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World's ugliest tail light contest...

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World's ugliest tail light contest...

Old 01-26-03, 11:41 AM
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World's ugliest tail light contest...

I nominate myself for this distinction, but the rest of you are welcome to try to top me

The good news is that it works very well. I used a dual timer to flash the ultra-brite LEDs (30000mcd worth) in a "compound" pattern so it blinks on and off at about 1 hz like a turn signal or emergency flasher on a car, but when it's "on" it strobes at ten hertz, shouting, "pay attention you idiot!"

The new ultra-brite LEDs are nice. This thing is almost painful to look at at less than about ten feet and shows up very well at night for well over a block, even when under a street light. I'm waiting for a sunny day to see how it shows up then. It should at least be as attention getting as the average automobile turn signal.

Using the bike reflector was a mistake. It was a royal pain in the sitting device getting the LEDs in without cracking the lens. I fogged two of the LEDs trying to get them mounted. The copper tape was the only thing I had handy that would hold it's shape while I "potted" the light in hot-melt glue (lighter than epoxy, but still kind of heavy for something this large and clunky). With the mounting bracket it weighs 3 ounces, over an ounce of that is the glue it's potted in.

This was mostly a test anyway to see how much forward voltage the LEDs really dropped at maximum rated current. I'm going to use thin sheet brass to make a convex "box" for the next one and use ten LEDs instead of six, since the MOSFET I'm using for a driver will easily handle the current. The result should be thinner and lighter and, once covered with 3M reflective tape, not quite as ugly.

I'm also going to make one for the front using yellow LEDs, though they aren't as bright.

The neat thing is that, with the compound flashing the duty cycle is only about 25% so this should run about 40 hours on four 1200mah AA NiMh rechargeable batteries. Well, when I go to ten LEDs it will cut that back to about 30 hours, fifteen if you're running two lights. Of course, 1600mah NiMh AA batteries are available now... Next project, a solar recharger to mount on a trunk!

And, speaking of trunks, I may have found the world's ugliest trunk, too. But it's lightweight, waterproof, has a hinged lid and can even be padlocked. Saw one in the housewares section at wally world last night. Ihould have picked it up, as there was only one left.
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Old 01-27-03, 10:08 AM
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I recently bought the Cateye 5 LED tail light, the performance is very impressive!
I get a lot of compliments from cars about the visibility, much better then the old blinkies.


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Old 01-27-03, 10:11 AM
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This thing is almost painful to look at at less than about ten feet and shows up very well at night for well over a block

Headline......Cyclist hit by car. Driver claims s/he was blinded by bikes taillight
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Old 01-27-03, 10:36 AM
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"Cyclist hit by epileptic driver"
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Old 01-27-03, 12:06 PM
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Originally posted by Bobatin
Headline......Cyclist hit by car. Driver claims s/he was blinded by bikes taillight


Actually, I thought about that, but they'd have to already have hit you before they'd be close enough to be "blinded" by it...

In fact, you can look at it from a couple of feet away without being completely overwhelmed, it's just not very comfortable to do so for long.

John
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Old 01-27-03, 12:20 PM
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Originally posted by MichaelW
"Cyclist hit by epileptic driver"

Believe it or not, I thought about that one, too (when I first put the juice to it and saw how effective the rapid-fire flashing was that was my first thought). I know several people with epilepsy. The one's who drive have it pretty well under control with medication. They play video games and go to disco bars without having seizures. The ones who don't have it under control with medication don't drive, and as passengers they can just look away.

The design goal was really for something that was noticeable in daylight, actually. I don't plan to do a lot of riding at night. I've tested it in daylight now and it is clearly visible, though not "commanding" at about one block. I want to work on making it a bit more noticeable in daylight. Ten LEDs and maybe boosting the LED current higher than the design rating will probably do the trick.

Even at night though it would probably only be really annoying if a driver got stuck behind me for several minutes, then he might be justified in running me over for relief from the flashing

Hmmm, maybe on the next one I'll add a switch so it only slow pulses in one position (for night) and does the compound flashing in the other.

John
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Old 01-27-03, 12:40 PM
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I wish I had a photo to post. It was a few years ago on a aweek-long organized tour. I met a guy who had a red flasher with 20 LEDs duct taped to his seatpost. It was huge. I looked like a billboard. He said he bought it at an auto parts store where they were sold as emergency lights to be set out like flares.
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Old 01-27-03, 01:01 PM
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You can find a tail light with 18 LEDs lights at sheldon browns site its huge. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/home.html
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Old 01-27-03, 01:47 PM
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Originally posted by HalfHearted
And, speaking of trunks, I may have found the world's ugliest trunk, too. But it's lightweight, waterproof, has a hinged lid and can even be padlocked. Saw one in the housewares section at wally world last night. Ihould have picked it up, as there was only one left.
Drat! Went back today and it was gone.

John
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Old 01-28-03, 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by HalfHearted
The new ultra-brite LEDs are nice. This thing is almost painful to look at at less than about ten feet and shows up very well at night for well over a block, even when under a street light.
I don't have a current picture but I have a VistaLite Strobe light mounted with my two VistaLite tail lights. When the traffic gets too busy or when it's raining or foggy I turn on the strobe light. Gets everyone's attention.

Cyclist hit by car. Driver claims s/he was blinded by bikes taillight.
Not funny but...
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Old 01-28-03, 10:31 PM
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(Oops! Picture too large. See next post.)
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Old 01-28-03, 10:37 PM
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Here are three xenon strobes lashed together and secure to a bottle holder on the back of my seat.
It's my red-white-and-blue ambulance light imitation.
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Old 01-29-03, 06:03 PM
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bentrox!,

How much battery life do you get with the strobes? I'd considered building a strobe unit but decided to try the ultra-brite LEDs first.

Around here they'll write you a ticket for flashing blue lights. They've even gone after some truckers who have non-flashing blue cargo lights on the back of their tractors.

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Old 01-29-03, 10:12 PM
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i have 2 red rear vistalite 5 bulb led units @ the back .1 on my seat post ,the other on my bakpak or bumbag @ night i use them both on flashing mode, i,ve had pleasant young motorists shout out to me "you look like a f***king ambulance arsehole ,get the f*** off the road" ,my first thought was that if i could catch them up he might need that ambulance, but on further reflection i thought at least the clown saw me.

during day light, in heavy ,fast traffic & winding roads i switch on the one on the bike on flash for further peice of mind
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Old 01-30-03, 10:06 PM
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Yeah, better to be given the finger than the fender, I say!

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