Ebrake to activate brake light?

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bowlofsalad   1 MW

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Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 24 2013 12:21am

Hello,

It dawned upon me that I am without a solid plan for both headlights and taillights for an ebike. Originally, I imagined just using a silly old red flasher at the back, but some how I've concluded that the best option is a light that turns on when the ebrake/regen is activated.

It seems like one or two users have this worked out, but I am a bit too simple to understand what they did to copy their results.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/310498190336?item=310498190336
This item looks like it could potentially simplify much of what would be needed to setup such an idea, but I wouldn't know where or what to attach it to. In my mind, a brake light wire should come standard with ebike controllers. The way some of you guys ride these things, you'd think you were riding a motorcycle. Brake lights seem essential. I'd probably use both a brake light and a flasher myself, but to each their own.

Does anyone have a watered down simple to follow explanation on using ebrakes as a way to activate a light? I'd like turn signals as well, but beggars can't be choosers.

The goal is to use the ebrake wire as an on/off switch.

Thanks for reading.
Last edited by bowlofsalad on Feb 24 2013 1:53pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by wesnewell » Feb 24 2013 2:53am

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 24 2013 2:54am

Some controllers do have a wire to power either a brake light directly, or a relay to engage one.

But it's easy enough to cobble up a switch on your brake line to do it somewhere, or use the ebrake switch to trigger a relay. I've done both.

DayGlo Avenger's thread includes some info and pics on how I used a 5V relay out of a dead computer-UPS to switch 12V for an LED motorcycle taillight/brakelight unit. The coil is driven by the output from the ebrake's hall sensor. (I think I used a 2n2222 transistor as an amplifier, but I might've driven it directly).

The same thing could be done if you have a two-wire ebrake rather than the 3-wire hall sensor type; it just has to be wired a little differently.

I also once set it up on DGA with a pushbutton switch ziptied to the cable holder on the front brake, so when it was squeezed it'd trigger the brake light. That wasnt' very reliable, cuz it'd slip off.

In the Fusin Test Bike thread, I show how a microswitch (like those out of old dead microwave ovens, from the door switches) could be used on the rear brake (or front, if youw ant) to do the same thing. It was more reliable, but it did have problems with vibration shifting it around as I used a pretty kludgy mounting (same basic problem with the other switch method--easily overcome by better mount design and implementation, but I like to just do something and get it done and working, and until it falls apart I usually leave it that way :oops:).

CrazyBike2 I am using the actual brake light switch on my left-hand scooter-control-unit on the handlebars to directly switch the brake light. The ebrake switch is in the righthand brake lever.

If you have two ebrake levers, you can do the same thing, fi they're the two-wire type. Use one to switch the brake light, and the other to switch the ebrake. If you tend to use both brakes anyway, it's an easy method, especiallly if your ebrake switches are sensitive enough to engage before any physical braking takes place (or if your braking system has enough adjustement range to allow this and still get good braking).

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by hjns » Feb 24 2013 2:58am

mechanical solution: double pole double throw switch, that activates when the brake handle is pulled. Advantages, no extra wires. Disadvantages, vulnerable for mechanical failure due to moisture, crashes, etc.

magnetic solution: 2x reed switch, that activates when the brake handle is pulled. Advantages, allows for finetuning when you want the brake to activate, and when the rear brake light. Disadvantages, can be cumbersome to attach to the brake.

magnetic solution: double pole double throw reed switch, that activates when the brake handle is pulled. Advantages, all the stuff in a single place. Disadvantage, needs 5V or 12V to power the coil, therefore, needs 2 more wires.
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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by chisixer6 » Feb 24 2013 5:07am

bowlofsalad;

I purchase from an american seller, this turn signal, i wasn't concerned with the brake light as, no instructions were included on how to use them. As I was playing with the brake light, I discovered how they function, it was a great idea(switch on brake cable). Note this setup was flimsy, easy to break, but can be a model for making a more stronger version. I couldn't stand the sound effect, so I cut the wires to the speaker to silence them. Price under $10.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bicycle-Turn-Si ... 3cbe710141


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRHue9mnxKQ

http://www.ebay.com/itm/130790877016
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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by www.recumbents.com » Feb 24 2013 11:21am


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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 24 2013 12:13pm

Thanks for the responses guys!

@wesnewell I've seen this device, evidently it has some flaws to it's design. The idea is good, but something is missing from it. A thread on it http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 31&t=47889

@amberwolf I started reading your thread on your 'crazybike2'. The part about a sprocket being folded into a taco was pretty funny, but sifting through 52 pages to find some information you speak of is a bit much. Even with keyword searches, there are still several pages to look through, bleh. Anyway, it sounds like you get the idea of what I imagine doing. Some type of voltage sensor that turns on a light when the ebrake is activated. I might not fully understand what you mean though, sadly some of your words are a bit too complicated for my level of understanding.

@hjens That all sounds nice, but it just leaves me scratching my head. I am far too simple to understand :cry:

@chisixer6 Ah, this seems like something a bit more up my alley. It does sound like something amberwolf used without much success, but it might be worth a try. I looked around for information on this device and I found something that looked like a fine explaination. It is basically an identical version of what 'recumbents(person)' suggests using. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL5hHRdc904 This video gives a pretty clear illustration of the device and it's workings, including the 'annoying' turn signal noise, haha. At around 2:31 you can see an excellent illustration (for others interested as I am)

@recumbents I like the idea, but I wish there was more to the light. In bad conditions, such as fog, heavy rain or snow, I doubt that light would be of much use.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by Icewrench » Feb 24 2013 12:15pm

I have used the switches in the brake handles for brake light and controller cut off.
One handle is connected to the controller and the other one is connected to the brake light circuit.

I bought one of those personalpitcher automatic brake lights and I will not buy another.

When riding in city traffic a brake light is a good thing to have.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 24 2013 1:46pm

@chisixer6

Have you tried using this device in the rain? I wonder how waterproof those buttons are, I understand it's cheap as hell, but if it breaks at the first sign of rain, it may as well have never been.

@Icewrench

Thanks for the response. "I have used the switches in the brake handles for brake light and controller cut off.
One handle is connected to the controller and the other one is connected to the brake light circuit."

I am not sure I understand what you mean. Which brake light circuit are you using exactly?

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by Kingfish » Feb 24 2013 2:15pm

I did not care for the Magnetic Reed Switch as it was sensitive to environmental factors. I solved the problem with a pair of SPDT switches from RadioShack. Thread here: DIY Ebrake with integrated Brake Light Switch

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by Icewrench » Feb 24 2013 5:54pm

The brake light circuit is not part of the controller.
Pack +voltage thru a resistor, 400 ohm, to an evg bike tail light then use the ebrake handle switch to connect to controller ground. These days a dc to dc converter would be a better way to power the light.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 24 2013 7:03pm

Icewrench wrote:The brake light circuit is not part of the controller.
Pack +voltage thru a resistor, 400 ohm, to an evg bike tail light then use the ebrake handle switch to connect to controller ground. These days a dc to dc converter would be a better way to power the light.
I was assuming I'd have to power it with a dc-dc converter, but to turn the light on and off when pulling the brake lever is the mystery here. Ideally, when the ebrake is activated, the light would turn on.

"Pack +voltage thru a resistor, 400 ohm, to an evg bike tail light then use the ebrake handle switch to connect to controller ground." I don't understand what this means.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 25 2013 6:32pm

@amberwolf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8_Ts5fMVho Tell me your secrets.

Hah, I am a little slow. I didn't fully pick up on the 'Some controllers do have a wire to power either a brake light directly, or a relay to engage one.' part. Maybe you or someone in the know can inform me of a few that would have that (and turn signal?), ebrake/regen, cycleanalyst, probably some other features not coming to mind.

I did some searching for controllers that include the brake light feature, but I wasn't able to find anything.

Thanks

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 26 2013 3:29am

I don't know any particular ones, but I have seen pads on some controllers in troubleshooting threads that have labels implying they are for brake lights. Some of the scooter controllers have had relays for it or pads for a relay to be soldered to.


But realistically, it's probably harder to change your controller out for one that has the brake relay than it is to wire one up yourself. :) (not including *finding* such a controller).

Your existing controller might have the function/pads in it, but you'd have to open it up and get good pics of both sides for us to see if it does. For myself, I think it's less work and less risk to use an external swithc or relay. (that's why I did it that way on my builds). I'm afraid I don't have a direct link to any of the pages or pictures for the switches, but in the DayGlo Avenger thread and the Fusin 1000w review thread you can see how I did it if you are willing to scroll thru the pages until you find those images.


The very easiest way of all, though, is as I described before--using one of your ebrake handles for the light, and the other for the ebrake.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 26 2013 11:28am

amberwolf wrote:I don't know any particular ones, but I have seen pads on some controllers in troubleshooting threads that have labels implying they are for brake lights. Some of the scooter controllers have had relays for it or pads for a relay to be soldered to.


But realistically, it's probably harder to change your controller out for one that has the brake relay than it is to wire one up yourself. :) (not including *finding* such a controller).

Your existing controller might have the function/pads in it, but you'd have to open it up and get good pics of both sides for us to see if it does. For myself, I think it's less work and less risk to use an external swithc or relay. (that's why I did it that way on my builds). I'm afraid I don't have a direct link to any of the pages or pictures for the switches, but in the DayGlo Avenger thread and the Fusin 1000w review thread you can see how I did it if you are willing to scroll thru the pages until you find those images.


The very easiest way of all, though, is as I described before--using one of your ebrake handles for the light, and the other for the ebrake.
Thanks for the response amberwolf.

I understand the logic behind it being easier to make the external switch rather than swap a new controller. However, I have no ebike, no controller, and thus nothing to swap. So getting a controller with this option or idea ready to go sounds a bit appealing, but either way sounds good. I don't really care, so long as it works well I'll be pleased.

I have found a controller on ebay that has a cable labeled 'brake lamp'.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/48V-500W-Brush- ... 3ccc547470

I am wary of it's price, but maybe that's normal, I don't really know.

Either way, I'll look through your suggested thread in hunt of your solution.

Thanks!!

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 26 2013 8:03pm

I bet the grey beards are laughing at me right now.

I found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te5YYVZiOKs this video as well, and it gives a really perfect and simple explanation. Now to find the appropriate transistor/mosfet 5v=off 0v=on, I think. I likely need something else to go with it, unsure as to what.

http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... ht#p270005 I think this is the thread/post you were speaking of amberwolf. However, some of how that setup works seems unclear to me. I see it involves a relay, but all the wires seem to go in random directions, haha. Damn am I ignorant.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 27 2013 2:20am

I had thought I put a circuit diagram in there, but I guess I never did. :( There is a basic description of the wiring in there among the pictures, but it might not be enough for you if you don't have electronics experience. If I get time I will try to draw one up and update that post with it. (or append it in a new post to that thread and link it here).


BTW, the "afrotechmods" website is nifty (and a little funny), and I learned a few things from it myself, years back. :)

bowlofsalad wrote: However, I have no ebike, no controller, and thus nothing to swap.
Ah--that makes it easier. :)

I have found a controller on ebay that has a cable labeled 'brake lamp'.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/48V-500W-Brush- ... 3ccc547470
As long as you will be using brushed motor, then that could work ok. But if you want to use a brushless motor, it will not.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by warrah » Feb 27 2013 3:13pm

Hi bowlofsalad

I remember how frustrating electronics could seem when i was starting out with just an idea and a few of the pieces of the puzzle, but no confident overview. Sometimes it seems as though youre so close, and its so easily achievable, but then the knowledge gap frustrates you and makes it seem amillion miles away. Even circuit diagrams were difficult to me when i started, even though they are the simplest way to get an idea across.

I'll describe the way i achieved the ebrake light, and if you like how it sounds let me know and i'll talk you through it step by step, with whatever help you need along the way.

First, as youve realized, a DC DC converter running from your ebikes battery is the most elegant and robust way to add additional electronic whatnots to your bike. Saves pissing around with gimicky bicycle accessories that just break within a year. You can get dc dc converters from ebay.

So if we arent using bicycle accessories, we are using motorcycle and scooter parts. Weirdly, they are much cheaper (larger market?), and better made. Buy a motorcycle or scooter brake lever for a cable brake/drum brake, it will accept the same bicycle cable nipple, it will clamp onto bicycle handlebars, and will cost nothing, like 7 dollars, and it will be bigger, have a longer pull, and be all metal. Nice. The switch inside the brake lever will be designed to accept the 12v current a brake light will need. The issue now is how to close the circuit of both the controllers motor cutoff/regen, and the brake light mounted on the back of your bike. If you only want to have the brake lever turn on the light and nothing else, then this isnt an issue, its really as simple as having one circuit with the dc dc converter, the brake lever switch, and the light (im not sure of your level of knowledge, let me know if the previous description doesnt make sense to you, and we can discuss it, its a good beginners electronics circuit, very achievable). The reason both lights and controller-cut-off cant be all on one circuit, is that 12v going into the controllers ebrake wires will damage the controller. So when you have this kind of conundrum in electronics, you use a relay. The squeezing of the lever closes a circuit that supplies a current to the relay, and that causes the relay to close 2 further, separate circuits, one for the light, one for the controller. Some people have recommended a double pole switch, which is one switch inside the lever that throws open and closed two circuits, and this would eliminate the need for a relay... but i cant find any examples of these double pole brake levers.

You can stuff the dc dc converter and the relay into the same enclosure your battery is in, that way its waterproof. Also, headlights and indicators can also run off your dc dc converter, even a horn.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 27 2013 4:56pm

Hello Warrah,

Thanks a bunch for reaching out and trying to educate a newbie such as myself. Electronics are a bit of a mystery to me and circuit diagrams may as well be hieroglyphics. Perhaps there are some videos/books I can find to educate myself on this.

http://www.scootercatalog.com/trx-elect ... Mgod7T8AnQ

http://em3ev.com/store/index.php?route= ... uct_id=102

I found one place selling scooter stuff with a scooter brake lever that looks like it might fit the bill. Originally, I was planning on just using the ones from em3ev. It was suggested to splice the electronics into one of the ebrake cables, but I assume the intersect at some point, seems more logical to do it there so both levers will turn on the light.

em3ev.com also sells dc-dc, either way I intend on grabbing a few of those as well.

So I need a double poll switch or a relay. I think understand the concept on using an ebrake lever solely for turning the light on and off, but the goal is to have the light activate when the ebrake is activated.

It sounds like a relay is a bigger version of a transistor/mosfet.

I thought I was being clever when I thought I'd try to figure out which relay Amberwolf used, but it looks like one of the letters/numbers are covered up.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by warrah » Feb 27 2013 5:28pm

What i'll do is draw a 'real life' circuit diagram, that uses literal pictures as well as the symbols, and the wires will be layed out in an orientation resembling where they will go on a bicycle (in a circuit diagram the wires are arranged in an ideal way for maximum... brevity) and that way you can visualize what you will actually need to do in real life, at the same time as learning some electronics symbols. I'll post it tomorrow.

Those two levers look like bicycle levers, rather then meaty motorcycle levers... i cant tell so much from the pictures because the scale is hard to judge. If they are easier for you to buy or come as part of a bundle on other things you are buying, then they will do, and I happen to know from experience that the switches in those bicycle levers will take a 12v, small current, despite not being designed for it. Buy an LED 12v rear light, as opposed to a bulb one, to make sure the current is small. But a meaty chinese motorcycle lever is designed for the 12v thing, if you can find one.

Yeh, both levers will activate the light. That wont be a problem at all.

A relay is quite a mechanical mechanism. When a 12v current passes through it, a small electromagnet pulls 1 or 2 or 3 (depends which kind you buy) switches closed. It does this through a plastic partition, so the activating 12v current never touches the switches or the circuits they close/open. They are used all over automobiles, to make sure the electronics needing higher current can activate the electronics needing lower current without damaging the lower current electronics. Hope that makes sense. They arent really like transistors or mosphets.

I actually ditched this setup the other month, and opted to have my levers handle the brakes/brake lights, and a small independant button handle the regen/motor cutoff. My thinking was that regen is so good at stopping me, that in the situations where i was stopping slowly, i could use only regen, without wasting any of that energy on mechanical brakes. I can also use the button when i go down very steep hills, and i'll keep moving due to gravity, but will generate aload of electricity for later. Thought i'd mention this, though i can see it wouldnt appeal to everyone.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 27 2013 6:53pm

I appreciate your efforts in instructing me (and possibly others) on this task.

I have considered precisely what you are suggesting, but I have no frame of reference to consider the stopping power of regenerative braking. I've wondered many times what it feels or seems like being slowed and stopped by regenerative braking, I've wondered if all controllers can be modified to change how strong the regenerative braking works.

What I am considering is going with is both the levers and a button to activate the ebrakes. Another thought I had was to adjust to calpers to be 'further' away so it you might have the first 10% or so of the lever pull activate the ebrake, and still move the regular brakes slightly, but still not cause any friction or mechanical braking. I don't know if I explained that in a way that made any sense. I think either option is good, I feel a little better about keeping a hand on the brake, but I suppose you can utilize the button and keep a hand on the brake, I'd simply like the be able to use both brake levers and activate the ebrake if needed.

I think I am using the wrong keywords to find what you are referring to concerning the levers. Almost all the levers I find look wrong.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DOUBLE-CHROMED- ... b6&vxp=mtr

http://www.leafmotor.com/accessories-shop.html Some of the stuff on this page looks right, but I have no idea if it's up to the specific duty.

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 28 2013 12:37am

Regarding the MC/scooter brake levers, they are what I used for my brake light (left lever) on CrazyBike2, partly because it has the brake switch built in, partly because it's all metal, partly because it has a headlight hi/lo switch, a turn signal switch, and a horn switch, and partly because it has a "parking brake" latch.

However, the one I use (from a 1985-ish Honda Spree scooter)
http://www.motorscooterguide.net/Honda/Spree/Spree.html
does NOT really work with bicycle cable brakes, because even though the "nipple" (the lump on the end of the cable) fits in the recess for it, more or less (it's much smaller than what the lever was meant for), the mechanical advantage of this lever is wrong for any of the bicycle brake types I have tried it with. It would need a pulley to fix that, available from places like problemsolvers
http://problemsolversbike.com/products/travel_agents
assuming that any of the versions they make would adapt from the MA of the MC/scooter levers to the bicycle brakes. (never tried, so I dunno).

Without something like that, it's quite possible that like mine you either get too much travel of the lever and too little braking, or too little lever travel and no control over the braking. IIRC mine was the former problem, making the brakes useless. If the MA of the lever matches that of your original lever, it's not a problem--but it may not. I don't know what hte chances are; I've only tried the one kind.

(btw, the one I used doesnt' seem to be available as a replacment part anymore; this site
http://www.cheapcycleparts.com/model_ye ... -handlebar
doesnt' even list a p/n for it, evne though it's in the diagram as #7 (and #5 for the right side). ) :(


Regarding the relay p/n on mine, it doesn't really matter--you just need a relay with a coil voltage that matches your trigger voltage. If you're using just a two-wire switch for your brake lever "ebrake", then pick a coil voltage that matches your lighting voltage, so your power source will drive the relay as well as the lights. If you're using a 3-wire hall switch for your ebrake lever, you can use a 5V coil voltage, or a transistor to trigger a lighting-voltage rated coil. The type of relay you want is DPDT, or DPST, (double-pole Double-throw or d-p single throw).

I simply used one out of a scrapped UPS battery backup unit's guts, since I had it laying around. If you need a p/n to order one I can poke around and find one for you. (if you were in my area I have some in a box somewhere you could have if you came by to pick them up; they mgiht still be soldered to the source circuit board though).



But you don't have to use a relay at all, if you use the two-lever method I described before.



If you have two ebrake levers already, and they are the 2-wire switch kind, you simply wire the light on one, and your controller's ebrake on the other. This is handy not only becuase it's simpler to wire up, but also because you can trigger the brake light *without actually braking*, which is handy when coasting to a stop but with traffic behind you that you want to warn that you are stopping. Also useful to flash your brake light at tailgaters. ;)

If you have regen braking (which is handy for saving wear and tear on your brake pads), then you can trigger braking without engaging the brake light if you wish, but it's very simple to pull both levers the tiny amount it takes to engage the switches without engaging the physical brakes, so your brake light comes on while you are braking via regen, or to pull the lever with the light on it just a tiny bit and pull the other harder so you brake with the physical brakes as needed, and only pull the one with the light harder if you need those brakes, too.


On CrazyBike2, this is how it is setup, and I simply use my left fingers to engage the light, and my right to actually brake (I only have a front brake right now, as I don't have regen on this controller, though I wish I did). It takes very little riding to learn to do it without thinking.

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 28 2013 2:46pm

I found a source for the same ones I use on CrazyBike2:
http://hondaspree.net/phpBB3/viewtopic. ... 27#p230027
from MopedMark on that forum, cheap--I think he said $10 each plus shipping. If you want some, just register there, post in that thread and he'll respond by PM on that forum. He has both left and right clusters/levers.

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warrah   100 W

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by warrah » Feb 28 2013 4:28pm

yeh amberwolf is right, the motorcycle levers sometimes result in a strange sloppy brake control, still useable but not what you might want. In that respect its a bit of a gamble. So you can go with the bicycle levers, their switches will probably handle the current.

Here is my work of art. Maybe amberwolf can check that it isnt totally stupid. The big 'T' in the middle is supposed to be a bike frame.

Image

First shows you the most basic way it could be. The point where the two sets of lever wires meet might be confusing; you just join them both together, that way either lever closes the circuit.

The second uses the relay to protect the controllers ebrake input, which uses a lower voltage to 12v.

Let me know if it is waaaaay to basic and not communicative enough, and i'll... make it better

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bowlofsalad   1 MW

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Re: Ebrake to activate brake light?

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 28 2013 7:23pm

Thanks for the well thought out responses guys. I think I'd rather have more braking strength available rather than less. It seems my bike doesn't have the option for mounting the disc brake calipers so I am pretty limited to 'regular' brakes. Relying on just one brake sounds a little too weak for comfort. So I'd rather have both levers each activate a regular brake and the ebrake. That lever with all those knobs sounds excellent, if only I could wire in a bicycle brake line, maybe there is a way, like using a motorcycle cable hose for the portion required? I don't know if I understand everything correctly.

The picture looks like it should give me a great guide on where to guide the wires. Maybe I'll make a video of making the modifications for the newbies like myself who would like a quality brake light as a sort of guide. I am sure there are people who are completely incompetent when it comes to electronics and such that would find it useful, I know I would : P.

As for the specific relay, I don't really have a clue, it sounds almost like warrah thinks a relay might be unneeded. I am most likely going to be using cell_man's ebike kit. http://em3ev.com/store/index.php?route= ... duct_id=77 If this gives any indication of the type of or hall signals(?) and which type of relay, if any, would be needed, I'd be glad to know. Maybe I need to have the controller and such in order to find out? Which is a bit of a bummer. It would be cool if this could be followed universally by others not in the know.

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