Newbie question for building lights

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by DaveB, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. DaveB

    DaveB Guest

    I've made the decision to have a crack at making a new light for the
    commuter while there is still some daylight savings left. I've had a
    look at the various pages (thefathippy etc) and most of the the lights
    look fairly simple and I can use a lot of crap lying around in the shed.
    But I have no experience with rechargeable batteries other than my
    cordless drill. Initially I'll try and get somethign up and going with
    the drill battery (saw that on one of the pages), but I'm tipping that
    will only last till I need the drill in a hurry.

    I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for riding
    in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out with
    halogen globes, either 10 or 20W. So if I need batteries and a charger
    for future experimentation what should I get?

    DaveB
     
    Tags:


  2. DaveB wrote:

    > I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    > the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    > expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    > (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for riding
    > in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out with
    > halogen globes, either 10 or 20W. So if I need batteries and a charger
    > for future experimentation what should I get?


    As a cheap startup, there are 10-12W 35mm downlights available at various
    spreads. I use the 7 degree lights, which give me good distance. If you need
    better peripheral sight, you'll probably need 20W lights, as the 10W lights
    would probably be too dim at that angle.

    Spray the rear of the reflector with black paint, (I use matt black engine
    temperature rated spray paint) to stop it shining in your eyes.

    Use the fat hippy hose clamp method to fasten the light.

    I use a small blob of silicon sealant to hold the downlight base in place (so
    it doesn't fall off).

    Sealed lead acid batteries are the cheapest to start with. They're the
    heaviest though. A small 4A/Hr SLA battery would last several hours with a
    10-12W lamp. Would even run long enough with a 20W lamp if you're going to be
    running that.

    12v SLA battery chargers are reasonably cheap, plentiful and easy to come by.
    You can even use car battery chargers even if it is overkill. Just make sure
    it's an "automatic" type.
    --
    Linux Registered User # 302622 <http://counter.li.org>
     
  3. Oscar

    Oscar Guest

    DaveB wrote:
    > I've made the decision to have a crack at making a new light for the
    > commuter while there is still some daylight savings left. I've had a
    > look at the various pages (thefathippy etc) and most of the the lights
    > look fairly simple and I can use a lot of crap lying around in the shed.
    > But I have no experience with rechargeable batteries other than my
    > cordless drill. Initially I'll try and get somethign up and going with
    > the drill battery (saw that on one of the pages), but I'm tipping that
    > will only last till I need the drill in a hurry.
    >
    > I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    > the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    > expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    > (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for riding
    > in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out with
    > halogen globes, either 10 or 20W. So if I need batteries and a charger
    > for future experimentation what should I get?
    >
    > DaveB


    The biggest killer of batteries is overcharging. Make sure your charger
    is an intelligent charger. The charger should cost more than the
    battery(s). When people have trouble with batterys they always think it
    must need more charge which kills the battery even more.

    Oscar
     
  4. fred knieman

    fred knieman Guest

    Dave "Charmingly Modest" B wrote:
    > I've made the decision to have a crack at making a new light for the
    > commuter while there is still some daylight savings left. I've had a
    > look at the various pages (thefathippy etc) and most of the the lights
    > look fairly simple and I can use a lot of crap lying around in the shed.
    > But I have no experience with rechargeable batteries other than my
    > cordless drill. Initially I'll try and get somethign up and going with
    > the drill battery (saw that on one of the pages), but I'm tipping that
    > will only last till I need the drill in a hurry.
    >
    > I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    > the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    > expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    > (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for riding
    > in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out with
    > halogen globes, either 10 or 20W. So if I need batteries and a charger
    > for future experimentation what should I get?
    >
    > DaveB


    "Newbie", eh? Sounds like you're a few levels up from me :) ...

    (Might be more low-level than what you want, but anyway, here goes)

    My commuter rig is cheap halogens plus flashers working off lead/acid
    rechargable batteries. Works fine for me.

    Details:
    Lead/acid rechargable batteries are sold by old-skool Electronics Shops.
    In Melb I buy mine from http://www.radioparts.com.au/ . I'm pretty
    sure they're available in cities across au. (In my Sydney Exile, I
    bought 'em at http://www.federalbatteries.com.au/ in Gladesville/Ryde
    or wherever they are.)

    The 6v batteries team well with the better low-wattage 4.8v upwards or
    whatver halogens/krypton bulbs you get in off-the-shelf incandescent
    bike lights.

    A 6v 1.2Ah battery costs about $ 20, a 4Ah battery about $ 26. A
    charger costs you $ 25 or so. A 1.2Ah battery gives you good "being
    seen" light for about (surprise, surprise) an hour or so, and a 4Ah
    gives you about (surprise, surprise) 3 x that much.

    (Coupla years ago I carted round a 6Ah 6v lead/acid battery powering 2 1
    watt halogens and a 5 watt helmet light I swiched on for dark bits on
    the commute. The battery was about 2 times heavier than my brain. If
    there's a lesson for all of us in that... hmm... ('hello, brain?'...
    'pakafnd's brain here. Nope, no lessons learned. Carry on being
    stoopid, guy')

    They die after about a year or so of daily usage. They're heavy, they
    die quickly if you run then flat, but they're cheap, cheerful, and easy
    to buy. They also work with 6v LED flashers.

    6V LED flashers work with lead/acid 6v batteries rigged in parallel with
    cheap 6v incandescents. They also work when the incandescent bulbs
    blow. I guess this means you can also run 6v LED lights off 6v NiCads,
    NiMHs, Lithium-thingumies or whatever. I don't get it, they seem to
    have really delicate circuitry...

    Whatever. (small advice: DaveB, whatever rig you chose, you can also
    put your LED flashers in parallel with them, because they'll work fine.
    Just don't ask me why,)

    xxx

    Bruce
     
  5. Mike

    Mike Guest

    John Tserkezis wrote:
    > DaveB wrote:
    >
    >> I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    >> the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    >> expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    >> (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for
    >> riding in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out
    >> with halogen globes, either 10 or 20W.


    20W will need some serious batteries. I have a 20W, 12degree spotlight
    which the drill batteries can power for a few minutes before dimming.

    >> So if I need batteries and a
    >> charger for future experimentation what should I get?


    > distance. If you need better peripheral sight, you'll probably need 20W
    > lights, as the 10W lights would probably be too dim at that angle.


    A 10W or even 5W wide, plus a narrow beam ahead works well.

    > Sealed lead acid batteries are the cheapest to start with. They're the
    > heaviest though. A small 4A/Hr SLA battery would last several hours


    But NiMH are getting much cheaper and more capacity.
    Say $25 for 10x 2AHr off e-bay. Your "4 AHr" SLA will really only give
    half that at high drain, so the NiMH wins all-round.
     
  6. Gags

    Gags Guest

    "DaveB" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I've made the decision to have a crack at making a new light for the
    > commuter while there is still some daylight savings left. I've had a
    > look at the various pages (thefathippy etc) and most of the the lights
    > look fairly simple and I can use a lot of crap lying around in the shed.
    > But I have no experience with rechargeable batteries other than my
    > cordless drill. Initially I'll try and get somethign up and going with
    > the drill battery (saw that on one of the pages), but I'm tipping that
    > will only last till I need the drill in a hurry.
    >
    > I don't need a lot of power over a long period. This will only be for
    > the commuter in conjunction with a flashing "be seen" light, so I'm
    > expecting the new light will only be needed around 30-40 mins a day
    > (maybe up to 60 mins on a bad day), but I also need to allow for riding
    > in cold mid-winter conditions. And I'm expecting to start out with
    > halogen globes, either 10 or 20W. So if I need batteries and a charger
    > for future experimentation what should I get?
    >
    > DaveB


    Dave.....you need to head on over to Gags' Workshop at the end of a BR
    someday.....I have got a heap of my earlier model lights and batteries
    laying around and I am sure that we could work something out for you to see
    if it is what you are after. I still have my V3 lights and a spare one of
    the bags for a 3.4Ah SLA battery (I've got one of them too)....see this page

    http://www.users.tpg.com.au/adsl4xun/lights-v3.htm

    I know that you usually commute along the Yarra Trail and I know that a
    system like this would be more than enough for you.

    It would also give me a chance to show off my water rocket launcher!!

    Ride On,

    Gags
     
  7. DaveB

    DaveB Guest

    Gags wrote:
    >
    > Dave.....you need to head on over to Gags' Workshop at the end of a BR
    > someday.....I have got a heap of my earlier model lights and batteries
    > laying around and I am sure that we could work something out for you to see
    > if it is what you are after. I still have my V3 lights and a spare one of
    > the bags for a 3.4Ah SLA battery (I've got one of them too)....see this page
    >


    That sounds like a good idea. I might struggle to make it though this
    week with a party the night before, and you'll be under peer pressure to
    do Burgundy St :) . I ordered a couple of halogen lamps today to muck
    around with and then can work out what I want/need. So hopefully on BR a
    fortnight away that would be a good time.

    DaveB "amazed at the distractions that can be self-induced when an MBA
    assignment is due"
     
  8. TimC

    TimC Guest

    On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 at 09:55 GMT, Gags (aka Bruce)
    was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea:
    > It would also give me a chance to show off my water rocket launcher!!


    Can I invite myself to watch the rocket launcher? ;)

    It might be a while before I turn up to another BR. So many
    commitments to meet! What a social life?!

    --
    TimC -- http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/staff/tconnors/
    Unix isn't just for geeks:
    grep && gawk && unzip && strip && touch && finger && mount && fsck \
    && gasp && more && yes && umount && make clean && make mrproper && sleep
     
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Guest

    What the?? I got a couple of 20W halogen lamps in the mail today to
    play around with but they don't have a cover, ie. they've got teh
    reflective "cup" around the globe but no clear cover over the front.
    It's the same on both globes. I've never seen that before, is it normal.
    Guess I'll have to try and remove the cover from one of the supermarket
    50W lamps I have lying around.

    DaveB "any excuse to avoid studying"
     
  10. Oscar

    Oscar Guest

    DaveB wrote:
    > What the?? I got a couple of 20W halogen lamps in the mail today to
    > play around with but they don't have a cover, ie. they've got teh
    > reflective "cup" around the globe but no clear cover over the front.
    > It's the same on both globes. I've never seen that before, is it normal.
    > Guess I'll have to try and remove the cover from one of the supermarket
    > 50W lamps I have lying around.
    >
    > DaveB "any excuse to avoid studying"


    Ahh.
    You got the cheaper ones.
     
  11. Gags

    Gags Guest

    "DaveB" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > What the?? I got a couple of 20W halogen lamps in the mail today to
    > play around with but they don't have a cover, ie. they've got teh
    > reflective "cup" around the globe but no clear cover over the front.
    > It's the same on both globes. I've never seen that before, is it normal.
    > Guess I'll have to try and remove the cover from one of the supermarket
    > 50W lamps I have lying around.
    >
    > DaveB "any excuse to avoid studying"


    Go to any light store and ask for some MR16 (standard downlights) or MR11
    (smaller - same size as vistalights) globes that are 20W and about 9 to 12
    degrees. Generally the MR11 globes are more expensive but they are better
    if you want to run them in a small housing. If you are looking at running
    the bare globes, the bigger ones are pretty good and they put out a better
    light as they have a bigger reflector.

    Or.....wait until you get to my place and I can give you one that is already
    painted black, already has a switch attached to the back, and has the hose
    clamps ready to go...... (mates rates of course).

    Gags
     
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