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Compact Fluorescent Light

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Dale Benjamin, Jun 11, 2004.

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  1. I'm thinking about doing some riding at night on my bicycle, and want a
    decent front light. LEDs and focused incandescents are too directional, and
    they are small. I have a Radio Shack flashlight that uses a Satellite F4T5D
    bulb and it works OK on 4 AA NiMHs. 5 cells might be even better, but it is
    useful like it is, so I don't want to mess with it.

    Bicycle lights are more to be seen, than to see by, in my book anyway. The
    F4T5Ds are big and bright enough to possibly be a real improvement upon
    others noted.

    Does anyone have any links to retailers or manufacturers of these or similar

    I reckon they need some kind of driver circuitry. Anyone have any links,

    Of course I could get another flashlight of the same design and dissect it,
    but they always have a couple special purpose ICs in there that aren't
    available retail.

  2. Doug Goncz

    Doug Goncz Guest

    Dear Dale,

    J.C. Whitney sells a 4AA
    hand lamp that I put on my bike for a while. Not as bright as the Avon Skin
    Spec available surplus, but that takes 12 VDC, is large and heavy, and this is
    stock, small, light, and takes 6 VDC.

    It's not on their web site. Have them mail you a print catalog and look under
    Lighting or RV.


    Doug Goncz ( )

    Read about my physics project at NVCC: plus
    "bicycle", "fluorescent", "inverter", "flywheel", "ultracapacitor", etc.
    in the search box
  3. I modified an old bike head lamp to accept those 5.xvolt Halogens. And I drive that with 4 NIMH batteries. Runs for ~1.2 hrs. And
    allways carry a spare pack. The rear is one fo those AAA powered flashers.
    Never lost a bulb yet ;)

    You can position the bulb in the reflector for spot or flood. Mine is fixed, but lights up the path a good +20' ahead.

  4. I experimented with LEDs but found them to be very inefficient and
    prohibitively expensive. They couldn't be scaled up to provide
    bicycling illumination.

    CCFLs seemed to be the way to go. I used a pair of 228mm x 3mm CCFLs to
    build a bicycle headlight. The reflector is a parabolic mirror made of
    carbon fiber and Mylar. Two power inverters sit inside a tiny
    switchbox. One inverter is for the CCFL tubes, the other for the 10
    LEDs in the rear. All together it weighs very little.

    Here's a front and rear photo. The dim light in the background is
    actually an overhead 100W light bulb. Drivers can much more easily
    judge the distance of this fat light compared to a point source. It
    provides illumination for ~15 MPH on a street or ~5 MPH on a trail. Bike Light 3.0/pose.jpg Bike Light 3.0/rear.jpg

    LED power is 55mA and CCFL power is 500mA at 13V. The rear light can be
    turned on alone for power saving on uninterrupted 1-way streets. The
    green LED glows faintly as a battery indicator while the light is on,
    but brightly as a bike locator when the headlamp is off.

    The CCFLs and its inverter are from JKL:

    The LED inverter is custom.
  5. At FedMart I found one from Ozark Trails that uses an U tube bulb, FLS/E 9W
    6400K, it ran 2 hours on 5 AA NiMH 2000mahr cells, and only $10. Less than
    a dozen components on the board, one IC, a three pin that looks like a
    voltage regulator chip, 4 caps, and a transformer. Way too big physically
    for a bicycle.
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