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Friday, November 13, 2009

CFL Headlight Works, Cargo Pod Smackdown

On my test ride home tonite, about 12 miles, the CFL headlight ran fine for the whole trip, over an hour due to traffic.

I even stopped somewhere and shut it all down when I was about 11 miles in, and before going inside to get stuff I switched the light back on and it still started right back up. Same when I came out after around 10 minutes. I didn't remember a DMM to check the pack voltage at that point, but it was 36V by the time I reached home, and the light also would still restart fine then, too.

My sucky drink-cup reflector even lasted the whole way, but it certainly doesn't concentrate light well enough to make a spot, and too much leaks thru the cups, partly desensitizing my eyes and making it less effective as a road-lighting device for *me* to see by. Definitely doesn't have a beam; needs a lens to make that happen. Gotta dig out that car-headlight lens (from the same vehicle I got my brake light bar from, but I don't know what it was)

I think the cup (or long reflector of other types) needs to be white at the back half, and black at the front half and outside, for anyone that wants to try this and have it minimize the back- and side-scatter (I *want* that wide-angle light).

My next project with these CFLs would be to find some of those smaller red party siren lights, and take all the guts out, putting just the CFL bulbs in for a twin red taillight that would be in the 20-30W range (before the red filter, given a 60W-equivalent CFL), so around what, 7-10W of actual red light? Per bulb. :) Yeah, let them say they couldn't see me THEN. :P

Considering that fairly often these bulbs can be found on super-discounts, sponsored by electric companies, then anyone with a pack voltage of 48V and higher could easily use them without problems I can think of, other than hard shocks (they're still glass :P) and extreme heat/cold. Cheaper than LEDs, as I got these bulbs new for 59 cents each a while back when a dollar store had a sale sponsored by APS.

Since they light up pretty fast (faster than my incandescent automotive bulb turn signals), I'm considering using them for *that* too. They don't draw enough current to trigger the flasher, so I'd have to build another flasher for them (trivial).

Now for the smackdown:

I was so tired this morning on the way out that I clipped a railpost on the up-ramp of one of the underpasses on the canal here, and went from 17MPH to 3MPH instantly, and bent the right rear cargo pod, the derailer hanger, and the bike frame. :roll: It still rides ok, but everything is shifted over one gear to the left now, and it does not roll perfectly straight anymore. :( Gotta check all my welds and stuff, too, because that was a heckuva smack--I slid forward on the bike seat and almost hit my chest on the handlebar stem, despite pushing hard against the pedals in front of me.

Friday the 13th has always been a GOOD day for me until this one!

You can see the cargo rail, which should be straight, is visibly bent, and there is a "wrinkle" in it just in front of where it bolts to the dropout. That bolt is also stripped, or the hole is, because you can see it is not fully seated, and it had been before this.

The derailer is obviously bent, or it's hanger is, or both.

The only thing that left this bike rideable after that was those long strong thickwall square tubes for the top cargo rails. Without that, the pod would have probably been able to crush inward the rails for it and smack the wheel, or at least forcing the derailer to catch in the spokes (it might have, if I'd been in low-gear at the time, but just by chance I was testing higher gears for uphill to see what current draw I'd get (oddly enough, only barely maxed out when I was helping it by pedalling, trying to maintain that speed up the hill).


  1. Maybe the red lens isn't needed for the taillights- I was searching for a way to recolor faded christmas lights and found a website that suggested using a Sharpie permanent marker to color the glass bulb.

  2. That will filter the color, but then needs a protective cover for the fragile glass. ;)

  3. I used some of those side reflectors for trucks. The real cheap ones have nothing on the backside but a double sided piece of tape. Pull that off and the make great lenses for tail light or headlights depending on which type you get. I use them for led lights because if you turn them so that the little prisms are on the outside it looks like you have many more leds in the light than are actually there. Bike reflectors also work for this but they are smaller.

    Enough for a 45%-60% arc in front of your bulb would make you pretty visible from anywhere in front. A couple of big tin cans worth of sheet metal and a few reflectors would be enough to make a pretty nice light using that bulb. It's so big every facet in the lenses would light up all they way around.

  4. That's very funny--Just before coming back to the computer (to make a new post about finding the lens I'd been digging thru boxes for, with pics of it on the light), I had run across a bunch of my bike reflectors and was pondering almost EXACTLY your solution idea with them. ;-)

    You must've been sending it to me telepathically or something!


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