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  1. #1
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    Help with lighting project

    I am an industrial design student at the art institute of colorado and I am designing a new lighting system for bicycles. The focus is on commuter bikes, but i want the system to fit any style of bike. Any suggestions would be helpful. Or if you have any comments about existing lights, good or bad points, that would also be helpful.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Grillparzer Grillparzer's Avatar
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    Oddly enough I had been giving this very issue some thought lately. I imagined a high output battery

    powered headlight with one central control, handlebar mounted, thumb operated switch with small

    indicator lights in which a one or two headlights and one blinkie taillight or one bright blinkie taillight with

    two turn signals can be plugged in to. I remember to turn off the headlight because I can see it, but I

    rarely remember to turn off the blinkie light. Two headlights for those who want extra lighting/visibility so

    they would have a low beam, high beam, and blinkie mode. Two turn signals because they're more visible

    at night and as intuitive as pointing, perhaps when not blinking they could provide a steady on tail light.

    A blinkie light that would be distinct enough in either design or pattern so as not to be confused with the

    turn signals. How you could run all of this crap off one battery and control it with just one switch I have

    no idea. It was my ideal solution, but I think it would also suck up battery life like a sponge sucks up

    water.
    Last edited by Grillparzer; 09-18-09 at 01:03 PM.
    People are broad-minded. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive, there's something wrong with him.

  3. #3
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones davis View Post
    I am an industrial design student at the art institute of colorado and I am designing a new lighting system for bicycles. The focus is on commuter bikes, but i want the system to fit any style of bike. Any suggestions would be helpful. Or if you have any comments about existing lights, good or bad points, that would also be helpful.
    Thanks

    Having built a few lights for my bikes over the years, here are my design issues:
    - rechargeable batteries are a must - I like 18650 lions myself
    - high and low beam modes are useful and save the battery, I find flashers to be annoying
    - my handlebars are crowded already, I like a mount on the underside of the stem
    - I have several bikes, so a mount that is quick and easy to change is a plus

    Good luck with your project

  4. #4
    Member Zen Bicycle's Avatar
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    I build a lot of lights mainly for mountain bikes, but am branching out to commies now. What I have found is that there is no one light

    Each type of riding has it's own specific needs. For commuters it is usually about visibility and manners (not blinding drivers).
    Off road it is about power and runtime.

    Both require good beam patterns even if they are different beams though.

    I think for your purposes look at or beyond the current power applications for commuters. What is the next evolution from batteries and dynamo? I know I have had my interest peaked by some of the new solid state charge systems that are starting to come on the market.

    What I have found to be true for myself is that form still follows function, but it can be made to look nice sometimes even beautiful, at least in my eyes

  5. #5
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    For GOD'S SAKE, put a PROPER cutoff reflector on the light. Same specs as automobile headlights. German law requires this. I think we'll see it in the US too as we get more people buying 700+ lumen lights that are now getting cheap.

    This will not suit off-roaders - they do NOT WANT cutoff lights. But they pretty much don't need taillights either.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones davis View Post
    I am an industrial design student at the art institute of colorado and I am designing a new lighting system for bicycles. The focus is on commuter bikes, but i want the system to fit any style of bike. Any suggestions would be helpful. Or if you have any comments about existing lights, good or bad points, that would also be helpful.
    Thanks
    We're not here to do your homework for you.

    You don't sound like you've done even the slightest bit of research into lighting systems.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
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    On a dedicated commuter I would love to have a dynamo based system feeding into a rechargeable, with easy to replace cells, battery pack that could either be recharged from the dynamo or plugged into a A/C recharger. Also include a usb recharging point so tourers could use the system to charge usb devices like gps, ipod, phones etc. Say 400 lumens or so front and maybe 100 lumen rear. (your choice of modes on both front or rear; high, medium, flashing) Pay some attention to making the led's upgradable to newer versions that will allow higher output for the same voltage. I also like the option of a lower mount point in the front. I think you get a better throw, it keeps the handle bars cleaner and reduces bumping and jaring the light head. Maybe a mount off the front brake boss to position at the lower end of the head tube.

  8. #8
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones davis View Post
    I am an industrial design student at the art institute of colorado and I am designing a new lighting system for bicycles. The focus is on commuter bikes, but i want the system to fit any style of bike. Any suggestions would be helpful. Or if you have any comments about existing lights, good or bad points, that would also be helpful.
    Thanks
    I'll show you mine if you show me yours
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  9. #9
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    We're not here to do your homework for you.

    You don't sound like you've done even the slightest bit of research into lighting systems.
    Why should he be any different? Some design student comes on these boards about every 3 to 6 months wanting us to do all their work for them.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  10. #10
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    There is very little research into what makes a rider noticeable. Does a high wattage rear light really do more than a cheapy blinky or even a reflector?

    I have read that cyan is the best color for night vision. Is it? With LEDs you can actually choose which colors should be in a headlight.

    Bike frames with a headlight mount appear once in a while.

    Lighting that mounts on the helmet, I use a hikers headlamp.

    I think a light that works off cell phone batteries might be interesting.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
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  11. #11
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    Where are your manners people? Aren't designers supposed to ask customers what they want before designing a product for them? Hope he wins an award and gets a job at a bike light manufacturer in the US! We need all of the help we can get.

    I like German reflectors that increase the amount of light in the beam nearest the horizon, evening out the illumination of the road surface.
    I also like their cutoff so I don't blind approaching riders or drivers on trails or on the road.
    I don't like chargers that aren't designed to protect the battery if I forget to unplug it Saturday morning.
    I like the idea of using a dynamo to maintain the charge, and batteries so it works when I stop.
    I don't like high cost replacement lights or batteries, or those that aren't accessible.
    I like back-up or redundancy available in lighting/power systems.
    I like designs that are meant to get wet and still work because visibility on rainy nights is poor.
    I want to be able to see the road well enough at 25 mph, less light to save batteries when I'm not going that fast, and to be seen from all angles all of the time.
    I like mounts that position accessories out of harm's way should my front wheel turn suddenly or should the bike fall over while I remove a commuter bag.
    I like durability, ease of repair, and replaceable lenses, body, and mount.
    I like being able to remove the light and use it to find something in my bags, or so it won't be stolen or vandalized.
    If you can do all of that for under $100 and still make a profit, you'll have a bunch of customers.

  12. #12
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    We're not here to do your homework for you.

    You don't sound like you've done even the slightest bit of research into lighting systems.
    +1 Google is your friend!
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member love2pedal.com's Avatar
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    One thing I would like to see on my Magicshine is a mount that leaves more room on the handlebars.

    Maybe a thin clamp on the bar and the actual headlamp is lifted up slightly to sit over the stem.

    Dan

  14. #14
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I'd like the wasted light to hit the ground.

  15. #15
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    your wrong sir

    I have actually done a great amount of research already. I was just looking to get some impute from riders outside of Denver. So if you don't want to give me any feedback, that is fine, but don't suggest that I am a lazy person looking for an easy way out because i am not.

  16. #16
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones davis View Post
    I have actually done a great amount of research already. I was just looking to get some impute from riders outside of Denver. So if you don't want to give me any feedback, that is fine, but don't suggest that I am a lazy person looking for an easy way out because i am not.
    How about
    "Hi guys, heres my ideas for a bike light, what do you think?"
    Thats asking for feedback.


    Instead of
    "Hi guys, please fill this thread with every possible idea for a bike light"
    Kiwi Randonneurs Gran Turismo series. March 1-8 2015
    Ride a Super Randonneur series in eight days in the scenic NZ South Island and qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris.
    https://www.kiwirandonneurs.org.nz/rides/gt

  17. #17
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
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    Waterproof.

    Indestructible mounting.

    How about some way to direct a little of the light to the sides, to make it more likely that the bike will be spotted by a car driver approaching from the side. If the unit has a head light AND a tail light, that side visibility could be a feature of both.

    User-serviceable parts inside.
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  18. #18
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    i took this:

    http://www.ledshoppe.com/Product/led/LE2004.htm



    {it blinks** and attached two of these:

    http://www.ledshoppe.com/Product/led/LE2002.htm

    or these:

    http://www.ledshoppe.com/Product/led/LE2006.htm

    in series/parallel with a 33 ohm resister to this:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6390


    and you get this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/themosleyvault/2917375264/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcmurphy/2572112276/


    use this if you make any changes:

    http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz


    i use a single "d" battery holder zip tied close to the hub for each 9v. two on each wheel.
    9 leds on each battery last about 1 1/2 hours.

    state law says vehicles must use white, yellow or red lights or dazzle car drivers but in two years the only thing cops have said to me is "nice"

    hokey spokes, tire flys, monkey shines all use smaller leds and aren't as visiable from the front. these 10mm led flash forward so can be seen a mile away

  19. #19
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Here are some design criteria that I find important for a front light:
    - mounts easily to handlebar, taking up minimal space
    - mount holds light securely and doesn't rotate or jiggle
    - battery large enough to hold a charge for at least 4 hours but not so large that it's heavy or hard to locate on bike
    - low-battery indicator on light
    - adjustable cable length from battery to light
    - several options for light intensity
    - switch that is easy to reach and operate w/ gloves
    - easy to install and remove
    - I personally don't use the flashing light option, but enough people seem to want it to justify its inclusion

  20. #20
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by love2pedal.com View Post
    One thing I would like to see on my Magicshine is a mount that leaves more room on the handlebars.

    Maybe a thin clamp on the bar and the actual headlamp is lifted up slightly to sit over the stem.

    Dan
    Like the ones that Princeton Tec uses?

    May your tires or beer never be flat.

  21. #21
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    I would like a light that's like an auto headlight - a low beam with a cutoff so as not to blind oncoming traffic, and a high beam that lights everything. Both need to be good enough so I can easily avoid road hazards and see large objects far enough away to react appropriately. Want a minimum 4-hr battery. Nice if it could be removed quickly & packed away to avoid theft.

    I am still considering the German light units for the well-engineered beam pattern, even though the expense is high & total light output is relatively poor. May go with an LED anyway and deal with it somehow -- maybe by frequently riding in low intensity mode. May even still go with a homebrew halogen -- not sure how to get a cutoff design there though -- thinking low watt narrow flood 'low beam' & higher watt spot 'high beam'.

    Got back into cycling a couple years ago & doing it seriously now - bought a Cateye EL-300 five LED light - brightness is OK given that it's a 4-AA light - however very disappointed at the narrow, narrow beam.

    My riding is done in city & suburban areas - some lit roads, some unlit. Gently rolling terrain, mostly straight roads. Considering doing more mid-distance night riding but I believe the lights I have (EL-300 & smaller) are not good enough.

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