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  1. #1
    Mr. cost-benefit analysis
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    Bottomfeeder's DIY Halogen update

    I decided to spend my money on a nice battery and smart charger from batteryspace.com, and save by fabricating my own 20 watt halogen light. Well, below is an image of my first effort after a paltry maiden burn time of 45 minutes. Let's just say I've learned why indoor track lighting fixtures aren't fabricated from ABS plastic bits from the pluming dept.

    DanO
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  2. #2
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    Haha.. At least the plastic bits from the plumbing supply aren't that expensive. Thanks for sharing, gave me a good laugh and a reminder that the heat has to go somewhere.

    Was that a 45 minute run while biking or just standing still on your workbench or table or something? Just wondering if you had airflow over it, cuz that would make a big difference even in a plastic enclosure I'm sure.

  3. #3
    Mr. cost-benefit analysis
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    Here are some shots of the parts for my second effort. I found a steel sleeve for sink drains with a twist on collar that fits the MR11 20 watt halogen bulb perfectly - and can take the heat of said bulb. It screws into a heavier schedule 40 PVC cap to complete the housing. Inside, a simple ceramic socket soldered to the male lead supplied with the battery/charger combo complete the 'circuitry'.

    I also attached a couple images of the finished light. It's holding up fine. Although it gets alarmingly hot at a standstill. I swear I could light a smoke on it, if I were so inclined. It's better at 15 mph. Even so; I've considered drilling some holes in it to try and get it to run cooler. I'm a fair weather flyer and not really concerned about the light working in the rain.

    Thankfully burn times have gotten steadily better with each complete charge and discharge. 1: 45 min. 2: 1 hr 10 min. 3: 2 hrs. 4: 2 hrs. 5: 2 hrs 10 min. I don't think It'll get a whole lot longer. But I'm looking for a 15 watt bulb which could be easily switched out in the event I need to compromise between fewer lumens and a longer burn time.

    All in all: it's been a fun project and saved me substantial doe over a store bought system.

    DanO
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  4. #4
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    Try applying aluminum tape to the backside of the bulb. The MR series of bulbs was designed for the heat to exit out the back if the bulb. The aluminum tape helps reflect the heat out the front of the bulb. You may smell some the adhesive from the aluminum tape burning off after first use, but you will be amazed how much it will help your heat issue. Check out this thread for gobs of information.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=245737

  5. #5
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I've never had this problem before. I've left my lights turned on while on my bike in the basement for over an hour to test battery life(sorry too many prepositions). I use the white plastic, not the black. Maybe it is more heat tolerant??

  6. #6
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    PVC pipe will work fine for LED lights. There is heat generated by high power LED's but nothing like halogen bulbs. Here is a headlight using a 1-watt Luxeon star LED in matching Fraen elipicatal holder and lens mounted in a 1-inch pipe coupler.

    Half the connector is used for the optics and LED with the other half of the coupler housing the heat sink. The heat sink is a 1/2-inch copper plumbing pipe cap.

  7. #7
    Goggles & Doo-rag ready! Road_Biker's Avatar
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    Is that a six or 12 volt MR11 20w bulb? The lumens per watt is more than double for the 12 volt MR16 20w bulb versus the 12 volt MR11 20w version. The difference is all in the reflector.

    The MR16 has a 2" diameter and the MR11 a 1-3/8" diameter. Apparently that 5/8" makes a big difference. A MR16 would probably help eliminate some of the heat since the heat is due to infra red light that a bigger reflector will put in front of the bulb. As you might guess, I am looking to do this myself but haven't decided on a MR11 or MR16 bulb type and voltage.

    Anyway, nice job! I really like that mount for the bike. Where did you get that from?

  8. #8
    Mr. cost-benefit analysis
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Biker View Post
    Is that a six or 12 volt MR11 20w bulb? The lumens per watt is more than double for the 12 volt MR16 20w bulb versus the 12 volt MR11 20w version.
    The bulb is a 12 volt, 20 watt MR11. And I have to admit that I chose the MR11 because the smaller diameter simply fit the other stuff I was able to scrounge off the shelves in Home Depot. Now if I'd known the MR16's are that much brighter, I would have pressed on to find 'components' to fit the larger 2" diameter. And since this stuff is relatively cheap... I just might have to do that. Are they really twice as bright?

    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Biker View Post
    I really like that mount for the bike. Where did you get that from?
    That mount is made up of a couple seat post mounts for rear relflectors... or were they blinkies... can't really recall. But I was glad they were in the parts drawer, because they worked out pretty well.

    DanO

  9. #9
    Goggles & Doo-rag ready! Road_Biker's Avatar
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    According to this guys site: http://nordicgroup.us/s78/wattslumens.html

    The MR16 are over twice as bright as MR11's. I haven't compared the two directly, but from everything I've read it seems the MR16 reflector is what makes the difference. Also, it seems applying over voltage turns the MR16 into something like a HID light with a reduced life. It is unclear what that does to the assembly temperature though.

    Somewhere on the www, a guy describes building a dive lite using a MR16 and a maglite flashlight. Apparently, a MR16 fits inside a maglite flashlight head. Thanks for the heads up on using the reflector mount brackets. Good idea.

  10. #10
    Mr. cost-benefit analysis
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    Hey all. I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried using an MR16 series bulb without the glass front. I know the halogen bulb would be more prone to breakage, but it might run a lot cooler while does run. Besides, the only 20 watt, 12 degree spot I've found in stores is sans glass front.

    DanO

  11. #11
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bottomfeeder View Post
    Hey all. I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried using an MR16 series bulb without the glass front. I know the halogen bulb would be more prone to breakage, but it might run a lot cooler while does run. Besides, the only 20 watt, 12 degree spot I've found in stores is sans glass front.

    DanO
    You've got to have a sealed space around the halogen bulb. If any crud gets on the bulb a hot spot will develop on that spot and burn out the bulb. Halogen lights without a front glass sealing the space around the bulb is for indoor use only.

  12. #12
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    That pretty much resembles one of my first attempts...

    With the MR16 that has a front glass more than half the goes out the back of the bulb.

    Here's the last one I built out of plastic plumbing bits before I built my LED light, this one worked the best of all my lights and there was never a heat issue at all. An unplanned bonus was that the light spilled out the back, which would have otherwise been wasted, increased my visibility to drivers approaching from behind.








  13. #13
    Senior Member Cody Broken's Avatar
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    n4zou - I was wondering what the heck was up with your handlebar, until I realized it is a trekking bar!

    Cyclaholic - That light is awesome! But how does it handle rain? Does the massive heat just burn rain away? I am very curious because that housing is so compact and looks lightweight. It also looks inexpensive and simple.

    I am very keen on building my own light. Like a few guys have done here I bought one of these:


    That's as far as I have gotten. I am confident about mounting it on my bike. I am comfortable with wrenching and fabricating. It is the electronics part where I lack confidence.
    Trying to be nice

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cody Broken View Post
    n4zou - I was wondering what the heck was up with your handlebar, until I realized it is a trekking bar!

    Cyclaholic - That light is awesome! But how does it handle rain? Does the massive heat just burn rain away? I am very curious because that housing is so compact and looks lightweight. It also looks inexpensive and simple.

    I am very keen on building my own light. Like a few guys have done here I bought one of these:


    That's as far as I have gotten. I am confident about mounting it on my bike. I am comfortable with wrenching and fabricating. It is the electronics part where I lack confidence.
    Not much in the way of electronic parts needed. The lamp has a socket (that the bulb plugs into) and a wire out the back. Connect the wires to a battery using connectors that you can easily pick up at Radio Shack, a big box store or a hobby shop that carries RC car stuff, plug the bulb into the socket and go ride. If you want to turn the light off, unplug it.

    Possible plugs:

    Simple crimp connectors. One on each line. Unplug one and the light shuts off.



    Or interlocking connectors. You'll need a male and female part.



    If you know how to solder, you could use Dean Ultra Connectors



    or Sermos connectors



    These are more rugged and have lower resistance than the block connectors but a little more involved to connect to the wires.

    If you want to be more elaborate, you can drill a hole in the back of the housing and attach a switch to the light. All you need in switch on one wire. Radio Shack has lots of switches. Although unplugging the battery works, a switch is a little more convenient. Dangling wires and spinning wheels don't go together well

    It's not hard to wire a simple DC light. Just try and think about the way that the energy flows and you'll catch on pretty quickly.
    Stuart Black
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  15. #15
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    If you know how to solder, you could use Dean Ultra Connectors
    Soldering is a must have skill for anyone wanting to DIY. Once you learn how you find it's very easy to do. You'll wonder how you ever got along without knowing how to solder! Here is a good link showing how to do it.
    http://www.mediacollege.com/misc/solder/index.html
    Considering how cheap a basic soldering iron and accessories are you can just right in and start soldering some junk wires and that sort of thing to learn how. You'll be surprised how fast you pick it up. Then when you want to use the batteries from a Ni-MH R/C battery pack on clearance sale after Christmas at your local X-mart you can confidently purchase it or more, cut it open, and use them for your next project.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Cody Broken's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Very encouraging! I already took the first step buying that lamp, there's no turning back now.

    I hope to have a light built up and installed on my winter bike by December.
    Trying to be nice

  17. #17
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    The hotter you can get the halogens the better. I use osram irc lights. They have a infared reflecting coat on the inside of the bulb to increase filament temps. Also if you cover the rear of a reflector with al foil or tape the ir and uv will be let out the front, lowering the housing temps ALOT.

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou View Post
    Soldering is a must have skill for anyone wanting to DIY. Once you learn how you find it's very easy to do. You'll wonder how you ever got along without knowing how to solder! Here is a good link showing how to do it.
    http://www.mediacollege.com/misc/solder/index.html
    Considering how cheap a basic soldering iron and accessories are you can just right in and start soldering some junk wires and that sort of thing to learn how. You'll be surprised how fast you pick it up. Then when you want to use the batteries from a Ni-MH R/C battery pack on clearance sale after Christmas at your local X-mart you can confidently purchase it or more, cut it open, and use them for your next project.
    I agree but crimp connectors will work for those who have an aversion to heat
    Stuart Black
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  19. #19
    Mr. cost-benefit analysis
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    3 times' a charm

    Well it seems that 3 times’ a charm - as with all manner of things. If you’ve followed, or at least reviewed this thread, you know that my first attempt was literally a melt-down, plain and simple. And though my second try was a partial success; in the end my mount proved too weak for the hammering dished out on the mean streets of L.A. Also: though the MR11 20 volt flood was a quantum leap ahead of dual Cayeye EL500’s, it was just a tad dim for the darkest, fastest descent on my commute.

    So; submitted for your approval, DanO’s Illuminator 3000 deluxe. First and foremost, I wouldn’t hesitate to go mountain biking, if I that was my bag, with the new mount. I think I could hang a canned ham from it - no problem. Second; the Sylvania Tru-Aim MR16, 20 watt, 8 degree spot, halogen lamp is to the MR11 flood, what the Mr11 flood was to my weak AA powered LED units. By comparison, it looks like a police helicopter is following me around with it’s search light on! 30 mph in the dark? No problem.

    I was a bit hesitant to go back to plastic, even though I was using PVC as opposed to the ABS which melted in my first attempt. But Sylvania claims this lamp has a reflector which directs most of the heat out the front. I also used aluminum tape on the inside of the housing. The light still gets pretty hot at a dead standstill, but doesn’t melt. (Still, I wouldn’t leave it left of while the bike was parked for 2 hrs.) And even a 10 mph breeze drops the temp dramatically. So I think that I’m structurally sound. Of course time will tell how many heating/cooling cycles the PVC is up to.

    So for now we’re good to go. Anyone considering building one of these should definitely plan the light around the MR16 diameter bulb - even if an MR11 series light would be more convenient. Did I spend as much building 3 lights as I might have simply buying one from Night Rider or Cygolite? Maybe. But this was fun. And I ended up with a WAY better mount.. for my bike, at least.

    DanO
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
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    Very professional looking there... It looks great on your bike.

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bottomfeeder View Post
    Well it seems that 3 times’ a charm - as with all manner of things. If you’ve followed, or at least reviewed this thread, you know that my first attempt was literally a melt-down, plain and simple. And though my second try was a partial success; in the end my mount proved too weak for the hammering dished out on the mean streets of L.A. Also: though the MR11 20 volt flood was a quantum leap ahead of dual Cayeye EL500’s, it was just a tad dim for the darkest, fastest descent on my commute.

    So; submitted for your approval, DanO’s Illuminator 3000 deluxe. First and foremost, I wouldn’t hesitate to go mountain biking, if I that was my bag, with the new mount. I think I could hang a canned ham from it - no problem. Second; the Sylvania Tru-Aim MR16, 20 watt, 8 degree spot, halogen lamp is to the MR11 flood, what the Mr11 flood was to my weak AA powered LED units. By comparison, it looks like a police helicopter is following me around with it’s search light on! 30 mph in the dark? No problem.

    I was a bit hesitant to go back to plastic, even though I was using PVC as opposed to the ABS which melted in my first attempt. But Sylvania claims this lamp has a reflector which directs most of the heat out the front. I also used aluminum tape on the inside of the housing. The light still gets pretty hot at a dead standstill, but doesn’t melt. (Still, I wouldn’t leave it left of while the bike was parked for 2 hrs.) And even a 10 mph breeze drops the temp dramatically. So I think that I’m structurally sound. Of course time will tell how many heating/cooling cycles the PVC is up to.

    So for now we’re good to go. Anyone considering building one of these should definitely plan the light around the MR16 diameter bulb - even if an MR11 series light would be more convenient. Did I spend as much building 3 lights as I might have simply buying one from Night Rider or Cygolite? Maybe. But this was fun. And I ended up with a WAY better mount.. for my bike, at least.

    DanO
    If the PVC melts (the melt point is very low...around the boiling point of water), consider a pinhole track light like this one from Home Depot



    I found a low voltage MR16 spot at mine in black for $20. It's not water proof but it is bright and won't melt. Be careful when choosing the light, however. Don't get the GU-10 pin variety.
    Stuart Black
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    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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  22. #22
    Commuter/Roadie mtn_mojo's Avatar
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    I highly recommend the Optronics QH-7CC fog lamp. $19.99 gets you two lamps, with free 55W bulbs for the heck of it. I swapped in a 20W easy enough. Cheap, totally weatherproof, and good looking. Take out that vertical screw and fit a hose clamp through the mount. I got the idea from that nordicgroup website, it's a hell of a deal. Perhaps not as fun as totally crafting your own housing...but totally hassle free.

    Edit: A link for you - http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/I...D:100000201439
    Bike to Work!

  23. #23
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn_mojo View Post
    I highly recommend the Optronics QH-7CC fog lamp. $19.99 gets you two lamps, with free 55W bulbs for the heck of it. I swapped in a 20W easy enough. Cheap, totally weatherproof, and good looking.
    +1 on the QH-7CC foglamps... and BTW, there is a vendor on Ebay who must have gotten a batch of these for sale. For the past month or so, they keep auctioning one set of these after another. I got mine for $2.00 + $5.00 shipping. Absolutely impossible to beat for $7.00!

    Just swap out the 50W bulbs and you're set to ride...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bottomfeeder View Post
    Well
    So; submitted for your approval, DanO’s Illuminator 3000 deluxe.
    DanO
    I think I recognize the gray, hex-shaped part, but what is the off-white part?

  25. #25
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn_mojo View Post
    I highly recommend the Optronics QH-7CC fog lamp. $19.99 gets you two lamps, with free 55W bulbs for the heck of it. I swapped in a 20W easy enough. Cheap, totally weatherproof, and good looking. Take out that vertical screw and fit a hose clamp through the mount. I got the idea from that nordicgroup website, it's a hell of a deal. Perhaps not as fun as totally crafting your own housing...but totally hassle free.

    Edit: A link for you - http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/I...D:100000201439
    Hmmm, I wonder if you could cram a CREE or three in there?
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