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  1. #1
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    First Attempt (XM-L)

    Hello All

    I blame you all for inspiring me to build a light

    I have yet to ride at night and don't know if I will do too much of it but tinkering on the bike is always a good thing. I have learned a lot in the last two weeks that I have been lurking trying to learn as much as possible.

    I purchased some LEDs, optics and optic holders (2 X 20mm and 2 X 26.5mm) from LEDSupply. Two drivers from DX have been ordered.

    Still have to come up with switches and cable glands and decide on batteries (buy a premade replacement pack 4 X 18650s or build my own????)

    But this just arrived!!! Now to start machining, I have access to an old SouthBend lathe to tinker on, but unfortunately it is not at my house! I am going to start with the 26.5mm setup first and see how it turns out.....will take me awhile I am sure, but will keep you all posted.
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  2. #2
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    Welcome to this strange obsession. Good choice on starting with the larger size. In my experience, bigger parts are easier to work with and the beam quality of larger optics is better than small optics.

  3. #3
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    Good luck

    I am also building my first light. For the housing I'm starting with some 3/4" sch 80 aluminum pipe for OnlineMetals.com The id of that is 18.85mm with an od of 26.67mm. Bore that out to 20mm and leave a little lip on one end and your 1/2 the way there. I plan on using a rubber compression plug with a hole it it for the wire. I'm hoping an old Velo bar end plug will work. Cut some 1mm deep grooves in pipe to increase the surface area and hold the rubber oring for the mount and job done.

  4. #4
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    welcome to the club, we're all a bit (twitch, twitch) crazy in here!

    looking forward to the beamshots of the larger optics, I don't think I've ever seen those used before.

  5. #5
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    Still waiting on the drivers......recieved an email on Friday from DX saying they are waiting for restocking of the item.

    Global backoder apparently. Maybe an intergalactic backorder????

    Switches, cable glands and switch covers have been ordered from DX as well, not sure exactly how I will construct it but will wait until parts are all here to get going on body construction.

    I hope they arrive soon cuz I am anxious to get started.... Now I am obsessed
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  6. #6
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    Hello All,

    Finally put together my first light!

    I want to thank you all for your inspiration and for all the knowledge I have gained from reading this forum. Thank you Pucked Up for giving us all a beginners a push to DIYing lights!

    This is a Cree XML-T6 and 26.5 optic/holder from LED-Supply
    Driver is 8 x 7135 from Kaidomain (7weeks and still waiting for DX drivers!!!)
    Judco switch, battery holders and connectors from Digi-key
    4 Keeppower 18650s (not pictured) are from Kuma Bear on budget light forum (batteries are wired 1S4P)
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  7. #7
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    Sorry that some pics are fuzzy, there are from an older digital camera and the clear ones from my phone.

    I will have to take a few more pics of the finished assembly and then some beam shots soon!

    Hear a few more:
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  8. #8
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    Good job, would not be able to tell its your first

  9. #9
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    Thank you

    Oh yeah, gotta give a shout out for Action LED for the mount and o-rings!
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  10. #10
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    Very nice, especially for a first build. You start out with bar set pretty high for an encore.

  11. #11
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    Thank you! I have spent the last several months reading and trying to learn from you and others on this board.

    My wife has been getting sick of me reading and searching DIY light info- I think she thinks I am nuts

    I don't know if I want to go with a multi-emmiter or a small single light for my next project???? I guess I will have to spend more time on here getting more ideas!
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  12. #12
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    wow, that really is a beautiful piece of work, well done! Very much looking forward to seeing the beamshots with that optic..

    Someone on here did a great tutorial on how to make your own battery case with neoprene and a couple of velcro straps, might be worth checking out for the finishing touch!

  13. #13
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    Fantastic looking light Beecrazy.

    I hope you now realise that you have cemented the addiction and soon your house will be full of light housings for when the permanent solar eclipse hits the earth, or just to annoy your wife

  14. #14
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    Great looking light - especially for a first-up effort.

    I built a number of halogen-based lights quite a few years ago and I am now considering having a crack at building some lights using Cree XML LEDs - I am currently tossing up between retrofitting some old Vistalites that I have or starting from scratch (or maybe both).

    Out of interest, what colour (color for you guys in the US) LEDs did you use. I have had a look at the Cutter Electronics site and they have a range of colour temperatures available but I am not sure what would be the most suited for off-road mtb use - any idea what the collective wisdom is in this regard?

    Cheers,

    Gags

  15. #15
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    Big Gags

    I used a 6500K cool white Led from LedSupply (the same one used in Pucked Up's Very Easy XM-L Build thread)

    I have never night ridden and don't have an opinion on colour since this is all new to me
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  16. #16
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    Awesome build! Welcome to the club.

    You'll love night riding because it's not as hot, you dont need to put on sun screen and there is no else on the trails!!
    "By Your Command"

  17. #17
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    Just received the two drivers I ordered from DX in mid November! Good thing I wasn't holding my breath!

    Now if i use one of these for my next build i will have to make a different style/voltage battery pack..... or pick up another 8x7135 driver oh snap!

    Don't think I will order from them!
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Gags View Post
    Out of interest, what colour (color for you guys in the US) LEDs did you use. I have had a look at the Cutter Electronics site and they have a range of colour temperatures available but I am not sure what would be the most suited for off-road mtb use - any idea what the collective wisdom is in this regard?

    Cheers,

    Gags
    Mate I try and stick to the warmer tints (closer to yellow) as they seem to give the best contrast when out riding. The really white/bluish tints (higher colour temp number) to me seem to make everything grey and dull and it is hard to distinguish the height of rocks etc. The warmer tints (lower number) seem to give more depth and colour making it easier to judge obstacles. If you have been using halogen then you will be used to the warmer tints. I'll see if I can dig up previous tints I have used

    Hope that helps a little.

  19. #19
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    Nice looking light!

  20. #20
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    Thanks Brad - I was pretty sure that the warmer tints were better suited to mountain biking but I wasn't sure what tints were usually used for LEDs.

    My home-made halogen systems had a couple of 20W globes and I still think that the light that they threw was better to ride by than the light that I get out of my Ayup LED lights - the only problem was that back then I was carting a 4.5 Ah Sealed Lead Acid battery around which weighed a tonne and could only be mounted on the bike (probably would have snapped my neck if I had tried to mount it on a helmet!!!).

    I am new to the mtbr forums and once I have gotten enough posts up to allow me to start a thread I might have to post a few pictures of some of my old halogen lights - might give some of the younger forum members a taste of "the olden days"!!!

    Cheers,

    Gags

  21. #21
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    Carting a SLA around brings back memories. Weighed nearly as much as the bike.

    You will not be disappointed with a triple xml run from a 14.8 li-ion battery pack. Blows a 20w halogen out of the water.

  22. #22
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    Neutral/Warm tint LED's make a lot of difference in that comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Gags View Post
    Thanks Brad - I was pretty sure that the warmer tints were better suited to mountain biking but I wasn't sure what tints were usually used for LEDs.

    My home-made halogen systems had a couple of 20W globes and I still think that the light that they threw was better to ride by than the light that I get out of my Ayup LED lights - the only problem was that back then I was carting a 4.5 Ah Sealed Lead Acid battery around which weighed a tonne and could only be mounted on the bike (probably would have snapped my neck if I had tried to mount it on a helmet!!!).

    I am new to the mtbr forums and once I have gotten enough posts up to allow me to start a thread I might have to post a few pictures of some of my old halogen lights - might give some of the younger forum members a taste of "the olden days"!!!

    Cheers,

    Gags

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    Someone on here did a great tutorial on how to make your own battery case with neoprene and a couple of velcro straps, might be worth checking out for the finishing touch!
    Post #132 in this thread has such a pouch, not sure if that's the one. There are a few other ideas in that thread as well, including use of an old inner tube with silicon bead & super glue.

  24. #24
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    Beam Shots

    I took a few beam shots with my crappy camera

    Exposure to 4 secs. (camera didn't have 6)
    White balance to Daylight
    Couldn't find anything about F stops for "F4", camera did have ISO but I didn't know what to do with it

    I accidently deleted the "constant" no light setting but you can see how dark it is with the light on "Low", which is pretty useless for riding.

    The nearest corner of the shed is 63meters (206ft) away, the pine tree is about 25ft away.

    Low, Medium and High with the 8x7135 driver from Kaidomain
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  25. #25
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    wow, that's a really lovely beam - nice spot, smooth transition and no sharp cut off. Do you have the part no. for the one you used? I may have to think about them for my next bar light, due sometime around next winter

    As for tints, I like the 3* tints. I've used two 3Cs, one of which was a little warmer than the other, but they're both quite neutral and have far better contrast than the U2 bin 1A LEDs I have in my main lights. In fact, if you get the new XM-L2 T6 3C, they'll put out a little more light than the XM-L U2 AND have better contrast. The only trick is finding them in stock

    I agree about DX - fine for small fire'n'forget orders that you'll be pleasantly surprised about receiving, no good for stuff you actually need at a particular time. Illumination Supply is a much better bet and the customer service is fantastic.

  26. #26
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    Matt

    The optic is 10048 Plain Tight 26.5 Carlco Lens from LEDSupply 10048 Plain Tight Carclo Lens - LED Supply.com
    It is a 7 degree. I also purchased a Frosted Wide at 34 degrees but it is very wide, there is also an 11 and 21 degree optics.

    Since this is going to be my bar light because of the size?????, (I haven't weighed it yet) I may pick up the 11 and 21 just to try. I didn't photo the wide angle optic but it was getting late, so after the rain subsides I will give it another try.

    As far as the tint goes, I don't think it had the tint just said Cool-White Cree XM-L T6???

    Thank you,

    Don
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  27. #27
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    Don,

    The beam shots look pretty impressive - I assume that they are a reasonable representation of what you see with the naked eye?

    I have a couple of questions (probably dumb ones) in regards to the physical construction of the housing.

    How did you make the rear end cap? Did you cut a piece of flat Aluminium, attach it to the back of the housing, and then machine it to the same profile?

    Also in regards to the front cap/lens holder - is the internal diameter of this piece slightly less than the ID of the main housing (so that it holds the lens in place)? Could you please provide a heads-up on how you made it.

    Apologies for the dumb questions - my background is in electronics and I am not up to scratch on the mechanical side of things.

    Cheers,

    Gags

  28. #28
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    Gags

    The beam shots are a realistic representation of how bright the light is, I was impressed with what an XM-L at 3 amps can do.

    When I machined the outside diameter of the housing, I made it longer than the light body was going to be so I could use the extra material to make the front and rear. I made the front cover (bezel) first then the rear.

    The inside diameter of the front cover is smaller, enough to hold the optic itself in, the inside diameter is .980" but the bore of the light body in the front is 1.140" (the size of the outside diameter of the optic holder). So there was my piece of aluminum stock that was the same outside diameter as the body, then I bored it to the .980" to hold the optic, next step was to machine the inside and outside bevels purely for asthetics. After that I cut the front bezel off of the stock with a cutt-off bit. Once it was cut off, I drilled the holes in the front bezel, then drilled and taped the holes in the body (3mm button head stainless steel allens).

    The rear cover was out of the same aluminum stock since there was still enough that was the same outside diameter. I drilled a 3/8" hole in it, beveled it and cut it off- just like the front. Essentially it is an aluminum washer

    Sorry I don't have any pictures of the actual process of the front and rear machining, sometimes I get a little too focused and don't think of it....that and I don't always have a set plan, just start making it and hope it turns out good

    No dumb questions, everyone here is really helpfull- it's great

    Don
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  29. #29
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    Thanks for the explanation - makes sense now.

    Out of interest, would there be any advantage to be had in drilling the holes for the front cover prior to using the cut-off bit to remove it? Just thought that this would guarantee that the holes would line up and would mean that you only had to mark the holes once??

    Looks like I am going to have to sweet talk a mate of mine who has a lathe and a milling machine into making a housing for me!!

    Thanks again,

    Gags

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by beecrazy View Post
    Matt

    The optic is 10048 Plain Tight 26.5 Carlco Lens from LEDSupply 10048 Plain Tight Carclo Lens - LED Supply.com
    It is a 7 degree. I also purchased a Frosted Wide at 34 degrees but it is very wide, there is also an 11 and 21 degree optics.

    Since this is going to be my bar light because of the size?????, (I haven't weighed it yet) I may pick up the 11 and 21 just to try. I didn't photo the wide angle optic but it was getting late, so after the rain subsides I will give it another try.

    As far as the tint goes, I don't think it had the tint just said Cool-White Cree XM-L T6???

    Thank you,

    Don
    Awesome, thanks Don. Those are now top of my list for the next bar light, probably a tight and a narrow to get flood and punch. The larger size will also help make the housing large enough for cooling purposes too Post up beamshots of the 11deg as and when you can!

    Cool white just refers to a colour temperature range. Cree calls Cool White anything from 5000K and above, although they're typically ~6500K. Most of the Neutral Whites people use on here are 5000K and higher CRI (better colour contrast) - still white, just a little warmer. Tint refers to where the LED sits within that colour range, so 6500K cool white could be 1A to 1D, depending on if they're slightly pinker or slightly greener. Hopefully somebody (Vanc? Brad?) will dig up their v. useful Cree CCT chart

  31. #31
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    Gags,

    Drilling the holes first would definately work, good idea. I drilled the cover holes to a small size, held it on the body and drilled one hole into the body. Drilled and taped that hole, enlarged the hole on the cover and screwed it on. Drilled the other two holes, drill and taped and then it was complete.

    Matt,

    Thank you for the colour/tint description, that makes sense.

    I will post a pic of the 11 degree once I order one, gotta take it easy on purchases, the wife is getting bothered by all these little purchases while trying to pay for all of the excess Christmas spending!

    Don
    09 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er

  32. #32
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    I found that the battery holder fits perfectly in 2 inch PVC, so I put a couple of endcaps on it (I machined them down more then what is shown in the photo cuz it weighed a ton!)

    This will then go in the waterbottle holder. I was going to just put the battery pack in a water bottle but what fun would that be
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  33. #33
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    I weighed "Tank" and it came out to 112 grams, good thing this is a bar light.

    Now smaller is getting easier to build, I may have to build a lighter version of this one for fun!
    First Attempt (XM-L)-2013-02-10_17-50-01_724.jpg
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by beecrazy View Post
    Now smaller is getting easier to build, I may have to build a lighter version of this one for fun!
    Yes, you're progressing nicely on the path to full fledged light building addiction. Lighter, smaller, brighter, there is always a new goal.

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