Topics

sticky Lighting

Kevin Crockett - VK3CKC
 

Have you ever been perplexed about what sort of lighting to purchase for your trike or bike? There are so many types, sizes, running voltage, running current, effectiveness, mounting requirements, etc., to consider and I find the need to have a number of small batteries and having to check them decidedly annoying. In short, there is a requirement for a "better mousetrap".

I purchased a number of RGB WS2812 8-LED strips and a couple of 1m lengths WS2812 strips for testing. Although I had a couple of Arduino Uno boards, I also bought an Arduino Nano. I tried a downloaded Arduino sketch using the FastLED library but I couldn't get the Nano to run it for some reason. I loaded the same thing to a Uno that has run other sketches and it runs perfectly. The LEDs run off 5V which leads to one power source for all lights.

The exercise has proved completely successful and I have an 8-LED demo running a wide variety of colours and displays from a USB battery bank at 90mA.

My plan is to use WS2812 LEDs for everything except headlight use - tail light (low intensity), stop light (high intensity), turn indicators, body interior lighting and display lighting with whatever colour, intensity and pattern takes my fancy. The 8-LED strips will be generally put them in a small Jiffy box, replacing the lid with a diffusing panel. I do have a couple of plastic panels that can be used for this.

There are plenty of examples of using WS2812 LEDs on the Internet.

If you get experimenting, please post your results here.

Kevin Crockett - VK3CKC
 

I fiddled a bit with a sketch and very easily managed to change it to a flashing indicator display. Had to experiment with colour to get what was suitable but it quickly fell into place. Only a small step to a two-light-level tail/stop lamp and a couple of logic things and it is sorted.

Easy!

Kevin Crockett - VK3CKC
 

Have now got a working Arduino LED light controller in demo mode with 3 LED bars attached. There is still a little code tidying required before I upload the sketch and I can provide some assistance if you wish to customise anything.

Features:

1. Left and Right Turn Indicators. Can be easily modified for hazard flashers with non-programmed external switch.
2. Tail/Brake Light. Flashes low intensity for tail light and is replaced with solid high intensity with a programmed brake light switch detection.
3. Static white light for other uses such as reversing, interior (programmed for flashing at the moment). Could be easily changed for front "running" lights with minor code changes.

If one is so inclined, one can easily add multi-colour, multi-pattern eye-catching display lighting using one of the many Arduino sketches available from the Internet. This is something I will add to my Warrior trike for the O'Keefe Challenge in April.

So, what is stopping you having your own unique bike/trike lighting?

Kevin Crockett - VK3CKC
 

Successfully tested basic operation of installed rear lighting today.
Have added a small "dashboard" with repeaters for rear lighting. Most reassuring to see telltale dashboard indication that the lights are functioning as designed. Not much fun to find that the USB power plug has fallen out (happened on earlier trials) and the tail and indicator lights that you thought were being displayed, actually weren't there at all. A cursory glance at the dashboard and one returns to a calmer state.
A word of advice. I detest those micro USB connectors at any time. Add the vibration on a bike or trike and there connections can become iffy at best. They need to be firmly fixed in place (insulation tape) and prevented from vibrating. Vibration is the worst enemy of any connector. Hard wired would be best.
The next stage is to add the fancy lights for the Light The Trail ride from Axedale to Heathcote on April 26th. This will be a separate Arduino for a quick fix but will be incorporated into the lighting controller at a later date. After that comes LED additions for the front and a dedicated 5V power source from the onboard 12V battery.

Kevin Crockett - VK3CKC
 

A successful LED lighting trial for during the O'Keefe Challenge April 26 and April 28.
The Light the Trail Night ride included rear lights powered by a USB battery pack that ran the flashing tail light, indicators and even hazard lights at one stage. This was for riding from Axedale to Heathcote and back - about 66km. There was no diminishing of light output and no interruption to the lights with the USM power cabled firmly tethered to the battery pack to prevent it vibrating out. The battery pack indication was that it would have lasted 3 or 4 times that distance.
In addition to the rear lights, I ran a 3 metre long, 90-LED display lighting strip from one side, up towards the front and down the other side with 20 or so different display patterns. This lit up both sides of the riding trail and is an indication of what white side lighting and reverse lighting could do. Great. This was powered from my on-board 9AH 12V SLA battery via a simple 7805 (1.5A) regulator. I ran it all the way to Heathcote and back without any problems.
The Challenge ride, 42km from Junortoun to Heathcote only required the rear lighting. Altough not a great distance, it ran the taillight for the 7 hours duration and indicators/hazard flashers for 3/4hr less than that. This only depleted the battery pack by an indicated 25%,
I forgot to mention the dashboard indications were powered as well.
Improvements? Front lights, change colurs of dashboard display to mimic rear lights, a couple more 5V regulators to power all from 12V battery (might not suit you but you could use 18650s instead) and a power distribution panel from the battery. I now have to do it properly.
All in all, a very successful trial once I discovered that the cyclicly intermittent e-Assist USB outlet did not power the microprocessor reliably. Yippee!!