$10 in parts + a cordless drill = bright halogen light...
After reading the forums for a few weeks I decided it was time to have a go at a DIY light.
I'm a little broke atm and saving for a real roadbike, so I wanted to go as cheaply as possible. In considering battery options, I was originally thinking lead acid like in a $20 motorcycle or lawn mower battery, but then I started looking around the house instead at what I had here.
First I considered 2 6V lantern batteries but nixed that because I couldn't recharge them. Next was a 7.2V LI battery that I have a good charger for, but that wasn't really bright enough with the 12V light I had.
Then I looked at my rechargeable drill. 14.4V, with a quick charger. I checked it on the poles and it was putting out 15.59V so it seemed like a perfect - no buck - solution for me. The only problem is hooking to it without making a permanent connection like soldering. I settled on some insulated alligator clips for now until I can figure out a better solution. I may end up looking for the same drill on ebay and cutting the entire bottom off and mounting it to the bike. This would allow me to solder all the connections and very quickly ans easily remove and reattach the battery to the bike. If runtime is acceptable (will find out in the morning) I'll consider doing that but if its dead in 10 minutes I'll just buy me another battery solution.
As for the MR16, I found a 1.5" PVC inline coupler that it fit almost perfectly in. I ground the inside lip a little to make the light fit flush, and then set it in with a few drops of hot glue, then sealed the entire seam with quick set epoxy. I mounted it to the bike by bending down the front reflector holder and removing the reflector, and mounting it with a few bolts and washers. To lock the nuts on I just slightly bent the bolts over. This way if I need to I can still remove them and just put it back with new ones.
The battery is temporarily just stuck on where it fit snugly, and strapped on with a velcro strap I found in the garage.
Light is simply amazing. I can't wait to get out there in the morning and see what it will do. For the time being, I'm leaving all of the other lights on the bike in case the battery runs out or something blows up, but hopefully eventually I can remove them. Time will tell...
All in all, I spent $5 on the bulb at Lowes and maybe another $5 on connectors and what not. I did try to find a way to dim it a little with no success. A rheostat from Radio Shack worked great, but being rated at only 3 watts it started smoking in under 30 seconds. I'm going to try a dimmer switch from a camper supply store when I get a chance. I'll update the thread as I make progress.
Here's the pics...
First, a flash pic of the garage door for reference:
Next, the $13 Schwinn 3 LED light I bought that's actually pretty bright:
And the $15 Bell Xenon light. This is what I have been riding with. Sucks doesn't it? :p
And now with the MR16 turned on...
The battery pack...
And pics of the PVC coupler with the bulb in it:
I'm going to keep working on the enclosure and seal up the back and paint it all. I just got it to here and threw it on the bike to test the light output. I'll probably put the battery in a tailbag or something eventually if I don't find another more secure way to mount it. Like I said, I'll find out how this all does in the morning and I'm sure I'll be making adjustments.
Ideas? Comments? Suggestions?