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  #11  
Old 12-06-2011, 06:39 PM
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q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
couple of your links in post #3 aren't working.
Yeah I just typed and underlined the word "link". oops
It is indicative of the fact that the info needs to be there but is not all collected in one place.

I'm certain that Simple Nature will have stumbled upon a full walk-through on how to assemble $500 worth of bike light for less than $50 but I haven't seen all that in one place other than candlepower and over there they have a much different focus that tangents off frequently in testosterone fueled lumen competitions.

I ran across a link while deciding to start this thread, I think it was Simple Nature's but who knows at this point, to Ken Kifer's site and some LED light electrical suggestions.
Horribly out of date.
Most of the reputable bike sites link to out of date electronics DIY info.

With a live thread like this we can link to cheap new products and cheap new DIY kits/parts for making cheaper and more awesome homebrew lights as they come out. I know I've found white LED circuits that simplify the electronics angle but if want to make a weatherproof durable housing I'm still out of luck. Further optics, controls and connectors are not consistently dealt with.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2011, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
Even a small low power LED stands out in the dark.
This was the main inspiration in that "dark" isn't specific enough and small light visibility in rural pitch blackness is not equal to urban visibility.

Driving home at night recently I encountered a cyclist with what appeared to be a nearly dead tail light. I revised my opinion when I saw the "head light" which was an equally anemic white light.
This was in Beaverton on Hall just shy of Cedar Hills. It was well lit but with so many automotive lights and commercial activity it was nearly impossible to see these ineffective but totally legal lights.
It wasn't the first time nor are these uncommon but I suspect that most people aren't aware of what is available outside the local bike shop and MallWart.

Amongst all of us we should be able to dig up enough links to be able to provide a valuable resource to people new to cycling.
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Last edited by q`Tzal; 12-07-2011 at 12:27 AM. Reason: fat fingers
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2011, 07:01 PM
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q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
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Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
Me? A God among men? I think that's a little bit of an overstatement... .
See I thought that wyeast came up with his forum avatar after encountering YOU on the road.

From the stories I read about your lights early on I though your bike approaching at night would resemble "walking in to the light".
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default basic lights - $15 front/rear set

A good deal on Avenir Panorama Half-Watt Front and Rear Bike Light Set, closeout priced at $14.93 at REI, regularly $22. By appearances and according to the one review there, it's the same rear unit as a PlanetBike Superflash, and the front appears similar except white, not red. So, that would be a good "being seen" light but not so good for illuminating a dark roadway, at least not at much above a walking pace. Still, it's a huge step up from "Ninja."

I bought a Superflash from my LBS recently and it was $22 for just the rear unit, alone. It is quite bright, almost like the Princetontec 'Swerve' on my other bike, and a bit better than a basic blinky. One bulb has a narrow, higher-intensity, rear-facing beam, the other lights up the red diffuser for all-angles visibility. It claims to do blink mode for 100 hours on two AAA-cells.

At the same time I bought a PlanetBike front/rear set for a bike I'm setting up for a friend, and that was $30 for Blinky3 rear and a Beamer 1 LED front. I tried it out just now. Again it's good for being seen, but only marginal for illuminating the roadway. With two fresh AAA batteries it seemed fine for about 10mph, much faster than that would be outriding its reach on a totally dark road. Both front and rear have blink or steady modes.

Heh...just now during my test ride I was going down a gentle hill, maybe 15mph, through a normal four-way intersection in a very quiet 'hood. I had no stop sign, cross street does. I see a car roll up to the stop...wonder if it'll yield...nope, it pulls on through in front of me. I feathered my brakes but wouldn't have hit it if I hadn't. Still, it crossed barely a car length in front of me. If the driver had looked they would have seen my light...or maybe they just didn't care. Lesson: lights are great but ride like you're invisible, anyway.

Last edited by Alan; 07-30-2013 at 01:04 PM. Reason: typo
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2011, 09:03 PM
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Nice find Alan! Definitely a great deal on a pair of good flashers.
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  #16  
Old 12-06-2011, 09:15 PM
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q'Tzal... I have finally learned the source; the origin of the zoomie flashers. They are Tank007 TK-736 hosts now available with Q5 and T6 emitters. They are not cheap but they are well built with better switches and more seals.

With the upgrade the budget goes out the window but still a whole lot better than, well, I don't know of a bike light offering the same features.

I did calculate what building a custom version with a lot more modes woul cost. Definitely a DIY but so far, very promising. One unit would be $28 and follow-on units would be $23 because of extra parts from the 1st. Still, this means that 4 lights are under $100 short batteries and charger. Runtime however is impressive with very good cells.

BTW: the MTBR site is a good source for lighting stuff. They have two catagories in their forums, one for night riding and one for DIY lighting. Not as brash as CPF but still have somewhat off topic for the every day commuter. MTBR's reviews are usually top notch though.
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  #17  
Old 12-06-2011, 09:16 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
Has anyone priced some good reflective materials lately? Out-Freaking-Ragious! Yet, this is probably the one most overlooked and effective being-seen catagories in bike riding or jogging when every headlight aimed at your direction will make your bike or body light up like a signpost. They should be giving this stuff away! Shame on them.
I hadn't looked until you mentioned it, so I checked out Seattle Fabrics, which generally has good prices on outdoor fabrics, and YIKES! SuperGlo Reflective Polyester is $19.95/yard! It's 60" wide, and breathable laminates go for more than twice that, but that's still some pricey cloth.

Seattle Fabrics also has reflective trim for sewing projects. The ScotchLite tape is sort of "industry standard" and it runs from $3 to $6.50 per yard depending on width, etc. In my experience (more in the woods than on the road) the best for showing up in bad visibility conditions is yellow Vinyl Reflective Tape, $2.50/yard. They also have reflective piping, and reflective nylon rope/cord and shock cord (bungie).

PS - I don't know the production costs, but I have a gut feeling there's some significant overhead in those products. Besides cheaper reflective fabrics, I'd sure like reflective paint, or powder coat like Halo Coatings, to be more available...and affordable.

Last edited by Alan; 12-06-2011 at 09:47 PM. Reason: PS + minor tweaks
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2011, 12:07 AM
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Default Decorative or Basic (reflectivity)

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Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Besides cheaper reflective fabrics, I'd sure like reflective paint, or powder coat like Halo Coatings, to be more available...and affordable.
Good old Halo Coatings. I called and talked to someone a few months back.
They will definitely make a profit for their investors as they have thoroughly licensed their product and application technology. So much so I wouldn't expect to see much of it unless Halo decides to be a little less proud of this technological terror they've constructed.

It might be easier/better/cooler/BRIGHTER to get side emitting fiber optic cables paired up with a Cree XM-L T6 or what ever the equivalent color LEDs are. Tricky part I see is getting an effective optical mating connection. I surmise that a skilled installer could use an optical epoxy of the same index of refraction (of the LED lens body and the fiber optic itself) to permanently mount a high power LED directly to the SE fiber cable. Then you could have something like the Down Low Glow but in longer lengths, higher intensities and better durability.
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Last edited by q`Tzal; 12-07-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2011, 01:47 AM
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Default TacX Lumos - decorative & maybe basic

Quote:
Originally Posted by q`Tzal View Post
It might be easier/better/cooler/BRIGHTER to get side emitting fiber optic cables paired up with a Cree XM-L T6 or what ever the equivalent color LEDs are.
That Cree puts out "1000 lumens at 100 lumens per watt." I'm very intrigued with dynamo hubs, and those put out around six watts (e.g. Shimano Alfine)[1]. Burning a watt for a really good rear light, that would give me five watts or 500 lumens, at that efficiency, in front. Wow...that's getting into some pretty decent "see where you're going" illumination without batteries.

Awhile back, we were kicking around amber side-markers and other such lights. Well, seems that TacX has that covered in their Lumos lights. They're only for drop bars without bar-end shifters, but they have a cool 10-second timeout turn-signal feature, with amber LEDs. They also have white LEDs facing forward and red toward the rear. A single AAA powers each pod (one on each side). The coolth factor is fairly high but I'm not too sure how much light they actually make nor how visible they make the rider.

Oh, and just stumbled into this website that looks interesting: http://nordicgroup.us/s78/ (AKA http://bicyclelighting.com/). Oh, oh, oh...this is serious stuff: http://nordicgroup.us/s78/mr16LED.htm - $20 MR16 Cree Emitter LED Light for 6V or 12V Dynamo Systems. Current, too - 3 October 2011. Enjoy!

[1] Oops, that should be 3.0W at 6V. Peter White suggests 0.4W for a rear light leaving 2.6W for the front. Apparently that's still enough for quite good illumination lighting with LED lights.

Last edited by Alan; 12-07-2011 at 06:53 PM. Reason: [1] correction!
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2011, 12:57 PM
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You can run a generator (hub dynamo) light all day, and not worry about running out of battery life. I leave mine in sensor mode, so it turns itself on when appropriate (those clever Germans ).

Not sure where you'd find generator hubs/wheels/lighting in PDX. I get all mine online from Peter White Cycles in New Hampshire. Clever Cycles maybe. Or Coventry.

The Shimano hubs are reasonably priced, and the drag is getting much less noticeable. Or so I'm told. My dynohubs are Schmidt SONs. I expect to NEVER have to replace them. I've got a friend with over 40,000 miles on his.

Plus: reliable. durable. the lighting is generally permanently mounted; harder to remove from the bike. Never fails. Never, ever worry about being out after dark and "the lights are at home". My randoneurring headlight is a Supernova E3, commute headlight is a B&M IQ Fly. Both very bright.

Minus: lock up the wheel, or use a Pitlock or Allen wrench skewer.
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