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Old 08-26-08, 08:13 PM   #1
tuvok
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Switches

My DIY halogen setup works but is clunky. I am in the process of streamlining and I was wondering if there is any serious disadvantage to not having a switch. I plan on just using auto trailer connectors and connecting or disconnecting them to turn the light on or off. This will save me the effort to weather proof and wire a switch. I also noted that there are commercial halogen systems with no switch. Is there an advantage to switches other than convenience?

Last edited by tuvok; 08-26-08 at 08:14 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-26-08, 08:50 PM   #2
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disadvantage to not having a switch. I plan on just using auto trailer connectors and connecting or disconnecting them to turn the light on or off.

I just tested a halogen driving light system powered by my 12v tool battery. I will use the quick disconnect instead of a switch. Just so that I don't have to add more stuff to mess with. My battery pack is riding in my extra water bottle cages that are located on the saddle. I ride on airless tires so I personally don't need a tool kit, but when I expect to ride in the company of others I normally pack in case others have flats.

Cool thing is that it is mounted beneath my aero bars and it actually looks like it meant to be there. When I get a chance I will shoot it and post the final rigging.
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Old 08-26-08, 09:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tuvok View Post
My DIY halogen setup works but is clunky. I am in the process of streamlining and I was wondering if there is any serious disadvantage to not having a switch. I plan on just using auto trailer connectors and connecting or disconnecting them to turn the light on or off. This will save me the effort to weather proof and wire a switch. I also noted that there are commercial halogen systems with no switch. Is there an advantage to switches other than convenience?

I am not sure what state you live in. If it is a cold weather state you may want to reconsider this. I know when I try to connect my trailer lights in the middle of winter it can be a real challenge because the cold make the connectors so stiff they do not want to mate together.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:06 AM   #4
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One thing i like about a switch is the ability to flash your lights at highbeamers etc.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:14 AM   #5
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What he ^^^^^ said. Or, as I see alot on this board, +1 (whatever that means).

Having the ability to flash your lights to get someone's attention is a really nice feature.

Also, a decent quality switch is very reliable. A connector that is connected/disconnected frequently is more prone to failure.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:33 AM   #6
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When I need to "flash" my lights, I take a hand off the bars and use it to block and unblock the light beam.

EDIT: My light, Marwi Nightpro Torch has an inline connector between the head and battery and a weatherproof on/off switch built into the head unit. I however find it easier to dim or flash the light by using my hand to partially or fully obscure the beam than it is to fumble for the black switch on the black light body at night.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:30 AM   #7
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When I need to "flash" my lights, I take a hand off the bars and use it to block and unblock the light beam.
That certainly works, omitting the switch will make your system simpler and possibly more reliable. Some connectors wear out easily, but i would think that automotive trailer connectors will stand up to being plugged and unplugged multiple times daily. Seems like all your giving up is convenience.
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Old 08-27-08, 03:30 PM   #8
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anderson power poles are light years ahead of trailer connectors! high amperage, low resistance, easy (crimp or solder), quickly reconfigurable
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Old 08-28-08, 03:37 AM   #9
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I will be using a set-up similar to the Anderson power poles. Thanks for the image.
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Old 08-28-08, 08:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuvok View Post
My DIY halogen setup works but is clunky. I am in the process of streamlining and I was wondering if there is any serious disadvantage to not having a switch. I plan on just using auto trailer connectors and connecting or disconnecting them to turn the light on or off. This will save me the effort to weather proof and wire a switch. I also noted that there are commercial halogen systems with no switch. Is there an advantage to switches other than convenience?
Direct connection to the light will work but this kind of connection is more likely to cause a surge of power that may pop the lamp. Although simple switches don't necessarily solve the problem, they are a little easier on the bulb.
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Old 08-29-08, 04:46 PM   #11
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Direct connection to the light will work but this kind of connection is more likely to cause a surge of power that may pop the lamp. Although simple switches don't necessarily solve the problem, they are a little easier on the bulb.
I gotta call you on this one. Please prove your point with further explanation; include your electronic calculations if you have any.

Except for a sealed switch mechanism, sealed in an inert environment that might somehow mitigate any inrush sparking at the contacts I don't see how adding a switch makes any difference. But I don't know what you have in mind - you don't mention any other electronic components that might control inrush current.

Please help me see clearly what you mean.
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Old 08-29-08, 07:17 PM   #12
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Airless tires ... what the ??? And why?
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Old 08-30-08, 06:13 AM   #13
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Airless tires ... what the ??? And why?
I went through a period of time when I could just look at my bike and it would flat, while sitting in my garage with new tubes at 110 psi. At about that time I started riding in the early morning. It was black outside and I didn't want to have a flat out on the road. I did a bit of research and found my solution and switched over to the airless tires. I have had them for a while and have dropped my own stress of flatting to nothing.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:17 PM   #14
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I gotta call you on this one. Please prove your point with further explanation; include your electronic calculations if you have any.

Except for a sealed switch mechanism, sealed in an inert environment that might somehow mitigate any inrush sparking at the contacts I don't see how adding a switch makes any difference. But I don't know what you have in mind - you don't mention any other electronic components that might control inrush current.

Please help me see clearly what you mean.
It's more physical than electrical. It's been my experience that connectors for battery systems are relatively tight and require some wiggling to get them seated. It's likely that they may line up momentarily, disconnect, line up, etc. I've popped bulbs in the past doing just this kind of thing on the trail. Turning a bulb on and off is relatively hard on the bulb (most blowouts happen at this point). Flickering it on and off as you fiddle with the plug will surge power to the bulb repeatedly and make it more susceptible to blow out. A switch protects the bulb by only allowing one surge on power up.
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Old 09-02-08, 02:48 AM   #15
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surge

Then I would think that the word "Surge" is what was throwing others off. We electricians see the term as meaning a sudden increase in the power supply voltage over it's normal voltage output. I do see your point in trying to avoid any additional On / Off Cycles though.

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Old 09-03-08, 08:00 PM   #16
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Thanks all, lots of good info to consider. Right now I'm using a switch but the wiring is exposed so its only good for fair weather. I can definitely see where the rapid on-off situation could cause problems. At home while switching them on is usually when incandescent bulbs blow.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:51 PM   #17
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Thanks all, lots of good info to consider. Right now I'm using a switch but the wiring is exposed so its only good for fair weather. I can definitely see where the rapid on-off situation could cause problems. At home while switching them on is usually when incandescent bulbs blow.
Shrink wrap will seal them against nearly everything you'd want to ride a bike in
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