Simulated Tough Guy
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Jefferson City, Missouri
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I did it! Faced with the prospect of the end of DST, I needed to do something to amp up the light I was able to produce or face another winter of sitting and spinning in my living room. Then I saw this thread and was inspired!
I had been running a Blackburn 4 led light on the handlebars for a week or so, but that light was good for the ‘see me’ part, not very good for the ‘me see.’ And being of somewhat limited means (read: almost divorced) I couldn’t afford to go out and throw $100’s around to come up with some exotic rechargeable light set. So, I followed this thread, and last weekend took a trip to Lowe’s (we don’t have a Home Depot here).
I bought a $12.95 12v outdoor floodlight, the kind that comes with a spike for sticking in the ground. 20W MR16 floodlight bulb and an aluminum enclosure, complete with a screw cap and glass lense to cover the bulb. I cut the spike off and replaced the flood bulb with a 20W spotlight bulb (thanks to advice I saw here) as the flood tends to throw a great big circle of light, while the spot tends to focus the light farther in front of the unit. Mounted the enclosure on an old reflector bracket on the handlebars and that part was done.
I went to Radio Shack and bought a $29 SLA battery, 12v/7.2AH. Took an old water bottle cage, bent it to fit the battery, mounted all of the above in the front water bottle position on the frame and I’m ready to go. Well, almost, I still had to run some wire and put a few connectors on same.
So at 6:00 p.m. tonight, after work, I took off for a little 14 mile test run. Through the hills, some streetlights but predominantly NO streetlights. Ran for just over an hour, and the results were fantastic! I had plenty of light to see what was coming, no more swerving at the last minute. Even the downhills were fine, with plenty of visibility at speeds between 20-28 mph. No noticeable drop-off in the amount of light, so one hour is well within the charge life-span of this battery (it took only about 30 minutes for it to fully charge again on the trickle charger) and it should easily handle my usual 1:15 - 1:30 rides. The only problem I had was that the mounting on the reflector bracket was not up the task; the bracket stayed put, but the light kept bouncing and coming out of adjustment, with the beam ending up right in front of the front tire. I tightened it as much as I could, but on the road and with the cold I didn’t feel like playing the mechanic card.
So, thanks to the BF and this thread, I was able to put together a light system that will easily take care of my needs to continue riding as long as I can stand the temperatures of a Missouri winter. And, for less than $50, which is an accomplishment in itself.
Thanks to all who contributed ideas to this thread.