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Map tester 10-10-06 02:40 PM

Do you mean something like this: Nashbar front rack
http://www.nashbar.com/nashbar_photos/medium/NA-FRR.gif

Old Dirt Hill 10-10-06 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RonH
I'm also thinking about buying (if I could remember the soure) a small flat rack for the front of the bike. I saw one in a post on BF. The batteries would then be moved to that rack and all the wiring would be at the front. No more wires on the top tube, etc.

Would something like this work for you?

Old Dirt Hill 10-10-06 02:41 PM

Blast...no one posts in almost three hours and we do it at the same time.

Adiankur 10-10-06 08:50 PM

cool, I was just posting about getting something like that to build my light system on. Do many others use that rack or should I just mount to the bars and forget about it?

I dont know how much weight will bother me at this point, as im already on a mountain bike with slicks. Im probably not going to notice much difference at this point.

Can anyone suggest a helmet lamp wattage? I have never made my own home light before, and am wondering if I should go with a really low spotlight or not, on the helmet. Can you get a 5 wat spot? or should I go higher?

bspalteh 10-10-06 11:25 PM

Has anyone tried using a CFL light for a bicycle headlight? I am using a 50W MR16 right now, but using a bit less power would be nice. If anyone does, do you use an inverter and run the light at 120VAC or do you have a 12V CFL?

jeff-o 10-11-06 06:09 AM

I don't think that a fluorescent light could be sufficiently focused into a useable beam. It could probably be done, but your effort would be better spent on more traditional lighting systems.

hopperja 10-11-06 10:50 PM

I'm not sure if this has been covered before... I have a Makita ML902 9.6v stick flashlight. It is very bright, probably equivalent to 15 - 20 watts of halogen output (I also have a 15 watt NiteRider but the battery won't take a charge; it's every bit as bright as the NiteRider). It runs about 2 hrs. off one battery, but I have 4 batteries = 8 hrs run time!

I need a light to use while I send my NiteRider in for repair. So tonight, using a hose clamp, I attached it to the finger of my front reflector bracket. I angled this a little, laying the flashlight down on top of the stem (the top of the light is approx. 3/4" up off the stem, the bottom of the light rests on the stem). I used a velcro strap to strap the bottom of the light to the stem.

I took it on a short 8 mile loop to test it out. It was flawless. I now have a very bright bicycle light with plenty of run time. I'm not sure how much the light/battery/charger would cost separately. I got it, a drill, two NiMH batteries, and the charger 4 or 5 years ago for $75.

JSChance 10-18-06 07:05 AM

I took the plunge and built up a home made lighting system based on some of the info that I gleaned from this thread. Powering a 20 watt light using a 12volt sealed lead acid battery. Rode it in this morning and the difference in light was amazing. The system is a bit heavy, so now I need to figure out an economical, lightweight alternative to the SLA battery.

NeezyDeezy 10-18-06 07:22 AM

lightweight or economical - pick one or the other

I went with a Nimh battery, and I can't say it was very economical... 14.4v 5amp $60, but it only weighs about 2 pounds.

Adiankur 10-19-06 09:45 AM

Im looking at going with a 20 watt 10 degree spot with a 35 watt 24 degree narrow flood. The plan is to use the 20 watt most of the time, but add in the narrow flood while descending. I am also waiting on my xenon amber strobe to arrive. I have looked at various batteries, and will probably go with SLA for now, and down the road get the nimh 10 amp hour D batteries, when I can afford it. My question is, should I go with the old 8lb brick 10AH to run the system or drop 2 lbs and go with around a 7AH? I will likely lose 8lbs over the next month and a half, so not sure if carrying the battery will be that big of a deal. I already run with panniers and such, and did the hilly 50 miles at bucks county fully loaded, including my floor pump. :) anyone think it will make that much of a difference on a 10 mile hilly commute?

****Just noticed that the 8lb battery is 12AH**

Also, as I stated in an above post, I am interested in making a helmet spot. wondering what a good watt is for something like that, and the degree I should consider. I could probably make a small battery pack that I could keep in my pocket for that.

Old Dirt Hill 10-19-06 10:28 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Alright, so here's some updated pictures on my build. I moved the lights to under the rack and also added the orange bungee which eliminates any rattling. I may try to located the rattle and proper fix it - but the bungee works so well.

Comments? Suggestions to make this better?

robtown 10-19-06 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adiankur
Im looking at going with a 20 watt 10 degree spot with a 35 watt 24 degree narrow flood. The plan is to use the 20 watt most of the time, but add in the narrow flood while descending. I am also waiting on my xenon amber strobe to arrive. I have looked at various batteries, and will probably go with SLA for now, and down the road get the nimh 10 amp hour D batteries, when I can afford it. My question is, should I go with the old 8lb brick 10AH to run the system or drop 2 lbs and go with around a 7AH? I will likely lose 8lbs over the next month and a half, so not sure if carrying the battery will be that big of a deal. I already run with panniers and such, and did the hilly 50 miles at bucks county fully loaded, including my floor pump. :) anyone think it will make that much of a difference on a 10 mile hilly commute?

****Just noticed that the 8lb battery is 12AH**

Also, as I stated in an above post, I am interested in making a helmet spot. wondering what a good watt is for something like that, and the degree I should consider. I could probably make a small battery pack that I could keep in my pocket for that.

Go with the 12AH if you use the 35w. For your NiMh get a battery pack, not individual D cells. I believe the packs can provide more current adversely affecting their output life. They're also easier to charge.

new_dharma 10-19-06 11:56 PM

...

JSChance 10-20-06 05:11 AM

Neezy

You said the weight of your 14.4v 5amp Nimh battery weighs about 2 pounds? The 5amp SLA battery that I've got is right around 4 lbs. So we're only talking about a weight difference of 2 lbs from one battery to the other? Considering it's installed on a 39lb hardtail mountain bike converted to commuter, pedaled by a clydesdale rider, I don't know if the 2lbs is worth worrying about. What are the other benefits of the Nimh battery packs? What do you need in the way of chargers?

Adiankur 10-20-06 07:03 AM

Nimh packs are smaller, so you can fit them into spots on your bike easier, which also makes them a little easier to transport off the bike. You would need a smart charger designed for your Nimh pack as well, which are more expensive, but you want to get smart so you dont overcharge your batteries.

They are way more expensive, but there is a flexibility to them. If you want to overvolt, you just make your battery packs a little bigger(by bigger I mean overvolting for increased light), 11 or 12 cells instead of ten. You can also take more of them with you and make more as you can afford them. say you start with 5ah which is 2 packs of either 10/11/12 AA batteries. Down the road you could make a couple more and wire them in. With a Sealed lead acid, your adding another monster to increase it or dumping the old battery in favor of the new. Often, the Nimhs can be recharged more often, but im not sure of that completely. The big thing about sealed lead acid is its cheap, and doesnt have the trouble with overcharging like the Nimhs. Im going with lead acid, until I have extra cash to make the Nimh packs, but when you can afford it, that is the way to go.

If you understand them and now how to run a system with them, the lithium system is even lighter. Sadly, the lithium-ion can explode, but thats just a small thing. ;)

Map tester 10-20-06 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSChance
The 5amp SLA battery that I've got is right around 4 lbs. So we're only talking about a weight difference of 2 lbs from one battery to the other? Considering it's installed on a 39lb hardtail mountain bike converted to commuter, pedaled by a clydesdale rider, I don't know if the 2lbs is worth worrying about.

I agree with your assessment of the battery cost/weight. I am a Clyde too, and if I really wanted to lose the extra weight a SLA battery weighs over a Nimh, it would be cheap/better to take it off me! Anyway, my 5Ah SLA battery costs about $12.38, and the recharger is so cheap I have an additional one at work to recharge during the day. I always have my lights on during my commute, both night and day. After 18 months of use, I am finally seeing the battery lose it charge earlier soon than I like, so I changed it out for a new one. 18 monthes=72 weeks=360 weekdays=360 charge cycles/$12.38=$0.03/day cost for the battery, not counting charging costs. I recycle the old SLA. The only thing to remember about SLA batteries is to NEVER discharge them too much, and to recharge ASAP after using--so I have the recharger where I lock up my bike at home and plug the battery in at the same time. YMMV.

NeezyDeezy 10-20-06 09:31 AM

Sometimes I regret not going SLA, it's smarter from a cost/benefit standpoint.

Old Dirt Hill 10-20-06 10:20 AM

Map tester, does that charger know when the battery is fully charged or do you need to use a timer to make sure it doesn't over charge it?

I'm pleased with my NiMH batteries, but when they give up the ghost a year or two from now I might give SLA a try.

Adiankur 10-20-06 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Dirt Hill
Map tester, does that charger know when the battery is fully charged or do you need to use a timer to make sure it doesn't over charge it?

I'm pleased with my NiMH batteries, but when they give up the ghost a year or two from now I might give SLA a try.

you can get an inexpensive charger for SLA's that will let you know when its charged and even stop charging when it reachs its full state. Most of the chargers come with led's on them that change color during differing stages of charging. There is much less to worry about when charging your sla than with Nimh. With Nimh you need to spend the extra cash and get a nice charger to be safe.

splat 10-20-06 08:33 PM

OK who's up for being bright than the cars !

a 30W HID Housing ! yowsua!!! ( equvialnt of 100W halogen)

http://www.trailtech.net/eclipse_mr16.htm
$150 does seam a Bit much to experiment , Plus that is a Lot of light , but still the draw to it is immense

diff_lock2 10-21-06 06:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeff-o
Short answer: No. Invest in some 2700mAh NiMH rechargeable AA batteries (10 of them, to make 12V).

But dosnt that mean your still only getting 2.7 Ah???

Its cheaper to get a lead batt, and 2.7Ah would be a prety small lead batt, not too heavy, and cheap.

I just bought a 20w MR16 spot (12deg), 2eu. and a button switch. Im still looking for housing, im thinking a plastic cup. i found a cheap 17$ charger, and the bat is going to cost about 13$ (lead 4.5Ah) but its close to 2 kgs i think...

OH and i had a extremly hard time soldering to the MR16's leads, it was horrible, i used sand paper and lemon and it barley stuck... and i cant find flux!... lemon works...

Adiankur 10-21-06 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diff_lock2
But dosnt that mean your still only getting 2.7 Ah???

Its cheaper to get a lead batt, and 2.7Ah would be a prety small lead batt, not too heavy, and cheap.

I just bought a 20w MR16 spot (12deg), 2eu. and a button switch. Im still looking for housing, im thinking a plastic cup. i found a cheap 17$ charger, and the bat is going to cost about 13$ (lead 4.5Ah) but its close to 2 kgs i think...

OH and i had a extremly hard time soldering to the MR16's leads, it was horrible, i used sand paper and lemon and it barley stuck... and i cant find flux!... lemon works...

you should have gotten yourself a couple of those ceramic mr16 sockets. they make a big difference, as you dont have to worry about the soldering problem.

Map tester 10-22-06 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Dirt Hill
Map tester, does that charger know when the battery is fully charged or do you need to use a timer to make sure it doesn't over charge it?

I'm pleased with my NiMH batteries, but when they give up the ghost a year or two from now I might give SLA a try.

SLA smart chargers are cheap--plug and forget. That is why I like them--I just leave the batteries plugged in until I need them. Also, SLA hold their charge much better than other batteries; they can hold their charge for months with very little loss. Lead acid batteries are a fairly mature technology and are used in medical equipment, solar power, emergency lights, etc. Here are some links I have collected:

SLA battery mini tutorial according to me

http://nordicgroup.us/s78/batteries.html

Adiankur 10-22-06 06:47 PM

Ok, I have assembled my lights and tested them. My switch screws into the back of the light housing and the rubber cap screws into the top of that switch from the outside which is a sweet setup. the one thought going through my mind now is the battery. Should I solder a line directly to the SLA? or should I just wire it and shrink wrap those wires? Also, Im assuming I should, after soldering in the fuse, put in some sort main unit that can have multiple wires coming off of it so I can run both lights, the strobe, and the led/reflectors I have, directly off of that unit. I have seen plastic ones in electrical departments where you can screw in the lines to it. How do those sound? should I consider soldering in the lines in some manner or just use the screws that are there?

I do have a 3 way switch that im considering hooking to my main light, but that would mean more wires in one housing.

Novakane 10-23-06 07:56 AM

6 Attachment(s)
A quick peek at my geek project.

1) Three pieces of PVC pipe fitting, 1 1/2" diameter.
2) Beveled inside on the front edge on the first piece - to accomodate the lip on the MR16 bulb. I used a grinding bit on my dremel tool, and some mineral oil dripped on the surface to prevent it from totally melting the PVC from friction.
3) The back piece (pipe cap) gets two holes drilled into it and mounted where the front reflector used to be.
4) Silicon sealant (goes on white, dries clear) glues the MR16 into place and seals the front piece from water. Replacing the bulb will involve cutting the old one out with a razor and cleaning the sealant from the plastic - it'll take the new sealant longer to dry than to change the bulb.
5) The fully assembled and attached light. The middle segment has a hole for the wire to come out at the bottom, which is fed through after screwing it into the front piece. The whole assembly is pushed into the already mounted pipe-cap... It's tight enough to not need any further attachment, however it would be easy to include a short-screw through to hold in place if this was not the case or one was worried that it might pop out. I put Park Tools waterproof grease on the threads and the edge of the light that meets with the cap so that I'll be able to remove it later and to guarantee the seal.
6) Last shot (out of order) shows the MR16 in the beveled PVC piece, with fresh sealant.

No pictures of the light actually functioning yet, as I've not completed the electronics housing which is the white box hanging under the seat-stays. That'll be hopefully completed in November when I can afford the batteries and charger.

The light itself cost around $15 all said and done, for the PVC piping, 20 watt bulb, and silicon sealant. Nuts, bolts, wiring and reflector mount I already had, and the electronics housing is an old plastic box from a camping first-aid kit. It latches from the bottom (as mounted) which will allow it to swing open in the triangle to access the batteries without removing the box.


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