Motorcycle taillight. Looking to get REALLy bright one to
make sure the #$%^&*( jerks who come up behind me don't miss
it. and squash me:) Want to hear the screaming and tires
howlng when the brakelight fires up.
As I may not be able to buy what I want, DIY might happen.
So, brighter LED's
Questions: Are these LED's bi-level, or separate tail and
Where to buy LED's?
Do flashing LED's exist that approach the brightness of a
Or, where to buy tiny strobes, small enough to fit in a turn
As far as I understand, LED brightness is determined mostly by the
current. LEDs usually are wired into a circuit that limits current
(most primitively, in series with a resistor, like I did on my
trailer). So if you replace old LEDs that were supplied with little
current, with new LEDs, the new ones are not going to get any more
current and so they would not be brighter. You need to get more
current for them. I would vote for buying a different light assembly.
Not exactly. For a given LED, more current gets you more light, up to
the point where it gets you a dead LED.
For two different LEDs, the same current gets you vastly different
amounts of light, if the LEDs are vastly different, which they certainly
can be, by several orders of magnitude. Browse through an electronics
catalog website and read the numbers.
Conveniently for brake lights, bright red LEDs are fairly cheap.
Yellow's not bad either if you want them for turn signals.
Flashing is a driver circuit (the current provider) issue, though there
are some cheesy self-flashing LEDs on the market - but they won't be the
really bright ones.
From what I remember of riding a motorcycle the jerks will look right at you
and attempt to squash you anyway. They will then say something like Oh my
god I didn't see you. Eternal vigilance is in order when on a bike.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, go to a truck stop and look at the standard
offerings they have for LED tail light replacements. This is going to be a
whole lot cheaper than buying the components and building the units
There are many variations on the theme and it would be an easy thing to
retrofit the motorcycle to accept the standard offerings for the trucks and
in the event of failure or damage it would be fast cheap and easy to replace
The ones I have seen come in both configuations. The standard one is wired
like a regular two filiment bulb. One common ground and two hot leads. When
the tail lamps are on about 2/5 of the LEDs are ilumated, and when you hit
the brake the others light as well.
They also sell these in marker lamp configurations, and one of these will
probably serve well for your turn signals.
I would avoid strobe blinkers. Some police cars are equipped with them and
personally I find that they are too bright and tend to cause a reduction in
my night vision and depth perception when I come upon them at night. It is
hard enough to see what needs to be seen without compounding the problem.
If you're really up for a DIY project, VERY bright LED's are available
from Luxeon and Cree. At max brightness some of them would be
hazardous (blinding) as brakelights. The red-orange 3-watt Luxeon
III can produce 190 lumens at full rated current. By comparison,
many of the xenon tactical rail lights used by SWAT teams produce 80
to 100 lumens.
A single 1-watt red Luxeon with a diffusing lens is about equivalent
in brightness to the brake & turn light using an 1157 bulb on my Chevy
Brighness of a given LED is more or less proportional to drive
current. Different LED's can take different amounts of current. The
usual "gumdrop" LED's can typically take 20 to 50 mA, while the
Luxeon III can take 1400 mA. LED's do vary in efficiency, some being
brighter than others for the same current. The viewing angle also
strongly affects brightness; a narrow angle LED will look much
brighter to those "in the beam", but considerably less bright
elsewhere. I think a wide-angle would be best for brakelights.
The easiest DIY project would be a number and assembly of gumdrop
high-brightness LED's. That's what is used on nearly all truck and
trailer LED brake/taillights. A google search on LED will find a
number of sources for them.
LED's can be made bi-level just by changing the drive current. They
can be flashed, either on and off or bright and less-bright.
Never going to happen. I sailed for years on a 16ft. Hobi Cat, brilliant
yellow hulls 16' long with Tequila Sunrise sails. It could be seen at
midnight on a foggy night at 3 miles..and have had countless near misses
from power boaters who claimed.."they didnt see me"
This Message is guaranteed environmentally friendly
Manufactured with 10% post consumer ASCII
Meets all EPA regulations for clean air
Using only naturally occuring fibers
Use the Message with confidance.
(Some settling may occure in transit.)
(Best if Used before May 13, 2009)
If I heard screaching tires, I would accellerate out of there fast! But
to answer your question, the usual brake/driving light led bulbs use
several leds arranged in a circular pattern and only 1/2 are used when
you turn on your normal driving lights, the others are turned on as you
press the brake pedal. So there are 3 contacts just like on an
incandescent dual filament bulb, and in fact some are direct
replacements. Light modulators, which flash your brake light can be
purchased from vendors such as J&P cycles. In my experience the led
lights work well at night but are a little weak in daylight. If you find
a way to convert them to Luxon 3 watters i'd like to know about it.
To add to the LED collective, note that replacement-bulb solutions
will be much less effective at angles other than directly to the rear.
I'd like a curved LED brake light panel, myself, for dual-sport use.
On Wed, 30 May 2007 17:44:50 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, Gunner
Let's hope you never heard screeching tires out there, Gunner.
Yeah, people just don't pay attention to what they're doing, and it
gets worse on the road every year and with every trend (like cell
phones, GPS, and portable video players.)
- Metaphors Be With You -
After a Computer crash and the demise of civilization, it was learned
Gunner wrote on Wed, 30 May 2007 17:44:50 GMT in
Oh, that's right, you're in the People's Republic, you don't have
any such problems which would necessitate making a response without
first contacting the local authorities.
"Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est. "
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 45 AD
(A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer's hands.)