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Old 01-07-04, 10:23 AM   #26
LittleBigMan
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Done. Two 20W lights connected to a single three-way switch. First click--light #1, second click--light #2, third click--both lights together. Impressive brightness. Next, I'll test run-time using both lights, 40W combined.

Okey-dokey. I ran the test at home using two 20W lights and a 4.5 amp battery. She stayed bright about an hour.

This morning was the road test. I didn't use all 40W except when I wanted extra light, such as on descents. 20W seemed bright enough to see the road, and though 40W was better, I kept it in reserve. I had plenty of power for my hour commute. It's recharging in front of my desk, now (my lead-acid battery works best when you recharge fully after every use.) I could probably get by with a single 20W light, but I like the extra power availability.

So, I'm nearing the end of the story. I'm very happy with my low-cost light system. It was extremely easy to put together, mostly because of the battery I bought. I recommend this type of battery because it comes in it's own water-resistant case, comes equipped with a charger and is quickly adaptable to the task. I could probably do it again in less than an hour.

There was an additional cost of about $20 to mount a second 20W light: $12 for the light, $2 for two hose clamps, and $5 for the 3-way switch.

All that remains is to beautify my geek-light. That will come in time. Right now, I'm experimenting with a nipple from a Gerber baby bottle I found in the dollar-store ($1.) This little nipper didn't know why it was made. It thought it was going into a baby's gums, but nooooo, it's going to be promoted to a light switch cover (rain protection.)

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Old 01-07-04, 03:17 PM   #27
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LBM - Is this the light you picked up at Home Depot?


link to product
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Old 01-07-04, 03:29 PM   #28
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LBM - Is this the light you picked up at Home Depot?
That's it, with the spike removed. There is a pivot-point which should remain intact, because it mounts easier and allows verticle movement of the light when loosened.
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Old 01-08-04, 07:07 AM   #29
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I am on the trail of candidates for bright LED taillights. I found a site that has a variety of both marker lights and tail/stop/turn lights in amber and red. I decided to start small so I got an 8-LED marker light, 1284R, that has a "Reflex" lens which means it is also a reflector when the light is off. I will get a system worked out then look at some of the really serious stuff, like 48 and 61 LED tail/stop/turn models or two smaller ones. I don't get concerned about a little extra weight so I will use a separate SLA battery for the rear lights. The site is led-r-us.com.
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Old 01-08-04, 08:09 AM   #30
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I am on the trail ...
You go, Raymond!

By the time you get through ("If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway,") you'll have perfected a truly awesome, aesthetically-pleasing workbench marvel that will be the envy of geeks and techno-junkies alike!

Hey, if you don't care about the weight, maybe you could tap the second battery (wired parallel with the first battery) into the headlights and have some real options. You don't have to use a Malibu light. With your genius for internet shopping, you could find some serious beamage out there. (There is also abundant information about the finer points of wattage, amperage, run-time, beam patterns, bulb options, wiring, etc.)
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Old 01-08-04, 10:16 AM   #31
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Yeah, the highlight of my cycling career will be the day a policeman pulls me over because my lights are too bright. Can't ya see it? Lights like the mother ship in "Close Encounters" with my on board sound system blaring "Ride of the Valkyries" a la "Apocolypse Now". "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."
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Old 01-09-04, 01:02 PM   #32
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I think I might try to hook up a car horn, as well. Cool beans!

The only problem is, I don't want to startle myself.
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Old 01-10-04, 10:44 AM   #33
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I like the idea of two lights, if one goes out you still have the other.
Nother thought along with a horn why not led type running lights like a motorcycle?

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Old 01-10-04, 05:52 PM   #34
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I like the idea of two lights, if one goes out you still have the other.
Nother thought along with a horn why not led type running lights like a motorcycle?
Not only that, but running both lights at the same time is much brighter. Also, a 12V system means there are a lot of very inexpensive lighting options available at the auto parts store. I can get a nice 6" 12V LED for a tailight for about $10.

If anyone thought I was kidding about the horn, I don't blame you, I'm a big kidder. But I wasn't kidding. I found one today for $12 that's very light and small, designed for automobiles. The disposable air horns were a fantastic idea, but they run $6 for a tiny one and $10 for a large (the large offers a replacement canister for about $7.)
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Old 01-10-04, 06:01 PM   #35
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Wow! A helicopter just flew overhead. My wife complained, "Why do helicopters have to fly over us?"

"They're looking for someone. Before helicopters, they would have to drive around with a small spotlight. Now, they can shine a huge light into the woods and spot almost anything."

"PETE! THAT'S IT! YOU NEED A HELICOPTER LIGHT ON YOUR BIKE!!!"

(My wife thinks that's very funny.)

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Old 01-10-04, 07:32 PM   #36
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Thomas Edison once said, "If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!" Wait, that wasn't Thomas Edison...anyway...

EUREKA! I messed with it one more time. I found a way to make the 20W MR11 bulb (which puts out WAAAY more beamage--more brightly focused--than the standard 20W halogen flood that came with the Malibu light) fit in my system.

I can't wait to try 2 20W MR11's together at the same time, on the road. (One more MR11--$5.)

Ahhh, life is goooooooooood.

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Old 01-11-04, 09:23 AM   #37
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Must be you don't get the moths that are drawn to headlights?
Cornborer Moths can be a proablem for bout a month in late April earl May, have hit round a thousand per mile when they are at their worst, pickups wipers could not keep up.
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Old 01-12-04, 08:10 AM   #38
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Must be you don't get the moths that are drawn to headlights?
Cornborer Moths can be a proablem for bout a month in late April earl May, have hit round a thousand per mile when they are at their worst, pickups wipers could not keep up.
Yikes!

Since we're talking about "bugs," I blew the fuse on my battery this morning. Yes, it's equipped with a fuse, but it's not a real safety issue, it's a battery-drain issue. The fuse prevents excessive power drain which could shorten the run-time of the battery or even harm it. What caused it?

I don't think it was the 40W of power I was using at the time. I have used 50W for over 30 minutes without blowing the fuse. I think it was a short. I was using metal reflectors in combination with MR11 lights that already have their own reflectors. The plug-in pins did not clear the metal reflectors, and must have touched causing a short. I removed the metal reflectors and replaced the fuse.

Man, before that happened, I was seeing very well even with only 20W. Good little light.
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Old 01-12-04, 11:50 AM   #39
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I need to say, these moths go years without being that bad and when they are its just for a few nights. While motorcycling tho I used to hate having them hit my face shield, they are not heavy but real messy, grasshoppers are another story!
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Old 01-12-04, 12:30 PM   #40
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Ooh! Ooh! My turn, my turn. OK, I got the 8-LED trailer marker light with Reflex lens. It is hooked up, and glowing merrily right now. The lens configuration knocks down a little of the brightness of the LED's so that the 8 don't seem any brighter than a 7-LED Vistalite. However, the reflective lens and larger size, 6"x2" of the 8-LED light makes it more visible. I am happy enough with it that I will be getting a couple of more lights from the place. I am thinking perhaps a couple of round 13-LED lights to flank the 8-LED/reflecter. Now all I have to do is figure out mounting. It would be simple to clip a length of 2"x1/8" aluminum bar to the rack and mount the lights on it. This would be fine in dry weather, but I have to figure out some way to make sure all the connections are water-tight. The lights themselves are sealed so not a problem.
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Old 01-12-04, 12:48 PM   #41
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...I have to figure out some way to make sure all the connections are water-tight. The lights themselves are sealed so not a problem.
Use something like this:

http://www.bright.net/~kanga/kanga/k...iquid_tape.htm

I saw a different brand at Home Depot for about $5.
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Old 01-13-04, 08:51 AM   #42
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I just love it.

This morning, I felt like I could really see the road, especially when there were no cars or street lights to help me, and that was with just 20W. I rarely used both 20W beams together.

A couple of times, cars actually waited on me. They definitely saw me coming.

I think the 4.5 amp (or 5 amp) sealed lead acid battery is perfect for my commuting needs. I don't need more than 60 or 75 minutes of run time and I can recharge at the office (I could even recharge from a car's cigarette lighter.) The battery supports 20 watts for about 135 minutes at full brightness (it would support 10 watts for about 4 1/2 hours.) It works well when recharged frequently, that is, after being only partially discharged. It's very reliable and inexpensive. When it reaches the end of it's life, I can replace it easily for less than $30. Also, the lights can be replaced for about $6 each and are available in many places, though they are supposed to last quite a while.
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Old 01-13-04, 06:34 PM   #43
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Sounds like you could write up a good howto by the end of the month, all we need are pics now.
Keep up the good work!

BTW, why not have a plugin to run a helmet mounted light?

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Old 01-13-04, 08:09 PM   #44
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Keep up the good work!
Thanks, man!

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Old 01-13-04, 11:00 PM   #45
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Hey LBM,
The post about the helo light cracked me up. But you know what, I flew 'em for 20 yrs, and yes they had big lights, but I always wanted a bigger one! I noticed a parallel here.....
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Old 01-14-04, 11:49 AM   #46
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bike lights/first post

About five years ago i made a set of lights using the same housings,but installed mr 16 20 w bulbs,i built the first set for riding singletrack in the woods at night,i use two lights 12v 4 amb hour battery, being a machinist i made mounts to attach to the handlebars and have them switched so i can run them one at a time, i now have three sets on different bikes,two mtb ,one on my commeter bike i ride everyday
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Hey LBM,
The post about the helo light cracked me up. But you know what, I flew 'em for 20 yrs, and yes they had big lights, but I always wanted a bigger one! I noticed a parallel here.....
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Old 01-14-04, 09:20 PM   #47
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Humm, just got back from my expidition to Menards, cute little Osram bulbs, 12v 20w with a glass cover, just the thing to keep dirt and moisture out. 38* beam, 35mm dia, PN#44890 WFL, 12v.
Less than 4 bucks.
But my real find was a battery pack, Schumacher Mity Mite, 12amp/hr. $11. out the door! Built in 120v charger and 12vdc lighter socker and big battery clips.
Really the only drawback is its almost 20 lbs.

BTW: found this neat item on ebay, anybody know about them?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=22684

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Old 01-16-04, 10:29 PM   #48
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Yup, me again, those Osrams are MR11 size, tonite I found some 35w flood Sylvania with the enclosed reflector, 2 for $7.50 @ Lowes.
Can't seem to find the bigger MR16 in an enclosed style.
Also can't find anything lower wattage than 20w.

My big find was at NAPA, PN#784504 is a pak of five crimpon
fittings to wire up these bulbs, they are a good fit, takes 2 per bulb.
Some track lighting would have the correct socket, only cheap iffn you found some in a dumpster.
And for the real scrounger, a XT keyboard connector seems to have the correct sockets, be a real fiddly salvage job though.

Next is to design a shell and mount I'm happy with.
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Old 01-18-04, 11:27 PM   #49
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Hey, fellas! I'm back!

My setup is now as follows:

1 20W MR-11 halogen flood.
1 35W MR-16 halogen flood.
1 3-way switch, allowing 20W, 35W or 55W power (both lights together) or "off."

I can run my 20W for over 2 hours, or my 35W for an hour, continuously, using my 4.5 amp battery. I'll save using 55W for trouble spots. My commute is an hour, but only 30 minutes or so in the dark. After the light starts to come, 20W is more than enough to be seen.


And (drumroll, please....)

For $18, I added a 12V car/boat horn w/button ($12 for horn, $6 for button hookup.) This thing is as loud as a car horn, but is only about the size of a small tuna fish can, and even lighter. The button sits directly under my right index finger on the handlebars, so I don't have to move my hands at all to let her rip. (I resisted the temptation to install a "big rig sound" horn. I might be geeky, but I'm not weird!)

(Hey, if you're going to commute to work by bike, you might as well have as much fun as possible!)
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Old 01-18-04, 11:38 PM   #50
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Awesome! Still no pics though
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