DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

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DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 13, 2009 7:22 am

'Nuff acronyms? ;)

It's not pretty, and it probably won't work too well for too long, but it is just a test to see if it is worth pursuing this idea. The CFL needs a minimum of 42 volts to properly kick on, and the battery is around 41-ish at full charge, and at the end of most rides is around 38. That means about 4V needed to make up that difference to reliably start the CFL. Once it's started, it remains running down to much less than safe LVC for the 36V SLA pack. It only takes around 200mA at full 115VAC, and is about 180mA at 42V.

Basically, I opened up a cheap 59-cent CFL, soldered a pair of wires to the + and - of the DC-side ripple-filter capacitor on the input (bypassing all the 115VAC-only stuff, such as an inductor and a bridge rectifier, as well as a 1.5 ohm resistor being used as a fuse).
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The + wire goes to a DC-DC converter made out of a Samsung AC-input 5VDC output celphone charger's + output. The - wire goes to the output of the breaker/ammeter, basically to pack negative.

The Samsung celphone charger (SCC) is isolated, so either wire of it's own output can be wired back to any point on the pack without a problem. It's ac input is soldered one side to pack negative (via the breaker), and the other to pack positive. It's DC output is wired + to the CFL's + input, and - to the pack positive.
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This gives me a volt or so headroom, which is enough for the test trip, which will be around 24 miles, with a partial recharge at the other end.


Ok, so it's not exactly safe to just hang a CFL off the front of the bike, right?

Well, I'm tired and in a hurry to get something together for tomorrow's test trips, and so I can test it out now while it's still dark to make sure it actually works well enough to see by and be seen. (especially the latter). So it is not pretty, but it will work for a test.
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I took a styrofoam Denny's cup with the bottom knocked out and fit it inside a 32-oz harder plastic QT cup. The QT cup's bottom is slit in quarters, and the base of the bulb and the two wires are pushed into it. The tips of the quarter-tabs sticking out press into the bulb threads and clamp it in place. Seems fairly tight grip, doesn't come out by shaking or vibrating it. Duct tape on the back end around threads/base/cup to ensure just a bit more security. :)
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Why a styrofoam cup? Because it's pretty reflective of light, being white, and diffuse, which means light will scatter forward and to the sides a bit, making me more visible. I've got streetlights to see by myself, so I'm more worried about others not seeing me, especially when I come up to intersections where they have a stop sign and I don't, and I would like to not worry so much at each one. That's why I had the CCFL 180-degree-view headlight on there before (still there, just testing it's replacement or add-on).

It's also soft, so if the bulb does vibrate and bounce against it it's less likely to suffer any damage. It's also cheap, already being in my cabinet. :) And I am now usefully recycling it!

Neither of the cups is thick enough to block even most of the light, so I also took some black spraypaint and tried to paint the outside of the plastic cup, but the spraynozzle broke it's stem and jammed just after the first squirt, so it just kind of spurted all over the place, and I ended up just dripping and smearing what I could onto the cup as the can let go. Ugh.

For now, it's just duct taped in place under the arch of the bars, to the left of the CCFL HL. The power switch is just twisting the postive input and supply wires together. It'll get lots better once I prove it works. :)

It is VERY bright. It's at least 20W equivalent, probably a lot more than that, at this voltage. At 115VAC it's a 60W equivalent, drawing 13W actual. It's most definitely brighter than my CCFLs.

This is with the CFL only, from front
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and from rear
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then with my taillights, from rear
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without any bike lights, front and rear. It's not totally dark out there, it's actually pretty bright from overcast clouds reflecting city lights back down, plus streetlights and whatnot--the camera just doesn't pick any of that up. :)
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by fechter » Nov 13, 2009 9:15 am

amberwolf wrote: The CFL needs a minimum of 42 volts to properly kick on, ...., and is about 180mA at 42V.
Cool. I never thought of that one. I suspect that if you had a few more volts, you could just run battery voltage straight to a stock bulb and it would work. Most of those things have a bridge rectifier on the front end, which would lose about 1.5v.

I'll have to try that when I get home. I have a CFL reflector spotlight with a nice parabolic reflector. Different brands of bulbs may have different threshold voltages, just like switching power supplies.
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by rkosiorek » Nov 13, 2009 10:58 am

really a neat idea. probably usefull in warm weather areas.

unfortunatetly most CFL's really suck at the low temps we get up here in Canada during the late fall and early spring. as the mercury drops, so does the light output. below a certain point the lights will have a hard time lighting. if the temp is borderline they will flicker on and off.

add this to my list of reasons why i wish i lived somewhere warmer.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 13, 2009 10:54 pm

fechter wrote:Cool. I never thought of that one.
I only decided to try it because I decided to eventually test *everything* I can find in the house that probably has a switching supply in it that's designed to run on 100-220VAC 50/60hz, so I can find out what will and won't work on my bike. ;) Just for kicks. It'll take months, as I don't have time to do more than one every other day. Too busy taking care of NINE nearly-three-week old St Bernard puppies and their mommy plus keeping the other three dogs happy, plus all the rest of life. :(
I suspect that if you had a few more volts, you could just run battery voltage straight to a stock bulb and it would work. Most of those things have a bridge rectifier on the front end, which would lose about 1.5v.
Yes, if it was a 48V pack it would work just fine; I already tested that with 4 SLAs, but I am not going to carry 15 more pounds to light up a bulb that weighs about 3 ounces and eats up less than 10 watts (including the external "boost" inverter power). :P Now, if I was looking for more range at the same time, sure!

That bridge is exactly why i soldered the wires directly to the big electrolytic, to bypass all that AC-only stuff.
I'll have to try that when I get home. I have a CFL reflector spotlight with a nice parabolic reflector. Different brands of bulbs may have different threshold voltages, just like switching power supplies.

They do. Even the same brand does, when they switch models. I have another "greenlight" brand bulb that has a slightly different shape base that takes 45V to light it up, and it sustains down to around 28V before it starts pulsing off and trying to turn back on.

On my test ride home tonite, about 12 miles, it ran fine for the whole trip (over an hour due to traffic, having to wait over TEN MINUTES to cross a road because the sensors wouldn't pick up even my steel monstrosity, and no other cars on my intersecting road, too much traffic to cross against the non-functional traffic signal until that much time had passed!).

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--there wasn't enough left of it to tell, due to whatever crashed into it--it was red and might've been a hatchback with lots of curves).

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).


I have heard of the low-temp problems with CFLs, but also that some people have no problem with that, in the same environment. I wonder if it is a brand/model thing, or if it is something where those that have no problems actually have warmed-up lampholders from heat leaking into them from inside the walls?


At any rate, my next project 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.

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 all I have to do is fix the latest disaster on the bike, where 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.
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Friday the 13th has always been a GOOD day for me until this one!
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by flash_eric » Nov 14, 2009 12:42 am

This is exactly what I've been wanting to do on my bike. I have a 12ah 48v Lifepo, but my EE knowledge is so basic, it would take me some time to figure out everything you said about diodes and rectifiers. Would you be willing to write up a dummy's version of the project? The idea is brilliant (no pun intended).
Eric

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 14, 2009 3:59 am

Well, every CFL is a little different, but these steps cover the basics for packs at or above 48V; I've written them for two ways of doing it, as a generic instruction set that will *guide* most people familiar with ebikes and wiring to be able to do this. :)

The first thing you have to do is see if your CFL will actually run on your pack voltage, and for that you need to touch one pack lead to the screwbase of the CFL, and one to the tip of the base, and MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU DON"T TOUCH THEM TOGETHER!

Probably your pack wires are not exposed enough to do this (unlike mine, because I'm lazy and don't care until something bad happens ;) ) So you'll have to make some wires that will let you do this, plugged into the pack wiring. That part is up to you, as I won't know what kind of wiring you have.

If this sounds intimidating, stop here, because you'll have to work directly with your pack voltage and risk an accidental short that could DESTROY THINGS if you make a mistake, in order to do this CFL connection the way I describe it, and since connectors vary by bike, I can't describe how to put them on or even which to use.

But, once you have tested it, and finally finished lighting it up, turning it off, lighting it up, turning it off, etc, and been told to stop bugging your roommates about how cool it is that this AC-powered light is running on BATTERIES on your BIKE, then you can go on to the next steps. ;)


You'll need to know how to do basic soldering, cutting, wire stripping, etc. Possibly how to crimp connectors and have those tools, if that's the style yours are. You'll also need to know at least a little about wiring stuff up, as your parts will be different from mine and may not have exactly the same connections.

Tools and parts required:
*Hacksaw
*trashcan
*Wide flatblade screwdriver or other thin strong prybar with wide end
Electrical tape and/or heatshrink
Soldering iron and solder
Well-insulated thin wire (16 to 14 gauge is probably fine, it's not going to carry much current but it's high voltage)
Connectors to "Y" into your pack at the breaker or switch (controller side)
CFL bulb; 60W equivalent (15W actual draw) is probably enough
Reflector and mount of your choice (doesn't *have* to be re-used fast food cups and duct tape)
Wire strippers
Needlenose pliers (with wire cutters built in, or separate cutters)
Inline fuseholder and small fast blow fuse suitable for your CFL's power draw (you can skip this if you're brave, or stupid like me)
Switch to turn light on and off.

* these steps and tools are only needed for systems that need the extra 1.5V or so that bypassing the bridge and whatnot will net you; it is probably easier to find a CFL that will start at your pack voltage even down at LVC. :) If like me you don't *have* any others and can't buy stuff just to test out, well, do these steps. They may help.


Safety step (I don't think anyone here would do this, but still): Make sure the CFL is unscrewed from any socket it was in. You don't want to be doing this while it's plugged in and operating, or this will apply:
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No, I'm not kidding.
these steps and tools are only needed for systems that need the extra 1.5V wrote: Hold the hacksaw in place upside down over your trash can, and line up the groove in the CFL's base where the two halves split with the blade, then carefully rub it back and forth a few times until it has cut just enough into the base to see a little inside it. Be very careful not to cut too far or you may rip the CFL bulb wires out of either the bulb or the board. You might be able to fix that, but only with experience. Otherwise, go get another and try again. ;)

Carefully insert your pry tool into this slot, and twist it gently ONLY against the edges of the plastic base. Part of the base just inside the cut, towards the screwbase, will break; that's ok. Once it is lifted open enough to "click" the holding tabs out of their slots on one side, the whole thing will fairly easily come open, so don't pull hard; you'll break things or rip wires loose.

There's not much wire length in there. You don't have to cut anything unless you simply can't reach the electrolytic cap to solder the wires to it's leads. That's the one that looks like a can, held off the board by (probably) two inch-long wires with loose insulation on them. The one sticking way out in the top pic of the thread.

Measure the distance, including all routing around things you're going to do, plus flex distance if you're mounting this on something that has to move (like the handlebars) from where this headlight will go to your planned interconnect to the pack voltage, and cut two wires with at least a couple of inches more than that. Several more inches if you're not sure. YOu can always shorten them, but lengthening them is harder. ;)

Strip one end of each of the two wires about 1/4".

Wrap one around each lead wire of the capacitor. You'll probably have to use the needlenose for this, and also your fingernail to hold the insulation away from the wire where you're wrapping this.

Solder each of those connections.

Separate the wire that goes to the "-" lead of the cap (usually the one with a black band on the wrapper of the can), and tie a small knot in the other end of it, about two inches down. NOT = NEGATIVE, so easy to remember. :)

Now tie a knot in *both* wires *together* about an inch from the end you soldered. This knot will help relieve strain if you pull on the wires protruding from the case, so they won't break at the cap..

Route those two wires over the lip of the base where the piece broke off, then wrap them at that spot with one layer electrical tape. This will help keep the sharp edges of the plastic from cutting the insulation.

Hold them in place and snap the base back together.

IF you are NOT doing the above steps, then you can simply strip those wires as described, then:

Tin the ends you stripped.

Tin a small area of the screw base (the tip is already tinned).

Solder one wire to each of those two spots. Doesn't matter which is which, it's polarity neutral this way.


At this point, the rest of it is the same.

Use electrical tape or heatshrink to secure the wires to the base of the bulb and to completely cover the screw base of the bulb so no exposed metal exists, but don't cover up any vents it might have.

Wire in the switch into either of the wires from the CFL, in whatever position along the wire make sense in your setup.

Wire in the fuse holder between the pack and the switch.

Insert a fuse in the fuse holder (this is a step not always done, and people wonder why it doesn't work. ;) )

Solder or crimp the appropriate connectors to each of the two wire ends you have, so that they will plug into your pack in the "Y" fashion with the ones that go to your controller.

After you've doublechecked the wiring, then connect everything up, and turn it on. ;) If you used the first set of steps, you also need to verify polarity, as you'll probably blow up the CFL's board if you have it backwards. If you soldered directly to the outside metal base points, polarity doesn't matter.

If it is all working, then you can proceed to put it in whatever reflector you have or have made for it, and mount it on the bike.

I have probably left out a lot of little details. If there is something major I missed or simply am wrong about, please point it out so I can repost a corrected version. I'm going to post it as a blog post, too, once it's verified ok.



I will add the part for packs *less* than 48V nominal later, because I'm dozing off at the keybaord and having trouble thinking.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by 317537 » Nov 14, 2009 12:42 pm

This is a typical amberwolf bike light hack and not a bad one either. Looks fitting on your beauty E-bike too. :D

Keep us informed on how long this lasts for as it migh just last longer than you think. I just imagine what people heading the on coming traffic to you are saying at night.


Look its a??? ahhh WTF was that?
Leslie

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 14, 2009 11:37 pm

Heck, they say that anyway!

Also, I get a few people that "laugh" loudly, forcing a laugh out their open window for vehicle drivers/passengers, or just pedestrians that notice me, trying to get a rise out of me. I dont' really care much--if they noticed me, I know that I have succeeded in at least one goal--visibility! :)

I passed a couple jogging on the canal path, who were on the other side of the canal, and the light was bright enough in the almost complete darkness to catch their attention and get them to stop and stare as I went past, for at least 20+ seconds, until they were in my peripheral vision and I stopped noticing them (because they weren't moving). One actually pulled their earphones out, held in hand as if forgotten, as I pedalled "effortlessly" by at 15MPH, lighting up the whole canal area in front of me. :)


The one problem with this light as a headlight is that while it easily lets you be seen, it does not do very well at letting you see, except for close up. The light is very scattered and diffuse. I'm still looking for my lens assembly to test out in front of the cup to see if I can make a beam with part of the light.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by 317537 » Nov 15, 2009 3:30 am

I tried this on some short robust low wattage cfl as I saw the strength of the design better for a bumpy ride and it didnt work at 48v. There is a rod core inductor I havent measured yet that puts out on one side with transistor 40khz 150v. And in the middle a big ecore 5mh that put out 10v. Its a lop sided flip flop astable ocillator by the look of it. I would like to put this circiut on paper before I can make proper sense from it. Because we use 240v in OZ Id say I have to mod this little trick quite a bit more and this includes reducing the base resistiors on both transitors and inductors by more than half.

I am into this cause Id like to cheaply adapt these bulbs to 12v for solar use as the 12v version for no reason are very expensive. And the circuit is pretty good for other things I have in mind.

The 50khz ocillation could be easy done with the right resistance and compatible to the lm2576 I'm working at right now but I could run a 5 to 10 of bulbs off a single IC from my solar battery.

I am still waiting for 10 lm2576hv IC's from china and drafted a very nice PCB ready to print and etch. I have been testing some high voltage inductors I have been winding by hand and they need to be big toroids because of the 60v current supply I desire to avoid saturation at 52 hz. This looks almost compatible to the buck convertors I have made up but I just need to remove the filter and add some P resistor till I am confident on the load vs inductors resistance and reactance to pack voltages.
Leslie

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by steveo » Nov 15, 2009 4:50 am

Hey Everyone,

I just tried this tonight, Mine works at about 80v+ which is perfect!

I can hook this up directly to my battery pack with a switch lol .. just need a decent reflector .. and i got 900lumes @ .07a draw which is wicked & a dirt cheap headlight to use

thanks for sharing this modifications with us!
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 15, 2009 5:58 am

I"m glad it's useful, especially since I only even tried it on a whim. :oops:

For those CFLs designed to run on 240V, I suspect you'd have to have around 80-90VDC to start them, maybe more. I would figure that the input side of the pulse transformer is wound differently (less turns?) than it's 110/120VAC counterparts.

EDIT (ADDED): This page may help those doing further hacking:
http://www.pavouk.org/hw/lamp/en_index.html


I'd guess the only reason 12V versions are so expensive is simply because they are not produced in the same billions-quantities :) as the HV AC versions. ;)

I'm doing some more work on a reflector for it, and a lens for both headlight *and* taillight use, each of which will include side-markers.

For those on recumbents that have a headrest or any part of the bike that sticks out above their heads, *one* of these could be mounted on it in a box that focuses most of the light forward either thru a lens or thru clear bike reflectors with the backs taken off, with side slots for amber reflectors taken off of pedals, and the rest of the light out the rear thru red bike reflectors with the backs taken off. This is one of the plans I'm going to test out.

The other plan is two boxes, two lights (one in each box). Front box focuses light forward thru clear reflectors with leakage out the side-mounted amber ones. Rear box focuses light rearward thru red reflectors with leakage out the side-mounted red ones. That ought to take good care of being seen!

Then I'm doing some experiments with a "pringles can" shape with a foglamp (I think) lens for a focused-beam spotlight to aim down in front of me a ways, for distance visibility for me to see by. I won't need it except when I'm on darker roads or canal paths (whcih are generally unlit).



I did discover that an hour ago when I was out back taking some pics of the light with the lens on it using some ISO modes I found the camera has (instead of auto-shutter) that the light pulses about every second or so, when it is as cold as it is now (about 40F), and has some trouble starting up even at fullly charged pack voltage plus the inverter. I'll need to try a second or even third inverter in series to raise the voltage up, or a higher voltage inverter if I can find one in my junkpiles. I probably have some laptop power supplies that will work, to output 15VDC or more; they should give enough headroom and be smaller (if a bit heavier) than three celphone chargers.

And I am installing an AC outlet receptacle pair on the bike so I can just plug in various things to test them on it, with one at pack voltage and one at pack-plus-inverter voltage. :) Should make it easier and faster to do testing.... ;)


EDIT: (ADDED) I was curious, so I just googled "CFL headlight" and found I'm not the first to think of this (not that I expected to be!):
http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~seonghoonum/CFL.html

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by flash_eric » Nov 15, 2009 8:35 pm

Thanks for the instructions. I can do all that. I have a recumbent and I like the idea of using the spillover to illuminate the tailights. I'll have to gen something up and attach it to the head rest.
Eric

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by steveo » Nov 15, 2009 9:21 pm

Hey everyone

My cfl requires 70vdc+ to power up! just fyi for you .. I'm making my cheapy reflector tonight .. will post pics when shes done;

I've also figured out how to enable the c/a to could the wattage consumption of the light while the bike is powered on :D

-steveo
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 12:01 am

NOTE: I wanted to upload these pics in full-size format, because shrinking them causes problems with the lighting comparisons due to high CCD noise from the low light levels, but they're too big. So they're 800x600. The originals are at http://electricle.blogspot.com/2009/11/ ... s-iso.html, where you can CTRL-Click or Middle-Click each one to open the original in a new tab in at least some browsers.

I found the automotive lamp lens I had in my junkboxes, and fit it into the styrofoam cup at what I could best determine by experimentation as the best focal point with the wide light source this lamp provides. For a point source, it would be around 2.5 inches in front of the source, but it seems to prefer around 1 inch or less from the tip of this light to get more of the light focused into a beam.

Since the walls of the cup are white, it still scatters a lot of light, but that's ok--I'd rather scatter it than absorb it and waste it. When I tried a black paper cylinder around the inside of the cup (past the lens) then it darkened the output by more than half, though it was more beamlike with it that way. Definitely prefer more light even if it is not a beam.


Last night it was pretty cold, about 42F at the bike when I took these pics, and it caused some fluctuations in brightness--the CFL was pulsing about half again it's usual brightness about once per second for about 10% duty cycle, if that. Took some effort to start it up, too; had to turn it on, let the tube warm up then turn it off and back on, a few times. Pack was fully charged but only reading 42.1V, probably due to the cold. Got noticeably brighter in the first couple of minutes, so I waited ten minutes before taking any pics.


I meant to do more, but the cold was numbing my fingers, and I could not operate the camera with gloves on, so I had to stop when I could no longer accurately push the buttons.


I took the pics using the manual mode of the camera, at ISO 80 (1.0 second exposure time, F/2.8) and ISO 1000 (0.77s exposure time, F/2.8). I'm not entirely sure what those mean in this camera (Sony DSC-W50), because the ISO1000 pics are noticeably brighter than the ISO80, even though the shutter time is shorter. All other settings it has available to me are set to manual; white balance is set to fluorescent as it has no "neutral" setting.

The ISO 80 pics are pretty blurry because I could not hold it still, and didn't use the tripod (forgot about it).

Anyway, I used two modes so you can have a comparison of different light/exposure levels relative to ISO numbers to gauge how bright this light actually is. I tried to capture other lights in the area in some of the pictures as well, for further comparison. I did not think to also include any of my own lights, but I should have included at least the 9-LED Harbor Freight flashlight I use as my helmet light; it's common so you could compare one to this lighting. I'll try to get more pics tonite of it.

12 feet Away Oncoming View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO80
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12 Feet Away Oncoming View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000
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Full Bike From Rear ISO80
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Full Bike From Rear ISO1000
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Full Bike Side View ISO1000
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Full Bike Side View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000
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Full Bike Side View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO80
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Full Bike Side View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000
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Rider View ISO1000 Darkness Reference
RiderViewISO1000DarknessReference.JPG
Rider View ISO1000
RiderViewISO1000a.JPG

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 12:05 am

Rider View ISO1000
RiderViewISO1000b.JPG
Rider View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO80
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Rider View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000 AUTOMODE
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Rider View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000
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Rider View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight ISO1000
RiderViewISO1000b.JPG
Rider View with Dogs 9 feet from Headlight WITH FLASH
RiderViewDogs9'FromHLWITHFLASHISO1000.JPG

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by gilnet » Nov 16, 2009 12:35 am

I found a 12v shift knob light(perfect holiday gift!)Sitting on the trash table of apt bldg.glows blue! Hooked up mak pk to cig lighter plug using two knives.Its a cfl bulb.was marked 9.95/new in cello pk.I'm sure there's a warehouse with a couple hun thou of them waiting to be rescued.Top is clear,bl plastic encasing innards.Knew when I saw it,it exactly what I needed!gonna put a suicide shift on my bike.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by steveo » Nov 16, 2009 1:43 am

Heres a video of my little headlamp i'll use on one of my bikes ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ1ah8OZxwY

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 3:33 am

Cool! I like your yogurt cup. :) Keep in mind that the white inside would generally reflect better than the silver does. I've found that white enclosures tend to be a tiny bit cooler than the silver ones (assuming they're not metal), so more light is being reflected (diffusely) and less being absorbed and re-radiated (as heat).

Just before I came back to the forum to post some new stuff about a taillight version of this, I also used a screw-in bulb holder, but I couldn't glue *it* to the taillight, because there wasn't enough space. :( (also, it is an old ceramic type off a broken lamp, with a cover for the base and threaded inlet with a set-screw hole to clamp the wiring down in). I ended up having to glue the CFL base to the taillight hole, as a quick-and-dirty mounting method, until I can fab up my whole rear-end module that'll have TWO CFLs in it, plus my LED brakelight bar and LED turn signals in it. :)


You should link back to this thread in the "more info" section, to see if we can get more people like us on this site (hackers, creators, modders, repurposers, etc)!


Next post will be the new taillight stuff, once I get the pictures resized.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 4:24 am

I looked for my light meter as long as I could today, but never found it. I wanted to do before/after comparison testing in lumens with the lens and without, and with whatever new reflector I come up with. I guess I'll try it when I do run across the thing.


I did find a few of my higher voltage inverters, for laptops. A few Apple Powerbook 24V adapters, which are isolated but won't start on even 40V. Neither would two of the 19V generic adapters (one Targus and one no-name), but the lightest and smallest, an Averatec, did, and kept running down to at least 30V, where I stopped worrying. :) At least *something* from Averatec is actually useful. :P
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The 24V Apples are lighter than the typical 19V laptop adapters I have, although the Averatec is lighter than all but one of the Apples. All the 19V will do around 3A, while the 24V will only do 1.25A; this doesnt' matter for this application unless I need to run more than 6 or 7 of these. ;) I think two ought to do it--one rear and one front. I might go for two on each end for redundancy, though.

I also found a little plastic box that will be perfect for the rear end. I don't know what it used to be, but it's ABS and about 3/16" thick walls. Black plastic, so will enclose light very well. I can just take white plastic drink cups and cut them up for the inside diffuser/reflectors, to line the box with to make most of the light go out. Then secure red bike reflectors (minus their backings) to the open areas to the rear. Cut some holes on the ends, and put more red reflectors there, for side markers. One light in the center ought to be plenty, but one on each end would be even better.
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Still pondering for the front canister.

I made a temporary taillight out of the old Honda scooter's taillight casing, which is cracking from age and abuse. It'll last long enough to give me time to build the other one above.
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Had to remove the incandescent mounting fixture and reflector (you'll see where I painted it white inside instead of black to help reflect more light out of it with the incandescent, during early tests with CrazyBike2's lighting, until I gave up on it due to too much power wasted on the incandescent).
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Then I had to drill out the hole large enough for the base of the CFL to fit thru. So out comes MEGA DRILL, a very old B&D drill (still has a ground plug!) with a completely metal case (rescued by a friend from a trashcan especially for me), with a reduction-gearing hand-gripped drill extension to allow me to use the much larger-shafted Unibit for panel holes.
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And a test-fit:
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Then I setup a test rig to determine which of those AC adapters would work, using three identical batteries to what is on m bike, with about 3/4 charge on them. A back plate off the UPS they came from, holding all the AC outlets, is held between the third battery and the other two, and one outlet pair is wired across the pack, so I can just plug in adapters and meter their outputs.
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 4:44 am

Then I wired up the Averatec 19V adapter (which is isolated) so it's plugged into the pack for it's voltage input, with it's negative output wired to pack positive, and it's positive output wired to the screw base of the CFL. The tip of the CFL base is wired to the negative of the pack, with the Fluke measuring across pack plus Averatec, at 53.8/9VDC.
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The pic above is with the camera flash on by accident. Below is no flash, with room lighting of 2x 40W 4-foot fluorescent tubes overhead at cieling height.
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Then a pic of it with lights off, camera in auto mode no flash (ISO320)
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and a pic of the wall facing it, about 5 or 6 feet away.(ISO320)
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Then some manual-setting pics, first at ISO1000 (exp 1/5 sec) then at ISO80 (exp 1/60 sec):
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then with the room lights back on
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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 5:00 am

Then some other lighting comparisons, such as a CFL on battery at 56VDC compared to an identical CFL on 115VAC. Room lights off, ISO1000, F/7.1, 1/2000sec:
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Same camera settings, both taillight and the battery CFL in parallel on pack/Averatec:
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Then a 12V 43W halogen I found when looking for edison-base screw in sockets for testing:
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It sucks 3.25A constantly at 12.1V (current battery state) for that light, which is not a lot more than a single CFL puts out, but is mostly focused in one direction. Roughly 40W of power. It also gets too hot to touch in a fairly quick time.

The CFL does not get hot (just warm), but heat still ages parts, and will probably affect this, too. It only draws 380mA for BOTH the CFLs together, INCLUDING the inverter power of 100mA, for a total of 3.8W + 16.5W = 20.32W, for even more light output than the halogen, and little heat.

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by 317537 » Nov 16, 2009 7:09 am

Image

Sweet.

Very nice AW. :wink:
Leslie

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 16, 2009 3:41 pm

Thanks! Now I just have to figure out how to keep it from falling off the bike. :P

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by amberwolf » Nov 17, 2009 2:11 am

Test rode it today, with the lights just taped and zip tied in place, using the new inverter setup (works a lot better than the celphone adapter, especially since it's getting colder out there; is already 48F and dropping, and the lights pulse some at startup, then smooth out and brighten noticeably as they warm up over the first 30 seconds to a minute.

In the driveway pics below, when the overheads are on, that's 4 four-foot 40W fluorescent tubes (bluish type), left on for a few minutes to warm up to full brightness (it's cold enough outside to make a difference to those, too, apparently). The bike is parked so the headlight is where the average car's rear bumper would end up if parked under the carport (didn't measure it). The front pics are taken while standing at the wall the bike is pointed at. The rear pics are taken from across the street on the sidewalk edge. The only other primary light source is the mercury-vapor streetlight on the T intersection a few dozen feet away.

This new taillight is WAY better than my 8-LumiLED taillight, even including the other 8 LumiLEDs that are side-markers on each end of it reflecting off the back of the cargo pods.
DrivewayOverheadsOff Rear View ISO1000 DSC02070.JPG
2DrivewayOverheadsOn Rear View ISO1000 DSC02073.JPG
3DrivewayOverheadsOn Rear View CFLs OFF  ISO1000 DSC02074.JPG
Oh, and the taillight is just connected thru the screwbase--I didn't bother opening it up to bypass the diodes, since the input voltage is now so much higher. I'll probably take the bypass off the headlight, too, so I can just make a screwbase mount and be able to replace the light any time with any regular CFL. Then I can more easily try different wattage versions and brands (and colors) to see what happens with each one.

The headlight is much better than my old front headlight, even if it looks like it's made from crap in daylight, it looks great at night. :)
4DrivewayOverheadsOff Front View ISO1000 .JPG
5DrivewayOverheadsOn Front View ISO1000 DSC02072.JPG
6DrivewayOverheadsOn Front View CFLs OFF ISO1000 DSC02076.JPG
Needs a better beam, though; it has too much of the light being scattered close to the bike, and not enough cast far ahead. Still far better than I had before, but not good enough for a poorly-lit road or canal path at full speed (20MPH). The lens helps some, just not enough. I think I will work on some parabola style reflectors to put around the base of the CFL in front of the ballast section, and work from there to improve the concentration of more light in the center, while still letting it get a lot of diffuse spillover for side-lighting and visibility.

I'm also going to take some amber pedal reflectors and put them in slots on the sides of the light tube to give me front and side markers. :)

The taillight will go below the brake light bar, where the existing taillight is now. At the moment it's just ziptied above the bar.

Oh, and that helmet light comparison:
Yard Rear View Helmet Light ISO1000 DSC02078.JPG
Yard Rear View CFL light ISO1000 DSC02080.JPG

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Re: DIY CFL HL w/DC-DC Inverter

Post by docnjoj » Nov 17, 2009 11:59 am

Neet projects, amberwolf. And thank you for suggesting a way to use old Averatec parts. I got them too!
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