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  1. #1
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    CuLite - Easy DIY Dinotte

    Design

    There have been a few posts recently from people new to the delights of DIY light building looking for guidance, so I thought I would put together a very simple project that would introduce anyone to the techniques involved in creating a simple DIY LED light. The design utilises only the most basic of components and the construction requires only common hand tools and simple workshop skills.

    The design of this light uses a single XP-G R5 LED being driven at 1A by a cheap, Deal Extreme, single-mode driver. This will give around 350 lumens and will run for around 2 hours 20 minutes on a single 18650 2500 mAh Lithium-ion cell when fully charged. As it uses a single mode driver, I have kept the construction as simple as possible, so no switch is deemed necessary, the light being turned on and off by plugging and unplugging the battery lead.

    I stumbled across this design after purchasing some Ledil LXP optics and wondering what sort of tube they would best fit in. I had some 22mm copper pipe fittings in the garage and it turned out that at 21.6mm diameter, the optic fits quite nicely into the couplings. These are known as end feed couplings in the UK because when used for their proper purpose the pipes are joined together by heating them up and feeding solder into the ends. Apologies to those outside of the UK if you cannot obtain similar sized plumbing fittings but I am sure it shouldn’t be too difficult to fashion a suitable case somehow.

    Pic 1 - Basic Components



    From the above picture the component list is as follows:

    Ledil LXP-RS optic
    22mm copper straight coupler
    XP-G R5 LED on 16mm round MCPCB
    5mm Aluminium slug
    22mm copper pipe
    DX SKU26110 3V-18V 1A Driver (Kaidomain SKU S002982 is a similar alternative)
    DC Power socket (2.1mm 5.5mm)
    22mm copper end cap
    Equipment wire (not shown)

    One thing I should point out before we start is that the Ledil LXP optic is supplied with a thin layer of double-sided tape on the base of the optic holder for fixing the optic to the LED MCPCB. I have removed this to make handling of the optic easier when locating the LED. The optic is going to be sealed into the pipe casing anyway so the tape is redundant in these circumstances.

    You will also need a suitable battery pack for running the light equipped with the right DC connector if you are using the DC power socket that I have included in this design.

    Initial Fabrication

    1. Cut a piece of 22mm pipe around about 25mm in length. Clean up any burrs at both ends internally and externally and make sure at least one end is square to take the slug.

    2. I created the slug out of a piece of 5mm thick aluminium which I filed by hand to a tight fit to one end of the 22mm pipe. Interestingly a UK penny is exactly the right interference fit so I used one as a template for the slug. If you are feeling lazy you could always AA 3 or 4 together and use them instead!

    Pic 2 - God Save the Queen!



    Pic 3 - Slug with attached LED and Modified Optic Detail



    3. Fix the slug into one end of the 22mm pipe with Arctic Alumina adhesive and leave to set.

    4. To accurately fix the LED to the centre of the slug I have found the following method works reasonably well. Push the pipe, slug end first, into the straight coupler until it reaches the crimped section halfway down the coupler. Coat the back face of the LED’s MCPCB with a thin layer of AA adhesive and locate carefully, LED face down, onto the inverted optic holder, seating the LED correctly in the cut-out in the optic holder. Carefully slide the coupler with the pipe containing the slug over the optic and gently push down until the LED makes contact with the slug and the adhesive spreads (you will need to push the optic up slightly into the coupler for this to happen). Invert the whole assembly so that the optic is now uppermost and put aside for the AA adhesive to harden. (You could tackle steps 8 & 9 whilst waiting for this to happen.)

    5. Remove the optic from the coupler and pull the pipe out of the coupler as well. Drill two small holes either side of the LED MCPCB through the slug to run the connection wires through to the driver.

    6. Solder two suitable wires onto the LED tabs and run them through the holes in the slug.

    7. I think if you use the 20mm round MCPCB you won’t have to follow this next step. I have used a 16mm round MCPCB (because it’s what I had available) you will need to drill a couple of small holes in the optic carrier to clear the solder tabs and wires on the LED. If you don’t do this the optic holder will not sit flush with the MCPCB and the beam pattern will probably be adversely affected.

    8. Drill an 8mm hole centrally in the copper end cap to take the DC power socket.

    Pic 4 - DC Power Socket & Driver



    9. This next step is optional but is a good way to connect the driver to the DC power socket and fix it in place at the same time. The back of the driver has a central copper disc for the +ve battery connection and an outer copper ring for the –ve battery connection. Bend the contacts on the back of the DC power socket so that the positive contact will sit somewhere in the centre of the central disc on the driver. Bend the –ve contact on the DC power socket so that this lines up with the outer ring on the driver.

    Now carefully solder the +ve and -ve contacts to the driver. Test with a digital multi-meter that you haven’t got a solder bridge at this point. If you are not confident with your soldering skills then I would advise using wires to create the contacts between the DC power socket and the driver. The last thing you want is a short circuit here when you connect the battery. If you do use wires then you will need to select a method for mounting the driver board in the housing. I would suggest some silicone at the point of final assembly. Note: It is usual for the DC power socket to be wired centre positive so make sure you test the contacts before you solder them up so you know which is positive and which is negative.

    Pic 5 - Pipe and End Cap Detail



    10. Solder the LED wires to the relevant connection points on the driver.

    11. Assuming that you are happy with all your connections I would suggest connecting up a suitable power source to test that everything is working okay before final assembly. The driver I am using can accept between 3V-18V so a battery pack or DC mains adapter outputting voltages in this range will do. Assuming that you have light (a very satisfying experience that I never seem to tire of), are still around and all the pieces haven’t disappeared in a Lithium core meltdown, we should be ready for final assembly.

    Final Assembly

    12. Remove the locknut from the DC power socket and pass the socket through the copper end cap. If waterproofing then use a small layer of silicone around the socket boss as you push it into place and fix with the locknut on the outside of the endcap.

    One other small precaution I took was to put a blob of silicone around each wire as it came through the slug, just to provide a little cushioning for the wires and also second level waterproofing.

    13. The Ledil LXP optic is held inside a holder which if you are not too fussed about waterproofing then you can just leave as is. If you want your light to be waterproof then I suggest sealing the optic to the holder using a suitable adhesive like an epoxy be definitely NOT Superglue as this may cloud the optic. I would use a clear epoxy or maybe just some clear silicone but be careful not to smear it all over the optic. If in doubt I would just leave it.

    14. The next step is to fix the optic into the straight coupler. This is a fairly loose fit so I would suggest smearing the inside of the coupler with a suitable epoxy such as JB Weld or even silicone and sliding the optic in. Do not use too much adhesive as you will tend to push it back down the coupler towards the LED and you don’t want adhesive all over that! You will need to twist the optic at the end to make sure it is seated on the LED correctly. I also connect up the power supply briefly at this point once again just to make sure that the optic is located correctly and I am getting a nice round beam pattern.

    15. The 22mm copper pipe is quite a tight fit for the end cap so if you would prefer you could probably get away without fixing the end cap on permanently or maybe just wrap a length a of electrical tape around to hold it in place. If you are happy with the build and would prefer sealing the whole light then use some more JB Weld or similar to fix the end cap in place. Once the JB Weld has set, preferably overnight, then your light is ready for use.

    As it is made of copper I polished up the casing with some metal polish and it came up really nice. I also left the manufacturer’s stampings in full view deliberately to proudly display its industrial heritage!

    Pic 6 - The Completed CuLite



    Mounting

    As this is a Dinotte style light then I would suggest the simplest mounting for the bars would be to use a suitably sized o-ring to hold it in place for the size of bar you have. You will need to fashion some kind of rubber pad to accommodate the perpendicular curvatures of the bars and the light. In the picture I have just used a rubber band with no pad just to give an idea of how the finished light looks.

    I personally think that makes a killer headlight so I have utilised a Hope helmet mounting bracket that I have and have made a piece of aluminium which I fixed to the bottom of the light with JB Weld. I’m sure many of you could come up with suitable alternatives of how to mount the light and I leave that up to you.

    Performance

    Using the driver I have specified (or similar) and driving the XP-G R5 LED at 1A should yield around 350 lumens. I have specified a Real Spot Ledil LXP optic which is rated at +/-5.5 degrees FWHM for the XP-G giving an overall beam angle of 11 degrees. This gives a very useable spot light and is in my opinion particularly suited for use as a headlight. If the user would prefer a wider beam then I suggest referring to the relevant Ledil datasheet and selecting one of the LXP optics with a wider angle.

    I personally use this light with a single 18650 battery mounted on the helmet. This gives a run time of around 2 hours 20 minutes. The DX driver used here however is quite flexible about voltage and therefore could easily use larger battery packs which will achieve much longer run times to suit the user.

    I ran the light indoors with an ambient temperature of 21 degrees C and it started to get uncomfortable to hold after 8 minutes or so. With normal outside use with air moving over the case it doesn’t really get hot at all. Just remember if you stop for any length of time to disconnect the light to prevent overheating.

    My light came out at a respectable 62 grams (for just the light head without any mounting) even though copper is more than three times as dense as aluminium. The copper body also actually gives it a nice solid feel in the hand. According to their website, the Dinotte light engine weighs in at 68 grams so the DIY effort comes out top trumps on that score as well.

    Final Thoughts

    If you have made it this far then congratulations - nearly over!

    If you have a go at making one of these then please post your finished light for the benefit of others especially if you have come up with a good idea for mounting the light or modifying it in some way. Any feedback about the whole project will of course be welcomed as well.

    I hope that this article has been easy to follow and that it demonstrates that building a powerful, affordable DIY LED light is not as difficult as first might seem. Hopefully it will encourage a few people to have a go at building their own light and maybe inspire yet others to come up with other designs.

    p.s. I’ll try and post some beam shots if the weather improves here in the UK any time soon!

    p.p.s. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  2. #2
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    Yuck, what a horrible little light..........


    ................Really though it's just what the forum needs.

    I never realised how small those DX drivers are, you must have some great eyesight to solder them.

  3. #3
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    Excellent OTH, i`ve done something similar myself....
    was but only last week i noticed the 20mm XR-E triple optic would fit neatly into a 22mm O/D copper pipe
    ....the triple star dropped straight into the 22mm I/D end cap
    and with a led/optic stack height of only 8mm!! ................
    mmmm, tiny helmet light with a remote driver methinks
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  4. #4
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    Excellent. Doing this with the XP-G makes the DIY Dinotte relevant again....it was getting kinda lost with all the kilo-lumen monsters. A great first-timer's light.

    JZ
    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetibetty
    Yuck, what a horrible little light..........


    ................Really though it's just what the forum needs.

    I never realised how small those DX drivers are, you must have some great eyesight to solder them.

    I agree, it’s loathsome, hateful, despicable, disgusting, repugnant, detestable, abhorrent, nasty, vile, odious, obnoxious and yet somehow delightful. That’s a list of alternatives you get when you look up “loathsome” in the Word Thesaurus!!

    Confucius say “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it”

    Maybe I should have called it Ugly Betty yet(i)

    Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men.

  6. #6
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    Awesome light. And awesome tutorial.

  7. #7
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    Electron Mounting

    Another picture I meant to post was to show it on the Electron bar mount, which is quite popular with DIY builders. It fits the bracket almost exactly and in the pic below I haven't fixed the light to the mounting, but it should be relatively easy to figure something out to suit.

    Edit: I changed the picture to show a simple solution - an O-ring wrapped around the mounting.

    Last edited by OverTheHill; 12-24-2009 at 05:32 AM.

  8. #8
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    OTH, you know it's good !!!!! The O-ring around a mounting bracket could be a cool idea.

    The light could also come in handy if the house has a burst pipe in our freezing weather, first you could use it to see what you are doing and then.................

    Keep up the good work.

    YB

  9. #9
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    I love the simplicity of this... It's almost enough to get me going. I suppose extending the tubing to house the 18650 would make it too heavy?

    I'm holding a trustfire TR801 from DX in my hand wondering if I could attach your light to the front of it

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideandshoot
    I love the simplicity of this... It's almost enough to get me going. I suppose extending the tubing to house the 18650 would make it too heavy?

    I'm holding a trustfire TR801 from DX in my hand wondering if I could attach your light to the front of it
    I did consider the possibility of incorporating the battery into the case but at the end of the day all you end up with is a torch/flashlight. If you were thinking of going down that route then just getting one of the new XP-G drop-ins and a suitable body would be the way to go.

    As you say the sheer simplicity of this design and construction is its strength especially for new builders to cut their teeth on.

    Go on, have a go. You know you want to.

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    light lust

    See what you have done...

    I just spent 45 min studying and searching for a XP-G drop in that would fit in my Trustfire-801... It doesn't seem to exist (yet) they are all p60 size.

    I like the Trustfire becuase it's single mode (no auto mode changing on stutter bumps) small and light. But it would be cool to upgrade the LED. I'll look every now and then to see what I can find.

  12. #12
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    Hey Hey,
    Where do you find the triple xr-e and the optic? Could you provide a link???
    Any thoughts on what a triple XR-E would put out in this configuration? lumens?? With a 7.4v lithium ion?
    Please!
    Very interesting build. Great tutorial!

  13. #13
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    ...20mm XP-E triple star (CUTTER-XPEMR8IAD)
    http://www.cutter.com.au/products.ph...TTER-XPEMR8IAD

    ... 20mm XP-E optics
    http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut861

    shipping costs for 1 item is the deal killer tho
    ..............maybe someone on the forum has 1 to sell?
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  14. #14
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    i know it has been a while since this was posted, but i wanted to say thanks!

    i was inspired to start a similar project a couple weeks ago by the old DIY Dinotte thread, but went with the cree q5 bin. i just got all my parts in and spent some time at the BIG hardware store yesterday (not much better than the regular one) and had to compromise a bit. they only had 1in Cu tubing and that is the internal diameter. so, i am looking at 25.4mm internally to drop in the 22mm optic. i am of course going to need to space it some how.
    whats funny is that i hadn't even seen this thread till i got home, and made relatively similar housing choices.

    i will be driving the cree q5 with a 5 step driver that i found for pretty cheap. my power source will be 3 nimh aa's at 2500mAh which i think would give me 2.5hrs at the highest setting (1000mAh or 212-224lms). i haven't quite figured out how to calc the batt life and need a bit of help there...
    another question is why would i want to use the more expensive lion batts? i am guessing they are lighter/last longer?
    sorry for the noob questions.
    if all goes well, i expect to have it done in the next week and will post pics here.
    thanks again for posting this.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by aljee
    i know it has been a while since this was posted, but i wanted to say thanks!

    i was inspired to start a similar project a couple weeks ago by the old DIY Dinotte thread, but went with the cree q5 bin. i just got all my parts in and spent some time at the BIG hardware store yesterday (not much better than the regular one) and had to compromise a bit. they only had 1in Cu tubing and that is the internal diameter. so, i am looking at 25.4mm internally to drop in the 22mm optic. i am of course going to need to space it some how.
    whats funny is that i hadn't even seen this thread till i got home, and made relatively similar housing choices.

    i will be driving the cree q5 with a 5 step driver that i found for pretty cheap. my power source will be 3 nimh aa's at 2500mAh which i think would give me 2.5hrs at the highest setting (1000mAh or 212-224lms). i haven't quite figured out how to calc the batt life and need a bit of help there...
    another question is why would i want to use the more expensive lion batts? i am guessing they are lighter/last longer?
    sorry for the noob questions.
    if all goes well, i expect to have it done in the next week and will post pics here.
    thanks again for posting this.

    I tried 3 x AA NiMh cells a while back and they will only provide a nominal 3.6V which was not enough for the CuLIte setup. 4 x AA NiMh works fine though and 2500 mAh rated cells should give slightly longer runtime than a single 18650 Li-Ion but will weigh twice as much (if that is important to you). I have run the CuLite on my helmet with a 4 x AA NiMh setup though and it is fine although is noticeably heavier than the single Li-Ion.

    Rough runtime = 0.8 x Vbat/Vled * mAh/Ma which in my case (for the 4 x AA NiMh) is:

    = 0.8 x 4.8 / 3.3 * 2500 / 1000 = 2 hrs 55 mins

    The 0.8 is just a rough efficiency factor to allow for driver and battery loses.

    Post the light when you have finished it, I would love to see other versions of the CuLite.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aljee

    another question is why would i want to use the more expensive lion batts? i am guessing they are lighter/last longer?
    - Nimh cells are really hard to charge reliably. The true cutoff point is really hard to detect and even the best smart chargers don't get it right all that often. Li-ion cells are very simple to charge.

    - AA cells have been subject to the mah marketing race for a very long time. To get those high mah rating, they've introduced a lot of serious compromises that they really don't talk about. The biggest being extremely high self discharge rates. The high mah AA cells can discharge as much as 30% a few days after being charged. I think it's a real pain to be forced to charge them right before I ride.

    - A single li-ion cell has an energy density of 3.7v x 2.6ah = 9.6 WH. A single nimh cell has an energy density of 1.2v x 2.5ah = 3 WH. That's a huge difference in capacity. So the size and weight of an equivalent capacity pack is much less.

    - There are more safety concerns to deal with when using li-ion packs.

    - If I do use nimh cells, I use low self discharge eneloop cells. They only have a capacity of 2000mah, but in practice I find that I get more effective runtime out of them because of the low self discharge

  17. #17
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    thanks dudes. this is exactly the info i have been looking for. just needed it in terms of these circuits.
    i already have everything ordered now, so i am sticking to the nimh at this point, but will explore the lion options when the ole budget picks up. love the idea of a single cell lion - much easier to waterproof and good for the helmet. i am building these first lights with modularity in mind, so that i can test out a few different setups (swap the drivers, etc). the challenge is keeping it all watertight in the never-ending rain of porltand, or!

    one other question regarding the batteries: i know i would need to use a specific charger for the 18650. i am coming up short in my searches for the charger. can you recommend one or at least proper keywords that would take there? i seem to be searching for the wrong thing somehow.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by aljee
    one other question regarding the batteries: i know i would need to use a specific charger for the 18650. i am coming up short in my searches for the charger. can you recommend one or at least proper keywords that would take there? i seem to be searching for the wrong thing somehow.

    If you want cheap and cheerful this charger from Deal Extreme will suffice for 2 single cells. Or something a bit more sophisticated but more expensive can be had from here (in the USA):

    http://www.all-battery.com/index.aspx
    http://www.batteryspace.com/

  19. #19
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    That is amazing.... What would you say that would cost in US dollars?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stpeters267
    That is amazing.... What would you say that would cost in US dollars?
    I priced the materials for the light head up at £12.50 (UK pounds) which should be around $20 (US dollars).

  21. #21
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    Hmm,

    I'd really like to try building this, but I'm concerned that I wont ge tthe correct parts. I dont want to waste money on not building it right the 1st time.

    I dont have to money to go buy a nice light, just worried that I will mess up the other one.

    Dang!!!

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    This is a bit off topic, but would it be possible to use the SKU2982 driver in a Magicshine (SSC P7)? On/off is all I need on my bikelight .
    Last edited by Infinity123; 01-27-2010 at 07:44 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123
    This is a bit off topic, but would it be possible to use the SKU2982 driver in a Magicshine (SSC P7)? On/off is all I need on my bikelight . Otherwise I will just have to build my own light from scratch, I guess.
    I'm not a SSC P7 expert but I think it is a 4-die LED which requires 2800 mA to run at full whack so basically you need to look for a compatible driver. DX and Kaidomain have them I think and El34s website has some information about using P7s.

    It's not clear why you are asking - do you have a MagicShine with a duff driver?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123
    This is a bit off topic, but would it be possible to use the SKU2982 driver in a Magicshine (SSC P7)? On/off is all I need on my bikelight . Otherwise I will just have to build my own light from scratch, I guess.
    While I can not say whether or not it will fit, I can tell you it will only give about 40% of the light the Magicshine originally produced. The SKU2982 driver outputs 1A. The magicshine driver outputs 2.4A.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheHill
    It's not clear why you are asking - do you have a MagicShine with a duff driver?
    No, I´m just annoyed by the 5 levels/stages in the MS driver, and love the simplicity of your light. On/off is all I need.
    With the Kaidomain driver I would probably need another battery (4S config) and charger as well, so maybe I should just get on with it, and build my own light from scratch .
    Last edited by Infinity123; 01-27-2010 at 08:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker
    While I can not say whether or not it will fit, I can tell you it will only give about 40% of the light the Magicshine originally produced. The SKU2982 driver outputs 1A. The magicshine driver outputs 2.4A.
    I need to check up on, how the P7 in the MS is connected, but as far as I understand, it´s 4 LED´s in series, which means 600 mA for each LED. But frankly I know to little about this subject, so it´s probably safer to build another light instead .

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123
    I need to check up on, how the P7 in the MS is connected, but as far as I understand, it´s 4 LED´s in series, which means 600 mA for each LED. But frankly I know to little about this subject, so it´s probably safer to build another light instead .
    Unlike the Cree MCE, the P7 comes internally configured with all four LEDs in parallel. You can't change it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbMacgyver
    Unlike the Cree MCE, the P7 comes internally configured with all four LEDs in parallel. You can't change it.
    Which means the Kaidomain driver is a bit underpowered for my needs, Thanks for the clarification.

  29. #29
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    Not to blow Troutie's horn for him, but he did a great job disecting a MagicShine and discussing possible uprgade routes. You can see the physical limitations of a replacement driver.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=232163

    Post 27, though Ktronik's and other comments may also apply.

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    Ok, thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123
    No, I´m just annoyed by the 5 levels/stages in the MS driver, and love the simplicity of your light. On/off is all I need.
    Here's a thread that addresses your specific concern. But, it's not a simple fix, you'd probably be better off building your own light.

    DX P7 Bike light MEGA MODE

    I don't know why I continue to tinker with the magicshine lights. I've used my own DIY lights for the last 15 years. But I do have a pair of them and tinker with them now and then. I guess it's just general curiosity and the fact that local riders ask me my opinion of them all the time.

    For reasons I can't really explain, I keep thinking about designing and building a replacement driver for the Magicshine. Don't know if it'll ever happen, but if I did build it, I would certainly get rid of all the flashing modes as well as "Off" in the cycle of modes. I think the reason I keep thinking about building it would be to see how much much improvement I could achieve over the stock driver.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEY HEY ITS HENDO
    ...20mm XP-E triple star (CUTTER-XPEMR8IAD)
    http://www.cutter.com.au/products.ph...TTER-XPEMR8IAD

    ... 20mm XP-E optics
    http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut861

    shipping costs for 1 item is the deal killer tho
    ..............maybe someone on the forum has 1 to sell?
    I've got a few of each going spare....

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbMacgyver
    Here's a thread that addresses your specific concern. But, it's not a simple fix, you'd probably be better off building your own light.

    DX P7 Bike light MEGA MODE
    I will have to quote yetibetty : Great stuff but far too much like rocket science for me .

    Building another light is definitely a better solution. 5-600 lumen is plenty of light for me, and 2 XP-G´s will deliver that easily.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbMacgyver
    For reasons I can't really explain, I keep thinking about designing and building a replacement driver for the Magicshine. Don't know if it'll ever happen, but if I did build it, I would certainly get rid of all the flashing modes as well as "Off" in the cycle of modes. I think the reason I keep thinking about building it would be to see how much much improvement I could achieve over the stock driver.
    If you actually do this, I think you'll have quite a large market for it. I'm sure you'll easily sell at least few hundreds of those.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheHill
    I priced the materials for the light head up at £12.50 (UK pounds) which should be around $20 (US dollars).
    I've been searching for the parts for a while now... It'd be way easier to just give you the money to send me one

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by stpeters267
    I've been searching for the parts for a while now... It'd be way easier to just give you the money to send me one
    You want one that bad - LOL!

    The whole idea with this project was to present a simple design that newbies could have a go a building their own light without too much expense. Sourcing the LED, optic, driver and connector should be no problem for you.

    I can understand where getting the plumbing fittings exactly the right size might be difficult outside the UK but you should be able to source some aluminium section and with a bit more effort, fabricate a suitable casing.

    If I built and shipped one to the States for you it would probably work out more expensive than a MagicShine!

  37. #37
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    One person's quest to fill his pipe dreams (Midwest US):
    Mueller makes pipe connectors that look identical to the ones pictured. They have a large outline 'M' pressed into them. I bought the 1" (25 mm) size at both Home Depot and the local plumbing supply. The local plumbing supply was almost as inexpensive and saved time and fuel unless I needed other things at HD.

    I also bought 1" and 3/4" (22 mm) pipe caps at both locations. I think I saw the 3/4" (22 mm) connector but wasn't specifically looking for it at HD. The plumbing supply parts are on staff access only shelves.. As 3/4" is a common main line pipe size, I would be very surprised if they had the 1" and not the 3/4". The local hardware store stocked poor quality pre soldered Chinese parts with much thinner walls. The Lowes near here, carries the Judco brand, (I think I remember that correctly), but I did not see a comparable connector in their stock, but maybe Lowes simply doesn't stock it. I did not check out Menards.

    Subject to change without notice. YMMV. Hope this helps. Happy hunting!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheHill
    You want one that bad - LOL!

    The whole idea with this project was to present a simple design that newbies could have a go a building their own light without too much expense. Sourcing the LED, optic, driver and connector should be no problem for you.
    OTH ...not only a simple design, but a really nice one too! Cracking thread Gromit!

    Did you use this led from KD .... SKU: S008960 ... or another?

    Bobbl@

  39. #39
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    Yes, OTH a very nice little light indeed.

    I have just the bike for two of them. An errand bike I am trying to keep cheap so it pays for itself.

    In a somewhat related vein, I am trying to open discussions with Cutter about medium Tina XP-G Ms (31 degrees FWHM) that I got instead of a mix of LISA2's. No word yet, So they may be mine anyway. Good for XP-E R2 or XP-G a bit narrower on the first. Can't cram 3 of them in an MR11 housing, any which way, you know? Too bad they weren't the RS at 14 degrees FWHM.

    Are these too wide a beam for the CuteLite for an errand bike (max 16-18 mph) usual 15 or so on the road with an XP-E R2?

  40. #40
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    Help!!

    hi so, i had some questions about something.
    i tried using a small driver, but i think i killed it. just too small for my skillz.

    my plan now is: one 3.7V 2500mA 18650 trustfire, one 700mA buckpuck, and one cree XR-E q5

    i like the buckpuck cause it is already wired, but i just noticed the min input V is 5V. i am not sure now that I should power just one LED with it. for the cree, "3.7V typical driving voltage" is what it says in the specs. if i used 2 18650 batts, that would give me 7.4V to drive the puck, but would that overload the Cree?

    any suggestions for a wired 700mA driver that has a min input of less than 3.7V?

    thanks for any help at all.

  41. #41
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    Two 18650s in series is perfect for driving your XR-E with the 700mA buckpuck. Reducing the voltage and controlling the current to the LED is the buckpucks purpose. You could connect up to 7 18650s in series to the buckpuck and still be OK. You could also run a 1000mA buckpuck with that LED if you wanted it a bit brighter.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker
    Two 18650s in series is perfect for driving your XR-E with the 700mA buckpuck. Reducing the voltage and controlling the current to the LED is the buckpucks purpose. You could connect up to 7 18650s in series to the buckpuck and still be OK. You could also run a 1000mA buckpuck with that LED if you wanted it a bit brighter.
    sweet thanks for the help. i have the cart loaded and am about to pull the trigg. yeah, i had considered the 1000mA puck, but i thought the 700mA was a good compromise of lumens/batt life.

  43. #43
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    I had built my first light based on an XRE Q5 and then added a XRE R2; this was in the dinotte style light in this thread. Mismatch was not by choice; more accidental.

    I used a 350mA boost puck and AA batteries.

    As I've brought more parts I upgraded that light to use a 1000mA buckpuck and run low and high beam and 3.7v system now using either 2 or 4 batteries.

    I definitely wouldn't run it at 700 mA if it's an offroad light; it would be too weak for me at least.
    There is no noticeable difference between the 350mA boost puck and the 1000mA buck as far as the light beam goes. Both were pretty decent.

    For what it was it was my best light so far.
    With the 350mA booster it ran for 1.5 hrs on 3 x AA's and double that on 6 x AA's.

    Look on my threads and you'll see pics (sorry, don't want to stop typing; I keep losing these things when I change screens).

    It's not my design so I can skite about it.
    It's simple, light, fairly easy; small, light battery system with good run times.

  44. #44
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    I definitely wouldn't run it at 700 mA if it's an offroad light; it would be too weak for me at least.
    while i do plan to run it off-road (mostly pave though), i plan on running two as well as a couple floods (looking into 2 triple endorstars). if it ends up being too dim, i guess i will just have to build some more!

  45. #45
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    design render

    thought i would throw up a pic of my housing design rendering. the light housing is done, but the main purpose of this diagram exercise was to get the battery housing just right. i will add the pieces of the light innards sooner or later. i got really nerdy with it and took measurements of everything and drew it all to scale in illy.
    i have everything now (finally), BUT a bandsaw blade. the time it took to get all the stuff wasn't so bad in that it gave me a lot of time to refine my design. this rendering isn't quite a final draft - i will have to see how the bandsaw thing goes. if the saw doesn't work out, then i will need to think of something else. but check it out:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40010668@N06/4389843275/" title="rendering of my LED/battery housing designs by alang60, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2746/4389843275_0fb1ea9848.jpg" width="500" height="209" alt="rendering of my LED/battery housing designs" /></a>

    i am going to cut a wide slit down an alu tube to hold the batteries. that's the main reason for the ban saw, which of course isn't necessary, but that's the idea i like the most and would like to execute it well.

  46. #46
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    Thank you OverTheHill

    Wanted to Thank OverTheHill for this post...

    It was litteraly my inspiration and motiviation to get my first DIY light made.

    I've posted pics over on this thread here... (click below)

    Beginner DIY'er.

    I love this light, simple, clean looking works really great.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by diabolicaldan
    Wanted to Thank OverTheHill for this post...

    It was litteraly my inspiration and motiviation to get my first DIY light made.

    I've posted pics over on this thread here... (click below)

    Beginner DIY'er.

    I love this light, simple, clean looking works really great.

    Cheers,
    Dan
    Very nice work Dan, I am very happy that it worked out so well for you. You have my permission to call it the CuteLite - Happy polishing!

  48. #48
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    so i finished my first round of lights a couple weeks ago and i am finally getting around to sharing here.
    i tried the design that I posted above for the copper battery tube, but it was WAY too heavy. then i tried pvc with a champagne cork, and it works and I am still using that one. for the next batt tube i made, i found the perfect thing, a broken alu broom handle! it fit the trustfires just right and for the caps, i use wine cork, then slid a length of inner tube around it. the battery tube is down.
    so here are some pics of them mounted to my pugsley. i like the hbar extensions that i made. they get the lights out over the bar cables perfectly. but the mount can use some work, just not a fan of using the hose clamps, though the brass pipe clamps aren't so bad
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40010668@N06/4458202425/" title="looking at 350lm of DIY goodness by alang60, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4061/4458202425_6d1a9b4fbc_m.jpg" width="240" height="180" alt="looking at 350lm of DIY goodness" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40010668@N06/4458983428/" title="new homebrew leds + hbar barplug mounts on pugs by alang60, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2744/4458983428_c112b142bd.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="new homebrew leds + hbar barplug mounts on pugs" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40010668@N06/4458203545/" title="hbar mount + homebrew LED by alang60, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4458203545_102f09f424.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="hbar mount + homebrew LED" /></a>

    specs on the light:
    LED: Cree XPG Q5bin
    Driver: Buckpuck @ 700mA
    Batteries: 2 18650 trustfires 3.7v at 2600mA per light
    Switch: mini toggle with boot

    next up i plan to switch to all alu housing to reduce weight, and build up a flood and a helmet light for some better trail coverage.

    many thanks to OTH for the helpful info as well as everyone else who answered my noob questions.

  49. #49
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    I had all the pieces floating around somewhere for quite some time but finally managed to finish these nice lights. Unfortunately I don't have enough posts yet to post links so you'll need to wait a bit for that I guess.

    I'll try to take some better pictures outside when I take it for a ride.

    For those wondering what I used for my version:

    Front lights:
    LED: Cree XP-G LED
    Optic: Ledil LXP-G-RS (11°)
    Driver: 1A 1-mode dealextreme driver for the right light, 4xAMC7135 linear regulator for the left driver.

    tail light;
    LED: XP-E - Red
    Opic: Ledil LXP-G-RS
    Driver: link: 1A 1-mode dealextreme driver (I hope this driver won't kill the LED too soon but didn't have a 700mA driver at the moment...)
    I also added a diffuser to the tail light because the tail light seemed to intense for drivers behind me. The diffuser also comes from dealextreme but needs a little modification and superglue to make it fit.

    The battery pack is made with 4 single 18650 battery holders in which I can put 1 to 4 18650 batteries. I'm using 2500mAh protected trustfires from dealextreme.

    All battery holders are connected in parallel so that gives me a 36Wh batterypack providing about 3.5 hours runtime (calculated, not yet tested).
    The battery pack is stored under the sadle with a switch so I can easily switch it off when I stop to prevent overheating if that would be necessary.

    I did 1 ride through the city with only 1 front light and got a lot of response from people that were surprised by the amount of light, confused cars and and angry scooter driver... I can't wait to try it in the forest

    1 thing that worries me a little is that not all the connections are waterproof. How did you guys solve this? I know "don't ride when it's raining" is the easy solution, but that is not always so predictable in Belgium...

    Johan

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jspeybro View Post

    1 thing that worries me a little is that not all the connections are waterproof. How did you guys solve this? I know "don't ride when it's raining" is the easy solution, but that is not always so predictable in Belgium...

    Johan
    Magicshine connectors are cheap and fairly waterproof. You can increase the waterproofing by adding an additional flange of heat-shrink tubing over them and using silicone grease on the seal area.

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