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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    DIY light array for bike

    I needed some good lights, for mixed day and night on bad roads, more than the Nitehawk Emitter single light, and a one watt luxeon headlight, which was just enough to get you out of the woods, but grim. Lights for a swamp commutter, poor country road bike, with take it to the ditch options when a tractor trailer full of chickens is looking at you.

    The issue was the bar, cross tops, lack of space, so I tried a small Nashbar mini front rack off the canti studs. Bolted a 1/8" by 1x1/2" angle of aluminum 8x1/2 inches long to a 1x8"x1/12"flat bar in a short T, to the bottom of the front rack, two three watt luxeon MR 16 bulbs in some Harbor Freight plastic water proof pots. A aluminum pot, that fits a MR11 20 watt xenon mixed bulb they sell, at the Depot if its in stock. Three 36 led arrays, two amber, one red, in a tail light cone, and a couple of clearance lights with a cutout for clear acrylic to let more of the light out.

    Both conversions used stock pots but required tweaks, a dremel tool, and patience. There is a link, "Pond Scum Lights" on the web about someone who made lights using the same Harbor Freight 2 for ten buck pots. The tough plastic pots are better for leds.

    I wanted some "Chupacabra" lights, 36 led amber lights, in a 1/1/2 inch square, that would be as bright as the eyes of that mythical blood sucking animal, perhaps a vampire Kangaroo, or monkey, or one of my deep woods cousins after a night out drinking with no shave standing under the bug zapper hung over just wanting to hear things die. Amber fill since they are 100 degree area lights, right at the tire, and out to about six ft. Its something long running to stand in while taking photo's at dusk so I do not get hit by a big Easten Diamondback. for day riding you are VERY VISABLE. Switched on the bar on a 1/2 inch water proof junction box, with 3 rubber sealed switches, I can go to running lights, front and rear red tail light cone, add luxeons, or the 20 watts in the center.

    I need some night vision, and can cut it all off and creep along in Chupacabra mode.

    2x10 AA NMIH packs with a DIY connector made out of Tamiya connectors. RC battery packs basically.

    Tail light is another 36 led array in a trailer clearance red cone light, The PCB under the leds is bonded to the plastic cone, and sealed in silicone, kind of a tricky job but Its the brightest tail light on a bike I have seen. Its as bright as the Chupacabra's rear end after a habanero and fire fly coctail.

    The two 3 watt leds are not as they all say, EACH like 15 watts of halogen. 16 watts of nice light with both in my opinion. Others have about the same idea. The best bulbs in great optics are not in the cheap MR. 16 bulbs. Good to about 75 ft, after that, there is some ability to light up a refective sign to a greater distance, Compared to the Nitehawk Emitter, one was better in fill, but not a good spot at all. Its a narrow 30 Degree flood, but two of them were better by far than one Emitter. With a one watt luxeon helmet light, it was comfortable to use the two three watt bulbs alone.

    The xenon bulb, color corrected, 20 watt yard light MR11 bulb, is the high beam, Its a real flood, gets all the over hanging vines and tree limbs. Not a good fast road light, but to 100 ft it lights up the woods. I get nevous about some noise, wild hogs, hit the high beam.

    This is not as powerful as HID, as compact, as clean, light in weight,etc. Its not that cheap, It has a lot of bits. HID is nice, It would make a great high beam. Longer run time. These lights are blinding from the front all on..but they do not have the throw of HID.

    Run time. Two 2000 mah packs ganged.
    Two three watt luxeions alone, 6hrs
    3 watt luxeons and all other leds, 2 1/2 plus hours.
    Running lights alone, 4 hrs.
    Xenon alone, 1 hr 15 minutes,
    xenon plus luxeons, 55 minutes, (the xenon is a real power drain).
    I have a Vista light blinkie on the back as well, for economy mode, just running the front LEDs. I just use the xenon for some moments.

    Its not enough light for photo without a flash, but for a longer exposure its very nice.

    Mounted low its right on the trail, have to dim down for cars to LEDs alone. I know its not the best bulb, bin selection, etc, but the three switches in the 1/2 inch out door PVC junction is nice on the on one bar, not much room for lights but I can switch to what I need from there.

    So far the Nashbar front rack is solid, tested the lights on rough trail. I think I can make a lighter version for my dual suspension and just put a compression plug top of the front fork arch in the steerer tube, and mount a short bar, use a slightly different rig, but the same three MR 16 three watt bulbs but one as a spot.

    Any one out there use a three by one watt luxeon three watt bulb, (three one watt luxeons in the same MR 16 bulb, and a 10 degree spot) from Super Bright LEDs?
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    Last edited by Roger Palmer; 03-22-2007 at 06:48 PM.

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