Cheating nature

Yesterday was my 5 week post-op checkup with the surgeon.  I'm happy to say I'm ahead of the recovery curve - the doc was surprised  how much new bone I've grown in a short period.  Range of motion is nearly symmetrical now too after a bit over a week of PT work.  All involved are sorta scratching their collective heads, but hey - it's exactly what I expected. 

So now I have the green light to go play on my bike as much as I can stand it.  No restrictions other than don't fall on it.  Tis a good thing too.  The last gas purchase was in Grand Junction leaving from the infamous race back in October.  Can you say cabin fever?  So off I'm going to St George for some riding time with the crackhead...then I can get back into the flow of long rides and their desert vistas to share with y'all.  They seem to be a bit more popular than training squak ;)

Last weekend I got busy with my LED light project.  Quite a few things cooking there.  For one I thought I'd experiment with different light colors.  The human eye is much more sensitive to certain wavelenghts (colors) of light in the dark.  The optimal wavelenth is that of the color cyan, and as luck would have it (probably not luck, really) Luxeon makes LEDs at that exact frequency.  So I made a cyan light.

Here's a beamshot comparison with my K2 light (the K2 is super bright):

Since the part of the eye that detects periphereal vision is most sensitive to cyan (go here for where I got the scientific inspiration), the first run with this will be as a wide beam bar mount light.  I haven't ridden with it yet (it's friggin cold and white in D-town right now) but have walked it.  Anything red turns black, other than that it seems quite easy on the eyes.  Not sure what that will mean in a red desert landscape...

So this morning waaay too early I'm sweating like a hog in my 10 degree garage, water bottles and feet freezing while internal meltdown seems imminent.  Pushing that trainer's flywheel round and round, sure is great to be a mouse.  Anyway, it's pitch black.  I can't bring myself to train under a garage light, and the streetlights have been taken out by aliens.  It's quite nice actually, but - for night riding when you want to see your dashboard, ya know, power meter display, gps, bike computer, HRM - why is there no handlebar light design that illuminates your gizmos for you?  Such is how inspiration strikes.  Necessity is the mother of all invention as the saying goes.

The final bit of light news I'll share...I received some Cree LEDs before Thanksgiving but really wasn't able to do anything with them until recently.  I now have a 3 LED Cree light...all I can say is WOW.  This thing is so freaking bright, it blows my K2 system outta the water.  Since the Crees are so efficient, it will run a lot longer too.  The current system puts out HID light quantity in a more useable pattern and lasts for 6+ hours - and it weighs about 1/3 the weight of my Niterider HID. 

Here's a beam comparison (from L to R) of a Niterider HID Firestorm, the Cree triple, and the K2 triple.  Both LED lights are considerably brighter to the eye.  The Cree is much whiter than the K2 as well, and because of the optics chosen has considerably more fill as well.  I'm looking forward to riding this light!

Here's a better shot of the Cree vs. K2.  OK, better being a relative term as all the pics generally suck...but anyway...Cree left, K2 right.  It gives a better view of the fill comparison. 

Even better Cree LEDs are on the way (and I'm talking in the mail, not next year...).  Cool stuff going down in my little workshop.

Published Wednesday, December 20, 2006 8:01 PM by Dave


# @ Wednesday, December 20, 2006 10:58 PM

I got a demo of the Cree XLamp at work last week that looks to be super-bright and efficient. I haven't actually tried to mount it in anything yet.

I knew of a guy that did some red headlamp experiments for the military a few years ago, but it didn't seem to work too well. The Cyan will be interesting to hear about.

- Rich


# @ Thursday, December 21, 2006 4:19 AM

Interesting. I wonder what the application was for that red light? If you follow the science link above, you'll see that scotopic vision cuts off at about 600nm. Red is ~ 640nm, so in other words, the eye's rod vision is unable to detect red light (rods are the part of the retina responsible for night adapted vision and periphereal vision). A good application for red light is where you don't want to affect the level of dark adaption, such as a darkroom or aircraft cockpit illumination. It would be the worst possible choice for a bike light though, next to invisible wavelengths ;)


# @ Thursday, December 21, 2006 9:04 AM

Cool stuff Dave! Glad your forced break wasn't long =)

Alex outa of the uk is making me a light with one of those cree jobbers so I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Glad things are going well have fun with the crackhead! =)


# @ Thursday, December 21, 2006 9:51 AM

Dave, from one bike geek/electrical engineer to another, how can I build one of those Cree setups myself?


# @ Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:17 AM

Dave - awesome you have Cree connetion, they are hard to come by. You'll love it, it's perfect for you!

Jordan - the basic elements are LEDs, a constant current source (resistor or buckpuck/boostpuck, or microcontroller), switch, heat sink, optics or reflector, and mount. It's quite the learning experience if it's new to you. Check out the gps & lighting forums on MTBR for more.


# @ Friday, December 22, 2006 8:13 AM

Way to go Dave. You'll be all the rage at your next rave dance party.


# @ Friday, December 22, 2006 6:33 PM

Yo! It's mind over matter with you again. Well done in the healing department and be safe.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.