LED Headlights from Small Ant Tech – Poor Engineering

One of the best bang for your buck upgrades for your vehicle is getting rid of those old crappy halogens and installing some LED or HID lights. I’ve used some great performing LED headlights in the past – although those did need some fabrication of some new retainers. These headlights in more than one way leave me wanting.

Product: 9006/HB4 LED Headlights with built-in fan and canbus
Cost: $35.99
Available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KLXLGNY

These lights come in a nice hard plastic case securely held inside with some foam – but that’s about the best engineering about these. The physical appearance of the materials looks good, but they lack the amount of aluminum I would expect for a heatsink – even with a built in fan.

I noticed immediately that the collar is very loose and you can physically jiggle the light housing around the collar, which results in headlights that move and jiggle over every inconsistency in the road. The design of mounting the collar is by simply twisting the housing out of the collar, which works fine when tightening the light into your vehicle, but makes for an absolute pain in the butt when trying to uninstall. When removing the light from my car, the light loosened out of the collar (by design) and I had to really fight with it to finally work the collar out of the assembly mount in my car. The plug is also longer than standard – which didn’t impede installation, but was a nuisance.

A brighter light is expected with LEDs, but these fall far from the mark. Although the light pattern is sharp and flat as it should be, these are considerably dimmer than my standard halogen.

Overall, I am very disappointed with these and cannot, in good conscience, recommend these to anyone. The manufacturer needs to pull these off the market and send them back to get re-engineered.

Halogen on top, dimmer LED on bottom.

Berzo 3 LED Headlamp Review

Unboxed Headlamp with Accessories
I wish I had six arms so I could do more of what I needed to (can’t have enough arms to do everything). When I’m trying to get something done in the dark, I either have to hookup a work light, or hold a flashlight… and running power out for a worklight is inconvenient. Portable worklights can be pretty expensive. A headlamp would be a good solution, but there are so many that don’t fit, are too heavy, uncomfortable, or break within the first week unless you spend enough to buy a worklight.

Thankfully, there are many decent headlamps coming out now that we can actually afford! I’ve looked around for a good choice – and there really are quite a few good choices. I finally settled on this one and am impressed for a few reasons. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=me%3DA35EHEGYHENR3B&field-keywords=led+headlamp

This headlamp is comfortable, doesn’t feel heavy, and is definitely bright enough. I was impressed with the build quality: smooth finish and no rattles.
Clicking the button on top of the center LED housing cycles through the modes: Center, Outer Two, All Three, Strobe. The center LED is plenty bright, the outer two are a little brighter than the single center, and all three are obviously the brightest. The outer LEDs are very well aimed to converge with the center, seemingly at any distance. The fitment adjusts to fit kids as well as adults.

Fits all sizes - really!
Mode Low - Center Light
Mode Medium - Outer Lights
Mode High - All Lights

The only thing I think could have been better is if the battery pack used the smaller 14500 (AA sized) lithium ion batteries. The 18650s are pretty big, which provides two benefits that I can see: balances out the weight of the LED housings and gives a long life between charges. I really love that this comes with a charger accessory for just about everything, 12V DC (Car Adapter), USB, AC.

Overall, I think this light is a pretty sweet find and will serve its purpose very well. For camping, caving, bike riding at night, taking the dog out for the nightly potty break, etc… I give this a 5 out of 5.

Worn on head - Mode High - All Lights

Custom LED Modules: Motorcycle LED Auxiliary Lights

Custom LED Modules: Motorcycle LED Auxiliary Lights by Reuben Perry

I will begin by making clear that these modules can be used for so many different applications – although the principles are the same for just about every application, I will be running through my particular purpose of adding lights to my motorcycle.

Row 1: All off, Aux lights off, amber lights on, white lights on.
Row 2: The custom set up, the rest are same as above, but from the front.

As a motorcyclist, I greatly value the possibilities of making others more aware that I am on the road amidst them. While I make myself more visible, it doesn’t change the fact that I drive as if no one can see me. Safety – is my first priority.

To be more visible, I add lights! I am an LED fiend. I LOVE LEDs. I found some motorcycle LED running lights on one of those ‘affordable’ Chinese ‘we have everything’ websites. I had purchased items from them before that were decent, so I thought I would give those lights a shot. I purchased 4 LED lights for a total of $50. Not bad, right?? They worked great for a while and I was quite pleased with them. Only a handful of months and a few thousand miles down the road, one of them burned out. A couple months later, one of them lost the focusing lens on the freeway, and a couple months later, one of them kept loosening and twisting to point backwards!

My solution was to build my own. This article is to show you how I did it, and how easy it really was – and all for under $200. If you have absolutely NOTHING in your garage, then you will spend a small amount more on some basic parts like wires, cable ties, etc…

To make sure I got high quality parts, I contacted my favorite LED supplier, LED Supply (http://www.ledsupply.com) and priced out the parts I would need. There were still just a couple things they didn’t supply, but I will give you links or ideas for those. LED Supply has a handful of options for the LED housings, and many options for the LEDs and Optics! I chose their ‘Dynamic LED Housing’ because it allows many different applications, but the biggest reason is because if the lens or LEDs get damaged, or if I want to change the optic pattern, or colors of LEDs, I can do it simply by unscrewing the housing and swapping parts out!

I wanted to add some bright white auxiliary lights, but also wanted to be able to have some fog lights. Why would I want fog lights on my motorcycle – I drive across a swamp on my way to work that gets extremely foggy on cold mornings – fog lights would be useful for the mile or two of fog. So I asked LED Supply if they could build me a custom 3-up star for my project. 2 white Cree XPLs in series, and one amber Cree XPE2, on one star. They happily obliged and I set off building my own high quality aux lights!

I’ll give you my parts list, and then give you my step by step process WITH PICTURES! How lucky are you?

My parts list:

I didn’t get this, but it’s a good idea to get the electronic waterproof spray from them as well so you don’t have to worry about riding in the rain. @ $15.99: http://www.ledsupply.com/accessories/led-seal-silicone-spray-sealant

Other items I had to find elsewhere:

With that finally out of the way, we begin!

Step 1: READ EVERYTHING FIRST! You never know if you want to do something a little bit differently!

Step2: Get your parts!
All boxed up!
Out of the box.
Out of the packaging.

Step 3: Dry run mate the parts together.

Step 4: Polish everything you want to shine! I used Mother’s Aluminum Polish and a shop rag.

Step 5: Next, only if needed, drill the center hole of the led star and heatsink for the 4 conductor cable to fit through. A crescent wrench or a vise would be best to hold the star in place.

Step 6: Solder the wires onto the star terminals. Make note of which wires you have going to each positive and negative pad.

Step 7: Use a hacksaw to cut the threaded rod into sections just long enough to thread into the heatsink block, and go all the way through the p-clamp with enough room for a locking nut.

Step 8: Mix a small amount of thermal epoxy and apply it to one end of the threaded rod. Thread this into the heatsink block without coming out the other side. Wipe any beading or excess away from where the rod enters the block.

Step 9: For the best possible mate, grind off one point of the copper female threaded fitting. Grind this point down until you have the best fit into the heatsink block.
Marked points to grind.
Dry run to check fit.

Step 10: Mix a small amount of arctic silver epoxy 1:1 and epoxy the copper fittings onto the heatsink blocks. I positioned mine with the hexagon points toward the rear of the heatsink to protect the LED housing itself, but positioning is completely up to you. MAKE SURE that when you epoxy this, that you don’t have any excess coming forward from the copper fitting. The LED housing needs to be able to thread down against the fitting for best thermal conduction.

Step 11: Drill a hole in the copper caps just large enough for the cable to fit through (sorry no picture). Cut 2 pieces of ¾ copper pipe just enough to fit the street elbow into the cap. Assemble the copper assembly as you see in the previous picture. You can epoxy these, solder, or duct tape if you want… I want to chrome plate them in the future…

Step 12: Solder the cable ends to the 4 pin connectors in a similar method of my wiring diagram… and remember to use heatshrink tubing to protect those connections! Yes, I’m using computer molex connectors… but you should use marine grade waterproof connectors.

Step 13: If you haven’t done so, remove the gas tank from your bike. Prepare the power cables with inline fuses (or use your own fuse block) and use the terminal connectors on the end in case you need to pull the circuit apart ever in the future. Use the diagram included in my parts list.

 Positive connections with in-line fuse blocks.
Connectors for the switches and to ground.

Step 14: Mount your custom LED Lights! Use cable ties to secure the cable along your crash guard bars, or wherever you’ve decided to mount them. I used chromed stainless steel cable ties.

You can barely see the cable ties!

Step 15: Fit the drivers between the top two frame bars and use electrical tape (or whatever you have around) to mount them securely. Connect the (+) and (-) cables to the switches, and the drivers to the switches (not the battery yet!!)

Step 16: In my case, the switches are mounted in the left neck cover, but you can have them anywhere… Finish mounting the switches.

Step 17: Connect the power cables to the battery – I connected the positive to the battery, and the negative to a nearby grounding bolt.
At this point, your lights are mounted! If you haven’t done so, properly align them so you’re not blinding oncoming traffic and so you get maximum visibility.
There is no need to remove the front forks as is shown in the pictures – I just happened to be rebuilding the forks, brake calipers, and adding an LED headlight at the same time!
The finished project with amber lights and white lights with separate switches. If I have them both on at the same time, I get a slightly warmer color white.

Please let me know what you think! I appreciate the questions and comments!