Intro: Cheap High Power Helmet Light
This site had me addicted for quite a while during the summer. During that time a built some fun stuff. See my trailer submission. One of the things that I really liked was the lighting ideas. Especially since I ride my bike at night a lot.
This helmet light set up is cheap, easy to build and works quite well.
Step 1: Materials
1 qty helmet
3 qty 12v automotive taillight bulbs LED #3156 others will work also but that is what I used. (2) white (1) red. I got my from: http://superbrightleds.com/
1 qty small length of adhesive backed velcro (hook and loop fastener)
10 qty zip ties
1 qty small length of speaker wire or similar
1 qty small piece of metal, plastic or other stiff material for battery backer
2 qty 9v batteries best if rechargeable
1 qty old bike inner tube
1 qty small switch
1 qty small length heat shrink tubing
2 qty wire nuts
1 qty 9v battery plug. Available at any electronic supply store or salvage from and old toy or electronic device.
Drill and Bits
Step 2: Assembly
I forgot to snap pictures of the first couple of steps but they are pretty easy.
Solder wire leads to the end of the bulbs. They will only work one way so test your polarity before final solder. I ride rain or shine so I put some water proofing over them. I put a small length of bike inner tube with a little heat shrink tube to keep it tight.
I scavenged a 9v battery plug and a small switch from an old toy train my kids had broken. The 9v plug was separated so the + and - could be put in different places. I soldered pig tails of wire to the switch and the 9v battery plug parts.
I drilled a few holes in the piece of metal and zip tied it to the back of the helmet. This is the backer for the batteries. I put velcro on the batteries and a loop around for good measure. You will notice the batteries are plugged end to end creating a series and results in 18 volts. That is why the plug had to be separated in to two.
Once all the parts were prepped I put small pieces of velcro on the bulbs, batteries and switch. The two white bulbs face the front and the one red faces the back. After some trial and error I mounted all the parts. Once finalized the position of every part I zip tied over the velcro just for good measure.
Finally the wires were trimmed to length and wire nutted together. The wiring is simple; all the white wires go to + side of the battery supply, all of the black wires from the bulbs go to one side of the switch, then the wire from the - side of battery pack goes to the other side of the switch.
Step 3: Results
The final results work very good. I recommend rechargeable batteries since it will go through batteries. I have not tried it straight through for timing, but I can get a few evening 45 minute rides in on a charge.
The weight of the batteries on the helmet is enough for you to definitely feel. After a couple rides I got used to it. Now it is normal to me.
The light is very bright and works well. I try to be careful not to tilt my head up too high while on the road. Running them over the 12 volts really cranks out a blinding beam.
I thought I might have a durability issue with the bulbs running over 12 volts but it has been several months of use with no failure yet...
It is hard to take a good picture with my camera but you get the idea. Nice and bright.