Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make a Powerful LED Bicycle Headlight from a Vintage Flashlight

This is a really easy project, it looks awesome on antique & classic bicycles and provides a lot of light with a long run time. It also looks great on modern cruiser bicycles.

Tools: A screw driver and a pair of pliers.

Things you will need:
  1. A Vintage Flashlight, 2 or 3 D Cell that takes a flange style bulb. Click here for eBay's listing of vintage flashlights.
  2. D Cell Batteries
  3. Wald #40 Flashlight Bracket
  4. A TerraLUX TLE-1F MiniStar1 1-Watt Flange Base LED Bulb Replacement.
  5. Optional, plastic straps.
  6. Optional, Plastidip Rubberized Coating.

Why D cells? D cells are inexpensive. The Family Dollar stores seem to have the best prices on name brand batteries. A pair of D cell batteries cost the same as a pair of AA cells and has much more capacity. Also, this is the size flashlight that will fit the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Why the TerraLUX bulb replacement? It's one of the best available, being extremely efficient and relatively inexpensive. There are lots of LED bulb replacements available, but this is one of the only LED bulb replacements that will maintain a steady light output over the life of the battery.

Step 1. Get your vintage flashlight.

Where to get a vintage flashlight? I bought mine on by searching for "vintage flashlight." It's an Eveready Captain with a large reflector.. Verify with the seller that the thing lights up. If the seller can't or won't do this for you, move on to another seller. There are plenty of these old flashlights available. Be sure to ask the seller what type of bulb the flashlight takes If it takes the screw in type bulb, you may be out of luck. TerraLUX has discontinued the LED bulb replacement  for screw in bulbs. You'll want the flange type bulb base with no threads and no bayonet pins. Click here for eBay's listing of vintage flashlights.

Step 2. Remove and discard the regular flashlight bulb.

Step 3. Install the TerraLUX TLE-1F LED Bulb Replacement.

Step 4. Install the batteries and test the flashlight. If it doesn't light up, be sure that the batteries are good and installed properly.

Step 5. Mount the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Step 6. Install the flashlight into the Wald Flashlight Bracket.

Step 7. Optionally, secure the flashlight with a couple of plastic straps for rough trails and easy theft deterrent.

Step 8. Optionally, coat your Wald Flashlight Bracket with Plastidip rubberized coating. Follow the directions on the can.

You're done and now have a VERY kool LED bicycle headlight!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Hub Oil Cap Replacement Alternative

There are replacement lubricators (oil caps) available for the old Sturmey Archer 3 speed and other internal gear bicycle hubs for roughly $2.00, but then you can end up paying $9.00 or more for shipping. This is a really inexpensive alternative to replacing the oil cap.

I used a nylon, 1/4"-20 machine screw with the threaded part cut down to roughly 1/8" long. I used a hack saw blade to cut the screw. I paid $0.45 for a pack of 3 screws at my local hardware store. Simply unscrew your broken lubricator from the hub and replace it with your modified nylon 1/4"-20 machine screw.

These socket cap screws would work great because you can use a long Allen wrench to insert and extract it. I'll have to see if I can find one locally.