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Light strategy...

BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
edited October 2009 in Commuting chat
OK, so i'm into electronics and i'm going to build my own bike-light system.

I do occasionally go out training at night and building some kind of circuitry into my spare lycra jersey, an old belt or my helmet are ideas i've had, but i'm wondering which sort of route to go down:

1) Use 1 or 2 really blinding LEDs
2) Use 30 or 40 smaller LEDs

Obviously, strategy 2 would create a bigger image to a driver, but would not be as bright.

I would do a combination of both, but I don't want to have to carry around loads of batteries to power it all.

Both projects would be of similar price/difficulty to build.

I'm making my own lights - what should I do? 0 votes

Use 1 or 2 really blinding LEDs
0% 0 votes
Use 30 or 40 smaller LEDs
0% 0 votes

Posts

  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Bhima wrote:
    2) Use 30 or 40 smaller LEDs.

    As you are Bhima and as only a totally radical solution is sufficient, surely this is the answer?
    I like bikes...

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  • 30 or 40 blinding LEDs?
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  • Oh my word!

    Out of interest, what is wrong with just buying a reay made light set?

    I personally would go with a mixture of the two. To be honest, I don't thin you can possibly have too many lights.

    Drivers will think you are a UFO! :wink:
  • just wrap yourself in battery powered fairy lights, red on the back and white on the front. Then clear tape to hold it all in place...
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    30 or 40 blinding LEDs?

    The blinding LEDs are very expensive. Normal LEDs are not.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    BenBlyth wrote:
    Out of interest, what is wrong with just buying a reay made light set?

    Very very cheap to mek your own LED lights. Plus, every light i've ever bought/borrowed is not very shock resistant and tends to turn itself off when I hit the slightest bumps.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    Bhima wrote:
    2) Use 30 or 40 smaller LEDs.

    As you are Bhima and as only a totally radical solution is sufficient, surely this is the answer?

    Actually, stringing 40 LEDs together will take me half an hour, but the more high-powered LEDs take a lot more effort. It's not as radical as it sounds.
  • the super bright leds cost about 5-6 quid each for the cree emitters.
  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    I reckon one bright LED backwards, but then several facing the sides too, for extrra bonus side visibility.

    That's what I'd do.
  • Is it to see or be seen (seems to be the latter)? What is the light environment you are cycling in, streetlights/traffic or not?

    I have no evidence for the following but my gut feeling is that I'd go for a large number of dimmer lights that did some random, non-synched flashing pattern if there was ambient light with regular traffic around (I would expect this to be more noticed), with side visibility as Aidy said; and a small number of bright lights if it is dark/deserted.

    Although my 3rd option, for the first scenario, would be one flashing bright light (to be noticed at first) and 15-20 dim ones in a random, non-synched flashing pattern to maintain curiosity and the driver's attention.
  • FlasheartFlasheart Posts: 1,278
    Lol I have gotta see the end result. Will this be weather resistant? If it rains will you get fried? Yes I know the voltages are really low but I just had this picture in my head while imagining you riding with your end result. :D
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  • mrchrispymrchrispy Posts: 310
    you need a freaking space lazor
  • saw a right clown on the way home last night.

    Lamp on the top of his helmet, 3 on his back and one on the seatpost. Not to mention wing mirrors. On both sides. AND he had the flappy-feet syndrome of pedals on his heels.

    ...all that was missing was the checked trousers and braces
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    facemunk wrote:
    saw a right clown on the way home last night.

    Lamp on the top of his helmet, 3 on his back and one on the seatpost. Not to mention wing mirrors. On both sides. AND he had the flappy-feet syndrome of pedals on his heels.

    ...all that was missing was the checked trousers and braces

    Yeah - but you saw him, didn't you :wink:
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  • R_T_A wrote:
    facemunk wrote:
    saw a right clown on the way home last night.

    Lamp on the top of his helmet, 3 on his back and one on the seatpost. Not to mention wing mirrors. On both sides. AND he had the flappy-feet syndrome of pedals on his heels.

    ...all that was missing was the checked trousers and braces

    Yeah - but you saw him, didn't you :wink:

    the man was a menace, I was laughing so much I nearly fell off and under a passing truck
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Assuming we're talking about red (rear) lights...

    The lights facing more towards the side are mainly for the benefit of cars passing/overtaking you, and those cars will only ever be a few metres away from you when they're in a position to be passing, so the LEDs facing towards the sides don't need to be very bright because the distances aren't very big.

    The lights facing backward are for the benefit of cars approaching you (before they get to the stage where they device to overtake), and on a long, straight road they could potentially be a long distance back down the road, but you would still want them to see you so more powerful LEDs are required.

    Think about what you want to achieve (and the practicalities of it) and that should dictate what you want to build.
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    facemunk wrote:

    the man was a menace, I was laughing so much I nearly fell off and under a passing truck

    :lol: - Lucky he didn't squirt water from a flower at you.

    And back on topic.. I'm not sure where you're riding, but most of my scarier moments have been cars flying at me whilst I'm on roundabouts. Therefore the sides can be equally as important.

    I've now got 3M tape and a fibre flare light to give more 360 degree vision.

    I'd go for the cheaper option first as a pilot, and then figure out what works best for you.
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    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    it is difficult to focus "30 or 40 smaller LEDs"

    Also you claim that commercial lights are unreliable. The homemade wiring on 30 LEDs is going to be worse

    As usual I am not sure what exactly you are trying to achieve :)
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    On commercial lights you get galvanic corrosion and the spring tension can be a bit dodge, so a little doctoring with a pair of pliers and a rem-grit blade make them better than new.

    As for side lighting, red or white? AFAIK you shouldn't display red to the front or white to the back...
  • Slow1972Slow1972 Posts: 362
    R_T_A wrote:
    And back on topic.. I'm not sure where you're riding, but most of my scarier moments have been cars flying at me whilst I'm on roundabouts. Therefore the sides can be equally as important.

    I agree, also why some reflective stickers on the sides of your forks or frame work well.

    Also there is a greater chance of a helmet mounted light being seen by a pedestrian stepping out from between parked cars because the parked car will obstruct their view of your bar mounted light

    Personally I think a mx of lights at different heights can only be a good thing from a visibiltystand point
  • FeynmanCFeynmanC Posts: 649
    What I want, but haven't seen, so have considered making, is orange LED's down the arm, with some kind of micro switch that activates them when the arm is stuck out to indicate.

    I know, it's sad, but I quite like that idea.

    Other than that, i'd go for the 300-400 dim led approach. If you're going to do it, do it PROPERLY! :twisted:
    us0.png
  • mrchrispymrchrispy Posts: 310
    blue lights tend to get people attention.
    go on...i dare you :)
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    300-400 soft white led's with broad diffusers so you look ethereal, that'd get the drivers to give you room.... particularly with a dark bike (ie no main lights)
  • FeynmanCFeynmanC Posts: 649
    300-400 soft white led's with broad diffusers so you look ethereal, that'd get the drivers to give you room.... particularly with a dark bike (ie no main lights)

    Nice! Ghost rider - bet you'd end up on You Tube in no time!
    us0.png
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I dont think the rules about light colours apply if the lights arent fixed to the bike ?

    Sounds an interesting project - but there are similar things on the market - flashing Reflective belts and things.

    Personally I'd just stick with bright lights on the front to see, 2 smartlights on the back, reflective strips all over the bike and on my jacket - and for finishing touches - tyreflys on the wheels.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    monkeyletrics for the wheels:

    m132s_live8.jpg
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