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  1. #1
    rjd
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    Cheapo build?

    Want to try out night riding but dont want the initial high outlay.

    I live in Christchurch NZ, and have been to see the guy who does nightlighting (my friend even bought a MiniBlaast and 4.4ah Li-ion battery, sweet!) but I dont wanna shell out $700(nz) for now.

    So am forming some form of evil plan to build something to at last see if its worth investing more money later (self build or buy).. I'm cool on soldering not 100% on the electronics / component side, its all a bit confusing atm..

    Plan A consist of buying something like the Cutter LCMR11XR-E Kit: http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut790
    (Which is Driver, led and optics for ~ 500lumens, with the 'Narrow' option?)

    Creating a housing out of some pipe, wiring up a (3 way?) switch to an existing 14.4v niCd cordless drill battery (capacity unknown). It wont be pretty but hopefully functional...

    So long as this gets me ~1hr+ at 500lumens/700ma I think it'll do.

    I can always add a second (wide?) and update the battery later...?

    Sound like a plan?

  2. #2
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    Some people have been pretty happy with hi power flashlights for budget lighting. Dealextreme.com is a popular source

  3. #3
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    hi i had the same dilemna. in nz, got the cutter low cost kit, really easy to wire up, coupled it with a 1.4Ahr SLA battery from dick smiths (which is tiny), phoned a local ladder manufacturer who got me some 35mm internal diameter aluminium tubing (cut into 8cm lengths), a heat sink from somewhere, plugged the back up with a table leg stop from para rubber and a combined cord switch and cord from bunnings - throws out 500 lumens for less than 100 bucks and about 2 and a half hours burn time.

  4. #4
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    4 torches from DX, each taking a single AA battery. Zip tie them to your helmet and away you go for USD40.

    The full DIY route probably won't be cheap unless you get things right the first time (I certainly didn't!), especially as you need to sort out a decent battery. Nicads have a very linear voltage drops over time, so it'd probably drop below a useful voltage quite quickly. NiMH and Li-ion, on the other hand, have much flatter voltage drops, which is why they are useful for LED.

    If you still want to do a DIY, but want to keep it cheap, consider halogen. No need for drivers, optics, AAA or even switches. And you can use your Nicad- the beam will just diminish steadily as voltage drops. A 20W halogen bulb connected to a 14V source will be plenty bright.

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  6. #6
    rjd
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    Thanks all, may go for that cutter kit and the above build and source an SLA battery ( dick smiths or jaycar etc) and see how I get on.

    I know I can do it with flashlights or HID but if I find I use it a lot that doesnt help me with a more substantial LED build.

  7. #7
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    SLAs have similar voltage drops as nicads- really linear. So if you want to use a triple LED with one of those drivers, you'd have to get something well in excess of 12V to get a decent runtime out of your lights. There's probably a good reason that discussions of SLA vanished around the same time that LEDs became popular on these forums.

    If you want to do it cheap, you'd probably be better off using a big stack of NiMH AAs, or a couple of NiMH airsoft power packs wired together.

    (By the way, HID is not halogen.)

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