Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 53
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329

    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: yetibetty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,783
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: HEY HEY ITS HENDO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    713
    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
    Lets RIDE!
    Reputation: Jim Z in VT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,548
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ortelius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    190
    Awesome light. And awesome tutorial.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329

    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 06:32 AM.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: yetibetty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,783
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    537
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    537

    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    7
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: HEY HEY ITS HENDO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    713
    ...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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: aljee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    306
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    754
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: aljee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    306
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: stpeters267's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    23
    That is amazing.... What would you say that would cost in US dollars?

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: stpeters267's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    23
    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!!!

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    57
    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 08:44 AM.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OverTheHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    329
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,372
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    57
    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 09:07 AM.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •