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  1. #1
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    Convert Nightsun to LED 400 to 500+ lumens

    I took a crack at DIY conversion of my old Nightsun. The battery is a Porter-Cable 12V 2amp hour. PN 95223 (150 lumens) and PN 23125 (260 lumens) from LEDlight.com. Had to modify both to fit inside but the result seemed satisfactory. Beamshots coming soon.
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  2. #2
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    Cool. I thought about doing that with my dual MR-11 CygoLight, but I didn't think the single-led MR-11 size units that are available would put out enough light. Those triples should be nice. Looking forward to the beamshots. The 30 beam angle will be pretty floody, but should make a good handlebar light.

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  3. #3
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    Yeah, I could have just bought an LED light of the shelf but I wanted the experience of building them. The brighter beam, the 260, has a better spot to it. The 150 handles the closer, wider angle view. I havn't trail tested it yet. I'm hoping the flood will reduce the need for a really bright headlamp. What beam angles are used more commonly. I just found the Luxeon site and that stuff seems a little over my head still, but lots of tinkering options.
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  4. #4
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    I've been fooling around with my old Nightsuns too, so far have just been overvolting 10 and 20 watt MR16 bulbs with a 13.2v and 14.8v battery. Just ordered a 10* and 38* of these LED MR16 bulbs to see how they work http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/PDF/...Spec-Sheet.pdf
    Last edited by Bikinfoolferlife; 12-14-2008 at 09:58 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Lavaman

    Excellent timing, I just found my old Nightsun lights and started to take them apart and was hoping to use them somehow. What mods did you have to do get the replacements to fit.

    Any further pics would be helpful

    thx
    J

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife
    I've been fooling around with my old Nightsuns too, so far have just been overvolting 10 and 20 watt MR16 bulbs with a 13.2v and 14.8v battery. Just ordered a 10* and 38* of these LED MR16 bulbs to see how they work http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/PDF/...Spec-Sheet.pdf
    Those look nice. Just as long as the flange is not too thick on the reflector to get the retainer ring in place. They are 1/2 the price too. Be sure to follow up with results.
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  7. #7
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    You might be able to view this step by step. Most of the work is grinding the heatsink to shape.

    Below: top image is the control, 2nd one is highbeam, 3rd is lowbeam. Cant figure out how to work the captions in this forum.

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    Last edited by lavaman; 12-15-2008 at 10:22 PM.
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  8. #8
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    nice beam shots! I am impressed as that has to be one of the simplest conversion ideas I have seen. Good work on the construction guide too!

  9. #9
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    For a real Nightsun to LED conversion check out what this guy did http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=167569

    Just plugging in an MR16 LED bulb is so much easier, but doubt the results will be anything similar....
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  10. #10
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    part numbers

    I wish that guy would list part numbers and sources. There are too many LED websites out there. The heatsinks look like the hardest part. I would like to see someone use a lathe to make some precision inserts for custom led mount up. Anyone????
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocean breathes salty
    nice beam shots! I am impressed as that has to be one of the simplest conversion ideas I have seen. Good work on the construction guide too!
    Thanks!
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  12. #12
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    Yeah that Brent guy went to town, did some nice work, I don't have much of a workshop or area right now and don't want to do a lot of grinding/sanding/soldering, more trying the plug and play approach so far. Am hoping not to have to alter my led bulbs (much), hard to tell from the pics, I'll find out soon enough. I've noticed on the halogens I've used there's a bit of diameter difference which makes seating something you have to screw around with to keep them snug, but they don't run fat like these LED bulbs tend to do with the heatsinks. Figure the aluminum body of the Nightsun should let them run relatively cool anyways. The run time should be incredible at 5 watts each on these LED bulbs, hopefully a slight overvolting with a 14.8v battery won't be a problem. .

    I noticed that you're trying to compliment an x.2 as well, I just got one of those. It was definitely a bit weird to run the halogen Nightsuns (FWIW much better at 14.8v vs 13.2v or 12v) on the bars with the x.2 on the helmet, I probably could get used to it but thought maybe some of the LED bulbs might be interesting in trying to get more similar light qualities.
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  13. #13
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    They sell "warm" color LEDs on LEDlight.com if that's what you mean. I don't think the over volting does much harm since over the course of the run time the battery goes below 12v anyway. I do think there is some reduction in run time since I calculated it to be 8 hours on low beam but got 6. If I could figure out how to seal off the LEDs from dust I would consider cutting vent holes in the Nightsun fixture in a stragegic location. Airflow accounts for a lot though. I have a CPU heatsink but its flat and the Nighsun is round. Anyway, not a lot of heat even escapes to the surface of the light. My tests have been indoors. Maybe I oughta try it with a fan blowing on it to approximate a 5mph breeze?
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  14. #14
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    Do you think the original Nightsun plastic lens covers would melt with the LED lamps? The halogens ran pretty dang warm so figured it's worth a try...
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  15. #15
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    I used an infared temp sensor to check that very thing. The halogens got up to 180! The LEDs got to about 120 F. I don't think you'll have a problem.
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  16. #16
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    Have run the led bulbs I got a few times now. One note is that the pins are noticeably thinner than all the other MR16 bulbs I've used and the stock Nightsun leads don't grip them very well, gotta tweak them a bit. They're not quite as bright with the same 14.8v battery as the halogens, but not too far off. I can ride most stuff just fine with just the 38* 5w led bulb and that should yield one hell of a run time (8 hours or so I'd say), although I think a 20-25* flood would be much better. Running the 10* led bulb as well for the "high" beam didn't add as much light as it does when switching on the 20w halogen bulb (but I've got a few different * versions of the halogens and haven't compared all of those yet). While on the road back to my house with the "low" beam only it certainly still got oncoming cars' attention, getting them to switch off their highbeams (one guy flashed his brights at me, but stopped when I flashed mine ).

    The 3000k color is still more like the halogens though so when I ran with the Niterider x.2 on the helmet, still had the color mismatch thing going on. Lavaman, what do you think about the color from the 5000k versions in that regard?

    I have an old Nightsun Sunsport using the photo batteries, am now thinking about modifying the power source for longer run times and using that to go better with the handlebar mount setup (either led or halogen) just for color matching, but will try it with the stock batteries (in my case the Sanyo 2CR5s) first, even tho runtime only about an hour that way and the battery/pack yields a poor on/off "switch".

    I was running the helmet mount from Niterider for the x.2 on the last ride, and stopped to get a different angle and managed to snap the tab on the plastic mount (the part the light mounts to, that then snaps into the part strapped to your helmet), but the twisty tight downhill was over by then so just frustrating more than anything in that I now have to contact Niterider for the replacement of the part...
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  17. #17
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    Imagining your avatars having the conversation from this thread is making me laugh my a$$ off!

    JZ
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  18. #18
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    That would be pretty funny! Now you got me thinking up conversations...

    Oh, one other note about fitting the led bulbs I got into the Nightsun housing, fit perfectly with no alterations, only issue was the loose fit of the leads on the thinner pins...
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  19. #19
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    I just received a bulb that looks perfect. 12v 240 lumens 15 degree spot. Dropped into the nightsun housing perfectly with no alterations or shims. I was afraid that the beam would be too narrow but it looks perfect. Found it on ebay for $30 Shipped.

    http://www.ledwholesalers.com/store/...&productId=182

  20. #20
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    So you can plug and play the LED MR16 bulbs w/ no other mods and have a 500 lumen bar light? That's a simple upgrade, at a relatively high $60 cost.
    Not bad if you have a good battery.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy13
    So you can plug and play the LED MR16 bulbs w/ no other mods and have a 500 lumen bar light? That's a simple upgrade, at a relatively high $60 cost.
    Not bad if you have a good battery.
    Plug and play ain't so bad, lots easier than doing things like machining housings and soldering and wiring switches and all that (actually I'm just jealous and taking the easy way out)...besides, it's good to put the old lights to use. My led MR16s were $15 each, although probably a bit less bright than rmc99's. OTOH mine are like 20w halogens and rmc99's are like 25w according to the accompanying blurbs, but that 6000k color sounds interesting. My old Nightsun batteries were dead, so had to get a new one in any case...
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy13
    So you can plug and play the LED MR16 bulbs w/ no other mods and have a 500 lumen bar light? That's a simple upgrade, at a relatively high $60 cost.
    Not bad if you have a good battery.

    Agreed. $100 will buy a nice LED light these days. I had already been patching my old systems together for less demanding activities like XC skiing and snowshoeing at night. I had previously built up a new 3AH battery for about $40, as well as converted a cordless drill battery that I bought for $20 off the clearance rack. So I did have some sunk cost into the system already when the halogen bulb blew and it was worth it for me to revive it.

    In addition, I have grown to appreciate the simple, "dumb" straight up 12v systems like my old nightsuns that I can build up or use any 12V battery source for. No "smart" battery or electronic gauge shutting the system down as with my newer systems which often give me a headache.

    Anyhow, I got the bulb wired in and am very happy with the result. Almost identical brightness and beam spread as my Blackburn X3 with a nice even wide peripheral spread. Nice spot for a helmet/hat mounted light. A tad colder light temperature which I wouldn't have chosen as I thought my blackburn was bluer than I would have preferred. Altogether a nice, easy retrofit.

  23. #23
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    So, RMC99, this was simple plug-n-play, no tweaking required? I mean, remove the NightSun bulb, install the LED bulb, light it up & go?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenerd
    So, RMC99, this was simple plug-n-play, no tweaking required? I mean, remove the NightSun bulb, install the LED bulb, light it up & go?

    Not quite. Buying the exact bulb that I did, or one that was used by a couple of the people in this thead that said the bulb fit the housing with no modifications - will save you the trial and error grinding of the bulb's heat sink as described by the first posts. The most time consuming part for me was shopping for the bulb. Given that I was lucky enough to choose a bulb that fit the housing perfectly, the install took about 30 minutes given I have basic knowledge of wiring a switch and proficiency to solder wires. The step by step is this:

    1. Remove snap ring
    2. Remove plastic lens
    3. Remove wires from back
    4. Unscrew nut on switch (mine light is the single bulb helmet mount with the toggle switch on the light)
    5. Push toggle switch assembly inside the light and pull reflector and switch assembly out of the front.
    6. Cut wires from switch to bulb connector board. (reflector assembly can be discarded)
    7. Solder new wires serially wiring switch to bulb and power wires.
    8. Use long enough wires to give yourself enough slack to get switch and bulb back into the housing.
    9. Reinstall lens and snap ring.
    10. Connect non-switch wired power wire to bulb thru the back of the housing. The original power wire connectors fit on my bulb pins loosely so I crimped the connector slightly so it fit securely onto the bulb pin.


    That's basically it. Again, mine is not the dual light team issue model at the top of this thread. It would be even simpler for that one since you don't need to rewire the switch. Hope this helps.

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