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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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!! :D

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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Low_Rider said:
What a classic!! :D
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
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
garboui said:
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
 

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the wrench
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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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Discussion Starter #7
garboui said:
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.com/product_info.php?cPath=48_49_61&products_id=495
 

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the wrench
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

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Formerly DMR For Life
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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
 

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Discussion Starter #11
DMR For Life said:
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
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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.com/index.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
 

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the wrench
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achesalot said:
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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Discussion Starter #15
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.
 

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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.
 

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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

achesalot said:
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.com/index.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
 

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achesalot said:
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
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Walt Dizzy said:
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.

Walt Dizzy said:
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.

Walt Dizzy said:
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.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=841

Hope this helps!
- Allen
 

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the wrench
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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.
 
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