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=245737
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Old 08-14-07, 09:24 PM   #16
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I have made two or three similar lights. At one point I had dual 20W lights, one spot and one flood. That was fun but a bit of a battery drain. Now I usually use just one 20W or a 35W, with one LED backup light. But these big lights are for those short days (which are approaching). I tried a 50W once. That was a blast but was a battery hog and got a little hot.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by hr2510 View Post
Thanks. I did find a spot with a 12 degree 20w MR16 bulb. It's smaller than the other although I'm not too concerned about adding a pound or two extra to a 60 pound tandem.This one has a o-ring seal and looks easy enough to adapt/mount and to drill and add a switch.It's about $3 cheaper also.
Code:
pic
I made my bike light from this. I replaced the stock 20W flood with a 20W spot, fabricated a mounting/adjusting system, wiring, switch, connectors, etc. I use a 3.6 Watt-hour SLA battery I carry in my rear rack trunk, set up to plug into the charger in the garage.

A tip if you use this light. The halogen lamp is not firmly mounted so it will bounce around within the light enclosure. I ended up switching the position of the O-ring and the lens, and putting a few drops of silicone at the edge of the halogen lamp to stabilize it against the lens.

It works great. I use it mainly for early morning fitness rides. Plenty of light, and I think the battery will last about an hour. I've never run it down as my morning rides are around 25 minutes.

Between Home Depot, Radio Shack and zbattery.com, I think I spent about $65 on it, and it's equivalent to a commercial light that costs twice that or more. But, like you, I like to tinker. The return on my time was probably about $2/hour, but I'm OK with that. It was a fun project, and quite successful.
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Old 08-17-07, 10:53 PM   #18
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screw all this I'll just mount a Par64 to my handlebars.
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Old 08-18-07, 06:51 AM   #19
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screw all this I'll just mount a Par64 to my handlebars.
The LED Par64 looks like a nice option...maybe mount one in the rear for a taillight also.
  • .
A full color mixing LED Par 64.
- 4 Channels of DMX
- 183 pcs of ultra bright 10mm LED’s
- Life Hours: 100,000 hours
- 16.7 million colors
- 25 Degree Angle
- Aluminum housing in black
- Programming Modes: Auto mode, DMX mode, Master / slave mode and sound activation mode

DMX Control: 4CH With DMX address selection for each channel With intensity dimmer and strobe effects
These units are comparable to a 250 watt - 300 watt bulb. Roughly 199 lux / 18.5 fc
These units have no problem with a 15 to 20 foot throw.

DMX
4 channels
1- red 0-100
2- green 0-100
3-blue 0-100
4 Dimmer / Stobe
0 to full is 0-74%
stobe from slow to fast is 75 - 99%
Full is 100%
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