Instructables

DIY Glow: Ground Effects Lights For Your Bike!

Featured
An easy DIY project to add ground effects lights to your bicycle or other means of conveyance, utilizing inexpensive and commonly available cold-cathode lights. They look cool, and really do increase your visibility at night. Since putting them on my tallbike everone is asking to take my picture.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Prototype

I tried this first on my tall bike, I just bought some CCFL's at Fry's and zip-tied them on, powered by a lead acid battery i had laying around. It was pretty cool, but i broke a tube a few days later, Simply zip-tying the tubes on caused them to flex, and any further pressure would cause the glass inide to flex, not something glass should do!

I decided to add a strip of polished aluminum behind the tubes to act as a reflector, directing more light downward, and to help reinforce the acrylic tubes. In addition it would mean the straps would not go over the tubes but under, alleviating the source of bending, and not obscuring the light.I'd also want a better battery pack, as six pounds of lead is hardly noticed on already heavy tallbike, but not really welcome on nice lightweight bikes.
dremeldude1 year ago
Is that a fixie bike?
Evinfire2 years ago
Fun stuff
canucksgirl2 years ago
I'm sure you already know, but this is just sic!

"Crazy Kid from the beach, I seek to advance the level of freakbike technology..." - Hilarious, and makes perfect sense. 

Keep up the awesomeness. ;)
i want these
Hey, I really like this idea as i was going to buy some Fibre Flare lights. From looking at photos and what I've heard these lights appear too bright too function as a rear light. Is it possible to run it at 9V using a 9V battery? Thanks for this instructable.
pixil5 years ago
sorry if this is a stupid question, but i'm not sure what sort of inverter i need to connect the molex connecter to the battery? where could i find something like this?
i am guessing you mean computer molex, yellow wire is 12v, red is 5v, it is most likely to run on only 12v
yes and agreed in most of my experiments Ive only run the 12 volt side, but you still need a 5 volt source to get the device to run. but in this case you only need the 12 volt source.
Yeah, I would recommend 12v.
xana pixil3 years ago
you don't need one because the current in side of you computer (that is where the mole x connector comes from) is dc not ac. batteries are also dc so an inverter would be useless.
I am unclear about the battery situation. I love this mod. But when I looked up what a 12v battery was, it looks like a car battery. What exactly do I need to power these things? Thanks.
8 times 1.5 = you need 8 1.5 volt batteries non chargeable batteries like AAA, AA, D, and C cell batteries are all 1.5 volts. there many other batteries types out there other than car batteries that will work. i use this one http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the-1456/Lipo-Battery-11.1v-/Detail its a hobby one like you would put in your rc car.
UgniusR xana3 years ago
I think it would be easier to use two 9V batteries and hook up a 12V Regulator...
grayseep1893 years ago
What if you made it so it didn't take batteries and instead was powered by you peddling?
The bike looks awesome
its2l8men3 years ago
that bike looks dangerous
jokerlz5 years ago
Great instructable. I combined some of your ideas (velcro) with some from another instructable which is similar (position of tubes) to come up with mine (one tube is UV)
100_3752.JPG100_3750.JPG
jokerlz jokerlz5 years ago
(I love brackets) ("()")
Me too! ( . )( . ) lol bewbs
Hi there, your instructable was one of the first I ever followed about two and a half years ago. Thank you for your guide that helped get me started on my passion for lights and electricity. I've been riding my mountain bike around town like this for nearly two years now, and have received everything from shock, to dumbfounded onlookers, and even an offer to buy my bike while in the street riding it. Originally I modified upon your design for riding actual mountain-bike trails up in the Sierra Nevada mounta range, and figured you might enjoy seeing how I've expanded a bit on your design, with a custom-made four 5 Watt Luxeon LED headlamp, dual green EL wire accent lighting, and boosted capacity easy-connect rechargable kits (no removing batteries, ever, and it's all waterproof). Through some knowledge on bikes and lights, I've also expanded into lighting wheel hubs. Thanks for your efforts, for it helped me to develop immensely, and in turn has helped many others.
IMG_0260.jpgIMG_0268.JPGP1000004.JPGIMG_0527.JPG
As a way to protect the tubes, you can mount the tubes inside square acrylic tube. I did this once with square tube I got from Tap Plastics. I think it was 1" stock. The square bits on the ends of the cold cathode tube fit almost perfectly into the ends of the stock. Just seal it up and you have a fairly rigid protective clear case.
ka1axy4 years ago
To keep the tubes from breaking against the acrylic, thry wrapping the ends in foam.  Its springiness should push the CCFL towards the centerline of the acrylic tube and also provide some isolation from the bike frame.
hanz124 years ago
this isn't waterproof is it?
the problem is when i am cycling it is light or it is bad weather
(only in winter  its dark enough )
greetz from holland
(seabear)4 years ago
that bike is AWESOME!!!
WOW!!!!!!!
WOW!!!!!
Tommyhzy4 years ago
Man I already modded 2 of my wheels before even seeing your Instructable!

Oh I used 3 RGB LEDs for the first wheel, then 9 Ultra Bright LEDs for the second wheel. Now with my new bike I am totally going to use Cold Cathodes. Too bad the shipping for these things costs exactly 7 times as much as the product itself :P

I'm thinking of attaching one of these to the Inside of a tire, it that possible?
PyroMonger4 years ago
I feel left out so I'm going to add my bike pics here tonight...its still just a prototype but i want to show it off and get some feedback for improvements
Numpad5 years ago
I thought of this idea a couple weeks ago, then as i was halfway through making mine i came accross yours! i only have 2x 4" blue neons, but they are pretty bright. I also had an old cordless drill battery (which is 9.6V) i dont know if the lower voltage means they are dimmer, but it works perfectly! i had modified my bikes water bottle to hold the battery so its nice and waterproof! i took mine out for its first test run today, and litterally after 2mins i had someone shout out "i love your bike" :D very chuffed with results... will go for 12" neons next time, and track down a proper 12v battery from somewhere!
DSC00120.JPGDSC00119.JPGDSC00118.JPG
Instead of a 12 volt battery I just used an 8 AA holder from Radio Shack The wire with the grey dashes is Positive and the solid black one is Negative and so far it works for me.
mspark4005 years ago
hello! Great project! I seem to be having some mystery problems though. I have a battery pack of 8 aa and some ccfls from a lighting kit for computers. It runs fine when connected to the computer power supply but fails to illuminate when connected to my battery pack. To add some details the lights are two uv ccfl a and all of my parts came from radioshack this is a huge mystery to me and any ideas would be super helpful Thanks in advance! Mspark400
nevermind just a bad driver circuit
totoroben5 years ago
Im doing this project with LED strips. I wonder how much of a brightness difference there is between LED and CCFL. LED are easier to install, more durable, waterproof, and at this point only cost a few extra bucks. The only question that remains is light output. I will post some pics when Im done.
private eye6 years ago
I don't get the battery is it a big old 12v or could i use a couple of 9v or something more compact. can any bodey help me!
8 x 1.5V = 12V, so you can use 8 AAs, for example. I used a part like this (http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT88394/it.A/id.74/.f?sc=2&category=2).
stevevance E.B.5 years ago
I was reading that rechargeable AA batteries only provide 1.2v and this is a problem for "high draw" devices. If I were to use rechargeable AA batteries, would I need 10 of them, instead of 8?
you can order a 10 AAA battery pack or 10AA battery pack at batteryspace.com and the appropriate charger.
E.B. stevevance5 years ago
I don't know offhand if that's true; I don't have rechargable AAs on me to check that. If you used 1.2V batteries, 10 would probably be good since you're supposed to input 12V as I understand it, and my version of this ran fine off 12V from disposable AAs. But it's not my instructable so I don't know for sure.
thanks
Amberwolf5 years ago
For those simply looking for cheap CCFLs to do this kind of thing with, you can get "free" ones out of old flatbed scanners and multifunction printer/copiers, frequently available on places like your local Freecycle.org groups for the cost of going and picking them up. They'll all be white, but you can use party wrap or actual colored stage light gels to filter that to the color you wish. Since the CCFLs in the scanners will usually just be a bare bulb fixed to the bulky scanner mechanisms, you will also need to find some clear tubing of relatively stiff make to shield it in, but even that can be found for cheap or nothing if you rethink how you are looking at items and their packaging, as I've seen some thermometers come stored in hard plastic clear tubes, and also certain drill bits and other semi-cylindrical tools may sometimes come in this kind of protective tubing. Most of the scanner inverters I've seen run off 12VDC, but you do need to check (preferably before you disassemble the scanner completely) what voltage is actually being applied to the inverter's input before you just wire up a battery to it. :) Some have been 9VDC, and more than a few multifunctions ran off 24VDC for lighting, motors, etc. ReThink, RePurpose, ReUse. :-)
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!