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Thread: Total Geekiness

  1. #276
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you. You are too kind!
    Another source I used was http://nordicgroup.us/s78/. Also, it seems in my area (Atlanta, GA) that Home Depot has only two types of 12 volt sealed beam lights: one is the 25 watt halogen I used and the 2nd is regular 11 watt bulb that Steven M. Scharf (at site above) says to avoid. I think I will have to get the 14 watt halogen on-line (so I can have long run time in winter). I have not tried this system in the rain; we have had very little rain lately (or at least when I might have to ride in it). I'm in the process of making a smaller version for my son's bike using just the stobe and a camcorder battery for power. I hooked the battery and strobe up on sunday and it ran for more than 9 hours.

    Gee this fun!
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  2. #277
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    MapTester Awesome setup...! Awesome use of wasted rack space too! That box has great visibility and probably waterproof...#1 on my mind now that the moonsoons are here!

    Rainman...Do you mean like this? If you show your marine guy a picture maybe he can get something cheaper...or maybe you can make an O-ring from old bicycle tubing to block water. http://www.go2marine.com/frameset.js...egoryId/13115/

  3. #278
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    Okay, my turn! I have been inspired to 'roll-my-own' light system by the great information in this thread. I used an Intermatic LV505 25 watt sealed beam headlight from Home Depot (2 for $18), a Vector Pocket Power 12 SLA battery ($20 total with recharger)
    Where'd you get the battery for $20?

    Also, can anybody suggest where to get good NIMH AA and AAA batteries cheap? I need another 6-8 of each, which is about $50 retail. I found a place selling 12 AAA and 12 AA "generic" NIMH's in a combo package for $22, but...are they comparable in quality to Eveready?
    Last edited by bkrownd; 08-25-04 at 01:29 AM.
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
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  4. #279
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Bkrownd, I buy Duracell NiMH 1800 mah AA as well as AAA from mcminone.com and from different eBay sources for a little over $1 each.

    VR, thanks, I had seen those but was holding out for something with a threaded seal. I may go ahead and get a set for my next battery box.

    Does anyone know a source of round power cord similar to the kind that usually comes on bike lights? Something 4-5 mm diameter?
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  5. #280
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Source for $20 SLA Pocket Power battery: Vector Mfg Co. I got mine at Pep Boys. I just read a webpage where someone upgraded the power outlet on the battery--it is low end. In fact, because the recharger plug doesn't want to stay in, I didn't get a good recharge last night. I think with a few dollars I can upgrade the power outlet and recharger plug and have a very reliable power source.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  6. #281
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainmanP

    Does anyone know a source of round power cord similar to the kind that usually comes on bike lights? Something 4-5 mm diameter?
    Well regular speaker wire works well. Radio Shack and most automotive stores sell it on a spool. The multi-wire kind seems to work best because the cord needs to flex. I just use old battery recharger cable

  7. #282
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    Source for $20 SLA Pocket Power battery: Vector Mfg Co. I got mine at Pep Boys.

    ...the recharger plug doesn't want to stay in, I didn't get a good recharge last night. I think with a few dollars I can upgrade the power outlet and recharger plug and have a very reliable power source.
    Easily solved. But remember to mark positive and negative carefully. Typically, the positive is the white-striped wire that leads to the center point of the cigar-shaped plug on the Pocket Power.

    Another thing to consider is your fuse. If you fry the standard fuse supplied with the Pocket Power, if you don't find the right size at Home Depot, you should revisit the homebuild site you mentioned to construct an in-line fuse setup.

    Fantastic setup. Where'd you get the strobe? Radio Shack says they don't have it anymore. Did you order online?

    (You even have the LED beehive, don't you?!)
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 08-25-04 at 10:22 PM.
    No worries

  8. #283
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    I got the strobe on-line at All Electronics Corp. , along with some replacement fuses. I am experimenting with some wall warts I have to see if I can have a recharger at work and one at home. And yes, I even have the beehive red LED taillight.

    FYI, for a backup light system, REI has a sale on the Cateye HL-EL200/ LD500-RC combo set for $25. It is the three white LED headlight and taillight has a reflector with flashing LEDs.

    LittleBigMan, check your e-mail.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  9. #284
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I am still trying to mount my 4" 54 LED truck brake/turn/tail light. I think I have it figured out, just need a couple of washers. You do NOT want to be looking at this thing from close range at the high brightness! I've got a couple of the amber beehives that I am messing around with, also.

    You know, one thing I would like to try, except that it costs 60 bucks, is a white 54 LED truck light. These are intended for overhead lighting in trailers. If I was sure how bright it was I wouldn't mindspending the bucks. The attraction is that it only draws just over .6 amps, which would either provide super long battery live or allow the use of a small 2 or 3 amp hour battery, even with tail lights.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  10. #285
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    >>except that it costs 60 bucks, is a white 54 LED truck light. These are intended for overhead lighting in trailers. If I was sure how bright it was I wouldn't mindspending the bucks. The attraction is that it only draws just over .6 amps, which would either provide super long battery live or allow the use of a small 2 or 3 amp hour battery, even with tail lights.

    I was looking at those also this week also only in 24V. Can run a 24V light that draws .6 amps against my 18V battery? Or is some sort of fuse needed??????

    Made the head light piece a few nights ago but got stuck on the mudflap. It keeps flopping into the front wheel, wire and all. Time for a plastic oil jug I guess!

  11. #286
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    LittleBigMan, check your e-mail.
    I'm on it.

    No worries

  12. #287
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Omigod, ya'll! I put the red 54 LED truck brake/turn/tail light on my second commuter yesterday. You cannot even imagine how bright this thing is. You DEFINITELY don't want to be right behind me on a bike. You tires might melt...right after your retinas! On the bright setting, as I now have it hooked up, it draws just over .6 amp. I plan to install a two-way switch so I can switch settings. The lower taillight setting is less obnoxious.

    I called Maxxima, the company that makes the white 54 LED back up light. They said they didn't think it would project the light. Let me tell you, this red brake light definitely project light. It it is any indication I think the white light might be equivalent to at least a 10W halogen and probably more, maybe even 20. I am going to do some experimentation and may give one a shot after all. There is a site that has LED replacements for common bulbs like MR11, and a range of others. They say that their 12 LED MR11, or maybe it was MR16, replacement was about as bright as a 5W halogen. If extrapolation is valid, ie, similar LEDs, etc., 54 LEDs would be over 20W. That would be pretty sweet for just over .6 amp draw, and the LED light will probably not need replacement in your lifetime!

    This is what I love about making my own light setup. To me, it's not about saving money, because I don't, though I could certainly tell someone how to set up a super light for about $50. I love to experiment. The thrill of the hunt!
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  13. #288
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    Maptester,

    Very cool set-up! Can you explain that unit on the front left fork? Light? Battery? Hip Flask??

  14. #289
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    It's my IV bottle of moonshine. No, really it is the air supply for my airhorn . Nice and loud (115 db ) and you can refill it with your tire pump. It may be a bit loud for pedestrians, but it least people on cell phones can hear you.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  15. #290
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Rode this morning for the first time with the 54 LED taillight on bright. A cyclist I have seen numerous times on my commute, who has always blown by me, pulled up beside me and commented that that was one heck of a taillight. I guess it makes an impression.

    FWIW, I allowed the battery to run down to see how much run time I got. With a 35W halogen headlight, ~3 amps, and the .61-.62 amp taillight I got about 1 hr 25 min run time on my 7 AH battery. A new battery might do better. The battery was a takeout from an emergency light system or security system that, having been replaced in normal preventive maintenance schedule.

    Here is a pic of 3 taillight options. The two horizontal lights on the left are on a bracket on my primary commuter. They are two 8-LED truck/trailer marker lights with reflective lenses. I have previously posted a pick of these lights with flash to demonstrate the reflectivity. Cost either $5 or $7 each. The draw about .035 amp each or .07 amp total. The small round light between them is not mounted on the bike but just hung in place for comparison. It is a NiteRider LED taillight shown here in steady mode. Quite bright; cost about $60. The large round light on the right is the 54 LED truck brake/turn/tail light in bright mode. Cost about $25, plus $5 bracket. The NiteRider and the large brake light seem about equal here in brightness, but the 54 LED is far more visible in practice due to overwhelming numbers. It draws .62-.62 amps. I like both homemade setups. I will be putting the small NiteRider light on one of my road bikes for early morning group rides.

    Edited to correct the approximate price of the red 54-LED light.
    Last edited by RainmanP; 08-30-04 at 05:37 PM.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  16. #291
    Nameless Serbaside's Avatar
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    Don't they still make light genorators that use your rear wheel to create electrity

  17. #292
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Yes. I have a very good one wheel driven dynamo, actually I used it on my front wheel. Personally, I find 2.4-3 watt light a dynamo can power insufficient for my 9-mile commute in the dark every morning year round. Others may be satisfied with it. I am not. I like 35 watts of light and would go for 50, but battery size starts to get out of hand. I don't have a problem with a battery up to 9 lbs, but I don't want anything larger.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  18. #293
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I find a good, focused-beam 2.4 or 3.0 watt dynamo lamp w/ a halogen bulb sufficient for all my night cycling needs, no batteried ever required, and today's systems include standlights so your lights stay on even when stopped. That and a lot of reflectors and retro-reflective tape. I get my lighting systems online from Peter White Cycles, and my reflective tape online from Identi-tape. I get bulbs for older Union dynamo lamps from Reflectalite. All three companies offer superior service and delivery times.

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm
    http://www.identi-tape.com/safetyonetwo.htm
    http://www.identi-tape.com/hi-intensity.htm
    http://www.reflectalite.com/halogenpage.html

    To paraphrase an old Frank Zappa line from 200 Motels: "more than a mouthful is wasted". 3.0 watts is a mouthful; beyond that, you're falling victim to the great American tradition of "bigger is better", IMO.


  19. #294
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    3.0 watts is a mouthful; beyond that, you're falling victim to the great American tradition of "bigger is better", IMO.
    hmmm....there's a reason why motor vehicles have a uniform color, size, and brightness. Until bicycles match that standard of visibility, survivalists like myself are gonna go our own way.

    In Rainman's example, guess which light will be spotted first? In fact at first blush, I thought the 54LED light was a truck that was ahead of the bike.

    Rainman,
    I posted to the Science forum...about hooking in 12V stuff to a 18V battery and got a resounding set of replies about a simple potentiometer (it's a screw that you turn to get the voltage down).

  20. #295
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    hmmm....there's a reason why motor vehicles have a uniform color, size, and brightness. Until bicycles match that standard of visibility, survivalists like myself are gonna go our own way.
    Motor vehicles actually use a wide range of lighting sytems, IMO not very standardized at all, from 'traditional' standard headlamps to halogens to the new xenon headlamps; the same for taillights, from standard lamps to LEDs can all be found on motor vehicles.

    European countries all have standards for 2.4 and 3.0 watt bicycle dynamo lighting sytems. The B&M and other systems that Peter White Cycles sells all meet one or more of the relatively strict European standards. Unfortunately, the only standard the US has for bicycle lighting is the stupid CPSC standards for reflectors, which aren't even lights at all and don't meet the law for required night lighting equipment for bicycles in any state in the US.

    I'd personally rather use a lighting system that fully meets my lighting needs, the law, one or more of the strict European standards, and most important doesn't require batteries. That of course doesn't stop you or anyone else from 'cowboying' it, but I still think it's overkill.
    Last edited by randya; 08-30-04 at 11:27 PM.

  21. #296
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    ...3.0 watts is a mouthful; beyond that, you're falling victim to the great American tradition of "bigger is better", IMO.
    Whatever works for you.

    No worries

  22. #297
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    With all due respect to those of you who like dynamo lights, there are plenty of threads in the archives about this light vs that light, dynamo vs battery. I respectfully request that anyone interested in those subjects feel free to search the archives, resurrect old threads or start new ones.

    This thread is about home built light systems. It's not a debate about what is best. In my case, it is not even about what is most practical. It is about having some fun and creating lighting systems that you can't buy, mostly using parts you can replace easily and inexpensively.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  23. #298
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    Is there a point we'll get to before people start strapping car headlights with lead acid setups to their bikes? Some of this stuff looks just a wee bit overkill unless you're driving in total darkness or something.

  24. #299
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Dear gentle thread participants,
    RainmanP shared his thoughts on what some of us are discussing on this thread. I can see that what is being created might seem overkill to some, or even most cyclists. However, we do have our reasons for posting here--to share what works and what don't, new types of lights or power sources and our own individual ways in installing things. We also have reasons for wanting the type of lighting systems we are trying to create here: some of us are commuting early enough in the morning (or late enought at night) to need significant lighting. My wife, son, and I ride together every morning and it is getting darker every day. I have a real fear that someone won't see us before they hit one of us. I want car drivers to really see us and not miss us in the blaze of lights in an urban enviroment.

    I post this not to discourage anyone from posting here, only to state that we know we are geeks (or at least I will own up to that label ) and we have knowledge that we are off the normal scale here. As far as total candlepower goes, I believe in "winning throught superior firepower".

    I will now step off my soapbox and return to our regularity scheduled thread...
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  25. #300
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I'm geek and I'm proud. Face my taillight and feel the burn!

    FWIW, if it wouldn't take a larger battery than I care to tote, I WOULD use a car headlight. Not really. I don't actually use my powerful lights to light the road far ahead. You would probably be surprised at how close it is pointed, BUT I can see every detail in that area plus pretty far ahead and far out to the sides.

    Besides, it's not about the light.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

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