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Thread: LED and parts sourcing?

  1. #1

    Default LED and parts sourcing?

    New guy here, Ive been lurking the forums off and on over the years. But im looking into finally buying LED components and making my own. Mostly for transportation use on a motorcycle or offroad for the FJ. Ive tried the search function, and looked at most of the relavent stickies and havent found a list of vendors for LED bits. Im afraid if I go on to Ebay, I'll get scammed for fake chinese knockoff LEDs. So could anyone point me twards some reputable vendors for parts? Also, is there an LED circuit building 101? Ive taken electrical engineering courses in college, so Ive got a decent bit on it. Couldnt help to read over specific applications and circuit building though. Thanks for your time.

    Edited to add: More specifically im looking for singles and 3 up LEDs to play with before making something more permanent. Like these.




    At the moment I have about nada except what was in my old electrical engineering class kit. Some various 3/5mm LEDs, tons of resistors, and some generic circuit building tools like a bread board, thin wires, etc.

    As far as tooling goes, im set. Ive worked on stuff for years. I have a lathe, several saws, power tools, and hand tools. So im set there more than most. Its the components that im lacking and the practical knowledge if making it work vs a college education of theory and labs. Luckily, I catch on fast.

    Ultimately Id like to end up working with Cree XM-L series LEDs. Price wise and experimentation from a beginner standpoint... I could see that being costly off the start so I'll be content with a cheaper brand and lower tech until then. Thats assuming LEDs go along with everything else in life.. brand name and new tech cost more.

    This is what I have now and would ultimately like to build or upgrade. Or something pretty similar to it.



    See Rule #3 Do not Hot Link images. Please host on an image site, Imageshack or similar and repost – Thanks Norm (Sorry about that, different forums, different rules. Moved the images to my photobucket. -Dan)
    Last edited by Danjal; 09-21-2012 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Relinking

  2. #2
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    For Cree parts you can get in touch with Arrow electronics, or Avnet when you need volume. Digikey, Mouser, and Newark also carry sample sized versions of the high powered LEDs that you are looking for.

    If you are looking for more "economical" versions of LED systems in a 3-up design, try Edison Optoelectronics.

    As for your optics, I personally like to use Ledil or Dialight for my designs as between the two of them they have quite the selection. Good luck and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say, we look forward to seeing your products.

  3. #3

    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Thanks for the reply Optical Inferno and the words of encouragement.

    I looked through those sites. Found out Avnet isnt far from me. I'll give em a call tomorrow and maybe take a trip if we can get what im after in smaller quantities there.

    I found this site in the meantime. Not sure how reputable they are though. http://www.led-tech.de/en/High-Power...c_120_170.html Turns out they also make 7up on a single PCB for the XM-L line I can forsee heat issues with that or batteries on the bike being drained.

    I'll check out Edisons to start with, maybe some of the more reputable brands. Figure at worst I'll have a good circuit going with cheaper components before I work up into the good stuff.

    Criticism welcome as I start making stuff. On design and on materials selection. Just be prepared for a barrage of questions as to why you're seeing things differently.

    Ok, back to finding components.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    On-road lights are tough (read: Impossible without several thousand in optics lab dev/testing) to make at home. You'll go far with time spent reading here. Almost everything needed to start on light-building is written here. Good luck!
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    On-road lights are tough (read: Impossible without several thousand in optics lab dev/testing) to make at home. You'll go far with time spent reading here. Almost everything needed to start on light-building is written here. Good luck!
    +1 to that... make sure you use a reputable testing facility to certify your on-road light designs. I use Calcoast ITL. in California for my testing needs as they have an excellent facility and really go above what they need to do.

    As AppleSnail said, you will likely have to design your own optics for on road lighting. Get a copy of the automotive standards that are prevalent to what you are designing and follow them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Yep, getting them passed by DOT or other agencies probably isnt viable for me at the moment. I'll stick with offroad lights for now. Dimmers are another option, but im not sure how they tie in legally. I'll cross that bridge when I get design and building down. Once the main design is made up it should be easy enough to adapt to standards, if its what I want or not is another problem in and of itself. Hence why im starting with a working design then modding from there. Once the basics are down, then I can build custom designs. (Learn basics, learn advanced,apply logic and tech to custom stuff)

    A friend said he wanted a set made up in a strip like this. \____/ One or two on the sides and 2-4 in the middle. The problem you get with a motorcycle is steering. Once you turn the bike is now tilted on its side so the beams are still the same, dropping them off low twards the inside of the turn, and high outside. Plus the turn itself.. when tilted you need higher beams to see into the turn since its up and away from you. If you rode, you would know what I meant. Otherwise I might con a gopro out of a friend for a video showing it. As it sits, headlights on most motorcycles are compliance or afterthoughts. My DR is pitiful as far as a light goes. The hayabusa isnt so bad.

    I found a few cheapo endor star LEDs to play around with for a few bucks each. I'll get drivers to match and maybe some other stuff to play with like a dimmer and the like for now.


    Now all that said, any recommendations for drivers and dimmers?
    Last edited by Danjal; 09-21-2012 at 10:56 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    I mostly use-
    Digikey: bare LEDs, optics, resistors, switches, fuses
    Deal Extreme: LEDs on boards, thermal goop, driver boards, random cheapo stuff
    KaiDomain: LED heatsinks, driver boards
    Allied Elec: plugs, connectors

    Also never used Cutter.au, but they have a wide selection of LEDs on boards, optics, drivers < all very good quality, but expensive.


    I am working on my own motorcycle headlight right now as well, if you have any questions feel free to ask me. I am wiring it to my high beam so I don't have to worry so much about the DOT regulations. One thing to note is you want the aux light to be aimed up a little so when you lean it points into the turn.
    Last edited by kuksul08; 10-06-2012 at 11:24 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
    I mostly use-
    Digikey: bare LEDs, optics, resistors, switches, fuses
    Deal Extreme: LEDs on boards, thermal goop, driver boards, random cheapo stuff
    KaiDomain: LED heatsinks, driver boards
    Allied Elec: plugs, connectors

    Also never used Cutter.au, but they have a wide selection of LEDs on boards, optics, drivers < all very good quality, but expensive.


    I am working on my own motorcycle headlight right now as well, if you have any questions feel free to ask me. I am wiring it to my high beam so I don't have to worry so much about the DOT regulations. One thing to note is you want the aux light to be aimed up a little so when you lean it points into the turn.
    High beam or not, you still need to meet DOT regulations if you are going to use it on the road. A lot of time and thought went into developing those regulations.

    FYI, its against CPF policy to discuss illegal modifications.

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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuksul08

    I am working on my own motorcycle headlight right now as well, if you have any questions feel free to ask me. I am wiring it to my high beam so I don't have to worry so much about the DOT regulations. One thing to note is you want the aux light to be aimed up a little so when you lean it points into the turn.
    That sounds like an up-aimed light that will blind incoming drivers when on. You have to be noticed and recognized as a motorcycle to be safe. Aiming your lights wrong doesn't help you, and is illegal.

    All road lighting has to pass strict optical tests. Disabling your correct high beams is illegal and unsafe. It may change fault in a collision or civil suit, and your insurance company won't be happy with you.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Calm down, I didn't say anything about disabling my existing headlight or trying to blind people. I also don't ride around with my high beam on just like I don't drive my car with the high beams on. When you live in an area with lots of mountain roads, a powerful aux high beam is great for spotting deer and debris in the road. Now those headlight modulators, those should be illegal just for the distraction factor.

  11. #11
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    kuksul08 what you are proposing would be an illegal modification to your bike, other members are trying to make you aware that discussion of illegal mods are not permitted here.

    Please see Rule #11. Disclaimer, which in part states

    You agree, through your use of this BB, that you will not use this BB to post any material which is knowingly illegal or promotes illegal activity.
    Norm

  12. #12
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    That's an interesting one, because headlights including high beams must conform to strict DOT requirements (does anyone know where to find these rules that outline the beam pattern and intensity?), yet it is illegal to use your high beam when other vehicles are around. So, I wonder why the rules even apply to high beams.

    I found these very basic diagrams for the overall beam pattern for Low and High beams...




  13. #13
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
    That's an interesting one, because headlights including high beams must conform to strict DOT requirements (does anyone know where to find these rules that outline the beam pattern and intensity?), yet it is illegal to use your high beam when other vehicles are around. So, I wonder why the rules even apply to high beams.

    I found these very basic diagrams for the overall beam pattern for Low and High beams...


    The rules vary by state and country. In general, you have to follow the strictest of both. Some states pretend that retrofit kits produced by companies in that state are legal, but that won't stop neighboring states' highway patrollers from making quota.

    All automotive safety lighting is regulated for safety. Breaking safety rules because you think nobody is around to be affected puts a lot of responsibility in your hands... but not much blame. Whatever conditions caused by use of unsafe high beams will probably happen so far away that your choice will not affect you, only others. Similarly, we at work make airbags even when nobody is looking
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    The rules vary by state and country. In general, you have to follow the strictest of both. Some states pretend that retrofit kits produced by companies in that state are legal, but that won't stop neighboring states' highway patrollers from making quota.

    All automotive safety lighting is regulated for safety. Breaking safety rules because you think nobody is around to be affected puts a lot of responsibility in your hands... but not much blame. Whatever conditions caused by use of unsafe high beams will probably happen so far away that your choice will not affect you, only others. Similarly, we at work make airbags even when nobody is looking
    True, I see plenty of people with illegal lighting and I'm glad there are rules about it since it is so distracting and therefore a safety issue. What is a little bit scary is that apparently as long as the light manufacturer intends to follow the rules, they can place their own DOT labeling on it, so people can install this stuff without knowing. I would have thought there is an agency that must issue those rights.

    Anyway, Danjal is your light the same one all the guys on ADV are using? I'm afraid you can't get too much more throw with a light like that without going to fewer LEDs and larger optics. At least, that's been my experience.

  15. #15

    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    The one im using currently is that one. And I thought out the problem with leaning already. It does need to be higher when the bike is leaned, as the light on the inside hits low, and the outside hits high. Having more throw side to side would also help with seeing further down the road. I might go to a bar setup with elliptical lenses on the outside tilted at a 45 or so. Its going to be trial an error for sure.

    As is im sticking with offroad lighting for the moment. Later on I'll dredge up the DOT/FMCSA/whatever other ruling body and local state code for the lights to be on road legal. Problem one is finding parts, understanding them, then modifying to suit. Seeing as offroad lights suffer less legal problems and such, I'll go that route for now. The rest is looking like its going to be a pretty long winded debate here on legality. Like I said above, its a learning experience more so then anything at the moment.

    Modifying the "can" type lights seems to not be able what I want as far as a beam. Im looking at 3 emitters facing forward and 2 on both sides at a 45 degree angle for the moment. The 45 degree angle can change as needed. I'll test something once I get the whole setup working and tweak it from there. The setup should look like this. Just flush in the front.

    /---\

    As to whats going to provide suitable amounts of light (lumen) and beam pattern. Thats going to also be trial and error. I'll get something built up, and from there ask what components would work better as to what im after.

    I have 5.. ok 4.. Cree XP-Es. We roasted one already and got to see the pretty blue light of death. My friend put it up to 3.4 amps... it was only rated for 700Ma IIRC. It did last pretty well being over killed. I think it popped at about 2.5-2.74 A. So.. Ive got a spare star now if its salvagable.

    Pulse dimmer is in fo fun too. Im looking at the total design and what drivers to run at the moment.

    Top all this off with a new job and promotion to manager and Im getting fairly busy again, so this might be some time until it gets moving again. Im thinking its going to end up as a winter project along with a few other things.

  16. #16

    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    Any updates on this?Kinda an old thread, but interested to see how it came out considering i'm doing something very similar myself.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    It's still just as hard/expensive as ever to pass the photometric requirements for the required DOT standards for motorized roadgoing vehicles (Or other applicable standards for public roads in the civilized world). Any lights that you install in your vehicle that replace or compromise the function of safety lights mean that YOU are GUARANTEEING that they are adequate for safety of yourself and all others. That takes good engineering (And a lot of facts 'n data) or a very irresponsible attitude.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  18. #18

    Default Re: LED and parts sourcing?

    I bought a 10W light on ebay and it uses a real XM-L emitter.

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