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  1. #1
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    Inline switch ideas?

    I am getting tired of having to tear down my brightest homebrew lighting setups due to crappy-assed switches failing. I have decided that an inline switch, even if they’re just as delicate as the non-inline ones, will be easier to replace. Any suggestions as to which weatherproof SPST and DPDT setups are available that people have tested out? I know, I know, I am totally 1900s old school going with mechanical non-momentary non-microcontroller setups, but I like SIMPLICITY.

    The lights I have been making since 2007 I have been using for commuting setups, so basically seeing several hundreds of on/off cycles per year (multiple on/off cycles per ride). I need something that will LAST, short of just deciding to use my battery connections as a “switch”. I am open to any ideas you all may have.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    www.hahntronix.com
    Reputation: mhahn@hvc.rr.com's Avatar
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    I am getting tired of having to tear down my brightest homebrew lighting setups due to crappy-assed switches failing.
    How are your switches failing? Do they mechanically break? Or are the contacts burning out (usually easy to spot if you take the switch completely apart)? A switch rated for a certain AC current will typically fail at a much lower DC current (the AC current doesn't sustain an arc between the contacts the way a DC current will).

    If your switches are failing due to burned out contacts, you might want to consider getting switches rated for a much higher current. Look for switches that have a DC current rating that will handle the load you are switching. It might be a good idea to use a switch with at least a 2x higher voltage rating than your battery pack, since you are probably switching an inductive load (your LED driver).

    Or else drop the "old-school" attitude and go with a fancy microcontroller based LED driver. The momentary contact pushbutton switch used in a lot of drivers, doesn't have to handle very much current. Maybe a few thousandths of an ampere. So frying the switch contacts is pretty unlikely.

    Mark
    Nimium est melior!

  3. #3
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    The switches I have been using are rated for 125-250V AC, and around 5A of current. My highest current light only pumps 2A through the switch. The switches are sort of small though. I haven’t yet had a chance to do a proper autopsy on them to determine whether they are burning out or just wearing out, but the pushbutton ones seem to still work, but you need to turn them on with vise grips rather than just your thumb, so clearly the mechanical aspect is in question. The toggle-style ones I have had fail on several other lights I’ve made since 2007, they just seem to suck no matter what. It is a pain in the ass just having to tear down the light assembly even just replacing them, let alone having the desire to figure out why they failed.

    I’d love to go the microcontroller route, but I am not a programmer—C++ code makes zero sense to me, and I don’t use PCs (all my nerded-out microcontroller-versed friends think Macs are for those really far-out creative types who would never understand nerded-out concepts such as microprocessor interworkings).
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  4. #4
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    Reputation: mattthemuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker
    I’d love to go the microcontroller route, but I am not a programmer—C++ code makes zero sense to me, and I don’t use PCs (all my nerded-out microcontroller-versed friends think Macs are for those really far-out creative types who would never understand nerded-out concepts such as microprocessor interworkings).
    I know what you mean, but as long as you can count to 13 George's *flex drivers are really easy to set up. Plus, if you lose count (which is why I don't do them when my kids are awake) you can just pull the plug and start again. Given that I nearly failed maths at pretty much every level of education and can still make my lights work, I'm sure you'd cope fine

  5. #5
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    Yeah, you don't have to hard code the *flex drivers. You just have to press the button to cycle through the menu, and the light flashes to confirm the press/click. I find it to be easier than setting the time on a digital watch, once I got the hang of it.

  6. #6
    Carbon8er
    Reputation: El34's Avatar
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    Me likes simple too!

    This switch housing assembly (pictured below) comes with a heavy duty SPST On-Off switch for $5.00

    A rubber boot covers the switch plunger.
    The back of the switch housing is curved so it fits the handlebar shape.
    There is a rubber piece on the back curve to keep it from slipping.
    The velcro strap locks the whole thing down.

    I strip these switches off of the old Marwi dual halogen lights and sell them on my web store.

    BTW- There are also NO momentary switch replacements available.
    I don't stock the momentary switches right now, but I probably will next time I order from my supplier.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by El34
    Me likes simple too!

    This switch housing assembly (pictured below) comes with a heavy duty SPST On-Off switch for $5.00

    A rubber boot covers the switch plunger.
    The back of the switch housing is curved so it fits the handlebar shape.
    There is a rubber piece on the back curve to keep it from slipping.
    The velcro strap locks the whole thing down.

    I strip these switches off of the old Marwi dual halogen lights and sell them on my web store.

    BTW- There are also NO momentary switch replacements available.
    I don't stock the momentary switches right now, but I probably will next time I order from my supplier.


    Do I provide my own wiring, or is there a loom already hooked up? Either way, looks like a done deal… just have to check out your web store.
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  8. #8
    Carbon8er
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    This page explains in more detail.
    http://www.el34world.com/Misc/bike/BikesLights47.htm

    Basically, I pry the housings apart, unsolder the existing wire and add new wires.
    The old wire is not long enough to do anything with.


  9. #9
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    Thanks! Ordered a few. Looking forward to hooking them up.
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  10. #10
    Carbon8er
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    Thanks, appreciate the bidness.

  11. #11
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    Got the switches and Marwi mounts today, awesome shipping turnaround time! Thanks again!
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  12. #12
    Carbon8er
    Reputation: El34's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks and enjoy

    In case other are interested, I ordered two types of Momentary NO SPST switches that fit the Marwi housings and that External switch housing.

    They should be here soon.

    One is a tall type that works better on the Old style Marwi housing
    The other is the short type like the one that comes with the External switch.

    Same switch body, just short or tall plungers and rubber boots.

  13. #13
    Go faster!
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    El34 does the bar mount switch has enough room to stick a small status LED there?

  14. #14
    Carbon8er
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    Not really, the switch pretty much takes up all the space inside
    This page shows good pictures of the insides
    LED Bike Lights

  15. #15
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    D’oh!!! I think I had promised pictures of some of the setups I am using the El34 switches with! Will have to do this.
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