BIKE LIGHT "Commuter" Under 5 Bucks by Veggiecycle




So this light really gets you respect. I call it the commuter cuz it really doesn't put light down on the ground like the other light. ..But the visibality is great. Perfect for in the city when you need to be seen. A car driver sees you coming and they can't figure out if your a motorcycle or scooter..or a car with a headlight out.. even a train (sez my friend)and it (the light) can be made for under 5 bucks at Home Cheapo. The battery pack is still gonna run you a bit 20 to 30 bucks(use the same battery pack as last light) 10 AA Ni-MH at 1.2 volts thats 12 volts 2500 mAh in the cute little plastic holder from Radio shack or some other electronic place.
This light is 11 watts so on this battery pack it should run just under 3 hours. I did a late night city ride last Friday night and it held strong for the 2 1/2 hours we rode.
Another of my bike lights

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Step 1: Get the Light "bulb"

First we get a Malibu ML11P2 sealed beam light at Home Depot. It comes in a 2 pack. should make 2. NOTE: Chicks dig guys who make them bike lights.

Step 2: Next We Cut Off the Copper Tags

Next we cut off the copper tags so it will fit in the pvc cap. I just use side cutters..snip..snip
Then I put the screws in that come with the light. They will hold my wires to the bulb. Yeah.. no socket to buy, no soldering or nothn..

Step 3: Little Do Dads You Will Need

This is a pic of the little do dads you will need.
Conduit Hanger w/speed thread size #0 3/8-1/2 5pk $1.90 HD
Thumb Screw 1/4 " 3pk $1.29 HD
Wing nut #10-24 4pk $1.29 HD
Round head slotted bolt #10-24 x 3/4 4pk $1.29 HD
Lock washers #10 18pcs.
Male/Female RCA cable (cut one side short aprox 3" for the light and The other long for the battery pack)
and a little toggle switch don't really need it but it is nice.

Step 4: Drill Holes in Cap

Take a 1" pvc pipe cap from the plumbing dept and drill some holes in it. Two in the back one for the switch and one for the power cord.
Next 3 holes on the side. Two to put 2 little screws though. They will bite into the back of the bulb to hold it all together. and one for the bolt to go though to hold the conduit hanger to the cap.

Step 5:

You hook one power leed to the switch then from the switch to the screw in the back of the bulb, and the other power leed to the other screw on the back of the bulb....
Did I go to fast????? Its really that EASY

Step 6: Battery This Is Gonna Cost You a Little Bit (same As My Other Bike Light)

You need to find at Radio Shack or a specalty electronics supply for a 10 AA batteries holder. Solder the other end of the RCA cable to it and ....
The best battery to use is a Nickel-Metal Hydride or NiMH 2500 mAh I found the Energizer from HD the best price. You need 10 cuz they are 1.2 volts each 10x1.2 = 12 volts. Put the battery pack in your underseat bag or in a water bottle. The light should work for 3 hours with this 11 watt bulb and 10 2500 mAh batteries.
If you have any questions drop me a line....

10 AAbattery holder $1.00
Energizer 4-Pack AA NiMH Rechargeable $8.97HD
Energizer 4-Pack AA NiMH Rechargeable w/charger 17.95
I got this bike water bottle battery pack that is 5 mah with the quick charger from They have tons of great batteries on that site.

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    22 Discussions


    Question 7 weeks ago on Step 6

    Do you think itd be possible to wire this into a dynamo generator?


    8 years ago on Step 2

    could you use a bi pin base connector?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmm wondering if something like this would work off of a remote control car battery I happen to have laying around dunno the specs on it would have to check.


    9 years ago on Introduction


    Congrats a nice simple project quite well executed & documented.
    I live in Australia so no "Home Depots" as with many other countries I suppose.

    So can you say exactly what a "Malibu ML11P2 sealed beam" is. I guess it's a sealed halogen luminary, off maybe some small vehicle, motorbike maybe??
    Can you please provide some more detail so we can seek out alternatives, size, originally used for .......... etc.

    Also the suggestion to use a regulator seems sound, only about 1.0 amp draw for 12 V/11watts, this could be home brewed & put in the battery pack. What do you think.  Downside I see is that even a sealed lead/acid battery quickly drops from 13.8 to about 12V so you might ever only be able to access say 60% of available charge.
    Was your "ride test with the NIMH 10 cell setup you recommend?

    Peter O

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    These lights are low voltage outdoor lighting used along paths/walkways. They can be run off transformers or battery/solar systems and are intended for use around the home/garden. Sticking one on a bike is a clever re-purposing, though!


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Why not just use a straight up 12 volt like this?
    (or the giantass ones in the hardware store)


    12 years ago

    This looks badass! I can't wait to try it. My old light was a cateye and it was really weak. Thanks for the instructable. I'll post pics when I finish it.


    13 years ago

    you might check out forum for all kinds of stuff about over volting, batteries, supplies, etc. also check out the Masterline mr16 lamps made by Philips. these have higher outputs then standard lamps. i ride with 5 riders in the AM and they can turn off their lights when i run one 45watt masterline. this lamp has a equivalent output of a 75watt. of course i have to lug around a 4 pound battery but i have no problems seeing anything.


    13 years ago

    nice and simple but curious about a few things. say we wanna up the ante, would li-ion (say at 14.8v work with mr16 or cause probs? i've heard that over volting halogen really boosts beam??? also, is there any possibility of regulating current so beam is always same brightness? love the idea, just curious what would happen if we threw some money at it. thanks veggiecycle


    13 years ago

    Nice... My recumbent bikes are much more weight tolerant, so I modified your design a little. got a foglamp and montunt for $2, from the local junkyard. Then, i spent a couple bucks($7US) and got one of the sealed lead-acid batteries designed for motorized kid cars(old Razor scooter's are a good source too, plus you get the motor for other projects like the Bike Wheel windmill) Sure, it consumes a lot more power than tan leds, but i can ALWAYS see, and be seen. Next, gonna try with a sealed hi/low beam headlight from an older volkswagon. not sure where I'll mount my off/low/hi switch yet... as a "water resistant" agent, I fill my PVC caps with die-electric grease before hot-glueing it on.(my mod uses the bulb "frame" mounting method, so the issue is holding the cap to the bulb, instead of the other way round. the mounting system is then strap-mounted onto the headstock.)


    13 years ago

    brilliant! i love your ideas man a question and a comment about LED's however: comment: some websites sell LEDs for pocket change...i normally buy for between 20 and 40 cents with really cheap shipping so its not such an expensive idea question: do LED's really not use much power? I'm not sure if hooking up an LED to a battery pack is a good idea...i mean the resistor u'd most probably have to attach would kill the battery life...or am I wrong? I've been keeping away from battery power for LED's because this is my preconceived notion.

    2 replies

    Reply 13 years ago

    The easy/cheep way to do LED ( I know this isnt very DIY) is buy a cheap led flash .. The leds that cost less then a buck are not the leds that can put off tons of light. You can see them from far away so its good to use them to be seen...but not so good for putting light on the ground cheap..
    If you want to check out the type of LEDs that really put light out
    I ordered some 1 and 3 watt emitters to the electronic dumbby they were imposible to use. I burn them all out hooking them straight to batteries or I couldnt get any light out of them under voltaged... Look at that web site those are "The" LEDs