My last completed bike light mod

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Rufusbduck
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My last completed bike light mod

I've been reading and posting here and there and located the info on adding pictures so this thread is to bare myself and show you what I do that makes a place like blf of interest to me. Front of lampBack of lamp

This is a mod of a Vistalite VL 500 series lamp head. It used to use mr11 bulbs and be powere by 6V "Nightstick" batteries made from 5 sub-c nimh cells in series. It now holds a Cutter 4up xpg r5 board driven by a Taskled Maxflex boost driver with a 10.8V pack of 18 4/5 sub-c cells 2p9s( 2 parallel strings of 9 cells) and focused through a Ledil GT4-XPS quad lens. There are various bits of copper added inside and out to provide a place for heat to go and a way for it to get there. The output is in the ballpark of 1300 lumens and works quite well as a bar mounted light( somewhat floody with a very smooth beam that covers the trail immediately in front of the bike out to ~ 30'. It would shine farther but it's pointed down at the ground. In place of the stock switch I epoxied a small jack to remote the switch by my right thumb. The small rods radiating from the body of the lamp are copper nails that were drilled through the outer ring(1/2" copper pipe), the housing, and the heatsink behind the led board and soldered to each. The driver board is on a separate sink that is likewise connected through the shell to the base by soldered copper nails. The only AA used in either thermal path is the one between the pcb and the initial heatsink layer. Below the copper base is a section of copper pipe I used to locate the lamp head below the shifter/brake cables. In order to have more area to drill throughother base si made up of concentric rings of copper cut and sized from different dimention fittings. This base was also then drilled radially to increase surface area( imagin holding something the size of an egg in your hand and drilling it with an 18V drill). I have done 2 these quad mods, one with the two heat sinks separated, and the other with them essentially as one with different paths to ambient, and though they both perform fine when in motion, the one with connected sinks reaches the thermal cutoff of the Maxflex board sooner when I'm no longer moving. Bear in mind the size of these units. When I first started doing this I was afraid the plastic would melt (this was a problem with the interior parts with and halogen bulbs). I went with Nimh cells in part because they allowed me to nudge the voltage right up to the forward voltage of the 4 xpgs on low without going over the fv on high with fully charged cells. The other reason was a seriously over ambitious dive light that took me a 18 months to complete(if you think this post is long, the one for that build will consume chapters). Like I said, I have 2 of these but my next mod will be a quad mod with different optics as I prefer a tighter beam for the helmet light

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

E1320
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Nice job I like it. Thanks for sharing.

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

Rufusbduck
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FYI when I built this the price for a top notch 1000 plus lumen Lupine bike was ~ $1000. 

For me this light cost:

Initial used vistalites w/ 3 lamps, cords,

batteries andswitches.                              $45

Maxflex driver including shipping               $45

Cutter 4up and quad lens.                         $40

Digikey mom switch and jack                     $10

Copper fittings.                                         $15

About 2k in labor but who counts that.        $0

All told ~$150

This was not the cheapest bike mod I have done but so far it was the most difficult. These lights are not for sale. I list the $s only to demonstrate why as a partially employed carpenter I decided I could afford more light. And every knows(altogether now) everyone needs more light. 

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

cehowardGS
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Sweet. Can't get enough of good bike lights, the better the lights, the more you can see and more importantly, you get big respect from cars.. Wink

70+, Old, Dirty and Fast..

BetweenRides
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Very nice, rufus.

jacktheclipper
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Cool

Rufusbduck
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cehowardGS wrote:

Sweet. Can't get enough of good bike lights, the better the lights, the more you can see and more importantly, you get big respect from cars.. Wink

I care about car respect when I walk the dog at night. I care more about tree and rock illumination on the bike and this light definitely fits the bill

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

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Very nice!

Can we get some beamshots?

This is my flashlight collection.

Rufusbduck
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The obligatory beam shots are waiting on nightfall and a Costco run. And now must wait on dinner. I think I also have some that include the original halogen bulbs as well as my first bikelight attempt(a triple q5 driven 3p) and will include those. Check back in awhile. 

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

ruffles
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Nice light! I really like the semi-steampunk look of the outer ring. Thanks for sharing.


 

Rufusbduck
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Beam shots will coming soon to a forum near you. Firstwill be the build log for this light but I need some help posting my pics. Questions are in the forum about posting pics if you have any suggestions. 

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

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Since at the moment I don't have any verifyable beam shots(lots of photos, none labled). I thought I would string you along with various photos and notes about what went into the making of this little beamster egg.

The first pic shows the lamp shell with the bezel, bulb, and plastic back half which contains the switch and barrel connector removed.

 

empty shell

 

The next shows the shell after I ground out excess parts of the inner casting to make room for the led pcb, driver, and various heat sink bits. This was done with a dremel and reinforced cutoff wheel.

 

gutted shell

 

In this shot are some bits of copper pipe that have been resized to fit inside of one another. The soldered one will be part of the driver heat sink and will be dremeled to fit over the nut inside the shell. the other rings will form the exterior portion of the driver heat sink.

 

driver heat sink

 

Here you can see the shell with the driver sink parts installed. There are 5 copper nails that were drilled through the exterior sink, the shell, and the inner sink, and soldered in place. I drilled the equatorial holes in the exterior ring before it was glued to the shell with JB Weld. Also, is an elevated tab to mount the driver which has components on both sides.

 

driver sink done

 

Next came the led sink. This is a 1" copper pipe cap shortened and with a part circle cut out to fit next to the driver heat sink without actually touching it. To make sure it ended up in the right place, I glued it into the shell with JB with the led pcb and lens in place along with the bezel. A little pressure against the copper from the inside as the JB cures ensures the lens will be held firmly in place by the bezel.

 

interior led sink

 

This was the hardest part of the soldering. Getting the exterior portion of the led heat sink in place with any symmetry. I mapped out on paper the layout then marked the locations on the ring. but the drilling was all by hand. I have no idea how but I didn't end up with any holes in my hand(not one, really).

 

exterior ring

 

 

 

drilling layout

soldered nails

plugsI like to mount bar lights under the handlebars as I endo more often than someone my age should. This means I also like to have a remote switch close to my right thumb to control light levels. For this light, I removed the existing switch module and replaced it with a jack. The module also served to retain the barrel connector, so after soldering Vin and Gnd wires to the connector I used Fujik to serve that purpose instead. Lastly(almost there), I soldered the connections to the brain. A very nice Maxflex driver from Taskled. I have to say that I personally have not seen a cleaner, better made board, than any of Georges drivers. They are truly worth every penny. I would use them more but I'm a cheapskate. On the board,I use the Fujik both to reinforce the wires and to prevent any AS from touching things it shouldn't.

 

driver

 

There were times when I had to solder bits to things that had already been soldered and so I use solders and solder paste with different melting points. This was the 4th time I have modded one of these lamp heads and all of them are still working. One was on my helmet when I went over the bars. The mount broke but the light was still on. Another, my dog tried to eat, and though she succeded in squashing the copper and damaging the lens, it still works as well. The first two lights are powered by the KD 5-15V drivers so much maligned elsewhere but have never failed for me. I hope to try the stacked linear driver Oldlumens and Techjunkie describe in another thread soon.

 

quad xpg gt4 xps maxflex

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

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Good stuff. Very inspirational especially with it appears like using basic tools.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

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Amazing what people can do with simple tools, ingenuity, mechanical aptitude and the drive to see it through.

Very nice to see your Bike Light Mod! Thanks for posting it here.

 

"Another, my dog tried to eat"  My god, does the dog have any teeth left!?

What kind of dog can eat something like that? Never mind, probably one of those "big yellow gator" dogs. Wink

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wow, that's a seriously involved bike light build and I love the steampunk look!

 

if you were to make another bike light and were looking to save some coin and time compared to this one, I'd suggest you look at the variety of 1in.sq. alu tubing builds on the DIY light section of mtbr.com. People have made anything from single LED builds up to 6 LED monsters, all from the same stock, using anything from a hacksaw to an end mill. You can also save some money using 20mm XM-L stars and optics - 2 XM-L plus optics should cost more than $25.

I'd also be wary of charging NiMh cells in parallel - although they're supposed to be fine in discharge, a much wiser man than I told me that the deltaV charge sensing doesn't work as well when the deltaV of 2 different banks is being sensed, which can lead to the 2 banks becoming unbalanced and one bank being overcharged. Never tried it myself (I find li-ion to be cheaper and lighter than industrial NiMh cells), but it seemed to make sense to me.

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soldered nails

 

This pic is SERIOUSLY COOL !!!

Very nice build; thanks for sharing.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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Wow, extremely cool steampunk look! Very nice!

This is my flashlight collection.

Rufusbduck
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I am a member of mtbr. I dont go there much anymore because their pages have too many adds and take forever to load. I have seen quite a lot of nice work there by Troutie and others. I like working with copper because I can. I have nothing against those who work with milling machines, I'm just not one if them. I make no pretense that my work is anything but rough. I want to share it so that others can see that you can start with any "junk" light and join the party. Yeah, I'm proud of my work, but I know its not as slick as a piece that was milled and ano'd. I'm really a bit envious of Oldlumens and his ability to make his work look so sharp.

I know about the rules regarding charging nimh cells and my packs get charged separately at a low rate(.1C) so I'm not too worried about them. I break other "rules" too. Nimh cells are heavier in a grams/watthr sense but they have more flexibility in voltage selection for packs. This light has a 10.8V pack which gives me a nice low power setting while still keeping the current input to the driver within spec on high. I could not achieve that result with li-ion without pushing the driver much harder.  Please believe me, if I had lithium cells lying around I would have used them, but I would have built a different light. In this case I had all these nimh cells so I used them. 

By the way, the dog did not actually swallow the light, but she did gnaw on it like an old bone. She is a 45lb Husky named Buck. 

Thanks to everyone for checking out this build. I will post others that I hope you will find ... different. 

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott

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Reminds me of Thunderdome for some reason.  I like the centered mount too, where did you salvage that from?

Rufusbduck
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That's an original Vistalite part. Some models came with that and some with an in line mount. The section of copper pipe is just a spacer to clear the beam from the shifter/brake cables. I knew it was a retro design and had considered other options like batjet wings but opted for the nails instead. Hopefully i can come up with something unique for the next one. I was more concerned about thermal transmition than esthetics or I would have probably done the batlight. 

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott