Instructables

In this instructable I will show how I installed LED lighting in the rim of my bicycle. If you are into bikes and or hacks, you may have seen other bike lighting hacks. If not, check them out. Below is a summary with links and my own comments regarding the designs.

Glo bike with phosphoresent paint from Glo Nation - http://www.instructables.com/id/Night-Bike/
If you garage your bike during the day, the paint wont charge well when it comes to time to ride at night. Also if you are riding in a major city it is likely that there will be so much light polution that you, and everyone else wont see you glow percivebly more brightly.

Project Aurara - http://vimeo.com/23544972

POV - http://www.instructables.com/id/SpokePOV%3A-LED-Bike-Wheel-Images/

My contribution
My lights are installed into the rim. Not stuck to the spokes. I believe that this conserves the astetices of the bike during the day (system is almost un-noticable during normal lighting conditions). Also the chance of accidentily getting something caught in the system and ripping it off are considerable reduced.

No dynomos!
Batteries are on the hubs (no power for the lighting comes from the frame). This eliminates complex, high tollerance and low cycle contacts featured in other designs. A dowside is that each hub has its on supply making recharging more of a involved task. The major upside is system isolation so that the wheel can be swapped to any other bike.
Expandability. This first instructable covers basic on/off lights. I plan to build on this instructable with more interactivity using the same components with minor modifications.

This is an instructable, I will share all my experience and failures so that you dont repeat them and get a near or better result easier than I did. Please share any design/ construction technique inovations. Share alike!

Warning!
If you follow my instructable you will be drilling many holes in your rims. Use older rims if you have doubts. I dont believe the perforations will significantly weaken the rims. The valve hole for the tyre is much bigger than the 5mm hole we are going to make. If the rim is going to fail it will be there. That said I did this hack on my old crappy rims so I wont be too upset if they fail.
You will also be required to seperate the rim from the spokes and hub. And of course, if you want to ride the bike again, and not just look at a pretty ring of ligts, you will have to put it back together. Wheel building is not covered here. I will refer you to some resources when appropriate. Give it a go! its not too hard and you will get another life skill badge.
This is a labour intensive hack. Plan, make the jigs, and modularise your work to save time and be prepared to put in some hours!

 
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joey_ostos9 months ago
I would caution against ever using green lights on a bicycle since green is pretty much the universal color meaning "Go". It would probably highly increase your risk of being hit in an intersection because a driver could very easily accidentally associate the lights on your bike with the traffic light. Especially since most drivers don't pay very good attention to their surroundings. I say this as someone who has been t-boned in an intersection by someone who ran a red light but claimed it was green.
cstewart000 (author)  joey_ostos8 months ago

Good point Joey. I am also worried about people being curious and running me off the road. From now on green will be off the menu :D

Progamer77210 months ago
Nice work. Looking forward to trying to implement this into my bike lights. Using green super bright leds. A definite plus for looks and side visibility at night. I agree that this will not weaken the rim, I wouldn't recommend this for heavy off road use. The only thing I would change would be added a disk on the hub with two stationary contacts on the bike frame for using existing power to the battery that I already am using.
cstewart000 (author)  Progamer7728 months ago

Thanks mate. I thought of doing the same thing but decided against it. I think g-force is easier to beat than oxidisation. I live in Queensland Australia which is a humid environment.

zaklovell1 year ago
what is that on your back wheel? It looks like a gear shifter, but at the same time it looks like you have a flip flop hub. Great project, by buddies and I are going to try to do the same soon :D
cstewart000 (author)  zaklovell8 months ago

Sorry for the late reply Zaklovell. It is a shifter. Yes you are right! I had a 7 speed wheel that I would swap in if I wanted to go for long rides. The stays are flexible enough in this direction for slightly different hub sizes.

To do this I had to change the chain to a longer more flexible one. Also, I had to use a thin drive ring at the cranks.

It works no problem. I can have a 7 speed a fixie and a single speed in one bike. Happy days.

lio341 year ago
Hy,
Thank you for your instructable. I did it but with few modifications :
- i drilled the spoke without seprating the rims
- battery holder in the tire (schwalbe big apple) and i feel nothing when i ride
- on/off button in a hole between two LED, drilled at the opposit of the valve
In one hand i have nothing outside to be stolen and like you said "it conserve the astetices of the bike during the day" but in the other hand i will have to take off the tire to recharge the batteries. I made my choice :-)
Sorry for my english
Lionel
cstewart000 (author)  lio348 months ago

Ecrire-moi en francais! pouvez-vous mettre un lien a le projet?

sekitori2 years ago
I don't see a picture of how the batteries/holder are fixed.
Can you maybe post that ?
cstewart000 (author)  sekitori2 years ago
Here are some photos with the molex connectors. Ineed torethink these because one of them broke off. The thousands of cycles really put a strain on anything that has even slight movement. When I get around to fixing it. I will heat shrink the wires to the connectors to minimise the strain.
IMG_0876.JPGIMG_0865.JPGIMG_0864.JPG
It is not possible to integrate the batterie/holder in the tire (a big one like Big Apple) ? So nothing outside. The switch on/off system could appear by a a last hole in the rim.
cstewart000 (author)  lio348 months ago

Salut lio! Je ne sais pas d'une maniere de mettre les batteries dans la roue. dsle pour mon parle francais!

jeffeb32 years ago
Very neat. Can you elaborate what you did inside the wheel to keep the inner tube from getting punctured? Were there any burrs from the drilling? What about from the wiring?
cstewart000 (author)  jeffeb32 years ago
I used electrical tape to push down the cables and provide a smooth surface. I must admit I believe the risk of a puncture is higher. That said I havent been using mine long.

I reamed the holes with a larger drill bit. I will add that note in the instructable.

Thanks for your comments and questions.
Taking an old inner tube and cutting it. to make a rubber strip to encircle the rim would also help.. this will protect the tube and the electrical wiring..

cstewart000 (author)  KDaver2 years ago
For the second wheel I used proper rim tape. This works great.
IMG_0875.JPGIMG_0872.JPGIMG_0869.JPG
Neat project! Light Cycles!
Why is it neccesary to take the rim apart? Could you drill fom the other side to eliminate that step? Perhaps just using a hand drill and a smaller jig to center the holes along the wheel from the outside could work.

cstewart000 (author)  smokeandlights2 years ago
You definately could do that. It would complicate the jig alot, at least the way I picture it. It would also be hard to produce a neat hole in the centre of the rim. If you are doing it to a set of wider rims. It may not be so obvious if you drill slightly off centre, and therefore is a viable alternative.

Thanks!