3x1 Watt CREE LED MR16 vs 10W halogen
Results are in... purchased a
3 x 1 Watt 12V MR16 CREE XLamp XR-E WHITE 240 Lumen LED on ebay $22+tax+$5shipping
Xenon MR16 Watts: 10W Volts: 12V Amps: 0.830 P/N: 881210 from www.sailboatstuff.com $4.95+tax+shipping.
I have been using the 10W halogen/xenon bulb (30 degree) for a year and a half mostly for pre dawn commuting. No problems, but I was looking for a little more light and longer battery life both for commuting, and for long distance rides 200 miles+, where extended night time riding is common. The LED bulb states 3.6 Watts consumption, although I have not verified this. I am running this off a batteryspace NiMH 12V 4500mAh. So at 3.6W, I'll be looking at 15 hours max runtime. I am curious what happens as the voltage drops on an LED bulb? How do I know the battery is low?
The CREE 3x1 watt LED MR16 bulb at 15 degree was impressive, although I had to take a hammer to my optronics housing.. few strikes with a steel 12mm socket as a spacer to knock the ceramic MR16 socket holder back a millimeter or 2. YMMV. The LED MR16 bulb also has a protective glass cover held in place by 3 screws, which is needed with the Optronics lenseless holder. Only drawback I see is the "fins" on the bulb allow water to enter the housing. This could be sealed with some silicon, but I plan to leave it as is for now for air cooling. The housing is always pointing downward, so water should not collect.
Notice in the photos that the LED bulb has better vision outside the 15 degree range, even compared to the 30 degree 10W halogen. You can see more detail to the left of the board on the left side. In addition to that super bright focused spot.
CREE 3x1 watt LED 15 degree
10W halogen 30 degree
CREE 3x1 watt LED out of box
LED bulb in Optronics housing
Waterproofing the Optronics driving lights?
For those who are using the Optronics driving lights (QH-7CC, chrome version), is it necessary to take steps to waterproof them? There's a hole at the rear where the wires exit and a small gap between the bulb's glass cover and the bezel. It seems to me that, without any further steps (e.g., a drain hole in the bottom or sealing the holes, the light would accumulate water as I ride through the rain (or leave the bike parked in the rain).
Recumbent SLA battery box
I've just finished my DIY system using all your advice. All the "usual" items like MR16 bulbs, JC Whitney lights, Xenon tail flasher, etc., but thought any recumbent riders searching through might appreciate a look at my battery box. Probably only works for an LWB, but there may be other creative applications outside of mine.
Main material was composite outdoor decking material made out of recycled plastic and wood chips, and then I borrowed a router table from a friend once I sketched up a design and more or less machined out the pieces by hand, and it came out better than I hoped. I'd planned the decking material as an easy way to prototype, and then make some final adjustments and find someone at work to beg to make me one out of aluminum, but it works well as is so I'm going to pile up a few miles and see how durable it is. The decking material was great because it chips like plastic instead of dusting like wood, so I could work inside without choking or coating everything in site with woodfilm.
Other interesting tidbit was the dust and moisture proof caps for the toggle switches. No real need to be absolutely waterproof, but they are insert molded elastomer over the regular lock nut and do a good job protecting the seal and the switch. Since this is more or less a permanent mount of a 7 A-h SLA battery, I put some charging posts through the back and just clip onto those with alligator clips when I return home after a ride.
Many thanks to all who posted earlier, all the information in the thread made a great read and an easy choice for what to do. I'm an incredibly slow planner, so you probably saved me an entire biking season.