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Bike Light and Turn Signals

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Step-by-step instructions on how to build a rear mounted bike light with turn signals for day and night use, so drivers can see you and where you are going. All comments are accepted, I would like to hear ways i could improve this.
 
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Step 1: Materials and tools

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Materials:
-6 leds-color is a personal preference-Red/amber main light, yellow for turn signals

Don't use blue lights like i did, after making it i was informed blue is reserved for police

-2 mini-toggle switches
-1 Slide switch
-9v Battery
-9v snap connecter
-1 Project box-any size bigger than 4"x 2"-aluminum cover is needed
-1 Bic pen or Mechanical Pencil
-Wire
-Solder
-Zip-Ties
-Bike

Tools:
-Soldering Iron
-Reamer/Drill
-Various Screwdrivers
-Pliers
-Scissors
-Wire Cutter/Stripper
-Hot glue gun

Optional:
-Breadboard
-Breadboard Wires

Step 2: Optional: Prototype on Breadboard

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bike Light turn signal.bmp
Try Before building-use a breadboard. If you are not using a breadboard you may skip this step.

Step 3: Drill holes for aluminum plate

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Mark where the holes will need to be, on top of the box, having the plate facing away from the cover. Drill or ream holes so that the plate fits flush to the box. Screw the plate in-place with the thread of the screw is on the out side of the box.

Step 4: Mark and Drill holes for Leds

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Take the four leds and make them in any shape, i made mine in a square. mark and drill the holes. also cut holes where the wires will run for the turning lights. Cut the Bic pen barrel in half, theses will be mounted on the sides and used to hold the turning lights. Also cut a hole large enough for the slide switch.
ackra5 years ago
I recently purchased directional turn signals for my bike and the 1st day I used them they saved my life at an intersection where a truck was making a right turn. It's a no brainer. I purchased mine at www.safetybikesignals.com I can't understand why I don't see more bikes with safety directional signals. Do you.
i signal with my hands, but i agree that signal lights would be helpful, especially at night.
One set is much cheaper here:

http://gadget.brando.com.hk/prod_detail.php?prod_id=00547

Brake lights, 8 different horn settings. and turn signals.
jman46474 years ago
Would you recommend this for a total beginner?
Oh ya this is easy,
im making one that uses transistors to make the lights flash

How would that work? I'm trying to learn all I can. I have a soldering iron, I can buy some leds, transistors ect.

Heres the link to the schematic:http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/xLEDblinker.html

You need to be pretty good at reading schematics, soldering transistors and picking out all the parts. Im in HS and I taught myself to read these things so if you dont understand something, feel free to reply!

"if you don't understand something..."

Lol, I don't understand any of it. I'm off to learn how to read schematics.
O ok, ya its easy to teach yourself about schematics, I did, just use wikipedia.

You should actually order a kit off of a site called The Electric Goldmine, the kits run cheap (<5 or 10$) and come with schematics, along with detailed instructions in case you can't quite read schematics yet. You just need to have a good soldering gun and solder.
glorybe5 years ago
Hot glue and moisture won't work well together. I think the young man is doing fine but reading a bit about materials might help a bit. Bikes get soaking wet. Therefore just about anything for a bicycle needs to be really water proof.
 I made a bike light using hot glue and ride in snow and slush in Montana. I splash through puddles and mud. Light works fine even with exposed switches. Waterproof is for things that get submerged in water.

If you buy a bike light that claims to be waterproof, drop it in a body of water and watch it stop working fast. Most lights are only water resistant or splash proof. 
knektek4 years ago
this could be very useful for my mum when she's cycling (just because my mum is quite dangerous when cycling) thanks ! :)
rangeside4 years ago
By chance how many LEDs did you use for the main back light? and do you remember what the mcd rating was for them? Not too sure about that myself. Thanks
palle4 years ago
Very good idea...
If you get 'blinker' leds you don't have to keep flicking the switch for your turn signals.
shags15 years ago
Forgot to say: I'm building one of these for my electric bike. That is once I get around to building it. Again, Great job!
shags15 years ago
I'm very impressed. You have a very good form factor, not something most 13-year-olds would think about in the design. The reason for a resistor in series with the LED's is that it "burns off" the excess voltage that *could* damage the LED's. I don't think you'll ever get a voltage spike from a battery that would cause that to happen in the setup you have. But if you wanted to set up a dynamo to power the lights (along with a capacitor in parallel to level out any ripple volts and act as a "battery bank" (just pick one with a voltage above what the dynamo can produce and include a zener diode with a resistor in series with it to regulate the volts)) then the resistors would be necessary. The LED-series resistor doesn't have to be of high resistance; just make sure the watt rating is a quarter watt or over. Good job!
I think that this is a marvellous instructable you have added here. I have been pondering how on earth to mount the indicator LED's, and you've solved it! The only comment I would like to make is to consider making the indicator LED's yellow, as is convention with other road vehicles. Jolly great work mate!
jeff-o5 years ago
Pretty good, but here are some suggestions for Version 2: - Use AA batteries instead of 9V, you will get a much longer run time. - Add a resistor for each series chain of LEDs, or they will burn out - especially the turn signals! - seal the enclosure with silicone or hot glue. If you get stuck in the rain, water WILL get in and destroy everything inside. - as others have suggested, use red LEDs in the rear, not white or blue.
TFrosty jeff-o5 years ago
Why don't the LEDs burn out the instant they are connected to the power supply? Being foolish I connected one straight to a 9V and it blew. I thought you had to have a resistor so the LED didn't blow?
jeff-o TFrosty5 years ago
Well, the four connected in series will probably be fine, 9/4 = 2.25V which is just about right for the LEDs. However, the turn signal lights will almost certainly blow if you leave them on for more than a few seconds.
nsaltz94 (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
with the turn lights i have left them on for prolong time periods and they are yet to burn out but this could be do to the fact that i used color changing leds from a party light
nsaltz94 (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
-i originally tried it with AA's but it took too many to actually run all the lights -on the next one i will defiantly use resistors -i tried to seal the box as much as i could, but i couldn't seal the edges because i wanted to have it removable for the purpose of changing batteries or fixing wires -will change leds as soon as i get some red ones thanks for the tips
jeff-o nsaltz945 years ago
Well, it should only require 4AAs if you use a series/parallel combination for the LEDs - and as little as two for a fully parallel setup. You're right about the edges - how do you seal them and still make the lid removable? I know they make waterproof enclosures, but they're pricey. Hmmm, maybe a thin rubber band placed in the groove?
nsaltz94 (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
the rubber band sounds like a good idea or maybe a thin sheet of rubber like the ones for science experiments
jeff-o nsaltz945 years ago
Sure, anything waterproof that you can squeeze into that space between the case and the lid.
nsaltz94 (author) 5 years ago
i would greatly appreciate it if you would rate my instructable
matroska5 years ago
You're getting a 5 five starts from me. Brilliant concept, should be use with an alternator for the turning lights, so now you can really feel like you're a car.
stevie15 years ago
the LEDs in the schematic are backwards
uberben stevie15 years ago
That they are. This orientation might get some magical black smoke going on.
stevie1 uberben5 years ago
haha lol
if you are referring to the schematic in step 2, the LED s are in fact oriented correctly with the Anode of the LED attached to the Positive lead and the Cathode attached to the Negative lead.
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Ya, its been fixed now.
nsaltz94 (author)  uberben5 years ago
yea ill fix that
nsaltz94 (author)  stevie15 years ago
sry i copied the leds from a page so i didnt have to draw them
go download express pcb, its free software for designing circuits and circuit boards.
Mekkie Boy5 years ago
For waterproofing: take a plastic sandwich bag (like a zip-lock bag) and cut the bottom off so you have a bottomless bag. Then glue the bottom edge of what you have left around the electronics in the case and seal it well with glue and/or silicone. Now everything is protected by the bag and all you have to do is open it to get to the electronics inside.
though i have never tried, i figure you could also use silicone glue to make a bead around the rim of the box and then let it cure. that way once it's dried it will act as a rubber seal.
True, but then you may have to re-apply it every time you opened the box.
roguefx995 years ago
Excellent prototype (whatever your age). Couple of ideas for a future build though. 3 AA batteries in series will give 4.5V which should be more than enough to run the leds and will last much longer. But the LEDs should be in parallel for that. I currently have a 9 led back light which runs for 100 plus hours and is very bright using 3 AAs. Weather proofing is always a problem a little silicon sealant round the edge of the box will help. You can usually get that in little tubes for use around sinks. On the indicators you could add either clear acrylic tube or drill out a piece of acrylic rod to put over the top of the leds to spread the light and weatherproof them. Last time I built lights I used a very small project box for the switches and put three 'push to make switches' in the top. After it was wired I glued a sheet of thin rubber over the top to completely waterproof them and put the box on the left hand side so I could use the switches with just one thumb. Something similar might help with your weatherproofing. I'll be looking forward to seeing your next project. :-)
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