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  1. #1
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    Custom Twin D2S HID Terror - 6000+ Lumens

    *** A.D.D. WARNING *** This is a long post so either grab yourself something cold to drink or just scroll down for pictures.


    Background: I have always loved bicycle lights. Consumer self contained bikelights, amperage sucking 85W automotive motorsport halogens, MR11 household halogens... I've had them all from the hotwire world and all on my previous bikes. Then I recently got back into the biking world about a year and a half ago and schemed up a plan for the next system.


    Idea: Utilize common parts that were readily available to civilian consumers but not often seen in the context of bicycle technology. Automotive Motorsports Auxilliary lighting has this incredible lighting niche market that seemed to have what I needed in terms of lighting qualities (ie. output, beam pattern, durable designs, modular replacements, etc). The issues surrounding this foray into this realm were cost, effort, time to implement, system complexity and safety.


    Planning: Me and my buddy spent months going over how this would actually work out. Questions ranging from custom battery sizing to health damaging ballast magnetic fields to ballast noise abatement popped up to field battery swappage. All of these were all new things to me.


    Bright Idea: To meet the lighting requirements, a pair of Hella DE Xenon Micro were utilized. They are small"ish" and the beam pattern is a rather amorphous blob of light. The great thing about motorsports lights is that they really are for off-road use only and that is perfect as I want light everywhere. No beam cutoffs here!

    The bodies and reflectors are made out of magnesium meaning that they can be left on indefinitely with some semblance of cooling and through hot/cold cycles (ie. mud/water splashes) without worrying about warpage. Perfect for mountain biking. I was a little worried that the slower speed of my bicycle over say a 500ft-lb rallycar would lead to overheating but no guts no glory. The front lens portion is made of thick glass to ensure that small pebble strikes do not shatter the shield.


    Powerhouse: A hacked up turnkey LiIon Batteryspace.com battery set. At full drain (70W), these guys will run for about 75 minutes as per the math but one light is usually plenty. The smart charger in the batteryspace kit charges this guy up in about three hours maybe? I never actually sat by its side to determine that.


    Entourage: Battery was encased in a custom fabricated carbon fibre enclosure with rear snap-in lid that allows for all interior component (ie. Hella Gen3 ballasts, battery pack, automotive relays, automotive connectors, mounting hardware) removal


    Catalyst: Microswitches were mounted upon a custom fabricated & anodized piece of alumiumium alloy which replaced the stem cap


    Mounting: Lamps were hung from a custom fabricated & anodized piece of aluminium alloy which replaced the front stem mounting plate. Size was critical as I was not in a position to replace my crappy old

    Deore brakes (weak point of the whole bike at the mo) in time to complement this project. Since the brake/shifting cable housings might have been in the way, we decided to make a bracket that would complement their current positioning.


    Added Weight: Must be a good 5-6 lbs but I don't care, so long as it's not "excessive". Everyone's definition of excessive weight is different of course but let's just say my last light system added about 15 lbs to my bike! Besides, this is my resistance training bike. My other bike is the fun one.


    First impressions: Holy cow Batman, these things are bright, these things run superhot and OMG, I can still hear the ballasts whining from the other side of the box! Beam pattern works great for me and the weight is not intrusive although she has definitely lost some legs.


    Output: The advertised bulb lumen of a D2S capsule is 3200 lumens. In the Xenon DE reflector/housing (computer matched to D2S capsules), assuming just statistically significant 5% loss (dunno could be 1% or 30% but just a figure), we're seeing a frontside total torch lumens output of 6080 lumens.


    Hot Restrike Ability: Amazingly enought, yup, can do simultaneous hot restrikes.


    Safety Concerns: As this is my own bike, I have accepted the real risks of running this guy. I'm not talking about having an electrical fire (happened to me on my last bike system LOL) or burning my fingers on something hot... I'm talking death... or Darwinism for those of you reading this with morbid curiosity... I know you're out there!

    The biggest risk is of course that of electrocution. The hazard sticker is not just for looks, it is a dire warning for firefighters/safety crews as they inspect the sooted out twisted wreckage that was your sweet Lancer Evolution rallycar after you struck Bessie the dairy cow doing 130 over a blind jump and dropped your car down a valley. The second biggest risk imo is that of the front glass shield shattering because the Phillips 85122 D2S capsule runs super hot and will expel the contents of its superheated mercury right into your bloodstream (or through?) your bloodstream. Oh yes, let's not forget about the superfine flying glass.


    Peculiarity/Surprise bonus: This D2S lighting system does a colour shift at about the 10 second warming up point from its nominal luxury car 4300K colour to something along the lines of a 3500K winter beater (similar to tungsten halogen colour temp). For most of my riding (dirt), this colour shift works in my favour as browns are not as "whitewashed" and I can see greens nicely in the relative absence of blue.

    In general, it doesn't seem as bright but makes big gains in terms of object recognition in that natural landscape. I would like to know why it's happening though and really cannot think of anything other than voltage sag but it is my understanding that Li-Ion systems are not really susceptible to voltage sag or maybe I should say voltage drop when faced with excessive current drain. My battery pack is rated at 7.2Ah and 2.0C so a steady sub 3A draw (meaning 14.4A max draw should be ok) means it should do it without a sweat. Weird. I may test one day using this battery pack against other HID systems to see how it fares.


    Reactions: Some of the local guys who have seen this absolutely love it. Some asked us if we were going to be selling them to the public but it's just too dangerous... besides, who would want/pay for this much lighting anyway?


    Night riding: I never use these on the road by the way as that would lead to a car speeding right into me. I do love using them on dedicated paved bicycle paths though where rollerbladers and sad multitude of clueless non-biking bike trail users that just don't get it! Using them in big open grass fields, people about 300 meters away from you try to gauge which way you're coming and try to get away from you because they have absolutely no idea what it coming at them. Out on the trails where I normally use these things, I find that there is so much light I can use ceiling bounce to almost act as a bit of a rolling illumination flare to light the way.

    There is a hotspot that is bright enough to cause dazzling from even 30 meters away depending on the target's colour and/or reflexivity quotients but the sidespill is very useful and is more than enough to light up a trail. One of the lights has the hotspot currently pointed to about 50 feet in front of the bike and I have to change that as it is so bright, I can't see anything else when that light is on even when pointed at good ole brown dirt. Yeah I just said it... it is too bright at times!


    Kudos: I'd like to thank my bud Syd for helping out with the blood, sweat and tears he put into this project (hey I helped with the milling machine too!) and I'd also like to thank the guys/girls over at hidplanet, CPF and batteryspace for their assistance in speccing this guy out. I would have posted this up at CPF but mtbr.com allows me to upload pics to the forum directly... and so it shall be.


    What's next?: Possibly some stipling/orange peeling of the reflectors to smoothen out the beam pattern at the expense of torch lumens.


    Beamshots!: Enjoy, I just took some daytime beam shots because my camera will probably not represent night time shots too well... it's just a point and shoot. Anyway, you get the idea, just look at any recent luxo car and think just a touch yellower and no horizontal cutoff!

  2. #2
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    Bike pictures
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  3. #3
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    more bike pictures
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  4. #4
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    Daytime Beamshots:

    Picture #1 - no beam
    Picture #2 - low beam lamp only
    Picture #3 - both lamps on
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  5. #5
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    Could you post a picture with the close up of your stem's face plate? It looks very nicely machined. Nice job..I know that's serious lighting when you can post pictures of your beamshot in daylight.

  6. #6
    Spanish biker
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    Excellent job!!!!!!!!!! now beamshots, but, by night, please

    Greetings - Saludos

    msxtr
    Warning!!! my english is very very bad, sorry.

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  7. #7
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    Nice work, it looks like a very well thought out system! It certainly sounds like you’ve put some solid research in to the development of this light.

    I do wonder about your colour shift and your battery pack set up. It’s hard to know what’s going on without specifics (cells, pack configuration, system current draw, voltage), but it’s certainly unusual and does sound to me like the pack is not up to the task, especially if the ballasts are excessively noisy.

    I’d be very tempted to run the meter over things, or at least try the system with a power supply / another battery solution to see what happens.

    It’s cool to see a bit of experimentation “outside of the square”. Keep up the great work!

    Dave.

  8. #8
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    Here are some closeups of the machined bits
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  9. #9
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    More closeups. Beamshots will have to wait until later this week as it is raining outside and that will lead to massive reflections so pictures will look weird. As you can tell, I'm not too confident in my ability to take pictures at night.
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  10. #10
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    Wow! Nice work!

  11. #11
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    Reactions: Some of the local guys who have seen this absolutely love it. Some asked us if we were going to be selling them to the public but it's just too dangerous... besides, who would want/pay for this much lighting anyway?
    A guy on Bikeforums.net by the name of 2manybikes would! Holy flying tomatos. I second the night shot photos. I am already floored by the day shots and know that's some serious earth to mars signalling brightness. Damn...

    Would you happen to have the drawings of the mounts? This has peaked some interest of seeing any locals here can mill it locally. Once again, god damn... that is one sick looking setup. Nice bike BTW. Damn.....

  12. #12
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    OK, it was chilly out tonight and a bit damp as it was raining most of the night so there may have been some mist in the air and not ideal but gives you an idea.

    Camera is a FujiFilm FinePix F31FD P&S. Pictures were taken in automatic mode without flash and not in night mode. I found that when I did that, even the baseline shot came out brighter than I would think. This camera has good nighttime taking skills... but I don't have the skills to match.

    I don't have a tripod that stands more than 4" off the ground so did it freehand.


    This may be new to some of you but try to follow along using the following terms...

    LB: Low Beam - right headlamp that is purposely aimed to direct it's hotspot on the ground in front of the bike; good for lighting progressively decreasing elevation changes but blinding at bottom of valley

    HB: High Beam - left headlamp that is purposely aimed to direct it's hotspot into the sky so that there is no blinding hotspot in front of the bike when on level ground; uses ceiling bounce effect to illuminate area when under canopy of trees

    STARTING: HID capsule ignition phase; tends to be relatively more blue/purple than white

    STEADY: HID capsule warmed up and has entered its yellow phase... again, probably a weird by product of my battery pack specs but, even through the eyes of a camera, one can discern just how much more detail is visible.

    OFF: no power to lights; no residual glow from lights

  13. #13
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    HB off & LB off

    HB off & LB off
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  14. #14
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    HB off & LB starting

    HB off & LB starting
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  15. #15
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    HB off & LB steady

    HB off & LB steady
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  16. #16
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    HB starting & LB off

    HB starting & LB off
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  17. #17
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    HB steady & LB off

    HB steady & LB off
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  18. #18
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    HB steady & LB starting

    HB steady & LB starting
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  19. #19
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    HB steady & LB steady

    HB steady & LB steady
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  20. #20
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    and all my friends told me I was crazy with one 30w trailtech HID (1850 lumens) run from a pair of 4200 mAh lipos! (remote control car/plane lipos rated at 15C, way overkill)

    Hope you have the lipos protected from a dead short, big lipo packs in thermal runaway are a VERY scary thing. Is the lid to the battery pack held in place VERY tightly incase of venting? Nice CF job btw. Hella's molding in on the lens is so uncool.


    I can scream down tracks I've never ridden as fast as I want with one 30w HID, two is overkill. I live way out of town, on the very outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. At night in the forrest its pitch black, we're talking you cannot see your hand in front of your face when the moon is not out.

    I found under the bar was too low for light position and have decided over the bar, while a risk from a wipe out, gives better results. I just have the mount clamped down just right so the light is stable, but will move before breaking anything if forced.


    Next question, your lipo charger, is it a true balanced charger, as in discrete charger for each cell, or just monitoring cell voltages triggering end of charge when one cell reaches cut off threshold, or even worse, charging all three cells in series only monitoring series pack voltage? Again I hope you are aware of the consequences of failures while charging. The cheap and nasty chargers will leave you with short cell pack life, one cell will end up under or over charged.

    here's a short clip if you're unaware of the dangers of lipos in thermal runaway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSgjj6NT5U8


    and does the batteryspace pack come with an integrated voltage monitor circuit?





    If I lived near a downhill course I'd have two or four d2s' on the front of the DH bike, but for xc one 30w 1850 lumen is PLENTY


    forgive me if I have asked/stated the obvious.


    Mark

  21. #21
    Spanish biker
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    Incredible!!!!!!!!!

    Greetings - Saludos

    msxtr
    Warning!!! my english is very very bad, sorry.

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  22. #22
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    Yes I totally forgot to mention the Li-Ion safety concerns. I watched loads of venting videos during the planning phase. My Lithium batteries are not of the Polymer ilk as I was turned off by their venting frequency.

    I am using a turnkey Batteryspace battery solution. The kit is no longer sold by them but contains 12 x 18650 cells (4S3P) that are not independently protected but are per 4S bank.

    Cell charging is in your worst case scenario with entire circuit being monitored as I am relying upon the battery architects at batteryspace.com to have done their research in mating the proper charger to the proper battery. I'm charging at 1.5A so just over 0.5C.

    Discrete charging would be nice (and might even solve some of my yellowing issues as I suspect a bad cell in there somewhere) but is not the case here. I think more of this as an electric bike whereby the cells are not charged/monitored individually but in banks.

    The carbon box was constructed sans enclave built up with 7-8 layers of twill carbon with marine epoxy with air bubbles forced out Don't think some measly venting will penetrate that however the lid is may be poppable from inside pressure although it might take about 40 lbs to remove the lid so those batteries would have to produce a massive amount of pressure (maybe 200psi?) to pop that lid off. Having said that there are gaps in the lid as it is not airtight/watertight so hot gases may leak out but that will not be doing so at the lid... it will be doing so out the front grommetted area where the boosted lines pipe out from the box/ballast to the torches. That area is safely away from my legs and points upwards toward the front of the bike.

    Let's also keep in mind that carbon fibre fabric is flame retardant in nature and, if I'm not mistaken, will act as a firewall and totally contain a fire. Now I wouldn't put it up against an oxygen torch but for hobby battery venting, this box will act as a firewall.

    Either way, I'm not worried in the least. I rarely hot restrike and these ballasts, being of automotive grade, will also shut down if it senses system voltage drop below 9.0V. Don't know if commercial bike HID products protect their users in the same fashion but I would be surprised if the safety nazis came a knockin' already. Also I have automotive grade mini relays in there and they isolate circuits so if the switching mechanisms, which are exposed to the outside elements fail/short, the batteries are not affected.

    At a later date, I was thinking about switching to the dual plated tubulars so that I can discharge at a higher rate (discharge max bump from 4.6Ah to 70.0Ah - not a typo) but that will come at the added disad of system change ($$$ and money and downtime) and about 50% more space consumed and less runtime. Don't know if I can afford decreased energy density at this point but having fun evaluating all the options.

  23. #23
    PM Me for Wood Fenders
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    All I can say is WOW. Not sure if over kill is the appropriate word. But I can appreciate your work, very nice.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  24. #24
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    I meant to add, the trail techs do run at their claimed color temperature, the center of the beam is about 5675K. I didn't bother measuring again after an hour or so of battery discharge, I can not discern any color shift.

    Anyway, with very white light that is so soothing on the eyes, I'm having ZERO trouble with this claimed white wash phenomenon.


    What I do notice is when I'm near a road, how disgusting older cars halogen light really is.
    Last edited by link1896; 08-08-2007 at 04:41 PM.

  25. #25
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    Sick-O!! very nice work, one important thing, carbon CAN catch on fire, is the epozy flame/heat resistant? Id check on that esp if the temp every gets really hot.

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