DIY light in Assembly Kit??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    DIY light in Assembly Kit??

    Now I got hooked in this DIY thing but the hassle of scanning the net for Leds, Drivers, Optics and random accessories is enough to put me down.

    Did any of the brilliant mtbr scientists think about assembling a kit with all the parts required and selling it on ebay or in the mtbr classified?

    Buying a batch of parts for 10 or 15 kits will allow to market the assembly kits for a reasonable price while allowing for a decent margin.
    Since the leds can run on common AA batteries there could be the option of including the battery/charger or not-

    I think that the "Dinotte style assembly Kit " would be a hot seller!

    Any thoughts?
    flyMTBfish

  2. #2
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    www.nightlightning.co.nz do a range, including the taskled driven one seen at cutter.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the link, this is (almost) what I was meaning but it's still quite complicated to choose the correct configuration among the many options.
    Already started to study the website, the products seem top-notch (especially the new housing)

    Any other idea? Even "home-brewn" types would be welcome
    flyMTBfish

  4. #4
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    I thought about trying to sell a kit but I can't keep the parts around. I ordered 10 drivers and now I'm busy making lights for friends. The good news is, the "Dinotte Style" light is easy to make. The bad news is, the "Dinotte Style" light is easy to make!

  5. #5
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    I thought about doing this but I need to get machining equipment for a housing. I am busy making lights to sell to the locals but the process is slow because of a lack of tooling equipment. It would cost several thousands $$ to build an inventory of parts to have kits in which to offer. Nightlighting has done that. I just don't have the cash or help to make it work. Not yet anyway.

  6. #6

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    The other problem is that, say you buy a reel of 1,000 R2s for $9 each and sell them for $13 each to cover your investment, time, shipping, set up, and make a profit. You sell half your inventory in three months, then the R3 comes out and nobody wants the R2 anymore, or they're only willing to pay $9 for it for a few months, then the R4 comes out and nobody's willing to pay more than $6 for them and you still have 250 sitting around... The same can happen with optics, drivers and housings, so it's a risky business. I'm not saying there isn't a margin to be made, but you could easily lose money at it.

    For me, Scar has the best success model. Make something for yourself, enjoy doing it, perfect it, share the idea, get the input, improve the design, and sell them to those who don't want the hassle. I have 4-5 friends interested in some of my old designs, which is a great way for me to have more friends to night ride with and a way to get rid of my old generation LEDs while I upgrade.

  7. #7
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    The more I read about lights and the more I am motivated to make my own. It's addictive!

    Being a pretty experienced bike mechanic ther's no fun anymore in lacing wheels, tuning forks and converting tires... and the LED world is a completely new universe... it's addictive!!

    I wanted to use the "Kit" to getting started, but in alternative can you point me to any good website or thread to be educated in the diy , LED stuff? I don't have any background in electrical stuff. I need to know more about drivers, optics, switches and such.

    Thanks
    fab
    flyMTBfish

  8. #8
    www.hahntronix.com
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    I've been thinking of developing a DIY Bike Light kit. Perhaps you'd be willing to provide some feedback?

    I've developed my own driver board based on the National LM3404. It also uses a Microchip PIC to provide a user interface. I'm thinking of selling the assembled driver and a kit of parts to build an "Achesalot" style light. The kit would include 2 leds (probably SSC P4 stars), 2 optics (one spot, one flood), some pre-machined square aluminum tubing, endcaps, wire, etc. The only thing missing would be expoy to hold it all together. Well, you might need two types of epoxy, something like Artic Alumina to hold down the stars, and some kind of clear epoxy to hold the optics in place. I'll probably include a couple of hot-melt glue sticks that are designed for potting electronics, so that you can completely seal the thing and make it waterproof. The kit would include a link to complete instructions (with photos). Does this sound like the kind of kit you'd be interested in?

    The biggest sticking point to the kit, is I haven't really been able to find a decent momentary push-button that I can make waterproof easily.

    While working on my driver idea, I've come across some cheap flashlight drivers (see dealextreme, kaidomain, etc.). They don't have thermal cuttoff, or a real UI, but I recently thought of a way around both issues. Think of an Amoeba style light (see Scars thread) with 2 switches on the top. The switches each would control one LED. One would be flood, one would be spot. So when riding slow, you could just turn on the flood LED and draw maybe 3 watts from your battery pack. When bombing downhill, you would turn on both LEDs for a draw of around 6 watts. To handle thermal issues, one (or both) of the LEDs would be wired in series with a thermostat switch (the type used in battery packs to prevent overheating). The big downside I see to this type of thermal control, is you run the risk of the thermostat cutting power and leaving you in the dark. Maybe it would be better to just wire the thermostat in series with the spot LED. That way if you notice your light drop by half, you know things are getting too hot. I figure if I can reliably buy LEDs and drivers from Hong Kong (that might be a risky assumption), I could sell the a kit of 2 LEDs, 2 drivers, optics, 2 switches, pre-machined square tubing, endcaps, wire, etc. for around $50. Does that seem like a good price for a kit with a brain dead User Interface?

    Mark

  9. #9

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    Mark-The concept seems good, particularly if you have different kits available (1 LED, 2 LED, 3 LED, etc.). There's little doubt that Digikey has the switches and the boots that you are looking for, as I've finally found my holy grail there recently (a push button two poled switch (on1-off-on2)). They also do volume discount, making them a good source for medium to large scale reselling.

    If you want another selling feature, give a low wattage/high wattage setting on your driver. You can ride uphill to a 1w LED. If you used a two power level setting and the ability to turn on and off lights, it would give a lot more flexibility for users. I also discovered a on1-on2-both push button switch on digikey. That opens possibilities of all in one (with your idea) or two switches to control diming on each LED (off-low-high). The only problem I see with that is you may not be able to tell if you have one light on high and the other off or two on low while actually riding... Just don't make the mistake of putting an off setting on the same switch that dims both lights... that really hurts. :doh:

    As for concerns about a thermostatic cut off, it's overkill, IMHO, but if you want to do it, as long as the light fades linearly, not suddenly, it won't be a problem. You need the least light when you're moving the slowest and the most light when you're going the fastest. There's not a cooling problem at 20mph with any light, particularly if you stick with a proven design (Achesalot).

  10. #10
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    Mahahn: very intersting post.
    I am a newbie in LED technology (I still use an old Sigma double halogen) so please use my feedback for what it is.

    >>Type of beam and housing: exacly as you mentioned – we don’t need anything more than a flood and a spot (indipendently adjustable if possible) I guess that square housing is the easiest to assemble. Otherwise round housing would be nicer.
    >>Beam switch – my old sigma has a single , waterproof switch inline with the power cable and velcroed to the handlebar. It cycles like this: flood, spot, both, off. The optimum would be a single switch cycling between: flood, both, off (it make no sense to use the spot alone)
    >>Thermal protection: the proposed solution is the best: when it becomes too hot, then switc off the spot beam
    >>Voltage – anything that runs on a 4-pack or 8-pack of inexpensive AA rechargeable batteries. I have seen 14.8V system for which the batteries are more expensive than the light itself!
    >>Accessories/Clamps : a simple o-ring can be thrown in the package , if the housing has some facilities to clamp it. Othewise it can be left to the imagination of the assembler.
    >>Price – I think this would be a good price, especially if some assembly instructions are available online. Shipping by standard airmail post, credit card or Paypal Payment.
    I’ll order the first one, but a lot of friends will trash their halogen system when they see the “light”
    >>Further development: if the system will work, a single spot, helmet mounted light would also be intersting
    >>Marketing: either Ebay and/or Mtbr classified

    fab
    flyMTBfish

  11. #11
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    The problems are the quantities. You don't want to make 30 items by hand (doesn't matter what it is PCBs or for example tubing), but 30 items is by far to less for commercial/industrial production. Buying electronic components is becoming interesting when buy 1000 pieces, because then the price is less then 30% from what you pay when you only buy 10 pieces.
    [some EE geek talk]
    What I would like to achieve/put in a driver:
    - uC with real high speed PWM, so there is no need for an extra led driver chip. (smaller board/cheaper)
    - 3 ADC ports, first to measure the current, 2e to measure battery voltage (low bat warning) and maybe a third as an extra way to set the output current or for a temperature sensor.
    - Onboard 3.3V regulator for the uC so it will also work with one Li-ion cell.
    - Step-up and down with one board, efficiency can be almost as high as just boost or step down. With some wire bridges, the user could transform it in to a step-down only converter.
    - 2 inputs for controlling the led, I hate it to have to scroll through all modes when I'd want to put it just one mode lower. The UI would be a lot easier to understand, with the right button the light becomes brighter and with the left less bright. Push both buttons to turn on the light, push both buttons again to enter flashing mode and keep them longer pushed to turn of the light again.
    - a low battery led, that flashed a few times when you reached the point that 20% of the capacity is left, that burns constant when only 10% is left and keeps flashing when there is only 5% left.
    - a reserve battery function that the light turns down to 30 mA when there is only 2% left in the battery so you always have a litle bit of light to come home.
    - board size should be 20 mm (round) or less.

    The uC is the most expensive past but doesn't cost more then $2 a piece when you buy them in large quantities, high quality pcbs can be made in China for extremely low prices. I think the cost of a complete assembled driver would stay below $10, maybe $15 Still a lot cheaper then Taskled, but there has to be done quite a lot of work: Programming the uC, calculating the sizes for resistors, coils and capacitors, designing the board layout.
    [/EE geek talk]

    Li-ion battery packs and chargers are the way to go when you ask me. Li-ion 18650 cells are simply the best available. You can charge a 7.4V 2400 mAh to 90% of the capacity in just an hour without damaging the cells, I wouldn't try that with some NiMh batteries. The problem is to find a reliable high quality Chinese manufacturer that wants to use high quality brand cells. With some Velcro you can easily attach a 4 cell pack to your stem.

    For the led housing I needs to have a good bar and helmet mount. For the barmount I'd like the mounting style from Lupine and the Niterider Minewt best. For a helmet mount I am not sure since is don't use them as a roadie. I know how a real good housing should be (considering: thermal management, easily upgradeable, waterproof, low weight) I only lack the knowledge to make some good drawings. When I have drawings that are completely ready I guess it won't be to hard to find a producer, but which company wants to do some protoypes for cheap for consumer??? Same problem as with the electronic components as above, set-up costs will be really high and so small badges aren't interesting. Anodizing isn't expensive too when you have 100 housings, but with 5 housings it is way to expensive.

  12. #12
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    I agree with your quantity point, but if you start making a batch of 500 or 1000 kits you will need to hire an accountant , a store man, a welder , a buyer, an electronics engineer and a secretary for the Oval Office duties....
    The key is keeping a low profile, lower margins and do it for fun (like some of the posters above, who make/sell the lights to friends or club members)
    flyMTBfish

  13. #13
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    A lot of good points about quantity pricing ... but IF dealextreme, kaidomain, etc. can be used as a reliable source of parts (big IF, I know ) ...

    The electronics are going to be essentially off-the-shelf flashlight controllers. So no assembly of the electronics will be needed. I'm not sure how to handle testing. I probably need to do that up front, to avoid dealing with folks who try to return stuff they burned up. I could probably do a quick bed-o-nails tester for the drivers and LEDs.

    The machining is going to be dirt simple. Cut tubing to length and drill a few holes. I might do it myself, or job shop that part out. All the other parts (wiring, endcaps, battery holder, etc. will be off the shelf). I'm thinking of providing a conduit cable clamp as the mounting bracket. These are cheap. If kit builder wants a cooler bracket, I can provide links to sources (batteryspace, etc.).

    I'm not going to provide batteries with the kit. I'll probably toss in an AA battery holder and mounting for that. I figure most folks will just go with some cheap NiMh batteries from WallyWorld. If somebody wants to use Lithium Ion cells, I can list sources on my web page.

    The whole idea for this first kit, is to see if I can produce a cheap, easy to build light, and sell it online. I figure if I price it less than what most folks can get the parts for (since you'll wind up getting nailed for shipping from a few of the suppliers I have in mind) in small quantities, then it will be easier to just buy a kit from me. Plus the kit should be a good way to get into building your own lights.

    If this idea sells, then I'll pursue selling a more advanced controller/kit.

    I guess the next step is to actually produce a simple light like I've been describing and post some pictures here. Perhaps by the end of this week.

    I have some pictures of a previous test light (using my LM3404 controller) at:
    http://www.hahntronix.zxq.net/bikelite.html

    Mark

  14. #14
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    A possible alternative is for the posters of the various "Check out my uber-cool light build" posts to publish a bill of materials along with their build. Granted, all parts may not be commercially available (housings, etc.), but it would certainly be a big help in most cases.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  15. #15
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    But what you'd need to have is quite clear: an housing, a driver, leds, lenses, a battery pack and at least one switch. My problems are without doubt how to construct a nice housing without powertools like a mill or CNC machine. A round tube looks nice, but how am I going to attach the led to it so there is a nice thermal pad?

  16. #16
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    Mark, another hint would be to add (at an extra cost) an optional kit of spares, i.e. one Led, and a couple of spare optics etc .
    Ubabintarbo, look here: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=295664
    flyMTBfish

  17. #17
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    Mark:
    I forgot one point: looking at the assembled light https://www.hahntronix.zxq.net/litepix/assembled.jpg
    I was wondering if round holder tubes would give better protection to the round optics, better sealing/waterproofing and look better to boot
    flyMTBfish

  18. #18
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    So I finally built my first prototype of the kit. The look is kind of funky futuristic. Sort of a "Brazil" look, but without the pneumatic tubes.



    It's not complete yet (see entrails hanging out right side). I'm still waiting for a thermal cut-out switch that should solve overheating issues. The switches used in the proto are a bit taller than what I'll eventually use. The optics are from deal-extreme, as are the drivers (one per LED, so the light has some redundancy). The body is made of 1 inch square aluminum tubing and a short piece of 1 by 2 inch rectangular tubing is used to hold the optics.



    As you can see from the photo below, it uses 2 SSC P4s. The drivers are on the right side of the photo.



    I haven't had a chance to do any beam shots yet, but I took the light out for a test spin on the driveway last night. The light was nicer than I expected for using such cheap optics. One of the optics is sort of a spot and the other is like a flood. Combined they give a decent bright spot in the middle of the beam with a generous side spill (hopefully enough to see that low hanging tree branch coming up fast on the right ).

    The user interface is really simple. You have one button per LED. When going slow, turn on the flood. If you need more light, turn on the spot. I promise later versions will use less dorky looking buttons. The tall ugly ones were the only waterproof buttons I had laying about.

    I ran some quick temperature tests this morning:

    In still air, with both LEDs on, the light housing gets very hot to the touch in about 10 minutes.

    With one LED on, the housing gets warm, but stays cool enough to hold for over 40 minutes.

    With a small amount of airflow, and both LEDs on, the housing stays warm.

    So my temperature management scheme should work. When you build the kit, you can put a temperature cut-out on whichever LED you chose. I'd probably install it on the spot. If you have both LEDs on, and stop riding for about 10 minutes, your spot would then shut off. The light should cool down a bit after a few minutes, and the spot will come back on, repeating the on-off cycle till you start riding again. The thermal cut-out switch is optional. If the idea of having one of your LEDs turn off all on it's own upsets you, you can just drop the switch.

    This prototype has the optics held in place with holt-melt glue. I'll probably go back to using epoxy on the next one. The housing will also work with other standard optics. The Carlco ones just drop right in.

    Once I get the thermal cut-out working, I'm going to seal the electronics with a special hot-melt glue used for potting electronics. The light should be completely waterproof after that.

    The prototype runs on 4 AA NiMh batteries. It should run for about 2 hours with both LEDs on, and 4 hours with only one on. The next prototype I build will use a better driver that runs on an input voltage range of 4 to 16 volts. This would allow the user to use 8 NiMh batteries (4 or 8 hours runtime). These drivers are designed for flashlights and don't have the thermal regulation, voltage sensing, or elegant user interface you'd expect in a bike light (you'll have to wait till I finish the latest rev of my bile light driver for that).

    So I'm thinking of selling a kit of everything you need to build the light. The kit will have 2 LEDs, drivers, 2 on/off buttons, thermal cut-out switch, some special hot-melt glue sticks, waterproof boots for switches, 2 optics, endcaps for the housing, pre-machined housing pieces (no tedious filing needed) and enough wire to connect everything.I'll throw in some wire, battery holder, clear tube and velcro straps for making a battery pack (note: batteries not included ). Buying the kit would also include access to very detailed instructions (on a web site someplace) for putting it together.

    The only tools and supplies you'd need to put the kit together are a soldering iron and some epoxy. All the metal parts will be cut to size, but may need a bit of deburring and sanding. I'll put some aluminum oxide powder in the kit for those who want to mix their own thermal epoxy, but Arctic Alumina is probably a better way to go (especially if you're not using the thermal switch).

    I'm hoping I can sell the kit for between $40 and $50, including shipping (USPS first class) to anyplace in the US. Does that seem a fair price? You can probably buy all the parts for a little less than that, but a lot of distributors have minimum quantities you need to purchase, or handling charges on small orders that make building a single light kind of expensive.

    Mark
    Last edited by [email protected]; 01-17-2008 at 11:31 AM.

  19. #19
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    WOW!
    if international shipping is reasonable i'll buy one !!
    thumbsup:
    flyMTBfish

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    So I finally built my first prototype of the kit. The look is kind of funky futuristic. Sort of a "Brazil" look, but without the pneumatic tubes.
    ...

    I'm hoping I can sell the kit for between $40 and $50, including shipping (USPS first class) to anyplace in the US. Does that seem a fair price? You can probably buy all the parts for a little less than that, but a lot of distributors have minimum quantities you need to purchase, or handling charges on small orders that make building a single light kind of expensive.

    Mark
    That price seems fair to me. I'd certainly consider picking up a kit for that.

  21. #21
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    what 4v-16v driver are you going to use? the 800ma driver $6.5 for 4 is only 800ma with 4v input. it goes up to 1020ma with 7.2v li-ion battery input. your price is much better then Scar's $200 Amoeba setup for same two led setup. But your housing could use a little help from
    il2mb
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=355347
    have you though about optics from ledsupply.com at only $1.50 per optic and $0.25 for holders. to me, it's cheap then DX.

  22. #22
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    hard to compete with these flashlight at 4 cree q4 running 500ma flashlight that put out about 500lumens. which cost $50

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10452

  23. #23
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    Do you really consider putting an 8 inch flashlight on your bar? Runtime will be in the best case 2.5 hours and then it will be dark. It is a nice flashlight, but not a nice bikelight, it is too big.

  24. #24
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    The drivers I want to use are from kaidomain and are called kennan. They rock. They seem to be out of stock a lot, so I'm not sure they are a viable driver to use for the kit. I'd roll my own drivers, but you can buy a complete driver circuit board from China for less than you can buy the driver chip in small quantities.

    I like i2mb's design, but mine requires less machining, so it's cheaper to make. Sure it looks ugly, but it's also really bright. Hmmm ... buttuglybutbright.com I wonder if that domain name is taken?

    The lenses eddielee70 mentions are made by carlco. They will work with the kit, but you won't be able to seal them completely against water without adding another piece of clear plastic to the front of the housing (go look at achesalot's page on DIY lites, there or in one of his threads here he talks about how to use silicone to seal a faceplate over his lite). The lenses from DX allow you to just pour epoxy over the LED star and optics. This should completely seal the front against water. The carlco holders leave a small gap between the lens and the holder. I'd worry that sealing that with epoxy would mess up the lens.

    Some of the flashlites coming out are pretty bright, but I think what you want for a bike lite needs to be a bit different. The kit I'm talking about would run on a wide range of batteries. So you could use NiMh if you wanted to keep it cheap, or use Li-Ion if you need lighter weight and longer run times.

    Mark

  25. #25

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    Without your own machineries, prototyping cost for housing itself can run into thousands. This does not include mold cost for silicon seal and switches and of course electronic. I have Pro-E files of the tripleshot, cost is US$241 each to duplicate the housing in set of 10 for the tripleshot. Unless you have the money for a 1000pcs, you are not going to make $$$ out of this venture and yes, I'm from cheap manufacturing country Taiwan.

  26. #26
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    Originally quoted by eddielee70
    your price is much better then Scar's
    My friend just purchased and received his Amoeba from Scar. That thing is incredible! Sounds like he gives great customer service and stands behind his work too. You really get what you pay for, same thing applies for this kit.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]

    I'm hoping I can sell the kit for between $40 and $50, including shipping (USPS first class) to anyplace in the US. Does that seem a fair price? You can probably buy all the parts for a little less than that, but a lot of distributors have minimum quantities you need to purchase, or handling charges on small orders that make building a single light kind of expensive.

    Mark

    HURRY UP!!!!!
    the night riding season is on , don't do like the folks at Manitou that developed a great line of forks but are delaying wholesale distribution until everyone goes mad for the wait and buy a 2008 Fox

    Just kidding, take your time to refine your great job (but hurry up! )
    flyMTBfish

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by super-fast
    Do you really consider putting an 8 inch flashlight on your bar? Runtime will be in the best case 2.5 hours and then it will be dark. It is a nice flashlight, but not a nice bikelight, it is too big.
    I would use the flashlight, but the beam pattern is the problem. it's too spotty for my type of riding in NW. people at candleforum have mod it so it's on the head that is used. not the whole 9" fashlight. it's pretty easy if you see the flashlight itself. the head comes off and you can just wire + - into the head. it's actually lighter and much better looking then DIY design. Runtime can be as long as your own seperate battery can last from 7.2v-18v type. check it out...
    https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...d.php?t=166671

    there are alot of others design from flashlights

    FYI, I made my own using hand tools, but wish I have better tooling to make it better looking. one 50% better then trinewt, one 100% brighter then trinewt from lux meter reading. They were going through 20 hour testing before trail use. I'm making new copperhead light using kennon and fatman drivers. but waiting for kennon driver since November 2007.



  29. #29
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    Eddielee, I have your same light clamp (spare cateye or sigma) but where did you get the female block (the part screwed to the light housing)??
    Thanks
    fab
    flyMTBfish

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausable
    Eddielee, I have your same light clamp (spare cateye or sigma) but where did you get the female block (the part screwed to the light housing)??
    Thanks
    fab
    easy, just cut off the round tips and drill hole. helmet mount is $4 and handlebar is $9

    http://www.ebikestop.com/Items/004-lt7540?sck=5760917

    http://www.ebikestop.com/Items/004-lt7419?sck=5760917

    I found a cheaper one that's have hole drill out already and all much better quality parts made in japan( not china cheap nightpro stuff). it's this.

    http://www.cateye.com/store/parts.php?cid=2_26
    get the spacer for $2
    http://www.cateye.com/store/parts.php?cid=2_50
    get the h31 or h32 for $2.75 each.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    The drivers I want to use are from kaidomain and are called kennan. They rock. They seem to be out of stock a lot, so I'm not sure they are a viable driver to use for the kit. I'd roll my own drivers, but you can buy a complete driver circuit board from China for less than you can buy the driver chip in small quantities.

    Some of the flashlites coming out are pretty bright, but I think what you want for a bike lite needs to be a bit different. The kit I'm talking about would run on a wide range of batteries. So you could use NiMh if you wanted to keep it cheap, or use Li-Ion if you need lighter weight and longer run times.

    Mark
    yeap, that's what I thought on the driver. $3 for 4v-18v driver is cheap and great stable current at 750ma. I order some in september 2007, got it in oct 2007. but order more in october 2007, have not seem then ship yet( 4 month wait). if you got similar driver for sale that cheap, please tell me....

    with 4 led ssc driven at 750ma using two kennon driver with 11.1v li-ion battery, I got 39 lux on the lux meter compare to 21lux for the trinewt in my dark room. I use the $1.50 supposely 800ma driver to drive two led with one driver, tested to 500ma to each led( from 1020ma driven by 7.2v li-ion), so 4 led 500ma with 2 $1.50 driver came out to 28lux. I feel the lower the current and more led is better. too much is lost to heat if you driven them at 1020ma. when I had the two led setup driven by two driver 1020ma like your setup. they are brighter then niterider HID 17lux, but not brighter then trinewt at 21lux though.

    yes, your setup would be great for not so incline DIY people who doesn't want to pay the $200 price for Scar's Amoeba and want to use their own batteries and choose their optics

    biggest problem with flashlight is that lens (optics) are fixed and hard to change. too spotty for me. I build my own, bc I can change the lens and optics as I see fit anytime. But flashlight are cheap and easily take 7.2v to 18v battery of any kind. even Akaline batteries.

  32. #32
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    eddielee70 - Dude, did I say or do something to piss you off? That is twice now in this thread you have bashed me and my lights. Please let me know.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar
    eddielee70 - Dude, did I say or do something to piss you off? That is twice now in this thread you have bashed me and my lights. Please let me know.
    sorry, what did I say to bash you? just let people know the cost of led kit and $50 flashlight, so they have their options open. I didn't say your light is bad or anything. I didn't say you are a bad person. It looked like a great light from the pictures. Just letting people know the going prices for parts and kits like yours and Ausable. that's is what the forum is for, right?

    $1.50 for driver from DX
    $5.80 x 2 for ssc u-bin 240 lumen at 1000ma led from DX
    $40 for 7.2v li-ion 4000mah, includes all the wires you need and charger from batteryspace.com
    $2 housing from onlinematels.com
    $1.75 X 2 optics from ledsupply.com
    $10 for wires, AAA, and switch
    alot of manual labor to get one bright led setup

    if they can't put it together, then get it from Scar or Ausable

  34. #34
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    if you want to buy volume qualities, then buy from here. price goes down to $0.36 each for 400 of these drivers. sure like to see Ausable sell alot of these kits....I learn all my DIY info here, just like to share back.....

    http://www.volumerate.com/details.vr/sku.3256

  35. #35
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    The drivers you linked to (from DX basically) are not as good as the ones from kaidomain. They work fine for a single LED, but their input voltage is a bit limited. The driver uses a zxsc300 chip, which, according to the data sheet, has a max recommended input voltage of 8 volts. So that restricts the batteries you can use with the driver. If you are using NiMh cells you are limited to 6, with 4 being an easier number to come up with holders for. With 4 cells you get about 2 hours of run time.

    I like the kaidomain kennan driver because you an run 8 AA NiMh batteries with it, for a run time of over 4 hours.

    A few folks have PMed me to hurry and come up with a kit.

    Maybe what I'll do is offer a kit (probably available by mid february, depending on how fast I can get drivers and LEDs from DX) with the DX drivers, for those folks who can't wait. And if the kennan drivers become available later, I'll offer a kit that includes them.

    For folks who really can't wait, I can offer a kit of everything except LEDs, optics, and drivers. You can order what you need form DX, or other sources. I'll include a list of sources (for the above) on the web page I'll create for folks who purchase the kits. And I'll email you the address for the web page once I receive payment (probably via paypal).

    I've run the prices for parts, including first class shipping in the US, and come up with the following:

    Kit without LEDs, optics, or drivers: $35
    Kit with single LED, optic, and driver: $40
    Kit with 2 LEDs, optics, and drivers: $50

    Add $1 for shipping to Canada, $2 for Mexico.
    For other countries, please PM me.

    Prices might be a little higher with the kennan driver. I need to find out what the lead time will be for them.

    Mark

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    A friend of mine destroyed her old light (a modded one with a plastic housing, that can brake). So I was looking for a cheap solution, that she can't destroy . I just finished designing my own version of the DIY Dinotte look a like. It is designed for 17 mm optics (reflectors), the space for the optic and driver is both 18.1 mm (diameter). I only have to think about the switch, a light also goes off when you pull the wire out and there is not really a need for lower drive currents with one or 2 leds.
    Monday I'll send the drawings to a company that have a shop in Eastern Europe, then I can tell how much it would cost (including O-ring and glass to put in front of the optic). I will build an anodising setup in the following weeks at home, it isn't really hard to do so I'll give it a try. Pink anodized lights are cool

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar
    eddielee70 - Dude, did I say or do something to piss you off? That is twice now in this thread you have bashed me and my lights. Please let me know.
    Scar, I didn't take his comments that way - I like your lights a lot, but like many here, I am not going to be a customer myself, because I can do all the same work that you are putting into your complete lights for sale - maybe mine are not as clean and neat though. I would however direct non DIY friends to you and I have, because against the comparable commercial lights, yours are a great value .

    Consider the following alternate comments if the discussion was about DIY vs Commercial instead of DIY kit vs DIY Complete lights. I like the 200L Dual, but that doesn't negate that your lights may be a better value :
    Quote Originally Posted by eddielee70
    your price is much better then Scar's $200 Amoeba setup for same two led setup.
    Scar's $200 Amoeba setup is a much better price than $350 for a Dinotte 200L Dual.
    or
    Quote Originally Posted by eddielee70
    yes, your setup would be great for not so incline DIY people who doesn't want to pay the $200 price for Scar's Amoeba and want to use their own batteries and choose their optics
    Scar's $150 Amoeba lighthead would be great for the not so DIY inclined people that don't want to pay $350 for a Dinotte 200L Dual and want to choose their own batteries.

  38. #38
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    Finally got the first prototype done.



    I may change a few things. The thermal cut-out switch was kind of a pain to shoehorn in at the end. I took everything out of the light and shortened wires to make the fit easier. This might make building the kit a challenge for somebody with limited soldering experience. I'm considering making the body of the light about an inch wider (would stick out 1/2 inch on either end). This would make the light look less "cool", but would probably make it a heck of a lot easier to put together.

    This view:



    shows the handlebar mount, a simple conduit hanger. I covered it with some heat-shrink tubing to avoid scratching my handlebars. The wingnut at the end makes the whole mess pretty easy to take off.

    I probably need to build at least two more prototypes before I'm ready to start selling kits. I need to figure out parts placement with a wider body. And I need to take a whole lot of pictures while I put the second one together so I can produce some decent directions. I haven't tried the hot-melt potting sticks yet either. This proto was sealed with an ordinary hot melt glue gun.

    The thermal cutout switch seems to work. It turns off the spot LED a bit sooner than I expected, around 58 C instead of of 65 C. When the light cools off a bit the spot turns back on. You get a blinking effect, with the spot coming on for 15 seconds or so, then off for half a minute or more. You wouldn't want to leave the light doing this for too long. The cutout switch is only rated for 5000 cycles (it would take several days of running the light continuously to hit 5000 cycles, and the AA batteries only last about 2 hours). The manufacturer doesn't specify which way the switch will fail. It'd suck to lose your spot because it failed in the off position. But the cutout certainly works as a reminder that you need to start pedaling again

    This has been a fun project to put together.

    And now the obligatory beamshot (both LEDs on):



    The garage in the photo was about 35 feet away from the camera. The light was 2 or 3 feet behind the camera. The camera settings I used were: ASA 100, 6 second exposure, daylight AWB, aperature F4.0, and auto focus. I sort of followed the suggestions here: https://forums.mtbr.com/lights-diy-do-yourself/best-camera-settings-beamshots-374689.html


    Mark
    Last edited by [email protected]; 01-19-2008 at 06:07 PM.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by super-fast
    A friend of mine destroyed her old light (a modded one with a plastic housing, that can brake). So I was looking for a cheap solution, that she can't destroy . I just finished designing my own version of the DIY Dinotte look a like. It is designed for 17 mm optics (reflectors), the space for the optic and driver is both 18.1 mm (diameter)....
    Monday I'll send the drawings to a company that have a shop in Eastern Europe, then I can tell how much it would cost (including O-ring and glass to put in front of the optic)
    Here are some - not sure if that's a good price:
    Glass Lens for Flashlights (18mm 10-Pack) $2.90
    and
    Glass Lens for Flashlights 10-Pack (17.9mm x 1.2mm) $2.34
    Last edited by mjzraz; 01-19-2008 at 05:35 PM. Reason: misquoted

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Finally got the first prototype done.



    I may change a few things. The thermal cut-out switch was kind of a pain to shoehorn in at the end.


    Mark
    Mark,
    where did you get the thermal cut-out switch? epoxy to the back side of spot led?

    website and part number would be good. is 60 degree C the norm? my problem is with circuit burning out when the whole setup gets hot in room temp w/o fan going, the circuit would burn, not the led. when the fan blowing in room, no problem at all. not a problem for trail use in 30-50 F weather in Northwest.

    thanx
    eddielee

  41. #41
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    I got the switch at a local surplus store ... no idea where they got them from. The switch is made by pepi (http://www.pepiusa.com/modn.html). The hard part of getting them in bulk (after the local place runs out) is going to be to find a distributor whose minimum order is less than 1000 pieces.

    The switch is just wedged against the back of the 1 in. tubing. All the wires coming off the drivers and pushbuttons just hold it up against the aluminum tubing. Then I covered everything in hot-melt glue. Probably not the most efficient heat transfer, but it seems to work pretty well.

    The whole idea of the switch is not to prevent the light from burning out, though it will help with that, it's to let the user know they've been standing still too long. In my tests, the switch only opens after running both LEDs for over 10 minutes in still air (ie: you're not pedaling). Just riding up and down the driveway the other night, the housing never even got warm after 15 minutes. And I was going pretty slow, maybe 5 mph or so. As I said in an earlier post, the switch is optional. You just need to remember to turn off one of your lights when stopped (good idea anyway as it increases runtime). With just one LED on, the housing never got hot enough to trip the switch after an hour (in still air).

    If you want to try one of the switches in your light, send me your address and I'll send you a couple. The couple I tested seem to trip around 60C, which should prevent your drivers from getting toasted.

    Mark

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    Will you be adding a seperate QR mount for that light? Us commuters need to be able to quickly detach it from the bars so they don't get stolen...

    If it's possible to, keep the light as compact as possible - or have two options for housing size? Bulky things on my handlebar makes me unhappy.

  43. #43
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    There's a wingnut on the conduit clamp. That's fairly Quick Release.

    Right now you have to remove the conduit clamp, un-velcro the wire in a few places and take off the battery pack to take the light off your bike. You could add a couple plugs and jacks if you want to be able to leave the wire fastened to you frame. I don't really want to add connectors or different mounting options to the kit (though I may add a really simple helmet mount). It increases the cost and adds stuff some folks might not want.

    The head is pretty compact. It's only about 2 inches wide, by 1 inch deep, by 3 inches high (less than 2 of that will be above the handlebars). The head (with clamp) weighs less than 4 ounces. The whole thing with 8 AA batteries weighs less than a pound.

    Mark

  44. #44
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    Hey Mark,
    Mid February is coming - It's time to release the Kit !!!
    Any updates?
    fab
    flyMTBfish

  45. #45
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    Sorry this is taking so long. I've got 50 The kaidomain drivers on order, but evidently EVERYBODY in China takes a couple of weeks off around Chinese New Year. So getting the drivers and LEDs will still take at least another week. This is the longest it's taken for me to get an order from Hong Kong!

    I've got enuff of the rest of the parts to offer at least 15 kits once the drivers arrive. I've also got some lower voltage drivers on the way from dealextreme, so if they get here first, I'll offer a slightly cheaper kit that runs on 4 AA batteries. The kaidomain driver version of the kit is designed to run off of 8 AA batteries and includes an 8 cell holder (but can run off of 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cells if you provide a different battery holder).

    I've got a second prototype I'll try to post pictures of later today. It's a new design with just one switch on the light that turns the spot on/off. There is a separate switch on the battery pack that turns everything on/off. Moving the second switch off of the light head makes assembly much easier. I've also got a few of RockyMtnWay's on1/on1+on2/on2/off switches for those who just want one switch. This would let you cycle thru the following: flood/flood+spot/spot/off. The only thing that worries me about this is you need to shut off your light at one point to get from the spot setting back to flood setting. This could be bad if you decide to do this while bombing downhill

    Oh yeah, I've been working up a list of tools and supplies you will need:

    soldering iron - a good one, not a $10 Radio Shack special
    solder - see above, small diameter (1/16 inch or smaller) is better. Lead free or regular will work.
    diagonal cutters or small wire cutters - a fine sharp tip is nice for getting into tight spots.
    wire strippers - you can use a razor if you are very careful, but a $3 pair of wire strippers from your local hardware store will work better.
    heat gun or handheld hair dryer - for shrinking heat shrink tubing - you can use a stove if careful
    hot plate or camping stove - for melting hot melt glue - or a 5/8 inch (15.875 mm) glue gun
    pot - for melting glue in - I've managed to do it using a hiker's tin cup
    file or emory board (nail file) - for deburring aluminum tubing
    epoxy - holds everything together, I really like loctite insta-mix (has 2 mixing nozzles)
    artic alumina epoxy - for heat sinking starts - or I'll include some aluminum oxide powder and you can make your own
    needle nose pliers or forceps - useful when soldering wires to stars
    internet access - to download detailed instructions
    newspaper - to spread over work surface when using epoxy
    tin foil - handy place to mix epoxy
    hammer and small plastic bags - used to break up glue sticks before melting
    rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) - for cleaning LED lens and cleaning up epoxy mess
    paper towels and Q-tips - handy for cleaning
    disposable latex or rubber gloves - to keep epoxy off your hands

    If you have never soldered before, this might not be a good kit for you. The drivers will have LED leads soldered on them, but you will need to solder the leads to the stars as well as solder wires to the drivers, switches, etc.

    To melt the hot melt glue and epoxy the housing, stars, and optics you will need a well ventilated, reasonably warm (over 45 degrees F) workspace. A garage works well. Don't try this in your kitchen!

    If you have never used epoxy before, buy some loctite 5 minute epoxy with insta-mix nozzles. The Lowes near me sells a .47 oz package for around $4. That's enough to make one light. Mixing epoxy is kind of messy. And if you screw it up you wind up with this smelly sticky gloop that never cures. The nozzles take all the guesswork out of mixing.

    I've had pretty good luck melting glue using a camp stove, but an electric hotplate should work as well. Be sure the pot you use to melt glue in is one you don't care about. You will probably never get all the hardened glue out. I had one failed attempt at melting glue using a tin can. It's hard to regulate the heat well enough to keep the glue from burning in a thin walled container. But a hot plate might work with a can, start the heat really low.

    The hot melt glue step is optional if you have another way to mount the drivers to the switch. The glue is used to hold the drivers in place as well as seal the electronics from moisture. You can use a standard hobbyist glue gun (7/16 inch or 11 mm) to mount the drivers, and seal everything if you want. I've done that on a few prototypes. I'm just not sure what the long term effects of general purpose hot melt glue will be on the electronics. The 5/8 inch sticks I'll include in the kit are specifically designed for potting electronics. They have very low thermal expansion characteristics and are supposed to not cause corrosion.

    Hey the postperson was just here! Oh Damn! My DX order showed up with no drivers Well I'll post here later when I find out what DX is doing.

    Mark
    Last edited by [email protected]; 02-08-2008 at 07:05 PM.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    I've got enuff of the rest of the parts to offer at least 15 kits once the drivers arrive.
    Mark
    Thanks for the update, and sorry that the drivers are taking so long to arrive.
    Remember that I've booked one kit!
    flyMTBfish

  47. #47
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    Here are some more pictures of what the kit will look like, and some descriptions of what comes in the kit.

    This picture is approximately what the kit will look like after you put it together,



    minus the handlebar mount, battery holder, and wire. Note that there is only one switch on the light head. This switch will turn the spot on or off. This version uses L2 optics epoxied directly to the stars, with no holders.

    I'll offer two versions of optics to use with the kit. There will be the white plastic hong kong optics used in an earlier prototype like these:



    Or you'll have the option of using L2 polymer optics like the ones in the first picture. They will come with holders like this:



    They allow you to pretty easily change the optics if you want to. If you order the L2 optics option you'll get 4 lenses to play with, a spot, a medium flood, a wide flood, and an elliptical flood. The kit with the L2 optics optic will probably cost about $10 more than the regular kit. The disadvantage to using the L2 optics holders is there is no really good way to completely seal the optics against the weather, like you can do with the hong kong ones. That's why I tried the experiment of epoxying the optics directly to the LED stars. That works and gives a slightly better beam pattern than you get with the hong kong optics. It is however kind of tricky to do. If you are new to building lights, I'd recommend the hong kong optics for your first build.

    This picture is the battery pack.



    It has a switch that turns all the LEDs on or off. I decided the kit would be much easier to build if there was only one switch in the light head. The battery pack is made of an clear acrylic tube and polyethylene endcaps. It's designed to sit in your water bottle holder and is held in place by a mil-spec (wow! ) velcro strap. It should be pretty waterproof. The battery holder will include an 8 AA battery holder with snaps (think 9 volt battery snaps) and another snap to connect your wire from the light head to the battery holder. Please note that batteries will not be included. You will also get 4 feet of 18 guage wire to run from the light head to the battery pack. This should be enough to allow you to experiment with other mounting options. I decided to use the water bottle holder as a place to mount the battery pack because its simple and usually pretty solid.

    This picture shows what a light can look like after a bit of sanding.



    You don't have to sand the housing if you don't want to. I think it looks better if you do. But you probably won't be able to get a truly professional looking finish on the housing. The aluminum used in the housing is pretty soft, so it's going to have some dings and nicks in it when you get it. The kit will include some sandpaper, but you probably won't be able to remove all the surface defects.

    At this point I'm guessing the kit will include:

    2 SSC P4 LEDs (U bin) mounted on stars
    2 LED 4 to 18 volt flashlight driver boards from kaidomain
    2 schottky diodes, to protect LEDs from plugging in the battery backwards
    2 optics (1 flood and 1 spot)
    2 switches with waterproof boots
    2 plastic endcaps for aluminum housing
    thermal cut-out switch
    small guage wire for wiring internal bits (about 2 feet)
    larger guage wire for wiring to battery pack (4 feet)
    various diameter pieces of heat shrink tubing
    aluminum pieces for body and optics shroud (cut to size, all holes drilled, may need a bit of filing)
    2 sq in of 600 grit sandpaper for finishing aluminum
    conduit hanger and wing nut for mounting light on handlebars
    a small amount aluminum oxide powder for making your own thermal epoxy
    battery holder for 8 AA cells
    plastic tubing and endcaps for holding battery holder
    velcro strap for attaching battery holder to bike frame
    velcro cable ties for attaching wire to frame
    hot-melt glue sticks for potting electronics
    a link and password for a web page with very detailed instructions

    And as I mentioned above I will offer some variations, like different optics, different drivers, and different size battery holders. The variations might cost a little more or less than the standard kit.

    I will probably only sell full kits. I don't really want to get into the business of selling parts one at a time. It's too much trouble (man just trying to get the parts for the kits has been a hassle ). But since some of the folks ordering the kits probably won't have a lot of experience building stuff like this, I will offer a spares kit: 1 LED, 1 driver, 1 diode the parts you are most likely to blow up. The spares kit can be ordered when you order the kit, probably for around $18. If you order it later it will cost a bit more to cover postage, say $20. If you don't blow up LEDs or drivers when building your kit, you can use the spares kit to build a simple one LED helmet light (but the engineering details will be left up to you ).

    I'm going to test all the parts I send out in the kits, but I don't think I can offer a warranty on the kit. I'm going to try to make the instructions as clear as I can, and hopefully I'll get lots of feedback on how to improve them. But with the skill level of folks building these probably being all over the map, I'm afraid it will be financial suicide to offer a warranty. I will stand behind my instructions though. If you blow something up and can show me that it was due to an error in the instructions, I'll replace whatever parts you need.

    I'm not sure when the kits will actually go on sale. Kaidomain is on vacation for Chinese New Year. I currently have all the parts for 15 kits at this point, except the drivers. Hopefully the lower voltage drivers I ordered from Deal Extreme will show up next week and I can offer some kits for sale. And when my Kaidomain order makes it here I'll have enough parts for another 15. So keep checking this thread to see what's up.

    And Mr. Forum Moderator, I promise I'll by an ad before I actually start selling kits ... honest.

    Thanks to all of you who have offered inspiration, encouragement, feedback, or input,

    Mark

    PS: Don't worry Ausable, utabintarbo, and PaMtnBkr, I've got parts pulled aside for you already

  48. #48
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    Thank you! Thank you!

    "PS: Don't worry Ausable, utabintarbo, and PaMtnBkr, I've got parts pulled aside for you already "

    Thank you, thank you! I am looking forward to the project! I for one, would be perfectly happy to have a simple on/off switch that controls both lights. My ride times at
    PM are typically around 3 hours so I would not be overly concerned about saving battery run time. Turn em on and go! Turn em off when done or at rest breaks. I plan on one set on the bars and a 2nd set on the helmet.

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    hi [email protected], any word on the drivers from your suppliers yet? I am dying to build up one of these kits and try the led thing. May have to try sources these part myself here pretty soon. Is the price looking the same, how much?

  50. #50
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    hey roadrule,

    You're dying? Man I have all the parts for 25 dual LED headlights, EXCEPT the damn drivers It has been over 5 weeks since I ordered drivers form DX and Kaidomain.

    I did get an email from DX today, that they had shipped their drivers, but for some reason they shipped it regular airmail, instead of express airmail. Guess I need to order some more drivers and request express service. ARGGG!

    Kaidomain hasn't been answering my emails other than to say we'll have the rest of your order real soon now. They have sent some lenses and a few other items I ordered. But no drivers yet.

    Do I sound frustrated?

    Mark

  51. #51
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    Mark,
    How are them kits coming along? Sounds like everyone has gotten their backordered drivers and the drivers are now back in stock, how about you?

  52. #52
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    Hi Roadrule,

    I got my last few parts late last week. There have been some changes to the driver circuit and I've been working over the weekend to figure out how well the new circuit works.

    The thing that worries me the most is the new drivers run a bit hotter than the old ones. I had over 100 hours of testing on the old drivers, in a couple of different prototypes, so was confident they would work well. The new circuit runs hot to the touch. It runs an LED at about 1 amp (vs. .75 amps for the old drivers). This makes the LED run hotter, so proper construction and heatsinking becomes more crucial. The LEDs are a bit brighter though.

    And as a final annoyance, the new driver turns off if the input voltage drops below 6.2 volts. This is great if you're running your LED off 2 unprotected Li-Ion cells, but kind of a bummer if you wanted to run your LED off of 4 NiMh cells.

    If you are interested in more details about the new driver, go check out this thread on CPF:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=189547

    I'm not sure how to handle this. I'm not going to return the drivers I do have, given how long it took to get them. I can do a lot of surface mount rework to make the new drivers work like the old ones, but that isn't my idea of a fun time. The new driver is the same size as the old one, but has 5 more parts crammed on to it, so soldering is a bit trickier.

    At this point I'm looking at offering kit purchasers the following choices:
    Kit with unmodified driver - brighter but runs hot
    Kit with modified lower current driver - less bright but safer
    Kit with modified lower voltage & lower current driver - runs on 4 AA NiMh cells
    Kit with unmodified driver and a .27 ohm resistor you get to install

    Anybody care to offer any feedback on which version of the kit they'd like?

    I hope to buy my ad announcing the kit by the end of the week. And start shipping orders by early next week.

    Mark

  53. #53
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    Feb 2005
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    645
    My choice would be
    Kit with modified lower voltage & lower current driver - runs on 4 AA NiMh cells
    I ride mostly twisty single track, would this be enough light (x2) ?
    Kit with unmodified driver and a .27 ohm resistor you get to install- How hard would this be to install? Just a simple solder job? I can worry about space constraints on my end.
    Thanks, Don

  54. #54
    Black Sheep rising
    Reputation: utabintarbo's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    917
    Can the modification be reversed? If so, I would suggest "Kit with modified lower current driver - less bright but safer" with instructions on how to un-modify it for more brightness. Strive for reliability over performance.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  55. #55
    www.hahntronix.com
    Reputation: mhahn@hvc.rr.com's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    252
    Nice idea utabintarbo,

    Yes, you can reverse the mod, if you are careful. But if you've never worked with surface mount parts before, this would be a bad project to start with.

    Plus I would then have to stock the .20 ohm resistor I pulled off to make it lower current (once you you pull off a surface mount part, you typically can't reuse it, even if you can find it ) as well as the .27 ohm resistor I'll be putting on the board.

    I'll probably charge more for the ones I modify, cause it takes a bit longer to do the mod and then test them.

    Damn, I wish I had just been able to get the damn driver I ordered in the first place.

    Well I'll try moding some today for lower current and see how it works.

    Regardless of what I wind up shipping, I will include instructions on how to mod the driver on the kit assembly instructions website.


    And PaMtnBkr,

    I have some less robust drivers from DX that will run on 4 AA batteries, but not 8! Would those work for you.


    Mark

  56. #56
    banned
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    Yeah, its really a nice idea dude. you can reverse the mod, if you are careful. But if you've never worked with surface mount parts before, this would be a bad project to start with. Thanks for your suggestion.

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