Headlight is too powerful!

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Wheres my dog, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Wheres my dog

    Wheres my dog New Member

    I had a leftover Soltek Fuego driving light which I believe is 55 watts laying around... so I thought it would go nicely on the John Deere Bike I did!

    Painted it the trademark colors and it is a perfect fit to the handlebars to say the least!

    I picked up a lawn tractor battery from Walmart and made a nice wooden battery box to fit inside the trailer for the bike, and ran wires up front to the light, and works well... maybe a little too well!!!

    On a fully charged battery I get about 20 minutes of light varying from a single very intense high beam to a dull glow at the end.

    Easy way I know would be to get a better battery, but I need to keep this inexpensive... any ideas on how to get a medium beam light that lasts longer?

    I took the light apart and not sure where to find a lower watt bulb, if they even make one that is...

    What do I need to add inline to lessen the headlight's draw to add more time to the light?

  2. professor

    professor Active Member

    What you need is a different light completely.
    Something like one of those auxilary lights you find at the car parts store for 20 bucks for 2. They take regular bulbs like a tail light.
    That 55 watt bulb you have is drawing 4.5 amps.
    Also, the lawn tractor battery is not designed for long continuous loading. It is made for a short burst of high load. The right battery would be a deep cycle.
  3. Ypedal

    Ypedal Member

  4. Wheres my dog

    Wheres my dog New Member


    The John Deere is along the lines of the old farm bicycle if you would. The light I have on there now is the perfect look for the bicycle being the big round shell and glass front. I was trying not to sacrifice the aesthetics for better light.

    Now... I do agree with you about the LED flashlights as on your website! I have a $30 LED flashlight I bought for diving, it uses 4 AA batteries and is insanely insanely bright!!! I use this on my more modern looking GIANT GEBE setup I have.

    I could be wrong, I think what I need is called something like a "rheostat" maybe??? Kind of like a hand adjustable voltage meter...
  5. professor

    professor Active Member

    A reostat will just suck up power itself. You can't use a light dimmer on DC either.
  6. johnrobholmes

    johnrobholmes Member

    You can put an LED in your existing light bucket with a bit of thinking.

    This is LED on the front of my rat bike

  7. Fxsebike

    Fxsebike Guest

    A 20w bulb and a real deep cycle (7ah) would do wonders for you.
  8. adrian101

    adrian101 Member

    I love the lumenators on your project page. they are very bright.
  9. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    what do you think dims your dash lights in your car?
  10. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    do a search on ebay for a replacement bulb for your light in LED...quite a few are made
  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    That light ypedal posted is really neat, but around 200 to 300 $USD. Ouch. Probably fair for a high end product on an investment electric bike, though.

    Those bi-pin 12v bulbs with the built in glass are really nice. I have couple 20w spot beams that I use in the winter, with home made PVC housings, and bi-pin connectors I got from a custom-lamp and electrical supply store. (about $1-10 each for the connectors, the kind with the built-in clip is far best. The bulb pins are delicate and DO NOT like being soldered (they break off). 1 20w (non LED) bulb runs about 1-2 hr with a 7AH sealed lead acid battery (heavy too for mtn biking!).

    I agree, the best thing in the world with a DC setup is a LED light system, home made or commercial. It makes a pleasing white light.

    There is a danger though! Some objects do not register well at speed with certain frequencies of light! It takes some getting used to when you are used to halogen or inandescent light!

    There are lots of commercially available mtn bike lights for bar or helmet mount, with remote batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride and now lithium batteries, with car chargers and smart chargers often included. Usually around $70 for a light, to 100-400 for a light and battery and charger. Some small niche manufacturers make some really good and very small ones out of CNC aluminum and hi-tech electronic and light parts. Try searching the web and bike catalogs for "adventure racing" lights or mtn bike lights. This stuff has come SOOOOOOOOOOOO far since the days of cutting your own box from sheet metal, installing hardware store and auto bulbs, and wiring to motorcycle batteries.
  12. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    This may be more useful to you: If you can disassemble the light can on the john deere bike, and the bulb looks like this: [​IMG] http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRnSY8WzXMFwFkXXr37EZCHgkF9ynPtgEEFqzgbA_WK-uFDqb2

    or this: [​IMG] http://www.thetoolboxshop.com/ekmps...ntact-equal-bayonet-automotive-bulb-734-p.jpg

    you should be able to simply replace it with a lower watt automotive tail light, dome light, or blinker bulb and get a useable light.

    LED automotive light for blinker or interior, $5 for 4 pack
    4x 194 168 5-SMD White High Power LED Car Lights Bulb
    by XKGLOW on Amazon

  13. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    LED is the best.

    Back when I had my bike, I made a big LED panel Headlight, on a RadioShack circuit board, and used a bunch of bulb 10mm LEDS I got online, with a mix of more 5MM LEDs, and it used only 4W on high beam and 0.5W on low. It saved the battery tremendously to have high/low LED, but also if your light is TOO bright, cars will flash their lights at you, so it's nice to have the option. I could get nearly two weeks (3-4 hours a night) with only one charge on a large 3.7V Li-Ion battery!

    The point being, that it takes very little LED wattage, if done right, will be extremely bright, and you won't sacrifice visibility. You will make your battery last a long time.

    Now you can use resistors to switch from low/high beam and a three or six terminal switch. I can't recommend 55W Halogen to anyone, I used to have one, and only got ~40mins of good light. That's not good for longer rides. I went to LED JUST FOR THAT REASON! 4W LED was nearly as bright as the 55W halogen! Your battery is larger than mine was, and isn't lasting as long on 55W for you, that's shocking. I guess those batteries are just all Cranking Amps and no storage.

    I bet with a 12V automotive cigarette lighter style cellphone charger 5V output, wired with resistors to some 3.7V LEDS, you would get a few days of light from your battery!

    Or just use the LED modules mentioned in other posts here, and you will still get excellent battery life. Watch the automotive taillight types though, they have loading resistors inside them to simulate the load the stock incandescent uses for turn signal, and will still drain the battery. Those dashboard SMD types may be fine though.

    I'm sure you can make your light look right with LED.
  14. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    That's cool. I agree, LED's are the future. I have a maglite with an LED from Walmart (NiteIze) and was surprised that it actually could literally run all night when varminting or fishing. The light output was quite different ("whiter" than stock bulb) but the eyes adjust and it works well.
  15. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    It's easier to see with a white light.

    The orange glow of regular bulbs fools your eyes, and always seems "dim" even if it's really bright just because of the color.