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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm working on some custom turn signals based off the Neopixel LEDs. They are RGB and can be individually controlled. They will go inside the stock housing. I am also ordering some clear lenses to put in front.

The goal is to have them act as running/brake lights (Red with blue center dot) and also as turn signals (yellow). I'm thinking about a progressive illumination pattern (in to out burst, or spiral fill, or horizontal wipe) for some more fun.

I have it next to a stock turn signal running at 14.4 volts for comparison. It's not quite as bright as the stock signal. That may derail the whole project, if I can't get the brightness up.
 

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Neat! But complicated
Are you going to have to drive them with an Arduino board or what?!
I have something similar in a stage prop lightsaber I got at a Comic-Con with my son. Have to plug it into a laptop to change the color and sound parameters...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm going to use an Arduino Nano in a waterproof case to drive them. I'll run the factory turn signal and brake wires into the inputs (after conditioning them down to 5 volts), to trigger the different signals. Of course, I'll need to change the flasher to an LED compatible one, and move & upgrade the rectifier to deal with the different electrical load.

I was going to put some around the side reflector (as a frame) to provide a side marker. I want to run a strip along the underside of the frame as a road glow, and over the engine as well. I want it to look classy, rather than over-the-top.

I'm starting with the rear signals. If it goes well, then I'll move on to the front signals, the side marker lights, the frame lights, the license plate light, and finally the brake light. The headlight is a different animal. I have to change more circuitry, and there's no advantage for me to design my own LED headlight, over buying an off-the-shelf model.

Parts list so far
Per Signal:
8 count LED black PCB
16 count LED ring
Super Bright RGB LED x2 for rear
Super Bright White LED x1-2 for front
Custom driving board for Super Bright LEDs
Clear Lenses (2 pack, 1 lens per signal)

The frame, side markers etc use these strips
144/m strips (free leftovers :) )

Per System:
Arduino Nano (3 pack, only 1 needed)
5V power (2 - 3 needed)

Plus a few odds and ends to connect it all.

Please don't add up all the costs and tell me that it'd be cheaper to just by X lights by Y brand. I don't want to know. ;) Building my own is part of the fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Status Update, my coworker designed a bracket to mount a high power LED inside the turn signal housing, and utilize the built in reflector! We have a 3D printer at work, so I tested one out.

It is a little tight on the mounting tabs, and I had to cut 4 of them off. It also interferes with the lens slightly so it needs an adjustment. However, it placed the LED in exactly the right spot to perfectly use the mirror!

What's nice about this bracket is the LED size is an industry standard size for 1-10 Watt LEDs. It holds two LEDs, with one facing the mirror, and one facing outward. You could use White LEDs with the factory lenses if you desired.

I took some pictures with a single 2 Watt RGB LED behind the smoked clear lens. It is about as bright as the 21 Watt bulb behind the Amber lens. I only had one LED, so there wasn't one facing the lens, causing a dark spot. The two images were taken with the same camera at the same exposure settings.

When I add the forward facing LED, I am considering running it blue, for a nice blue dot brake/running light (legal in IL!). Since the color is controlled by code, I can add a switch to go to solid red if I travel out of state.

When I use the turn signal, I'll turn the LEDs to 100% Red plus about 75% Green, for a simulated amber signal.

In the front signals, I am planning on using a pair of RGBW LEDs. While running, I'll use 100% white plus some Red and Green (to warm up the color tone and try to match the headlight color). When turning, I'll switch to 100% Red plus 75% Green to simulate amber.

I'm pretty excited about trying to blend LEDs into an older bike. I may even put in the code, a gradual turn on/off to simulate incandescent bulbs, when turning, or coming off the brakes.
However when applying the brakes, I'll probably do a quick 2-3x flash followed by steady on, just to get peoples' attention.
 

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This is cool! Keep sharing the progress, I love seeing electronics projects like these, and can't wait to see how they look on the bike in action
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Winter turned to spring, and spring turned to riding, so this project stopped!
Well I'm back in the off-season and taking another crack at it.

This time, I'm using some high powered LEDs from Cree.
The XML series, capable of 1A per color.

I mounted two in the original housing, using the screw posts to mount the bracket.
One faces outward, and the second faces the backside and uses the factory mirror.

The left images are the stock bulb with the amber lens, from straight on and from the side.
The right images are the LEDs with a smoked clear lens, from straight on and from the side.
I also took pictures of the LED with the white turned on. Not as bright as the red.

The brightness is comparable. The previous approach was not.

Next is the controller that I need to build for this.
Since the LEDs are RGBW, the rear will function as running lights (RED), brake lights (RED) and turn signals (RED + GREEN). The front will function as running lights (WHITE) and turn signals (RED + GREEN = amber).
 

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Awesome

Sent from my A502DL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I haven't forgotten about this project!
I remade the bracket to make it simpler. It holds any standard Star LED PCB.
The 3D model can be downloaded here.

It takes 2 machine screws (metric, of course!), 2 nylon lock nuts and 4 nylon spacers.
Electrically, the rear requires 2 15 ohm resistors, 2 30 ohm resistors, and 6 diodes.
Add 2 150 ohm resistor if you want red running lights.

For the front, it also requires 2 15 ohm resistors, 2 30 ohm resistors, and 6 diodes.
Add 2 150 ohm resistors and 2 330 ohm resistors if you want amber running lights.

Optionally, the running lights could be bright white in the front.
They would be on white, but flash amber/off when using the turn signal.
This is still being developed.

I made a few brief videos comparing a factory turn signal with my LED turn signal.

I used these (Cree XM-L RGBW) for my LEDS.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
UPDATE: I built a "resistor box" that allows me to run the LEDs directly off the factory wiring. Basically, I'll feed Power, Ground, Brake, Left Turn and Right turn into the box. Coming out of the box will be lines for the left and right signals. Those signals will be for the Red and Green LEDs inside each signal. (Red+Green to make "amber").
Eventually, I want to convert the front signals as well but I'm focusing on just the rears for now.

I'm trying to make it something that I can add without permanent changes to the factory wiring.

I made a video today, testing the box with 15 Volts DC.

Now I need to find a location for the box add the wiring to it.
Here's a picture of the box. The three holes on the left are for the incoming wire and both rear signals.
The right side of the box is reserved for setting up the front signals.
The box is aluminum, so the heat from the large resistors goes into the box wall and into the outside air.
The silver is the 15 ohm, the brown is 30 ohm and the green 150 ohm.



During the last few weeks of the season, I rode without rear signals, as I had started working on this project.
I REALLY liked the clean look without the signals...but I of course had no signals.

I recently discovered smoked lens covers for the brake light.
With the dual bulbs and the clear lens, I could do multi-color LEDs there too (or instead of)!
I could turn the brake light itself into a combo signal and brake light!
That would be pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I finished wiring the control box.
The front LEDs run white normally.
Whenever I engage the turn signal, both go out and one flashes amber.
After disengaging the turn signal, both fade back on.

The box gets decently toasty. Worst case (running lights and brake lights), the box is dissipating 22 watts!!!
Brake + signal is 21 watts, signal only is 10 watts, running only is 8.5 watts.
This is with 15 volts. The power drops by ~20% with 14 volts.
I sized it for 15 volts, since that's what my bike reads when I decelerate.
My bike runs about 14.7 volts at cruise.

One front light, one rear light

Both front lights
 

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Have you figured out were you’re going to mount the resistor box? I’m curious to how you make out with it.
 

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That’s very cool, nicely integrated with the brake lights on the rear and white running lights makes sense.
I’ve got led brake bulbs on order, as inspired by this build
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I realized I never posted any close up pictures of the LEDs themselves on the brackets. Here's one of them. I use two long screws, four nylon spacers, and two nylon lock nuts per signal. I'm wiring them up with Red, Green and White, so that they're universal for front or rear signals. The rear of course will only use Red and Green. I zip tied the wires (not shown here) to the bracket, so that pulling on them doesn't desolder the wires.

I was able to reprint the brackets in white. That resulted in a noticeable increase in light output and light uniformity.
In the last picture, the signal on the right side has the old black bracket. It has faint dark horizontal lines, vs the signal on the left which has a more uniform light output.

The box has all the incoming connections added, and the outgoing connections to the rear signals. I have all the resistors installed for the front, but I haven't added the wires for those connections yet. I ran out of crimp on terminals. I also need to purchase more LEDs for the front signals.

Tomorrow I'm going to install one front and one rear signal on my bike and take a video to compare new to old.

52862
52863
52864
52865
 

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I somehow missed the december update. Signals are looking good!
Are the brackets ABS? PLA? Is there any significant heat in the signal housing, or are the LEDs pretty cool?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I somehow missed the december update. Signals are looking good!
Are the brackets ABS? PLA? Is there any significant heat in the signal housing, or are the LEDs pretty cool?
These are ABS. With a supply voltage of 15V, assuming an outside air temp of 106F (41C) and not moving, the LEDs get to 235F (113C) internally when holding the brake indefinitely. The front white running lights are similar to the rear brake lights. If holding the brake AND using the turn signal while not moving, the LEDs will get to 257F (125C). They are rated for a maximum of 302F (150C). The rear red running lights is about 1/12th the power of the brake lights. I didn't measure the temperature, but it's well under 235F (113C).

ABS is printed at 428F (220C). However, I just discovered it's only rated for use up to 176F (80C) and the glass transition temperature (when it becomes a liquid) is 221F (105C)! I've been focused on keeping the LED within limits that I forgot to check the limits of the plastic itself!!!
Fortunately, the temperatures I listed above are internal temperatures. The exterior of the LED does not get quite this hot, but it might hit 115C though...which would be game over. This will be an interesting experiment! I guess another saving grace is my voltage will NOT be 15V when I'm not moving, but probably closer to 13V or 12.5V. That alone drops the power by 25% (and temperature) so I'll probably be fine, as long as I don't ride through death valley!

I might have to reprint them in Poly Carbonate with a 293F (145C) glass transition temperature.
 
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