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  1. #1
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    DIY Cree triple, done right!

    I finally have all of the parts together for my new Cree XR-E triple handlebar light. I designed the housing from scratch and had the parts CNC machined at work. It was designed to use all readily available components (I got most of mine from Cutter). It will use 3 Q5 bin XR-E LEDs, a Bflex driver, and some 3mm LEDs and a waterproof switch from Digikey. Optics will be 20mm Carclo, probably 2 20 deg. and one 10 deg. First pictures are below, and I will update as the build progresses.

    Mark
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  2. #2
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    Now that you've got that program for the sweet housing, wanna run a few more? Nice job, I'd like to be first in line!
    Just another nighthawk at the diner

    Rock -n-roll means well but it can't help tellin' young boys lies...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobW
    Now that you've got that program for the sweet housing, wanna run a few more? Nice job, I'd like to be first in line!
    Do you really think I went through the trouble of setting up the machine and only making one ! I did run a few sets of the housings, but they will most likely be going to my riding friends and 24 hour team partners!

    I do have one question concerning run times. I did a quick calculation to determine how long the battery will last, can someone please comment if I did it correctly:

    Battery is 14.8v 2.6 Ah, which comes to 38.48 watt hours

    The LEDs will be run at 700mA, and according to Cree will draw 3.5 V at 700mA.

    That makes 3.5 * 0.7 = 2.45 watts * 3 = 7.35 watts for 3 LEDs.

    38.48 / 7.35 = 5.24 hours run time on high

    Mark

  4. #4
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    sweet

    i wanna be second

  5. #5
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Do you really think I went through the trouble of setting up the machine and only making one ! I did run a few sets of the housings, but they will most likely be going to my riding friends and 24 hour team partners!

    I do have one question concerning run times. I did a quick calculation to determine how long the battery will last, can someone please comment if I did it correctly:

    Battery is 14.8v 2.6 Ah, which comes to 38.48 watt hours

    The LEDs will be run at 700mA, and according to Cree will draw 3.5 V at 700mA.

    That makes 3.5 * 0.7 = 2.45 watts * 3 = 7.35 watts for 3 LEDs.

    38.48 / 7.35 = 5.24 hours run time on high

    Mark
    In a most ideal condition, it looks correct. That's assuming a full charge, no cabling or heat or controller (buck) overhead losses, a linear discharge curve, discharge rate losses, warm climate, etc.etc.

    Just figure on around 5 hours.

    That's going to be one blindingly handsome unit, there......nice job. Keep us posted.

  6. #6
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    very nicely done. very professional looking on the finish.

    sooo are ya making more?

  7. #7
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    Nice work Mark!

    Have you thought about machining a few fins in to that beauty to save a bit more weight? I guess it would be pretty lightweight as it is anyway.

    I’m interested in how you’ll mount these lights too, it looks like you’re going to use two mounts?

    Keep up the great work, and be sure to keep us posted!

    Dave.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Do you really think I went through the trouble of setting up the machine and only making one ! I did run a few sets of the housings, but they will most likely be going to my riding friends and 24 hour team partners!

    Mark
    But you wouldn't mind sharing the drawings or CNC code?

  9. #9
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low_Rider
    Nice work Mark!

    Have you thought about machining a few fins in to that beauty to save a bit more weight? I guess it would be pretty lightweight as it is anyway.

    .................

    Dave.
    That's a good idea - it would help with heat dissipation with the added surface area also.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawseman
    That's a good idea - it would help with heat dissipation with the added surface area also.
    He's got a fair bit of surface area so it will be quite alright as it is. It certainly wouldn't hurt just for a little extra style.

    Dave.

  11. #11
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low_Rider
    He's got a fair bit of surface area so it will be quite alright as it is. It certainly wouldn't hurt just for a little extra style.

    Dave.
    ahhhhh....but if the added density of the casting cannot shed the heat through it's outer surface area, that case could become an insulator of heat. Typical electronic heatsinks aren't just blocks of aluminum (or copper). They have fins on the outside for greater surface area which equals greater heat dissipation. The ambient air pulls the heat from the fins, the fins pull the heat from the sink, the sink pulls the heat from the component. When the surface cannot shed the heat, the heat stays put. I haven't worked with these LED's yet, but to take a lesson from electronics 101....heat = bad. Most failures are due to heat related issues. It's not just the LEDs, but the controller (bFlex/Buck Puck/etc.) that may be affected too.

    As compared to achesalot's...the surface area to density ratio is much less. (The bling score is very much higher, though). When it gets warm, it'll stay that way for some time.

    Honestly, I don't think this will be a problem here, especially at 700mA. IMHO, the more we push these puppies, the more this heat issue will need to be dealt with.

  12. #12
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    Very nice! Keep us posted with details and updates.

  13. #13
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    Next update

    Thanks for all of the friendly comments! I have done a little work the last couple of days and have almost all of the wiring done. First of all, I should have made the back part of the housing a little longer! It was quite a job to get all of the wiring stuffed in that tiny cavity! The biggest problem was strain relieving the cable so that it doesn't pull out of the housing. Anyway, as you can see from the first picture, the Bflex is wired up and mounted inside the housing. The second picture shows the cable, switch and 2 LEDs. There is a green LED that will always be illuminated when the battery is plugged in, and the red LED is the low battery warning. Last picture shows the optics siliconed into the front half of the housing. 20 deg. optics on the outside and a 10 deg. in the middle will be my first try. Now I just need to mount the XR-Es with some Arctic Alumina and assemble the 2 halves, hopefully later today. Also, to help with the thermal transfer between surfaces, I have sanded all of the mating surfaces on a granite plate with very fine sandpaper to ensure good contact, and the Arctic Alumina will be used on all mating surfaces, including between the front and back halves of the housing.

    As far as everyones comments about adding more surface area, I agree, more would be better. But I think I have enough to keep the unit cool while riding, and the fact that they will be run at 700 mA for now. I am already thinking about the next revision!

    Mark
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  14. #14
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    WOW! That's nice! I can't wait to see it on the bike.

    Great work!

  15. #15
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Very nice, bikeny....expert workmanship.

    I really don't think that heat will be an issue for you @ 700mA.....keep truckin'.

  16. #16
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    Nice!

    Can't wait to get my order in. (LOL)

    Had a few ?'s.

    How many lumens do you think it'll put out? Is there any reason you didn't use the Seoul's and drive them at 1000mA w/ a 4Ah battery or even 2.7Ah AA batteries.

    I'm just now trying to understand LED's and how they run so sorry if the ?'s are lame.

    MB

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb323323
    Nice!

    Can't wait to get my order in. (LOL)

    Had a few ?'s.

    How many lumens do you think it'll put out? Is there any reason you didn't use the Seoul's and drive them at 1000mA w/ a 4Ah battery or even 2.7Ah AA batteries.

    I'm just now trying to understand LED's and how they run so sorry if the ?'s are lame.

    MB
    Here are my reasons for my choices: For the LEDs the Q5 bin Crees are brighter and more efficient than the best Seoul LEDs available. BTW, the Crees can also be driven at 1000mA safely, but I opted for 700mA right now in order run them more efficiently and have a longer lasting light.

    Approximate lumen output will be as follows: The Q% bin LEDs put out between 107 and 114 lumens at 350mA. Multiply that number by 170% for the output at 700mA = 181.9 to 193.8. So for 3 LEDs that comes to 546 to 581 lumens. If you take into account the lense, get something like 500 to 550 lumens.

    As for the battery, my 2600 Ah 14.8V battery will last about 5 hours on high, which is plenty for my needs!

    I hope that answered your questions!

    Mark

  18. #18
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    I have one more question for anyone who can help: I am looking for a good way to mount my 4 cell Lithium battery to the bottom of my stem. Maybe like some kind of padded velcro bag that can be strapped to the stem? I think that would clean up the whole mounting arrangement. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    I have one more question for anyone who can help: I am looking for a good way to mount my 4 cell Lithium battery to the bottom of my stem. Maybe like some kind of padded velcro bag that can be strapped to the stem? I think that would clean up the whole mounting arrangement. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark
    Cool light.

    I use this for my Edge battery pack on longer events: http://www.polardiscount.com/scripts...uct=110&src=fr

    I mount it upside down on my stem, as opposed to right-side up on my top tube, to keep it away from my knees. There will be extra room. I pack a small piece of foam and a couple of emergency gels in it to keep things from sloshing about.

  20. #20
    Light freak
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    Here is one that might work for you.

    Nightpro battery bag

  21. #21
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    Small camera or phone bags work well too.

  22. #22
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    All done!

    OK, the light is all done. There are a couple more pictures below of the completed unit on and off and also mounted to the bike. Thanks for the suggestions for a way to mount the battery, they gave me some good ideas. I ended up buying a very small saddle bag from my LBS and stuffing the battery into it. My plan is to mount it under the stem, which I will try tonight to make sure it works. I hope to give it an actual trail test tonight or tomorrow, and then it will get a thorough test this weekend at the 24 Hours of Allamuchy(I do have a backup HID just in case)!

    Mark
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  23. #23
    Ride 2 Work, Work 2 Ride!
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    Sooo cool!
    "Don't give up, Never give up!"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    I have one more question for anyone who can help: I am looking for a good way to mount my 4 cell Lithium battery to the bottom of my stem. Maybe like some kind of padded velcro bag that can be strapped to the stem? I think that would clean up the whole mounting arrangement. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark
    Have a look at AYUPs mounts and batteries. Hell, if you could get this to work with the same battery the AYUPs use, you could have a winner, as they're cheap as hell and last ages (oh, and they weigh 70 grams). However, from memory the pouches are made for AYUP whereas the batteries are purchased.

    Their mounting system is also really good and lightweight - just uses cable ties.

  25. #25
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    Looks good.

    Personally they take up too much space on the bars with the wide profile.

  26. #26
    Spanish biker
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    Excellent light desing!!!!!!! congratulations At the end we will do best lights than the professional firms

    Greetings - Saludos

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

    Easy DIY led light1
    Easy DIY led light2

    The Beast!!!

  27. #27
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    How did the light work out? This looks similar to what I would like to build. Thanks!

  28. #28
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    I used the new Ay Ups tonight and their bar mount is an excellent piece of work. i used the bar mount to fit on my helmet as well due to the shape of it and it works great with my Limar helmet.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekoostick
    How did the light work out? This looks similar to what I would like to build. Thanks!
    The lights worked out great, Thanks! I used them for my first 24 hour solo event, the 24 Hours of Allamuchy in NJ a few weeks ago. We had thunderstorms overnight that dumped inches of rain, so I can definately say that they are fully waterproof! My 2:30 night laps were no problem as far as run time, and the beam was excellent. The rain left the course an absolute mess (think peanut butter), so there was a lot of walking involved. You know its bad when you have to pedal going downhill just keep moving! The high/low beam switch was easy to use and I never turned the light off accidentally. I also used a homemade Souel P4 single LED light run at 1000ma on my helmet, which also worked great. Although I had to run it at low or turn it off at times because of the fog.

    Overall, I am VERY happy with the light and will be keeping it for a while. I would like to get the housing anodized to help corrosion resistance, and I will certainly be watching for higher bin LEDs in the future, but I am very happy right now. Now I have to build a few more for my friends, and then maybe I will sell a few housings to cover my expenses!

    Mark

  30. #30
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    Wow that is impressive job with the machining. Really quite job!. Hope you chose a nice grade of Al for the anodizing.

    Curious about the optics though. From what I see on the market you need some sort of collimation lens in there. Just wondering what you had in mind or else all those photons are going out uncollimated.

  31. #31
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    Amazing work, bikeny. Truly outstanding.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    The lights worked out great, Thanks! I used them for my first 24 hour solo event, the 24 Hours of Allamuchy in NJ a few weeks ago. We had thunderstorms overnight that dumped inches of rain, so I can definately say that they are fully waterproof! My 2:30 night laps were no problem as far as run time, and the beam was excellent. The rain left the course an absolute mess (think peanut butter), so there was a lot of walking involved. You know its bad when you have to pedal going downhill just keep moving! The high/low beam switch was easy to use and I never turned the light off accidentally. I also used a homemade Souel P4 single LED light run at 1000ma on my helmet, which also worked great. Although I had to run it at low or turn it off at times because of the fog.

    Overall, I am VERY happy with the light and will be keeping it for a while. I would like to get the housing anodized to help corrosion resistance, and I will certainly be watching for higher bin LEDs in the future, but I am very happy right now. Now I have to build a few more for my friends, and then maybe I will sell a few housings to cover my expenses!

    Mark
    When you're ready to sell, please let me know.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talkingbelly
    When you're ready to sell, please let me know.

    +1 for sure!!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxygen
    Wow that is impressive job with the machining. Really quite job!. Hope you chose a nice grade of Al for the anodizing.

    Curious about the optics though. From what I see on the market you need some sort of collimation lens in there. Just wondering what you had in mind or else all those photons are going out uncollimated.
    I am not quite sure what the difference between a collimated and a non-collimated lense is, but I am using the Carclo optics for the Cree XR-E series:

    http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail....=cut689&cat=33 and
    http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail....=cut690&cat=33

    I am just using them without the holders and siliconing them into the front half of the housing.

    Mark

  35. #35
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    Anyone who expressed interest in the housing, please check your PM.

    Mark

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Anyone who expressed interest in the housing, please check your PM.

    Mark
    I'd be interested in the housing! PM me if you still have some/prices, thank you.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Anyone who expressed interest in the housing, please check your PM.

    Mark
    Mark i am interesting also!
    I live at Athens,Greece if this is not a problem then please let me know a price!
    Thank you very much
    Dimitris

  38. #38
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    hi - i am also interested in the housing

    thanks

    Alex

  39. #39
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    I'd like to know more about is as well...
    Last edited by brum; 09-23-2007 at 01:53 PM.

  40. #40
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    Only one thing to note. In your lifetime calculations you did not calculate for how many W it cost to run the electronics. They have current drain as well.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by brum
    I'd like to more about is as well...
    Me too...

  42. #42
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    one more

    I am also interested in a housing.
    I live in belgium by the way...
    Thank you!!

  43. #43
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    I'm interested enough to ask for more info, but I'm of afraid the answer...
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Anyone who expressed interest in the housing, please check your PM.

    Mark
    Mark,

    Add me to the list.

    Seriously, I think if you can come up with the coin to cover it, you should do a setup and make a run of 100 of those units. I'm sure they'll all sell. You could probably kit them complete as light kits with cree triples, lenses with batteries, bar and helmet mounts with how to assemble instructions and let folks make and assemble their own.

    Very nice craftsmanship!

  45. #45
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    Wow, a lot of interest in the housings here! I think maybe the price is scaring off some people, as I only have one confirmed person so far from everyone I gave the details to. Keep in mind that doing a small run of three seperate parts on a CNC isn't cheap!

    Anyway, there are a couple of things that I would like to change on the housing for easier assembly. So maybe what I should do is reduce the price for the ones I currently have and then make a larger run of a new improved version which would solve any issues I had with the first version.

    The general shape and assembly will be the same, but there are a couple of improvements I would like to make. First, I would like more room in the housing for the driver board and wiring. The current version is very tight and a little difficult to get everything in there, especially with the red and green LEDs on the back. I think I will try to add more surface area to the housing at the same time for better heat disipation.Also, I would get the parts black anodized right away.

    Feel free to make suggestions if you wish, and also what you think a reasonable cost would be to see if this is even financially feasable.

    Thanks for the interest, and I will keep everyone updated.

    Mark

  46. #46
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    Do you mind listing a rough price range for the housing? I am afraid that there may be more labor and other costs involved than most people realize. Would this be priced in the range of higher-end LED lights on the market, or would it be lower-cost as well? And a definite for black anodizing. I'll tell you what, I definitely WANT one, but as a first bike light for night riding, I hope its not going to cost more than is feasible.
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

  47. #47
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    Unless you do a decent sized run, your set up costs are going to eat up any benefits for pricing, which most buyers are sensitive about . Product needs to be wallet and user friendly.

  48. #48
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    Frankly there isn't any item on the market that uses this design (secure double clamp, triple lights in a row, easily changeable lens, different light outputs and possibly strobe). The closest would be a Cateye Tripleshot pro, but it's output and options aren't even close.

    Then there's the price of uniqueness.. If you think of it as a custom built light, it might not be that expensive afterall. Just look at all the custom made flashlights in the candlepowerforums, I'm sure you'll agree that those aren't exactly cost effective too, but they sure are desireable...

  49. #49
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    More info:

    I figured if I was going to start giving more details here about selling the housings, I should take out an add to not piss off anyone! Add linked below that has all of the information:

    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...?product=11255

    Mark

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    I'm interested in the new version too.

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