Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lumens and Drivers and Volts, Oh My!

With apologies to Dorothy from Kansas and her fears of lions, tigers, and bears (ya gotta see the movie) in the Land of Oz, my concerns of late have been around building the perfect light set up for night rides. I have an old light duo for the bars and a better one for the helmet, but both are pretty ancient technology being halogen bulbs driven by big, heavy, lead acid 6V battery packs.

One can do better.

In fact, LEDS are all the rage among the DIY (Do It Yourself) light crowd. And, I have been reading and waiting till I can make my own set. I want to enjoy the whiter light of LEDs, the smaller battery packs, and the longer run times due to dimmable power settings, etc. Plus, they can look really cool, too.

See this link for more info : Lighting Forums on MTBR

Here are some examples I picked at random of home brew solutions:

I caution you that the terminology can be dizzying at times and some of the lights are works of art and some are works of ugliness. I am gonna make my own art in motion as soon as I get the bikepacking bags paid for (will post on THAT whole deal soon enough) and save up some more sheckles. I figure that between $50 and $100 I can get a simple, low-ish lumen h-bar lights built and then I will convert my helmet light to LED as well. I am sooo excited to get them done, but I am geeky-techy that way.

So tonite I went on a night ride with Ed the Tall and had to fit up my old lights to the SS Monkey. The clamps were a bit loose on the bars, so I wrapped a few turns of the World's Best Electrical Tape around the carbon XC bars. How do I know it was the World's Best Electrical Tape? Cuz it was nearly impossible to unwrap it when I figured out I had put too much on and the clamp would not close completely. Sheesh! It was like it was some evil thing, the way it stuck and stretched and would not let me grab it.

Then I looked for the black strips of Velcro I had brought with me to tie up the cords with. Hmmm, they must be here somewhere...look at watch...Ed the Tall is on his way. Good lord, I have not moved 3 feet from here? Where could they go? back in the house, retrace steps...nothing. Back to the garage.

Here is a tip for ya: If you want to hide two black velcro strips, place them within arms reach on top of a black box and then drape a black witches hat (left over from either Halloween or when the house fell on the bad witch ...NOTE: see earlier reference to Kansas, Dorothy, etc) and I promise you, it will provide at least ten minutes of head scratching, sanity doubting, mildly cursing fun for all.

After all that, we never even needed the lights for our ride. Oh well. I will post up my adventure into LED land when I get the soldering iron out and begin the mad scientist stuff. I will be deep into lumens, drivers and volts by then and who knows what will happen. Stay tuned, and if the West Coast is plunged into a power failure, it was not me. Honest.

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