Light Pod For Tray-Style Hitch Rack with pics- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Light Pod For Tray-Style Hitch Rack with pics

    My gal often rides around with a rack on her car, so safety was a concern. Plus, it makes me less paranoid when I'm driving us to the trail in her car.
    It's 1.5" angle-aluminum, shaped with a saber saw and belt sander. The stand-offs are 1/2" plastic conduit at 4" long. Paint is the rattle-bomb variety, in satin black. To keep it clean and conceal the wiring as much as possible, the wires run through the conduit, along with 1/4" all-thread cut to length. A little precision drilling keeps the all-thread seperate from the wires, each having their own hole in the angle-aluminum and existing rack spanner-bar. The 1/4"X20 thread pitch hardware, including a couple acorn nuts, washers and nylock nuts, is stainless steel. Wires were spliced to a trailer harness from Amazon using solder and shrink tube. They're stop and turn only. No running lights. Additional LED strips would be required for running lights. The 2.4" LEDs are from Oznium.com and come ready to connect directly to 12 volt. A piece of 3M double-sided car trim tape comes with each light. After sanding some paint off the mounting locations and cleaning with alcohol, I used the tape for attaching the LEDs. They're plenty bright in the day-time.
    Opinions, thoughts, and criticisms are welcome (as if ya'all need permission).






    Left turn, Clyde:


    Getting dark:




    You can see an acorn nut under the LEDs. It's attached to the all-thread with red Loctite. The hole for the wire is directly above the acorn nut. You can't see it. I didn't use washers on this end.


    Last edited by Rat Face; 04-26-2014 at 10:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    In general, I like it. Maybe it us just the pics, but I think I would have made the lights a bit larger. Still, definitely an upgrade from no extra lights, and sleek looking to boot

    Sent from a one-finger keyboard...pardon my autocorrect

  3. #3
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    Too low. Motorists don't look for things. It has to grab their attention.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  4. #4
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    I considered mounting it to the top of the vertical bar that runs between the bikes, but I was concerned that the LEDs would get lost in the bikes. Also, it'd be a pain to load the inboard bike. A potential alternative would be to simply adhere LED sitrips to the bottom of the tire hoops, but the hoops aren't equidistant from center, and if I load the 26" bikes the hoops need to be adjusted. That'd make the wire job a little challenging. I tried to consider aesthetics as well as function, but, ultimately, safety is the objective. One positive about being low is the contrast of the red lights against the shadow of the car's belly. I didn't think about that when I threw it together, but there appears to be an affect. Maybe it's just me. Also, relocating the license plate to the current light bar would be a short exercise, should I decide that's necessary. A light to illuminte the license plate wouldn't be difficult, either. I'm open to any other thoughts on location.
    Good point about the small-ish LEDs. I used the 1.5" angle-aluminum, plastic conduit and 2.4" LED strips because that's what I had laying around the shop. Other than the some-what short LED length, they seem to be appropriate enough materials (light weight, won't rust, malleable). The trailer harness was the only component I had to buy. I figured if I want longer LEDs, I could replace the 2.4" with 4". Since the strips are a little flexible, I could follow the radius towards the center of the bar. That might look funny, but I won't know until I try it. It would at least be additional light area. I might get curious enough to order some different LEDs and give it a shot. I could always toss this unit and start from scratch.
    The second one is always easier. Thanks for the comments.

  5. #5
    Motocrosser Turned MTBer
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    I like what you did. I agree that it could be bigger, but still better than the original zero that it came with. I did a similar set up on my Kuat Sherpa. Mine is a center mount that does all things in one unit. I made sure to solder, shrink tube, and wire loom all connections. Unfortunately, I had to surface mount the loom and the actual light.
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XuejYbcZQXU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  6. #6
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    You are all way to high class for me! I bought a couple of magnet trailer lights from Harbor Freight and connected them. I don't have a picture of the actual set up, but they mount with magnets to the platform. I used these lights: 12 Volt Magnetic Towing Light Kit

    I use a 2+2 rack, so having the ability to move the lights is important.

  7. #7
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    Light Pod For Tray-Style Hitch Rack with pics

    I looked into magnetic lights. Cost more (surprisingly) and won't attach to my aluminum rack. My rack isn't expandable, but I can move the light system from rack to rack with some additional adhesive if needed.

  8. #8
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    You may want to look into using lights that meet DOT requirements (provided you live in the USA), that way if you are ever in an accident no one could point to non-approved lights as a contributing factor.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bakracer View Post
    I like what you did. I agree that it could be bigger, but still better than the original zero that it came with. I did a similar set up on my Kuat Sherpa. Mine is a center mount that does all things in one unit. I made sure to solder, shrink tube, and wire loom all connections. Unfortunately, I had to surface mount the loom and the actual light.
    Those are certainly more noticable. Thanks for the video. Bigger is bettter, and I like the way you put running lights into the bar. Did you switch the ground?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerTi View Post
    You may want to look into using lights that meet DOT requirements (provided you live in the USA), that way if you are ever in an accident no one could point to non-approved lights as a contributing factor.
    I hear ya. Stupid insurance, DOT and the law. PITA!

    A thought I had today was to French them into the carbon fiber spoiler over the rear door. Sounds like a lot of effort. I probably have some dual filament, DOT motorcycle turn signals laying around I could add to the mix, just to be able to say, "DOT approved, with stamp, fixtures." I wonder what the DOT requires for seperation distance? I'm sure there's a spec for that, somewhere.
    Thanks for the input. I thought this one was pretty cool, but I might have to make another proto-type.

  10. #10
    Motocrosser Turned MTBer
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    Light Pod For Tray-Style Hitch Rack with pics

    Quote Originally Posted by Rat Face View Post
    Those are certainly more noticable. Thanks for the video. Bigger is bettter, and I like the way you put running lights into the bar. Did you switch the ground?
    Mine was actually a light bar for trailers. For the functionality and the enclosure, I figured it cheaper to purchase than attempt to make my own. Wired it up to a trailer harness, and yes, I did add a switch to the ground so that I could turn it off when it's in the stowed position. It is DOT approved, stamped on the lense. If you want I can send you a link to the bar.

    This is the light bar I really wanted to do, as I've used them on motorcycles before to remove stock brake lights and turn signals. These are incredibly bright and are about as streamlined as I think you can get. A little more expensive than I really wanted for this application.
    http://www.radiantz.com/index1.html?c6.html&1

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the link. Radiantz has sequential modules that would be fun to play with and their LED assemblies are attractive. However, budget wise, I think I'm gonna try to dig up those motorcycle lights. I might have to review the available ready-made trailer options, as well. The one you used definetly does the trick.

  12. #12
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    Light Pod For Tray-Style Hitch Rack with pics

    I agree 100% that they are a bit over the top for this application. Especially when you consider that not many people even bother adding lights to their racks. Cheap and simple goes a long way for this application.

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