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Project Page: Mini Bike Light

Project:  Mini Bike Light

ContainerThe cylindrical container that my deodorant comes in is just the right form factor for a mini bike light, so I thought I’d take a shot at making one.  The container has a screw off top on one end and the other is open.  A plastic disc holds the deodorant.


The Build

555 ICI decided to make it a blinking light.  There are different ways to make a blinking LED  circuit, I choose to go with a 555 timer IC.  The CMOS version of this chip will work with low voltage so I can power the light with 2 AA batteries.

The plastic disc holds the LEDs.  Three LEDs would fit in a triangle pattern, so that’s the configuration that I used.  I drilled three holes and used black plastic LED holders.

ContainerI bought a small round PCB to hold the circuitry.  This board worked but made it difficult to push the disc through the cylinder because there wasn’t much room between the board and the cylinder wall to get at the disc with my fingers.  It was a very snug fit and I worried about damaging the electronics as I tried to push the disc.  I ended up coating it with a little 3-in-1 oil and was able to get it all the way to the other end with everything intact.  Sealing the disc would probably provide good waterproofing, but I was not so concerned with that.

BatteriesThe light is turned on and off with by a small toggle switch mounted on the side of the cylinder near the screw top.  If I ever have to take the whole thing apart it would be easy to remove the nut and push it into the body of the light.  One of the great things about this container is that the large screw top allows easy access to the batteries.

Worth It?

Mini Bike LightThe real goal of this project was to create a substitute for a mass produced product with material that would otherwise have gone to a landfill.  It’s easy to find cheap mini bike lights and I’m not sure that the cost of buying the parts to build one makes economic sense.  For the DIYer who already has some of the materials on hand, though, it’s certainly a viable alternative to buying a light and gives one the intangible value of having built it.


Parts Bin

Parts Bin

555 CMOS Timer IC

from RadioShack