I am an Alaskan, all weather, year round bicycle commuter. I ride approximately 29 miles per day, round trip. My commute consists of approximately 6 miles of semi lighted Bicycle/Sidewalk on a thoroughfare, 6 miles of sparsely lit Bike lane roadway riding, 10 miles of intermittently lighted paved bike trail riding, and 7 miles of unlit offroad trail riding. I ride a 2001 Specialized FSRXC mountain bike with Nokian Hakka aluminum/carbide studs in the winter, and the same bike with Specialized Armadillo Fast Track tires in the summer. In Alaska, my lighting demands are harsh with my riding temperatures fluctuating between -20 degrees Fahrenheit (my personal riding cuttoff threshold), and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, my ride is 100% darkness, and in the summer it is the opposite. Rain, snow, sleet, humidity, and just plain freaking cold air are all elements that myself and my lighting system have to endure. For the past two years, I have utilized two Nightrider K2 commercial bike lights mounted to a custom fiberglass overshell on my helmet for my front lighting solution, a Pelican 1-Watt flashlight for my rear flasher. During my hour each way commutes, I determined additional capabilities and desires that I wanted for my lighting solution.

For me Helmet lighting over bike lighting was the only way to go. When I can look at cars with my light, they know I am there. I have had zero close calls during my winter commutes due, I think to this choice of Helmet mounted lighting.

The following Instructable helped me achieve these goals. I needed lighter weight than most commercial offerings, Brighter spotlight capability(to aid with wildlife encounters etc.), Rear and Side!!! flashers, and selectable front flasher/direct beam capability. I did not need 37 modes of flashing, solid steel or aluminum enclosures, or a name brand system. Oh yeah, I wanted to use some batteries I already possessed to save some $$$. May I present my answer to seeing and being seen in the Harsh Alaskan urban and wilderness expanse...

Step 1: Materials List

I purchase nearly all of my materials on line from three sites: http://www.dealextreme.com , http://www.luxeonstar.com , and http://www.ebay.com . All aluminum is 1/8" Thick to facilitate screw tapping and heat dissipation. I utilized Phillips Luxeons because I know their quality from my previous commercial lights. There may be brighter ones out there presently, but I am well pleased with my choices. For the LED Power supply, I chose the buckpuck constant current driver, because I could incorporate dimming, flashing, and efficiency for a reasonable price versus trying to weatherproof a homebrew power solution that was less efficient. I wanted maximum battery life while providing maximum power efficiency.

Lighting System Frame
3/4" x 36 x 1/8" Aluminum bar from Home depot ~ $8.00
6" x 6" x 1/8" Aluminum sheet from metal supply store ~ $2.00


LED's, LED Constant Current Drivers, and Reflectors
1 BuckPuck 1000mA DC LED Driver (With Leads) $15.99
2 Luxeon K2-TFFC LED - White Lambertian, 200 lm @ 1000mA $9.00 ea
1 BuckPuck 700mA DC LED Driver (With Leads) $15.99
4 Luxeon K2 LED - White Lambertian, 100 lm @ 700mA $6.21 ea
2 Luxeon K2 LED - Red-Orange Lambertian, 100 lm @ 700mA $4.63 ea

2 sku 04512 Star Connection Board for CREE LED Emiters (5-Pack) $2.00ea
1 sku 12436 25mm Plastic Reflector for LED Flashlights and Lighting Devices (5-Pack) $4.80
1 sku 04586 F3 33mm Smooth Plastic Optical Reflector (10-Pack) $7.81

1 sku 04579 FUJIK Silicone Thermal Glue (50ml Grease-Like) $8.44
1 sku 05604 Clicky Switch for Flashlights (11.8mm 5-Pack) $1.80

1 Lot (10) Mini Toggle DPDT On-Off-On Switch 5A-125VAC $9.16
1 Lot (10) 555 Timers $4.00

Frigid North Electronics -- Anchorage, Alaska -- stuff for dimmer and 555 timer strobe
47uF 16V electrolytic capacitor $2.00
220uF 50V electrolytic capacitor $2.00
2 x 5 Kohm variable resistor $2.00ea
5Kohm 1/4 watt carbon resistor $2.00
270 ohm 1/4 watt carbon resistor (red purple brown) $0.50
Transistor from old mouse for dimmer circuit free

Total $140.16

I also used some miscellaneous screws that I already had, #4's, #6's, and Nylon #6's


Wow, what an original and fantastic design !<br>I'm a total electronics neophyte and just learning.<br>I'm going to make a front and rear light system for my bike so I'd like to modify your design for bike mounting<br>Where are your fuses and what sizes are they ?<br>What about cap's and resistors ? I saw on the flasher boards (you have one for the front andone for the rear, correct?) you have some electronics on them.<br>Did you use the 3023 buck drivers ?<br>Since some of my wiring runs will be a little longer, up to 30&quot;, should I put the cap's across the battery leads as Luxdrive recommends ?<br><br>How did you waterproof the lights ? All I saw was the front light clear plateTRV sealant. Does RTV sealant curing vapors effect the reflector or lens clarity during the curing process ?<br><br>Again, what a great lighting system and thank you for sharing !
I was wondering about the macbook pro batterie. What is the possitive pin, negatice, and what are the other four for?
&nbsp;Freaking GENIUS!&nbsp;
it's great, i'm trying to make something like this but for all the bike and with cheaper or recycled materials, is any mroblem if i copy some small pars of your's?, i'l probably do an instructable
Wow! That is amazing! I want to build one now
Well done, you've inspired me to build a new lighting system for my evening rides. Good job on the year round commuting.
This was a great instructable! You seem to have taken a lot of time in crafting this lighting system and putting together the steps. It was very descriptive and helpful. Keep them coming!
Thanks Chelseaharsh for being the first positive comment on my first Instructable.
Great Instructable! Looks very well done! Thanks, Joe
Thanks Joe. More projects to come, but I appreciate the positive comments on my very first.
Fantastic instructable. And kudos to you for your extreme dedication to bicycle commuting. Editing note: Your URLs in the first step contain extraneous punctuation at the end and do not work (at least on my machine).
Thanks for the editing note. I believe I addressed the URL issue. Thanks for the positive feedback.

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