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My homebuilt lighting system - by request...(5 posts)

My homebuilt lighting system - by request...BowWow
Oct 18, 2003 9:12 PM
BowWow "Lighting system for winter rides" 10/17/03 11:16am
... giggle...Akirasho
Oct 19, 2003 12:39 PM
... not trying to upstage you... but great minds think alike...

Recently started experiments with rechargable NiMH D cell batteries (should give a whopping 20 aH of runtime with far less weight than SLA) and investigating the prospects of metal halide 12volt track lighting (Welch Allyn makes M16 bulbs but they ain't cheap) as the next logical step.

Be the bike.
Akira! Many thanks for your site!BowWow
Oct 19, 2003 8:44 PM
I saw your page while I was researching - it was an inspiration, no question! I really appreciate the electrical calculations, they are very helpful. Can you tell me how to calculate how long to recharge my batteries? Also, I'm very interested in your NiMH D cell experiment. How do you wire them? Series? Parallel? Again, I'm pretty clueless with the calculations...

Keep us posted as you go. My SLA's weigh about 2 pounds each, so I'd love to trim some weight!

Thanks again for a very informative page!

re: My homebuilt lighting system - by request...charlieboy
Oct 20, 2003 12:22 AM
Thanks... to both of you!

I'll give it a go
Oct 20, 2003 8:03 AM
Check out for deals on NiMH cells. They have a 3/4AUX (a little bigger than a AA battery) at 3.8 amp hours for $2.50. Wire five together ($12.50) for 6 volt/ten ($25.00) for twelve volt. My six volt pack is about the size of a deck of cards and doesn't weigh much.

As for charging, look at your charger... it says how much it puts out. It's probably 200-600 miliamps. 1000 miliamps=1 amp hour. So, for example, if your battery is 3 amp hour and your charger puts out 500 miliamps, it will take 6 hours to charge. I've also been advised to add 25% for inefficiency, so no more than 8 hours for a discharged battery. overcharging SIGNIFICANTLY reduces battery life (speaking from personal knowledge here). 24 hours is probably way too long to charge. You can get a smart charger for SLA or NiMH/NiCAD for around $50, which will automatically back off the rate of charge as the battery gets full. NEVER use a SLA charger for NiMH or vice versa... it's different technology. Actually, look at your local auto parts store... they may have SLA smart chargers for less (cars use 12V, motorcyles use 6V).

go over to and do a search for "diy light" and you'll get more info than you ever wanted!