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Old 10-01-10, 06:23 AM   #1
math is fun
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DIY tail lights

Has anybody here done any DIY tail lights? I recently came across this little gem here and it seems perfect for adding safety lighting to the rear of my bike, especially if I tack on a controller board like this. I would use the adhesive backing on the LED strips to stick them to my seat stays. The advantages here are I can choose my own modes, even add turn signals if I an so inclined. also I could have as many as 30 LED's on the back of my bike. What does everybody think?
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Old 10-01-10, 06:32 AM   #2
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I like the turning signals idea, would be interesting to see how well that works. I was going to say it they seemed a bit excessive, but it seems like the strips are pretty cheap.

What's your plan to power the strip?
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Old 10-01-10, 06:53 AM   #3
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For power I was thinking of using a 12 volt rechargeable battery pack like they use for rc cars, with a voltage regulator to power the board. Another option is to get 4 3v rechargeable LiPo4 batteries an just use them.
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Old 10-01-10, 07:12 AM   #4
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I don't know what your level of electronics tinkering is, you probably already know thist, but just in case, you are going to need driver transistors, or better yet MOSFETs, to drive more than a couple of LEDs off an Arduino/atmel CPU.

I normally just use the chip itself, not a full arduino board, since I'm going to have to add circuitry anyway and piggybacking a whole arduino, even one of the little ones, just takes up more space when all you need is the chip itself.
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Old 10-01-10, 07:32 AM   #5
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I don't know what your level of electronics tinkering is, you probably already know thist, but just in case, you are going to need driver transistors, or better yet MOSFETs, to drive more than a couple of LEDs off an Arduino/atmel CPU.

I normally just use the chip itself, not a full arduino board, since I'm going to have to add circuitry anyway and piggybacking a whole arduino, even one of the little ones, just takes up more space when all you need is the chip itself.
using just the chip is a rather common thing I do too but I am friends with the owner of The Makerspace so if I document the build he will probably hook me up with the components and board. Next semester I am taking an embedded systems class and I may go all out building a Cycle-duino and have a few purpose built cycling arduino PCB's made up.
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Old 10-01-10, 10:42 AM   #6
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Deal Extreme has a $10 insanely bright red LED flashlight that runs on 18650 batteries. Mine works like a champ. Of course the batteries and charger add to the cost. However, people do see me when I'm out for a night ride.
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Old 10-01-10, 10:56 AM   #7
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Deal Extreme has a $10 insanely bright red LED flashlight that runs on 18650 batteries. Mine works like a champ. Of course the batteries and charger add to the cost. However, people do see me when I'm out for a night ride.
Side visibility doesn't look good on that light.
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Old 11-29-10, 02:57 PM   #8
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it isn't. i have two of them and think they're more effective pointed at the ground. they're that bright. you light up like a scene from close encounters of the third kind.

i just ordered 44266 which is kind of like a copy of a knog skink and takes AAA's and costs less than a hamburger.

in terms of tail lights, there are so many nice options for so cheap it hardly makes sense to DIY. headlights however, are a worthwhile endeavor now that you can get a really powerful LED for pretty cheap, but the magicshines and what not are expensive and have drawbacks.
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Old 11-30-10, 01:20 AM   #9
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I actually have gone kind of the DIY route for tail lights. I say kind of because I did use commercially available complete lights, but I had to rig up a mount for them and do the wiring to the rest of my system from scratch. The lights aren't exactly sold for use as bicycle lights - they are actually sold for use on trucks and trailers. Pictures and more details can be found at the end of the "Total Geekiness" thread at the top of the forum. Only just got them working but I like them so far. Of course I have spent more money than I probably needed to, and certainly more time than anything sold as a bike tail light would have taken, but I don't regret it.

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Old 12-02-10, 01:28 AM   #10
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I used to DIY (made 2), right now though. Don't bother. Buy the W501B instead. Cheaper, better, lighter, and most of all, one contained unit.
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