Home Made Lights......Thanks Hippy

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Gags, Jun 9, 2003.

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  1. Gags

    Gags Guest

    Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around out
    there.....

    First look in here for a while and I read the "Your Commuter" thread started by Hippy.........gotta
    thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip, yours was the first site that I came to when I
    decided to make some lights and now I am up to about version 5. Last week I went to a mates place
    who has a metal lathe and machined up an Aluminium housing for my next set of lights (now using the
    35mm halogens instead of 51mm (smaller is better)).....in the next week or so we are going to try
    some home anodising (plenty of sites on the web) to go for a good looking and hard wearing finish
    (probably blue as I always loved those blue anodised parts)

    I am also working on my own version of the "Lightbrain" to pulse width modulate the output and allow
    for infinite power level adjust between 0 and 100%(using a PIC16F84). Also in progress are a light
    using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd), a 12V, 4500mAh NiMh battery pack in a water bottle, and a smart
    charger for both the NiMh (using MAX712) and SLA (using UC3906) - (these two are the electrical
    engineer in me coming out).

    Anyway, if anyone is interested www.ozemail.com.au/~drgagnon is my site (being updated pretty
    regularly).

    Cheers,

    Gags
     
    Tags:


  2. Russell Lang

    Russell Lang Guest

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > out there.....

    I'm currently running a single 50mm 13deg beam housed in a commercial housing. Repco sell "MaxiLite
    Night Eyes", MX200, a driving lamp kit which uses standard 50mm MR-11 globes, but 50W. I replaced it
    with a 20W globe. The battery pack is 10 NiMH 3.8AH in a Tweety Bird drink bottle. I have Willie
    Hunt Lightbulb Voltage Regulator that I intend to hook up this winter, so I can power it from my the
    electric motor batter instead of requiring a separate battery.

    I too found Hippy's page helpful.
     
  3. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > First look in here for a while and I read the "Your Commuter" thread
    started
    > by Hippy.........gotta thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip,
    yours

    woah woah! I started the commuter thread, but it's the FAT HIPPY that is the lighting wizard. He has
    inspired many people to build their own bike lights (one of these days I'll build a set - I promise!
    :) ) and deserves much credit.

    On the subject of lights.. I just bought two MR16 "Superglo" 50w 12v dichroic halogen globes. They
    are "open reflector" whatever that means, with a 38 degree beam spread. They are made by an aussie
    company Superlux. They only cost ~$2 for the two - are these globes going to be totally crap for
    bike lighting purposes? I'm just buying little bits I see so that one day I might have all the bits
    and then the construction urge will hit.. ;-)

    cheers hippy (a fat one, not THE fat one..)
     
  4. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Gags wrote:
    > by Hippy.........gotta thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip, yours

    I think you are mixing up your hippies.

    > Also in progress are a light using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd),

    Be warned that the "10Cd" is focussed beam strength, NOT total luminance. The LEDs are no more
    efficient than a well regulated halogen, and much less efficient than a floro light. LEDs are good
    for low-power (dim) lights as backup, and flashing.

    Have you found a source for good-quality 5-10W MR11 lights in Oz? The efficiency varies enormously.

    Have fun with the housings. I just have fat-hippy's latest naked design.

    Thanks F.H.!
     
  5. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Also in progress are a light using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd),

    I recently built a little board that fits in a Nite Rider housing, with 19 x 6500 mcd white LEDs
    (from Jaycar). I used a 6V battery to power it, and regulated the current to the LEDs using a simple
    series resistor on each one, so I wasted about 40% of power straight away (I just wanted to see what
    was possible).

    Anyway, the long and the short of it was that even overdriving the LEDs at about 35mA (47 Ohm
    resistors), so the LEDs were dissipating about 2.5W, the light was pretty feeble when compared with
    my 10W Nite Rider globe. Certainly much more white, but without the reach.

    I figure if I'd have trebled the number of LEDs (but then they wouldn't fit in the housing anyway)
    the intensity would have approximately matched the normal halogen globe, but then the dissipation
    (even neglecting that of the resistors) would have been close to that of the halogen globe anyway.
    The prospect of blowing several hundred dollars on LEDs persuaded me that now was not the time for
    LED headlights.

    Regards,

    Suzy
     
  6. Gags

    Gags Guest

    Russell,

    I take it from your post that you are on some sorta electric powered bike.......do you have any
    info.....ie, homemade or otherwise, web links to pictures etc?

    I have also been tinkering with the idea of putting together an electric powered recumbent at some
    stage (mainly for the purpose of the exercise more than for any pressing need), any feedback on your
    system would be appreciated.

    cheers,

    Gags "Russell Lang" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > > out there.....
    >
    > I'm currently running a single 50mm 13deg beam housed in a commercial housing. Repco sell
    > "MaxiLite Night Eyes", MX200, a driving lamp kit which uses standard 50mm MR-11 globes, but 50W. I
    > replaced it with a 20W globe. The battery pack is 10 NiMH 3.8AH in a Tweety Bird drink bottle. I
    > have Willie Hunt Lightbulb Voltage Regulator that I intend to hook up this winter, so I can power
    > it from my the electric motor batter instead of requiring a separate battery.
    >
    > I too found Hippy's page helpful.
     
  7. Gags

    Gags Guest

    Oops.......sorry bout the mistaken identity hippies.......

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > out there.....
    >
    > First look in here for a while and I read the "Your Commuter" thread
    started
    > by Hippy.........gotta thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip,
    yours
    > was the first site that I came to when I decided to make some lights and
    now
    > I am up to about version 5. Last week I went to a mates place who has a metal lathe and machined
    > up an Aluminium housing for my next set of lights (now using the 35mm halogens instead of 51mm
    > (smaller is better)).....in
    the
    > next week or so we are going to try some home anodising (plenty of sites
    on
    > the web) to go for a good looking and hard wearing finish (probably blue
    as
    > I always loved those blue anodised parts)
    >
    > I am also working on my own version of the "Lightbrain" to pulse width modulate the output and
    > allow for infinite power level adjust between 0
    and
    > 100%(using a PIC16F84). Also in progress are a light using white LEDs (12
    x
    > 10 000 mcd), a 12V, 4500mAh NiMh battery pack in a water bottle, and a
    smart
    > charger for both the NiMh (using MAX712) and SLA (using UC3906) - (these
    two
    > are the electrical engineer in me coming out).
    >
    > Anyway, if anyone is interested www.ozemail.com.au/~drgagnon is my site (being updated pretty
    > regularly).
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Gags
    >
     
  8. hippy wrote:

    > On the subject of lights.. I just bought two MR16 "Superglo" 50w 12v dichroic halogen globes. They
    > are "open reflector" whatever that means, with a 38 degree beam spread. They are made by an aussie
    > company Superlux. They only cost ~$2 for the two - are these globes going to be totally crap for
    > bike lighting purposes? I'm just buying little bits I see so that one day I might have all the
    > bits and then the construction urge will hit.. ;-)

    He's right about using higher quality globes. I've tried cheapies. Sometimes they work, other
    times I've had a lame orange glow, for a few hours before they eventually fail.

    I'm presently running 12W, 7 degree globes, the 20W, 38 deg lights were too wide and too power
    hungry for me.

    A couple of hose clamps, part of an old tube, a 12v 4A/hr SLA battery, a bit of cabling does it
    for me. A whole LOT cheaper than commercial lights (and I've spent rude amounts of money on crap
    commercial lighting). I am by far happiest with this simple arrangement.

    --
    Linux Registered User # 302622 <http://counter.li.org
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Guest

    John Tserkezis wrote:

    > I'm presently running 12W, 7 degree globes,

    Where do you get those? I have a 10W wide beam for normal use, and a 20W-12degree
    spotlight (jaycar).

    > A couple of hose clamps, part of an old tube, a 12v 4A/hr SLA battery,

    Cordless drill batteries, or a couple of old 6V mobile-phone batteries make lighter alternatives,
    without big dollars.
     
  10. Russell Lang

    Russell Lang Guest

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Russell,
    >
    > I take it from your post that you are on some sorta electric powered bike.......do you have any
    > info.....ie, homemade or otherwise, web links
    to
    > pictures etc?
    >
    > I have also been tinkering with the idea of putting together an electric powered recumbent at some
    > stage (mainly for the purpose of the exercise
    more
    > than for any pressing need), any feedback on your system would be appreciated.

    Do a search for "electric russell group:aus.bicycle" on groups.google.com. The URL is
    http://groups.google.com/groups?q=electric+russell+group:aus.bicycle&hl=en&l
    r=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=7UHI8.188221%24o66.562318%40news-server.bigpond.ne
    t.au&rnum=1 but I expect that to get line wrapped and mangled.
     
  11. Mike wrote:

    >> I'm presently running 12W, 7 degree globes,

    > Where do you get those?

    I bought them from the lighting store (forget the name) at the corner of Liverpool Road and Milton
    Street, Ashfield. About $15 a pop from memory. You should be able to find them at most lighting
    stores regardless, I have the Phillips MR11 Precise 35mm. They claim a 2000 hour life on the box,
    but mine have died due to abuse way before that time. I should take better care of them.

    I've bought two in the past, and both had to be replaced after a couple of years due to my idiocy.
    I snapped the pins on one, and tried to "straighten" the other one that was attached to my handle
    bars. Glass verses stainless steel hose clamps, who do you think won?

    > I have a 10W wide beam for normal use, and a 20W-12degree spotlight (jaycar).

    (Ahem) I've been through two of the 4-5 that I've bought from Jaycar, due to their end of life.
    All were used across two bikes at the Yarramundi 12-hour, and a couple of night time rides at a
    local bike track. I have no idea where the rest of them are in their life cycle, I've retired them
    to the shelf and not used since.

    Test downlights you buy from Jaycar. Ask to borrow an sla battery and a downlight socket, and
    light them up. Make sure they're white.

    I'm not kidding either.

    >> A couple of hose clamps, part of an old tube, a 12v 4A/hr SLA battery,

    > Cordless drill batteries, or a couple of old 6V mobile-phone batteries make lighter alternatives,
    > without big dollars.

    Remember NiCads will be cheaper over their life than NiMh, due to the high discharge rates that
    would otherwise reduce the NiMh lifespan. If you want the capacity, you may want to try the high
    discharge rate NiMh instead of the 'normal' flavours. I haven't run any tests to prove this
    though, I've only used high discharge NiMh cells in applications where there are high discharge
    rates and don't care about overall life because of intermittant use. I use NiCads where overall
    cost of ownership is improved (and to hell with the environment when it comes time to throw them
    out) And SLA when cost is the primary objective.

    --
    Linux Registered User # 302622 <http://counter.li.org
     
  12. Random Data

    Random Data Guest

    Mike <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Cordless drill batteries, or a couple of old 6V mobile-phone batteries make lighter alternatives,
    > without big dollars.

    Not sure about phone batteries, but most cordless drill batteries have very low capacity (of the
    order of 1Ah). SLAs are generally the best value if you get them on special, but the cost is weight.
    NiCd/NiMH offer better power to weight, but are normally more expensive. If you're lucky you'll run
    across old battery packs with a dud cell or two, that can be cannibalised.

    Dave - who has far too many batteries...

    --
    Dave Hughes [email protected] "Please do not ask us to provide anything illegal, since a
    report to your national security service often offends." -- Security Policy,
    http://www.ribbands.co.uk
     
  13. Agamlen

    Agamlen Guest

    I origonally started out making my own lights but eventually bought some vista lights. I still use
    my own battery. Which is a Li-ion battery from a nec laptop. It was a lucky find at
    www.oatleyelectronics.com they seem to get a good range of surplus batteries. The battery only cost
    $24.00. I had 2 of them but lost one with a stolen bike. Got the bike back but not the battery.

    The trouble with Li-ion batteries is the not very flat discharge curve. Mine start off at around
    8.2-.8.3 volts and are discharged at 6.0 volts. Initially I used a simple 555 timer circuit with a
    fixed PWM and when the battery got too dim just bypassed the circuit. Now I have a 555 timer circuit
    that monitors the battery and adjusts the PWM. At some stage I would like to use a pic with an
    A-to-D so I could have variable levels, soft start etc.

    The problem with Li-ion batteries is they are meant to be hard to charge properly. Initially I used
    a nat semi chip that I got for free as a sample. Then I found out that all you need to do is charge
    at a constant voltage and not to exceed the current capacity of the battery while charging. i.e if
    the pack is 5 Ah don't put more than 5 amps into
    it. I usually only charge at 1 amp. I use my bench top PSU and set the voltage limit to 8.2 volts
    (then check it with a good meter) and set the current limit to 1 amp. Once the current meter
    shows there is next to no current going into the battery the charging is finished. The voltage
    depends on the type of Li-ion battery. If anybody wants extra info I'll have to dig it all up.

    WARNING:WAWARNING:WARNING:WARNING:WARNING:WARNING:WARNING:WARNING Li-ion batteries have a higher
    energy density than some explosives. So if you don't know what you are doing then don't do it.

    Gags wrote:
    > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > out there.....
    >
    > First look in here for a while and I read the "Your Commuter" thread started by
    > Hippy.........gotta thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip, yours was the first site that I
    > came to when I decided to make some lights and now I am up to about version 5. Last week I went to
    > a mates place who has a metal lathe and machined up an Aluminium housing for my next set of lights
    > (now using the 35mm halogens instead of 51mm (smaller is better)).....in the next week or so we
    > are going to try some home anodising (plenty of sites on the web) to go for a good looking and
    > hard wearing finish (probably blue as I always loved those blue anodised parts)
    >
    > I am also working on my own version of the "Lightbrain" to pulse width modulate the output and
    > allow for infinite power level adjust between 0 and 100%(using a PIC16F84). Also in progress are a
    > light using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd), a 12V, 4500mAh NiMh battery pack in a water bottle, and
    > a smart charger for both the NiMh (using MAX712) and SLA (using UC3906) - (these two are the
    > electrical engineer in me coming out).
    >
    > Anyway, if anyone is interested www.ozemail.com.au/~drgagnon is my site (being updated pretty
    > regularly).
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Gags
    >
    >
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected]_ozemail.com.au says...
    > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > out there.....
    >
    > First look in here for a while and I read the "Your Commuter" thread started by
    > Hippy.........gotta thank u for the inspiration on the lights Hip, yours was the first site that I
    > came to when I decided to make some lights and now I am up to about version 5. Last week I went to
    > a mates place who has a metal lathe and machined up an Aluminium housing for my next set of lights
    > (now using the 35mm halogens instead of 51mm (smaller is better)).....in the next week or so we
    > are going to try some home anodising (plenty of sites on the web) to go for a good looking and
    > hard wearing finish (probably blue as I always loved those blue anodised parts)
    >
    > I am also working on my own version of the "Lightbrain" to pulse width modulate the output and
    > allow for infinite power level adjust between 0 and 100%(using a PIC16F84). Also in progress are a
    > light using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd), a 12V, 4500mAh NiMh battery pack in a water bottle, and
    > a smart charger for both the NiMh (using MAX712) and SLA (using UC3906) - (these two are the
    > electrical engineer in me coming out).
    >
    > Anyway, if anyone is interested www.ozemail.com.au/~drgagnon is my site (being updated pretty
    > regularly).
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Gags

    I just got myself one of those 1W Lumileds and I must say I am impressed so far. Certainly doesn't
    have the reach of the halogen, even on the lowest power setting of a lightbrain, but you can see
    quite well on reflective surfaces quite OK ie concrete bike paths. Once you get onto other surfaces
    though the halogen bulb is my weapon of choice.

    Considering I'm wasting close to 4W of power in my series limiting resistor (using normal 12V SLA I
    also use for my halogen setup) I am now pondering should I get 2 more 1W LEDs to reduce the power
    wasted in resistors as heat into almost exactly the same power wasted as light :)

    I think I'd still have the halogen available for the bad sections on my commute.

    I got some (6) 8000mcd RED leds from oatley electronics and built a rear flasher using a 555 and
    this has some real retina burning performance. Once again designed to run off the 12V SLA for my
    halogen system. The commercial flashers pale into insignifigance :)

    Needless to say this is all home brewed :)

    With regards to charging SLA's, I now am convinced for cyclic use, as a bike light system will be,
    the most effective charger is really a voltage regulator set to around 14.7V and the current limited
    to somewhere between 0.5-1.0A. As the battery charges, the current will naturally fall away. A good
    read of the Panasonic SLA datasheets is very useful in this regard. I actually got a hold of some
    UC3906's but ditched them in favour of the simpler and cheaper regulator approach.

    Cheers Ray

    >
    >
    >
     
  15. Mike

    Mike Guest

    John Tserkezis wrote:

    > memory. You should be able to find them at most lighting stores regardless, I have the Phillips
    > MR11 Precise 35mm.

    Ta.

    > They claim a 2000 hour life on the box, but mine have died due to abuse way before that

    As I understand it, energy-efficiency and lifetime are inversely correlated. And depends on voltage.
    Raising the voltage increases not just power, but efficiency (lumens/W) at the expense of lifetime.
    So the same lamp may be rated as 12V long life, or 13V high-efficiency.

    > Remember NiCads will be cheaper over their life than NiMh, due to the
    > high discharge rates that would otherwise reduce the NiMh lifespan.

    Don't NiCads last longer generally? And much more forgiving of ill treatment.

    I dont like SLAs. A 4AHr one really only gives half that charge in high-drain. Once you calculate
    that in, they are very heavy.
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Random Data wrote:
    > Mike <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Not sure about phone batteries, but most cordless drill batteries have very low capacity (of the
    > order of 1Ah).

    Yes, 1.2 or 1.3 nominal. But thats enough for an hour at 10W. Not enough for a 20W lamp.

    > SLAs are generally the best value if you get them on special, but the cost is weight.

    A 4 AHr nominal SLA lasts about as long as a set of ten AAs, which are rated at 1.8AHr these days.
    MUCH more weight.

    For regular users, NiCd gives more cycles than SLA, so can be cheaper. Either way, you probably want
    a smart charger.
     
  17. Stu

    Stu Guest

    how big is your battery?? from what l have read even .5amp is a little high until you get up to
    about 5 amp/hr and you wouldn't want to leave to on charge for to long at 14.7V
    13.2v is a good float voltage and some pc pwr supplies will go that high but its all about how fast
    you want to charge it V how long you want it to last do you have any idea what the V is when you
    turn it off?
     
  18. Ray

    Ray Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > how big is your battery??

    2 x Panasonic 6V 4.2AH in series

    > from what l have read even .5amp is a little high until you get up to about 5 amp/hr

    The Panasonic datasheet for these units states max of 1.68A for cyclic recharge!

    > and you wouldn't want to leave to on charge for to long at 14.7V
    > 13.2v is a good float voltage and some pc pwr supplies will go that high but its all about how
    > fast you want to charge it V how long you want it to last do you have any idea what the V is
    > when you turn it off?

    The part I am trying to get across is that using a "float" charger is not quite adequate when
    using a battery for cyclic use. Most float chargers sit at 13.8V which is fine for extended charge
    intervals, but all battery manufacturers recommend the high charge voltage when cycling the
    battery on a regular basis. I'm no chemistry expert, but I'm just conveying what is stated in the
    data sheets :)

    Check out http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/battery/oem/images/pdf/Panasonic_VRL
    A_ChargingMethods.pdf for the real info. I'm basing my recharge strategy upon Main Power (cyclic
    use) method 1b Constant Voltage Constant Current 2.45/cell max current of 0.4CA - works out to be
    14.7V, 1.68A with my battery....

    The UC3906 works admirably well for the two step standby use method (2a) in above the PDF.

    Once I read this datasheet, I dumped the UC3906 design real quick for the simple fixed voltage
    regulator driven from a current limited power supply, which conveniently shows the charge current as
    the charging progresses, all works as advertised in the data sheets :)

    Cheers Ray

    >
     
  19. Stu

    Stu Guest

    Great link thanks wow 0.4C that's some charge rate. Can you top the water up in these batteries? My
    understanding was that much above 13.8V you start bubbling off hydrogen/oxygen so it needs to be
    replaced. Panasonic seem to disagree with most of what l have read about charging batteries, but you
    would have to think they know what they are talking about. How many times have you cycled your
    batteries?(just wondering how many deep discharges they will take)
     
  20. Gags wrote:

    > Thought I might see how many other sets of lights that have been made at home are getting around
    > out there.....

    ..snip..

    > I am also working on my own version of the "Lightbrain" to pulse width modulate the output and
    > allow for infinite power level adjust between 0 and 100%(using a PIC16F84). Also in progress are a
    > light using white LEDs (12 x 10 000 mcd), a 12V, 4500mAh NiMh battery pack in a water bottle, and
    > a smart charger for both the NiMh (using MAX712) and SLA (using UC3906) - (these two are the
    > electrical engineer in me coming out).

    Gags, just had a look at your pages, and your thesis. Maybe I'll have to try my hand at building
    lights again -- the one time I tried, the light worked, but was too fragile.

    If you'd like a suggestion for another project.. maybe try a handheld mobile phone detector and
    jammer :) Now *that* would be useful on the bike.

    > Anyway, if anyone is interested www.ozemail.com.au/~drgagnon is my site (being updated pretty
    > regularly).
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Gags

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Adrian Tritschler mailto:[email protected] Latitude 38°S, Longitude 145°E,
    Altitude 50m, Shoe size 44
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
     
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