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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I've been lurking around here trying to figure out what to do about getting some lights for night riding now that it is getting a little toasty down here in Southern Utah!

I have a pretty limited budget of around $150. I would like to get a setup with both a handlebar light and a helmet light. I need it for riding pretty rocky rough terrain type trails with a little slick rock thrown in.

I see that jensen has the blackburn X6 for $99 but it's gotten pretty crappy review plus it doesn't sound all that bright. Could I purchase it and put some stronger LED's in it maybe.

I guess the only other way to stay in my price range would be one of the various DIY type things. I'm not a electronics genius but I can do basic electronics and fabrication. Which one seems to be the best option?

Also I fly rc aircraft and have a ton of 3 cell lipo 2100 ma packs and a very good charger. Any setups that could utilize these would be really cool.
 

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diy

Building a light is fairly basic, and if your are creative you can build something for about 45bucks. there is a lot of info regarding how to do it, too much really. okay not too much, but maybe more than you need to know.
if you have a soildering iron you can order just about everything you need and put one together in a few hours. not all will agree on design lenses/colllimators drivers etc, and there are better and worse ways to go but this will work at a reasonable price piont.
go to dealextreme search Q5 emmiters buy 2 of them mounted on star disc. then get two drivers. i like the ones that have at least 5 modes high, low, slow blinky, fast blinky sos or beacon. the drive should say the max output is 1000milliamps and handle up to 8 or 9 volts but it will probablly only be around 800milliamps.
for me and some friends using these drives we all agree it is plenty of power (light). i actually think it's too much. get a package of clicky switches (not idea but work just fine) a package of silicone clicky switch covers ( if you want to ride in the rain). next go to kaidomain search collimator or 15 degree optical lenses for ssc led you have to trim these guys a little with a knife but that's easy. alternately dx has optic that are pretty good but with a large beam i think i found some there that were either 23 or 30 degrees ( and they come in packs of 10), which is huge for a bike light. i like the dx collimators because there is no voids in the light ie.the beam is very even with no dark spots. right now my light has one 23 ? degree and one 15 degree. i also have some 6 degree optics sitting around that i will try one of these days just to see if the light can double as a welder.
next you need an aluminum mini box as a heat sink. the boxes we used are 3.5" by 1.25" by 1.125" deep digikey has these. they may measure them differently but those are my outside dementions. i replaced the lid with a piece of plexy glass. easy to shape and seal with a bit of silicone.i got a 2 prong water tight trailer hitch plug at the automotive store but digikey might have one too.
the next thing you need is a battery. i discovered that if you cut open an old laptop battery (not adviseable) you will find 3 pairs of lithium ion batteries. each pair is 2 cells wired in paralell. and they work perfectly (some may not agree) for running this light. next you will need a charger. it's not ideal but a friend is having success using an old cell phone charger. the problem is you have to check the voltage and be sure to unplug the battery once it is charges. if you unplug the charger from the wall and leave the battery connected it will distroy the battery. and it may not be safe to charge these cell this way but we haven't had any problems. we also safely burned a magnesium volkswagon engine block at a bone fire party when we were in college. some heat sink grease, tiny screws and rubber splicing tape and you are ready to go.
using 2 switches 2 drivers and 2 emmiters allows you to have 2 completely redundent system within your light so that if one fails the second one will keep working, but if you are careful putting all this together you should have a very reliable system.
there are definately better drivers but they are about 10 times the cost, as well as much easier switches to fasten into the box but again nearly 10x the price.
have fun and remember. "don't look at the torch"
 
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Yes I agree, best make your own. if you want to use your 3 cell packs that I asume are 11.1volt. Then a bFlex driver from taskled and 2 SSC p4 U bins from dealextreme will make good use of it. Stick in a pair of 15 degree L2 optics from led supply and you have a nice bar light or at least the insides. The outside can be as simple or as complicated as you like. You'll enjoy useing lights that you have built yourself and will probably get the bug and never buy a ready made light ever again. But allow a good two weeks for things to arrive in the post though so not so good if you want your lights soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So if I made 2 lights, each using these SSC P4 Ubins, how much light are they going to put out?? Will they be pretty bright. Every one talks about lumens so how many are we talking about?? Seems like most of the DIY threads make a 3 led setup.
 
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helibird said:
So if I made 2 lights, each using these SSC P4 Ubins, how much light are they going to put out?? Will they be pretty bright. Every one talks about lumens so how many are we talking about?? Seems like most of the DIY threads make a 3 led setup.
Each SSC p4 u bin is around 240 lumen @ 1000ma but allow for some loss in the optics and there is now brighter U2 bin but have no idea where to get them. You could have two on the bars and one on the head. However I like troutie-mtb's idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Forgive my ignorance I know next to nothing about led's but looking at this...

mtbr member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 151 You want triple leds and easy build then get one of these kits from cutters
http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut790
It says input voltage of 12volts my fully charged 3cell lipos are 12.5 volts and go down to about 11.22 with about 20% of the capacity left. Is having below the recommended input voltage going to be a problem??? Correct me if I'm wrong but that kit gets me 3 leds, 3 optics, and a driver right?? Then I just have to figure out sometype of housing and a switch??
 

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helibird said:
It says input voltage of 12volts my fully charged 3cell lipos are 12.5 volts and go down to about 11.22 with about 20% of the capacity left. Is having below the recommended input voltage going to be a problem??? Correct me if I'm wrong but that kit gets me 3 leds, 3 optics, and a driver right?? Then I just have to figure out sometype of housing and a switch??
It may dim towards the end but should still light your way fine.
That kit is fantastic value. You can upgrade to a taskled driver later, you'll get a bit of lumen boost and brightness control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Been doing some more research and keep comming back to the copperhead DIY from achesalot. Just seems to be right up my alley as far as building the housing and all. The problem of course is trying to utilize the batteries I have. It looks like using a buckpuck an 11.1 volt battery is just not going to be enough to drive 3 leds. Would a 2 led light on the bar and 2 led light on the helmut be enough light. Of course the other option would probably be to conect 2 of the 11.1 in series to boost the voltage to 22.2 and do a 4 led light. I don't know?? I deffinately would prefer to have more light then not enough. How many lumens do these ssc P4 ubins put out?? How many milliamps do these things consume?? My night rides are very rarely over an hour.

Kind of a pain to design a light around batteries but since the battery seems to be almost as much as the electronics it's probably worth it. Any suggestions???
 

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Helibird have a look at this one it is a twin led so would work well with your rc batteries
make 2 one for the bars and one for the helmet.
they are very light and you might bring them in at budget

lets see 4*Q5 leds on stars from cutters $9 each $36
2 bflex or Nflex $30 each from taskled $60
boxs for housing not sure but not more than $ 20

sundrys and shipping the rest

sorry here is the link
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=407160

easer than the copperhead and less weight and imho better looking:D
 
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That's the reason that I recomended a pair of ssc p4's. Becouse I use a 11.1 volt battery and as a rule you want a 14.8 volt for 3 leds.
Make two lights, each using a pair of leds from dealextreme and a 1000ma buckpuck from ledsuply, you can also get the optics and holders from led supply.Then use an 11.1volt battery on each light. this is the Cheapest would give plenty of light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Helibird have a look at this one it is a twin led so would work well with your rc batteries
make 2 one for the bars and one for the helmet.
they are very light and you might bring them in at budget

lets see 4*Q5 leds on stars from cutters $9 each $36
2 bflex or Nflex $30 each from taskled $60
boxs for housing not sure but not more than $ 20

sundrys and shipping the rest

sorry here is the link
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=407160

easer than the copperhead and less weight and imho better looking
Ok I think I found the box in the us...
Is this it???

http://www.newark.com/04N9975/enclosures-storage-datacom-telecom/product.us0?sku=HAMMOND-1457C801

Is there a reason not to use the buckpuck it's a lot cheaper then the nflex.

That's the reason that I recomended a pair of ssc p4's. Becouse I use a 11.1 volt battery and as a rule you want a 14.8 volt for 3 leds.
Make two lights, each using a pair of leds from dealextreme and a 1000ma buckpuck from ledsuply, you can also get the optics and holders from led supply.Then use an 11.1volt battery on each light. this is the Cheapest would give plenty of light.
When you say plenty of light any estimate on how many lumens they would put out at 1000 ma??

Also how much runtime will I get out a 2100 ma 3 cell lipo?
 
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as I said before each led will give around 240 lumens (according to Seoul)at 1000ma. You will prob get around 2hrs maybe a bit more with a 2100 battery(with light on full power). The buckpuck is great and I use one in one of my lights but I now use the bFlex in my other lights becouse I live in the UK. postage for a buckpuck from ledsupply is $20!, postage for bFlex from taskled $5! so for me the bFlex is cheaper.
 

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Yes that is the make of box but it is bigger than the ones we used
mine is just under 1 inch high and 2.1/8 inches wide and cutdown length is 2.3/8 inch

they should make one that is long enough to make 2 lights from I messed up and got one smaller and the offcut was not big enough for anythink .

my answer to the Bflex question is the same as dweebys i am in the UK
plus I like the controlability of Bflex , no messing with pots and resisters for an electronics numpty like me..

with the box light helmet mounting a a doddle with some good velcro


where abouts are you in the UK dweeby I am in rainy yorkshire near skipton
 
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Troutie-mtb
I'm in sunny Kent, well just ouside south London really & it isn't really sunny down here.
 
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helibird
some pics just to give an idea of what to expect with two seoul p4 U bin a bFlex and 11.1 volt battery. It uses 15 degree optics(quite wide).This is the light that I use most on the bars. For the head you could use 5 degree optics. No one knows what a lumen looks like so pictures help.
 

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nice light

that's a very slick light.
i wanted to say a little something about drivers emitters and DIYers.
for no reason other than my limited research i think that the cree emitters are more effiecient. particularly when you get into the q5 and r2 bins.
next drivers. the bflex and other flex drivers are very nice but i think in the spirit of diy cost is often a factor. true we usally spend far more in time and often money than a production light would cost but in the end after all the prototypes we should have a product that is high quality at an amazing price. this was the deciding factor to go with the less expensive (about $3) drivers i found at dx (dealextreme). you need two of them (for two emitter light head) which allows you to tune the emitters individually. i know that means 2 switches and a bigger box to mount it all in but the boxes are still comparitively small. a plus to the 2 driver light is the ability to use a single lithiumion cell (if you use the right drivers). i actually use a pair in paralell that i got out of a lap top battery that was going to be recycled. so my system runs off 3.7 volts. it can all be mounted on my helmet without it gettting too heavy, but if i am riding less techinical stuff i mount it on my stem bellow my bars
 
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Yes luke, I understand what you are getting at and my way of thinking is slowly changing. not too long ago you got what you paid for when it came to drivers and when you are in a pitch black forest you want something that has stood the test of time and the cheap ones would burn out and couldn't provide the required current output or cope with hardly any variation in input voltage. Now though things appear to be getting a lot better with the cheap drivers lasting more than a couple of rides.

And yes I like the idea of one driver per Led but didn't want to use the cheap ones (when they used to go pop) and wouldn't pay for 2 x bFlex.

Things are changing so fast you can't keep up, but as long as it's reliable then it's got to be good and if it's cheap then even better.
 

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Hi Luke
Don't you find the modes on your drivers annoying ,and do you have to click thru them all to get to the one you want?

I just got some 5 mode drop-ins (reflector,driver and LED) from DX and i couldn't imagine using it on a bike -unless you just leave it on the one brightness for your whole ride.
If that is the case then i could see the value of it -but i've been spoiled with the Flex drivers
myself :)

Cheers
Dom
 
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