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>I built this several years ago and it works great to this day. I use mine for camping and not out on a bicycle, but I too was getting complaints from my camp mates that it was too bright. So I added a potentiometer next to the power switch. Now I have a full range of brightness simply by turning the dial. Thanks for a great Instructable!</p>
<p>As a motorist I am required to have my headlights adjusted so as not to blind an oncoming driver. I have several times had close calls to accidents caused my these superbright headlights worn on a cyclists head with the beam waving all over the place including directly into my eyes. These devices should be BANNED totally</p>
<p>I definitely understand and share your concern. And the same is true for some car LEDs. </p><p>Also, keep in mind;</p><p>1. Turn your high beams off; most bikers and pedestrians want to know you've seen them and likewise don't want to be blinded.</p><p>2. Slow down and give some space; some will use their light to get your attention if they think you have not spotted them.</p><p>3. Be considerate, keep in mind that you are not the soft target in a potential collision.</p>
<p>OK, I'm confused. If the light is &quot;waving all over the place&quot;, how is it blinding when the light isn't pointing directly at your eyes? </p><p>Ever bought a car and for weeks after the sale it seems like dozens of other drivers bought the same car? That's what is going on in your case.</p><p>Have you read any studies on the this? Is there actual data? Is data being supplied by &quot;THEY&quot; university? I'm not trying to be difficult but simply asking. There is a tendency for us to be knee jerk reactionary and call for banning or criminalize those things without ever asking &quot;is it me?&quot; first.</p><p>I've had night vision problems myself. Back in the 80's the only vehicle I used was a motorcycle. Of the 3 accidents I've had in total, 2 were night vision related. My last crash happened in 1997. Long story short, a $10 yellow visor has kept me from any night vision wrecks and put a flip down filter in my cars. </p><p>My last upgrade was putting a yellow decal on the top 3rd of my helmet visor only. This was done after putting a blue headlight on the bike and noticing some of the benefits using it went away with a filter. I just tilt my head if need be.</p>
<p>Frank: Would you ever think of putting a light on your motorcycle helmet and not using the ones on the bike. The ones on the bike do not wave around like a helmet light would.</p>
<p>I agree with you Colin.riddel. The lights on bicycles should be mounted on the bike and not waved around to annoy other drivers. Now-a-days most bike riders disobey the rules at night anyway and don't use lights of any kind. Also when is the last time you saw an adult cyclist with a bell on the handlebars? As a motorist you do require your headlights to be properly adjusted but when some drivers put huge tires on their pickups they forget that their headlights are now a foot higher and never get them adjusted. I think the police are missing this offence in every regard. Also most garages do not have the correct equipment for headlight alignment.</p>
<p>That was actually my first thought. The bluer side of the spectrum has good visibility, but is also effective at blinding bystanders (or drivers, in your case). Couple that with how bright this thing is and it can become quite dangerous.</p><p>Perhaps it would better if only used out in the woods (or other secluded location) where there isn't going to be a passing motorist to blind. </p><p>On another note, I wonder how well a red headlamp would work with these specs. The color red is supposed to be very friendly on a person's night vision and is actually what pilots use in the cockpit when they have to read something at night. A white or blue flashlight could severely diminish a person's night vision capabilities for up to 30 minutes (bad combination for flying a plane).</p>
<p>There are some really strange comments here : / I guess some people were thinking this would be best for cycling. I could see it being great just for working around the house or using at night camping.</p><p>Anyway, thanks for posting this great tutorial :)</p>
This is not &quot;night vision&quot; lol
<p>My experience with headlights shows they conceal irregularities in the surface ahead. Mounted above the line of sight, the shadows you would normally see fall below your line of sight. The lower a light is mounted, the longer are the shadows projected from surface irregularities. I've hit some pretty nasty potholes when wearing a headlamp.</p>
<p> Most of the folks that come here are doing so because they enjoy making . Useful stuff adds to that .</p>
<p>Bear in mind that this is a 10 year old post, which means that it was made back in 2006. That in mind, this therefore is very impressive.</p>
<p>I was going to ask, Why not red light for nighttime sports.....this article on lighting and backpacking explained to me well the pros and cons of red versus grey (blue green) and full spectrum lights and optimizing ones own night vision.</p><p><a href="https://backpackinglight.com/00202-2/" rel="nofollow">https://backpackinglight.com/00202-2/</a></p><p>And this is even better, argues dim white light is often better for seeing at night that red or cyan/bluegreen </p><p>http://stlplaces.com/night_vision_red_myth/</p>
<p>CraigL20 Both those companies make bikes for biking in the 500 dollar range in the present day. (check out the seca 2200, and if you needed to do a 24 hour race you'd need additional battery packs) I believe the bulk of light and Motion Lights are built in Monterey. Not sure if anyone uses HID anymore. I imagine it has its place.</p>
Leds are prrtty fun to play with. I made one with some bright leds and a lipo rc airplane battery.<br>I still have it and it still works although its kinda awkward to hold and not very pretty either.
<p>Seems I built this or one VERY similar from an article in Make magazine. I work in technical,theatre as a designer and stagehand and was excited to have a truly powerful headlight. After all was said and done, I was thoroughly disappointed. My Ray-O-Vac Highbeam headlight was brighter, more compact, and way cheaper. I ended up parting out the headlight and salvaging the parts. I didn't meter the two lights but put them side by side. the Ray-O-Vac was simply brighter.</p><p>I did learn a few important lessons though... but I wish I could have paid somewhat less to learn them though.</p>
<p>CraigL20 If you don't have something nice to say PLS don't down people publicly; that is rude; also I just now saw the notice in the corner be nice. Atleast he has tried, tell us of your great finding. God bless and may He place grace and mercy over you and all matters. Just curious is the 20 in your name for your age? Have a good one. </p>
<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 />
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!!!

About This Instructable




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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