DIY LED XR650L blinkers, brake and headlight build

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by pngaudioguy, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    So here's a copy of what I posted in the XR650L forum, where someone suggested I start my own thread re: this build. I can't guarantee that I'll be finishing this up anytime real soon, as other home projects are bound to get in the way, so consider this a work in progress.

    Some links I consider useful and relevant:

    Constant Current power supply from Instructables
    Avago Red LED's from Mouser


    This project started due to a need to have a rear facing red foglight on my car. I used the bumper reflector, and LED's from Mouser. Here's a shot gluing it back together after assembly. For some reason, my camera gave it an orange/yellow tint vs the red that my eye sees. You can see the constant current source in the upper left corner, from Instructables, adjusted to match the LED's I chose. Total power draw, 12W. Light output, 300 lumens. I have the option to push 700mA instead, which would bump me up to 24W draw, and eyeball searing amount of light. Those little f'ers are bright. My blind spots lasted about 5 minutes with them at full power.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: This picture was taken only driving 151mA through the LED's of their 700mA capacity.

    On to the motorbike stuff.

    I've done a bit of messing around so far, and determined that 3 of these each front and back will approximately match the brightness of the factory blinkers! I'd plan to push them at 1/2-3/4 power, which would run me 6-9W each blinker (not in red, of course.) By comparison, the factory blinkers are 23W each.

    I want to do the brake light as well, with 12 LED's. When not braking, they'll pull 2W to put out about the amount of light the factory "TV set" does as a taillight. Tap the brake, and they go to full brightness (1100+ lumens, equal to a 70W incandescent light bulb according to Wikipedia - chart near bottom) while drawing a mere 16.8W.

    Then there's the headlight, but I haven't picked out all the stuff for it yet. I know I'm targeting 3300 lumens low beam, 5000+ high beam in the patterns linked. If high beam accidentally throws too far, oh well. Hehe. I'm shooting for 4500+/- degrees Kelvin for low beam, 5000 K high beam for ideal visibility and natural color rendering. I expect the cost to be right around $150-200 in parts based on preliminary planning, and provide me with a very close to optimal headlight pattern that will not annoy oncoming traffic, drawing a target of 30W low, 50W high.

    EDIT, 03 June 2014 - I've added the following link to a PDF I printed from my Mouser project page this afternoon. If you'd like to make this LED taillight, almost everything you need is in this link. Just add some kind of breadboard from RadioShack, etc and some aluminum bar, bolts, and grommets from your local hardware store.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94352780/advrider/XRL_taillight.pdf

    Also, here's the link for the bayonet socket I used:

    http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/car-install-supplies/ba15d-empty-ba15-base/707/772/
    #1
  2. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
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    Quoted to copy relevant info from XRL thread to here.

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mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> You're welcome for the link. The parts to build your own constant current supply are only a few dollars, and can be very easily customized to a particular need using his provided formulas. This circuit would readily drive the Luxeons as well.

    Heat sinks - definitely a must for full power operation. After much research, it seems that standard JB Weld is thermally but not electrically conductive (at least not enough to cause shorting, etc). I can confirm that it does not transfer enough electricity to light an LED, as I accidentally experimented with that during this build... Probably a great option for attaching to heatsinks in a pinch, though I suggest that Arctic Alumina is a better epoxy for that application long term, being ceramic based and designed for heat transfer.

    The Avago LED's are very similar to Luxeons, being slightly more expensive and brighter than Luxeon I, while being only slightly dimmer and much less expensive than Luxeon III. Also, their peak light output requires only 700mA vs 1400mA for the Luxeon III. In the previous picture, I'm running them at 151mA. Going over the spec sheet, I don't anticipate a need for much heatsinking under those conditions. I have a thin aluminum plate JB'd to the plastic, then the LED's JB'd to that.

    Word of caution about the Avago LED's - the red does not seem to be available with an electrically isolated slug, so if you mount directly to a metal surface, all the anodes will be linked resulting in a fixed 100% parallel configuration. Be very cautious about forward voltage!


    My LED's for the bike however, will have appropriate heatsinks, and I'll take more pictures along the way. Naturally, the brake will need the best heatsink, as it will be an always on (albeit at low power) application. They put off a nice glow at 20 mA.
    #2
  3. Ghost_Mutant

    Ghost_Mutant looking for bionics

    Joined:
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    Subscribed.

    I would not have switched to LEDs if I had the juice to spare. My stock stator puts out something like 75 Watts. The incandescent lights that came with the old baja designs dual sport kit did drain the tiny battery during idle conditions, like stopped in rush hour traffic with the brake light on. Switching to LEDs made a big difference. I should upgrade my stator but I'll have to deal with grommet sealing issues since there isn't an exact fit for my XR5.

    Downside of my plug in 1156/57 Luxeons are:

    1) expensive
    2) heavy
    3) fragile

    Seeing two of these expensive lights fail due to vibration was a big downer. The heat sinks on these are big and heavy items. I had one turn signal oriented out (pointing out) instead of the normal Honda pointed back. Previous owner had replaced a broken turn signal with a Suzuki style. Its obvious that the vibrations combined with the orientation of the bulb conspired together to break that turn signal. I've since replaced that turn signal with a Honda style.

    The other broken light was the tail/brake light. It initially failed when I tried to install it:eek1. The glue holding the heat sink on was that weak. I didn't do a good enough job fixing it and it failed a second time and I then had to buy a new one. The new one was a different design and looked more robust, but I still added some JB weld to be sure it stays together.

    I'm glad I haven't bought any more of these LED bulb replacements. With your info here, I'll be pricing components to see if there is any money to be saved building my own. I might change my turn signal style if I can figure out how to properly mount the Avagos.

    Hadn't thought about replacing the headlight. Definitely let us know how that works out!
    #3
  4. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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    What type of controller, and how to program, to get flash patterns?
    #4
  5. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
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    The circuit I'm using in these is just an electrical current control. There's no flash patterns or anything. The blinkers will use an electronic flasher relay replacement for the stock one since with the low power draw they'd just be on, not blink otherwise. The brake light will use my foot/hand as the flasher.

    I'm not convinced that the DIY method will necessarily be any cheaper than buying a pre-made unit. However, I'll know that I've used good components, and that the assembly is good. Plus it's fun to do.
    #5
  6. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Long timer

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    +1. Idle hands are the devils workshop! Have fun - sounds like a cool project:clap
    #6
  7. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

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    I've been a little side-tracked finishing up the fog lights for the cars and working on the basement so we can rent out the house when we move, but I've managed to put together this schematic of how I intend to wire the brake light up. I used the open source TinyCad from sourceforge. Pretty cool little program.

    The white LED's are because many states require illumination on the license plate, and obviously red LED's won't provide that. I don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention with this. The schottky diode is to have minimal voltage loss on my primary power source, while preventing the high current for the red LED's from kicking back into the low power white LED's.

    Most of the circuit looks very much like the one from the constant current power source linked in the first post, but you'll note that I've added an additional NFET and resistor. When power is applied to the brake signal wire, current will flow through this transistor dropping a second resistor in parallel with the first. This will alter the current set point of the system, making the LED's brighten dramatically. They're rated for 700mA maximum DC current to provide 94lm of output.

    10 ohm for taillight = 50mA of current through red LED's ~7.5lm each, 90lm total
    .758 ohm for brake = 660mA of current through red LED's ~85lm each, 1020lm total

    Reminder - in the picture above they're being driven at 150mA, and there are only 6 of them vs 12...

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Updated diagram:
    Changed R4 to 39 ohm, after measuring a constant 13.9 volts on taillight pin to keep those 4 LED's happy at 30mA.
    Added R5 to catch any potential current spikes on application of brakes.
    Added R6 to drain charge from Q3 to allow channel to close on brake release.

    Added diagram on right:
    Mostly just a copy from the instructable, with values customized for my application. ~650mA to 5 LED's for the turn signals.

    I needed a wire connector for the switch harness on my wife's car, so had to place an order from Mouser anyway. To save on shipping costs, it only made sense to buy the parts for this at the same time... I'll post up if I find an excuse to put it together this spring before we move!
    #7
  8. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Parts came in! Looking at the forecast, I'm planning to ride to work on Tuesday, and "accidentally" take the rear light apart to bring some parts in to measure when I get home. I put in quite a few hours on the house this weekend, so might get a pass for fiddling with the bike weeknights this week.
    #8
  9. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Found a couple minutes this morning when wife wasn't looking to disappear into the basement. I've decided to use the factory "TV" to mount my LED's. After a bit of turning parts this way and that, and contemplating, here's my started assembly.

    Standard 3/4" by 1/8" aluminum bar available at most home improvement warehouses for cheap, grommets from a packet of 8 or so at Autozone, also fairly cheap.
    [​IMG]

    Carefully drilled and marked holes to get heatsink to line up nicely.
    [​IMG]

    That's about as far as I'll be able to get today. Afternoon is booked up. Yes, the red lid fits over neatly with zero modification. I had to Dremel the shield just a little to get my bar to clear. I ordered empty bayonet sockets from superbrightleds.com to wire to my LED's so that if for some reason this whole project is an epic fail, I can just pop the normal bulb back in and go for a ride.
    #9
  10. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Have spent the lunch break this week working on my brake light. Here's my progress so far.

    The LED's, ready to fasten to the heat sink, and everything all wired up.
    [​IMG]

    A shot of the other side of the wiring - the component locations will make a lot more sense when it's attached to the heatsink, which I constantly held it up against as I went.
    [​IMG]

    Next two shots are with the camera locked on ISO, F-stop, and shutter settings. First up, in taillight mode.
    [​IMG]

    And brake mode:
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Argh - why is USPS so SLOW! Project on hold until they deliver the arctic alumina. All the wiring is done, I just need that epoxy to get the LED's attached to the heatsinks without shorting anything out. Still hoping that our mail man will bring them tomorrow, maybe. I've updated the first post, and the post halfway down the first page with schematics to current status.
    #11
  12. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Had a random day off today, so of course I attacked the brake light. Here's finished pictures.

    Used the weight of the heatsink to hold all the LED's against it while the thermal epoxy set up - 5 minutes.
    [​IMG]

    Flipped it over, here's the topside.
    [​IMG]

    Mounted on the bike.
    [​IMG]

    Comparison in full afternoon sunlight with the camera at about 3 feet.
    Camera is in manual mode with locked ISO, f-stop, shutter, and white balance.
    Top row is factory bulb, bottom row LED. Taillight on left, Brake on right.
    [​IMG]

    Comparison at dusk from about 30 feet away. Same orientation as above.
    I left the license plate unblurred (I know, a travesty), because I find it amazing how constant the light on the plate is with the new setup regardless whether braking or not.
    [​IMG]

    A little darker out, off-axis at about 10 feet, just the LED this time because I was tired of changing the bulb.
    [​IMG]

    So that's the brake light. I can honestly say that it looks every bit as bright as the stock bulb across all the necessary viewing angles to provide safety, and even illuminates the plate better than the stock bulb using the values in the updated current supply on the left in post #7. From car driver viewing height, the LED's are just on the edge of painful to look at. Perfect, if you ask me.

    Total power draw? 50mA as taillight, 580mA as brake which equates to ~0.75/8W as compared to 8/27W for the factory brake bulb.

    Here's a quick shot of where I'm going with the blinkers, using amber instead of red LED's, of course.
    [​IMG]

    I'd originally hoped to use just one constant current supply as shown on the right in post #7 above, but after analyzing the wiring schematic of the bike, decided that I wasn't content with the amount of control that would give over the actual current through the LED's with the amount of other stuff sharing that green wire, and have ordered parts to make 3 more, so these will truly be a plug and play replacement for the factory bulb. Once those arrive, I should be able to get the electronic relay popped on, and have these done in another day or so.

    The headlight? That's a back burner pipe-dream at this point.
    #12
  13. Ghost_Mutant

    Ghost_Mutant looking for bionics

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    716
    Location:
    border of granite & flats
    Looking good.

    I hope those turn signals work out, but I'm having trouble seeing how you are going to install them. Will they twist into the socket with that large piece of wood and heatsink?
    #13
  14. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Thanks for asking. I did end up having to Dremel just a little bit off the corner of the wood to get them to twist correctly. I'd test fit them flat, but the diagonal was just a little longer than the straight line, of course.

    Final electrical test has a draw of between .66 and .68A depending on the unit. At a voltage of 13.8 (at blinker socket with engine running), that comes out to 9.3 watts. Factory blinkers are 23 watts, so each side will now draw 18W vs 46W originally, and no filament to break.

    Finished blinkers.
    [​IMG]

    Installed on the bike.
    [​IMG]

    Test, cover off.
    [​IMG]

    Cover back on.
    [​IMG]

    Directly from the side.
    [​IMG]

    LED left, bulb right. Not quite as bright, but perfectly adequate.
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. KyoXR

    KyoXR Clouds, Snow, Rain

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    805
    Location:
    CA
    keep up the good work, we need more people like you doing this sort of thing.:deal
    #15
  16. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Thanks KyoXR. I definitely enjoy tinkering. I'd like to do the headlight as well, but my initial plan has it close to $200 before even getting an enclosure or anything, so that's on hold for the time being. In looking over these pictures, I realized that the pictures of the blinkers don't quite look right. The brightness difference isn't as great as it looks in these. Perhaps it's the wavelength, or the "insta-blink" effect, but I think the LED's actually catch your attention better. Either way, I have enough spare power off the stator for heated gear now :D.
    #16
  17. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,749
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    How hard would it be to add a "thing" to program flash patterns?
    #17
  18. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Programmable patterns would require a "programmable interface chip" or PIC for short, and the software and interface to program it. There may be pre-programmed IC's available with a variety of flash patterns. I haven't really looked into it, as I have minimal interest in that. One thing I did consider while designing this was something that included a burst of flashes before the brake went on solid (similar to what you often see on ambulance brake lights, etc). The circuit on the following site appears that it would do exactly that. Integrating it into my existing circuit would be a bit tricky.

    http://www.redcircuits.com/Page146.htm
    [​IMG]

    If that's the effect you're looking for, then the author of redcircuits also has an entire circuit on Page 165 that one could build without any modifications that does tail / brake + flash. SW1 would be taillight wire, SW2 brake wire. I haven't tested his design, but the theory is sound, and it appears to be a fairly elegant circuit.

    If you're thinking more along the lines of selectable flash patterns like the Whelen TIR3/LIN3, etc, then I think you'll have to do some research (which is what I would also have to do.)
    #18
  19. Memnok

    Memnok Fly high, go far.

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Turlock, Ca
    I would love to see a circuit that left all 4 turn signals on in a low-power mode, then made them brighter (like a tail/brake light) when the turn signal is activated. I guess they could blink on and off when activated, but getting brighter like a fail/brake light seems a bit easier.
    #19
  20. pngaudioguy

    pngaudioguy Just...one...more...

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Belgium
    Memnok, that would be pretty cool. Unfortunately, with the way the XR650L is wired, I'm not sure how well that would work out in reality. I was a little concerned about the shared dark green wire in being able to accurately control the current going to the LED's from a central location. In theory it should work, but I'm mildly concerned about spurious spikes from the pulse generator, CDI, coil, etc. I know it's just a "common ground", but that's the reason I ended up throwing a current control in each blinker on my bike (at a cost of ~$1.50 each.) I wanted to make sure I didn't fry my LED's that were $4 each...

    If you really want to give it a try, I've got an idea that might work. I'll sketch it up this evening after the in-laws leave, or maybe even while they're here if it gets too dull. If it looks like it'll work, I'll post up a schematic.
    #20