Bike Turn Signal & Brake Light Handlebars

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Picture of Bike Turn Signal & Brake Light Handlebars
This project was inspired by a very cool kickstarter called Helios Bars. Essentially what this project does, is put an arduino, LEDs, and buttons into your bike handlebars. The LEDs can be used as turn signals, brake lights, or display ambient colors while riding. It's fun, cheap, and a good introductory to LEDs and arduino. The coolest thing though is that the project can be completely enclosed in the handlebars and even waterproofed! This is because the Arduino Micro will fit inside handlebars with an inner diameter of 0.7 inches or greater! It is also a cheap project with a cost of around $30-$40 to buy everything. The best way I can explain it is by showing it, SO CHECK IT OUT BELOW!

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Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List
To modify your handlebars this project uses a 'kit', all the pieces of which can be bought at a place like Radioshack. It's a fairly simple and cheap project, with few components.

Arduino Micro - You could also use Arduino Uno or any others, but they would have to be externally mounted to the bike. If you have a choice, get the version of the Micro without headers.
2x Pushbuttons - I used 12mm ones seen in the picture, and they work awesome.
2x RGB LED's - These need to be common anode to work with my code. I recommend 2, but the number is up to you. You should probably get more just in case.
Resistors - These are needed for the pushbuttons and the RGB LED's, so they will be specific to what you use. I used four 2k ohm resistors. 
Batteries - Anything 6V or greater works but I will discuss this a lot more in the 'Custom Battery' step.
Wire - Lots and preferably thin and flexible.

Soldering Iron
Metal Files

Additionally if you want to waterproof the bars be sure to get some sugru. More on this in Step 7.
sallonikaG42 months ago

Bravo for your project.. It is really awesome and pretty useful.

I am looking forward to start next week creating your project. I have only 1 question.

Is it ok if I select Arduino Pro Micro or Arduino Nano?

Mondonson8 months ago
Helios here we come!
Dana LaBerge8 months ago
I think that on flat bats like for a mountain bike you could mount it like this but put a couple of ping pong ball halves for light dispersion on the ends and just got glue them on the ends. Maybe fill them with the hot glue for even better light dispersion. That way it could be seen from the front, side, or rear of the bike.
Mizchief100 (author)  Dana LaBerge8 months ago
That'd be sweet! Try it out.
drascombe8 months ago
While it seems like a good idea, is it really useful? I mean a car has its turn signals lights about 6 feet apart with following cars directly behind it. With a bike, it is a bit different. At most those are 18 inches apart, and from 40 feet away in the dark, can you really tell whether it is signalling left or right? Maybe it should be more light boat running lights where port is red and starboard is green?
Mizchief100 (author)  drascombe8 months ago
In the dark they are visible from much further than 40 feet. After doing this instructable I actually flipped them over so they point out to the front now and use a blinking light in the back so there is no problem with them being blocked by my legs or body. Most importantly though, it is meant to be a fun project and not to solve every bike visibility problem.
That is a great idea
pweintraub9 months ago
Yes! Thank you! Bikers need to be seen!!
Gorgus9 months ago
When trying to downkoad your code I just get: 403 Forbidden Request forbidden by administrative rules.
Mizchief100 (author)  Gorgus9 months ago
Thanks for letting me know, I will re-upload it shortly!
Mizchief100 (author)  Mizchief1009 months ago
Just out of curiosity can you propose ways this might work with flat bars? Thanks so much and what an awesome tutorial!
Mizchief100 (author)  zach.karpinellison9 months ago
It can definitely work with flat bars! The only thing slightly different would be LED placement, since they would point out to the side rather than straight front/back. You could just drill a hole in the bars near the end caps (rather than in the end caps) to fit the LEDs if you wanted them to point forward/backward, but the LEDs pointing to the side shouldn't be a problem. If you have any other questions feel free to message me.
andrea biffi9 months ago
this is awesome!
thumbs up for the great italian brand bike frame! ;-)
Mizchief100 (author)  andrea biffi9 months ago
Thanks, and yeah I love my Bottecchia!
rzprk9 months ago
hey. i see you put a lot of efford into this and agree that this is a great introduction to attaching electronics to otherwise analog devices. just some final touch ideas.
if you can sacrifice function over aesthetics, i'd recommend to feed an dc-plug out of the handlebar somewhere in the center, preferrebly glued into it entirely. this way, you could use a 9v battery velcroed to the upper tube when needed for power supply.
behaviour: I suppose you arranged the buttons in a fashion you would press the right one for going left and vice versa, so you'd still be able to use your arms for indicating direction.
sensorics: acc- & deceleration: a 3axis accelerometer could be a fun way to strobe the leds if decelerating rapidly. i dunno wheter there are pressuresenstive stripes, if existing, theyd be a great thing to be put underneath the grip so you'd just have to grab harder...
Mizchief100 (author)  rzprk9 months ago
Hey, thanks for the ideas! What I did to mount my 9V outside was cut a small notch in the handlebar plug and feed out the V-in and Ground wires to plug the battery into, but you could attach these to a dc-plug it would just be a little less universal. I thought about using an IMU because I've got one that would fit in the bars, but you gain very little, it about doubles the cost, and makes putting it into the bars more challenging but to take this project to another level it would definitely be worth it! I also tried to just use common electronic items people could find at electronics stores, but pressure sensitive strips would be cool for sure.

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