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Foofy 03-03-09 04:49 PM

Making a lighting system. Need people's help.
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After reading around and getting a general idea of options and how this stuff works, I decided to buy these bulbs today while I was at a hardware store. They're 3 mr16 halogen floodlights, rated each at 20W and 12V.

I've never made a lighting system before, and my main goal here is to successfully build a good, working system. I'm not expecting perfection here, as I can always learn more stuff later on and build another system or improve an existing one later on. Main goal here is to learn, get practice, and build something that works decently. That being said, will these bulbs make decent headlights?

If so, how am I to mount these on my bike? What enclosure options do I have? Anything they sell at home depot? Fabricate something with PVC pipes (can they handle the heat?)?

I already know how to solder wires and connections, so I'm not too worried about that. Learned how to do that on electric guitars. Though any tips you guys have are certainly welcome.

I read somewhere that it's a good idea to use a fuse, so I plan on doing that. How do I know what fuse to get? Since I'm looking at running roughly 5 amps, do I get a 5 amp fuse? 7? 10?

Do I need to use a resistor if the batteries turn out to supply more voltage or amps than what the system calls for?

I'm a newbie here, so any help/advice is much appreciated. :thumb:

Unknown Cyclist 03-03-09 05:06 PM

Buy a 12v MR16 garden light or a 12v MR16 pond light, either of these is already in a robust housing and can usually be mounted to the bars successfully.

Also, check out the HID light in my signature.

Foofy 03-03-09 08:32 PM

Thanks for the recommendations Unknown. Will do. And that HID light you did looks really cool.

I actually just got back from Home Depot, looking for housings that take the exact bulbs I bought. For the life of me, I couldn't find them, even though the store sells the exact same bulbs. I didn't bother to ask anyone there, because I'm crazy and illogical at times. So that's on tomorrow's to-do list before heading to work.

brokenknee 03-04-09 08:03 PM

pond light,

Instructions on how to make it.

Pig_Chaser 03-04-09 11:22 PM

Read the total geekiness thread, there's lots of info on Halogen lighting systems or do a search for cycocommute's threads. He didn't invent halogen lighting, but he may have perfected it.

One quick tip though is that you may want to get you hands on a spot halogen bulb instead of flood. It'll put more light where you want it (in front of you).

znomit 03-05-09 03:50 AM

MR11s fit well in tennis balls with a bit of silicone glue, and ball holders make the perfect mount. :)
As said, flood lights are no good, look for a spot under 20deg.

Unknown Cyclist 03-05-09 05:54 AM

-1 on the tennis ball idea.

It's not 1st April is it's 5th March.

Are you serious ??

brokenknee 03-05-09 06:56 AM

I wonder how many lumen's you get from the flames of the tennis ball once it starts on fire? It might be bright, but run time would sure suck. :rolleyes:

jack002 03-05-09 09:43 AM

I want a light thats more aero, can I mount one in a football instead? ;)

Unknown Cyclist 03-05-09 10:24 AM


Originally Posted by jack002 (Post 8472632)
I want a light thats more aero, can I mount one in a football instead? ;)

Footballs are still spherical and much larger.

If you want something pointy try a rugby ball.


Map tester 03-05-09 10:48 AM

Bulb housing: at Walmart, automotive section, look for Optronics QH-7CC ( like these: ).

Rear lights: look around your local auto parts store for marker/truck clearance LED lights or add-on LED lights.

To mount to handle bars, Home Depot conduit hangers (like this: ) You can buy them in different sizes to fit your handbars.

Battery: cheap and the recharger is cheap too: 12v 5 Ahr sealed lead acid

You can get a blade fuse hold at any auto parts store. I use a 10 amp fuse in mine.

I use a cheap under-saddle bag from Walmart to hold the battery, fuse, and switch. It isn't the fanciest system, but it works day to day, and is easy to fix and replace worn-out parts.

Unknown Cyclist 03-05-09 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by Map tester (Post 8473105)
Battery: cheap and the recharger is cheap too: 12v 5 Ahr sealed lead acid

"Weight: 4.15 lb(s)" for the battery alone.

Alternatively, 3 x 18650s in a carrier would give you 11.1 volts, but only half the capacity so depending on what runtimes you require you could go for a much lighter set up. (5 oz) 6 x 18650 would give you similar capacity to the lead acid (6 x 18650 = 10 oz).

4 x 18650s would give you 14.4 volts and a lot more current resulting in a lot more light at the expense of bulb life.

Of course...if you used LEDs as well.....:innocent:

znomit 03-05-09 01:02 PM


Originally Posted by Unknown Cyclist (Post 8471711)
-1 on the tennis ball idea.

It's not 1st April is it's 5th March.

Are you serious ??

Yes I am serious. It worked very well. I needed to add some material to the holder to tighten it for the MTB. The housing was so cheap and easy (buy a bulb, ball, socket and connector, cut a big hole for the bulb and a small one for the wires, glue in bulb and attach connector), I had a 20w and a 12w made up.
No there are no flames, I ran the 20W as an outdoor light a few times so even with no cooling the rubber handles the heat just fine, remains cool enough to touch too.

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