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.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: DIY LED light build opinions?