Hand Made Custom Integrated Bicycle Lighting System
Custom High Power Bicycle Lighting System For Dark Streets In Bellingham, WA
Here in Bellingham, Washington, there are some very dark streets with no street lights. I have made
a decision that the commercial bicycle lighting systems are just not enough for my needs. In order to
get anywhere near meeting my requirements, I would have to spend over $500 to $1000.
This home made lighting system cust me about $200 for the batteries and the LEDs. All of the metal craft
was performed using scrap metal parts that I obtained from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other
thrift stores as well as the disposed bicycle parts that bicycle shops were going to throw away.
As you can see in the pictures in this gallery, I have allowed my artistic energy to shine through
in my work creating this lighting system. I want it to be beautiful and unique. I wish to have a
conversation piece as well as a functional and powerful lighting system. It also makes the bicycle
quite unique and hopefully less of a target for thieves.
High Luman Power
Using the latest high power Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), I am able to have close to 1,000 lumens
of light for each of the hendlebar mounted headlights and the helmet mounted headlights. The tail
light has about 500 lumens of power.
The head light has two levels of power that are selectable via switches on the handlebars, which allows
me to use a low power while in traffic (so as to not blind on-comming drivers). For riding on country
roads, I can use a higher power that will allow me to see objects as far as about 200 to 300 feet in
front of me.
Modular and Easy To Upgrade
This system is entirely of LEDs. There are no Xenon or other high intensity discharge lights.
That means that the entire system is standardized on 11 to 12 volts.
The batteries that I use are exclusively lithium. Which means that as lithium batteries improve,
I can swap mine out with new ones. Once central 11.1 volt 6 amp hour battery powers the entire
lighting system. I have three rechargable lithium batteries. One battery is enough for my typical
evening and night time riding. If I go on long trips, I will bring a spare battery.
The lights are separately switchable, which means I can use the least light needed for my current
situation and not have to use all of the lights all the time.
For the last five to six years, high power LEDs have been available mounted on small circuit boards
that also serve as a conductor to which can be attached heat sinks. An example of one is the
Cree Xlamp XM L2 High Power LED Star
These high power LEDs, even as they improve in efficiency and color rendition, have the same mounting.
The placement of the screw holes is the same.
What this means is that when I become aware of a change in new LEDs that enable higher lumen power,
better color rendition, or efficiency, I only have to change out the LEDs. I do not have to re-make
the entire lighting system. The artistic fixtures can be re-used.
What About Electronics?
I choose not to use any electronics. The LEDs are wired in a simple series parallel ladder. Three LEDs
are wired in series with a current limiting resistor. Each of these series strings are then wired in