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8.6 Great Bicycle Light, Cheap!




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This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

8.6 Great Bicycle Light, Cheap!

From: jdc@rama.UUCP (James D. Cronin)

I finally found a bright, semi-inexpensive light for my daily commute
to work in remote upstate New York. It's reasonably lightweight and
uses readily available parts:
- The light itself is a 12-volt "lawn light". They are made by
Toro and Intermatic. Some are sealed beam, while others are separate
bulb/reflector. A set of 5, with a 12-volt power transformer set me
back $55.00 This is enough for two bikes, with one spare. You can get
7, 12 and 18 watt bulbs, or a 20 watt halogen bulb (big bucks - around
$15 each!).
- Red plastic lenses cost around $3, ideal for a tail light.
- The battery is two 6-volt 4 amp-hour gel cells in series.
They cost $5 each at a local surplus house.
- Add a rectifier to the 12-volt transformer, and you have a
primitive battery charger at almost no extra cost. It may be
necessary to put a 7-watt bulb in series, to provide some low-tech
current limiting. Use a meter to check charging current, and keep it
below (battery-amp-hours / 10). You don't want to kill the batteries.

It really works great, especially with the 18 watt bulb. It lights up
the road well, and the tail light is bright enough to be seen at a
good distance. The total cost for two bikes was around $90, which
included six batteries, assorted wire, connectors/switches, and an
extra battery charger. And I can always get more light out of it by
switching to that 20 watt halogen bulb for an extra $15.

From: jdc@rama.UUCP (James D. Cronin)

For those of you with 12-volt lights, I've found a place that carries
20-watt halogen bulbs at a reasonable price. Controls International
lists them in their 1991 catalog for $6.40 each, in quantity one.
The stock number is J-IHL222. They call it a "replacement bulb",
for their halogen gooseneck lamps. Controls International takes
credit card orders at their toll-free number, 1-800-237-7079.

Know of any places that can beat $6.40? A local lighting retailer
sells them for $15 each. Ouch.

 

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