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  1. #1
    I don't huck.
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    DIY LED light build opinions?

    I have been following the progression of DIY lights off and on and have read quite a bit. Last night's ride made me want to pursue a build of my own. The Turbocat set up I have is good but dated and looked pretty dim and orange next to the light's of my companions, a mix of LED and HID, all store bought.

    I have ridden with both helmet only, bar only and both. The helmet is a spot and the bar setups are a flood (low beam) and a spot (high beam). I do not always use the helmet mount and always prefer to use the bar mount on low for climbing, the low/spot bar mount for faster stuff and the helmet light for when it gets really fast or twisty.

    I have always wanted more width to the pattern and seldom more reach. I used to dream of 3 halogens, two of them angled out a bit like a baja truck but the extra battery draw was ugly.

    So this would be my priority in a new light set up.

    - Flexibility. Both bar mount and optional helmet mount would do that along with dimming capabilities.

    - Low battery weight. I seldom run over 2 hours on night rides but having double that run time on low for emergencies would be wise.

    - A wide pattern that fills in the sides of the trail better than what I have now.

    I was at first thinking about the 3 beam bar mounts, either round or square housing. Two 15 degrees with a 5 degree in the middle. But now I am wondering if I would be just as well served with a 2 LED on the bars, both flood, to disperse the light for flowy trails and a single semi spot on the head. The head lamp would not need dimming capabilities but the bar mount would and hopefully that way I could run smaller batt packs.

    Right now I have a water bottle with ni-cads (I think) and a lead acid for the helmet light.....HEAVY total weight!

    SO, to each his own, etc, but I am having a bit of a hard time translating what I read into what it will do on the trail. I was pretty impressed with the light patterns I saw on the other riders lights last night. Very nice, much better than I had.

    Has anyone experimented with angling the LEDs to get the patterns overlapping as little as possible? Seems odd to have them a few inches apart at the mount when they may be 70% overlapped at the focal point or does the optics/lense take that into consideration?

    I will keep reading and learning, but any insights would be cool. I love some of the out of the box cheapness like using mouse switches. Very fun.
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    West Coast writer for twentynineinches.com

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    good questions

    Looks like you have given the DIY some good thought. I just recently got into the DIY concept and it is a lot of fun. The best part is you can actually build yourself a great light for relatively cheap.

    As I have said in another thread with the current leds capable of 250 lumens a light head with just 2 of these can make a very good light and its construction is simple. A lot of guys are going with the MR11 kits from cutter and that certainly is a great option if you can fashion a case. I just finished a dual led head and I'm more than happy with the results. Where in Socal do you ride? I'm local to the Santa Monica mountains. Be more than happy to show you my light.

  3. #3
    I don't huck.
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    I am in the Castaic area. Kinda far from ya.

    I am amazed how far things have progressed in a few months. When I first looked at this, it was a half dozen guys ordering things from obscure vendors and really building it from scratch. Now there are kits!

    More reading to do.

    I found a thread where someone is converting Turbo Cat light shells to LED. I have three of those in varying wattages.

    I would like to keep the helmet light just that...light! I notice the TCat one now...bugs me a bit.
    Blog Ramblings
    West Coast writer for twentynineinches.com

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