Modifying Vistalights

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Gags, Sep 14, 2003.

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  1. Gags

    Gags Guest

    A mate of mine is a self confessed "anal retentive roadie" who is dead against riding anything other
    than a road bike. He has two identical frames ("Mausser" i think), one of which he uses to commute
    and one to race.

    He is also right into having all of his attachments as neat as possible and so recently he asked me
    to shorten one of his light leads. This was a pretty simple job......basically just cut out the
    "curly bit" in the middle of a standard Vistalight cable, re-solder wires, wrap with black heat
    shrink. It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh
    NiMh cells), up the frame and to the light.....looks really neat.

    He also asked me to see what I could do with an old Vistalight rear LED flasher (one of the
    rectangular ones with 5 LEDs and a yellow rubber cover on the switch) as he wanted it to be
    brighter. Basically he is going to mount it on his Zefal rear mud guard (One of the gucci curved
    ones) for use when commuting in the wet.

    Anyway, I went to Jaycar and bought 5 red LEDs at 4000mcd (only $1.00 each) and put them in
    tonight (not sure of beam angle but they are pretty tight). It is now retina burning bright (I am
    still seeing spots). I put it on outside and it throws a red "torch like" spot on the side of the
    house from at least 15 metres away. I am going to give it to him tomorrow and i reckon he is
    gonna love it.

    At Jaycar, they also had some 20,000 mcd red LEDs (the brightest I have ever come across in 5mm
    LEDs) but I think they have a forward voltage of over 3V.

    Might be the basis for my next home made rear light.....my only concern being that if it is too
    bright, it might draw the eye of drivers too much in my direction (like when you are riding
    single-track and actually look at a rock or ditch on the trail, you usually end up hitting it).

    Could be a good laugh as front lights for a "Stealth Mode" trip down some single-track though.

    Gags
     
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  2. troyq

    troyq New Member

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    Hi Gags,
    Can i ask from where did you get the cells to re-pack the nightstick? Was it difficult or not really? Im thinking of doing the same thing...

    Cheers,
    Troy
     
  3. Al User

    Al User Guest

    Interestingly, for car tail/brake lights there is ADR49 which specifies how bright they must be and
    at what angles they must throw light.

    For a bike the road rules just say "visable from 200m"

    Al.

    Gags wrote:

    > A mate of mine is a self confessed "anal retentive roadie" who is dead against riding anything
    > other than a road bike. He has two identical frames ("Mausser" i think), one of which he uses to
    > commute and one to race.
    >
    > He is also right into having all of his attachments as neat as possible and so recently he asked
    > me to shorten one of his light leads. This was a pretty simple job......basically just cut out the
    > "curly bit" in the middle of a standard Vistalight cable, re-solder wires, wrap with black heat
    > shrink. It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh
    > NiMh cells), up the frame and to the light.....looks really neat.
    >
    > He also asked me to see what I could do with an old Vistalight rear LED flasher (one of the
    > rectangular ones with 5 LEDs and a yellow rubber cover on the switch) as he wanted it to be
    > brighter. Basically he is going to mount it on his Zefal rear mud guard (One of the gucci curved
    > ones) for use when commuting in the wet.
    >
    > Anyway, I went to Jaycar and bought 5 red LEDs at 4000mcd (only $1.00 each) and put them in
    > tonight (not sure of beam angle but they are pretty tight). It is now retina burning bright (I am
    > still seeing spots). I put it on outside and it throws a red "torch like" spot on the side of the
    > house from at least 15 metres away. I am going to give it to him tomorrow and i reckon he is gonna
    > love it.
    >
    > At Jaycar, they also had some 20,000 mcd red LEDs (the brightest I have ever come across in 5mm
    > LEDs) but I think they have a forward voltage of over 3V.
    >
    > Might be the basis for my next home made rear light.....my only concern being that if it is too
    > bright, it might draw the eye of drivers too much in my direction (like when you are riding
    > single-track and actually look at a rock or ditch on the trail, you usually end up hitting it).
    >
    > Could be a good laugh as front lights for a "Stealth Mode" trip down some single-track though.
    >
    > Gags
     
  4. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

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

    > It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh NiMh
    > cells), up the frame and to the light.....looks really neat.

    How did you get the stick apart? I had a go at prying mine (a NiCd one) apart with a screwdriver, so
    that I could replace the cells with NiMH ones, but couldn't get the caps off.

    Regards,

    Suzy
     
  5. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "Suzy Jackson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > How did you get the stick apart? I had a go at prying mine (a NiCd
    one)
    > apart with a screwdriver, so that I could replace the cells with NiMH
    ones,
    > but couldn't get the caps off.

    They are glued in. Squeezing the casing really hard with pliers seemed to crack the glue bond on
    mine and allowed me to pry the lid off with a screwdriver. Or you could put the 'cap end' in a vice
    - just below the black plastic end cap - and tighten until you hear a cracking noise. Don't crush
    the tube totally! ;-)

    Put something in between the pliers and the case, otherwise you will end up with plier teeth marks
    in the soft alu.

    hth hippy
     
  6. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

    "troyq" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Hi Gags, Can i ask from where did you get the cells to re-pack the nightstick? Was it difficult or
    > not really? Im thinking of doing the same thing...

    From the dimensions of the battery pack, I'd lay a bet that they're "sub-c" size. These batteries
    are commonly used in radio control cars and cordless power tools, and are available from hobby shops
    or Jaycar.

    Quite a while ago, I modified an old blackburn mini pump (after seeing the visalight batteries)
    along the same lines. See http://groups.google.com.au/groups?q=%22suzy+jackson%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF--
    8&oe=UTF-8&selm=51Ay9.24750%245u4.75813%40news-server.bigpond.net.au&rnum=3

    Regards,

    Suzy (who will attack her vistalight battery tomorrow with the vice at work)
     
  7. Gags

    Gags Guest

    Suzy is right.....They are sub-C cells and you can get them from Jaycar for about $9 each from
    memory (you need five for a nightstick). They have solder tabs on each end so it is a relatively
    simple job to solder them up. I didn't have any heatshrink big enough to put around the
    batteries before slotting them back into the tube, so I ended up with a tightly wrapped layer of
    electrical tape.

    As for how to get the caps off......I have no idea......my mate gave me the tube with the caps
    already off. If you are going to remove the caps, only take out the top one (ie the one with the
    connector in it). I actually replaced his connector too with one bought from Jaycar as his old one
    was cactus.

    BTW Suzy.....love the home made battery stick.......wonder if I could make one out of a full size
    pump for a 12V battery.......now that would be a good "dog stick".

    Cheers,

    Gags

    "Suzy Jackson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "troyq" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Hi Gags, Can i ask from where did you get the cells to re-pack the nightstick? Was it difficult
    > > or not really? Im thinking of doing the same thing...
    >
    > From the dimensions of the battery pack, I'd lay a bet that they're
    "sub-c"
    > size. These batteries are commonly used in radio control cars and
    cordless
    > power tools, and are available from hobby shops or Jaycar.
    >
    > Quite a while ago, I modified an old blackburn mini pump (after seeing the visalight batteries)
    > along the same lines. See
    >
    http://groups.google.com.au/groups?q=%22suzy+jackson%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&o
    e=UTF-8&selm=51Ay9.24750%245u4.75813%40news-server.bigpond.net.au&rnum=3
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Suzy (who will attack her vistalight battery tomorrow with the vice at
    work)
     
  8. Kingsley

    Kingsley Guest

    On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:11:46 +1000, Gags wrote:

    > It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh
    > NiMh cells),

    Can you give further details on this ?

    What cells did you use ? Can you still use the standrad charger ?

    cheers, -kt
     
  9. Gags

    Gags Guest

    "kingsley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:11:46 +1000, Gags wrote:
    >
    > > It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh NiMh
    > > cells),
    >
    > Can you give further details on this ?
    >
    > What cells did you use ? Can you still use the standrad charger ?
    >
    > cheers, -kt

    I used 3000mAh NiMh Sub-C cells with solder tabs attached that I bought from Jaycar (They don't
    actually have a brand written on them). The standard charger is no problems to use, you just need to
    allow longer if you have discharged the battery further.

    From memory, I think that the wall plug type charger that my mate has is rated at 500mA........If
    you were to drain the battery completely (not recommended as this shortens battery life, should turn
    off lights as soon as you notice them getting dimmer), You would need 6 hours charge time to fully
    recharge it. (ie. 6 x 500mAh = 3000mAh - that is assuming 100% efficiency which doesn't happen). In
    reality, you should allow some extra charge to make up for any inefficiencies in the charging
    process (heat mainly).

    Also can do rough calculation depending on run time......10Watt light at 6V draws 10/6 = 1.66 Amps =
    1666 mA. So if you run this light for 1 hour, you have used up 1666mAh of battery capacity and so I
    would then put battery on charge for about 4 hours = 2000mAh, which should ensure that the battery
    is fully charged without causing too much damage from overcharging.

    The chargers provided are "dumb" chargers in that they don't sense when a battery is fully charged.
    I am currently working out a design for a smart charger that can basically charge a NiMh battery
    pack of any voltage using an initial fast charge, that then switches to a trickle charge once
    battery is fully charged. This will allow me to simply hook up my battery and leave it connected
    until I am ready to use it next time. I am planning on using a PIC as the basis of my charrger.

    I know that you can buy chargers like this off the shelf (pretty expensive though), but where is the
    fun in that????

    Cheers,

    Gags
     
  10. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Guest

    "Gags" <[email protected]_ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "kingsley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:p[email protected]...
    > > On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:11:46 +1000, Gags wrote:
    > >
    > > > It now runs straight from the "Nightstick" (that I recently repacked for him using 3000mAh
    > > > NiMh cells),
    > >
    > > Can you give further details on this ?
    > >
    > > What cells did you use ? Can you still use the standrad charger ?
    > >
    > > cheers, -kt
    >
    > I used 3000mAh NiMh Sub-C cells with solder tabs attached that I bought
    from
    > Jaycar (They don't actually have a brand written on them). The standard charger is no problems to
    > use, you just need to allow longer if you have discharged the battery further.
    >
    > From memory, I think that the wall plug type charger that my mate has is rated at 500mA........If
    > you were to drain the battery completely (not recommended as this shortens battery life, should
    > turn off lights as soon
    as
    > you notice them getting dimmer), You would need 6 hours charge time to
    fully
    > recharge it. (ie. 6 x 500mAh = 3000mAh - that is assuming 100% efficiency which doesn't happen).
    > In reality, you should allow some extra charge to make up for any inefficiencies in the charging
    > process (heat mainly).
    >
    > Also can do rough calculation depending on run time......10Watt light at
    6V
    > draws 10/6 = 1.66 Amps = 1666 mA. So if you run this light for 1 hour,
    you
    > have used up 1666mAh of battery capacity and so I would then put battery
    on
    > charge for about 4 hours = 2000mAh, which should ensure that the battery
    is
    > fully charged without causing too much damage from overcharging.
    >
    > The chargers provided are "dumb" chargers in that they don't sense when a battery is fully
    > charged. I am currently working out a design for a smart charger that can basically charge a
    > NiMh battery pack of any voltage using an initial fast charge, that then switches to a trickle
    > charge once
    battery
    > is fully charged. This will allow me to simply hook up my battery and
    leave
    > it connected until I am ready to use it next time. I am planning on using
    a
    > PIC as the basis of my charrger.
    >
    > I know that you can buy chargers like this off the shelf (pretty expensive though), but where is
    > the fun in that????
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Gags
    >

    Is this the battery? (May have to cut and paste URL...)

    STOCK-CODE: SB1710 - Limited RRP: $12.95 Qty 1+ $12.95 Qty 10+ $11.35 Qty 20+ $10.35

    4/3 A 3000mAH Ni-Mh

    As used in laptop battery packs. Size 67 (L) x 17 (dia)mm Charging: Standard 600mA for 7 hours Fast
    3000mA for 1.2 hours Supplied with solder tags

    Are they 1.5V?

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  11. Glen F

    Glen F Guest

    > The chargers provided are "dumb" chargers in that they don't sense when a battery is fully
    > charged. I am currently working out a design for a smart charger that can basically charge a NiMh
    > battery pack of any voltage using an initial fast charge, that then switches to a trickle charge
    > once battery is fully charged. This will allow me to simply hook up my battery and leave it
    > connected until I am ready to use it next time.

    A wide variety of fully automatic chargers of this sort are available from hobby stores for remote
    controlled gadgets. You can pay anything from about $70 to over $300 for one that will handle Pb,
    NiCad, NiMH and Lion/LiPoly. The one we have ($75) will charge any size packs of NiCad and NiMH from
    1 to 10 cells at a user-selectable rate from about 100mA to ~6A. Needs a (separate) 13.6v supply...

    You might find the design more challenging than you think. These things are usually microprocessor
    controlled and use a variably pulsed charging strategy to detect the battery size, type, charging
    response, and also monitor battery temperature...
     
  12. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

    "Tim Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Is this the battery? (May have to cut and paste URL...)
    >
    >

    > Size 67 (L) x 17 (dia)mm

    Nope. Five of these in a line would be 335mm long, a tad longer (and skinnier) than the
    vistalight tube.

    On the other hand, these ones:

    Will do quite well. Sub C 2700mAh, 43mm long, 23mm round. $9 each.

    FWIW, radio control toy cars use Sub-C batteries up to 3000mAh, such as:

    http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXBHE7&P=0

    Though you pay a real premium for that extra few hundred mAh.

    > Are they 1.5V?

    No, they're 1.2V.

    Regards,

    Suzy
     
  13. Kingsley

    Kingsley Guest

    On Mon, 15 Sep 2003 22:28:54 +1000, Gags wrote:

    > BTW Suzy.....love the home made battery stick.......wonder if I could make one out of a full size
    > pump for a 12V battery.......now that would be a good "dog stick".

    A few months ago I was looking at the aluminium mouldings(?) (extrusions?) in the hardware store.
    They have some fairly neat alu pipe that might be ideal for a pump-sized battery. Not sure how you
    would seal the ends though.

    I wouldn't mind a battery that would last the week with the 15 watter. It's not the charging that's
    the problem, it's remembering to do it. Funny the way the power always drops out coming down the
    hill just before the pot-holes...

    -kt
     
  14. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

    "kingsley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > On Mon, 15 Sep 2003 22:28:54 +1000, Gags wrote:
    >
    > > BTW Suzy.....love the home made battery stick.......wonder if I could
    make
    > > one out of a full size pump for a 12V battery.......now that would be a
    good
    > > "dog stick".
    >
    > A few months ago I was looking at the aluminium mouldings(?) (extrusions?) in the hardware store.
    > They have some fairly neat alu pipe that might be ideal for a pump-sized battery. Not sure how you
    > would seal the ends though.
    >
    > I wouldn't mind a battery that would last the week with the 15 watter. It's not the charging
    > that's the problem, it's remembering to do it. Funny the way the power always drops out coming
    > down the hill just before the pot-holes...

    The nice bit about the pump was that it had a nice mount to mount it to my bike. With a simple
    aluminium tube, you'd have to engineer the lot. Perhaps a water bottle battery would make more sense
    for you? You can stick ten 4.5Ah C cells in a water bottle. That would drive your 15W light for a
    bit over 3.5 hours.

    I only did the modified mini pump because I had one kicking around (complete with mounting hardware)
    and it was _just_ the right size.

    Regards,

    Suzy
     
  15. Gags

    Gags Guest

    Oops.....Suzy is right.....I did use the 2700mAh batteries as per the link below.

    My mate was keen for the 3000mAh ones (from a camera battery store I think), but they were $14 each
    and so the cost - benefit ratio was too high in the end.

    Gags

    "Suzy Jackson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Tim Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Is this the battery? (May have to cut and paste URL...)
    > >
    > >
    >
    http://www1.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=SB1710&CATID=&keywords=3000mah&

    pageNumber=&priceMin=&priceMax=&SUBCATID=
    >
    > > Size 67 (L) x 17 (dia)mm
    >
    > Nope. Five of these in a line would be 335mm long, a tad longer (and skinnier) than the
    > vistalight tube.
    >
    > On the other hand, these ones:
    >
    >
    http://www1.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=SB2447&CATID=18&keywords=&SPECI

    r=&priceMin=&priceMax=&SUBCATID=583
    >
    > Will do quite well. Sub C 2700mAh, 43mm long, 23mm round. $9 each.
    >
    > FWIW, radio control toy cars use Sub-C batteries up to 3000mAh, such as:
    >
    > http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXBHE7&P=0
    >
    > Though you pay a real premium for that extra few hundred mAh.
    >
    > > Are they 1.5V?
    >
    > No, they're 1.2V.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Suzy
     
  16. Gags

    Gags Guest

    "Glen F" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > The chargers provided are "dumb" chargers in that they don't sense when a battery is fully
    > > charged. I am currently working out a design for a smart charger that can basically charge a
    > > NiMh battery pack of any voltage using an initial fast charge, that then switches to a trickle
    > > charge once battery is fully charged. This will allow me to simply hook up my battery and leave
    > > it connected until I am ready to use it next time.
    >
    > A wide variety of fully automatic chargers of this sort are available from hobby stores for remote
    > controlled gadgets. You can pay anything from about $70 to over $300 for one that will handle Pb,
    > NiCad, NiMH and Lion/LiPoly. The one we have ($75) will charge any size packs of NiCad and NiMH
    > from 1 to 10 cells at a user-selectable rate from about 100mA to ~6A. Needs a (separate) 13.6v
    > supply...
    >
    > You might find the design more challenging than you think. These things are usually microprocessor
    > controlled and use a variably pulsed charging strategy to detect the battery size, type, charging
    > response, and also monitor battery temperature...
    >
    Glen....I am actually an Electrical Engineer and so I have a pretty good idea of how I am going to
    approach it. I am going to use a basic voltage regulator to get a constant current (probably at
    least 1 to 1.5 Amps as most of the batteries that I want to charge are above 2700 mAh capacity). I
    will then use a PIC with an in-built Analog to Digital convertor to periodically measure the voltage
    accross the battery pack and compare it to the previous measurement. A switch will select between
    NiCd and NiMh and then I will code the PIC with the appropriate algorithms for each type. Once the
    change in voltage reduces to zero for NiMh or the voltage decreases for NiCd, the PIC will then
    pulse the output down to an acceptable trickle current.

    I reckon that the whole thing will cost me less than $50, and like I said.......where is the fun in
    buying something off the shelf????

    cheers,

    Gags
     
  17. Glen F

    Glen F Guest

    > I reckon that the whole thing will cost me less than $50, and like I said.......where is the fun
    > in buying something off the shelf????

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I run a set of home made Fat Hippy lights with a home made auto charger
    for the SLA. Just thought some here might be interested what's available in another market
    - that they might not be aware of.
     
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