3 Watt Luxeon Star Helmet Lamp project- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    3 Watt Luxeon Star Helmet Lamp project

    I wanted to fool around on the cheap this winter and make a helmet light using a single 3W Luxeon LED.

    I just got a 3W Luxeon flashlight on Ebay for $9.99. It runs on 3-1.5V AAA batteries (4.5V total) It supposedly has a built in regulator in the flashlight.

    I was thinking of whacking this sucker's lamp-head unit off, capping it and wiring it to dual AA 4-battery packs, each holding 4- 1.2V 2300 mAH NiMH AA batteries (which would be putting out 4.8V) If I ran these two small packs together I would be putting out 4.8V with 4600mAH capacity.

    The 3W Luxeon supposedly puts out 60-75 lumens (about the same as a 6 watt halogen) at 750mAH, so I would get about 6 hrs run time.

    I already have the batteries and charger for my cameras. I'm confident I can rig an effective mount system for my helmet, and place the battery packs in my camelback. Does this sound feasible to all you LED-Experimenting-riding-in-the-dark MTBers out there? I'm already running a dually halogen on my handlebar, so this would be just for looking ahead and around turns, so a tight spot beam would actually work well.

    Dan

  2. #2
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    Cool project. Sounds feasible to me.

    I'm not so motivated, so I bought the Cygo Lite Hi-Flux 100 (same head unit as the Hi-Flux 200) and will use my existing 6v batteries and charger. This headlight is supposedly equivalent to a 10W halogen and has a low/hi setting. From the description, it sounds like it has a Luxeon bulb, but I'm not sure which one it would be. I'm skeptical of the 10W comparison, though...

    http://www.cygolite.com/light/products/14HiFlux200.htm

    baker

  3. #3
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    Dan, sounds like a neat little project. It's a nice, neat way to get into DIY Luxeon tinkering.

    Be warned though - I can just about guarantee that you'll be upgrading your bar light to a Luxeon or HID based system soon. You'll find the higher colour temperature of the Luxeon to be so good that the halogen will look dull, yellow and underpowered. (depending on your halogens wattage).

    Let us know how you go, I'd be interested to see what you think of it when you've finished.

    Just a quick note though, (and I'm sure you've already thought of this as you use NiMh cells with your camera) make sure your cells can deliver a decent current. A high Amp Hour rating is great, but the cell is useless if it can only provide a decent current continuously for five minutes.....

    Cheers, Dave
    Last edited by Low_Rider; 01-23-2005 at 02:52 AM.

  4. #4
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    I knew I had seen something similar posted somewhere.......

    Halogen based, but check out what "thebronze" has been up to:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=61782

    Dave.

  5. #5
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    First off, those Hong Kong flashlights are Chinese Luxeon knock-offs. Second, they need some touch ups on the soldering on the LED "star". If you use the flashlight as is, you probably want to clean up the anodization off the threads for better conductivity. Third, I wouldn't recommend running them off anything other than the 3 alkalines without regulation. The nominal value of 1.2V per NiMH cell isn't the actual voltage. The initial voltage is MUCH higher, easily 1.5V or more and might be too much for the LED. Check the candlepowerforums.com for several threads on this light. I think they were talking about using a regulator out of a cheap $6 Walmart flashlight, Dorcey or something like that. Lastly, it's really not enough light by itself for offroad use. Good for back up or maybe as a secondary light.
    Long Live Long Rides

  6. #6

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    Homebrew...
    So you're saying they aren't regulated at all? I read some on the Candlepower forums, and am now aware that these aren't genuine Luxeons (although most were satisfied with lumen output and color, expecially for the price)
    I see that I should not only recheck soldered connections, but should also apply some thermal paste behind the diode.
    If I shouldn't run more than 3XAA, even with NimH's, then I might run 6AA NimH and go from there...

    BTW, this wasn't meant to be my primary light source. I've ridden with my current light (Cygo 12W Halogen-6V NimH bottle battery) for a while now, and it's sufficient for my needs. This would be to just add some directional capability my HB mounted light lacks (also something to do while the snowplows drive around)

    This Dorcy light being referred to that they are stripping a regulator from, is it a 1W Luxeon-powered light?

    Dan

  7. #7
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    Those guys know a lot more about it than I do. I've taken mine apart but haven't gone beyond that yet. It's still in pieces on the bench. I distinctly remember something about a $6 Dorcy from WalMart but I may be mixing that up from a QIII thread.
    Long Live Long Rides

  8. #8

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    I looked up the info on the Dorcy light, and it appears to be a direct drive unit as well (no resistors or regulators)

    When the light comes in soon, I'll post a few pics of the beam and pattern before skanking it for the head unit. At the very least, I know know that if I don't regulate the V, I shouldn't exceed the 3 battery stack. I guess I can wire two 4-AA battery holder to run 3 AA each parallel. I am also planning on fabricating a decent heatsink and using thermal paste to mount, along with improved soldering. Since a switch would be needed, I assume a nice RS microswitch mounted right on the head behind the reflector would be fine.

    Dan

  9. #9
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    I'm pretty sure that decent halogens also put out about 20 lumens/watt some as high as 25. Google it.. and you'll find those numbers.

    It's one of the reasons I'm not switching to White lumileds/luxeons yet due to the negligible increase in output compared to a good halogen. However the higher price is offset by higher durability...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatstroke
    I'm pretty sure that decent halogens also put out about 20 lumens/watt some as high as 25. Google it.. and you'll find those numbers.

    It's one of the reasons I'm not switching to White lumileds/luxeons yet due to the negligible increase in output compared to a good halogen. However the higher price is offset by higher durability...
    Here is a link w/ lumens/watt info. I found it very interesting, esp the overvolted MR16 figures compared to the halogens.

    baker

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Here is a link w/ lumens/watt info. I found it very interesting, esp the overvolted MR16 figures compared to the halogens.

    baker
    I suppose including the link would have been a good idea:

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/wattslumens.html

    baker

  12. #12
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    Thats interesting,

    I remembered overvolting boosted the lumens/watt somewhat but I had no idea it was so high : 52lumens/watt at 20% overvolt ! . Do you know if those light outputs were measured - I couldn't find the info ?

    I'd definately park any lumiled plans now.


    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    I suppose including the link would have been a good idea:

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/wattslumens.html

    baker

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Here is a link w/ lumens/watt info. I found it very interesting, esp the overvolted MR16 figures compared to the halogens.

    baker
    A MR16 IS a halogen bulb, with a built in reflector...typically used in home track lighting, but commonly modded for bike use. Luxeons are still more resistant to shock for longer life, and a much cleaner color.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DakotaJockey
    A MR16 IS a halogen bulb, with a built in reflector...typically used in home track lighting, but commonly modded for bike use. Luxeons are still more resistant to shock for longer life, and a much cleaner color.
    I mis-typed. I meant compared to the referenced HID on the same chart.

    baker

  15. #15
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    Yeah, it's well documented that over volting halogens increases efficiency dramatically. It also drastically reduces bulb life, and does nothing to improve that awful colour temperature.

    Luxeons too can be driven past their normal specs, but again their life decreases, and they become less efficient, and generate more heat that must be taken care of through better heatsink design.

    It's not just lumens per watt that makes a great light though. Colour temperature has a huge impact on the "perceived" brightness, and also has an impact on the lights ability to "pick out" contours and objects on the trail.

    ************************************************** ***********

    Anyway, back on topic....

    Dan - I'm not familiar with the light that you have purchased, but it's worth a try to see what happens. If you're going to the trouble of making a better heatsink, can I suggest that you try and track down a true "Luxeon" produced by lumileds with a decent bin code?

    Cheers, Dave

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