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  1. #1
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    Hope Drivers, how do you select one? (Newbie alert...)

    So I have sorted through just about everything in planning out a light for my handlebar except for the driver. I have spent time on diyled reading, but much of the info is pretty old by "technology standards."

    What I know:

    1. I think a 2 LED light will be enough. I want some flood on the ground up close for my peripheral vision to use and then a spot ahead to supplement my light on the helmet. I have a Cygolite Expilion 700 for my helmet and it is plenty bright for the riding I do.

    2. I plan on a simple build using 2 XML LEDs. I know the XML can be made into a good spot, but is there a better LED for flood?

    3. I really only NEED one light level. I am very happy running my factory light at the medium setting. Since the max is suppose to be 700, I would assume medium is 400-500 lumen, but there isn't SOLID info from Cygolite on this.

    How does one go about picking a driver? It seems that a Buckpuck is likely what I need running 4 18650 cells, but what am I missing in selecting which BP to use? A 3023 would be the easiest (this is obviously my first light) since it has leads on it already. How does one decide what amperage to select? I have tried searching and have found many threads about builds, but I can't find solid info about how to select.

    I am familiar with electrical basics and have done quite a bit of work on 12vdc in cars and such, but I am not an electricians by any means.

    Please go easy on me (I know I am a newbie). I have searched and read quite a bit, but I am likely missing some important info threads because I am not searching correctly. If you reply with threads to read that contain better newbie info, I am happy to read.... or responses are great.

    I am itching to start "playing" and building. Thanks for being patient with, yet again, another newbie.
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  2. #2
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    Buck puck easist if you have the room for it.

    "How does one go about picking a driver? It seems that a Buckpuck is likely what I need running 4 18650 cells"

    Four parallel for 3.7 volts
    Four series for 14.4 volts
    Two series two parallel for 7.4 volts

    This will also influence which driver you can use.

  3. #3
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    Since XM-L's need to be driven at up to 3 amps for maximum output, Luxdrive BuckPucks won't fit your needs, as they max out at 1A.

    TaskLED's b3Flex would be your fancy buck solution. In that scenario, yu have to run your batteries in a 4S1P config for a 14.8v pack.

    Cheaper fancy option possibly - TaskLED's lFlex linear driver. 2 XM-L's on a 2S2P pack would be doable as long as you headsink the driver well,a nd your housing has good cooling properties.

    If you're looking for a cheaper buck driver for a build, and fancy doesn't matter, try this buck driver: T6 3-Mode Regulated LED Driver Circuit Board for DIY Flashlight (2500~3000mA 4.5~18V) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

    buy a spare or 2 for fun, and grab a couple of these linear drivers for future projects too:
    17mm 2800mA 5-Mode Memory Regulated LED Driver Circuit Board for Flashlight (DC 3~4.5V) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

  4. #4
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    Oh - and narrow/flood, etc, will depend on what optic or reflector you decide to use, and what will fit in the housing you're making.

    Share some ideas on what you're planning on building and we can suggest changes or other options.

  5. #5
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    adrenal - Oddly enough, the post clears a lot up for me. Kind of puts pieces back together. I had wondered how an XML was rated for 3a and yes drivers were less (I think this bit of confusion came from reading older info about older LEDs).

    Another question about batteries. When you post "4s1p" I read "4 in series plus 1 in parallel" but when I have been looking at battery holders, the ones labeled "4s1p" only appear to hold 4 batteries. Am I reading battery terms wrong or am I missing something else.

    As for the design plan.... I am just aiming at simple. Function over form... at least on this first light. bikeled has a dual Cree led (first light on the page I see) that is made from aluminum tube. I plan on either mimicking that design or the copperhead design but for additional heat-sinking area, I have a few of the heat-sink below to use in this fun... picture one of the basic housings with the blue heat-sink split in half and attached to the bottom of the light. I don't plan on mimicking the electronics of his design, just the housing.



    Function over form.... form will follow once I get the basics down.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  6. #6
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    Some naming convention confusion, that's all. Typically when you have batteries only wired in series or only in parallel, they are described as 4S or 4P. But they're also described as 4s1p, to describe the number of cells in the pack as a multiplier 4s x 1p = 4 cells; 4s x 2p = 8 cells, etc).

    It's also helpful to do the mah on the value of the cells in capacity - a 8.4v 6000mah 2s2p pack would tell you it is (2) 8.4v 3000mah packs in parallel, where each of those 2 packs are 2 cells made up of 3000mah cells.

    when you get to the build - make sure to post pics, we love pics round here!

  7. #7
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    One last elementary question.... about soldering.

    A while back, I bought a Hako FX-888 soldering station for working on my automobile stuff. I really like it as it is the first "real" soldering station I have ever had. While I love it, I feel like I have to use "too much" heat while soldering and I am a bit worried about damaging the driver while soldering.

    For soldering the connections and stuff, I have a spool of 63/37 Tin/Lead .025" flux solder. It seems so simple, but is this the correct solder for working on these components? It works fine on cars, but wiring can handle more heat without being damaged.

    Thanks one more time... I think I am finally ready to order parts.
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  8. #8
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    All right... here is my rough parts list. I still need to find a source for good batteries (and a charger for them; suggestions are welcome because the parts source sticky is pretty out of date for most things. I am in the US if that matters).

    Does anyone see any holes?

    First DIY light Project total = $67.79

    Mfg Model Source Price Notes
    LED Cree XM-L LEDSupply $10.05 Cool white
    LED Cree XM-L LEDSupply $10.05 Cool white
    Optic 1 Carclo Narrow frosted LEDSupply $1.25 Spot
    Optic 2 Carclo Ripple Medium LEDSupply $1.25 Flood
    Lens holderCarclo N/A LEDSupply $2.20 Order 10 for future
    Driver Taskled B3Flex TaskLED $35.00
    Battery 18650 4 batteries
    Misc Artic Alumina Amazon $7.99 2 part epoxy

    I have Artic Silver 5 from computer builds to use where I need.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight511 View Post
    All right... here is my rough parts list. I still need to find a source for good batteries (and a charger for them; suggestions are welcome because the parts source sticky is pretty out of date for most things. I am in the US if that matters).

    Does anyone see any holes?

    First DIY light Project total = $67.79

    Mfg Model Source Price Notes
    LED Cree XM-L LEDSupply $10.05 Cool white
    LED Cree XM-L LEDSupply $10.05 Cool white
    Optic 1 Carclo Narrow frosted LEDSupply $1.25 Spot
    Optic 2 Carclo Ripple Medium LEDSupply $1.25 Flood
    Lens holderCarclo N/A LEDSupply $2.20 Order 10 for future
    Driver Taskled B3Flex TaskLED $35.00
    Battery 18650 4 batteries
    Misc Artic Alumina Amazon $7.99 2 part epoxy

    I have Artic Silver 5 from computer builds to use where I need.
    Might want to try these optics for the spot:
    Good XML optic

    Also may want a neutral tint rather than cool.

  10. #10
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    Also, for a bar mount, you should look at the eliptical optic for the near field flood. It has a really wide dispersal horizontally (~40deg) and only 11-12 vertically, so it won't be throwing too much light up into the tree canopy.

  11. #11
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    For decent quality 18650's - Tenergy protected 2600's aren't bad: 4 pack - All-Battery.com: 4pcs Tenergy Li-Ion 18650 Cylindrical 3.7V 2600mAh Button Top Rechargeable Batteries w/ PCB

    At least if a cell dies, they're US based and I've had good response out if their customer service.

    If you're looking for some of the best out there - Panasonic 3100mah or 3400mah are out there, - ~$12-18 a cell. Look for those with protection circuits added though - you don't want unprotected cells, even with the b3flex's settings. I can't recommend a retailer, as I've not bought any of these, and there are reportedly a lot of fakes on the market.

    Usually batteries with the word "fire" in the name is usually pretty far down the quality scale. Lot of overstated claims on capacity. The Panasonic3400's are the best that are available. Ultrafire's labeled at things like 4400mah, are simply lying. Usually those batteries struggle to take 2000mah on charge.

    For chargers - any of the "4-button" models out there are all basically the same - Turnigy Accucell-6 is what i just bought - Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger w/ accessories

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    Might want to try these optics for the spot:
    Good XML optic

    Also may want a neutral tint rather than cool.
    'bent,

    How are you affixing those optics to the LED's on your Easy2LED housing builds? I have a couple of builds coming together using those.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalnjunky View Post
    'bent,

    How are you affixing those optics to the LED's on your Easy2LED housing builds? I have a couple of builds coming together using those.
    I've only used them in Easy2LED housings so far, and the threaded lens holds them in place. I had to dremel a divot to clear the cable entry, but otherwise drop-in.

  14. #14
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    Biggles - Thanks for that input. I had seen the elliptical and pondered on it, but thought it might be too wide... knowing that it doesn't throw upward too will likely send me to it for the near flood light.

    Adrenal - Again... thanks. The batteries were really the last piece... with the time change a week away, I can't get this going too soon. I actually looked at that charger this morning. When you charge with that, do you just hook the battery box up to it to charge them all?
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  15. #15
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    You tell the charger how many cells in series your pack is, then you can set your charger for a maximum capacity.

    You'll get to full charge before it hits capacity, and the charger will end the cycle.

    Lotsa settings on these chargers to tweak for your needs.

    Sent from my cm_tenderloin using Tapatalk 2

  16. #16
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    Made my order with LEDSupply. TaskLED is not shipping until November 12, so that is a drag.

    When I search on Google for the 4s1p 18650 battery holders, I come up with a bunch of results that have PCBs on them. Do I need the PCB option since the batteries are protected?
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  17. #17
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    Scratch that. Just ordered the battery cases without the PCBs from DX.

    So I am going to dual build.... using a second light for mowing my yards for my Honda HRC mower... I hate how early it gets dark now...
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  18. #18
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    I've thought about building a lightbar for my cub cadet and retiring a couple of my older lights to lawnmower duty.

  19. #19
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    That is only funny to me because before I ordered with DX, I went and measured my mower's "handle" bar and ordered 2 extra velcro type flash light mounts to build a light bar across since it doesn't have a cross bar that doesn't have the controls. I figure just as a cheap light bar, I can cut a piece of PVC (already have extra in the garage) and paint it black... it isn't load bearing except for a little light.

    I may be equally excited about building a light for my mower as my bike.... I think that may be a bit crazy.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  20. #20
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    I just got my order with TaskLED put in and confirmed. So I will have the B3Flex shortly and should be able to proceed with building the first light.

    I guess I didn't realize just how painfully long ordering from DX is. 2 weeks and the best I can tell the order is floating in the Pacific. This is my first international order, so I am just use to actually being able to track closer than this.
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  21. #21
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    DX is hit and miss on tracking. You can take your HK post tracking number, and search USPS for it. when the package hits the International Service Center, those numbers are added to the USPS system. Some times you order on Monday, and tracking shows it in USPS system 4-5 days later. then depending on USPS - they may sit on it for a while. My last DX order hit New york in 4 days, then sat there for 2 weeks.

    I also ordered a pack of tactile switches from a seller in china, it hit USPS 5 days later and then tracked through the US to a city 90 miles away on August 6th, then never moved again. No one @ USPS could help me, cause the package didn't have delivery confirmation. USPS told me I needed to initiate a claim with the seller. (Ummm...the seller got it to the USA, you guys lost it after it moved though 3 USPS distribution centers) It was a $2 purchase so I just bought another pack from a US seller this time.

    The original package showed up in my mailbox Wednesday of this week. Oh well.

  22. #22
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    Just checked USPS and it agrees.... some where in the Pacific.

    Ordered 10/31... left HK 11/9... currently waiting for a current or breeze in the Pacific.

    After this order, I will have to poke around more to see if there are US suppliers for the cheaper drivers for "fun" lights.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  23. #23
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    illuminationsupply.com or LED Bike Light projects

    Both are in the states and keep a couple models of popular inexpensive drivers.

  24. #24
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    So much for tracking.... it all showed up at my house today. :-)
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  25. #25
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    Early Christmas!

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