LED lights - build 'em yourself?

by Dave Atkinson   September 11, 2008  

We're off to do a night relay race next weekend. I've got a few lighting options, but one of the things I've been toying with is building a set from scratch. It seems to me that with LED bulbs getting cheaper every day (http://tinyurl.com/ledbulb) and rechargeable batteries increasing in capacity *and* getting cheaper (http://tinyurl.com/7dayshopbatteries) it should be possible to work up a decent 3W system with a 2.5Ah battery for not much more than about £25, assuming that you've got a few bits and bobs (like old light mounts and bits of wire) in your shed.

Anyone got any experience of making an LED light set?

8 user comments

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but if you get some ultrafire WF-606A's from dealextreme or kaidomain they're more than 3W easily, and match my 150 lumen fenix with no trouble. a couple of those strapped to a crash helmet is plenty of light, with the added bonus that they take rechargeable AA's, so if you're stuck you can get some duracells from the nearest petrol station.

£30 or so, incl. batteries and charger and you'll get a 2hour run time for about 300lumen. More batteries, and swap them over on the relay thing, and you've light for as long as you want it.

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [179 posts]
16th September 2008 - 20:25

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yeah the Ultrafire's look pretty impressive http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=875

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
16th September 2008 - 20:40

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Have a look at my self build lights, they were really easy.

www.bordercycling.co.uk/Home_Lights.html I'm happy to talk through any parts and I'm building the next generation now, parts are on order from Canada,

posted by headset [2 posts]
19th September 2008 - 11:36

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They look excellent - good job! I've just knocked up a quick beta set so we can test them up against some proper lights at our 12hr tomorrow... got a 5W MR16 LED unit (with lens built in) and araldited it to a bit of old pump body. Well see how it performs, watch this space for the results. Already thinking about the next incarnation though...

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
19th September 2008 - 12:18

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I built this:

http://likeherdingchickens.blogspot.com/search?q=cree

Works well, cheap, lasts ages and causes drivers to swerve. Wink

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posted by DaveP [467 posts]
21st September 2008 - 21:26

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With Cree 3W LED torches avaialable on EBay or even Tesco (£10!!!) that run for 2 and a bit hours on 2900mAh rechargeable batteries, there is little economic sense in building LED lights. Of course, there's always just 'because'... might even build 3 of them into a super head torch myself.

BTW, I can vouch for these torches - I've ridden offroad and a decent speed with one as my only light source when I smashed my HID lamp, and to be honest I didn't miss it that much. A little more of a focussed beam, with a bit more penetration would be nice for road work, but I've seen a lot of LEDs and think HID is still better if you need that.. I'm happy to save the money and go a little slower Smile

posted by brassneck [1 posts]
22nd September 2008 - 15:28

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brass, having been on the team for the overnighter, I did indeed turn up with the £10 cree jobs on the crash-helmet. They'll be included in the light-test that was done at the event, and the pics should be up soon. I was happy blatting round with a single one of them on my helmet - I think I fell asleep during the beam-shot tests though.

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [179 posts]
22nd September 2008 - 16:15

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I have to say that after trying to build one, and seeing how capable those little 3W torches are, I'm coming down on the buying rather than building side of the argument too. I'm definitely going to get my hands on some of the Ultrafire units - my friend is in Hong Kong this week so I'll have him scout around for some cheap ones. If he can find enough, maybe we'll even offer them out as compo prizes...

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
23rd September 2008 - 13:52

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