Headlamp flashlight technology takes a quantum leap! You can have it all: * Intense brightness * Lightweight * Long life * Low cost * Rechargeable * Unbreakable * Small * Waterproof * Unique shocking turquoise color

Race proven! I put the light to the ultimate test by competing in the Gold Rush 24-hour Adventure endurance race in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Many of the other competitors had $500 HID lamps from NiteRider, Light & Motion, etc, yet throughout the race nearly everyone that saw my light commented as to its extreme brightness or asked where they could get one. It was that much brighter than anything else.

brightness: 500+ lumens / 7 million+ mcd @ 15 degree
weight: 120 gram headlamp + 60 gram electronics + 280 gram battery pack = 460 gram total
cost: $60 including batteries
lifetime: 3, 6, 12, 24 hours (4 brightness settings)
size: headlamp portion 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm
rechargeable: Ni-MH or Lithium-Ion batteries (your choice)
unbreakable: LED technology

- Cyan (or Green) high power/high efficiency LED's
- high-transmittance TIR lenses
- high-efficiency DC/DC step-down converter

None of this was possible just a couple years ago, but now it can be done easily with inexpensive components you assemble yourself!

i've got several other power-LED instructables too, check those out for other notes & ideas.

This article is brought to you by MonkeyLectric and the Monkey Light bike ilght.

Step 1: What's so special here?

Your eye! Remember back to biology class - your eye has "rods" and "cones". these are the sensing cells in your eye that detect images. the cones are your daylight & color vision, but they are less sensitive than the rods. Now the part you didn't learn in school:

(1) The rods are about 2.5 times more sensitive to light than the cones. That's why they are your night vision.

(2) The rods and the cones are not equally sensitive to all colors (wavelengths) of light. The wavelength of maximum sensitivity for your rods is 507nm, or blue-green. Why? Moonlight is more bluish than sunlight. The color of maximum sensitivity for your cones is 555nm green, about the color of plants. (more info)

To get the best possible vision at night, we'd like to build a lamp that puts out the most light at the 507nm that our rods are most sensitive to. This gets us the best vision at night for the least power used. If we had a white light instead, it would take much more power to get as much visibility.

Thanks to our friend the LED, this weird pure turquose light is possible! The latest LED technology is much more efficient than a standard light bulb to begin with, but using the special turquose color gives us even much better night vision than white, and is more efficient than even the fanciest HID lights.

<p>Great writeup, especially the info about rod and cone sensitivity. I came across an led &quot;miner's&quot; light at a bargain store a few years ago and noted the greenish tint, but thought these were just odd or &quot;one-off&quot; white leds. Nowhere near the same lumens output as your project though. :) Thanks!</p>
What issues would come from using a white light led, need something for hunting.
<p>Hi, I really like to make this project but can't find the same LED and LED drivers on europe shops, even the one you gave. </p><p>May be you could give some others refs in EUrope shops that can do fit as well..</p>
<p>Fantastic!! Thank you Dan sooo much. </p><p>Has anyone any experience with strobing the LED light to make it appear *even brighter*? </p><p>There's a discussion here: <a href="http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?188514-How-to-maximize-the-perceived-brightness-of-a-strobe" rel="nofollow">http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php...</a> </p><p>If I read that right, it works out to 30Hz.... will the buckpuck/LED configuration support that? </p>
<p>One way that doesn't need any electrical skills is a LED head lamp take the cover off the bulb and put thin coloured paper or plastic over.</p>
<p>Great Instructable! I can't believe how old this is? Any updates as to its durability, bulb longevity, etc.?</p><p>Also, how could I make it to have a setting to flash/strobe as many bike lights do?</p>
<p>What is the best soldering iron or solder iron kit you all use for these tiny fuses or resistors? A link to a couple would be great! Amazon or anywhere is perfect. Is there like a better way than what I got? I have a big 60 watt or so and I use big roll of solder. Is there a gun maybe for tiny stuff or everyday type stuff. Thanks!</p>
<p>&quot;Moonlight is more bluish than sunlight.&quot; NO! Moonlight is nothing more than reflected sunlight = exactly the same color spectrum. It looks different simply because it is much dimmer and your eyes rods don't see color well.</p>
<p>moonlight is more bluish then sunlight due to the fact it indirectly comes in contact with the earth, there are greater chances for materials that obstruct its path to absorb the other colors of the spectrum, and the most resilient color of the spectrum is blue, hence why the sky is blue, and mountains and other objects in the distance appear more bluish because the other colors in the spectrum fade away before blue does</p>
<p>that would only be true the moon were a perfect reflector, which it isn't because you can see its surface features clearly. I don't know how accurate the blue statement is, but your statement isn't exactly accurate either.</p>
Agreed on color being an incomplete spectrum, after boucing off a giant hunk of stone, known as the moon. Since the moon rock I had the rare pleasure to view in person, encased in Lucite (Big thank you to science teacher, George Hutko!) I can say that it was a pale grey, and a timge greenish to me. <br>I have no idea what colors if any are lost in the reflecting, perhaps some across the spectrum, so at best a weakened version of sunlight.
Great project well detailed. Good job :)
<p>Exactly how many sticks of glue did you use?lol</p>
<p>Thanks for this ible and many links to explore. This looks definitely great. I want to adapt this to my car, use like some low-power rooftop lights. Thank you!</p>
From my experience with night orienteering, I found that a red light is worthless because green plants absorb the red light. Thus, they appear black like the rest of the night. A green light should reflect well from the leaves, making them easy to see. However, the green light may not reflect well from other color surfaces. White light has all the colors and will reflect off of any colored surface. I would like to see this headlamp made with white LEDs.
<p>Another factor to consider is how the light affects your eyes.<br>For reading maps &amp; instruments, red probably does the least to hamper your ability to see in low ambient light. The reason military &amp; aviation uses red lights inside vehicles is so that they can see outside with ambient light at night (especially military, where you don't want to illuminate the scene)<br>Night vision goggles have changed that somewhat because they amplify the ambient light.</p>
In many of the comments here, there is a reference to a &quot;buckpuck&quot;<br> <br> Please would someone tell me what a buckpuck is ?
A buckpuck is a LED driver, a component which delivers constant current needed by LEDs (especially high power LEDs).
<p>This is night illumination, not night vision.<br>But now I see why red light is used when you want to save your night vision.<br>Since this is in a wavelength you use to see at night, it would destroy you real night vision for a time.</p>
The design is flawed. That heatsink is not even half the size it needs to be for good LED&nbsp;lifespan and brightness.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Literally, it is barely adequate for a single 3W&nbsp;LED.&nbsp; I&nbsp;have built plenty of LED&nbsp;lights for years and speak from a great deal of experience in light longevity and the effects of overheating.<br />
<p>Have you considered that the average speed on a bicycle is like 15+ Kmh, which with appropriate design, would be enough to cool a lot more than a heat sink in stationary or stagnant air.</p><p>.</p><p>Plus it has 4 power settings, and the highest brightness, would tend to only be used at high speed = high air flow = lots of cooling power.</p>
I want to build on this design but am unclear as to the size of a proper heatsink. I want to use the following:<br /> <ul id="ys_itemOptions"> <li>LED Type : Luxeon K2</li> <li># of LEDs : 4 (+$21.00)</li> <li>Color : Cyan</li> <li>Drive Current : 1000mA</li> <li>BuckPuck Options : Dimming w/ Pot.</li> <li>Power-Supply : 12vdc2.5a</li> </ul> How large of a Heat sink will I need?<br /> <br /> Thanks in advance.<br /> <br />
<p>I didn't realise how old this post was but it's still very relevant. There's an led heatsink calculator here:</p><p><a href="http://support.luxeonstar.com/customer/portal/articles/179490-how-do-i-determine-what-size-of-heat-sink-i-need-includes-heat-sink-calculator-" rel="nofollow">http://support.luxeonstar.com/customer/portal/arti...</a></p>
I intend to build this headlamp for night fishing and so I will have even lower airflow as I will be standing relatively stationary on a pier over the fishing location... So I would like some guidance on the required size of the heatsink you are suggesting? Would doubling the heatsink fin length (overall thickness dimension) of the heatsink serve the purpose..IOW I am trying to avoid making the length an width too big and clumsy on the headband.......ac-dc or Dan, Do either of you have a formula for calculating the size of heatsink required for safe - adequate cooling for the number of LED's used?
Have you designed bike lights? The ambient temperature is lower and airflow is higher. This could make up for the smaller heatsink than would normally be used.
Yes, I often use a self-built bike light, mounted on the bike, and a self-built headlamp I&nbsp;use more often off the bike, but on it too.<br /> <br /> Actually ambient temperature could easily be higher or the same, unless you live on an climate controlled planet?<br /> <br /> Keep in mind also that you aren't always riding the bike, sometimes you need to stop or slow down but would still need to see, and even when you are riding it is still a small heatsink for the low volume of airflow you'd achieve.<br /> <br /> I&nbsp;agree in some uses the light won't overheat, but my point was it will overheat in others.&nbsp; I don't feel any light that requires you keep moving to not overheat is a good design although others may feel differently.<br />
<p>Boy now to find them leds here locally </p>
hey, awesome light. i found a buckpuck on luxeon's website. this was the description; <br />The 3023-D-E-1000 BuckPuck 1000mA dimmable driver is a 5-32VDC, high efficiency, true current regulating driver specifically designed to power one or more high power LEDs or LED arrays. <br /> <br />Ideally suited for powering all configurations of Luxeon Rebel LEDs, the 3023-D-E-1000 driver exhibit high efficiency and require no external current limiting resistors or additional heat sinking. A fast response current-sensing circuit makes it ideal for applications where flashing or strobe operation of the LED is required.&quot; <br />do you think this buckpuck would still need the two adjustment switches? could i just use the dimmer knob? do you think 2 9v batteries would be a suitable batterypack? here is the link to the description <br /> <br />http://www.luxeonstar.com/1000mA-Ext-Dimmable-BuckPuck-Driver-With-Leads-p/3023-d-e-1000.htm <br />as always, <br />thanks and great 'ible <br />SurvivalistAlex
<p>should be able to sue a dimmer with that driver, but whether 9V will work depends on what kind of 9V. the common little square ones are only about 150mA so if they worked at all it would not last very long.</p>
Have you tried this Config yet? I built the original but would like to build more with my cycling club and this would be key!!!
No I haven't tried the config. I haven't had the spare time
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End result for light intensity appears to be fantastic. Is there a way to make this more attractive and weather/batter proof? It all looks a bit fragile because everything is exposed.
Mr.Dan, If I want to put an ac power supply to your project by using a ADC converter, what should I do so that I still get that monstrous lighting capability?
tto F'n cool!
Hey good job with this project. I especially like the design decisions to use specific wavelength LED's to take advantage of characteristics of the eye. Well done! :)<br><br>I found this instructable because I'm trying to make an illuminator for a basketball court for night playing. Would it be sufficient to just omit the lenses because the LED's would still be putting out 45 lumens/watt from your datasheets wouldn't they? Plus the light would be more diffused and wouldn't be blinding to look at i imagine.<br><br>Basically this design is appealing because of the contained batter pack and stuff; there isn't a readily available power socket nearby.<br><br>Thanks in advance :)
Hy! Gr8 job....<br>I like 2 Try this...
<br> I have figgured this out....<br> <br> About this guy or guyette saing this is the WORST thing evera...<br> <br> http://www.flashlightreviews.com/qa/nightvision.htm<br> <br> a) Sure it puts out stacks of light at around 505nm - which is right for true night vision;<br> <br> b) But he fails to understand how REFLECTED light intensity drops off as the hexed root of the distance (twice cube rooted - there and back); and<br> <br> c) He fails to list an average level where the reflected lumens per square meter saturate the rod light receptor cells in the eyes.<br> <br> d) He also sounds like an arm chair expert, who upon reading about it, neither knows the scientific results for what he claims, or<br> <br> e) Goes ahead and MAKES one of them and performs some tests with it himself.<br> <br> I am not saying that he is completely right or wrong, what I am saying is that the issue of night vision with the rod cells in the eyes, 505nm light, seeing things in reflection, and the sensitivity of the cells, their saturation point, and transitioning from night vision (rod cells) and into day vision (cone cells), is NOT an either or issue.<br> <br> Its a graduated scale from one position to another - and as far as I can see, no one has defined the transition points.<br> <br> I do know that with my own night lamps using plain bright green LED's in pitch dark areas, and only seeing the light reflecting off objects - that I could see amazingly well for very little light.<br> <br> So I in good faith am building some cyan night lights for cycling cross country at night in the pitch darkness, in the expectation that I will be able to get really excellent night vision, from comparatively low amounts of electrical power running some 3W cyan LEDs. (luxeon star)<br>
Yeah after some testing etc.... I have come to the following conclusions.<br><br>1. With light at or around the 505nm - which is the &quot;moon light and star light&quot; reflected off green vegetation color several things happen.<br><br>a) Our eyes ARE designed to have SOME reasonably good true night vision from very low light sources - up too and not much beyond the strength of FULL MOON;<br><br>b) The rods in our eyes are most sensitive to the 505nm frequency and at VERY low strength;<br><br>c) And at NIGHT out pupils are fully dilated for MAXIMUM light gathering.<br><br>2. The problem with these LEDS, at 505 NM and at exceptionally HIGH levels of output is:<br><br>a) The FAINT levels of REFLECTED light, bouncing back off objects, with the light at near &quot;full moon&quot; levels - this is a very very good way to see a lot of unlit area with very little power, as our eyes see 2.5 times as much on a lumen for lumen basis compared to using white light....<br><br>b) The LED's ARE so bright that they WILL cause damage to the eyes; and<br><br>c) Your pupils ARE fully dilated (more or less), and<br><br>d) The ROD cells - which give the night vision, are designed for MOON LIGHT strength reflected light - but <br><br>e) It's hard to keep all visible objects at a distance, so as to keep the reflecrted light at LOW levels, andl<br><br>f) Copping a flash directly into the eyes, from the LED's means that you are actually getting a STENGTH of light that WILL blind you - your pupils are (more or less) fully dialated; and the cells that are picking up the 505nm light, are designed for very low levels of it, are copping 505nm light at a level some zillion times higher than natural, through fully dilated pupils from LED's that ARE bright enough to cause blindness.....<br><br>While the LED's are an EXCELLENT idea for using to supply LOW level reflected light in the wild etc., getting flashed in the eyes, by directly looking at the LED's will ruin and could possibly REALLY damage your eyes.<br><br>So this is the DIVIDING line in the point of contention in the use of these LED's.<br><br>They ARE brilliant night lights - for providing reflected low level lighting.<br><br>They will absolutely blow your retinas out if you look at them or into the beams, with wide open pupils, at night - while I am not an expert - they could possibly cause serious and or permanent damage.... <br><br>These LED's ARE extremely intense sources of light the warning is on the spec sheet.<br><br>Shit even little 5mm 20ma 16,000 millicandella pr 0.016 candella LED's carry the same warning - and they are only a pin prick of light - but these are like 3 or 5 watts, or 800 candellas.<br><br>These ARE like sledge hammers to the eyeballs. <br><br><br>
hey. was wondering what sort of lumens i would get off white ones. as i would like to build one for work... and white would be better.<br><br>thanks.
Is there a way to use 2 turquoise, and 2 red leds on this model, and then use one of the buttons to switch in between the 2 colors? I'd like a headlamp with red led's so that I do not lose my natural night vision when hiking at night; however it would also be nice to have the turquise lights for times when I want a more traditional headlamp... any suggestions?
The 505NM light&nbsp; &quot;IS&quot; your night vision.<br> <br> Pay attention.<br>
Turquoise-colored light is still within the range of your night vision, so you don't need to switch to red.
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I made mine solar powered.<br> <br> Someone asked me&nbsp;&quot;Is that&nbsp;solar powered?&quot; I&nbsp;had&nbsp;my solar charger at home but the question prompted me to make&nbsp;my helmet&nbsp;solar charged.&nbsp;<br> <br> 40 minutes later&nbsp;I had a thin film panel&nbsp;and a diode on there and it's working fine so far.<br> <br> Now to make a charge level indicator.
i like the idea a whole lot. here are a few suggestions . watch band instead of head band puts the light where your hands are which is extremely helpful for construction related applications. a simple automotive rheostat switch with a single resistor would vastly improve light intensity issues and provide a moonglo effect for periods when only tiny light is necessary. another fact is more bulbs don't mean more light. the intensity of the flashlight does not increase with more bulbs and the light spread increases only modestly while battery life is diminished greatly. four widely spaced bulb would work better than four closely grouped ones.
I'm sorry, I have to disagree no almost everything you said. 1) This was built to be a bike light. A watch band bike light wouldn't be useful. You want to put it on your wrist, that's fine. 2) An automotive rheostat would significantly reduce the efficiency of the circuit. While running at low power you'd be losing large amounts of power to the "dimming" circuit. Truth be told, cutting power to individual lights would be a better way to dim this unit. 3) More bulbs DOES mean more brightness, provided the system has enough power drive all four. If you want more spread (not really useful for bike riding), then you can angle yours differently. If multiple lights in the same place didn't "add" brightness, you wouldn't be able to see city lights from space.
does having four tires on a bike make it go faster? if this idea was meant to be strictly for one application then why call it head lamp and not bike light? all modern rheostat circuitry is identical to your "buck puck" only undoubtedly clunkier. finally , a significant problem most people have with very bright and focused lights in dark areas is blindness, creating a bike light with a less tight beam would allow for a general field of vision that would undoubtedly allow for natural eye movement that occurs autonomous of the head's orientation. PLEASE UNDERSTAND your creative undertaking is first rate in my view my suggestions are only intended to illustrate enthusiasm.

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Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products. He also writes a DIY column for ... More »
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