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Thread: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

  1. #61

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad'Bent View Post
    OK, ordered the drop-in, host and rechargeable CR123As.
    I'll report back how it compares with the Superflash and Mars 4.0.
    Did you get the DX drop-in?

    I coulda sold you mine!

    Maybe I'll run two. I just need new places to clamp flashlight mounts to...

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    Did you get the DX drop-in?

    I coulda sold you mine!

    Maybe I'll run two. I just need new places to clamp flashlight mounts to...
    Now ya tell me. I just got it all from DX.
    Still waiting for the 3W version of the Superflash, with the Swerve switch.
    Triple XP-E and XM-L headlamps/ bike lights.
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  3. #63

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad'Bent View Post
    Now ya tell me. I just got it all from DX.
    Still waiting for the 3W version of the Superflash, with the Swerve switch.
    If they got the bugs out of that switch, that would be sweet light.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    I had an interesting thought the other day: how about a Solarforce L2 host with a Nailbender drop-in with the red SST-90 emitter? With a frosted aspheric on it the resulting red light should be blinding.

  5. #65

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by PCC View Post
    I had an interesting thought the other day: how about a Solarforce L2 host with a Nailbender drop-in with the red SST-90 emitter? With a frosted aspheric on it the resulting red light should be blinding.
    Leopold P may be diong a thread on his 'Five Alarm Fire' Red Lights on MTBR DIY. Visible in the day at one mile. Proably unwise in high enforcement areas. Not a way to make friends on group rides, but in traffic? Here? I doubt there'll be an issue if the hot spot is on the pavement say 20-40 feet (10 M) back. You don't want them to say I couldn't see you for the blinding red light! The spill will be ample.

    Your proposal sounds to be in the same vein.

    I lost a post to PC issues. I think the switch to switch horizontal arrangement of two SBSFs is fairly decent in a prelim test. Will do a more thoroug distance with cell phone pics today in sunlight. have to wait until school is out, though. Don't want the police called about the strange older man near the school. Reputation is another thing to protect.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    What about something like this:

    Two small amber LED lights are attached to a strap/soft clamp. The lights themselves slide on the strap/clamp so that they can be positioned at various angles. For example, when attached to the seatpost, you could position the lights 45-deg from the center of the seatpost (or even 90-deg). They wouldn't replace something like a PBSF, but they'd make a nice addition to a front/rear blinky.

  7. #67

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by JustRidingAlong View Post
    What about something like this: Two small amber LED lights are attached to a strap/soft clamp. ...They wouldn't replace something like a PBSF, but they'd make a nice addition to a front/rear blinky.
    You could have a 200-300 degree light bar mounted from the seat post and you could clip mulitple lights to it. Amber LEDs appear to reduce output VERY fast with heat. They aren't that bright to start with. So we may be stuck with red-orange (used for casrs, too) as the red also has less output and is not as visible.

    OK. Just back from my favorite school access drive. Used the trunk of the car to stage the PBSF's so we can know what humans rather than video cameras see. The cell phone camera caught more glint off the car trunk and 4-way flashers than PBSF so lacked what was needed to document and show here what we saw.

    1. Time 7:45-8:00 PM EDST near the western edge of the time zone. Sunset 8:35 PM. Will check near 1:00 PM solar time 2:00 PM EDST but this is best done on the weekend when it isn't raining and it will be. So next weekend at earliest. The brighter sun but at a higher angle I expect to cancel or maybe even be more of a wash-out.

    2. Can you see the SBSF in a daylight low angle light situation:

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    Another vote for the PlanetBike SuperFlash.

    I remember, once a fellow CPFer caught up to me in his race bike and told me he had seen my SuperFlash blinking from 3-5 blocks away on a sunny winter morning.
    Kathryn and I confrimed that we could see them at over 400 feet though two side by side blend as one. This is 4-7 seconds at highway closing speeds. We did not see how far away you can still see them as pin points of light are meaningless to a driver, so we saw no point literally and figuratively.

    BUT!!! Seeing the light AND not ignoring it or not understanding that it might be or is a bicycle is NOT the same thing. A bike tail light must not only be visible but proclaim BIKE! Or is isn't a lot of help.

    The size of the lights seen at 400 feet may be a vehicle quite far away 15-30 seconds or more. Instead of a fairly close bike. A driver is going to lose precious seconds particularly if the bike was not in clear sight but happened upon over a hill or around a corner. The driver need to understand very quickly. Wimpy flashes of light won't do that unless a driver is expecting bicycles or is used to seeing such lights.

    So, one KEY aspect of this process is the driver expecting a bicycle.

    Another key is the recognizing of such a light AS a bicycle.

    There isn't much time for Whazat? at highway closing speeds.

    Your situation will differ from mine.

    1. I ride a lot of roads where the closing speed on hills into the wind with speeders will be in excess of 50 mph (80 kph), 88 feet per second upper end, most 66 feet per second or less. I need recognition by the unsuspecting driver at 400+ feet or shortly thereafter.

    2. There are few cyclists here. The few who do ride in the day, don't use lights or even particularly bright clothing. So there isn't a driver ed program in bike lighting in the day.

    3. Even fewer bikes on county and state routes.

    4. Somewhat derived from the above: even attentive drivers are not expecting to see a bike here. They see the light, they will think it farther away than it is, if they reconize it as a bike they will also likely think it is farther away than it is.

    5. The PBSF is VERY directional. a cone of maybe 30 degrees so it is useless for a car entering the road when you have passed and the angle is greater than that. (A left or right hook into your rear.)

    6. The helmet SBSF was all but useless even on full. When placed near the flashing lights it helped the light size issue. IMHO a PBSF in daylight on a helmet is a waste of battery power and weight. You simply cannot control where you need to look riding so the light is not going to be anywhere near a good angle most if not all the time.

    7. The side view of the light in the day, under this light condition, is 50 feet and no more. They may as well be off as far as any side visibility is concerned beyond 50 feet. They are pitifully weak from the side in daylight.

    8. Two side by side, set up a disconnected out of perfect sync call-and-response flashing that is pretty annoying and attention getting .

    9. The 1/4 watt LED's are visible as separate flashes at 120 feet, or 1.5 seconds highway speed, 3 seconds in town, slow hill climb situation. Pretty ineffective in the vertical orientation.

    10. When the SPSFs are switch end to switch end, the 1/4 watts are more apparent and the whole flashing effect is like a police car without the blue lights, only more erratic and if you can believe it, even more irritating. The effective light size is also much bigger.

    Recommendations:

    1. We need a larger light that makes us look closer for areas where cyclists compete for attention, or where their presence is a novelty and drivers need more time to figure it out.

    2. Two larger PBSF's with 1 watt main and 1/2 watt small LED's running two AA's might be just the ticket.

    2. If you have two SBSF's figure out how to mount them sideways end to end with at least one replaceable so you can turn them on.

    3. Aim them STRAIGHT back. At a distance vehicle size is irrelevant. You hope they've figured out you are a bike by 2.5 to 4 seconds out, and the lights aren't important to identify you anymore.

    4. Find a wider brighter helmet light. Or a pivot mount. A Catseye L1100 may have the lack of directionality needed. But this has not been evaluated by me. OR find a way to mount the PBSF so it can freely swing to the vertical regardless of how you tilt your head from chin down to neck back or a major part of that movement.

    Anyone have A Catseye L1100 and want to report how well it works from angles in slanting sun?

    5. SBSF's aimed forward (as much as your leg interference permits or 45 degrees whichever comes first) should help cross traffic, but a good bright floody headlight will likely do as well or better. A spot on the helmet to look at them seems to work well in the day for me, so far. I think I stopped three motorists from starting a launch in the last three weeks.
    Last edited by BrianMc; 04-30-2010 at 06:57 PM.

  8. #68
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Anyone have A Catseye L1100 and want to report how well it works from angles in slanting sun?
    I Know that there is a thread either here or on MTBR that compares the L1100 to the Superflash.

    While looking for that thread, I came across this topic: Three powerful blinkies. It compares the Superflash and two other cateye blinkies.
    And this: The best (LED) bike tail light.

    The thread I was looking for is this: Two Rear LED Bike Lights - A joint CPF Review
    From that thread:

    Lux measurements (taken at constant-on, at brightest spot):
    Super Flash = 96 Lux
    TL-LD1000 Front = 73 Lux
    {Erwin: I Suppose they mean rear}
    TL-LD1000 Button Side = 34 Lux
    TL-LD1000 Battery Side = 42 Lux

    ___________

    CONCLUSION:

    For 2/3 the price, you get a smaller, lighter, brighter, more versatile light with the Super Flash. It may not have as much side visibility as the TL-LD1000, but it's clear plastic casing gives it enough for my needs. The TL-LD1000 represents CatEye's "best" rear Red LED light, and really missed the mark, as it's excessively large, heavy, and a pain to run through the cycles.
    Last edited by pe2er; 05-01-2010 at 12:04 AM.

  9. #69

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by PCC View Post
    I had an interesting thought the other day: how about a Solarforce L2 host with a Nailbender drop-in with the red SST-90 emitter? With a frosted aspheric on it the resulting red light should be blinding.
    Where you puttin' the L2 host? And the SST-90 would yield probably no battery life at all if driven hard enough to exceed the output of the other options on the market.

    I have an L2m clipped to my seatstay, and it's really close to interfering with my pedal stroke. If I had a full L2 body on there, it'd definitely be in the way. On an 18350, my battery life driving a Osram Diamond Dragon @ 1A is decidedly poor (I'd say 2-2.5 hrs on "police strobe" mode). I have spare batteries, but sort of annoying to have to check often. My PBSF is probably somewhere close 80 hours on 2 AAA's.

  10. #70
    Flashaholic* znomit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by pe2er View Post
    I Know that there is a thread either here or on MTBR that compares the L1100 to the Superflash.

    While looking for that thread, I came across this topic: Three powerful blinkies. It compares the Superflash and two other cateye blinkies.
    And this: The best (LED) bike tail light.

    The thread I was looking for is this: Two Rear LED Bike Lights - A joint CPF Review
    From that thread:
    See my tests here. The LD1100 is supposedly twice as bright as the LD1000. Note 10 Wheels attempt to derail the thread... clearly demonstrates the value of high viz gear.
    My current roadie setup is a PBSF on each seatstay and the LD1100 on seatpost. Often something on the helmet too.

    Personally I avoid riding in situations where sunstrike is a problem.

    Best solution for something bright with wide coverage is going to be the flare optic on a red XPE along with a spot. I'd probably do the flare on 9/10 duty and the tight at 1/10, both 200mA. 4AA power driven off a 555.

  11. #71

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by pe2er View Post
    I Know that there is a thread either here or on MTBR that compares the L1100 to the Superflash.
    That is the older LD1000 not the LD1100. The YouTube video clearly sets the PBSF as the winner in night viewing compared to the older LD1000.

    So my question remains, has anyone compared teh PBSF with the light that claims to be the brightest bike light and able to be seen in the day?

    I also have one of the Xenon strobes. Excellent to the sides. Not that great head on, which was fine as an amber daytime running light except it emits enough RFI to mess up my pulsimeter and that is worse on NiMH than alaklines which it eats at about 6 hour run time. With two AA's it was OK for weight on the helmet but no lightweight.

  12. #72

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    My PBSF is probably somewhere close 80 hours on 2 AAA's.
    I have one pushing 100 hours on the original Toshiba AAAs and it has been on full mode for some of that. Definitely a strong suit for the PBSF.

  13. #73

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    See my tests here. The LD1100 is supposedly twice as bright as the LD1000.
    Excellent. I know how much thought and effort went in. Should have persisted in the Google search longer. Still the Cateye claim for day visibility remains untested.

    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Note 10 Wheels attempt to derail the thread... clearly demonstrates the value of high viz gear.
    That point needs to be driven (ridden?) home! The video camera showed the ANSI vest in the daytime out to 1200 feet the end on the street, and maybe farther. It was small. It was not identifiable. But it was quite visible. Even the bike lights did not show as well as far either under street lights or on a dark road with or without car headlights.

    This is definitely a belt and suspenders situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    My current roadie setup is a PBSF on each seatstay and the LD1100 on seatpost. Often something on the helmet too.
    Yeah, IF I stay with blinkies, two PBSFs mounted horizontally, and I agree that an LD1100 on full or maybe also blinking (need test) might together give the size and the flashing annoyance that grabs attention and says BIKE!. I am going to try a pivot mount for a PBSF on the helmet as I have the light, and it is an interesting question: If you keep a PBSF close to vertical on the back of a helmet will it help daytime visibility?

    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Personally I avoid riding in situations where sunstrike is a problem..
    When I can, so do I, which is most of the time. I used the low angle sun as a worst-case scenario. A Sinatra 'if they can make it there, they can make it anywhere', evaluation. That same sun, lights the ANSI vest up like a neon sign in Vegas. The reverse direction riding into the lowering sun robs the vest of much of its power but the lights are in shadow and show very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Best solution for something bright with wide coverage is going to be the flare optic on a red XPE along with a spot. I'd probably do the flare on 9/10 duty and the tight at 1/10, both 200mA. 4AA power driven off a 555.
    Thanks. I stumbled across the flare lens before but wasn't thinking tail light then, so forgot about it. I am not trying to stand out among other distractions so much as stand out period. Excessive is not needed, as we said earlier in the thread 2-3 x 1 watt or 1 x 3 watt with levels for day/night. An 'Ultraflash' up-sized PBSF would fit the bill. But it looks like DIY time for me.

    The Dinottes lack the side view as does the K-Lite. I doubt that the 'pool of red light' helps in the day much.

    But straight back:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...15&postcount=2

    Another from that thread:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...11&postcount=9

    If you have a MJ-808 or an 7.2-8.4 V battery pack already:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...3&postcount=40

    http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/adve...htm#AftaBlasta (Thanks for the link, Znomit!)
    Last edited by BrianMc; 05-01-2010 at 09:40 AM.

  14. #74

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    OT a bit but it comes back to topic, as OP I'll allow it.

    Set up the two PBSFs to be vertical on the seat stays just above the brake bridge with an amber Xenon strobe behind and above them mounted to the seat post (just below the saddle bag).

    At just over 200 feet away either side or rear view the clash of competing flashes lit up that area of the bike and resembled a spastic fire including silhouted pieces of wood (stays, seat tube). The combination was greater that the sum of the parts just like the horizontal PBSFs are. I couldn't evaluate the 400 foot mark or more, but it looks very promising. I hated being much closer than 50 feet, but I was downgrade, and so at eye level. I suspect most drivers could approach closer because they are higher, maybe to 30 feet? You would not be able to group ride like this. The strobe's flash lights the road to each side, too. Hopefully on the rear of the bike it is far enough from my pulsimeter to not interfere (RFI). Mine also has flashlight-like run times, so carrying spare AA's is necessary as more than just a precaution.

    IF this combo is not strong enough for day marking, it does point to the use of a stronger flashing light with good side output as working well with the PBSFs to make a truly disturbing assault of pulsating light.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    Where you puttin' the L2 host? And the SST-90 would yield probably no battery life at all if driven hard enough to exceed the output of the other options on the market.

    I have an L2m clipped to my seatstay, and it's really close to interfering with my pedal stroke. If I had a full L2 body on there, it'd definitely be in the way. On an 18350, my battery life driving a Osram Diamond Dragon @ 1A is decidedly poor (I'd say 2-2.5 hrs on "police strobe" mode). I have spare batteries, but sort of annoying to have to check often.
    I was actually thinking of running a L2M as a host attached to my bike rack with an external 2S2P Li-Ion battery pack. The mount would be designed and made to provide a thermal path to my aluminum rack for additional heatsinking and the attachment would be semi-permanent. Remember that this is for a commuter bike. I'm too much of a weight weenie to put something like that onto my roadies on a non-commute ride.

  16. #76

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Nightlightning, a NZ maker of LED bike lights has a 360 degree lantern style 2 or 3 1 watt LED tail light for 10-16 volts, preferably 14.4 Li-ion, but 12 and 13.2 NiMH are fine.

    A recent communication asking about the unit:

    "The AftaBlaasta has a number of flasher mode patterns including low light flashes and high powered flashes in a couple of different patterns well as on at high or low and a fuel gauge. It’s very durable made with CNC acrylic & incredibly bright!

    Generally we sell these to customers who have an existing front light with rechargeable battery and so run the red light off the same battery pack.

    The cost in US for 2 LED version is $106 and for 3 LED version $110, freight $10 "


    Now a triple red-orange star and a taskled Bflex plus shipping is going to be about $65. You still have to do a 3-D lens in some fairly tolerant of dropping setup with side visibility. The Dinotte 400 L C is either side of $200 depending on battery and no side view. Either is cheap compared to being run over.


  17. #77
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Nightlightning, a NZ maker of LED bike lights has a 360 degree lantern style 2 or 3 1 watt LED tail light for 10-16 volts, preferably 14.4 Li-ion, but 12 and 13.2 NiMH are fine.

    A recent communication asking about the unit:

    "The AftaBlaasta has a number of flasher mode patterns including low light flashes and high powered flashes in a couple of different patterns well as on at high or low and a fuel gauge. It’s very durable made with CNC acrylic & incredibly bright!

    Generally we sell these to customers who have an existing front light with rechargeable battery and so run the red light off the same battery pack.

    The cost in US for 2 LED version is $106 and for 3 LED version $110, freight $10 "



    I'd spoken with Eric about this light. I'd love a 1 or 2 LED version that was self-contained, but none in the plan.
    Triple XP-E and XM-L headlamps/ bike lights.
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  18. #78

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad'Bent View Post
    I'd spoken with Eric about this light. I'd love a 1 or 2 LED version that was self-contained, but none in the plan.
    I have a 12 volt nominal battery system that will be upgraded to 14.4 when it's run times diminish. Both will run this light. Have you seen this light in action? Is it worth the cash? That chunk or plastic dome looks nearly indestructable. Or if it is damaged, it's your executor's problem.

  19. #79
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Have you seen this light in action? Is it worth the cash? That chunk or plastic dome looks nearly indestructable. Or if it is damaged, it's your executor's problem.
    Funny, it looks like a film cannister with two or three LEDs inside to me. Aluminium lid to shed some heat...

    Might give it a try and clone it

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Hmm, translucent cannister, 2AAAs and a 3W red LED inside, nice big switch outside...
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  21. #81

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by pe2er View Post
    Funny, it looks like a film cannister with two or three LEDs inside to me. Aluminium lid to shed some heat...

    Might give it a try and clone it
    It appears to be longer with the LEDs arranged linearly down its center (pictures from their web site copied to a service to avoid hot linking, but as this is not a commercial use, and having the cycling community familiar with the aftablasta, I think it fair use):






    It looks like a linear array of red LEDs down the center line, and a cover a bit longer and wider than a film cannister.

    That said, a film cannister bottom fits the bezel of the Bullet Marwi light body perfectly. And it just so happens two of those NOS lights should be delivered today one for spares, the other as a possible host for a driver and red LED board.

    I could stick with a triple MCPCB and aim the light straight back with the frosted translucent 'lens' like the earlier red flashlight extension difusing the light to the sides. Stick in a bFlex to match the front lights to keep programming the same (easier for me to keep straight) and for reliability, as it is a safety device. That would be straight forward and I would likely go the aluminum slug route as a firewall/thermal path to the aluminum body.

    OR I could mimic their design more closely. The LEDs are cheaper on three 10 mm square or round MCPCB's and I could mount them on a spar fastened at one end and side to the body of the light with the three 10 mm PCPCB's side by next on the other side and end of the spar facing what would have been the top of the light. The cannister is 50 mm long, so the first LED could be 15 mm from the edge of the bezel and the last 15 mm from the end of the film cannister.

    Full on, I would be moving 3 watts of heat or so down the spar to be radiated by the body. The spar needs to be 10 mm wide for the MCPCBs, and at least 5 mm thick at the LEDs. I think it will be "L" shaped so it connects top and bottom of the light body and side struts at 90 degree to place it laterally in the body, increase its rigidity, and improve its thermal path to the body. Does it need to be thicker than 5 mm ( 50 mm cross section) to be adequate to handle 3 watts?
    Last edited by BrianMc; 05-05-2010 at 05:35 AM.

  22. #82

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Got a sunny day on the weekend so I could check PBSF's with the sun at a higher angle.

    First, yes, the low sun did wash them out relative to about 2:00 solar time. Shadows still short. Confirming the 'worst case' previous setup.

    It is EXTREMELY critical that the PBSF's aim STRAIGHT back, as I have done, but the helmet shifted on me after I walked away from the test stand on the car trunk and it may as well have been shut off for all the good it did. I thought the pivioting mounts some offered for helmets was excessive. Not any more.

    You could see the lights well at 500 feet. They were brighter but much smaller than the cars 4-way flashers. Easily dismissed or overlooked. Having both flashing rather than just one increased the attention getting aspect noticeably.

    So can you see them a quarter mile in the early post dawn? If the cyclist was riding in anmy angle except directly away from the sun, most definitely, in fact they shoud show well in the rider's shadow. Riding away from the sun, though they are pathetic. Eevn in the mid afternoon, though they might be seen at more than 500', I doubt that the average bike unaware motorist would notice. Too little. Too far.

    I forgot fresh batteries for the Xenon strobe. With the 3-4 hours of use batteries in it, the flash wasn't overly slow yet indicating full drainage, but the distance was pathetic (50' straight back, <20 in side view).

    Awaiting the Radbot 1000's for a redo. I'll try again for a light meter, but we may have to settle for car tailight and 'stick on brake pedal' brake lights for comparison.

  23. #83
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by pe2er View Post
    Might give it a try and clone it
    Not cloning it today, but adding a brake-light to my taillight. So I took the opportunity to make a daylight comparison. VM Taillight, PBSF and a 1 Watt RED LED in a film cannister. Jut for fun and educational value

    Straight from the rear of the PBSF.

    And from the side

  24. #84

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by pe2er View Post
    ...I took the opportunity to make a daylight comparison. VM Taillight, PBSF and a 1 Watt RED LED in a film cannister. Jut for fun and educational value ....
    Film cannister isn't transluscent enough. If you are messing about again photgraphing the new brake light, could you do some distance shots/ride bys? In another thread it appears, that the 1/2 watt and 1 watt LED's are not being driven anywhere near their max current and nominal wattage in self contained lights (heat & power/runtime issues, likely). Wheras your 1 watt rear light is, right?

  25. #85
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Film cannister isn't transluscent enough. If you are messing about again photgraphing the new brake light, could you do some distance shots/ride bys? In another thread it appears, that the 1/2 watt and 1 watt LED's are not being driven anywhere near their max current and nominal wattage in self contained lights (heat & power/runtime issues, likely). Wheras your 1 watt rear light is, right?
    Yes, I came to the same conclusion - the canister absorbs way too much light.

    The LED I use is a Dx 12V 1W LED Spotlight (Red, SKU 5325). It is a Luxeon-like emitter on star, driven at 1 Watt. I Stumbled upon the 1 Watt/ 1/2 Watt rear blinkies not driving their LED at full power phenomena before. It is simply not practical to do that on two AAA batteries.

    I Could make some pictures for you, but at the moment that would not serve a purpose. I Installed the second LED in the same housing, without a lens/ diffuser.

    This is the unmodied tail light:


    And the modified tail light with the brake-light ON (I mention it, since you could oversee that in the picture ;p):


    And this is what's inside. Two drivers and two LEDs with associated wiring:


    The light is connected to the battery via a micro switch on the brake lever:


    As you can see, the brake light LED light output is disappointing. I am thinking of installing a small 10° lens below the diffuser.

    Edit: Here is some video:
    Short close-up of the light
    Short video in the street.
    Last edited by pe2er; 05-10-2010 at 11:47 AM.

  26. #86

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Erwin, I think the lens will do it. It is swamped by the tail light.

    I didn't find that on DX before when I searched from your previous mention. I was looking for a star. A 12 volt driver, a case (of sorts), and the LED? Wow! Thanks for the SKU. Since I have a nominal 12 volt system, it looks very good to me. In theory, in your application, and as my solution.

    One reviewer said almost 1.8 watts. Did you play with it at all before extracting the stars? If so, what did you think of the beam? Is the star's thermal path OK as is? I can let a couple of SPSF's and Radbot 1000's flash away and leave the bright red 'eye' on steady. Two are less than half the cost of one Radbot 1000. Of course no modes and not self contained with batteries. I guess I'lll see how slow the order is maybe I'll get them before you get your aspheric lens.

  27. #87
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    I Did measure the current when I first used one. Power consumption was less than 1.8Watt, but I do not recall the exact figure.

    The Dx spot light has a plastic reflector. Beam pattern is tight like that of a flashlight. The reason for the diffuser (Dx SKU 1918) is spreading out the beam horizontally and improve side visibility, as the reflector does not leak light to the sides like the lens.

    The driver is super-glued inside the plastic foot of the lamp. Do not try to pull it out as you will damage it. Instead, gently cut away the plastic using a sharp pair of pliers.

    You can use the spotlight as is. The star is attached to the metal cup of the light with some thermal glue. The driver is not cooled, but that should not be required for a 1 Watt LED. Voltage can be anywhere from 6 to 16 Volt DC or even 5 to 13 VAC. You could bypass the bridge rectifier on the driver board and improve efficiency some (with DC only of course ), but I did not do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    I guess I'lll see how slow the order is maybe I'll get them before you get your aspheric lens.

    I Installed a small 10° lens over the brake emitter.


    The next picture is underexposed -2.1eV so you can see the shape of the light.

    Now I am happy

    Just shows what difference a clear plastic lens makes - as compared to a translucent cover.

    Here is a video similar to the previous one. It is a sunny day, 9:00 AM, and the VM is in the shade. Video is underexposed -1.0 eV.


    Similar video of the VM in the street on a sunny day, around 10:00 AM.
    Last edited by pe2er; 05-11-2010 at 02:25 AM. Reason: Added pictures, video.

  28. #88

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    Excellent! You SHOULD be pleased. Nice video. I can clearly see the roundabout maybe because the grass grew? I was looked before like you were ducking into the side street. Keystone Kops-like.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll order two of the red spots today. That gives your order a bit more lead time on mine. I'll have a look at my new brake levers when they arrive to see if I can fit a switch, if not, the front caliper or cable might be a good activation point. I may drag the back brake at times to keep from accellerating down grade, but I don't really use it to stop except with the front.

    I'll add a set of the lenses from the front beam thread too, since I am not sure how well the ones I have will work. Not having to change out bezels for day versus night will be nice.

  29. #89

    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    "Dx 12V 1W LED Spotlight (Red, SKU 5325). It is a Luxeon-like emitter on star, driven at 1 Watt . Voltage can be anywhere from 6 to 16 Volt DC or even 5 to 13 VAC." (from Pe2er)

    DX doesn't list the voltage range.

    I assume there were specs with the bulbs? If they can handle 16.7 volts, then this battery may be of interest too. I got one of these ($20 for 4.5 Ahr, clearance from another source a couple of months ago):

    http://www.amazon.com/iRecharge-Univ.../dp/B000HWZK60

    Originally listed for $99. When mine arrived it would not hold a charge after two attempts. So I set it aside to be examined later, the issue with my old bike lights battery was solved.

    The package it came in indicated some rough treatment. So opened the case. No obvious damage or leaking. The cells were cool on charging. So I gave it another go before taking the case completely apart to track down the problem. It is up and running. I am guessing that the protection circuit board had become dislodged and reseating it to have thermal contact with the top cell and no contact with the I/O board fixed the problem. It is 16.7 volts fresh off the charger and still is 24 hours later. It is supposedly 45 Ahr.
    It is lighter than the once (no longer) similar capacity NiMH. But not as much as I thought it might be.

    I ran the helmet light at 500 mA for about about 1.3 hours on a ride and used it another 45 minutes of so at half (5.2 watts) and full power (11 watts) it recharged in a very short time, but I forgot to measure, maybe 30 minutes.

    The reviews make me think that many users of laptops have run it down to its limits repeatedly which is not the way to get a long life from a Li-ion battery. Or they have dropped the unit as some experienced the complete discharge over a short time span problem I had at first.

    It doesn't appear to be well suited to its intended purpose. For those comfortable with possibly reworking the electonics, repackaging, or just using it as an inexpensive source of 8 Li-ion cells, it might be of interest.

  30. #90
    Flashaholic pe2er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Designing good daytime rear commuter lights

    My Li-Ion cell came from the discarded battery-bin in the office
    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    I assume there were specs with the bulbs? If they can handle 16.7 volts, ...
    No, there are no specs. In the review on Dx you'll find: "Works from 7-14 volts DC. Reduced output from 7 to 4.5 volts."
    I Recall measuring the light output on my own light. It was near max brightness down to 6Volt DC. Otherwise I would have bypassed the diodes in the driver (6V is the minimum voltage for the 2s3p Li-Ion pack in the VM). I left them in place because it is easier when wiring - no need to observe polarity.

    They do say it is a 12VAC light. After rectifying, this will give a peak voltage of 12*SQRT(2) = 16.97VDC. So I think it will survive being connected to your battery (leave the diodes in place...no warranty ). If you have an adjustable voltage power supply, try increasing the voltage gently and observe the current draw. Current should decrease if voltage is increased. If current starts to increase with voltage before you reach 17V, don't use it at that voltage.
    Last edited by pe2er; 05-15-2010 at 01:58 AM.

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