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Old 02-16-04, 08:55 AM   #151
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Problem with the connectors on the battery. So I'll have to switch to a simpler battery. Old one has a post and it's next to impossible to keep good contact. The Firestorm drill battery has a slide in contact. This battery will be used also.
Vr, I noticed one battery is 16.8V and the other, 18V. Do these actually work with 12V lights?
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Old 02-16-04, 05:45 PM   #152
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Vr, I noticed one battery is 16.8V and the other, 18V. Do these actually work with 12V lights?
I'm using a Syvania bulb that's designed for the 16.8V battery. Hopefully the 18V won't overcharge too much? It'll be a 1 week wait for the recharger to arrive...zzzz!
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Old 02-16-04, 06:17 PM   #153
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Sounds like everyone is progressing. I started another phase as well. Found a weather resistant electrical box made of very sturdy plastic. I have drilled a hole for a weather-resistant cigarette lighter type plug and will try to figure out mounting and electrical connections over the next couple of days. I may mount the switch on the box as well. It won't be as convenient as the bar mount, but it will be easy enough to reach back and flip it on. More reports later.
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Old 02-16-04, 08:58 PM   #154
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Sounds like everyone is progressing.
...and learning. I replaced my $5.50 rear tail light because it was shortening my run-time (too much wattage.) I picked up a "beehive" LED truck marker light at Auto Zone for $10. Very bright LED config. It's shaped like a cone (beehive.) It's highly visible from every angle. The LED's are arranged in a circle. From the rear, the cone-shaped red dome causes the LED's to appear multiplied by refraction. Kool.

Now I'll get more run-time (and longer life) from my battery, as well as improving visibility. Somehow this LED doesn't suffer from the same directional visiblity limitations as my previous LED's. Must be because it's designed for trucks.
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Old 02-17-04, 12:03 PM   #155
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Pete,
I imagine they have taken more care in designing the ridges inside the lens to distribute the light from the LEDs more effectively, a Fresnel-type configuration like lighthouse lenses, flat sheet magnifiers, and those flat wide-angle view things you can put on the rear window of a van to see better behind you. I have looked at those beehive lights, but I have not seen one lit up.
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Old 02-17-04, 03:20 PM   #156
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Pete, ...I have not seen one lit up.
They are neat.

Good news, Raymond. I received my Philips 20W light today, so my son says.
Thanks for all your help!

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Old 02-17-04, 09:50 PM   #157
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...and learning. The LED's are arranged in a circle. From the rear, the cone-shaped red dome causes the LED's to appear multiplied by refraction. Kool.

Somehow this LED doesn't suffer from the same directional visiblity limitations as my previous LED's.
How many LEDs (bees) are in the hive? Does it have reflector in there too? How many amps does it use then?
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Old 02-18-04, 07:01 AM   #158
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How many LEDs (bees) are in the hive? Does it have reflector in there too? How many amps does it use then?
It's got 8, but unlike other LED's I've had, you can see them from the side as well; they even seem larger. This thing is very bright and the whole dome lights up. I don't know how many amps it uses, but I'm sure it's less than the 1156 tail light bulb I had. The beehive does not appear to have a reflector. It's completely sealed, so that's a good thing against the elements. It's about 2 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches high.

I likes it.

Used the Philips Masterline power-saver 20W halogen today. That thing is every bit as bright as my 35W halogen, but the beam is much tighter (it's an 8 degree spot as opposed to a wider flood.) I was able to produce a brightness of about 55W with only 40W of power, which is more tolerable for my battery's run-time. I was very impressed!

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Old 02-18-04, 10:00 AM   #159
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Pete,
Glad to hear the lamp arrived. Let me know what you think. I put in the 36 degree flood version of the same lamp. I like it better than the 8 degree spot. I have always preferred spots because they concentrate the light from lower wattage bulbs. With the 35W equivalent lamp the flood works great.

Here is a progress report. I made my battery box and tried it out yesterday. It seems to work quite well. The box is a 6x6x4 weather resistant electrical box. It is light but quite sturdy plastic with walls a little over 1/8" thick. The brand is Carlson (or Carlton). I got it at Lowe's. I knew my 5 AH battery would fit easily, and I was hoping I might even be able to get my 7 AH in there, but it doesn't quite make it. If the walls didn't taper slightly it would work. Nor will two 5AH batteries fit. Oh, well. I installed a regular lighter type socket and a push button switch with weather resistant boot. So what I now have is basically a universal 12V 5AH power center that I can plug anything into - lights, cell phone, etc. I glued a piece of mouse pad in the bottom of the box and laid the battery on its back. I also put a large patch of industrial on one side to secure the side of the battery to a box wall. Then I took an old mouse pad and folded it enough times to get a snug pressure on top of the battery when the top is screwed down. Lemme tell ya, I don't think that battery is ever going to move from bumps in the road! I shook it as hard as I could in ever direction, and it never budged. Keeping everything snugly in place is an obsession with me.

To mount the box to my rack I first glued two layers of mousepad together face to face for a shock absorber then made a simple but effective system of innertubes tight enough that, again, nothing is going to budge. I went through some pretty bumpy spots last night and and everything stayed firmly in place.

Another benefit of using the standard 12V socket is, as Pete knows, you can unplug the lights and plug the charger right in. For those concerned about my charging the battery in a sealed box, have no fear. I drilled several small holes, angled upward, just under the lip of the lid. They should provide ventilation without allowing water to enter. Since the socket and plug don't look as weather resistant as I would like, I am going to make a little cover out of cordura to wrap over the box. This will serve two purposes, it will provide all the weather resistance I need and have the added benefit of camouflaging the box somewhat so that it just looks like a little rack trunk or something.

Now that my power unit is done I can move on to experimenting with taillight arrangements. I still want to develop a little more sophisticated mounting system for the box. The inner tube arrangement works fine, but lacks elegance. Hey, I may be a geek, but I have some pride!
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Old 02-18-04, 08:29 PM   #160
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able to produce a brightness of about 55W with only 40W of power, which is more tolerable for my battery's run-time.
Pete,
So how many more minutes does it run between battery charges?
They haven't shipped that recharger yet...wait...waiting...waiting!

Even though spring is coming, I plan on running with lights all of the time. There's a reason why motorcycles always run with lights...I'm do'n a MONKEY SEE--->MONKEY DO! :0
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Old 02-18-04, 09:21 PM   #161
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Pete,
Led-r-us has two beehive models with 9 and 13 LEDs. Their 9 LED model draws 0.07 amp (yes, that is zero.zero 7 or 7 one-hundredths) and the 13 0.1 amp. I would guess yours is close to the 9 LED.
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Old 02-18-04, 10:56 PM   #162
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I made my battery box and tried it out yesterday. It seems to work quite well. The box is a 6x6x4 weather resistant electrical box. It is light but quite sturdy plastic with walls a little over 1/8" thick. The brand is Carlson (or Carlton). Hey, I may be a geek, but I have some pride!
Rainman,
This is the same box that I was considering. Turned out that it didn't fit on the rear rack well. But it's definately a good choice, light and waterproof and there may be additional room in there for extra supplies. You can get a waterproof boot to run the line through that cinches down on the box and prevents water and moisture from seeping in.

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Old 02-20-04, 03:42 AM   #163
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vr, are you talking about a grommet or something a little more weather resistant? I have grommets, but they are not really resistant. Right now I don't have any wires running through the box wall, just the plug and switch. Where have you seen the item you describe?
Thanks,
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Old 02-20-04, 10:33 AM   #164
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Pete,
So how many more minutes does it run between battery charges?
I haven't tested it yet, but the 1156 bulb I used shortened run time by about 40 minutes. Since my commute is about an hour and I recharge at work, I was never in danger of running out of power. But if I wanted to run 40W in the front, I had to cut back in the rear. Still, replacing the 1156 with the LED beehive 8-LED truck marker actually increased brightness.
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Old 02-20-04, 10:45 PM   #165
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vr, are you talking about a grommet or something a little more weather resistant?
Raymond
Raymond,
No it's actually a plug that you add to a junction box like the one you bought.

You drill the box to match the plug size. Then just thread the line through the sleeve of the plug (and of course make your connectins inside the box). As you cinch the plug to the box inside of the sleeve clamps down on the wire making a waterpoof seal.

They're pretty standard equipment for meters and such. You can also get 'em in the plumbing department for protecting jacuzzi tubs. I think they call them cord seals. See attachment.

http://www.zoeller.com/zcopump/zcopdfdocs/FM1597.pdf

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Old 02-21-04, 08:08 AM   #166
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Vr,

How's progress on that system you're building? I really want to see the finished product, or you can write about it. You are building a system based on a higher voltage using a battery designed specifically for a power tool, so you are really plowing new ground as far as I can see. As you know, Raymond and I are using 12V power sources, so anything you learn will be very interesting news for anyone who wants to follow the trail you are blazing. I'm very excited about it!

Keep up the great work!

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Old 02-21-04, 10:43 AM   #167
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Vr,

How's progress on that system you're building?

ARG STALLED and waiting for a charger. The seller just e-mailed and said he can't send it because it's defective...

I tend to push equipment to the limits (so it's worth muddling around for the best solution). Basically everything had to be done twice. But outside of wiring everything is new and I'm learning so much.

Stuff that failed:
A. First, I tried to set up a system like what Raymond's. But for our steep terrain and on a road bike, the 5lb weight would have been too tippy.

B. Switching to the 16.8V battery prevented adequate waterproofing
A baggie would have been OK, but I couldn't make a stable enough switch either. Water is a problem in Seattle. The LBS just drained the rear hub on my bike and said..."you ride alot in the rain?"

C. The wiring had to changed from the 14G, to 4-Wire trailer with plugs to swap between battery and recharger.

The front headlight is just the first hurdle. What I really need are front and rear turn signals (both on one curcuit). 'cause at the end of a long decent, I have to signal a left turn AND brake. Oncoming traffic seems to need about a full 10 seconds of signaling (to distract 'em from their cell phones etc).
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Old 02-23-04, 12:17 AM   #168
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OK 2 batteries, and 2 rechargers are on the way and should be here Friday. Sheesh!

Costs so far:

Bulb, housing 0
2 18V batteries $40
2 rechargers $30
Bracket 4
Switch 9
Waterproof boot 6
Trailer wiring 5 -----> probably won't be needed
---
$94



While waiting, I'll make get going on attaching those cleats to a winter hiking shoe (another geek-o topic, under mountain biking)

-V

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Old 02-27-04, 01:33 AM   #169
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OK! the battery and recharger are here. I got excited and hooked everything up to the switch and nothing! Turned out that there were some diodes in the recharger that allow the current to go one way. Out of my league!

My husband did a simple un-solder and removed the board. It's up and running now and even brighter than with the 16.8V battery.

I don't see the wattage or the amps, just 18V sylvania bulb. So I'll just leave the thing on and see how long it'll run

I took this charger. Snipped off the transformer box and used the wire to go directly to the switch. The cap slides on and off the battery and will sit inside a 1G ziplock in the saddle bag.

The battery is an 18V Firestorm FSB powerpack. 1lb 11oz
The recharger is a Firestorm FSC recharger. 2.2oz


Thrilling!Pictures to follow sometime over the weekend or early next week!
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Old 02-27-04, 09:53 AM   #170
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Thrilling!Pictures to follow sometime over the weekend or early next week!
That is fantastic! I'm really glad it's working good! I'll love to see the pics when they arrive!

I'll get my pics in, soon. She's still running very dependably. I think I'll keep tinkering, though, because I'm always thinking of improvements.
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Old 02-27-04, 11:10 AM   #171
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I'll get my pics in, soon. I'm always thinking of improvements.
That'd be great! What sort of improvements Pete?

The light ran for about 1.5 hr before it started to dim noticially. Was hoping for 2hrs. Even then, it shone across the street and into the neighbor's yard. But my measurements were wrong. Let's see:

Driveway...........75'
Street.............. 30'
Neighbor's Drive 75'
-------------------
Approx............ 180' ---->shining brightly on HIS garage door

It's still raining, so I still have the waterproofing to do before it's streetworthy.
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Old 02-27-04, 11:58 AM   #172
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The light ran for about 1.5 hr before it started to dim noticially. Was hoping for 2hrs. Even then, it shone across the street and into the neighbor's yard. But my measurements were wrong. Let's see:

Driveway...........75'
Street.............. 30'
Neighbor's Drive 75'
-------------------
Approx............ 180' ---->shining brightly on HIS garage door
Dang, Vr! Can't get any better than that!
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Old 03-01-04, 09:06 PM   #173
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My Turn

OK gentleman and ladies. I have been ‘lurking’ on this thread for about 6 weeks. After realizing I was about to have to purchase my 3rd NiteRider battery in as many years, I decided I could do it myself. So after learning from your research and a few mistakes I have completed my new lights.

I went with ‘AA’ NiMis because I already had a charger and 20 or so batteries from other things. I set it up so I can go with 1 or 2 battery packs of 12 batteries each which should give me a max of about 4.25 amp hours (I think). Most of the time one pack should suffice, but there are those mid December weeks that I may need more.
I opted for the Optronics driving lights from JC Whitney and am still experimenting with bulbs. Currently I am running 1 10 watt flood a 1 20 watt semi spot.

On both battery packs I ran the 10 watt for over 4 hours and think I can run the 10 watt continuous and the 20 watt flashing for 2.

Some of my ‘innovations’ are a) an auto emergency flasher from AutoZone along with a SPDT ‘on off on’ switch for each light so I can have a flashing mode or continuous on each light independently. b) the use of PVC plumbing pipe to keep batteries, switches, connections and flashers 100% waterproof. Anyway I have some pictures:

1st the light unit: The flasher is the square thing and there is aswitch on each side.

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Old 03-01-04, 09:16 PM   #174
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battery unit for all 24 batteries.

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Old 03-01-04, 09:19 PM   #175
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Light unit partality assembled. The mounting bracket is the quick release from my rear fender that I cut off when I bought a rack. I just fastened the fender directly to the rack.

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