Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Light Project

"Get your lamps lit, get your lamps lit,
If you don't I will soon run you in,
Miss Wise was all right for she had a search light,
So safely along did she spin,
Get your lamps lit, get your lamps lit,
Miss Foolish was fined the next day,
Which opened her eyes; Miss Foolish got wise,
And bought a search light right away."

From Gianni, on behalf of the Dept. of Special Projects:
I’m interested in trying to make my own bright LED light. From what I’ve read, it’s doable – there are many plans out there, and the parts are pretty straightforward. It seems like you can specify how lightweight, how bright, how [in]expensive or how much burn time you want, and then design a light that meets those needs (in some cases, these specifications conflict with each other, of course).

So, here is one that looks about like about what I had in mind.

It’s about 350-400 lumens, burns about 2.5-3 hours (off of rechargeable AAs, or you could use a 9.6V power tool battery) and prices out (based on some crude research) at about $50 (plus your batteries). Only change I had in mind was to make it a helmet mount, so that one could keep the batteries under their clothes in the winter. I recognize this isn’t substantially cheaper than buying a light, but thought that (a) it would be interesting to try and (b) this little design could be a stepping stone to something more sophisticated.

Two Questions:

Question 1: are you interested in building a light this winter?

My very rough idea was to sort out a plan in the next couple weeks, get parts in November, and do most of the building in December. I really have no idea how many hours of work it would be to build a light, but safe to assume more than 8 but less than 30.

Question 2: do the above specifications appeal to you? Or have you seen any plans that look better?

Colin A. is willing to offer his expertise on all things electrical to the project, and knows suppliers of all the bits. Perhaps once we have a sense of who is interested (and what they are interested in), we can come up with a more detailed project plan/cost/timing. I’m willing to coordinate the ordering of parts, etc.

Please post below if you are interested, have thoughts about if/how/when to do this, or thoughts about design.


Adam said...

I've wanted to do something like this for a while, too. The one I've always had in mind was:
Count me in.

Adam said...

The address looks weird.
I'll try again:

The Dark Lord said...

In. Very in.

g said...

in...way in.

that's right...way.

wv: wetted

Anonymous said...


Hell ya I'm in . I'm all for scary night stuff. When the ego gets pushed aside by your fears and second guessing is the law of the land.

Dallas " the single speed is ready to party at provincials." Sigurdur

Brad the Impaler said...

In. Um, better not add to that.

Specs look fine, especially the helmet mount. I have seen one made with round tubing which is a cleaner look IMO. Here is an example:

I suppose there are endless designs out there. So if you have a workable concept and access to parts, I'm good with that too.

KK said...

I'm in too. Either bar or helmet mount, but preferably helmet.

PaddyH said...

night riding is a fad.

Unknown said...

i'm in.

Olli said...

Go for SSC P7 LED. Should be easy to build, need less cables because even one LED turns the night into a day. One on the handlebar and one on the helmet.

I have a flashlight with P7 LED and it's frickin' bright. Burn time is ~1h with one 18650 Li-Ion cell.

team jonny said...

i'm in! but if it's a weeknight project, i won't be able to participate because of school. but my availability in general is pretty shotty so don't plan around me.

Gianni said...

Nice suggestion Olli.

Youtube has some videos of DIY P7 lights...


The related videos on the side show some other maglite concoctions with P7s.

P7 LEDs are about $15