Portable USB battery pack bike light (with a Luxeon III conversion)

Picture of Portable USB battery pack bike light (with a Luxeon III conversion)
You've probably seen how handy it can be to have a portable USB power supply for charging iPods, PSP, cellphones etc. I decided to make one but it needed to be multipurpose to justify carrying around the extra weight.

I wanted to make it as simple a possible so I decided to use 4 AA sized NiMH batteries rated at 1.2v (or 1.25v) Which can provide the needed 5v without regulation. This also makes it possible to more quickly charge PSP's which can draw almost 1A when charging.

To extend the functionality I decided it should also be a flashlight. But a quick search of the local stores showed that most AA flashlights are generally 1 or 3 cells. Fortunately for me I decided to check the bike aisle at Wal-Mart and found that many of the bicycle headlights are 4AA cell!

So using a bicycle headlight we'll end up having a:

1. portable USB power
2. flashlight
3. bicycle headlight

Not only that but I happened to have a Luxeon III star and optics laying around the house so, why not improve this project by switching out the bulb for the Luxeon?

Expandable Capacity Bicycle Headlight
The most interesting part for me is that if you decide to make a second battery pack and connect them together via USB you'll double the burn time of the flashlight! How cool is that when being used as a bicycle headlight?!?

How about connecting it to a USB power generator such as the Hand Crank Lego USB charger set up so it's turned by a tire?

Multipurpose enough? I think so.
can this be easily be put in a box with a bike generator so I can plug in the usb port and charge my mp4 player and use speakers to amp the sound
i have thought of making something similar to this, but i cant find the motherboard USB port. i've searched on ebay, found some, but i dont have a creditcard nor do i trust the sellers by mailing money TT__TT
How are your desoldering skills? Get a cheap (or damaged) USB hub, or a non-functioning computer and scavenge the USB ports. Some of these will be a dual port, others (the thinner hubs) will be single. Look at whether they're stacked or not.
u lyk my mudkips??
warlord (author)  Sadam and Osama7 years ago
You can take apart a female USB cable to use for a USB port.
danielemur6 years ago
awesome instructable. but dosen't melting plastic release a dangerous gas?
Don't breathe the fumes then. Your work area should have at least the capability of being well ventilated, whether you're burning plastic, soldering, etching, gluing, painting or whatever.
oh. thank for the tip.
nagutron8 years ago
I love the idea of making portable power a liquid commodity that just follows me around, usable with any of my devices. My personal cloud of electricity. For a biker like me, the bike light is a perfect candidate - It's cheap and I already carry it around everywhere, so why not have it do some work when I get to where I'm going? Great photos and instructions, by the way.
um, there;s already things like that..

Wireless power eh? link -> here
Cool! Can you use the light and the USB Port at the same time?
warlord (author)  TheOneGreatX8 years ago

If you look at the second picture you'll see the light is on and the PSP's screen shows Power = External.

It'd a good feature if you have a bike mounted GPS that uses USB to charge (like the TomTom) So you could use and charge your GPS at night with the headlight running, LOL.
put a dymo on the wheel, attach with hot glue, and instant power, you'll need to use a variable voltage regulator
W8del47 years ago
nice instructable!
This is cool. I'm thinking about making something similar myself. I'd use 4 AA batteries. Sometimes rechargeable, sometimes not. Would you advise using a voltage regulator? Would the volt reg provide a constant 5v even when the batteries are low? Been looking all over but can't find these answers
warlord (author)  WildBlueRhino7 years ago
If you want to be able to swap back and forth between different types of batteries then you do need to use a voltage regulator...especially to protect whatever you decide to plug into your USB charger. You'll still get better results by just using 4 NiMH batteries though.
warlord (author)  WildBlueRhino8 years ago
The voltage of 4 NiMH batteries is almost 5.3v on a fresh charge (off the top of my head) but quickly drops to around 5v. Of course for alkaline batteries you'd end up with over 6v. If you wish to be able to use any type of AA battery on hand you'd want to add a voltage regulator. You can download the .pdf for the particular voltage regulator to see it's specs. On most 5v regulators you do need about 5.15v input (+/-) to output the rated 5v.
warlord (author)  warlord8 years ago
I'm sorry, I meant to say that the voltage of 4 freshly charged AA batteries is >5.3v