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Thread: Total Geekiness

  1. #451
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Here's my entry in the Geek Lighting...

    Tail light assembly - http://www.llantup.com/gizelle-taillights.jpg

    Front turn signals - http://www.llantup.com/gizelle-front-turn-signals.jpg (see the black box in the center, just above the stem? That's the charger I created to work with my generator!)

    Turn signals in action - http://home.carolina.rr.com/rputman/...taillights.avi
    Last edited by Becca; 10-26-04 at 03:12 PM.

  2. #452
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Sorry about how slow the avi downloads... I'll try moving it to another server when I get home in the morning, and post a new link to it.

    The avi shows first the taillight in "run" mode, then left turn, then right turn, then two applications of the brakes.

  3. #453
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Becca, what are the black rods attached (by velcro straps) to your light bar in the front turn light photo? Perhaps in a related vein, how do you switch on your turn lights? Also, would you go into a bit more detail on your charger/generator hookup?

    Btw, nice setup. Have you used it enough to get a feeling on how well people in cars are correctly viewing the lights as turn signals?

    Happy trails!
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  4. #454
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    Becca, what are the black rods attached (by velcro straps) to your light bar in the front turn light photo? Perhaps in a related vein, how do you switch on your turn lights? Also, would you go into a bit more detail on your charger/generator hookup?

    Btw, nice setup. Have you used it enough to get a feeling on how well people in cars are correctly viewing the lights as turn signals?

    Happy trails!
    Those black rods are called "Space Grips" that I got from Bike Nashbar - URL is http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename= for the "new and improved" version. They're $9.95 US each. Before I had that, I was simply velcroing the lights (on the pipe) to the handlebars. That didn't work so well, because they kept tilting down making it impossible to be seen.

    On the left handlebar, there is a little control box for the turn signals. A power button to turn the unit on, which activates the tail light, and another on-off-on slide switch for the turn signals. The Night Hawk has it's own power switch, which I haven't tampered with. Yet.

    For the battery, the NH came with a charger. You unplug the light from the battery, plug the charger into the wall and then into the battery. Leave it until the light switches from red to green. Then I plug the NH light cable back into the battery.

    I think I said so before, but I tied my electrical system into the NH's light cable so I can use just the one battery. Anyway, the generator (dynamo for the British crowd) is a 12v version which puts out alternating current. Most people don't realize that because it's not important if you're just running a regular headlight with it. Well, I take the 12v AC to my little control box where I built a circuit that has a full-wave rectifier, a 1,000 microfarad capacitor, and a 6v voltage regulator. The output is pure 6v DC with practically no ripple. That output goes to the battery, turn signals, and lights. Very similar to what happens with an automotive electrical system.

    As for reactions, people tend to see me better, and once they see the turn signals in use, they seem to have a bit more patience with me and don't attempt to blow around me near intersections. Especially with left turns, drivers don't seem so ready to tell me to get out of the way. I passed a cabbie in Uptown Charlotte recently, and he'd seen my turn signals in his rear-view mirror. As I came by, he had a look of amazement on his face, and his mouth hung open.

  5. #455
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Two things:

    1) I've updated my earlier post with a better link to the avi.

    2) On my control box with the circuit in it - I had to add an on-off switch to it because with the generator not running, the battery would discharge over time through the generator coil.

  6. #456
    Regular ol' schmo ericmorin's Avatar
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    I just started my light build process. I'm gonna try it MR11 size cause I just like the smaller size of it.. and I came across this piece of hardware that is PERFECT for MR11 bulbs. Found it at Home depot ~2.50 put a o-ring on it and you are totally set for a waterproof easy assemble houseing... (i'll try to get a picture).
    I'm gonna try MR11 LEDs also

    It's called an Orbit WaterMaster 1/2" x 4" PVC compression union and it has 2 screw-off caps with a hold in the middle. basically, i'm gonna file out the end so the bulb is more recessed in it, and make the cap hole a bit wider and perfecto. a compression cap that is watertight.

  7. #457
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    Beca Cool turn signals. Where'd you get the lights and what are the wattages on them. I'd love to learn how you wired integrated the taile light with the turn signals?

  8. #458
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    Beca Cool turn signals. Where'd you get the lights and what are the wattages on them. I'd love to learn how you wired integrated the taile light with the turn signals?
    Heh.

    I actually did it the expensive path. My turn signals fore and aft started out as LED marker lights for motorcycles. IIRC, they cost me $11.95. (Just found some for $25 at http://hondadirectlineusa.com/vtx/pr...7&ID=660065381) I gutted those LEDs out, and put in new ultra-bright amber lights. I then bought an ordinary trailer marker light at AutoZone. I stripped out the filament bulb, and installed a piece of breadboard with six ultra-bright red LEDs. For each piece - four turn signal units and one tail light - I calculated a resistance to meet the LEDs proper current. (R = E / I where R is resistance, E is energy, and I is current. We know the battery supplies 6v. If the LEDs require 250mA of current to put out their rated brightness, then R = 6 / .025 [stated as Amps] giving us 24 Ohms of resistance.) This way when I'm running my lights even with the generator, I'm not going to blow out my lights. Then I simply wired everything up so that each piece worked properly, and there you have it!

  9. #459
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Here's the same kind of marker light I used for my turn signals, for $10.95: http://www.electricalconnection.com/..._courtesy4.htm

  10. #460
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Becca, building your own generator/converter/recharger places you highly in Geekland! Do you still have to recharge at night or does the on-board recharger make a significant difference? A few more questions if you don't mind:
    1. How did you make the turn flasher circuit? Do you have only LEDs on the circuit?
    2. What kind of switch are you using for the brake light? I have thought about buying one of the cheap Nashbar brake light sets and just using the switch with my own lights, just wondering if I might burn the switch out if I run 12 volts through it.

    Any, great setup and thanks for sharing!!
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  11. #461
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    Becca, building your own generator/converter/recharger places you highly in Geekland! Do you still have to recharge at night or does the on-board recharger make a significant difference? A few more questions if you don't mind:
    1. How did you make the turn flasher circuit? Do you have only LEDs on the circuit?
    2. What kind of switch are you using for the brake light? I have thought about buying one of the cheap Nashbar brake light sets and just using the switch with my own lights, just wondering if I might burn the switch out if I run 12 volts through it.

    Any, great setup and thanks for sharing!!
    1) I bought a set of lights which said it had brakes, tail, and turn signals. There was the unit that mounts on the handlebar, and a wire going back to the taillight assembly. Once I got it, though, I was disappointed - the tail/brake lights only had four LEDs, and the turn signals only two apiece. All of that was scrunched together such that it was difficult to make out what it was from more than 20 yards back. Plus, no front turn signals. So I decided to geek it up and do it right!

    I haven't seen this brake/tail/turn set sold since I bought mine just over two years ago. Sad, really, because it wasn't a bad design! It was set up to use four AA batteries in series - 6v. So using my generator/converter unit is perfect for it.

    2) The switch is in a small water-resistant case that attaches to the brake cable at the caliper. The switch itself is similar to these two:

    http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bi...131&type=store
    http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bi...M-4&type=store

    and is almost exactly like these I bought on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=3837385191

    It's 12mm square, and approximately 1mm thick. The contacts are NO (normally open).

    Before I got the Night Hawk light, I used a battery pretty similar to http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bi...612&type=store - it supplied everything I needed for all my lights. My headlight was a CatEye HL-HD100 that I'd converted to using 10 ultra-bright white LEDs. In reality, it was little more than a see-me light. In most urban areas, I didn't need the light to see, but in some back areas it created a small... puddle of light. Too weak to call it a pool. It kept me off the curbs is about all I can say. I can also say that the generator provided all the energy I needed for the lights! But as with most generators like it, it takes extra work to make it go. I have used the generator to help the light lately because I'd forget to plug the charger into the battery, and it was 100% effective in brightening up the light. No idea if it was also charging the battery. I think so, but I've got no meter on the thing. Hmmmmmmm....

  12. #462
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericmorin
    I just started my light build process. I'm gonna try it MR11 size cause I just like the smaller size of it.. and I came across this piece of hardware that is PERFECT for MR11 bulbs. Found it at Home depot ~2.50 put a o-ring on it and you are totally set for a waterproof easy assemble houseing... (i'll try to get a picture).
    I'm gonna try MR11 LEDs also

    It's called an Orbit WaterMaster 1/2" x 4" PVC compression union and it has 2 screw-off caps with a hold in the middle. basically, i'm gonna file out the end so the bulb is more recessed in it, and make the cap hole a bit wider and perfecto. a compression cap that is watertight.
    Eric
    How's that light coming?

  13. #463
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Becca,
    Sorry to keep peppering you with requests for details, but you seem to have gotten more into the nitty gritty than most of us.

    Regarding brake light switches. I assume you have them sealed in some kind of small plastic enclosure like some of the ones allelectronics.com sells. You mention that they are attached to the caliper. How is the switch actuated, ie, what presses the button?
    Thanks,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  14. #464
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Becca,
    I'll second RainmanP's request for more info about how you have your brake light switch installed. A picture would really help. The brake lights I see for sale seem to use a switch attached to a hinge-like mount, and positioned on the brake cable where it exits the last cable housing near the brake. Do you have something like that (see pic below)? Once again, thanks for sharing with us!

    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  15. #465
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Rainman and Map Tester: the picture that MT provided is a much better one than I could make. I just tried, and the quality just ain't there with my digital camera.

    The switch is essentially encapsulated within the small plastic box. The little lever thing (and the plastic box, too) has a U-shaped notch that fits over the brake cable, and the screw traps the brake cable against the box. If you see how the plastic box is positioned, it is kind of trapped between the caliper on the brake itself and the cable end. Every time you pull on the brake, the switch is actuated by being compressed between those two points.

  16. #466
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Becca, so your switch setup is a production item like that in MT's pic? Not something you assembled yourself?
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  17. #467
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Yes, this is true. It was part of the original turn signal-tail light setup I bought. I simply kept the good parts - the brake switch and housing being one of them.

    Do I lose Geek Points for that?

  18. #468
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    No, your points are safe. Nashbar has a brake light set on sale for $6.95; I need to buy one quick before they are gone. I'm hoping that once I have one (switch) I can fabricate a new one for my front brake.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  19. #469
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    No, your points are safe. Nashbar has a brake light set on sale for $6.95; I need to buy one quick before they are gone.
    N-size batteries...ugh.
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
    Friends don't let friends use brifters.

  20. #470
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    I agree about the n-sized batteries--all I really want is the switch hardware.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  21. #471
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    I just wrote to Nashbar asking where they get those switch bodies. Never hurts to ask!

  22. #472
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca

    Do I lose Geek Points for that?
    NO WAY! Your setup is awesome!

  23. #473
    Get outdoors! :) Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    NO WAY! Your setup is awesome!
    *BLUSH* Thank you!

  24. #474
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    N-size batteries...ugh.
    bkrownd,
    How big do you suppose that Nashbar brake light is?
    I"m considering this one because it appears bigger and maybe I'll be able to mount it onto the rear rack (adding the bee-hive turn signals that I'm muddling with).

  25. #475
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    bkrownd,
    How big do you suppose that Nashbar brake light is?
    I"m considering this one because it appears bigger and maybe I'll be able to mount it onto the rear rack (adding the bee-hive turn signals that I'm muddling with).
    http://store.yahoo.com/ssu/bikebrakelight.html

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