Modding My Lawnmower Headlights to two XM-Ls (& misc info)

294 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA
Modding My Lawnmower Headlights to two XM-Ls (& misc info)

I would like to replace the headlights on my small lawn tractor with 2 XM-L's.  I'm not sure which way to go for parts - ready made drop-in or a complete D.I.Y. build.  I want really floody light (I have no need to spot things out at 1000' while riding my mower!).  I have thought about using two CPU heatsinks (I have access to many used/spare PC parts) and mounting the emitted to the flat end (where the CPU would have been) and then somehow mount the driver.  This idea really doesn't enclose things much.  I then don't know which driver would be well suited to give me 2.5A to 3A out from a a 12v input (which I guess can range from 11.8v up to 14.4v?).  For hookup, I was just going to use the existing headlight leads, but add a momentary switch on the dashboard to select modes.  I'd prefer 2 modes - low & high, but single or the typical Chinese 5 modes would be ok.  Of course I'd like to keep this budget too! 

Any ideas?  Any ready made drop-in I could utilize?  This 3 XM-L at DX is very pricey and seems to have heat issues.  It doesn't seem floody either.  Perhaps if I did use it I'd just mount one module in the center of my headlight lens (the current lens goes across the entire front end).  This drop-in is rated up to 22v input. 

What about using those 12v XM-L emitters found at GoodLuckBuy? Can I wire these direct drive?  How much current would they drive at in direct drive?  Would I risk burning them out with too much current?  Do I need a resistor in-line?  What size resistor?

Mower front looks like this:

mower

Thanks for the help. 

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
Edited by: garrybunk on 09/09/2014 - 20:03
keltex78
keltex78's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2011 - 10:15
Posts: 3705
Location: Texas

I ordered a set of LED backup bulbs from DX and installed on my mower. They aren’t really any brighter, but they are a much cooler tint than the incan so at least they look brighter. I’ve thought about using P60 drop-ins on PC heatsinks like you are thinking, and then wiring the emitters with a generic 18V drop-in, but have never pursued it. I’m curious on how you plan to do this…


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

willie
willie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 days ago
Joined: 08/16/2011 - 14:19
Posts: 827
Location: Houston

I use these with a resistor to have two mode lighting on my solar hog lights. Or you could use a pot instead of a resistor for unlimited control. These are heavy duty controllers. Ledsupply can answer any question just call or email. Their customer service is the best. http://www.ledsupply.com/0a009-d-v-2100.php

These are sealed and bullet proof. I wouldn’t waste my time with a jinky modded flashlight controller for outside/outdoor use.

Shadowww
Offline
Last seen: 20 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 01/20/2012 - 19:09
Posts: 1343
Location: Northern Europe

garrybunk wrote:
What about using those 12v XM-L emitters found at GoodLuckBuy? Can I wire these direct drive?  How much current would they drive at in direct drive?  Would I risk burning them out with too much current?  Do I need a resistor in-line?  What size resistor?

You definitively DON’T want to use them in direct-drive, and I wouldn’t use them w/ 12V input at all.

Just use either http://www.dealextreme.com/p/6-18v-3000ma-3-mode-circuit-board-for-xm-lt... or http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S020121 (first one has hi/lo/strobe, 2nd one is hi/med/lo) with two XM-L’s you have wired in series.

dchomak
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/17/2012 - 20:10
Posts: 4122
Location: Connecticut

http://www.tmart.com/E27-3W-85265V-3-LED-Warm-Light-Spotlight-Light-LED-Bulb_p102686.html

After you take this apart, you will have all the parts you need.
3 LED that runs on 12V, heatsink and an easy way to mount

I will show pictures later

EDIT: here it is

Vieplis
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 03/30/2012 - 03:27
Posts: 123
Location: home

The best would be 3 XM-L in series, with a driver. One XM-L would be less efficient (probably does not matter).
About those 12V leds: I have one, my led is about 1A at 12V. You could connect it to 14.5V with some 2.5 ohm resistor for 1A, then 2.5W on the resistor, efficiency 83%, not bad. A driver will be better. There will be little current from 12V (probably does not matter, you don’t need light with engine not running).

Pulsar13
Pulsar13's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/05/2012 - 10:23
Posts: 1909
Location: Malaysia

Vieplis wrote:
The best would be 3 XM-L in series, with a driver. One XM-L would be less efficient (probably does not matter). About those 12V leds: I have one, my led is about 1A at 12V. You could connect it to 14.5V with some 2.5 ohm resistor for 1A, then 2.5W on the resistor, efficiency 83%, not bad. A driver will be better. There will be little current from 12V (probably does not matter, you don't need light with engine not running).

Hi vieplis, did you really measure 1A WITH 2.5ohm resistor? That would mean a Vf of exactly 12V. 

I read from other thread mentioning a 1.3A pull from 11.8V battery, meaning it's Vf is actually somewhat lower.

willie
willie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 days ago
Joined: 08/16/2011 - 14:19
Posts: 827
Location: Houston

The problem with flashlight control modules is in the reliable factor. The Buckdrive is a 24/7/365 device that can take shock and variable voltage that your mower genarator/alternator will produce. Running two XM-L emitters in series @ 2.1A should produce adequate lightning with minimal heatsink issues. Read the pdf file for more info. I have used this controller on my 12 volt 48 watt solar panel hog light setup that runs two 3up XR-C (6 leds total) every night for over the last year.

E1320
E1320's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 03/30/2011 - 05:26
Posts: 3376
Location: New Hampshire

This single mode driver will deliver about 2.5 amps to an XML from a 12 volt supply. They are super cheap and that’s about 800 lumen which wills seam extremely bright compared to an incandescent. Just solder some long leads onto it and glue it with Fujik into the housing.

http://kaidomain.com/product/details.S009736

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA
Thanks for the responses. Thanks for that link Erik! Any suggestions on using a reflector or not? If so, what? I'm looking for floody light, so should I use a P60 OP reflector? Remember, this is behind the current headlight plastic lens.

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
willie
willie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 days ago
Joined: 08/16/2011 - 14:19
Posts: 827
Location: Houston

plenty of cheap HID kits on Ebay

garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA

If I do end up doing this build, I'll be sure to post before and after "beamshots"!  I intend on snipping the 12 volt leads in such a way that I can always splice the old bulb holders back in place should I have a need to. 

By the way, last season I replaced the stock bulbs with these PIAA 27 watt Xtreme white ones.  They did make quite a difference, but I'm looking for a lot more light!  It's still so darn hard to see anything right at dusk! 

-Garry

EDIT - Added missing link.

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA

For a "reflector", how about using these 60 degree optics from I.O.S.?  (Seems I.O.S.  keeps adding a lot of nice products, especially the "D.I.Y." products).  I want the larger angle optics for a wider beam, right? 

My other option would be a C8 reflector with these wide angle lenses (of which I have one).  Problem there is how to mount them.


Thoughts?
-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
mattthemuppet
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 01/04/2012 - 16:20
Posts: 1273
Location: WA

what I’d do is:

run 3 XM-L in series at 1A (or 1.5A max), bolt them onto the biggest CPU heatsink you can find and use 20mm elliptical optics. That’ll get you 7-900lm OTF and give you a manageable 10W of heat to dissipate within the confines of the existing headlight. The ellipticals should give you a wide beam that throws far enough for you to avoid the dog/ garden gnome/ etc but without wasting a whole load of light by throwing it up into the sky.

I’d go with a single mode driver and wire it into the existing switch set up. Buy several and rubber mount it where it’s easy to replace if a voltage spike kills it Smile

cop
cop's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/29/2012 - 22:47
Posts: 128
Location: Singapore

What i did was also from automitive batt (dunno if it make sense for your case).

Previously, i use car batt, wire out to my flashlight (tf-3t6) to be use as floody light for house in plantation. So far over 20 time, each time bout 9hours run.
**Buy a flashlight, remove the head (drivers+xml intact), connect + and – into it…

(Of course i do not know if that will be bang for buck in your case, i do it cos i do the easiest way w/o buying seperate & hv to solder them back)

Or, if u feel u need some light that shine towards your back, you can also direct run 12v wires to power SD 01 – 12v MR16 3w led (same as the light posted by dchomak), its only 270 lumen ber bulb. i am also powering 10 piece of them using 12v car batt only, no alternator, each run 10 hours, quite ok.

Hope it helps..

CarpentryHero
CarpentryHero's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 06/06/2012 - 14:31
Posts: 1538
Location: Edmonton Alberta Canada

Could you just bike mout and wire too the dropin and body with a toggle switch where the tailcap was? Or drill a whole in the body and run the negative to the tailcap and positive to the dropin spring? Would the tailcap handle the amps?

I’m glad I’m not the only flashlight collector out there, I was beginning to think I was strange.
My name is Kendall and I’m a Flashaholic from western Canada

ruffles
ruffles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 07/09/2011 - 10:18
Posts: 1020
Location: California

dchomak wrote:
http://www.tmart.com/E27-3W-85265V-3-LED-Warm-Light-Spotlight-Light-LED-Bulb_p102686.html

After you take this apart, you will have all the parts you need.
3 LED that runs on 12V, heatsink and an easy way to mount

I will show pictures later

EDIT: here it is (snipped, but up in post #4)

Sorry to go way off topic, but that looks like a cheap and cheery maglite mod waiting to happen. Could you measure the diameter of the heatsink at its widest, and the depth of the heatsink and that plate together?

Thanks in advance!


 

dchomak
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/17/2012 - 20:10
Posts: 4122
Location: Connecticut

ruffles wrote:
dchomak wrote:
http://www.tmart.com/E27-3W-85265V-3-LED-Warm-Light-Spotlight-Light-LED-Bulb_p102686.html

After you take this apart, you will have all the parts you need.
3 LED that runs on 12V, heatsink and an easy way to mount

I will show pictures later

EDIT: here it is (snipped, but up in post #4)

Sorry to go way off topic, but that looks like a cheap and cheery maglite mod waiting to happen. Could you measure the diameter of the heatsink at its widest, and the depth of the heatsink and that plate together?

Thanks in advance!

50mm x 23mm

To measure I went over to my spare parts box and a there is a Mag reflector and this light sitting right next to each other!

Here is another, cheaper option

6000K Pure White

ruffles
ruffles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 07/09/2011 - 10:18
Posts: 1020
Location: California

Thanks, dchomak! Worst case, the mag head needs a little trim at the bottom, it seems.

I’ve been staring at one of OldLumens’ 1d beauties for the last couple of days, and one of those might be just the thing. (Not that I’m too cheap to buy a ‘proper’ heatsink or nothing, but this is the land of budget, right? And if we’re going for full disclosure, it does hurt just a little to think about spending $15 on a spun hunk of aluminum.)


 

dchomak
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/17/2012 - 20:10
Posts: 4122
Location: Connecticut

garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA
How would you drive one of those in a Mag? What driver and how many cells?

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
Old-Lumens
Old-Lumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 11/04/2011 - 11:39
Posts: 7478
Location: Tyler, TX, USA

Garry Here's some USA based components. Just some ideas for you.

3Up Indus Star

Carlco 3Up Optic

CPU Fan/Heat Sink or this one, less money

I can't find a driver right off hand. Only in China

http://kaidomain.com/product/details.S020079

http://kaidomain.com/product/details.S020148

 

The heatsink is only an example, there's lots of CPU heatsinks with 12v fans on them, for less money.

My PayPal address: oldlumens (insert the @ sign here) gmail.com

My YouTube Flashlight Video Channel

The BLF Modding Links Thread 

http://imageshack.com/a/img922/1374/jQ2wdL.jpg

 

FlashPilot
FlashPilot's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 37 min ago
Joined: 05/10/2010 - 16:07
Posts: 4919
Location: USA

willie wrote:
plenty of cheap HID kits on Ebay
IMO, this is by far the best and most obvious solution. DX and many others have them as well. Dirt cheap, mega-lumens per watt, huge choice of tints and wattage, variable voltage tolerant, vibration resistant and simple installation. How many amps is your alternator rated for?
texaspyro
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 04/29/2011 - 12:43
Posts: 4593

Buy a couple of the cheapest 10W Chinese wall wash floodlights that you can find (say $10-$15) and mount your LEDs and drivers in them. The housings are really nice for these sorts of things.

BTW, E1320’s Kaidomain driver link says it is only 1A…

Hopback
Hopback's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 1 week ago
Joined: 04/19/2012 - 15:32
Posts: 564
Location: West Sussex

Automotive supplies are notoriously ‘noisy’, full of voltage spikes that can fry electronic components. Im not sure exactly, but I think that a Transient Voltage Suppressor between the mower and led driver circuit will help protect.

Im sure the more electronic savvy members will be able help with this, maybe….

Woody

garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA

FlashPilot wrote:
How many amps is your alternator rated for?

I have no idea.  I wanted to stay under what the stock bulbs were pulling.  Now I can't remember what stock wattage was, but I am using (2) 27 watt bulbs now.  So that's roughly 54 watts/12volts = 4.5A.  Right?

texaspyro wrote:
Buy a couple of the cheapest 10W Chinese wall wash floodlights that you can find (say $10-$15) and mount your LEDs and drivers in them. The housings are really nice for these sorts of things.

That's an idea that came about after this thread was posted and I already purchased the KD drivers, emitters, and optics.  Have done nothing with them yet, but I have them!  Smile  Maybe some day!  I even thought about those chinese MR16 LED bulbs as-is (highest rated output I can find), but I don't think they'd be bright enough. 

I do need to take a closer look at the voltage being fed to the current bulbs and do some monitoring. 

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
southcovekayak
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/04/2012 - 14:06
Posts: 387
Location: edge of the Atlantic

Now, nowhere have I read anyone of you asking what really should be the most important Q’s in this thread… One, how much HP does the tractor have and how big is its cutting deck radius?

C’mon, this is the USA?!

PS I am wondering what is in my mail today

Adam706
Adam706's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 01/23/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 233
Location: GA

for stuff like this i use a 5v regulator from radioshack and resistors. you could use a 3-way toggle switch and two sets of resistors for high/low.. that’s about the easiest way

Werner wrote:
I have no pets so I have too pee on the carpet myself…

“this tiny flashlight was the one that shined best”
garrybunk
garrybunk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 09:25
Posts: 6100
Location: Johnstown, PA

Adam706 wrote:
for stuff like this i use a 5v regulator from radioshack and resistors. you could use a 3-way toggle switch and two sets of resistors for high/low.. that's about the easiest way

I would need an exact parts list and details on exactly how to build it before I could do that.

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques

, MTBR’s Lights & Night Riding Forum
NOTE: Now hosting my photos from my Google account. Post up if you can’t see them. Older photos hosted on Photobucket or Flickr may disappear (PM me if you want access to them).
funkstrong
funkstrong's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 02/14/2013 - 14:30
Posts: 94
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

This should work. You can get them in many different voltages and amperages. I used this guy’s write up and its worked pretty well so far. I used it on an old dirt bike to step down the voltage for some off-road lights. I didn’t go the high/low route though. I’m guessing you could just get a lower rated resistor/regulator to wire to a 3 way switch for the low.

Actually I have extras too. I have a 5v, 6v and 8v. They are all rated for 1.5 amps. If you want I can mail them out, they are no use to me anymore.

southcovekayak
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/04/2012 - 14:06
Posts: 387
Location: edge of the Atlantic
garrybunk wrote:

Adam706 wrote:
for stuff like this i use a 5v regulator from radioshack and resistors. you could use a 3-way toggle switch and two sets of resistors for high/low.. that’s about the easiest way

I would need an exact parts list and details on exactly how to build it before I could do that.

-Garry

I used some magnetic clamp LED lights that I bought from Northern Hydraulics on a very old and ratty tractor. Worked great, not as budget though. We also used some pipe clamp adaptors to add more lights on the back as well. He effectively has a $1000 light system on a $500 tractor.

Next project like yours is LED on my snowblower – do I need it, no. Do I want it, yes!

Pages