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Thread: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    While CPF was down, I had time to finish this Triple Cree XR-E (P3 bin) bike light. I used an nFlex driver and some square Ledil lenses that turned out to fit perfectly in the aluminum housing that I made. The lenses are one 4 degree spot and two 9 degree diffusers. I'm driving them at 750ma with the nFlex. The light is powered by a 14.8v, 4A, Li-Ion battery pack which goes in my camelback and the light is worn on the helmet. The light weighs 125g and the battery a little over 400g. The construction is almost entirely 1" square aluminum tubing.




    Notice the 4 degree spot lens in the middle and the two 9 degree diffusers on each side.


    Here are some beamshot comparisons at a distance of about 25 feet. All were shot at F2.8, 1/4 sec, ISO 400.

    The first shot below is my Fenix P1:


    Next is a dual Luxeon V bike light that I built:


    Next is a triple Luxeon III bike light that I built:


    Finally the triple Cree XR-E is shown below!



    I've started a LED Bike Lighting guide Web site.. it's not finished yet, but here's what I have so far. It includes the links below as well.

    Here are some links to the light housing construction and the installation of the Crees, electronics, and lenses.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by nightrider; 12-18-2006 at 08:02 PM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Man, is that much light street legal?

    Fantastic build, nightrider!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Nice work... i am in the process of building a bike light like this. Looks B bright!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Long John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Very nice light and great report (nice pics too) ...


    Best regards

    _____
    Tom
    It's cheaper to get a high quality light than spending money for many cheap lights.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    Man, is that much light street legal?

    Fantastic build, nightrider!
    Thanks greenLED. Street legal? I don't know, I only use it for off-road trail riding at night.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* farmall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Holy cow!!!!

    Very nice work.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by nightrider
    Street legal? I don't know
    Regardless, I want one!!

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a halogen or HID bike light you could compare your light against? It's obvious it completely smokes all your other creations, I'm curious how it compares with the incans.

    Did you also custom-build that battery pack?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    Regardless, I want one!!

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a halogen or HID bike light you could compare your light against? It's obvious it completely smokes all your other creations, I'm curious how it compares with the incans.

    Did you also custom-build that battery pack?
    I don't own an HID, but I ride with a bunch of folks that do. The light probably doesn't put out as much total light as the HIDs, but it has more throw. This triple cree probably puts out around 400 lumens where most of the HID lights put out 550 - 675 lumens. I'll try to take my camera one night and do some comparison shots with one of my buddies' HID light. I probably have just as much light on the trail in front of me, but not as much side fill... but to solve that problem I use another Dual Luxeon V on the handlebar So my total lumens with both lights is about 640.

    I have some 10w and 20w 12volt halogen lamps, but I don't have a 12v battery to drive them. I've been wanting to make this comparison myself. Maybe I can find a fellow rider that has one I can borrow.

    The battery pack is a pre-built, protected, Li-Ion pack from batteryspace.com.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    nightrider,


    I'm also planning to build my bike light with 3 XR-E. Center one with a sputtered reflector (http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/show...2&postcount=40) for longer distance and two bare emitter for wide area short distance lighting. (Not sure if it'll spill too wide )

    Still thinking how to do the housing.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Nice light nightrider!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Wow, waiting for mine P4 and optics...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Nightrider, very nice work and also very well documented!
    Liked it very much, thank you for posting the whole process.

    One question: I know that you are using stars, but wondering whether Ledil optics fit if I solder the wires on top of the Crees?

  13. #13
    Flashaholic Brum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinter
    One question: I know that you are using stars, but wondering whether Ledil optics fit if I solder the wires on top of the Crees?
    Check the Ledil specsheet, it has a drawing of the underside of a Ledil optic with a bare emitter pictured in it, it shows enough room on the sides to loop the wiring through. With stars (or round PCB) you have to file/remove some of the underside of the optics to make way for the wiring. I believe nightrider did this.

    As posted on MTBR: impressive!

    Now if only my bFlex would show up....

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* eebowler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    nightrider: I'm freaking IMPRESSED! Good work.

    The instructions and directions were excellent also!
    Last edited by eebowler; 11-30-2006 at 05:29 AM.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic MatajumotorS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Where to get the square Ledil lenses?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light


  17. #17
    Flashaholic* KingSmono's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    That is too cool man, nice job!! This is why I love CPF.

    -Allen
    "There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."

    -James Thurber

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by nightrider
    The light is powered by a 14.8v, 4A, Li-Ion battery pack which goes in my camelback and the light is worn on the helmet. The light weighs 125g and the battery a little over 400g. The construction is almost entirely 1" square aluminum tubing.
    You are a real biker when you are specifying grams :-)
    Too bad, carbon is not a good heat spreader...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Very very nice. Excellent evolution in design simplicity, too.

    I'm thinking a 4xCree will actually be competitive with my HID and will blow away the TriLuxIII that I built last year. I'm trying to be patient and let people like you work out the intracies of the XR-E's before I jump in. :-)

    thanks,
    baker

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    The ledil's aren't clear as to whether they fit with wires on top of the emitter, or what installation is recommended. The design seems to allow wires to come from below and reach the solder pads, but the optic itself fits down around the metal ring and may contact the wire.

    The glue pads are foam, and they may squish down over wires soldered onto the star without too much trouble. I haven't installed mine permantently, but test fitting seems OK.

    Carbon fiber is a very good heat conductor, BTW.

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    nightrider, how are you sealing the front of the light against the elements? Is it just the optic sitting flush against the square aluminum or are you using an acrylic window in front of the optics?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by KWillets
    The ledil's aren't clear as to whether they fit with wires on top of the emitter, or what installation is recommended. The design seems to allow wires to come from below and reach the solder pads, but the optic itself fits down around the metal ring and may contact the wire.

    The glue pads are foam, and they may squish down over wires soldered onto the star without too much trouble. I haven't installed mine permantently, but test fitting seems OK.

    Carbon fiber is a very good heat conductor, BTW.
    I did have to trim some of the base of the lens holder to fit over my solder globs on the surface of the star. They need to fit tightly over the Cree emitter to get a good focus.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    nightrider, how are you sealing the front of the light against the elements? Is it just the optic sitting flush against the square aluminum or are you using an acrylic window in front of the optics?
    It's not sealed as well as I would like. The optic holder is just a very little bit loose inside the aluminum square. I could put an acrylic lens over the front, as I have with my past lights, but I'd like to figure out a way to just seal around the front edge of the optics. I'll probably use some silicone caulk, but I'm trying to figure out a way to do it without it looking crappy. I've been thinking about some way to mask off the lens to form a good-looking silicone seal. I don't think I can run a decent bead of caulking that small without some kind of form or mold.

  24. #24
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Masking tape is the typical way to get a good caulk line. Peel it off before it sets.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Timson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Love the refinements you've made to the design of your housing..Very professional looking.

    Noticed your shot showing the different tints from the emitters.
    Were they all supposed to be the same bin with regards to tint.

    Any plans to do a Quad light to compete directly with the HID boys?

    I can feel a Quad 'Q2' with McR19's calling


    Tim.
    M3-CB, C3-HAIII, A2-RD, Fenix L1P, Fenix P1D-CE, Tri-Star Phaser, Inova T3, Mag85, SNII Clone, DD LuxIII Mag,

    Trilobike
    , Hot-Diver

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Timson
    Love the refinements you've made to the design of your housing..Very professional looking.

    Noticed your shot showing the different tints from the emitters.
    Were they all supposed to be the same bin with regards to tint.

    Any plans to do a Quad light to compete directly with the HID boys?

    I can feel a Quad 'Q2' with McR19's calling

    Tim.
    Thanks Tim. Yes, the Crees were supposed to be from the same bin (at least in terms of brightness P3 bin). As far as tint I did not specify when I ordered... but I assumed that all would be the same. So as you can see there is also a "Cree lottery."

    I don't have any plans to build a quad, but I am planning to replace the Luxeon V emitters in my Dual Lux V light that I use on my handlebar. I'm going to use wider angle (15 degree) Ledil lenses in it, because I want more flood from my handlebar light. Between the two lights I should have over 700 lumens total output which is more than most single HID bike lighting systems. And I will have the advantage that having both handlebar + helmet light offers... one light that is always pointing where I'm looking, and another light that always points where my bike is looking, and fills the area around my front tire. Also, the lower angle handlebar light causes objects on the ground like rocks and stumps to cast a shadow, which sometimes makes them easier to see than if the light is shining down from above.
    Last edited by nightrider; 12-09-2006 at 09:08 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Oh yeah, thanks to everyone for all the kind words!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Nice light and awesome documentation!!! Because single-track has different requirements than fire road or pavement riding I wonder if there is a way to seal it up but leave the ability to swap lenses before a ride. Maybe this could be the variable focus light of my dreams… as long as it can be well sealed.

    I wonder how elliptical lenses would work in a biking application. If you mount it down low I think it could give good results.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    Quote Originally Posted by snowman
    Nice light and awesome documentation!!! Because single-track has different requirements than fire road or pavement riding I wonder if there is a way to seal it up but leave the ability to swap lenses before a ride. Maybe this could be the variable focus light of my dreams… as long as it can be well sealed.

    I wonder how elliptical lenses would work in a biking application. If you mount it down low I think it could give good results.
    Thanks snowman.
    You could just use some silicone caulk to attach a clear plexiglass lens plate over the front of the light (I have done this with previous versions of the light). Then the cover could be removed and the lenses swapped out pretty easily. Just using some silicone heatsink compound in the joints where the front part of the light fasten to the main body of the light will not only make it pretty waterproof, but it will also improve heat transfer away from the light. For complete waterproofing, you would have to add a waterproof momentary contact switch and power connector. The connector and switch I'm using are from Radio Shack which tends not to offer very good quality components these days.

    I generally don't choose to ride when it's raining, so complete waterproofing is not such an issue for me. I have been caught in a light sprinkle with the previous version of this light (which does have a sealed front lens) and have not had any problems.

    As long as you stick with compatible lenses (such as the Ledil) that will fit, changing them out is not really a problem. The Ledil just use some double-sided tape to stick on... although, I must admit, I would not want to change lenses before each ride as getting the lenses sitting correctly on top of the Cree is very important to achieving the proper beam pattern.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Triple Cree XR-E Bike Light

    In response to several folks who've PM'd me for information on cost, sourcing, and a parts list for this light, I thought it would be useful to post this here: (not that I minded the PMs )

    1. Total cost to build light: about $110 US (not including battery)
    • 3 XR-E (P3 bin) + 3 Ledil optics + S&H = 62.11 (from cutter.com)
    • 1 nFlex controller + S&H = 30.18 (from taskled.com)
    • 1 momentary contact switch = 2.65 (RadioShack)
    • 1 size M, DC power connector = 2.15 (RadioShack)
    • 1 foot of 1" (1/16" thickness) square aluminum tube = 2.50 (Lowe's hardware dept) - I think I had to buy a 4 foot section
    • J-B Weld (used less than 1/10) = 6.00/10 = 0.60 (Walmart)
    • Arctic Alumina Adhesive (used about 1/4) = 7.00/4 = 1.75 (Sandwich shoppe)
    • Wire (22-24 ga), solder = 2.00 (Radio Shack)
    • 2 #8-32 hex head screws + washers + rubber washers = 2.00 (Lowe's hardware dept)
    • Rubber grip for bottom of helmet feet = 1.50 (Lowe's - furniture grip)
    For a battery pack I'm using a 14.8v, 4A Li-Ion pack from batteryspace.com that was about $80 with charger. You could probably save a little if you went with a NiMh pack of close voltage and capacity. 12v would probably work fine. I get nearly 7 hours of runtime out of the 4A Li-Ion pack with the Triple Cree light running at 750mA. Only draws about .52A from the 14.8v battery pack.

    The light is working out great for me so far. I decided to go ahead and use silcone to attach a plexiglass cover over the front to better waterproof the light (especially since I got caught in a sprinkle the other night). It stays fairly cool while riding but will get warm if left on high while stopped for a few minutes... I generally switch to low power when I stop... the nFlex is great.

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