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  1. #1
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    Project: 2x20w Headlights.

    I will post some pics of a headlight project I'm working on, when I get home from work.

    I started a new headlight project, and decided to keep it simple and cheap. Yet, it will be fairly powerful for rainy weather. It will consist of 2-20w MR11 size halogen headlights.

    My question first is which bulbs should I get? Narrow or Flood?

    I noticed on Ebay, I can get MR11 bulbs on the cheap. Some are 10deg spot, and some 30deg flood. Which are better for a project like this? I'm thinking maybe two 30deg floods, but a 10deg narrow would be nice.

    Anyone use either of those? Which do you prefer?
    Last edited by Patriot; 09-22-08 at 03:33 PM.
    President, OCP
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  2. #2
    Senior Member teacherbill's Avatar
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    One of each, then you can test it on the road and make a choice if you would want two of the same kind.
    Bill from Sebastian

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  3. #3
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Wouldn't go over 20 degrees. A 10 and a 20 would work well.

  4. #4
    Junior Member T Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    My question first is which bulbs should I get. narrow or Flood.
    I have a 15 and a 24. This is a nice combo, because you get spread and throw at the same time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post

    Anyone use either of those? Which do you prefer?
    I had a home-brew set up and started with a 30 degree 20w MR16. I found it a bit too wide and changed it for a 12 degree version (couldn't get 10 degree here). That gave better penetration but with enough spill to light the bushes off to the side.

    I got a shouted complaint from an oncoming cyclist about too much light once.

  6. #6
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    I see alot of 20deg MR11's on Ebay for pretty good prices. I keep thinking a 20deg Medium Flood is just about right.

    Only $1.00 w/$5 ship. But, you pay only like $0.30 ship for each additional bulb. So, I figure I could buy 3-4 bulbs for under $10.

    Anyway, I need some nice wire now. I want the nice round and flexible insulated stuff for 12v/20w. Just like what you get for a normal setup. I wonder if they sell for cheap at Home Depot or Lowes. If not, I may need to make a trip to Radio Shack.
    President, OCP
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  7. #7
    Senior Member sonicj's Avatar
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    your local high end car audio shop might be a cheap/free place to pick up some really good wire. the shop i sold at often threw out double jacketed, high strand count wire scraps left over from installs. all the car audio guys i know would gladly donate some good scrap wire to a geeky diy'er project like bike lighting! home depot & lowes won't have the same quality of low voltage wire.

  8. #8
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Use one spot and one flood. Nightrider does this with some lights. My old nightrider had a 20w flood on one side. You would like a spot to add to the center of the beam.

    I think my old nightrider was 12w spot and 20w flood. I think the flood was 20 degrees.

    20w and a 20w in one housing will get hot enought to melt some plastics. Including the insulation on the wires inside a housing. Be carefull. My 50 watt single bulb in a metal housing will boil water right off it. It will cook human flesh instantly.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    I see alot of 20deg MR11's on Ebay for pretty good prices. I keep thinking a 20deg Medium Flood is just about right.

    Only $1.00 w/$5 ship. But, you pay only like $0.30 ship for each additional bulb. So, I figure I could buy 3-4 bulbs for under $10.

    Anyway, I need some nice wire now. I want the nice round and flexible insulated stuff for 12v/20w. Just like what you get for a normal setup. I wonder if they sell for cheap at Home Depot or Lowes. If not, I may need to make a trip to Radio Shack.
    When i was wiring my latest project i used wire from old computer power supplies. It's dual conductor, not too thick and handles up to 4amps which is close to enough for running both your lamps.

  10. #10
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    Here's some pics. I used some chrome plated, thin-walled brass drain pipe from work. I cut them to short length, and using the flange collars to mount the MR11 bulbs. They fit perfectly.



    Here, I used some basic plastic conduit brackets to mount them to the bars. I painted them flat black to match the bars.



    Drill a few holes, solder on an end cap, and ...... Viola!!!







    Since the plastic seal on the inside of the collar can handle well over boiling temp of water, I'm hoping it can handle a 20w bulb. If they start to melt, I'll pull the, and use High temp RTV to cushion the bulbs against shock and vibration.
    Last edited by Patriot; 08-30-08 at 11:13 PM.
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  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    Since the plastic seal on the inside of the collar can handle well over boiling temp of water, I'm hoping it can handle a 20w bulb. If they start to melt, I'll pull the, and use High temp RTV to cushion the bulbs against shock and vibration.
    I think the plastic seal may be OK. When I used an aluminum body I was able to hold the 50w bulb in place with a plastic ring,the steel body makes a great heat sink.. But the seals may be softer or lower melt temp.
    Carefully consider what is over the steel pipe body, they will get pretty hot. I'm sure you'll find out anyway. I just wanted to bring it up. I had to paint my aluminum body 50w light with heat paint.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    Dude, those look sweet. I think that's the best homebrew enclosure i've seen.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sonicj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser View Post
    Dude, those look sweet. I think that's the best homebrew enclosure i've seen.
    +1

  14. #14
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    My headlights are finished.

    I got done soldering the wires to the connectors and then attached to the new 20w/20deg bulbs I have. I tried a 12deg bulb, and didn't really like it. Too narrow for my taste. The 20deg seemed just about perfect for coverage, but not so wide that I didn't get enough light. So, I went with 2 x 20 deg bulbs. Perfect.

    I got some small pushbuttons for the back of the light bodies, and got myself some bigger conduit brackets, because the old ones were too small and flimsy. These are much beefier. The pushbuttons came off EBay. I bought 12 of them for about $10, and have plenty for future projects. Not sure for what, but I have them anyway.

    The pin connectors proved to be a little loose, so I was going to use some ceramic bulb sockets. I couldn't find any for MR11 size, only MR16 at DealExtreme. So, I just soldered the connectors right to the bulb pins. I can always unsolder them for replacement.

    I also used a little High Temp RTV where the wires go into the chrome body. I wanted to keep them from slipping and chafing, but didn't have any grommets, so RTV will do.

    Here's the completed lights. Not bad if I say so myself.





    Pushbuttons on the back



    Cables just clear the lights on the front. Hopefully, they won't interfere with any shadowing effect.

    President, OCP
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  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    How do you find the Nanbeiyan cyclocomputer? I had one last year - bought it off Ebay. It was great -- the widescreen format has everything at a glance, including temperature. However after 12 months I couldn't get the buttons to register a press, so I scrapped it. I thought maybe moisture had gotten in a tarnished the contacts.

  16. #16
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    ^^^ I got mine off Ebay too. It was about $25. It's big, but I wanted something with a thermometer and an easy to use backlight.
    President, OCP
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  17. #17
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Nice !

    One of those cables might make a little shadow, but it really does not matter in use.

    Have you left them on for a while to see how hot they get?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  18. #18
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    ^^^ Yes. I hooked them up to my truck battery, and turned them on for about 5 minutes in the sun. Originally, I had some electrical tape wrapped around the pin connectors that clipped to the bulbs, to prevent them from touching, or slipping off. However, the tape got very soft. So, I pulled the tape around the connectors, and just soldered them directly to the bulb pins. Now, they won't come off or touch each other, even under vibration.

    The chrome bodies got fairly hot to the touch, especially up front where the collar screws on, but it didn't melt the plastic seal ring around the bulbs, yet. Those rings are rated for well over 212F for sink drains, so they can easily handle boiling water. Only time will tell if they can handle the halogen bulb.

    The chrome body can be held in your hand, but it gets pretty hot towards the front. The middle to the back is pretty easy to grip, even though it's still warm to the touch. I'm assuming the rubber (inner tube) insulator pancaked between the body and the plastic mounting bracket will be fine. I did this so the plastic conduit bracket won't melt.

    If I start to smell burning rubber or plastic when riding, I'll know I'm in trouble.
    Last edited by Patriot; 09-22-08 at 03:42 PM.
    President, OCP
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  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    ^^^ Yes. I hooked them up to my truck battery, and turned them on for about 5 minutes in the sun. Originally, I had some electrical tape wrapped around the pin connectors that clipped to the bulbs, to prevent them from touching, or slipping off. However, the tape got very soft. So, I pulled the tape around the connectors, and just soldered them directly to the bulb pins. Now, they won't come off or touch each other, even under vibration.

    The chrome bodies got fairly hot to the touch, especially up front where the collar screws on, but it didn't melt the plastic seal ring around the bulbs, yet. Those rings are rated for well over 212F for sink drains, so they can easily handle boiling water. Only time will tell if they can handle the halogen bulb.

    The chrome body can be held in your hand, but it gets pretty hot towards the front. The middle to the back is pretty easy to grip, even though it's still warm to the touch. I'm assuming the rubber (inner tube) insulator pancaked between the body and the plastic mounting bracket will be fine. I did this so the plastic conduit bracket won't melt.

    If I start to smell burning rubber or plastic when riding, I'll know I'm in trouble.
    That sounds like a very good test. If you can hold them, they are probably 120-130F ish. As long as you're moving they will be a little less. I don't know what temp bike cable housing is good for.

    They look great!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  20. #20
    Senior Member brokenknee's Avatar
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    Do you plan on running these at 12 volts or 14.4. If you run them at the higher voltage for more light, it will generate more heat. Also what size amp hour pack do you plan on using? I am wondering about run time with both lights on.

    Nice looking lights!!
    Clarity to Agreement (Dennis Prager)

    alot? a lot.

  21. #21
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    I plan on running them at 12v, using a DC converter from 48v off the main battery on my Ebike. I assume my truck battery is higher, about 13-14v or so, as the meter reads on the dash. I would think the lights will be a little less bright, and a little cooler.
    President, OCP
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