Brake light switch ideas

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by UTurn, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. UTurn

    UTurn New Member

    RedBaronX, My tail/brake light was just a cheap 6 dollar auto parts store light. I welded up a bracket for it. The turn signals were off a honda motorcycle I think. I fabricated a bracket for those too. You are probably more interested in the switch. You would not want to copy what I'm using right now, it's "Farmer Jones makeshift". However, I'm working on a new design that uses a spring loaded, normally closed, push button switch. The idea is to modify the brake lever some. On the lever body I will mount the switch, on the lever I will mount a short rod that will enguage the switch while in normal use, and release the switch when the brakes are applied. This will apply power to the lights when I pull on the handle. I use a duel break lever by the way. Also the mod requires a little aluminum welding or rather soldering sort of.

    For the rest of the lights I have plans for that too. All in good time. I am tired of charging my battery every time I take a trip out, so I'm loading the headlight bucket with superbright LED's and same for the other lights. You can run a very long time on LED's as apposed to the incandesant lights.

    Before I can do that I need to research the correct resistors to use and how many bulbs can go on one resister. Anyway, I'll keep posting as I go. There might be something usefull in there eventually.

  2. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    you are correct that I am interested in the switch to engage the brake light. When I went to Radio Shack a few weeks ago to get the switch, wires, solder, etc for the light I have, I looked at a bunch of the switches to think about how to make one work--I was trying to think of a way to push a push button switch with a pull of the brake lever, but nothing really HIT me as the "best way". I have a dual-pull as well, so all the better if you come up with a switch solution.

    I just ordered an LED back light, and will be ordering an LED headlight (I have a halogen ATV/tractor light right now) because I know charging the battery will be a pain... didn't think of how much power the halogen pulls until after I bought it (and someone pointed out the wattage/amperage... it's been a long time since I've thought about that stuff...) The headlight I have in mind is something like $70, so it's going to be a month or so before I get it.

    Oh, I have a question-- the battery I just ordered has to be strong enough for my current headlight-- the battery is 12 volts and 7 amps (it's a 55w bulb)... is that "too much" to run LEDs rated for 12v systems since LEDs draw minuscule amounts of amps? It's been a LONG time since I've built circuits, and I never built any without the help of my dad who was an engineer (but long since passed away)

    As for welding/soldering, I've got soldering covered. There is also always epoxy and epoxy putty...
  3. UTurn

    UTurn New Member


    I guess the trick isn't to push the switch when you pull the brake, but to release the switch when you pull the brake. A normally closed switch completes the circuit without doing anything, but when you push the button it opens the circuit to cut power. With this in mind, if the rod connected to the lever is pushing the button all the time until you pull the brake then you will have just what you need.

    I'm sorry but I'm not sure about your battery question. I only know that the light mod that I'm working will require resistors. Something already manufactured will have the resistors built in which allows them to rate it a 12 volt. If you have built circuits then you probably know as much as I do already. I'm learning as I go.

    As for the aluminum welding, Google a product called Dura-Fix Rods. It may surprise you what this stuff will do. That's what I used to build the trailer.
  4. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Just a suggestion.....I have a brake lever from an electric hubmotor, and also one from a Honda aero scooter that I am saving for when I install a brake light. They have built in switches to operate the brake lights. I think some of the Chinese scooters use the same setup.

    Also, RedBaronX, the 12 volts 7amp battery will work just fine if your LEDs are designed for 12 volts. That is what the circuit boards do in your assembly
  5. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    well, I definitely saw many when I was looking at Radio Shack, but I didn't even think about them-- I tend to have a one track mind when I start thinking out a problem.

    I have a brake handle sitting on my desk, and I've been playing with it, looking to see where would be good places to put a switch, and if it's not much different than the dual pull, I can see a good spot for the kind of switch you're talking about... I'll have to take this with my next trip to The Shack...
  6. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    Looking around eBay, I am finding a lot of basic brake levers with brake light switches-- pretty inexpensive, too. So, if I were to get one, and since I use a dual-pull brake lever right now, my next question to myself is-- do I use it for the clutch (which would sacrifice the lever lock) or do I try to figure out a way to dual-pull off a single standard brake lever?

    Or... do I try to find a dual-pull with a brake light switch... which has GOT to exist...
  7. Stan4d

    Stan4d Banned

  8. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    I was thinking about using a brake light system that is actually created for bicycles, but I just assumed that whatever switches they use are not rated for 12v (since most use AA batteries...)

    I've spent a lot of time on eBay looking at brake handles with brake-light switches... I've found a couple that might work perfectly. Seems most have the brake light activated by the left brake lever, though, and I've got a dual-pull brake on the right... Using one on the clutch just means it comes on when I clutch, which is fine. I sometimes clutch without braking to slow down, so that's good.

    Since MB clutch levers are just brake levers that lock, I just have to find a scooter brake handle with a light switch that pulls the right kind of cable and locks (parking brake)--I've found two that might work (waiting to hear back from the sellers about handlebar size), and one even has switches for headlight and signals as well as the brake itself.
  9. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

  10. james65

    james65 Member

    This has worked for my on all me rides. Shown mounted with the cover off.
    The switch is mounted on the bottom of the lever and really isn't noticable.

    Attached Files:

  11. Stan4d

    Stan4d Banned

    I think I see the best idea yet. Thats good james.
  12. UTurn

    UTurn New Member

    That was sort of what I had in mind. I expect that is a normally closed switch. So where did you get a switch like that? It was mostly the mounting screws that were giving me pause. You have that issue covered with that switch...
  13. hurricane

    hurricane Member

    very cool idea james, and i think this is about the best idea for a homemade brake light activator that Ive seen here so far.

    2 thumbs up
  14. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    that's a really simple configuration! I tend to overthink things, so something that simple didn't come to me :D

    I managed to break my clutch lever earlier today anyway, so I went ahead and bought a locking brake/clutch lever with a built-in brake light switch I found on eBay... Locking brake lever with brake light switch
  15. james65

    james65 Member

    Bought the switches on ebay 10 for$4
    They are wired N/C and have been functioning properly for 2 yrs.
  16. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    does that mean that this SPDT switch from Radio Shack can be either normally open OR normally closed, just based on how it's wired? (or maybe that IS the definition of SPDT...)

    SPDT switch

    I have a lot to learn still...
  17. james65

    james65 Member

    That is exactly right. Single Pole Double Throw= Common with 1 N/O and 1 N/C contact.
  18. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    Hi Everyone -

    Attached should be pictures of my latest version of a brake-lever-actuated brake light. The "switch" is composed of a fishing line removable split shot, cheap hose clamps, some electrical tape, and the rear brake cable. The shot pellet and a wire from the battery are clamped to the brake cable. The hose clamps hold in place a wire going to the brake light. These are the parts of a common single throw double pole switch; a momentary switch. When I pull on the brake lever, the cable pulls the fishing shot to touch the hose clamps, closing an electrical circuit of battery, conductor, and brake light. I hope the photos show that clearly enough. Also included is a photo of my first attempt of wiring this together. It is a "proof of concept"; not pretty, but functional. It has to be made better. The battery is 12 Volts. A separate toggle switch can control when the light can be worked. The tail light is from Harbor Freight. It is a truck trailer light. When dim, it draws only 11 milliamps. When braking and activated, it draws only 132 milliamps. This is not a bicycle light. When bright, it can be seen a full half mile away with no doubt that something is there.


    Attached Files:

  19. UTurn

    UTurn New Member


    The switches were from Radio Shack, a pack of 4 for less than 5 bucks. It's the mounting that's the trick. Google a company called "Dura Fix". They have a welding rod kit for 30-some bucks that welds aluminum like you wouldn't believe. It will be the best 30-some bucks you will ever spend. All you need to build your bracket is a propane torch and this welding rod, and of coarse a small piece of angle aluminum. I broke down the duel pull lever, welded a couple small brackets, and WaaLaa, a nice clean looking brake system. I'm also using LED's to prolong the battery life. You can go months without charging. Check out this site for the LED's, they plug right into the regular 12 volt light sockets.
  20. james65

    james65 Member

    break switch

    Well that proves where there is a will there is a way. Very creative engineering.