Tri Lux III Scratch-built light- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tri Lux III Scratch-built light

    I've enjoyed seeing what other folks here are doing in the area of homemade bike lighting so here's my contribution.

    I finally finished my most recent homebuilt bike lighting project. It's a 3X Luxeon III LED light similar to Cateye's Triple Shot (except theirs looks a lot better). The body of the light is built almost entirely from 1" square aluminum tubing. It has three Luxeon III (TV1J bin) LEDs, a 3021 BuckPuck driver (1 Amp), a potentiometer for dimming, and it's powered by a 14.4v NiMh battery pack. I've got one night ride on the light and it was great.

    Here's a link to photos during the build, along with a few beamshots.

    Edit: 11/21/2006 Link to steps for building light housing. Part of a website that I am working on

    http://myfwyc.org/Timberlake/BikeLighting
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    Last edited by achesalot; 11-21-2006 at 07:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Gone riding
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    Argh Vader! This thing is bright! If the rebels produce enough of these, the Dark Side will surely suffer an agonizing defeat!
    What a classic!!

    Looking good. It's great to see more and more DIY luxeon lights being built! It looks like you've thought about and planned this light very well. I can tell you've done a bit of this before, nice job!

    What made you decide on using reflectors in comparison to optics?? I'll be interested to see how you go.

    Happy trails, Dave.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low_Rider
    What a classic!!
    What made you decide on using reflectors in comparison to optics?? I'll be interested to see how you go.
    Happy trails, Dave.
    Thanks Dave. Supposedly, the reflectors offer better throw than optics. This link shows a comparison (keep in mind it's an ad).

    http://www.quickar.com/lenses.php?session=tIyT3guM

    Probably could do a mix of optics and reflectors to get throw + flood pattern. I originally had planned optics, and bought some NX05s but then decided to use reflectors after reading around on the candlepowerforums. Also, I did a side-by-side comparison of my 5w Luxeon flashlight (that has optics) with another 5w Luxeon that has a reflector, and that made my mind up.

    The next thing I probably need to do is work on making the light more waterproof. I need some sort of seal between the main body and front housing. It could leak if I get caught in the rain. I generally don't night ride in the rain, or if I think its going to rain. But in Florida, you never know. I do remember getting sprinkled on one time last year. The rain looks real cool with the lights at night!
    -Allen
    Last edited by achesalot; 11-24-2005 at 11:11 PM.

  4. #4
    the wrench
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    even though its an ad its true. the reflectors are as much as 10%more efficent than solid state optics. i got the same information from the engineers at future electronics when i was purchasing the parts to build my lights.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by garboui
    even though its an ad its true. the reflectors are as much as 10%more efficent than solid state optics. i got the same information from the engineers at future electronics when i was purchasing the parts to build my lights.
    Oh, I agree. The reflectors definitely put out more light. I wasn't totally convinced until I compared two Luxeon flashlights, one with reflector -- one with optics. From that comparison it was obvious that the reflectors win... hands down. However, if you want more of a flood pattern, you might still look into optics... or mixing the two in a multi-light system, as I'd mentioned earlier.

    BTW. Nice copper top lights Garboui... they look like they can really handle the beating given to a light while mountain biking at night! I'm working on a dual Luxeon V light right now. I'll post some pics when I'm done.

    -Allen

  6. #6
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    yeah the copper really takes a beating. im also planning on building a 2x5 version but im still undecided weather to go to for a buck or boost circuit. the problem with 2 led is that they will require about 13v for the two of them; the battery packs taht i ahve are all approx 12v or 6 v. the problem that i face is that in the spec sheets the boost controllers dont seem to like boosting to such a hive voltage.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by garboui
    yeah the copper really takes a beating. im also planning on building a 2x5 version but im still undecided weather to go to for a buck or boost circuit. the problem with 2 led is that they will require about 13v for the two of them; the battery packs taht i ahve are all approx 12v or 6 v. the problem that i face is that in the spec sheets the boost controllers dont seem to like boosting to such a hive voltage.
    Yeah. I'm running 14.4v battery packs that are usually about 15.75v when freshly charged. You could just run each Lux V off its own driver, but use the same battery. That way, they each have their own 700mA, and correlating regulated voltage. My WXOT bin Lux V runs about 6.39 v using a 700mA Buckpuck driver. I'll be driving the Dual Lux V setup with a Downboy 750mA Stepdown converter. It's physically very small and will not take up much room in the body of the light.

    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...roducts_id=495

  8. #8
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    wow, that driver does everything. the olly thing though that i dont like ibout it is its efficency. right now im using the 3021buck pucks taht run in the 90%'s ofefficency. using the downboy driver will drop my runtime down into the sub 2 hr range for battery life because if its eficency. i like the idea of doing what you said though to just run two buck pucks driving the lights seperatly. thias qwasy it qwould be easasy to hasve the lightas run independasntly of one asnother asnd asasve basttery.

    if i use the downboy driver i could run the lights in series the wire a switch in parallel with one of the lights letting me turn one light off to save battery.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
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  9. #9
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    Yeah, I wasn't thinking too much about the reduced efficiency of the Downboy. We'll see how it works out. BTW where do you usually buy you Buckpuck. I originally bought mine at luxeonstar.com (I think I paid $37 - expensive!) but I later found them at LED supply for much less.

    http://www.ledsupply.com/index.html

    I'll post info about the dual LuxV when I get all the parts and finish it.

  10. #10
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    thats just amazing...wow quite the light
    do you happen to have the electrical diagram for those...as well how much (approx.) did you spend in total?
    thanks

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMR For Life
    thats just amazing...wow quite the light
    do you happen to have the electrical diagram for those...as well how much (approx.) did you spend in total?
    thanks
    Thanks!
    I have a rough diagram but it's too large to upload here. LEDs are wired in series. Wiring to 3021 Buckpuck and 12-14.4 volt pwr source should be obvious (pins on 3021 are labeled). I probably spent 30-40 hours designing and assembling. As you can see below, the $320 for the Cateye TripleShot is not a bad deal unless you like to DIY.

    3 - LuxIII LXHL-LW3C (TVIJ) 39.00 (Can go with more expensive binned LEDs)
    3 - 20mm IMS Reflectors 17.25 (Can get for $5/ea at quickar.com)
    1 - Arctic Alumina Adhesive 6.25
    1 - 3021-D-E-1000 Buckpuck/DC 20.00 (Other choices as well... i.e. DownBoy)
    1 - 5K Pot 5.00 (optional)
    1 - DC Pwr Connector 3.99
    Shipping & Handling 12.00

    Aluminum 10.00
    Plexiglass 7.00
    Screws, nuts, bolts 5.00
    J-B Weld 5.00
    Adhsive rubber for helmet mt 5.00

    Rough total: 136.00

    Asumme you have items below.

    Small amount of wire
    Solder
    Solder Gun
    Drill
    Dremel Tool
    Band Saw w/metal blade
    Tap kit or get threaded inserts

    Assumes you already have 14.4v battery
    and charger. 12v battery would work.


    Sources:
    Radioshack, Lowes
    http://www.ledsupply.com/index.html
    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.com/index.php

  12. #12
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    Bins?

    Hi,

    I'm thinking hard about an LED light project. I'm not sure about the benefits/drawbacks of a 3x 3watt Lux vs 2x 5watt. The light would be used for a long commute as well as some tough singletrack, so I am aiming for pretty bright with long runtimes. I'm hoping to get the longer run times by dimming the group or even switching off one light independently.

    If I'm understanding the bin concept properly, it's possible to get Lux stars with relatively high flux output, but maybe with a relatively lower forward voltage (less power required to run it).

    I am having problems locating sellers with binned LEDs. Can anyone provide a link or two?

    Nice post, thanks for sharing!

    Walt

  13. #13
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    Walt,

    I've attached (hopefully) a pdf with bin info on the Luxeons. Hope it helps.

    The Sandwhich Shoppe sells binned Luxeons, the link is
    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...x.php?cPath=48
    I'm sure there are other places as well, but I've ordered from the guy above and he is reasonable on shipping and fast to ship. You might also look as some of the links from:
    http://www.flashlightreviews.com/links.htm for other sources.

    You'll pay more, of course, for the high end bin stuff, like clear, flawless diamonds! But you can bet Cateye isn't using hi-bin stuff, so you'll have a much brighter light! For less$$!

    3 of the UXIL binned Lux IIIs would make a nice light. Heck I can see as fast as I can pedal on the trails with my 3 TVIJ binned LuxIII light. Throw in a 3021 Buckpuck/ 5k dimmer pot, a 12v or 14.4v battery pack, 20mm IMS reflectors, and you'll have a nice setup. Dim it down to save battery when you don't need as much light.

    Remember, 10W = 10W as far as your battery is concerned, whether coming from a halogen or LEDs. But the LEDs will give you about twice the Lu/Watt.

    I'm currently building a 2xLuxV light. Issues:
    1. You need close to 13v to light the LEDs (no prob, I use 14.4v battery pack)
    2. Lux Vs are expensive $40 ea (WX1S binned) 2 of these should produce well over 300 lumens, possibly up to 380. You should get 300+ lumens from 3 U-binned LuxIIIs which are running about $27 each. So about the same cost, but possibly a few dozen more lumens from the 2x Lux V setup.
    3. Shorter life of LED. The Lux V is rated at only 500hrs, versus, 100K hrs for LuxIII (pretty drastic difference), but I should get about 6+ years of night riding before the LuxV starts to dim, given the fact that I ride about 12 night hrs/mo for 6 months out of the year. I hear wind of new LEDs that will be coming out that are capable of producing 130 lu/watt. I'm sure I will build a new light anyway when these hit the market!

    Heat management is also a concern if you want your LEDs to maintain their output and live a normal life, but I find that 10mph air blowing over the light reduces the need for massive heat sinking. There is lots of documentation at: http://www.luxeonstar.com/lumileds-documentation.php

    Good luck,
    - Allen
    Attached Files Attached Files

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by achesalot
    Yeah, I wasn't thinking too much about the reduced efficiency of the Downboy. We'll see how it works out. BTW where do you usually buy you Buckpuck. I originally bought mine at luxeonstar.com (I think I paid $37 - expensive!) but I later found them at LED supply for much less.

    http://www.ledsupply.com/index.html

    I'll post info about the dual LuxV when I get all the parts and finish it.

    being in canada all those sites would cost alot because of shipping and customs charger. i get all my parts from http://www.future.ca . they are a canadial supplier based out of quebec for all luxeon and luxeon related products. being a supplier they have very good tech support because they are all engineers. because they are a supplier some things only come in large sizes such as the 1lb tub of thermal paste which is enough for the application of thousands of star emitters. my prices are comparable if not better at times compared to the second place you found. this is because their offices are in quebec but their warehouse is in boston so what i pay is directly related to the dollar exchange rate.

    if im building a boost circuit light theres a kit that i can buy that comes withe the boost cct hooked up to a 5w star thats $35 total but mormally a puck and a 5wstar will run me just under 40cdn plus 8%tax
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  15. #15
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    That's funny. I originally ordered most of my parts from luxeonstar.com which is owned by Quadica Developments, and ships out of Calgary, Alberta, CA. I've since found better deals elsewhere, although there is a good deal of information on their web site.

  16. #16
    the wrench
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    i have found the pdf's on the luxeon website at http://www.lumileds.com to be the best source of accurate and objective information. the pdf's are very clear in what they say as long as you are good at reading technical literature. these pdf's also provide lots of formilas for calculating things such as heat dispertion.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
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  17. #17
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    Optics?

    Allen,

    Thanks for the link on the bins, it helps a lot. Not to mention the other links.

    I have a few more questions please.

    How do the reflectors you used attach to the LED? Are there any focus issues?

    How did you get a thermal connection from the LED to the light casing? It's probably simpler than I think, but I'm having trouble envisioning how the LED, optical reflector, and the mounting of the LED to the case all work together. I assume you use the square aluminum light case as your heat sink, true?

    Do you know if using the dimmer on the Buck Puck results in energy savings? Run time is going to be an issue for me, I'm trying to figure out how to get 3hr+ burn times at below freezing temperature.

    I agree with you that the WX1S binned Luxeons look attractive.

    Thanks.

    Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by achesalot
    Walt,

    I've attached (hopefully) a pdf with bin info on the Luxeons. Hope it helps.

    The Sandwhich Shoppe sells binned Luxeons, the link is
    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...x.php?cPath=48
    I'm sure there are other places as well, but I've ordered from the guy above and he is reasonable on shipping and fast to ship. You might also look as some of the links from:
    http://www.flashlightreviews.com/links.htm for other sources.

    You'll pay more, of course, for the high end bin stuff, like clear, flawless diamonds! But you can bet Cateye isn't using hi-bin stuff, so you'll have a much brighter light! For less$$!

    3 of the UXIL binned Lux IIIs would make a nice light. Heck I can see as fast as I can pedal on the trails with my 3 TVIJ binned LuxIII light. Throw in a 3021 Buckpuck/ 5k dimmer pot, a 12v or 14.4v battery pack, 20mm IMS reflectors, and you'll have a nice setup. Dim it down to save battery when you don't need as much light.

    Remember, 10W = 10W as far as your battery is concerned, whether coming from a halogen or LEDs. But the LEDs will give you about twice the Lu/Watt.

    I'm currently building a 2xLuxV light. Issues:
    1. You need close to 13v to light the LEDs (no prob, I use 14.4v battery pack)
    2. Lux Vs are expensive $40 ea (WX1S binned) 2 of these should produce well over 300 lumens, possibly up to 380. You should get 300+ lumens from 3 U-binned LuxIIIs which are running about $27 each. So about the same cost, but possibly a few dozen more lumens from the 2x Lux V setup.
    3. Shorter life of LED. The Lux V is rated at only 500hrs, versus, 100K hrs for LuxIII (pretty drastic difference), but I should get about 6+ years of night riding before the LuxV starts to dim, given the fact that I ride about 12 night hrs/mo for 6 months out of the year. I hear wind of new LEDs that will be coming out that are capable of producing 130 lu/watt. I'm sure I will build a new light anyway when these hit the market!

    Heat management is also a concern if you want your LEDs to maintain their output and live a normal life, but I find that 10mph air blowing over the light reduces the need for massive heat sinking. There is lots of documentation at: http://www.luxeonstar.com/lumileds-documentation.php

    Good luck,
    - Allen

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by achesalot
    I've enjoyed seeing what other folks here are doing in the area of homemade bike lighting so here's my contribution.

    I finally finished my most recent homebuilt bike lighting project. It's a 3X Luxeon III LED light similar to Cateye's Triple Shot (except theirs looks a lot better). The body of the light is built almost entirely from 1" square aluminum tubing. It has three Luxeon III (TV1J bin) LEDs, a 3021 BuckPuck driver (1 Amp), a potentiometer for dimming, and it's powered by a 14.4v NiMh battery pack. I've got one night ride on the light and it was great.

    Here's a link to photos during the build, along with a few beamshots.

    https://myfwyc.org/Timberlake/BikeLighting
    Me too! I'm almost done with my helmetlight and have read a lot of interesting things on this issue on mtbr.com. The Norwegian winter is long and dark...

    This is my rude light made of an old steel cup, an aluminiumplate, acrylic plate and some screws.



    It is getting almost to hot to touch, so I may mount some additional heatsink. Or rebuild the housing or copy your nice Light

    Lux III with optics
    Buckpuck 3021E
    Haven't decided yet if I'll have a potentiometer or a switch with some resistance, like off, some and 11(!)
    It's driven by a nice and light 14.8 V li-Ion 4000 mAh battery

    Knut
    Last edited by GogBozen; 11-28-2005 at 10:53 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Allen,
    I have a few more questions please.
    How do the reflectors you used attach to the LED? Are there any focus issues?
    I glued the IMS 20mm relectors to the Luxeon Star using Arctic Alumina Adhesive (epoxy will do) just a drop on each leg. They sit right on top with each of the 3 legs fitting into one of the cut-outs in the star... unless you screw things up like I did...



    I'd originally designed the front section of my light to fit over NX-05 optical lenses w/holder. They are about 1/4" shorter than the 20mm IMS reflectors... so my front cover and plexiglass lens did not fit. I proceeded to trim off the base of the reflectors to make them fit inside. Got them to fit, but when I fired the light up again, the previously nice solid beams all had holes in the middle! So to kludge the job, I ended up gluing the legs onto the top of the star's PCB as shown in my confession photos. I also include a shot of the beams dimmed down against a card, showing that one beam still has a hole in the middle. I will probably order new reflectors and replace them all, but it still puts out a good deal of light as is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    How did you get a thermal connection from the LED to the light casing? It's probably simpler than I think, but I'm having trouble envisioning how the LED, optical reflector, and the mounting of the LED to the case all work together. I assume you use the square aluminum light case as your heat sink, true?
    Yes that's right. Once again, Arctic Alumina Adhesive to the rescue. The stars are glued to the aluminum body of the light using the AAA. It is a 2 part epoxy adhesive that serves at as thermal conductor and electrial insulator (the star backs should be electrically isolated). I'm including a photo of my new improved light body design to be used for the 2xLuxV. I used the AAA to attach a piece of 1/8" aluminum bar to the side of the cube where the Luxs will go. Then AAA the Luxs to that. It provides additional heatsinking, as well as a better physical interface for attaching the front cover (should be watertight). The light will get warm sitting around in the house for a few minutes, but riding in the cool night air, it is barely warm to the touch, if at all. Dim it down if I stop for a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Do you know if using the dimmer on the Buck Puck results in energy savings? Run time is going to be an issue for me, I'm trying to figure out how to get 3hr+ burn times at below freezing temperature.
    Walt
    Yes. Dimming the light will save considerable current drain from your battery. With my 14.4v pack, the drain is 770mA at full bright. The interesting thing is that you can dim the light down a bit to say, 500mA, and notice only a minor reduction in light output, not to mention running cooler. This is a little confusing, because the BuckPuck is supposed to supply 1000mA at max power to the LED circuit. But remember, the total volts for the LED circuit side of the Buckpuck is slightly less than 10v. Lithium batteries will be your friends in below freezing temps. (Great for heat reduction!) Check out batteries at:
    http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...S&Category=841

    Hope this helps!
    - Allen
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    Last edited by achesalot; 11-28-2005 at 08:30 PM.

  20. #20
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    achesalot, one thing i noticed about youre light is how you have youre reflectors mounted. they should actually sit flush with the pcb of the star. the legs of the reflector actually fit inbetween the notches on the pcb that the emitter is mounted on. also look at the bottom of the reflector and you will notice that they are indexed to fit around the leads of the emitter. you will notice a huge difference in light output and beam pattern.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by garboui
    achesalot, one thing i noticed about youre light is how you have youre reflectors mounted. they should actually sit flush with the pcb of the star. the legs of the reflector actually fit inbetween the notches on the pcb that the emitter is mounted on. also look at the bottom of the reflector and you will notice that they are indexed to fit around the leads of the emitter. you will notice a huge difference in light output and beam pattern.
    Yes, I know. Didn't you read this as a confession of my big screw up!!
    Read the text. Don't just look at my pretty pictures
    - Allen

  22. #22
    the wrench
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    sorry, i kinda got caught up in all the pretty pics without reading.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GogBozen
    It is getting almost to hot to touch, so I may mount some additional heatsink. Or rebuild the housing or copy your nice Light
    Knut
    Cool! It sure is fun to tinker with these LED bike lights, huh!

    Yeah, I would say "hot to touch" is getting too hot, you will reduce the output of your LEDs (the hotter ... the less lumens output) and shorten their life. Probably be OK when you're riding though. We have the distinct advantage of forced air cooling while cycling!

    Sure copy my design... I'd be flattered
    Last edited by achesalot; 11-28-2005 at 09:12 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by garboui
    sorry, i kinda got caught up in all the pretty pics without reading.
    I feel that it's better to let others learn from our mistakes. I just wish that I hadn't made that one! "Don't hack off your reflectors", "Don't hack off your reflectors", "Don't hack off your reflectors"...now I've said it.

  25. #25
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    Looks feasible

    Thanks so much Allen and Garaboui for sharing your knowledge. Please continue to let us know how you fare in the future.

    This looks like a project I could do in my home shop. I'll post back again when I have something to show.

    Walt

  26. #26
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    "almost too hot to hold" definately is a sign of running way too hot. all of that heat energy has come from a very small area on the back of each emitter. this means that the temperature of the emitter is going to be a significant amount hotter than the "cup" you have them mounted in. the danger of this is melting a tiny bit of solder that connects the internal bits of th eemitter to those little metal ribbons that come out of each side. i suggest looking at the thermal design pdf's on the www.lumileds.com . theres a picture in there that will explain exactly what i mean.

    this melting of solder could be the difference of the light working fine on the bench and not working on the trail after the molten solder shakes away from its connection.
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  27. #27
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    thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by garboui
    "almost too hot to hold" definately is a sign of running way too hot. all of that heat energy has come from a very small area on the back of each emitter. this means that the temperature of the emitter is going to be a significant amount hotter than the "cup" you have them mounted in. the danger of this is melting a tiny bit of solder that connects the internal bits of th eemitter to those little metal ribbons that come out of each side. i suggest looking at the thermal design pdf's on the www.lumileds.com . theres a picture in there that will explain exactly what i mean.

    this melting of solder could be the difference of the light working fine on the bench and not working on the trail after the molten solder shakes away from its connection.
    I tested the light tonight on the trails, and it was cool, not hot at all while riding. I will also mount a potentiometer so I can reduse the heat while not riding. This is also a prototype. I will show this light to my riding buddies, and hopefully they will join me and make a much better, lighter and nicer design when they will have one as well. The making of this light was alot of trying and failing, since it is way beyond my level, but it works and I'm happy


  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GogBozen
    I tested the light tonight on the trails, and it was cool, not hot at all while riding. I will also mount a potentiometer so I can reduse the heat while not riding. This is also a prototype. I will show this light to my riding buddies, and hopefully they will join me and make a much better, lighter and nicer design when they will have one as well. The making of this light was alot of trying and failing, since it is way beyond my level, but it works and I'm happy
    Good. I thought the cool night air would help. I put the third night ride on my Tri LuxIII tonight. The air temp was around 50F (10C). I reached up to feel the light after about 30 mins of riding and it was cold. Probably don't need the heatsink fins, but I guess they're good if I stop for a while. The dimmer was nice too. I could dim the light down when we stopped for a few minutes to chat.

    It's always good to stretch your abilities... that's the only way to learn and get better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Thanks so much Allen and Garaboui for sharing your knowledge. Please continue to let us know how you fare in the future.

    This looks like a project I could do in my home shop. I'll post back again when I have something to show.

    Walt
    You're welcome Walt! Sharing knowledge (and mistakes) gained from experience is what this type of forum is all about. If you haven't done so already, you might also check out the wealth of info and advice at candlepowerforums.com under the Homemade/modified lights section. There's a thread on my light and some other bike lights there. Here's the link:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...splay.php?f=17
    - Allen

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    I did a couple of beamshots after my ride tonight. I have a 10w halogen on my handlebars and the TriLux III on my helmet. Dang, I just realized I forgot to get a shot of the two together! The shots are 27-30 ft out to the bushes, an average distance that I look ahead while riding. The shots were taken after about a 1 hr, 15 min ride.


    The shot above is from a homemade halogen light. It is a 10watt/12volt MR-16 lamp, being driven by a 14.4v battery pack, which puts it at about 12.5 watts.It is a narrow flood beam, which is just a little too floody for me when riding on the trail. It really looks yellow and dim next to the TriLux III light, but helps fill the trail with more light. It probably took its last ride tonight because I should finish the new 2xLuxV light this weekend. Will post.


    This is the TriLuxIII after an hour and twenty minute burn. Notice it is much whiter than the halogen and has quite a bit more concentration towards the center of the beam... but still an adequate amount of spillover. I would like more spill from the light, but at this point I'm not willing to sacrifice throw.

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    Im thinking about creating an LED light system for my bike but can I use a 6 Volt 3,700mA Ni-MH battery? Trying to utilize what I already have.
    thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crgowo
    Im thinking about creating an LED light system for my bike but can I use a 6 Volt 3,700mA Ni-MH battery? Trying to utilize what I already have.
    thanks.
    It depends on how many LEDs and what type of LEDs you're planning on using. But generally speaking, I would have to say that 6v is not ideal for Luxeon LED setups. For example, the Luxeon III LEDs require about 3.35v each. If you want a double or triple Lux III setup, you would need a total of 6.7v or 10.5v minimum, just to light them up (wired in series). A single Luxeon V requires a little over 6v as well, depending upon which bin you choose (get)... you might be able to drive a single, S-binned, LuxV setup since your battery is probably over 7v when fully charged, it would be close. You would need a current regulating LED driver as well.

    "Boost"-type LED driver circuits are available that might get you there... but I don't have any experience with them, as I've always used the "Buck"-type LED drivers with 14.4v and 14.8v battery packs. Maybe someone else can help can chime in on the virtues of Boost circuits.

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    Options

    The rated voltage of a 6v NiMH battery is 6.1v. That's an average and will be slightly higher at full charge and drop as the battery discharges.

    Sandwich Shoppe is selling TV1J bin 3w Luxeon stars for $13 each

    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...roducts_id=371

    The J end of the bin code means it has a Vf of 3.27-3.51 volts. You would need upwards of 7 volts to run a pair of these at full power, or 10.53 volts for 3.

    The Sandwich Shoppe also sells the Shark step-up current regulator:

    http://theledguy.chainreactionweb.co...roducts_id=721

    LEDSupply carries the BoostPuck

    http://www.ledsupply.com/boostpuck.html

    but this unit only supplies 350 mA output and the LuxIII is rated at 700 mA, so you would get pretty poor light output with this regulator.

    IIRC, the Puck series of regulators wants at least a 2 volt difference between the battery and the LEDs, so my guess is that you would want to run a 3 emitter set up with the LuxIIIs, your battery and the Shark.

    I have not yet received my Shark, so I have no hands on experience with it. There is some user experience being posted at the Candlepower Forums.

    Good luck with your project and please let us know how it turns out.

    Walt

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    Question on wiring

    I'm looking to make a light weight 2 x 3W lux headlamp. I'm planning on using the 1" sq tubing. I was going to put the lights and a switch at the head, and running the buckpuck at the battery end. Is there any reason not to do this? I understand there's some loss, but I'd assume it's negligible. Also, do I need to be concerned about what gauge wire to use? I don't plan on using 28 gauge or anything, probably 18-20 gauge. Thanks.

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    Cable length

    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I'm looking to make a light weight 2 x 3W lux headlamp. I'm planning on using the 1" sq tubing. I was going to put the lights and a switch at the head, and running the buckpuck at the battery end. Is there any reason not to do this? I understand there's some loss, but I'd assume it's negligible. Also, do I need to be concerned about what gauge wire to use? I don't plan on using 28 gauge or anything, probably 18-20 gauge. Thanks.
    Check the .pdf file for the BuckPuck. I think they want you to have a max of 18" of cable between the BuckPuck and the LEDs. IIRC it's not a power loss issue, the controller has to monitor the LED power draw precisely. Very small voltage differences to the LEDs cause large amperage swings. LEDs are not the kind of device I was used to working with. They are current controled, not voltage controled, and they are wired in series instead of parallel.

    You are aware that the Buck Puck just fits into 1" square aluminum tubing? It slides right in, but I had to scrape a side down a bit to pass wires around it. I ended up with 2.75" long tubes. If you put the BP and a switch in don't go much shorter.

    You can use pretty small gauge wire for the BP to LED connection. I was using 22 gauge and it's heavy enough for the electrical power, and maybe a bit on the heavy side for cramming into the small area inside the tubing. 24-26 ga is probably about right.

    Walt

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    I looked at the pdf and the 18" run you're refering to is the connection between the battery and the BP itself, not the output to the LEDs. I might just end up putting the BP and switch at the light. I figure I need the switch at the headlamp, so to make it symmetrical, I'll have to add material of the other side of the LEDs anyways, might as well stuff the BP in there.

    I've been back and forth between putting a pot in the light or not. Looking at the wiring diagrams, it says to put it between the ref and ctrl pins (0k-5k pot). Just below that, they suggest running a switch in parallel with the pot to turn the light on and off. How have people run their pots and switches. Originally, I was going to run w/o a pot and have the switch on one of the pins to the LED (+ end probably). Is that where I should put it? What if I have a pot? Should the switch go in the same spot regardless or whether or not a use a pot? Thanks.

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    Not sure what benefit to switch location...

    I ended up putting a power switch ahead of the Buck Puck instead of using the ref-ctrl pins. I don't think it matters whether you interrupt the + or the - cable. It's not like AC where there's a hot leg.

    Good catch on the 18" power cable requirement. I'm sure I'm over that length and my light works OK though.

    If you're not worried about battery burn time, by all means skip adding a pot to the BP. Be aware that the heat output of Lux LEDs are enough to cause overheating if you run it at full power with no air flowing over the light head. Just turn it off when you're not riding.

    I set up my light with a switch across the ref-ctrl pins. It selects no resistance or a resistance that cuts the power output by 1/2 or 1/10. I like this set up a lot, because I'm a total geek and this gives me the illusion of control over my battery burn time. It gives me a warm feeling that I'm getting more than 1/2 of the max light output at 1/2 current.

    Also, it's relatively hard to tune the light output at the lower settings: a tiny twist causes a big jump in light output. It always surprises me how much light I get at 1/10 power. I have a sick fantasy of riding all night on a single battery charge. Now if I could only ride all night...

    Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I looked at the pdf and the 18" run you're refering to is the connection between the battery and the BP itself, not the output to the LEDs. I might just end up putting the BP and switch at the light. I figure I need the switch at the headlamp, so to make it symmetrical, I'll have to add material of the other side of the LEDs anyways, might as well stuff the BP in there.

    I've been back and forth between putting a pot in the light or not. Looking at the wiring diagrams, it says to put it between the ref and ctrl pins (0k-5k pot). Just below that, they suggest running a switch in parallel with the pot to turn the light on and off. How have people run their pots and switches. Originally, I was going to run w/o a pot and have the switch on one of the pins to the LED (+ end probably). Is that where I should put it? What if I have a pot? Should the switch go in the same spot regardless or whether or not a use a pot? Thanks.

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    I ran the first version of my homebuilt LuxV with a PowerPuck (similar to the 3021 BuckPuck, but larger in physical size) located at the battery (approx 30" from LEDs) with no problems. As Walt said, the 3021 Buckpuck will fit inside the 1" tubing ... but it gets tight with the wires, a switch (or pot), and a power connector!

    Be aware that the 3021 Buckpuck is intended to be mounted on a PC board, but you can solder wires directly to its pins if you are careful. An easier way to go is to get the available wiring harness, which makes for no solder connections at the Buckpuck, but you have to be more ingenious when fitting everything inside the tubing. If you don't need the dimming capability, you can buy the wired version of the Buckpuck (3023 I believe) which makes installation a breeze (and it's a couple of bucks cheaper).

    Buckpucks available at ledsupply.com

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    I got the 3023 BP b/c one, it was a couple bucks cheaper, and two, I know I don't need dimming. I think I'm going to end up w/ the BP at the battery end. I just can't figure out a way to cover the ends if I've got the BP stuffed inside the 1" tube. I want the light to be just one peice of 1" sq tube, and about 2 1/2" wide. Did you just glue the plexiglass cover over the lights? What did you use to glue plexiglass to aluminum? Thanks.
    Last edited by notenoughtime; 03-01-2006 at 07:23 AM.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I got the 3023 BP b/c one, it was a couple bucks cheaper, and two, I know I don't need dimming. I think I'm going to end up w/ the BP at the battery end. I just can't figure out a way to cover the ends if I've got the BP stuffed inside the 1" tube. I want the light to be just one peice of 1" sq tube, and about 2 1/2" wide. Did you just glue the plexiglass cover over the lights? What did you use to glue plexiglass to aluminum? Thanks.
    I glued the plexiglass to Al w/epoxy. Just be sure to rough up the plexiglass in the areas where the glue will make contact. Leave the paper backing on, where, possible to avoid making too big of a mess.

    I'm not sure I can envision your one-piece design. How do you plan to mount and protect your LED/lenses/reflector?

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    I hope this drawing I just put together shines a little light on my design. My optics and holder can be slipped in from the side. They're also pretty short, like 12mm w/ holder, so that's why I'm gonna back an aluminum backing plate. The front lexan/plexiglass protects the front. I'm probably going to use some RTV and glue little 1" squares on the ends.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Cool design. Now I see. I just wasn't thinking "inside the box." Now I see why you are not putting the BuckPuck inside the light. Looks like it will be really small... that's cool. A 2x3W Luxeon should give you a nice light. Do you have a mounting plan yet? That always turns out to be trickier than you'd hope. Are you going helmet mount or handlebar?

    Thanks for sharing the drawing. Another cool variation with one inch aluminum tubing. I might try building one like that in the future... but maybe space the LEDs out a little more and put the buckpuck in the middle. Be sure and post some pics when you're done!
    Last edited by achesalot; 03-01-2006 at 03:26 PM.

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    Hopefully my parts will arrive early next week. I'll built it up, if all goes well by the end of next week. It will be helmet mount, so I wanted it as light as possible. It'll be mated w/ my HID on the handlebar so anything brighter would be pointless in my opinion. I'm still debating the mount, but will most likely have an L-shaped bracket on the back that will velcro to my helmet. Thanks for everyone's help.

  44. #44
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    My mom always said imitation is the highest form of flattery..or something like that.

    Anyway, I love your design Mr. Achesalot, and decided to give it a shot. Ive simplifed it somewhat, hopefully not at the expense of performance...

    I have two quick questions. First, should I use JB weld or Artic Alum to attach the front housing to the rear housing? (see pic, white arrows) Im thinking Artic because that will provide better thermal conductitvity between the two pieces of aluminum, allowing for better cooling. Will it be strong enough though?

    The second question involves the led wiring (see super technical diagram in pic). Is this correct? I remember I found a pdf file that explained all the wiring, but for the life of me I cant locate it now...

    Thanks for your inspration!!
    Later, Sebastian
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    Cool. Looks like you're almost there.

    JB or AA will probably do for attaching the front housing in your variation on the design... and you are correct, the AA would provide better thermal conductivity. Just make sure to sand (roughen up) and clean the areas to be glued for best adhesion. Both glues are two-part epoxy glues and I don't know which will hold better, but it might be worth the adhesion trade-off to have the better thermal transfer.

    Your LED wiring diagram looks correct, except I'm hoping that you are hooking them up to an LED driver and not directly to the battery, as your drawing illustrates. I've had the best luck with the 3021 or 3023 BuckPuck driver from ledsupply.com (of course you need the DC/1000mA version) assuming you're using Luxeon III LEDs. You must regulate the current going to the LEDs or you will fry them.

    The TriLuxIII provides a very bright light. Good luck, and if you have any more questions ask away... there's lots of help around here.

  46. #46
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    Hey Thanks!

    I'll probably go with the AA...It should be strong enough...as the website says: "There is a very good chance that any components you attach with Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive will stay attached forever". I like the sound of that! And yes, Ive got my 3021 1000mA buckpuck all ready to go...what a cool little thing that is.

    Considering how fairly easy the aluminum is too work with, Ive already started to think about some future projects...the possiblilties are endless...

    Thanks again!
    Later

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    Hey. I haven't been back to this thread for a while. It's getting closer and closer to nightriding season for many of us again! I'll still be using my TriLuxIII and DualLuxV lights that I built last season. I did order another 14.8v Li-Ion battery pack since I liked the first one I bought so much. This pack is great with either system.

    What I'm really wondering about is how some of the fellow LED light builders are coming along. ICanDigIt and NotEnoughTime ... any progress on your lights or did I miss it in another post?

    I still haven't build a K2 LED light yet, but that might come later this season.

    Cheers and happy nightriding!

  48. #48
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    My light

    Since thread this is what got me started on my lights I feel obliged to let you know what I've done. I built a light for my handle bars. It's a Luxeon lll power by 4 AA and a buckpuck. I used LEDsupply.com for the led, driver and optic's. The batteries and battery box I got from Batteryspace.com and a toggle switch from Radio Shack. Like several others I went the minimumilist route and the light is not completely enclosed. What I did was mount the star with artic epoxy to a piece of flat al. flat bar that I bent about a 110 deg angle. The part of the angle that does not have the star has a curve to it to match the curve of the bar. This was a pain to get right to allow for the velcro mounting tape. I also used a couple of #4 self taper screws to help the epoxy. I then used a section of old straight handlebars and cut a section that the optics would fit into snugly. I cut one end so that two lugs extended about a 1/4" on one end. These fit in two holes drilled into the al angle bar that the star was mounted to. I peened these over to hold it in place, very snug. I put a dab of epoxy on the optics, lined them up and slid them in. The wire comes out the side of a notch in the section of handlebar. On the bottom of the angle plate is superduty velcro and this attachs to a piece stuck to the handlebars. I've only used it once but the whole thing worked very well.
    I would send a picture but I'm out of the country right now. I'll post a picture in a week or two when I get home. Next a helmet light

  49. #49
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    Cool to hear hugh088!
    Can't wait to see the pics.
    - Allen

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    OK, I'm inspired. Going to get some supplies ordered and have a bash at it. Those look like really effective lights and will (hopefully) be fun to make. Thanks for the pictures and information ACHESALOT. Hope you don't mind me using your design for my first go. Need to learn to walk before I branch out and try my own design.

    Top bloke

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    Gazzbo. Go for it. I've built two Luxeon LED -based lights last year and they are both still doing great. As the days are getting shorter here, I'm about to embark on the second season for the lights. The 3xLuxIII is pretty economical and provides a good deal of light. My design using 1" aluminum tubing works pretty well, and there is another that uses 1" copper pipe caps that is pretty simple and involves less metal work as well (albeit a little heavier).

    Note: The big heatsink fins on my light are probably not needed since the motion of the bike provides good airflow over the unit.

    Good luck and let us know if you have any questions. There are several folks here who have built LED bike lights with good success, and I'm sure they will pitch in to help as well! Also, you check on candlepower forums in the "Homemade and modified lights" section for more good info.

    -Allen

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    Update on TriLuxIII project

    Just an update:

    I've just ordered three Cree XLamps (7090 XR-E) to replace my Luxeon III LEDs in this light.

    Facts taken from spec sheets:
    XLamps: 80 lumens @ 350ma or 160 lumens @ 700 ma. (3.75v)
    Luxeon III: 80 lumens @ 1000ma (3.75v)

    So this upgrade should take my 3xLuxIII light's output from 240 lumens to 480 lumens with 30% less current draw! (This is very close to typical HID system teritorry).

    Issues: I will not be able to use the same reflectors (from what I've heard). So I've ordered some optics that are made to work with the Cree and should just fit within the square aluminum tube sections on the front of the light.

    Here's a link to info and where you can order the Cree. I can't seem to locate a place in the U.S. to order them, which is odd since they are manufactured in North Carolina. At $9.00 each they are quite a bargain and, according to all I've read on Candlepower Forums, these XLamps will be giving Luxeons quite a challenge in the LED market.

    Regards,
    - Allen

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    Hi Allen,

    Great to see you are still playing! Boy these XR-E’s have got everyone excited! So far it seems that a deep narrow reflector is the way to go, giving you a huge bright spot and a nice side spill that is just as strong. There have been a number of discussions on CPF as you would be aware I’m sure.

    I have noticed a few optics starting to emerge for these devices, I have a few on the way so we’ll see how they go. I’m still trying to get my head around reflectors and what is desired to produce certain beams etc. Hopefully I’ll get hold a few different reflectors to see what the go is soon too.

    Keep us posted.

    HID is dead.

    Dave.

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    Hey Dave,
    Yeah I'm still around and now that it's night riding season again I'm always looking to play around with some different stuff. I was thinking of either upgrading one of my existing lights with the Cree, but I might just build a new light since I hate to tear up the existing ones... they really work great.

    I've seen some impressive beamshots on CPF of some of the XR-E upgrades. The McR-19 reflector looks pretty impressive on the XR-E, but they're $18 ea, so I've ordered some optics for starters.

    I'll post some info about the build and the issues that I find with the Crees. I'll probably start a new thread on the new GPS, Lighting and Computer forum as that seems like the appropriate place.

    Good to hear you're still staying on top of the LED bike lighting scene.
    - Allen

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by achesalot
    Just an update:

    I've just ordered three Cree XLamps (7090 XR-E) to replace my Luxeon III LEDs in this light.

    Facts taken from spec sheets:
    XLamps: 80 lumens @ 350ma or 160 lumens @ 700 ma. (3.75v)
    Luxeon III: 80 lumens @ 1000ma (3.75v)

    So this upgrade should take my 3xLuxIII light's output from 240 lumens to 480 lumens with 30% less current draw! (This is very close to typical HID system teritorry).

    Issues: I will not be able to use the same reflectors (from what I've heard). So I've ordered some optics that are made to work with the Cree and should just fit within the square aluminum tube sections on the front of the light.

    Here's a link to info and where you can order the Cree. I can't seem to locate a place in the U.S. to order them, which is odd since they are manufactured in North Carolina. At $9.00 each they are quite a bargain and, according to all I've read on Candlepower Forums, these XLamps will be giving Luxeons quite a challenge in the LED market.

    Regards,
    - Allen
    It's not a direct drop in, is it? Won't you have to change the resistors?

  56. #56
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    Yeah still playing around, hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit more over the Aussie summer when I’ve finished uni for the year.

    I know what you mean about tearing up lights. While I’m still going to do an emitter upgrade, I’ll leave all of my new ideas and all of the fancy stuff for a new light I think!

    Keep us posted.


    Quote Originally Posted by California L33
    It's not a direct drop in, is it? Won't you have to change the resistors?
    Allen is now considering building up a totally new light. Even so, the existing 1 amp buck puck (a constant current regulator) would be alright with adequate heat sinking.

    Dave.

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    I could use same electronics, but 1 amp is a little hot for the Cree. 700ma is max recommended current. I could use existing setup but just not turn dimmer all the way up. But I am thinking about just building a new light, and I'll use an nFlex since I've been wanting to try it out. The nFlex can be set at different max current levels.

  58. #58
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    From what I understand, the XR-E should hack 1 amp or so quite okay, with little impact on lumen maintenance. By the time lumen maintenance becomes an issue there will be plenty of better products on the market I am sure.

    I have had an nFlex driver for quite some time, and I would have to say it’s one of my best drivers. When my home made stuff and others break, it’s the nFlex that gets put back into my light for “real” use.

    If you don’t mind the round profile (1” diameter), the bFlex is identical to the nFlex, but with a firmware upgrade, and a very cool user configurable and highly adjustable low battery voltage warning.

    You’ll have to be quick though I think George is going on holiday very soon!

    Dave.

  59. #59
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    Hi, can anyone tell me what is the best way to put my cree leds (star) on the alu heatsink? (in fact i will place it on my lightbody) Is this the right stuff to do it.http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut612

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbo
    Hi, can anyone tell me what is the best way to put my cree leds (star) on the alu heatsink? (in fact i will place it on my lightbody) Is this the right stuff to do it.http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut612
    That's exactly what you need. Arctic Silver Adhesive or Arctic Alumina Adhesive will fasten your stars while providing good thermal transfer. Just a thin layer will do.

    You got your Cree's already? I'm still waiting. Hopefully, any day now.

    I've been reading on Candlepowerforums that the stars the Crees are being mounted on do not provide good themal transfer, causing them to run warmer than most would like. The hotter they run, the less light output and longterm life can be expected. I ordered stars also and will use them for now because it's so much easier. For my next order I might consider ordering just the emitters and mounting them directly to the aluminum body. Of course then you have to take care of the pos and neg conncetions on the back of the emitter, taking care to insulate them from the aluminum and causing a short. Not to mention having to solder wires on a much smaller area on top that is right next to the optical dome on the emitter. But they should run much cooler.

  61. #61
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    My cree's have not arrived yet. Last monday got a mail from cutter that they where shipped and delivery would be in 3 to 7 days. I'm curious, since i live on the other side of the planet!!

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbo
    My cree's have not arrived yet. Last monday got a mail from cutter that they where shipped and delivery would be in 3 to 7 days. I'm curious, since i live on the other side of the planet!!
    Other side of the planet... yeah me too. What's strange is that the Crees are manufactured in North Carolina. Why is Cutter in Austrailia the only place I can find to order them from?

  63. #63
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    I’m an Aussie local, and even with a local distributor I’m still going to have to wait until Christmas or beyond before I can get a reasonable bin that I’m after! The rollout has been quite slow, although in perspective some Luxeon K2 bins are still unable to be purchased.

    For the average DIY folk, even though they are a poor design the stars are not too bad, and their negatives are far outweighed by their ease of use. They should be quite okay if powered at the general ratings that most riders would need. It’s a shame but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Maybe a better MCPCB will be released by a third party like we have seen with the Lumiled Luxeon range.

    Although in terms of efficiency and light output it was a nice step, I can’t help but feel that the XR-E was poorly thought out and perhaps a hasty release. Even the actual emitter package base is a ceramic material, which isn’t the best in terms of thermal properties. On top of that, it appears that the copper pad on the bottom of the ceramic has no connection to the emitter itself! From what I have seen, the metal ring around the dome could quite possibly be a reasonable thermal connection. The die can cope with some substantial current levels, but that package is lacking. It’s good in a way, because it shows that there is definite scope for improvement.

    There are a few various ways around the issues that are created by having the power connections on the bottom of the emitter. They can be isolated using a few different methods, from insulating tape through to thermal paste or cropping the ceramic base to sever the electrical connection between the top and bottom of the ceramic. It’s a hindrance, but it can be worked around.

    Unfortunately the Cree XR-E was never designed with hobbyists in mind, and is best implemented using reflow soldering methods. In general if a hobbyist has a serious need to be worried enough about thermal management, then they probably have the knowledge and tools to create a suitable heat sink and mounting system to solve the issue themselves.

    I have been playing around in CAD a bit of late, and have drawn up a few simple solutions for mounting the bare emitters. I might start a new thread a little later and post some ideas and tools I’m making after I’ve done a little more playing.

    Dave.
    Last edited by Low_Rider; 11-23-2006 at 07:34 PM.

  64. #64
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    This TriLuxIII has been a fun ride, but I've now finished a Triple Cree XR-E light with an improved housing and started a new thread over in the GPS/Lighting forum. Any comments or questions relating specifically to the Triple Luxeon light should remain in this thread, but otherwise, head to the new thread. To me, building these LED bike lights is a blast, and as the technology improves it just gets more and more exciting. In the new thread I compare the output of the TriLuxIII to the TriCree XR-E.

    Here's the link to that project.

    Regards,
    - Allen

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