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Thread: Total Geekiness

  1. #326
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Honking big rear reflective tape/strips everywhere should improve that situation.
    Yeah, you can buy sheets of 3M reflective material actually pretty cheap, $4-5/square foot from sign supply places. Then you can cut whatever strips or shapes you need to fit. I cut blue to fit blue areas on my helmet. In daylight no one knows it's there, but it glows in headlights. I also cut pieces to cover bare parts of my light brackets, narrow strips to go on rack supports, strips on the sides of my fork, etc. I don't put it on my actual frame, or at least haven't yet, mainly because not muc of the frame is visible from behind when I ride. I bought a sheet of each color I could get - red, blue, yellow, white, green.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  2. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Here's the LED headlight design I'd like to "borrow": (link to another outside forum's bike light thread)

    http://tinyurl.com/6fltt

    A very clean, easy and effective design.
    Did a quick search on that site and here is a link for the dynamo fans that fits in our geek thread!
    LED Dynamo system!

  3. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Honking big rear reflective tape/strips everywhere should improve that situation.
    The guy had scotchlight on the back of his jacket and panniers. But they didn't illuminate until the headlights were almost directly on him.

  4. #329
    Zin
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    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...799#post613799

    This thread is talking about neons on bikes. Could have some good applications. I haven't run the numbers for lumens or power consumption yet, but it looks to be worth consideration.

    Bob

  5. #330
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Now that nights are getting longer...

    No worries

  6. #331
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Coming home late last night, we had all lights on in full UFO mode. 3 bikes: 4 led blinkies, 2 Cateye white 3-led headlights on blick, 2 yellow strobes, and my 25 watt halogen headlight and 8 led taillight. I did notice cars giving us more space.

    I have been surfing some of the homebuilt led flashlight sites. They have some sources for very bright led components, like these luxeons. The appeal of high candlepower and low wattage is strong. I just don't quite see how it put it all together right now. I would be interested in whatever homebrew led lights anyone has, like this "spare rib" system.

    As far as neon goes, I saw some neon wire lights for cars at Big Lots this week. Does anyone know how this wire works?
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  7. #332
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    Map Testor

    Guess a frame of reference is needed here. i.e., how many lumens is an average car tail light?

  8. #333
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    Back in 1998 I purchased a Niterider Digital Pro-6. The Lighting system worked great up until just last year. The battery pack is no longer able to keep a charge. Well, I took apart the water bottle battery and what I found was quite disappointing to say the least. To replace the batteries it would have cost about a hundred dollars plus shipping maybe, then throw in at least a week to two weeks for replacement from the factory. Anyway, to my horror there were only five 'D' sized batteries arranged just so to fit in the bottle type container. I believe that they are Ni-cads. Either they must be some special factory or industry spec'd batteries or I was really ripped off! I went to Radio Shack to find replacement batteries similiar to the ones I was replacing. I wasn't satisfied with the cheap regular ones, so I was thinking of using 7.2 volt battery pack used for radio controlled cars. Has anyone had any experience with this sort of thing or am I going to have to pioneer this thing and probably fry my headlamp. I'm a bit hesitant to do so on the account of using a higher voltage battery. Will overvolting the headlamp ruin the circuitry or processor? Also, what halogen bulb, if any, will work to replace the bulb currently in the headlamp now? If I'm able to figure out how to post pics, I will most certainly do so. Thanks in advance.

  9. #334
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    What did you expect to find in the battery pack? Most packs are built from standard size cells. batteryspace.com might be able to recommend something. Probably shouldn't stray too far from the original voltage, and make sure that you have the right charger for the new batteries so you don't ruin 'em.

    If those are ni-cads make sure to recycle 'em.
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  10. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    What did you expect to find in the battery pack? Most packs are built from standard size cells. batteryspace.com might be able to recommend something. Probably shouldn't stray too far from the original voltage, and make sure that you have the right charger for the new batteries so you don't ruin 'em.

    If those are ni-cads make sure to recycle 'em.

    I've read somewhere that over-volting will cause the bulb to burn whiter/brighter but also reduce the life of the bulb. Besides there will only be a 1.2 volt difference between the 7.2 and the 6.0v older battery I have also been considering putting two of these battery packs together, as in a parallel hook up to increase burn time. So two, 7.2 battery packs should double my burn time right? There is one thing I've just remembered, the battery packs are 'C' sized cells so that means less capacity compared to 'D' sized cells. Hhhmmm, perhaps I could put three 7.2 battery packs together to get the burn time I desire.

  11. #336
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Whether 6V vs. 7.2V matters depends on how they set up the circuit. I would doubt its a huge deal, because batteries don't operate at a constant voltage anyway. The 6V pack was probably more like 7-7.5V when fully charged, and drooped down below 4V when empty. In between it lingered somewhere around 6V for a while, when reasonably loaded.

    You could just put together your own set of 5 C or D size NiMH cells and get 6V if you wanted, which would allow you to use a normal off-the-shelf NiMH battery charger in which you could charge AAA's and AA's for other devices as well.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 09-12-04 at 05:47 AM.
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  12. #337
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    One of my 6v SLA batteries died recently so I went shopping for an upgrade. I found the following at Action Auto Parts in Olympia: 12v 12AH Motorcycle battery $19.95, plus on their "sale" table a 55 Watt halogen backup light $4.99. It is enclosed in a waterproof holder with an adjustable bracket. I just received 2 amber zenon flashers from All Electronics so I'm all set to build up a light box & long run headlight that can be switched between my Winter rain bikes at a total cost of $52.34 which includes tax, shipping & $1.20 core charge on the battery. It will be a bit heavy(10 pounds for the whole package) & I won't have time to put everything together for a few weeks but I will post my results when everything is up & running. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  13. #338
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoLoDoc
    Back in 1998 I purchased a Niterider Digital Pro-6. The Lighting system worked great up until just last year. The battery pack is no longer able to keep a charge.
    SoLoDoc, your battery pack lasted 6 years--that's very respectable. All batteries have a limited number of recharge cycles. I'd say your's was a good investment, as far as batteries go.

    Don't be fooled by the humble look of a battery pack. It might look like just a bunch of flashlight batteries covered in plastic shrink wrap, but it's not about looks, it's about performance.

    If you want someone who knows batteries and you don't want to wait two weeks for the factory, you might find good help at a retail battery specialty store* that can custom-build a replacement battery pack, and give you great advice, as well (Radio Shack is not in that league.) You might even want to go with a sealed lead-acid battery (which would require a new charger,) for a fraction of the cost of NiCd's (but it won't last nearly as long as your NiCd did, and they are heavier.)

    The only problem with going outside the original company for a battery replacement is that it might void your warranty, but since your system is already 6 years old, I'm not sure your warranty is still good, anyway. But check with the manufacturer, just to be sure.


    * Batteries Plus might be good, but service can vary according to location.
    No worries

  14. #339
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    Don't be fooled by the humble look of a battery pack. It might look like just a bunch of flashlight batteries covered in plastic shrink wrap, but it's not about looks, it's about performance.
    It's really not that hard, as long as you use similar cell chemistry, operate within the battery specs and use a charger that's appropriate for the cells (!!!) . But, if you don't remember your physics class it should be no problem to get a replacement made or off-the-shelf.
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  15. #340
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    It's really not that hard, as long as you use similar cell chemistry, operate within the battery specs and use a charger that's appropriate for the cells (!!!) . But, if you don't remember your physics class it should be no problem to get a replacement made or off-the-shelf.
    Exactly. Just because it looks humble, that doesn't mean it won't perform.
    No worries

  16. #341
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    There is a bulb-life price for over-voltage operation, but since most MR-11 and MR-16 bulbs are inexpensive and rated for 3000-5000 hours you can still expect several hundred hours. Running a 6V lamp at 7.2 is 25% over which may be pushing the limit. You can let us know how it works out.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  17. #342
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Got my light box up & operating last night & made the first commute today. The 55 watt flood type light is more than enough for the dark part of my commute. The 2 yellow xenon flashers are mounted front & rear. I also had a red blinkie hanging from my hip pocket & my usual reflective vest & ankle bands. The few cars that passed me on the 2 lane country road (darkest part of my commute) moved out & straddled the center line. Usually cars just zoom past with some giving a bit more room on my side. I put all on 1 circuit with a switch on the side of the box. I ran the setup on my ride home at lunch time & noticed some drivers checking out my setup. Put it on the charger tonight & the gauge showed 75%. Total burn time (including playing around & a short ride last night plus all the demonstrations for my co-workers this morning) was 45 minutes so it appears I might be able to get a 3 hour run time but 2.5 hrs seems more realistic.
    The recharge time was 1.5 hrs at the 2 amp setting on my charger. The motorcycle battery is a bit heavy but it didn't affect handling & I didn't notice the extra weight on the 2 hills I climb. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  18. #343
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Ollo Ollo,
    Can you describe the physical and electrical setup of the box itself? For instance:
    Is it mounted on your rack? How attached? What kind of connector/plug are you using at the box? Do you unplug the lights to plug in the charger? What kind of connectors have you used for making the other electical connections - Wires twisted together and taped? Spade connectors, aka, auto disconnects? Some other type of plug? Trailer plugs? What kind of wire - Zip cord? Lamp cord? Trailer wire?

    Right now I have a combination of the above connections. I am pretty well satisfied with my setup overall, but I am always looking to improve the details.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  19. #344
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Most of my bikes have racks & fenders. The box is a plastic Spin Doctor tool box that came with bike tools that now hang on the wall by my workbench. It is held in place on the rack with 2 bungee cords. I used 16 gauge wire from the auto parts store with all connections soldered & taped for now (later I will coat with liquid tape). I mounted a push type on/off switch on the side of the box. The wires to the headlight & front strobe are long enough to reach the stem with a bit extra & they connect there with spade type electrical connectors, I also taped them to the top tube at both ends. The headlight bracket attaches to the bar with 2 stainless steel hose clamps & the front xenon flasher is mounted on the reflector bracket which was already there. In order to transfer to another bike, I would unplug from the front headlight & move the box to the backup bike. I bought another of the 55watt lights since they were so cheap & plan to have it mounted on the backup bike so it would only have the headlight plus the xenon flasher on the box along with any blinkie I care to add. The battery measures 3 3/16 deep X 5 3/8 wide X 6 3/8 tall so that leaves most of the box for cargo if I need to carry anything. To charge, I just lean the bike against my workbench, open the box & attach my automobile charger to the battery terminals. This is a conventional lead/acid battery so if I catch a flat, I will have to remove the box before I lay my bike down to remove the rear wheel. I ran a piece of plastic hose from the vent tube through the side of the box. Rode it again today & had to demonstrate it to one of our attorneys who mountain bikes a lot. He was fascinated by the whole concept of a do it yourself light system that turned out so well. I will try to get a picture up this weekend. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  20. #345
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Sounds great. Not too different from my setup except that I am using 35W or 35W equivalent lights. My box is Carlon 6x6x4 electrical box on one bike, and I am getting a Pelican waterproof case for the other bike so I can use a larger battery which is currently in a bar bag. I am using SLA batteries so I don't have to be concerned about which side is up. Do you know the brand name of the light you are using? Does it take MR16 bulbs (about 2 inches in diameter) or is it more like a sealed beam headlight?
    Regards,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  21. #346
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    Quote Originally Posted by ollo_ollo
    Got my light box up & operating last night & made the first commute today. The 55 watt flood type light is more than enough for the dark part of my commute. The 2 yellow xenon flashers are mounted front & rear. I also had a red blinkie hanging from my hip pocket & my usual reflective vest & ankle bands. The few cars that passed me on the 2 lane country road (darkest part of my commute) moved out & straddled the center line. Usually cars just zoom past with some giving a bit more room on my side. I put all on 1 circuit with a switch on the side of the box. I ran the setup on my ride home at lunch time & noticed some drivers checking out my setup. Put it on the charger tonight & the gauge showed 75%. Total burn time (including playing around & a short ride last night plus all the demonstrations for my co-workers this morning) was 45 minutes so it appears I might be able to get a 3 hour run time but 2.5 hrs seems more realistic.
    The recharge time was 1.5 hrs at the 2 amp setting on my charger. The motorcycle battery is a bit heavy but it didn't affect handling & I didn't notice the extra weight on the 2 hills I climb. Don
    Wow 55W flood! Cool! How about a few pictures of your new setup?

  22. #347
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    here are the pictures:
    Headlight brand is unknown, store has a bunch of them loose on a table top labeled "55 watt backup lights $4.99" & the only I.D. on the whole piece is the word "top" on the glass. I'll ask for more details.
    My bike is a Centurion LeMans $9.95 special from a local thrift store. I added an old set of Weinmann brake levers with mirror & a used set of Blumel fenders. The rack came with the bike. Cost of the light setup makes this a $65 bike which will serve a few seasons & help preserve my better bikes. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  23. #348
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Ooops, 2nd try!
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  24. #349
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Number two
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  25. #350
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Number three
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

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