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Old 02-01-04, 02:17 PM   #101
RainmanP
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At about 210 lbs a 4 lb SLA battery is the least of my worries!
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Old 02-01-04, 02:29 PM   #102
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Being a woman, I weight close to 1/2 what you do so it's an issue.
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Old 02-01-04, 05:46 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
The one drill happens to come with a Craftman flashlight. 16.8V battery and a xenon bulb. Looks good and shines into the neighbor's yard (about 120')...problem is there's a strange black spot in the middle of the beam pattern. The light is nearly new. Do you think a MR16 would work without melting the lens cap????
Dang, Vr,

There's nothing wrong with a flashlight for a headlight, if it puts out a good beam. Plus, xenon bulbs put out a lot of light per watt. If the dern thing shines into the neighbor's yard ( ) maybe you could find a way to attach it to your bike.
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Old 02-01-04, 10:34 PM   #104
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Dang, Vr,

maybe you could find a way to attach it to your bike.
The light is D-shaped with the batteries on the bottom. I took the handle off completely. Design looks like Fatty hippy's drawing now.
Battery modules looked really cool! Everything looks "plug 'n pRay. Ok for a newbie!

Maybe a long zip tie can go at the base of the ballast to clamp it to the bike stem. The battery can sit in the seat bag.

But waterproofing seems to be the problem. The ballest looks watertight. But the clamp opening, battery, and switch need to be waterproofed...

Any suggestions?

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Old 02-01-04, 10:42 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Dang, Plus, xenon bulbs put out a lot of light per watt.
Based on R'man's forumula, 3amp * 16.8V that xenon bulb must be errr 50W? It ran 2hrs before starting to dim. Then lasted close to 3hrs. OK for a 1lb battery and ... FREE!

Looks like there's room to insert that MR16 ballast inside the original flashlight ballast. For your MR16 or 11 was there a way to separate the bulb from the ballast and cover?
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Old 02-02-04, 08:29 AM   #106
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vr, sounds like you may have hit on something! Keep us posted.

Well, my Optronics lights finally arrived. I got the QH-8CC because it has the black plastic housing rather than the chrome metal housing of the QH-7CC. They seem just about perfect for bike lights - light weight and not too large. They look right at home. Naturally, I immediately disassembled them one of them to begin Frankenstein surgery (note my signature). I replaced the 50W MR-16 bulb with the super-white 35W 10 degree spot I had ordered. I shortened the original wires, attached longer leads, tucking the splices back up inside the housing. Hope it doesn't get hot enough in there to melt the tape before I can do something more durable. I also removed the mounting bolt and bolted the housing onto a semi-quick release mount from my old Vistalite set. Tadaaa, ready to roll. I haven't found a switch I like yet so I will be hooking the light directly to the battery for a few days.

The battery will continue to reside in a small handlebar bag. I have supplemented the bag's strap mount with a length of inner tube looped all the way around the bag and bar to support the weight of the battery. This may be unnecessary I just don't like the idea of a 4 lb (or 9 if I use the 7AH) battery bouncing around, banging on the bottom of the bag and stressing the straps. The innter tube works great and is quite inconspicuous, but I will eventually replace it with a nice nylon strap.

Now, I could use the light this way indefinitely though a switch will definitely be more convenient, but I will be working on improvements so I can eventually detail what I have done for the benefit of others here. Toward that end I will probably wind up spending extra money, but I hope to be able to describe an inexpensive and easy-to-rig light setup. I would like to include taillights, too, as I have time to work on mounting and wiring. Tomorrow I will probably report on how the light and new bulb work...and whether anything burned up!
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Old 02-02-04, 08:22 PM   #107
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>The battery will continue to reside in a small handlebar bag.
>... probably wind up spending extra money,
Wow! My hardware store said that that condensation would eventually wreck the battery. Is your bag vented? He sold me a small sub-panel box and waterproof switch etc. But the box is too bulky Maybe a waterproof bowl will work. You're on the right track. Making your own is better, you may spend extra but get what you want.

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Old 02-03-04, 08:44 AM   #108
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vr, the reason I am willing to spend money to experiment is to try to come up with a simple to assemble setup that others may find useful. I am kind of particular about certain things AND I prefer simplicity. So my aim is to put together a light that provides excellent lighting and is so inexpensive and simple to assemble anyone can do it. BTW, I am concerned about water both from within and without so I monitor my bar bag carefully. For now I am removing the battery for charging every day so the open bag does have a chance to dry out. When I eventually put the battery in a waterproof box I will use silica gel and monitor the box for moisture.

Today's report - I REALLY like this Optronics light and especially like it with the 35W 4700K MR-16 lamp. The light is extremely white which makes it seem brighter than typical halogens which provide a warmer, yellower light. The 10 degree spot will throw a nice bright patch of light well ahead of the bike with plenty of peripheral lighting as well. It is not as blinding as a HID light, the light is also less harsh and not blue. Having had the HID recently, I prefer this. Total cost of system so far:
Pair of Optronics driving lights $15
5.0 AH SLA battery $11
Universal Battery 1000MA charger $15
Wire, connectors, etc. <$10
Total cost less than $51
The light could be used as is indefinitely, but of course that would go against my nature. So...
Planned additions -
1. Waterproof switch
2. 12V amber strobe and one or two LED/reflector taillights for rear
3. Semi-quick release mounting for headlights and taillights for easily moving between bikes
4. Waterproof battery box to which switches will be mounted to form a power/control center.

I think that even with the above additions the total system will cost under $100.

More reports as things develop.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 02-03-04, 10:03 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainmanP
Planned additions -
1. Waterproof switch
2. 12V amber strobe and one or two LED/reflector taillights for rear
3. Semi-quick release mounting for headlights and taillights for easily moving between bikes
4. Waterproof battery box to which switches will be mounted to form a power/control center.
I'm trying a similar setup but don't know how to get more than one light hooked up to the battery.

Nothing worked as planned. But the box doesn't fit anywhere. Maybe the Sub C batteries could run thru 2 rows of PVC pipe. Then attached under the bike rack.

The batteries are not packaged tight like Duracell etc. If anyone reading this tries <B>handling batteries like these, be sure to use a rag </B>. My hand started burning from just holding the pack. A little out of my comfort zone!
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Old 02-03-04, 01:55 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
The batteries are not packaged tight like Duracell etc. If anyone reading this tries <B>handling batteries like these, be sure to use a rag </B>. My hand started burning from just holding the pack. A little out of my comfort zone!
Vr, try getting a little advice from someone who knows batteries. Each type of battery has it's special needs and applications. I found helpful, knowledgeable
and friendly advice from a guy at Batteries Plus. You don't have to buy their stuff unless you really want to, but I bet they'll advise you on the best way to encase your batteries, charge them, etc.

Raymond, a good friend of mine told me to make sure my battery case was vented. He said it was because of the potential buildup of gas, even from SLA's. The important thing is to be sure there is a way for any pressure to escape without letting water in.

I've tried my hand at soldering and I still have to learn a few things, but I'll practice on old wires until I get the hang of it. The Liquid Tape works very well for waterproofing connections. Once it's dry, it's a bit like rubber. When it's wet, it's a bit messy and wants to drip, but it dries fairly quickly if it's not applied too thickly. It works best to apply it in layers.

Most 12V accessories that I've used don't seem to care about polarity, that is,
which wire you hook up to the positive and which to negative battery terminal.
But you have to be careful, because some accessories will only work when hooked up exactly right. My xenon strobe is picky like that, but fortunately it is protected from damage if the polarity is wrong. Just be sure to read all the instructions that come with any accessory to prevent damage to any of your equipment.

Also, fuses are essential. They prevent accidental system overloads which could be a fire hazard, even with 12V systems. I use a 10A fuse. Any current higher than 10 amps will burn out the fuse before any problems happen.
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Old 02-03-04, 02:31 PM   #111
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Good points, Pete. I plan to introduce a fuse to the system as things progress. I was thinking more like 5A. You are right, light bulbs generally aren't concerned about polarity. For everything else I check with a DMM and maintain polarity. Thanks for the heads up on the strobe. The watertight case I have is a Pelican case which does have a one way pressure vent.
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Old 02-03-04, 06:10 PM   #112
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Vr, try getting a little advice from someone who knows batteries.
I use a 10A fuse.
LittleBig,
We don't many specialized stores, but if I can figure out how to waterproof my JanDD seatbag, the orginial battery casing will work.

I can make a waterproof- vented over like this. http://boat-supply.realemall.com/Car...er--Size-C.asp
But maybe shrink wrap would be better. A marine boat store may just have the correct waterproof switches etc.

What sort of "fuse panel" did you use?

RAinman,
I don't think you can combine LED circuit boards with regular wiring. The boards need a voltage regulator where as regular DC stuff usually matches the volts of the battery.
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Old 02-03-04, 09:39 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
LittleBig,

What sort of "fuse panel" did you use?
I was fortunate to have a found a battery-pack with a built-in fuse.

Heck, I might go ahead and carry the extra weight of my back-up battery just for fun. I'd like to see what running 55W is like without interruption. Gee, I could even go as high as 70W for an entire hour! Of course, I'm exaggerating...NOT!

I don't know if all that's even necessary, but it's the closest thing to HID I can think of, but at a tiny cost. "What about the extra weight?" Well, I can easily remove the extra battery if I want, but then when I pass those women who walk while carrying weights I'll wonder if I'm missing something.

Rome wasn't built at night.
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Old 02-03-04, 10:48 PM   #114
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When I wired my motorcycle for the electric vest I just used a pair of crimp on female spade fittings and an automotive double spade fuse, never sealed it and never had a proablem. could wrap electrical tape round the whole thing, main advantage was it was cheap and light weight and easy to hide.
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Old 02-04-04, 08:12 AM   #115
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When I wired my motorcycle for the electric vest I just used a pair of crimp on female spade fittings and an automotive double spade fuse, never sealed it and never had a proablem. could wrap electrical tape round the whole thing, main advantage was it was cheap and light weight and easy to hide.
I am finding (so far) that, since there is very little stress (if any) on my wiring connections, that instead of soldering them, I can 1) twist the wires together; 2) join them further by wrapping electrical tape tightly around the insulated parts for about a half-inch; 3) waterproof the exposed wire and part of the electrical tape with liquid tape (this may take a few coats.) Since the wires are secured to the frame with cable ties, there may not be any need to add further strength with solder. We shall see if it stands the test of time.
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Old 02-04-04, 08:46 AM   #116
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I am finding (so far) that, since there is very little stress (if any) on my wiring connections, that instead of soldering them, I can 1) twist the wires together
Stress won't be a problem but constant vibration from road noise might be. When I look at my el-cheapo lights with a high price tag, I notice that they don't solder or even seall the connections. Hmmm. Time will tell.
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Old 02-04-04, 12:08 PM   #117
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vr, these are commercial LED trailer marker lights. They are designed to plug right into a 12V source. For waterproofing short term, just put the battery in a water resistant bag of some kind, freezer baggy, FEDEX tyvek envelope (very tough). Just put battery and connectors down in the bag then fold the top part down alongside the battery. You don't have to seal it. Water only runs down. If possible position exposed wires so that they are coming UP under cover into the outer bag and a leave a little loop of wire down ( think U shape) instead of going straight down into the bag. This will keep water from runniing down the wire into your bag and connections.

Pete, I tell you what, buddy, this 35W high color temp Solux MR-16 lamp is very close to the HID I had. They only cost about $6. I just received the Phillips MR-16 lamp that is supposed to provide 35W equivalent light with only 20W draw. I am getting about 1:20 of good light with the 35W bulb on my 5AH battery.

Here is a side by side shot of the 35W Solux 10 degree spot, left, and the 20W Phillips 8 degree spot beams on a wall at close distance. It is difficult to draw conclusions about the relative brightness at such close distance, but you can definitely see the difference in color temperature, the Solux is 4700K and the Phillips 3100K. Now you can see what I have been talking about with regard to color temperature and "whiteness".
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Old 02-04-04, 12:45 PM   #118
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Very nice, Raymond!



You know, this idea is good. You can start a 12V system for as little as $35 for a 20W halogen light, then you can add on upgrades piecemeal to improve the system later. There is a great deal of flexibility for designing exactly the system you want for the amount of money you want, or for starting out cheaply and improving as money is available.
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Old 02-04-04, 08:51 PM   #119
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vr, these are commercial LED trailer marker lights. They are designed to plug right into a 12V source.
Here is a side by side shot of the 35W Solux 10 degree spot, left, and the 20W Phillips 8 degree
O So cool! WOW! That is some light!

I did not find waterproof switch that is small enough to install today. The marine store had a toggle that could work. Otherwise maybe just a simple trailer plug, unplug each time is all that is needed. Ideally this is what I had in mind for the front with everything on one switch plate


ALt - L - ARt

ALt = Amber left turn signal
ARt = Amber right turn signal
L = center spot

Could not find the LED blinkers or 3-pole waterproof switch.
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Old 02-04-04, 08:53 PM   #120
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Very nice, Raymond!



starting out cheaply and improving as money is available.
Also as batteries improve, you'll be able to swap out a lighter battery when the old one gets worn out!
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Old 02-06-04, 10:48 AM   #121
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Lots of road blocks. I need to make bell housing over the battery terminals. Battery is shaped like an upside down lollip and the terminal end normally goes up in the handle of the drill. Like this.

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=00911425000.

Then also, there seems no place to install the switch. They sell housings for on-off switches but they are TOO big and there's no way to put it on the handlebar.


LittleBig, How did you install that 3way switch. Is it just sitting loosely in the battery bag?

Rman, I found 12V led lights at the Marine store. They don't appear to need a circuit board at all! I stand corrected.
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Old 02-06-04, 02:51 PM   #122
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LittleBig, How did you install that 3way switch. Is it just sitting loosely in the battery bag?
It's mounted behind my light housings on the handlebars near the stem.
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Old 02-06-04, 03:13 PM   #123
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vr, no you are correct. It's just that the circuitry is built into these lights. I know mine has a little PCB in it.

I didn't get to report yesterday, but here is what is going on. I have ridden a couple of days with the Phillips Energy Saver MR-16, the yellowish one in the picture above. Although I prefer the whiter light of the Solux, the Phillips does, as advertised, seem to put out the light equivalent to a 35W lamp but draws only 20W. As long as I am using a 5 AH battery it will probably be my primary lamp. The 20W Phillips provided good light for 2 hours, 20 minutes compared to 1:20 for the 35W Solux. For the other trivia geeks out there, I tested my system with each Lamp. According to my meter, the 20W Phillips draws 1.6 amps and the 35W Solux 2.9 amps, confirming the results of the formula.

The latest on switches. I stopped by the marine store, too, and found nothing that looked useful. Everything is too big and open on the back. In looking at a handlebar mount remote switch from an old Vistalite set it looks like all they did was embed a switch in rubber then snap a cover over it with a rubber membrane over the switch itself. I plan to try something similar, basically take a small switch of appropriate power rating, slather it with liquid tape, mount it, then slip a piece of innertube over it. I have fashioned a bracket to mount the switch and the light. It's not as elegant as I hope to eventually make, but it will serve as a test bed for now.

All of my splices are just twisted and wrapped with tape for now. As I decide something is working I will solder and liquid tape, perhaps with shrink tube over that for cosmetics. I am keeping all connections tucked out of harm's (and water's) way, all in a Tyvek envelope inside my bar bag with the little battery.

You know if you just need to run a 20W or less light for an hour or less, there are some little 2.3 AH SLAs that are small and light. Check out some of the little batteries here:
http://www.sciplus.com/category.cfm?...3&category=134
and the page after it.
I'm tempted to buy some of the small ones and parallel them. There's even a 2000mah (2 AH) nimh 7.2 pack that one could series for 14.4 and try some of that overvoltaging stuff. The mind boggles at the possibilities...
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Old 02-06-04, 04:11 PM   #124
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I have fashioned a bracket to mount the switch and the light.
RainMan, sounds like you're making steady progress. Same here!
What sort of materials did you use to make the bracket? How many cm's is the switch?

I solved the bell housing problem with a simple $2.99 battery cap that covers the the terminals and protects the connections. There's a waterproof hose to run the cables thru to the battery. VERY COOL!

Meanwhile, we had medium rains and I checked the JANDD bag. It's always raining in Seattle...as in every day.

err bag was not drenched but very damp inside. So I bought a zippered small nylon bag as the battery bag. But maybe an upside down ZIPLOC would protect the battery from moisture seeping in the top of the orginal seatbag. Plus, you'd be able to see condensation. I'm still wondering how to keep moisture from seeping through the spot where the cables exit the bag.

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Old 02-06-04, 09:06 PM   #125
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vr, use a gallon size freezer baggie (heavier plastic). Fold the top over, down beside the battery so that the cables exit down. Remember, water only runs downhill. It can't trickle back UP to the battery. Regarding condensation. Anytime my (not waterproof) handlebar bag gets wet I take every thing out and prop it open to let it dry as much as possible. For now I am taking the battery out every day for charging so condensation is not an issue yet.

I made this first bracket from aluminum bar 1/16 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide. It is VERY simple. I will try to describe. Picture a lower case letter "b", or "d" for that matter depending on which side you view it from. The loop part is a rectangle about handlebar wide and roughly 3 inches long. The bar is bent to form this shape with the bottom of the loop (rear when horizontal, as used) bent at right angles, as well as the top upper corner. The upper part is two layers thick as the pieces come back together. This is to give a little thickness and stability for mounting the light. Now lay that letter "b" horizontal, loop down. Near the rear (bottom of the b), far enough from the rear for clearance of the switch is a 13/23" hole for the threaded part of the switch. Just back from the top of the loop is are 1/4" holes for a bolt to clamp the bracket to the bar. Another 1/4" hole on the doubled part will be to mount the light. I will post a picture in a day or two. So the switch, a push button "canopy" switch available from any hardware store or home center, is somewhat protected by the bracket. It will be further waterproofed with liquid tape and innertube. I am also going to see if one of the switch "bonnets" you may have seen at the marine store will thread onto this switch in place of the knurled nut that comes with the switch. Then I can encase the rear part of the bracket with a section of inner tube with a cutout for the switch, using the bonnet over that to keep water from flowing down into the switch. I tried just inner tube, but with inner tube tight enough, the spring in the switch isn't strong enough to pop back up. Looser inner tube defeats the purpose. If the bonnet doesn't have the same threading I will figure something else out and let you know. Again, my purpose is to do this with parts and materials that are easily available. I have parts from old light sets, weather resistant cables and switches, that would work great, but that wouldn't work for everyone, so what would be the point.

I am just trying to fill in one piece of the puzzle at a time. It is great fun, and already I have a VERY nice headlight!
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