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Old 02-09-03, 11:17 AM   #1
HalfHearted
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Ugly no more, 20 LED Flashing Light

A while back I started a "world's ugliest taillight contest" thread -- I've updated the design to 20 LEDs (100,000mcd total) and two modes and found a better way to package it.

The two modes are compound flashing (all 20 LEDs) or "throbbing" where ten of the LEDs are on steady and the other ten use compound flashing.

As I mentioned in the original thread, the goal wasn't so much to create a light that was effective at night (though it obviously is) but to create safety lights for day riding. This thing is brighter than many automotive eye-level brake lights and the flashing is quite noticeable

It's tedious to build but I haven't seen anything near this bright in any of the bike shops around here. Later, when I get a bit of free time to draw up usable instructions, I'll post a construction article on my website.

You can build two of them (one front and one back) for about 50 bucks less batteries and charger (assuming you already have things like a soldering iron, moto-tool, glue gun, and patience).

I purposely set this up with a separate power supply so it can be run from NiMh cells, Alkaline cells, a generator, a solar cell, or some combination of the above. (The next step is to design a NiMh battery system recharged continuously via solar cells mounted on the trunk with "quick Charge" capability from a wall-wart.)

John
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Old 02-09-03, 11:20 AM   #2
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Here's the LED board...
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Old 02-09-03, 11:25 AM   #3
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These clearance lights are available at Wal-Mart for < $3 each. You have to carve at the guts a bit with a moto-tool. The circuit boards are from Radio Shack and they have to be carved at a bit as well.
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Old 02-09-03, 12:39 PM   #4
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Nice handy work. What's the point of using them in the day? Is there that much traffic where you ride?
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Old 02-10-03, 07:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by kewlrunningz
Nice handy work. What's the point of using them in the day? Is there that much traffic where you ride?
Thanks. I live on the edge of town on a rather busy highway. It's got decent shoulders, but to get anywhere I've got to ride at least a half mile about four feet from bumper-to-bumper 60MPH traffic. That's the minimum just to get to a place where I could "escape" to city streets if I wanted to go a long way around. Most of the time I'm going to be riding more like five miles down the highway before turning.

Also, there are a lot of business entrances and such and people swing onto the shoulder to slow down for right turns. If one of them hits me, I want to offer him the courtesy of letting him know what he hit so he won't be worried that maybe that dragging noise is something wrong with his SUV...

John
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Old 02-10-03, 08:40 PM   #6
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I work in a truck equipment shop, when Im not hanging around the bike shop The new LED tail lights used on trucks might be of use. A stop/tail/turn light could have a stedy burn with a brighter flash. They can be easly seen in daylight. There not cheap, about 30 bucks. and then you need power. Some have built in flash circuts on the stop that will flash 10 times quickly then stay on. some will operate down to 6 volts.

As far as power on the run, I have used my SON Dyno hub to charge batteries for a CD player when riding so it should work for your tail light batteries
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"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle
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Old 02-10-03, 09:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by bentbaggerlen
I work in a truck equipment shop, when Im not hanging around the bike shop The new LED tail lights used on trucks might be of use. A stop/tail/turn light could have a stedy burn with a brighter flash. They can be easly seen in daylight. There not cheap, about 30 bucks. and then you need power. Some have built in flash circuts on the stop that will flash 10 times quickly then stay on. some will operate down to 6 volts.

As far as power on the run, I have used my SON Dyno hub to charge batteries for a CD player when riding so it should work for your tail light batteries
I didn't even think about truck lights. Wish I had, that would've been easier and not much more than what I paid to make these. Of course, you'd have to go to ten NiMh cells to drive them unless they develop pretty close to full brightness at 6. Ah, it wouldn't work for my case anyway. My plan is to get a 9 volt solar cell designed for recharging 6 volt batteries and use that to recharge "on the fly." They make solar rechargers for 12 volt batteries, but they're too large to fit the trunk (actually, a locking toolbox) I'm planning on mounting it on.

The idea might work well for somebody that wasn't planning on recharging on the fly, though.

I thought about a Dyno hub but then you'd be dealing with the drag. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad. I just remember the old tire-driven generators and how pedaling with one of those was like riding up hill all the time! If the drag isn't all that bad, the dyno hub would actually work better than the solar charger. You could go to little AAA batteries for the lights 'cause all you'd need was enough juice to handle moments when you're not moving, or not moving very fast.

John
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