12v Turn Signals~ Lighting.

Discussion in 'Motor Bicycle Safety And Stolen Motorized Bicycle ' started by Cowboy Rider, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. Cowboy Rider

    Cowboy Rider New Member

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    In another Topic about Turn Signals, I went off into an idea of my own that I thought would be better started as my own Topic instead of derailing the other guy's topic. The other Topic can be found here...

    http://motorbicycling.com/f11/turn-signals-rite-aid-9408.html

    So... Here's My Build for the Turn Signals and Lighting that I have on my bike now:

    Growing tired of the cheap bike lights that were only designed for a Pedal Bike, I built for myself a system that is more like a Motorcycle. This really holds up well to on road use at speed, even with the vibrations from the engine.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The amber turn lights are actually trailer side lights that I had and never put on a trailer. The Headlight is actually a Fog Lamp (so I have another one if something ever happens to this one) that a friend gave me, and the Tail Light is actually an old side marker light from an old delivery truck from work. There's an LED version on the 1156 bulb in there now to keep the battery drain to a minimum.

    The headlight is a halogen bulb, so after a couple hours of use the battery will need a recharge. I now have a small battery Maintainer that is Fully Automatic, and I can let that run all night and the next day without worry of burning out the battery. (I store the bike at my shop away from home, so this was a concern of mine.)

    The flasher and turn signal lights are the 194 style bulbs, so they don't take much power either. The best Flasher to use is the more expensive Electronic unit. The cheaper Thermal unit suffers the same vibrational issues as the Bike Lights do- fast flashing due to vibes. With the electronic flasher they blink nice and steady just like a car. No matter what bumps or vibes are going on.

    For the switch, I used an On-Off-On Switch, with Off being in the center. Here's a Pic of that and how I mounted it very handily near the clutch lever.

    [​IMG]

    The Battery: Main power for all of this to work is just a nice and small Motorcycle battery that I strapped into my milk crate box on the bike.

    [​IMG]

    $23 bucks is all that it cost at Farm and Fleet, and the lights above are all things I had laying around at the shop. The LED bulb was about $10 bucks for two of them (so I still have a spare) and the switch was maybe $4 bucks? The better Flasher was about $6 bucks. I got them all from Autozone and wired/installed the whole system in one afternoon after getting off work at noon on Saturday.

    In the Battery Pic, you see that key switch? That is another part I had laying around in the shop. It is actually an old Forklift Ignition Switch! Just like and older car, the positions are Acc. (accessory), Off, On, Start. Acc. is one click to the left, Off is in the middle (key is removable in Off) and On is one click to the right. Start is a momentary on, second click and is not used in this application.

    I wired the switch to run the Tail Light and Turn Signals in the Acc position, and when in the On position the tail light, turn signals and the Headlight are ALL on. That switch is just behind me in the seat and is easily reachable with the left hand even at full cruising speeds. This systems has been working well for me for the last few weeks and maybe a couple Hundred Miles! I thought that maybe some others may want to do this as well. Any Questions, Please feel free to ask.

    ____________________
    What About a Brake Light?

    My plans are to add a couple of small LED Tail lights on both sides of the current one, and convert that single light I have now into a Brake Light that will use a switch I still have from a cheapo Pedal Bike version of turn signals and a brake light. That brake light switch mounts onto the actual cable for the rear brake and works pretty well is adjusted properly. This should turn out pretty darn good when I get that last part done soon.

    Looks like I may have a Project to do after work tomorrow!
     
  2. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Nice man! Now you got my brain cooking off with all sorts of MacGyver schemes :D

    Have you thought of one of these? They're like $20
    [​IMG]
    Solar-Powered Battery Maintainer — 1.8 Watt
     
  3. Cowboy Rider

    Cowboy Rider New Member

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    Ya know what? That might be Perfect!!! (^)

    Give me some Info about where to find such a thing, OK? That could be Ideal! Leave that Solar Maintainer connected to the battery during all the daylight rides, and she may always be fully charged when the times come to riding after dark.
    _____________
    Could Almost act like an Alternator to keep the battery charged while riding during the day.

    Thanks for the Idea, and I hope you can give some info (or a Link) on where I might find this Solar Maintainer. It's better to keep the charge on the battery, rather than running it down some and then recharging it. Like I said, it could act like an alternator during the daytime rides and keep the battery at it's Peak.

    That will also make the battery last longer. :)
     
  4. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  5. lordoflightaz

    lordoflightaz New Member

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    Harbor Freight, Fry Electronics. At Fry's they have a few different sizes. You can also use light kits and scavenge the panels.
     
  6. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Scavenge the panels from light kits? Do you mean like solar lawn lighting?
    [​IMG]

    Cause I've done that before - but they're usually like 1.5 to 3 volts at the most, so you'd hafta wire them all up together for a 12v charge. Unfortunately most have low quality panels and rely on reflective lenses for brightness as they only have one, maybe two tiny LEDs.

    Although you could use the guts (batt, panel, board, & led) for a taillight you never need remember to turn on.

    If that was what you meant and someone does want to do this, replace the batteries with decent ones - they'll work FAR better :)
     
  7. scooterhoot

    scooterhoot New Member

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    Yo Cowboy,
    I've been thinking about a similer set up, where did you sorce the flasher unit? Have been tring to come up with some on board generator either wheel or chain driven. I live in the mid west so the solar cells that have been posted aren't a good option.
    The world Know,,
    Scooterhoot
     
  8. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  9. Cowboy Rider

    Cowboy Rider New Member

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    Looks like I should include some more pics folks! Will do soon, OK?

    These posts and a PM to me say that I have 'some explainin' to do!' LOL.

    First, it's just a regular flasher that is available at any place like Autozone. This part from the link above is the closest in resemblance. Turn Signal Flasher Note that this one would say "Electronic" on the package. That's the one you want. The "Thermal" flashers look alike, but are not up to the vibrations that these bikes can produce.

    Electronic Flasher was about 7 bucks, the Thermal one was about 3. Get the better one for better results. :)

    Scooterhoot:

    The Engine kit I bought included a supposed 6v lead for the lights. Turns out that it actually pushes out 6-9v AC current! The fact the current is AC (and not DC) isn't so much of a problem, but the jump from 6v to 9v IS a problem. I've burned out 2 sets of the 6v lighting systems with that lead, and that's what made me go to the 12v battery in the first place. I never even tried the included 6v generators that are wheel driven, cause I've heard that they'll Never hold up to the RPM's involved with 30 MPH.

    The 12v battery addition thus inspired me to construct up my own 12v Turn Signal system that is wired up just like a car. As of yet I have no On Board charging system on the bike, but the plug in Maintainer has been working rather well. The Solar Panel that BarelyAWake posted about is my best idea yet to try. Still haven't found one at a local store though. :rolleyes:

    City of Angels/Raul: (per PM)

    Aside from the flasher I talk about here (sometimes also called a Relay) I just wired it all Direct to the battery. You will NOT need an additional Relay to power up the Headlight that is actually from a single Fog light kit. I used some standard 16 or maybe 14 gauge wire that is also available at any Autozone type of car parts store.

    As I said earlier on in this post, looks like I need to upload some more Detailed Pics of all that I've done on my bike. I'll need to include some Close Ups of the wiring and the Flasher Unit I used. Incidentally, I haven't yet separated the Tail and Brake lights yet. When I get that Mod done, I'll also try to detail how I do that wiring as well. :)
    -------------------------
    Good Luck guys! I hope you guys find some useful info in my topic here. I had a Video of the entire works in action, but it was too long to post at Webshots. I'll try to also come up with a shorter (so I can post it up there) Video, so y'all can really SEE the system at work. :D
     
  10. TheOtherStyle

    TheOtherStyle New Member

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    To further clarify the turn signal setup, as a guy that lives, breathes, and craps car stuff, the turn signal setup is easy.


    12v--> electronic flasher module-->switch-->lights. Ground the lights right back to the battery.

    Module always goes before the switch, reason being that its less complicated. Yes you could put it after the switch, but then you would need two.
     
  11. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Oh btw, another reason the mechanical/thermal flasher relays may not work properly (flash too fast) is due to LEDs consuming too little power - the same effect as in a car when you've a burnt out bulb.

    Doesn't really matter though, the electronic ones are far superior anyway.

    hmm... I think I might add a second on/off switch bypassing the on/off/on as to have 4way flashers/emergency hazard lights when I get around to doing this ;)
     
  12. HoughMade

    HoughMade New Member

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    Here is the circuit I used- dead simple.

    I have amber LEDs in the front, red in back- a single 1157 red LED for the tail/brake light.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. jbabb

    jbabb New Member

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    Will that solar panel charge a 6volt battery?
     
  14. Cowboy Rider

    Cowboy Rider New Member

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    I have a few too many Irons in the Fire right now. In other words, I haven't kept up on this Topic as much as I've been wanting to. But... I saw your question about the Solar Panels and a 6v battery, and would like to answer to it.

    I believe that the 12v Solar chargers we are talkin' about now would Over Charge a 6v battery. IMHO, I think you would cook out a 6v battery with any 12v charging system. Too many volts and likely too many Amps as well.

    I wouldn't recommend any 12v charger for a 6v battery. But... that's just my thinking on this. I Could be proven wrong by others that know more. (but I doubt that I will)
     
  15. HoughMade

    HoughMade New Member

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    The experts will get much more specific than I will, but as a rule of thumb, a 12 volt can be safely charged with 13-14.5 volts (watch the current and the time, though). A 6 volt wants 7-8 volts- same thing, don't supply too much current and don't leave it going for too long unless there is overcharge protection built in.
     
  16. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  17. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Tho not 12v or a turn signal for that matter, these 'NEBO solar charging flashlights' are pretty cool. At a whopping $15 lol - I grabbed one just to play with.

    [​IMG]

    Tho it's surprisingly bright, it's not quite enough for a good headlight. It would however make you far more visible than just a reflector and as you wouldn't need worry about charging it, it'd always be there for you... well, for a coupla hours anyway :D

    I'm thinking of using a cut up red reflector as a lens and making it a taillight, it doesn't seem to have any problems with vibration, but I'm thinking of taking it apart and filling it with silicone sealant as it doesn't even pretend to be water resistant (despite being marketed as an "emergency" light) o_O

    Just a random thought... ;)
     
    #17 BarelyAWake, Aug 27, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  18. Zev0

    Zev0 New Member

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  19. Cowboy Rider

    Cowboy Rider New Member

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    I've been away from this forum too long again...:( But I have another Update to tell y'all about on my bike's lighting system.

    I've added another (dimmer) Tail Light to the works, and have converted the original (Bright) tail Light into a Brake Light. It's all wired up and it works! All I need to do is actually mount the Brake Light Switch to the rear caliper brake.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    As I was doing this, a thought has occurred to me.

    "Shouldn't I make this so that the Brake Light works even if the key (Ignition/Light Switch) is Off?" Get into Any car and step on the Brake pedal. The Brake lights work, don't they?

    I've rewired the bike to do the same thing. The Brake Light will work even if I forget to turn on the Lights! I'm considering making this Simple wiring change to the Turn Signals as well.

    What do you guys think? Should I make the Turn Signals work too if I forget to turn the Lights on?
     
  20. flying squirrel

    flying squirrel New Member

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    Sounds like a very good idea to me. How about some details on how you did it. diagrams maybe?
     

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