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Trickle charging auto-switching LED helmet

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Picture of Trickle charging auto-switching LED helmet
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I was inspired by calebjc's green helmet to build my own. I suspect the parts on mine were easier to come by (bike store and wherever solar powered yard lights are on sale). Another addition on mine is that closing the buckle switches on the helmet.

I needed to attach a block to the bottom front of my headlight to raise it, on first draft it lit right in front of the front tire unless I looked at the sky. I had checked the aim at home, but had not thought about how your head is held differently on a bike with relatively low handle bars.
 
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Step 1: Parts

- front and back bike lights
you may already have some, if so, use them. If you don't have any, choose some that appear "modifiable", e.g. screwed shut.
for simplicity, make sure both use the same number of batteries. Mine both use 2 "AA"s

- 4 solar panels (2 might do)
I got mine from cheap-o yard lights from a sale at Canadian Tire, ~3$ a pop. You might find some in the garbage, some people throw them out when the rechargeables die or after the get knocked over and break

- 1 diode
scavenged from the yard lights as well

- wires
I used some old phone wires, small guage will be fine

- double-sided tape
I also tried zip-ties but the tape seems to work better

- metal duct tape
not the plastic stuff... this will be used for circuits. Other thin metal sheets glued on would work too.
laxboy75 years ago
What helmet did you start with?
berserk (author)  laxboy75 years ago
It's made by Bell. I don't know which model it is. I don't think it should matter too much.
Is this a safe helmet I ask? Those added modifications stick out, and in the case of ,hopefully unlikely, accident or even hitting a tree with your helmet, it will get caught causing your head to twist? The primary purpose of any helmet is to protect the wearer from shocks and reduce the possible injury and any modification added into helmets may compromise these.
berserk (author)  pellepeloton5 years ago
Interesting thought. To be honest, I have wondered that about helmets themself in the past. A head is relatively smooth, but here you string something around your neck that adds another 5cm of lever/hook for anything to catch on to.
I am not even totally convinced that wearing a helmet is worth it. Analyzing the risk of me falling of my bike and hurting my head, I think that there are many daily hazards that are riskier where no one suggests I should wear a helmet. Take climbing stairs, or worse, having a shower. But I digress :-)
As for the modifications, I did not change the structure of the helmet at all, and I doubt that double-sided mounting tape would even stay put if someone fell on it. For the concern of any of the attachments acting as a "point" to help penetration by concentrating the impact, I would hope that the helmet could handle that; if not, it might not be worth wearing in the first place.
To me, having the helmet make me more visible in traffic makes it a bit more worthwhile to wear it at all.
Maybe between calebjc's helmet (I see he got a similar comment) and my helmet, someone will pick this up and produce it commercially with nothing sticking out. :-)
calebjc6 years ago
Congrats! Glad I could help inspire.
ruzter6 years ago
I can't believe I never thought of stealing the solar panels from lawn lights. I also like how you executed the strap switch. Not that I am biased or anything. Congrats on the prize!