Introduction: Super Bright Dual Cree Led Bike Light

This project was inspired by the desire to do nighttime mountain biking,  but not wanting to part with $500+.  It took a long time to build, but the results were well worth it.  Total cost of project was about $200 for parts and material.

I used 2 CREE MC-E LEDs (http://www.cree.com/products/xlamp_mce.asp).  They are rated at about 400 Lumens each at 350 mA.  I am running them each at 500 mA in my application, so I figure they are putting out well over 800 Lumens total.  Each CREE led has 4 dies which are wired in series and then the two LED units are wired in parallel.  The power from the battery is regulated by a 1 amp buck boost with a external potentiometer for adjusting brightness.  I am using a 13.7 volt battery pack scavenged from a old nightrider HID light.

The housing was all machined by me on a vertical mill.  I started with a piece of billet aluminum and machined the basic outer shape, drilled the holes and end milled the interior.  Then I used a band saw to split it in two pieces and re-machined the rough surfaces with a fly cutter.  Then I tapped the holes, bolted the two pieces back together and then made the heat sinks with a slitting saw.  It was much more involved than this, but this is a brief description of the basic process.

Once the machining was complete, the led stars were epoxied in place with Arctic Silver Thermal Epoxy and wires were then soldered the  LED stars.  I connected to the battery by cutting a Nightrider extension cord and using the original male half to connect to the battery and adding a new screw-on-type connector to the light.  I used one spot and one medium angle lens.   Because it can be separated into two pieces, the lenses can easily be swapped out.  

I went a little crazy with the heat sinking, but it is never warm to the touch even after an hour ride.  The key to longevity with these high powered leds is keeping them cool.  

The light is attached to the bike using a Planet Bike handle bar clamp.  I machined an adapter that slides right into it and locks in place.  I should mention that Author kc6qhp made a smilar adaptor for his "Kilo Lumen Bike Headlight" and I should give him credit for that idea.   I have not provided detailed parts info due to the nature of this contest, but I am happy to provide it if there is interest.

I have attached two videos of the beam shots, it really does not do the light  justice, mostly due to my poor skills at taking a video.


Comments

author
LyonCy made it! (author)2014-09-25

Amazing work...I love

Arctic Silver Thermal Epoxy :D

author
kpnwebsite made it! (author)2014-08-18

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author
crazypj made it! (author)2013-09-15

Really impressive design but the practicality of all those sharp edges on a mountain bike?
I've been 'over the bars' a few times and personally would have gone for a rounder top edge
It isn't practical for majority to make but there are may people who do have machining capabilities

author
slucepan made it! (author)2012-02-15

This project looks like it realy addresses the heat issues of these new LED units.

author
sgomes3 made it! (author)2011-09-10

This is a cool project but impractical. There are very few who can afford such machining tools.

author
axlejor made it! (author)axlejor2011-09-10

True and I will probably never to be able to afford them either, I am just fortunate to be able to work in a place where I have access to them. As far as impractical, it works pretty well for me. If everyone only built practical things on Instructables, there would be a hell of a lot less posts.

I checked out your project and it is cool. I like the USB charger idea and it is very practical. If you are looking for LED parts and buckboosts (led drivers) Dealextreme is probable the cheapest, but ledsupply.com is where I got all my stuff and they have a good selection and ship fast. For USB stuff jameco.com is a great source.

Your handlebars look like mine, lot's of stuff clamped on.

Ride on.

Alex

author
sgomes3 made it! (author)sgomes32011-09-11

Thanks Alex. I have very few tools. I need a a drill and dremel tool badly, yet can't shell out the dough at this moment.. I tried to keep my project as simple as possible, yet it keeps getting more complicated requiring more and more tools :/

Anyways...I really liked your work. You have amazing skills, my friend.

Get rid of the battery, and you will be all set ;)

Cheers.

author
snowluck2345 made it! (author)2011-06-19

i was wondering how wide are the fins on your light?

author
gneal made it! (author)2011-05-31

I've been trying to find a good lighting store out here in Miami to do my house with LED lights. What's your opinion? Are LED lights better for the house?

author
snowluck2345 made it! (author)snowluck23452011-06-19

stick with compact lourescent, leds aren't good right now for stationary lighting, espiicaly recessed lighting. Heat rises and leds heat up and fail.

author
axlejor made it! (author)axlejor2011-05-31

I have no idea. My only experience with them is on a small scale, sorry.

author
unaffiliatedperson made it! (author)2011-03-11

looks good man. i the housing is cool. kinda reminds me of transformers heres some i moded. from Harbor freight.

0104112118a.jpg1201101754a.jpg
author
axlejor made it! (author)axlejor2011-03-11

Thanks,

I like your setup too, very visible. You must need one heck of a battery pack for those lights. Are they halogens?

author
unaffiliatedperson made it! (author)unaffiliatedperson2011-03-11

nope those are cree Q5s i think. only needs a 6 volt ground. so right now i have 4 AAs and they last for several hours. had a lantern battery lasted way longer.

author
schkip1973 made it! (author)2011-03-10

love the housing!! very nice!

author
zazenergy made it! (author)2011-03-09

That's really cool and now you can bike safely!

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