Introduction: Super Bright - Simple Low Cost DIY Bike Frame Lighting
Biking at night, especially in most US towns and cities, can be a scary experience. Even on a "safe" street or trail means crossing intersections with cars who simply do not have a clue about driving with pedestrians and bikes. And while superbright bike headlights are great at letting cars know you are coming at them, unfortunately you end up blinding them and oncoming bikes and pedestrians. And super bright headlights do not help much from those critical rear and side approaches.
Be seen - Light up your entire frame with inexpensive but super bright strip light LEDS to grab their attention without blinding your fellow travelers.
1) 1 x Low cost LED striplights to the rescue.
$6.45 from Amazon - LED 12V Flexible LED Strip Lighting comes in 16 feet lengths but you only need around 7 feet. The non-water proof comes with 2 connectors (Make for 2 bikes).
2) Holder for 8 x AA battery
3) 1 x 5.5mm Female connector
$5-6 for a pack of 10
- solder, tape, zipties, 8 AA batteries (rechargeable preferred but alkaline will work fine too).
Step 1: Gather Your Parts and Connectorize Your Battery Pack (LEDs, 8 X AA Battery Holder = 12 Volts, Female Connector)
1) Order your LEDs, Waterproof or Non-water proof (both types seem to work). Shown here with the connector chopped off (keep it on).
2) Solder the 5.5 mm female connector to the wires on the battery holder.
3) Insert batteries, plug in to test the lights.
4) Drill a hole in the top and insert the battery pack into a empty water bottle for an easy and convenient way to carry batteries.
Step 2: Apply LED Strip to the Bike Frame
1) Before applying the LED strips, it is a really good idea to clean the oil off the frame. Wash and use an alcohol wipe tape if you can.
LED strip lights come with peel off adhesive tape but the tape is not super sticky. You should be able to apply and then off and reapply to change the layout.
3) Start taping at location where your light connector can reach the battery pack.
4) Use the strip to outline the frame.
I recommend you -
a)avoid the top tube (where your legs might rub)
b) avoid the outside of the bottom rear triangle (where cranks/pedals/heels could tear the strip)
5) To finish, cut the strip (You should have enough strip left to do another bike). Secure the LED strip approximately every foot with zipties.
6) plug in and LIGHT UP THE NIGHT! Enjoy
Step 3: How Long on a Charge - Doing the Simple Math
These strip lights use 1.5 watts per foot. I used about 7 feet.
7 feet x 1.5 watts per foot = 10.5 watts. - Sure enough these lights use around 10.5 watts
Rechargeable Eneloops AA batteries (x8) are good for around 2,000 miliamp hours = 2 amphours x 12 volts = 24 watt hours. And can be recharged 2000 times.
24 watt hours / 10.5 watts = 2.29 hours, your results may vary.
Have fun and enjoy!