is it worth it building instead of buying?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: car bone's Avatar
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    is it worth it building instead of buying?

    I'm looking to get a decent light, probably a dinotte. Its like 200 with battery and everything.
    Usually I prefer building stuff myself but this time I don't know. Is it even worth it?

    I want 1 single light, not 10 or 1000. I have a good but old multimeter that don't measure rms and nothing over like 5khz (and only sine up to 5k). I have no scope, I don't know ohms law, but I guess i can look it up. I have read a few books about electronics recently though, I have actually read them several times. I have a soldering iron and know how to use it. I have built speakers and replaced and tracked down broken components on pcbs, but thats it.

    So now I wonder if its worth it for me to do a diy light instead of just buying one.
    I have access to a lathe and know how to use it. and drill press and hand tools. But no milling machines.

    Also I have first find out what diode is the one I want, where it is cheap, electronics, buy or build. Then hunt down batteries and charger and probably some kind of lens for the led. I'm guesstimating this will take me at least 10 hours. If i work ovetime at work fopr 10 hours I will have after taxes: about $350. So is it still worth it for me? Will the diy light be so much better?

    What would you have done? I'm guessing I could have a dinotte 1000 lumen model with the biggest battery and everything here after taxes and shipping for like 350 or so. But then I don't have to pay for anything like diode and everything else that I have to buy on top of the 10h time consumption.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  2. #2
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    DIY lights are no longer built for economic reasons. It's a bit like a handmade custom frame made to your specification. It may not even work as well as a mass produced item, but it is uniquely yours.

    That said, I like building things. I have learned that I can create lights that suit my preferences, work excellently, and are reliable.

  3. #3
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    I see! I just found out I could get batteries and fenix flashlights instead, so that might be interesting too. And its cheap.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  4. #4
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    As Vancbiker says.
    if its about cash then no building a one off may be more expensive
    if you are charging your self for your time .

    But if you enjoy building things then the pleasure out weighs the perceived cost of the DIY light .

    The days when a DIY light was much better than e expensive shop bought lights have passed with the cheap Chinese offerings .

    but remember that Dinnotte was most likely made in china for next to nothing and a healthy profit for the shareholders .

  5. #5
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    If I thought building lights was work, then I'd buy one.

    If I thought building lights was fun, then I'd build one.

  6. #6
    aka RossC
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    I built one but that was purely because I couldn't find one that did exactly what I needed from off the shelf.

    I'll echo the sentiments of others.... gone are the days when building them yourself is cheaper. Possibly more satisfying, possibly more frustrating.

  7. #7
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    At this point you can buy a housing from Easy2led, a driver from George at TaskLed and a battery pack already wired up, so it's a matter of collecting a few more small bits and assembling it . I've gone that route and ended up with some very nice lights that do exactly what I want, without spending a ton of time or money.
    It does take a while to source and order the various bits- here's where I found mine:
    Waterproof momentary switch and XML LED from eBay
    Cable gland - got some from a kind member here
    Self-fusing silicone tape and heat shrink for waterproofing battery pack - eBay
    Mount- El34 sells some solid ones, as does Cateye or you can DIY
    Cable and connectors from Dealextreme.
    Headband from El34 or DX.
    Thermal paste or thermal tape from eBay.
    Batteries with connector and extra silicone wire + charger- AnyBattery on eBay.

    Of course, once you have the parts for one, a second is easier, as are more batteries.

  8. #8
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    offroad how many sources are that? and how much was the total cost for one light? and shipping?

    I have decieded to first get a fenix light, like 2-300 lumens that takes regualr aa AND build my own.

    So where do i get non fake 18650 and aa nimh batteries? I want the best ones. which are the best ones?

    I have already built a mount that takes tubular shaped flashlights so i want to reuse that somehow.

    also is there a way to pulse the light faster than the eye can react to get the same percieved brightness but longer battery life? Plants can be fooled this way since the photosynthesis reaction is kinda slow to react. Just asking.

    what are the best diodes for a project? And where to get them?
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  9. #9
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    So where do i get non fake 18650 and aa nimh batteries? I want the best ones. which are the best ones?
    18650 - Panasonic NCR18650
    AA NiMH - Eneloop

    also is there a way to pulse the light faster than the eye can react to get the same percieved brightness but longer battery life?
    That's called PWM dimming. This is done on cheap flashlights to provide a "low" mode. There are 2 downsides: a) the LED is not working in the most efficient fashion b) the unnoticeable PWM can cause weird visual effects on tires.

    what are the best diodes for a project?
    Nichia 219 92Ra - they are not the most efficient by lumen/watt, but their color rendering is the best.
    CNC LED light housing for DIY projects

  10. #10
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    Yeah i was thinking pwm but not for dimming just for saving battery, is that even possible on humans? i was thinking in the range of mhz or at least several tens of khz, if the diodes are sluggish. you can pretty much fool plants into growing just as good as continous light when you pulse it. It just has to be faster than they can react (the chlorophyll). Will this work for our eyes too?
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    offroad how many sources are that? and how much was the total cost for one light? and shipping?

    I have decieded to first get a fenix light, like 2-300 lumens that takes regualr aa AND build my own.

    So where do i get non fake 18650 and aa nimh batteries? I want the best ones. which are the best ones?

    I have already built a mount that takes tubular shaped flashlights so i want to reuse that somehow.

    also is there a way to pulse the light faster than the eye can react to get the same percieved brightness but longer battery life? Plants can be fooled this way since the photosynthesis reaction is kinda slow to react. Just asking.

    what are the best diodes for a project? And where to get them?
    Well, I can answer some of that.
    Yes, lots of sources, but that's DIY for you. Zemike sells housing, switch and some mounts, but not a full kit with connectors and glands.

    It costs me about $125 to build a light kit with 2 batteries, helmet, headband and bar mount.
    The l-flex driver is excellent, and can pulse the light as you suggest on lower settings.

    You can get far cheaper and simpler drivers which will give you hIgh-med-low, but you get what you pay for in protection and customization.

    The e-bay vendor I gave you for batteries uses reputable Sanyo cells in the battery packs. You can get better individual cells from Panasonic, but if you want a battery pack you'd have to wire your packs with a protection module and it will cost you quite a bit more.
    If you are looking for single cells for a flashlight they are good.

    This light probably goes close to 1000 real lumens, with an efficient, programmable and customizable driver.

    Closest you'll get ready-made is to buy an Amoeba light, a k-light or a Glowworm.

  12. #12
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    do 20h overtime and get a Lupine

    DIY is about getting a light that is exactly what you want, as opposed to what the manufacturers think you need. It's also about taking responsibility for something you have to trust to work. That to me doesn't have a dollar value attached either in direct costs or what I would otherwise have spent my time doing (I don't get overtime, sadly). The cost increments between different light outputs aren't artificially inflated either - twice the lumens is usually the cost of an extra LED and a cell or two.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    do 20h overtime and get a Lupine

    Pissed my pants again

  14. #14
    uh huh
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    I will build !

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