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  1. #1
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Goal: 500lms | Budget: $100 | Use: Pleasure/Training | Knwldge: Newbie

    I've been riding bikes most of my 40 years and have recently purchased a Trek 7300 to help get back in shape. The idea of riding at night strongly appeals to me as it's cooler down here in Florida when the sun goes down. Oh ~ also, the thought of riding at night sounds like a blast!

    I've been pricing different lighting systems and have learned that to buy off the shelf, it's going to cost me AT LEAST twice what I want to spend ($100). Also, I'm very much interested in building my own system.

    After reading different websites/forum posts, it seems I'm looking for a rechargeable battery system, and this is what I would prefer. The problem is, I am an electronics newbie with basic soldering skills. I've seen some really well laid out schematics of how to do the electronics for the system, but this is where I get lost. Quite frankly ~ I don't know how any of it works (but am a fast learner).

    It's clear there are some very experienced bike lighting gurus within this site. So.., what are your thoughts on how I might build a $100, highly efficient, streamlined, rechargeable lighting system that truly kicks ass that's needed to be built by an electronics newb?

    Regarding the 500 lumens: I've read a zillion threads and understand some think this is excessive while others see it as the minimum. Maybe I could do with 300 or maybe I'm better off with 600. I'd prefer a higher amount.

    Should I go Gilligan's Island bamboo? Power outlet fixture? PVC pipe basics? It seems the two lamp configuration is the best. As long as it's efficient, not-so-bulky and powerful, I'm happy.

    All thoughts greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Thumdar; 09-09-08 at 12:21 AM.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Not to deter you from the DIY route, but if you happen to have an arsenal of rechargeable AA's on hand, three of these plus a three-pack of TwoFish lockblocks would be... lessee here... under $90.

    At 800mA, those lights are probably producing 170 lumens at the emitter, and naturally not all of that makes it out the front, so take the ratings with a grain of salt. But that applies to most lights on the market. At any rate, it would be a lightweight, self-contained setup and you'd also be able to swap from bike to bike easily, and/or use one as a helmet light.

    Regarding the 500 lumens: I've read a zillion threads and understand some think this is excessive while others see it as the minimum.
    The beam pattern is very important, not just the lumen rating. My commuting setup currently consists of a L2D Q5 (rated 180 lumens) and a DiNotte 600L (rated ~600 lumens), which probably sounds like a lot, right? But it doesn't reach very far down the road. These lights spread their lumens out a lot, which is great for trail riding on a mountain bike, but not ideal for road riding where you want to see road hazards with plenty of time to react. So keep the beam pattern, and the distribution of the lumens, in mind. Not just the lumen count.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Very cool, thank you, mechBgon. I'm not opposed to this type of setup, although having to constantly buy batteries sounds a lot like replacing inkjet cartridges! That's why I was considering the recharge concept. Still..., this method is still in the running.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  4. #4
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    Very cool, thank you, mechBgon. I'm not opposed to this type of setup, although having to constantly buy batteries sounds a lot like replacing inkjet cartridges! That's why I was considering the recharge concept. Still..., this method is still in the running.
    I think that's why he said:

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ...if you happen to have an arsenal of rechargeable AA's on hand...
    You can cop a charger pretty cheap here. Comes with 4 AA's.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  5. #5
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    "I think that's why he said..."

    Oops ~ missed that.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  6. #6
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  7. #7
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    I should also pass along what I heard from daredevil in another thread: that model of light turns off abruptly when the battery voltage gets too low. So if your rides would routinely be approaching the 2-hour mark, that's a possible issue. If you'd only go that long once in a while, then I guess a guy could simply carry some extra AAs along, and reload batteries.

    You can cop a charger pretty cheap here. Comes with 4 AA's.
    I got one of those, it's sweet It keeps the batteries topped off with a trickle charge, too. However, I'm transitioning to 18650-based lithium-ion lights from here on... more capacity, faster charging. I'm waiting for my LumaPower MRV SK to arrive, and that should address my current setup's lack of long-distance reach. "Only" 280 lumens, but they're almost all focused into one very potent hotspot

  8. #8
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    However, I'm transitioning to 186500 lithium-ion lights from here on... more capacity, faster charging. I'm waiting for my LumaPower MRV SK to arrive, and that should address my current setup's lack of long-distance reach. "Only" 280 lumens, but they're almost all focused into one very potent hotspot
    Very nice! I'm pretty new to night riding and just ordered a couple Fenix l2d's, lock-blocks and that LaCrosse charger. That Ultrafire is a LOT less expensive than the Fenix.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  9. #9
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    BTW - Thumdar, welcome to the obsession! I've put about 2,000 miles on my 7300 since I bought it last spring. It's a great bike to get back into cycling on
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  10. #10
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    Very nice! I'm pretty new to night riding and just ordered a couple Fenix l2d's, lock-blocks and that LaCrosse charger. That Ultrafire is a LOT less expensive than the Fenix.
    Lots of us are using those lights, with the same charger and the lockblocks. You'll be impressed when you get yours set up and see what you've been missing at night.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    ... how I might build a $100, highly efficient, streamlined, rechargeable lighting system that truly kicks ass that's needed to be built by an electronics newb?
    ...
    As long as it's efficient, not-so-bulky and powerful, I'm happy.
    For not too complicated a build, rechargeable and not too expensive (but since not LED, not as efficient) the overvolted MR16 halogen setup HERE on this very forum puts out about 700 lumens PER LAMP (setup pictured has 3 lamps for total around 2,000 lumens. Since these are training rides, a little extra weight should be OK.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    I've been riding bikes most of my 40 years and have recently purchased a Trek 7300 to help get back in shape. The idea of riding at night strongly appeals to me as it's cooler down here in Florida when the sun goes down. Oh ~ also, the thought of riding at night sounds like a blast!

    I've been pricing different lighting systems and have learned that to buy off the shelf, it's going to cost me AT LEAST twice what I want to spend ($100). Also, I'm very much interested in building my own system.

    After reading different websites/forum posts, it seems I'm looking for a rechargeable battery system, and this is what I would prefer. The problem is, I am an electronics newbie with basic soldering skills. I've seen some really well laid out schematics of how to do the electronics for the system, but this is where I get lost. Quite frankly ~ I don't know how any of it works (but am a fast learner).

    It's clear there are some very experienced bike lighting gurus within this site. So.., what are your thoughts on how I might build a $100, highly efficient, streamlined, rechargeable lighting system that truly kicks ass that's needed to be built by an electronics newb?

    Regarding the 500 lumens: I've read a zillion threads and understand some think this is excessive while others see it as the minimum. Maybe I could do with 300 or maybe I'm better off with 600. I'd prefer a higher amount.

    Should I go Gilligan's Island bamboo? Power outlet fixture? PVC pipe basics? It seems the two lamp configuration is the best. As long as it's efficient, not-so-bulky and powerful, I'm happy.

    All thoughts greatly appreciated.

    Welcome to the 'darkside' . I was once in your shoes my friend. I have a soldering iron, lack of electronics skill, and overall newbie to the previous said items/skill. I am an advanced newbie now.

    I built my first bike light following this website http://www.bikeled.org/ which many have followed before. My understanding of lighting is pretty much summed up like this "LED/Bulb + wire + battery = light". After building my first dual LED cube light using a single mode regulator which I had no experience with I learned from my mate how these regulators work. Some regulators have many modes on them while soem are just one mode. My first light was using a single-mode 80% full power regulator which I later swapped out for a 5 mode regulator for some power saving.

    I used parts from www.dealextreme.com (not affliated with them other then a happy customer) and another LED lens company which I forgot the name right now.

    You can see my lighting and tests here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/49184877@N00/ Nothing of my lighting is machined. I just used off the shelf local items so it's not as sexy looking as some of the other peoples CNC or machined lighting units. I am more then happy to share how I built some of my basic lighting units including that blinding quad-damage 4xSSC P4 LED whichi s outputting I think about 240 x .80 = 192 x 4 = ~768lumens of evil.
    Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 09-09-08 at 05:55 PM.
    Zero_Enigma

  13. #13
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    BTW the prce of the SSC P4 U-bin LED's have dropped about $2 from when I recieved my first ones off my mate about a 1.5yrs ago. ~$5.88/ea LED + ~$2.50 for 1 x 5-mode 3.6-9v regulator or ~$6.44 for 4 x 800mA (80% full power of the LED) single mode 3.6-9v regulator + 6xAA battery holder ~$1.50 + on/off switch ~$1.50-$3.00 + 20mm LED lenses ~$1.50/ea + LED lens holder .50cents + clear plastic cover (optinal to protect the lens from dirt/damage) + 2 pak heavy duty 9v battery clips (From Philmore the company name) I think was ~$1.99. Add your own batteries (NICAD/NIMH) to that 6xAA holder and you're good to go. Walmart (aka Wallys) has Rayovac Hybrid LSD batteries that are 2100mAh pre-charged for 4pack for $8.97.

    You can use the Cat5 network cable wires which are 24ga. MY quad-damage is not weatherproof however I did rubber band a piece of clear plastic up front to keep the dust off the actual lenses. The voltage hot off the charger for 6xAA is ~8.4-8.5v which is below the 9v of the regulator so you won't blow it. I have tried with 10v before and it did work FYI for about 2 hours in 15min rides witht he light on all the time but later it smoked up and gave a little firework (sparks) show. Keeping the voltage under 9v is best. I've clocked about a years riding ~1-3hrs riding (~2hr avg) with my lighting using 8.4-8.5v and it has always worked spot on each time till I was running low on batteries then I just changed to another battery pack.

    Also a 6xAA is just enough ok weight to use as a helmet light battery pack o carry the light in the back of your jersey.
    Zero_Enigma

  14. #14
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Thanks for the warm welcome and all the great info, and yes ~ I am ADDICTED!!

    So much to consider. The cyccommute Retinal Burner was very intriguing, but within that post he mentions the Pond Scum system and that really caught my attention. It's waterproofing and integral manufacturing seems excellent. I'm wondering if I can use LED's instead of the Halogen? The only issue is the size and weight of the battery system he used, and this is what I'll be looking into next. Today I looked at a Night Rider TriNewt at the local bike shop and took a hard look at the battery system. It was lightweight, sleek and well manufactured. I'll have to research that system closer and find out what type of battery they're using.

    The two or three Ultrafires concept is also growing on me. Maybe the idea of using rechargeable AA's and just rotating them is a wise idea ~ no extra battery case to mount. Still.., I do like the idea of actually building something custom.

    Maybe I'll just mount one of these on my Trek.
    Last edited by Thumdar; 09-09-08 at 09:49 PM.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Thum,

    I am a fair weather rider myself (till I find me a foulweather rider that looks good) so my lighting rarely sees rain. However I have been caught in a thunder shower before and to my surprise a 5min ride going (no bike computer on the bike I was riding but I have a bike computer on the other (displayed on my Flickr) ~20kph pouring hippos and elephants didn't short out the lighting on the quad damage. Perhaps it was luck but this happened about 5 times now so I'm thinkingi t's because I put silicon on the LED lens/holder as it's sitting over the LED to seal out as much moisture I can think while also having that hold the lens holder in place without falling off.

    You sound geeky. If you have a spare heatsink off a computer you can hacksaw the heatsink and use that as the LED heatsink. Make one light a la 'ghetto' style first then rip it apart later and use those parts on something else. I would recommend going with a 2-3 LED DIY unit. DX has good prices on it's parts and is mostly a one stop shop without the neeed to pay for shipping. I used the LED Stars. For the more skilled people they use the emitters which I've heard are a little harder to work with. The regulators I recommended above both will work with 3/4/5/6AA batteries allowing you excellent flexibility should you be riding farther awa or if you're local and in the woods or away from home you could ask/barter for some extra cells and keep on going being you can run on a min of 3 cells. Note that 3 cells willnot be as bright tho. I built mine on flexibility as I was thinking down the line I may want to go travelling and also I lik to be able to get power from anywhere.





    Check out my site.
    Zero_Enigma

  16. #16
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Hey Enigma ~

    Yeah, I did check out your site and definitely enjoyed it. Like how you took pics with various settings and even a control pic with only the ambient lighting. It's also nice to see the different projects and to see how they've grown. Well done, my fellow geek!

    The TriNewt is a plastic housing with three LED's, right? How do they avoid the heat? And yeah.., I've seen some different heat sink techniques and it makes sense, but seems kinda bulky.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    If you're considering the TriNewt at all, then look at the DiNotte 600L too. The 600L battery is much more compact (fits under long stems nicely) and the whole 600L system is about half the weight of the TriNewt. Plus you get two batteries with the 600L, if that matters The DiNotte also does not rely on an O-ring type of attachment.

    You may find this review worth the reading, if you're considering off-the-shelf systems: http://gearreview.com/LEDs08_intro.php and the TriNewt and 600L are under the "Large Array" category.

    The TriNewt is a plastic housing with three LED's, right?
    Aluminum. LOTS of aluminum (read: way more than necessary). Great if you need to drive nails during a ride, or club an attacker.

  18. #18
    747 Freight Pilot bicycleflyer's Avatar
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    Check out this website...

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/

    I warn you now.. some of his views can be controversial. I know the Dyno crowd cannot stand him. Also, if nudity offends you... DON'T click on the pics. But he has some good ideas for homebrew systems, batteries, and chargers. He also posts links where you can get the various parts.
    Flying an airplane is really very simple...Push the stick forward, the house gets big. Pull the stick back, the house gets small. Keep holding the stick back, the house gets big again.

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    Thanks for the warm welcome and all the great info, and yes ~ I am ADDICTED!!

    So much to consider. The cyccommute Retinal Burner was very intriguing, but within that post he mentions the Pond Scum system and that really caught my attention. It's waterproofing and integral manufacturing seems excellent. I'm wondering if I can use LED's instead of the Halogen? The only issue is the size and weight of the battery system he used, and this is what I'll be looking into next. Today I looked at a Night Rider TriNewt at the local bike shop and took a hard look at the battery system. It was lightweight, sleek and well manufactured. I'll have to research that system closer and find out what type of battery they're using.

    The two or three Ultrafires concept is also growing on me. Maybe the idea of using rechargeable AA's and just rotating them is a wise idea ~ no extra battery case to mount. Still.., I do like the idea of actually building something custom.

    Maybe I'll just mount one of these on my Trek.
    The Pond Scum light is a nice unit and is water proof but... The Optronic lights are made for driving lights on cars, i.e. to hang from a bumper in wind and water and gook. They are pretty waterproof in their own right

    Something to think about in terms of light output: While lumens are a excellent measure of light, a single source of light putting out 600 lumens will carry further and be brighter than three sources of light putting out 200 lumen each. You still get 600 lumens with the three sources but each one's light is scattered and absorbed by the atmosphere separately.

    Whatever you get, make sure you rig a helmet light or, at the very least, two sources. Stuff happens and you don't what to be riding in the dark because you forgot to charge batteries, broke a wire, dropped a light, etc. The helmet light is the most useful of lights, by the way.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Well, I've been doing pretty much nothing but reading about different DIY bike lights since I started this thread and have learned a ton. The Pond Scum concept still has me intrigued, but I'm seeing that just about everyone is currently building with LED's. If I go with a Halogen system, I'm going to use the pond lights due to cost and my preference of black over the OPTRONIC'S chrome.

    At this point I've realized what I definitely want:

    1. A small, light weight battery pack (Li-Ion?).
    2. At least a 2 hour burn time.
    3. Evil lumen amounts

    I haven't been able to find the ideal battery config for the Halogen 20W 12volt overvolted to 14.4 system. Thoughts on this? At this point I don't mind spending a bit extra for the batteries and an efficient charger. The thing is, I have a 17.5" frame, won't give up my water bottle and have limited space to put my batteries.

    Then there's all the LED options. Not real crazy about the square aluminum tube look and prefer the mag Light mod idea. If I go LED, I'll prolly make two bar lights, each with three LED's. There's been a lot of debate over which LED is the best and this is something I'm still trying to wrap my brain around. The OSRAM OSTAR LED's seem insanely bright but I think they're really pricey (can't seem to find any place online that sells them).

    cytoe's AMAZING new light



    And then there's the TrustFire 900 lumen flashlight, but from what I've read, the light beam isn't very good for biking.

    Startin' to get antsy. Too much reading, not enough riding.
    Last edited by Thumdar; 09-11-08 at 12:30 PM.
    2008 Trek 7300 ~ workin' on tweakin' it.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    I walked to my nearby wallymart and bought two chrome looking 12V halogen MR-16 "driving lights", about $20 for the pair. I replaced the 50 w MR16 with a 10 w, 21 degree narrow flood MR16 ($6 on the web). With the help of a handlebar mounting clamp leftover from my box of junk or failed bike specific lights, I mounted the MR16 light by adding just a few extra nuts and bolts of the right length and diameter. I went to batteryspace.com and got a 12V nimh 4500 ah water bottle battery ($43) that weights just over 1 lb. (I don't like to mess with having to remove and replace a bunch of little AA batteries every day or so like those LED lights require.) Also got an inline on-off switch ($6) to solder to my MR-16 halogen light, that has a coaxial style plug that mates to the battery plug. Also got a smart charger ($20). It tops off the battery charge to 13.3 volts, which overdrives the 12v halogen by a modest 10 percent. The smart charger takes just two seconds to hook up to the battery plug. My run time with this battery is 4+ hours. This means that in the darkest months of November to February when I might use 1.5 hours a day of battery time, I won't be running the battery charge down very far. The smart charger tops it back to full charge in an hour or so.

    I don't know how to measure lumens, but I read that a 10w MR16 at 13.2 volts puts out around 450-500 lumens. I like the larger MR16 light better than the dinky MR11 and LEDs. I know it throws some light out to the sides in addition to right in front of me, but that's OK because it helps other cars see me. That's a plus, there are plenty of streetlight lights along my commute route and I rarely have issues with seeing what's in front. I want the other guys in cars to see me, and if I have some extra light to see the road better, that's a plus too.

  22. #22
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    I'd recommend a P7. Got me this one. Light output is about 500-700 lumens, and some of the P7s are as low as $35. As far as I know, they offer the best lumen-to-dollar ratio on the market right now.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  23. #23
    Junior Member Thumdar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr View Post
    I walked to my nearby wallymart and bought two chrome looking 12V halogen MR-16 "driving lights", about $20 for the pair.
    I'll have to head over there and see what I can find. Good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr View Post
    I replaced the 50 w MR16 with a 10 w, 21 degree narrow flood MR16 ($6 on the web).
    Interesting idea. Everything I've been reading has been of people using the 20 watt bulb and over-volting it to 14amp. Of course that's going to give off more light but it's also going to suck up battery run time. The 10 watt idea is an interesting alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr View Post
    I went to batteryspace.com and got a 12V nimh 4500 ah water bottle battery ($43) that weights just over 1 lb. (I don't like to mess with having to remove and replace a bunch of little AA batteries every day or so like those LED lights require.)
    This is where I run into trouble. Because my bike frame is only 17.5", I have very little space to put my battery (I refuse to give up my water bottle and don't want to use a camelback). There are many Li-Ion battery packs available that are sealed together as one and you just connect one lead to the the charger. They are lighter and smaller than the NiHm batteries, which would make it easier to mount to my bike. The problem I'm running into is that I can't seem to find the correct battery pack to work with the 20 watt 14 volt configuration.

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr View Post
    My run time with this battery is 4+ hours.
    4+ hours - awesome! This is another big issue for me. Right now I don't see myself riding at night for much more than an hour, but that doesn't mean I won't go on an occasional 3 hour ride. The 4 hour run time is my goal.., and this is making me think that I want to setup a system like this:

    ● 2 separate light housings
    ● Lamp 1: 20 watt, 10 spot Halogen
    ● Lamp 2: 10 watt, 30 flood Halogen

    Since I will be riding on a bike path, I want to be able to easily switch to a lower lumen light source when other riders are approaching. This 10 watt bulb might be do the trick and as a flood with a semi-wide beam, it will fill the area closer to my bike with a wider sweeping beam. The 20 watt, 10 spot will give me more distance and punch to see what's up ahead.

    Great stuff. I think I've decided to go this route. I was considering buying the new Cree MC-E 752 lumen LED but it's just so much more work to get it done (and will end up costing more). Thanks again.
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  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    Interesting idea. Everything I've been reading has been of people using the 20 watt bulb and over-volting it to 14amp. Of course that's going to give off more light but it's also going to suck up battery run time. The 10 watt idea is an interesting alternative.
    We overvolt to 14.4 volts, not amps. 20W bulbs are usually chosen because they have a great light output, are easy to find and come in fairly narrow beams. A 21 degree bulb is a pretty wide flood light. Run times are still pretty respectable. Around 2.5 hrs for a 3.3 Ah battery

    Formula for figuring run time is

    Ahr*V/W = hrs

    This is only an estimate. The actual run time will be lower, but not much more than a few minutes. New batteries are lower still.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    This is where I run into trouble. Because my bike frame is only 17.5", I have very little space to put my battery (I refuse to give up my water bottle and don't want to use a camelback). There are many Li-Ion battery packs available that are sealed together as one and you just connect one lead to the the charger. They are lighter and smaller than the NiHm batteries, which would make it easier to mount to my bike. The problem I'm running into is that I can't seem to find the correct battery pack to work with the 20 watt 14 volt configuration.
    You could use a long lead and put it in a trunk bag. Or hang the battery pack below the top tube. Be inventive with what every you decide to go with.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thumdar View Post
    4+ hours - awesome! This is another big issue for me. Right now I don't see myself riding at night for much more than an hour, but that doesn't mean I won't go on an occasional 3 hour ride. The 4 hour run time is my goal.., and this is making me think that I want to setup a system like this:

    ● 2 separate light housings
    ● Lamp 1: 20 watt, 10 spot Halogen
    ● Lamp 2: 10 watt, 30 flood Halogen

    Since I will be riding on a bike path, I want to be able to easily switch to a lower lumen light source when other riders are approaching. This 10 watt bulb might be do the trick and as a flood with a semi-wide beam, it will fill the area closer to my bike with a wider sweeping beam. The 20 watt, 10 spot will give me more distance and punch to see what's up ahead.

    Great stuff. I think I've decided to go this route. I was considering buying the new Cree MC-E 752 lumen LED but it's just so much more work to get it done (and will end up costing more). Thanks again.
    You can always just change the bulb too. It's a simple plug and easy switch. That way you can go blazing for the short ride to work and use less light for the longer ride.

    Good luck. Pictures required.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Thum,

    I ride a 16.5" frame FS with dual cage MTB custom and still I can put my crazy DIY lighting on it as you can see on my Flickr page.

    I use a Aximon Powerbag which straps on the top tube which holds I think 4 x 6AA battery holders or 2 x 8AA battery holders.

    That bag I think is a copy of the Bento bag. http://www.onetri.com/bento-bike-large-p-2475.html
    The Bento comes in two sizes. I think I got the smaller Bento size equivlent bag. I'll have to measure it later. Topeak has a similr bag but it has a rain cover on it. Mine does not. On the side it can hold a cellphone (candybar or flips) or spare 4xAA battery holders (say for the Dinotte). That bag have been off jumps, potholes, curbs, offroad, and onroad fully loaded so I know it's not going anywhere after I tested it out. My bag costed like ~$12CDN at my local LBS. Sucks if I had it stolen but still not too expensive to really cry over should it be stolen to keep it on the bike when you lock up.

    The smallest bag would still give a nice look profile to anytime I would think so it's something you can consider.
    Zero_Enigma

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