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Thread: Total Geekiness

  1. #1651
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    Thanks Franenbiker!

    I found out today that the Vector Power Pack was discontinued and my order was cancelled. Instead, I bought a 12volt 5amp hour SLA from radioshack today... smaller than I thought it would be (but just as heavy as I imagined . The guy at radio shack said that 10amps was too high of a fuse and that I needed a 3 amp fuse. What do you guys prefer? Auto fuses, regular fuses, or the circuit breakers? I found some 5 amp auto fuses... will that be okay? How do you determine what size fuse you need?

    I also found a local Mom & Pop autoparts store that carried red LED Beehive taillights. It uses less than 1 watt. They also had some plastic driving lights (night blasters). I bought 'em and already have destroyed one trying to mount a toggle switch inside of it.

    I bought a triple switch toggle so I can flip between a 10 watt headlamp for city streets and a 20 watt one for dark rural riding. Where do you guys mount your switches?!? I think I'd be able to mount a push button type of switch inside the lamp... but would a push button switch hold up in rainy weather? The toggles at least have rubber caps you can purchase.

  2. #1652
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    Also, how do I determine which size switch I need to use? i.e. 1 amp or 5 amp or what? how many volts?

  3. #1653
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    I size the fuse/circuit breaker to be twice the capacity of my lighting needs including the maximum surge current when plugging it into the battery charger. I size the wire to be able to handle more current than what trips the breaker http://www.alphawire.com/PAGES/383.CFM. The fuse/circuit breaker protects the battery and wiring. If the fuse size is too close to the current draw of the lamp(s) or charging surge current, you run the possible risk of it blowing due to a short-term current surge when the lamp is turned on or the initial charging current surge (happened to me!). The filament of a halogen lamp is a short circuit until it heats up (which occurs almost instantly). As long as the wire insulation can handle the current load that doesn't trip the fuse without melting and the battery can handle the load, then you are fine with a larger versus smaller fuse/circuit breaker. I use a ten-Amp circuit breaker because I draw about 5 amps when running the lights and use a 3.0 amp charger. I use 16 gauge SXL automotive wire (polyethylene cross-linked elastomer rated to 125*C) because the insulation has a higher temperature rating and is more abrasion-resistant than PVC coated wire rated to 80*C. I want my electrical system to be bullet-proof. I've had PVC electrical harness meltdowns in the field before and it isn't a pretty sight (not to mention the odor of burning/charring PVC insulation).

    As with wiring, I would get switches that can handle the current of the light and momentary short-circuit current before the fuse trips. My switches are harsh environment toggle switches that can handle the abuse of rain/sleet/gloom of night/dirt/saltspray. They are oil-spray-tight washdown switches with silicone rubber seals around the toggle and are rated for 20amps at 28VDC. Bullet-proof. I want them to survive an endo into a drainage ditch filled with icy, salty winter snow road runoff. These On-off-On toggle switches cost about $11 from McMaster Carr. Mine are mounted on a plate under the left-hand handlebar grip where I can activate them with my left index finger or thumb without taking my hand off the grip. The front one, mom-off-mom, pressed forward, activates the horn (not installed yet) and when pressed backward, cycles the headlights through 7, 10, 20, 30 and 40 watts via the Lightbrain controller. The rear toggle on-off-on operates the turn signals.

    Edit: Oops, forgot the picture of the switches. Added rider's view of switches under handlebar. They are easy to flick with a finger.

    You can get cheaper toggle switches from Radio Shack, but these are not designed for use in harsh environments such as dirt/rain/snow/salt spray and may not last long in the field unless you are riding in mostly fair-weather conditions. A switch rated for three-Amps or five-Amps at 12V should work fine for a single 20Watt halogen lamp which draws about 1.7 amps.
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  4. #1654
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    I found an awesome 12 volt 5ah battery holder!.



    It is made of neoprene, same stuff they make wetsuits out of, hopefully this gives it a little water resistence. At the very least, it provides a pretty cushy feeling, which might convey some impact resistence/padding.

    It has a sewn in belt loop on the back, so you could ran a strap through it to attach to a rack. It also has 2 sets of quick release clips. Just using the one set of quick release clips on the back it clips perfectly to my rear RANS rack without needing anything else!

    My 5ah 21 volt SLA battery fits snug inside with room at one end... perfect for a little wire and my fuse. It has an added small front pocket that can fit extra fuses and a mini-mag light (i.e. emergency backup bike light).

  5. #1655
    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    I'm having trouble viewing a lot of the pics. Links are ok, so are pics in the text... but a lot of postings here indicate there are pics, but I get no image. Anyone else having this trouble? Or better yet, know how to fix it?

  6. #1656
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    Images in text can be seen by anybody. Images as "attachments" can only be viewed by members when logged in. If you don't see the attachments as images, then you're not logged in as a member and you need to log in.

    If you can't see any images, then your profile Thread Display "Show Images" checkbox is not checked.

    Go to "User Control Panel"
    Click on "Edit Options"
    Scroll down to "Thread Display Options"
    Click on the "Show Images" checkbox to put a green checkmark in it.

  7. #1657
    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    Thanks, Frankenbiker. I'm really looking forward to seeing these. Fun sticky for a sticky August morning.

  8. #1658
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightc1 View Post
    I found a set of lights today at walmart that are for offroad vehicles and racing... they are halogen and 55 watts (assume total, though maybe dual 55's, I can't tell yet). Nicely just $15 for the pair.

    Anyway has anyone tried using lites like this or any other typical automotive lights like foglamps?

    I like the size of em.. they were pretty small... yet would be plenty bright for a bike (and again, would look pretty dang nice at that). I don't want to get in any legal issues .. but they would be mounted like standard lights and not down low like foglights or for more offroad uses.
    I saw a few different types of these lights at Walmart today but they all said for off road use. Can they be used on a bike on the road? I liked them better than the yard light from Home Depot but didn't know if I could use them or not.

  9. #1659
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    Check to see what type of bulbs they use. If the only bulbs that will fit in them are 55Watt to 100Watt automotive off-road style bulbs, then they wouldn't be good for bicycles. However, if they use MR16 style bulbs, then you can put smaller bulbs in (10Watt to 20Watt) and they would probably work fine.

    I looked at WalMart driving/fog lights when I was in the design phase of my DIY. I wasn't very impressed. I think they had blue-tinted lenses that gave a fake impression of HID while using halogen lamps. Pfft.

  10. #1660
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    They had some of the blue ones but also some clear ones. They were the Optronics brand which I saw mentioned in here somewhere. I wanted the QH7CC but they didn't have those so I can't find what bulb they use. I definitely want an MR16 so that I can put in a 20 and 15 instead of the 55.

  11. #1661
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    The Optronics QH7CC use MR16s. You can get them from JCWhitney. See the attached images. Use a little metalized tape to hold the bezel in place because it has a tendency to fall off.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...0&d=1178409280
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #1662
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    I have another question about these DIY lights. I'm going to order the Optronics lights and I'm trying to decide on a battery from batteryspace. What I've read says that overvolting gives a brighter light which is worth the reduced bulb life. Would 13.2 be good or should I go with 14.4? I'm planning to swap out the bulbs and replace with a 20w spot and 15w flood. The 13.2 is a 4.2amp so if I calculated right that would give me about 1 1/2 hrs.

  13. #1663
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    Some DIYers have had success with overvolting 12V halogen lamps to 14.4V, though I don't know how much the 20% overvoltage shortens lamp life, I haven't dug deep enough into the archives. A 13.2V battery, being only 10% should give you a little brighter light without a heavy penalty on lamp life. I wouldn't overvolt more than 20%.

  14. #1664
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    Okay, I wired up my lights tonight. My wiring worked!!!!! I went for a little spin around the neighborhood. I think I'm going to love commuting at night. I'm going to do some refining as to how everything is wired and attached to the bike. I'm using velcro fasteners for the wires and switchbox, so everything should be able to be easily removed if I don't want to lug the weight around. I'm on a recumbent and my headlights are attached to an old mtn bike handlebar stem which I stuck in my front deraileur post.

    The MR16 10watt Narrow Flood I'm using for my low beam is outstanding. It's a lot more powerful than I expected it to be. I get some light spilling and catching my feet as I pedal, but it doesn't seem to cast any shadows onto the road, so I think that'll be okay.

    The MR16 energy saving 20 watt 8 degree spotlight I am a little disappointed with. It appears dimmer than the 10 watt. Has anyone else had this experience?

    The difference in the amount of light had me recheck to make sure my 10 watt wasn't accidently the 50 watt bulb that came with the headlights. I'm wondering if I wired something wrong or if I have a defective bulb. I think it is because the beam is so concentrated. The good news is that I don't get any light spill on my feet at all. All I seem to get is a very narrow spotlight. So narrow, that it is not as useful as the 10watt bulb.

  15. #1665
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    I bought two Philips 20W energy savers about six weeks ago. One of them simply glowed a dull orange when I connected it and there was some condensation inside the sealed bulb. I called customer service at bulbs.com and they sent a replacement next-day shipping at no charge. The replacement lamp worked fine. However...

    I've been using mine with a lightbrain controller that gives me 7, 10, and 20W on the lamp with a flick of the switch. Yesterday, I noticed that the one I use everyday for daytime running at the 7W level was significantly dimmer than the other one that I use only occasionally, and at the full 20W. The daily-use one was only putting out the equivalent of less than 10W at the 20W setting. The inside was also glowing greenish. Not good.

    I'm going to fire off an email to Philips customer service and ask "What gives?"

  16. #1666
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    Finally located some pics of my setup. Managed somehow to loose some though. Easy to make setup. Malibu spotlight, most of the spike cut off, 12V sealed lead acid (SLA) in a fanny pack with Anderson Powerpoles as a connector. Stock 20W halogen, does good at lighting up the whole shoulder of the road, although I do want to add a narrow LED backup light.

    The connector will disconnect very easily; I just drape the wire over my shoulder when riding. Someday, I'll find a suitable bag of some sort so as to hang the battery from the bike. Next up is the rear light; at the moment, it's just an old LED blinkie on the fanny pack.

    Only one issue so far: my 7Ahr SLA is going kaput. Measures 10.8V unloaded, and will initially drop to 5V when plugged into my 20W halogen! It does recover to 9.8V or so. Tomorrow I'll go hunting for a replacement.
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  17. #1667
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    Well, I bought a simple 20watt MR16 (not energy saver) today and it was significantly brighter than the energy saver bulb. The model i bought was a flood and not a spotlight, but it worked fine. I don't think I need a spot... the flood provided light to the sides so I can actually see quite a bit of my surroundings.
    I will contact bulbs.com and report the bulb being defective too.

    Today, I also went ahead and used electrical tape to package my wires into a nice little cord. The velcro fasteners work great. The only permanent attachment is for my taillight. I used a ziptie to attach it to my rear rack. No fuss, no muss. I figure that I can cut off the tie if needed and they are easy to replace. I don't imagine I'll be yanking the system on and off that often.

    I'm really pleased. This is brightest light system I have ever had on a bicycle (or handheld for that matter).

    I'm thinking about commuting tomorrow... depends on how I feel in the morning.

  18. #1668
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Dual Cree LED copper pipe light...



    One side bashed flat. Not very straight holes drilled opposite.
    Copper bracket bent up so fits ander cables and on top of mudguard and brazed on (getting the brazing done cost me a beer). Overcoated with clear to keep it looking shiny.

    Two Q5 cree XR-E leds and cree optics stuck on to flat portion of pipe. Mylar over holes.
    Epoxy and yellow food colouring seal the ends to create side lights (will go carbon fiber next light, very very soon).

    Driven by taskled bflex (awesome driver) and 12AAs. Did 4 hours on not full batteries, expect about 5 now, have turned it down to 750mA max as not much difference betweeen 700 and 1000 visually but sucks through batteries. Bflex controller mounted in box on stem, one button control over 3 brightness levels, constant or strobe mode, and low battery led.







    Black line in beamshot is mudguard, now cut shorter, as in photos. Just a tiny black stripe where the shadows of the tyre overlap. Should of mounted the leds a few mm apart!
    Its a nice tight beam and great for the road.
    Beam at 1A



    1A gives lots and lots of light!

  19. #1669
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    Optronics housing joint failing

    Has anyone had experience with the joint between the lamp housing and the mounting hardware failing on the Optronics lights? I've put about 2000 miles on mine so far and both are getting looser and looser. I doubt they will fall off like the bezels, but I'm considering I should add a dab of caulking to stop the noise. Any ideas on a better fix? I'm assuming there is a sort of metal rivetting or heading over process when connecting the two pieces during manufacture and doubt I could repeat that even with full dis-assembly unless I had some sort of special tooling.

    Longbikes Slipstream

  20. #1670
    Slow ride, take it easy - Frankenbiker's Avatar
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    I just checked mine. The housing and bracket are held together by two rivets. Mine aren't loose, but you could see about mushing them back into shape if you have a vise and a metal rod extension to get at the housing side of the rivet, then use a set punch and hammer on the bracket side... Maybe use a little silicone sealant to hold down the vibration.

  21. #1671
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    I just found this today.. Do you think it is too much ?

  22. #1672
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    I just found this today.. Do you think it is too much ?
    http://www.trafficsafetystore.com/Su...?CID=6&SCID=27
    Its the flasher they use on road barricades. I bet that would get a drivers attention quick,especially after they notice that its MooooVing

  23. #1673
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenbiker View Post
    ...you could see about mushing them back into shape if you have a vise and a metal rod extension to get at the housing side of the rivet, then use a set punch and hammer on the bracket side...
    Last winter mine started to loosen, and I did what you just suggested--flattened the rivet out a bit more and it is all tight now.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  24. #1674
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    What is the difference between the MR 16 and MR 11 bulbs? Is it the color temperature?

  25. #1675
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    The MR11's are much smaller and are "open", their bulbs are directly exposed to the air. MR16's are larger and are available with a glass cover/lens cover.

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