A Bright Way To Cycle


Want to be visible when cycling at night? [Neon Dean] came up with this possible solution, which he cruised on at Nuit Blanche. Its a bicycle with neon lights mounted on every surface possible. [Dean], who gave a similar treatment to his car, explained how it worked. All of the tubes take their power from a 12VDC battery he carries in a fanny pack. 12V is a far too low voltage to power the tubes, so a step up transformer is used to bring that number way up. [Dean] also decided to install a neon tube on each wheel. In order to deliver power to them, he mounted a rotor on each wheel, with two conductive tracks running close to the edge of each rotor. Two strips of steel act as brushes (in a manner similar to those on slot cars), and deliver the stepped-up power to the tubes. One creative, but perhaps not so bright, idea is [Dean]’s neon tube helmet.

NeonDeanBrushes12Vfanny transformer copy

19 thoughts on “A Bright Way To Cycle

  1. No write up?

    Is he using neon or cold cathode? I would think it would have been easier to throw on some 12v CCFLs out of the box. They are easily had and come in various sizes. All working off of 12v.

    Just saying.

  2. @monkeysflingpoo: Yeah, but don’t CCFLs use a step up as well? I can only assume that’s what he’s using, I have one light mounted on the undercarriage of my bike for visibility purposes. I hardwired the transformer to a switch and blade terminals, then connect those to two jumpered VPX batteries.

  3. My son has been running with automotive LED strips on his bike for well over a year… running off of a radio control battery pack he could run for several days solid on a single charge. We found this out when we left them on purposely to discharge the pack and they were still lit two days later.

    They light the road and the frame of the bike and draw attention when he rides after dark at the car shows and fireworks displays in the park.

  4. A better question: They have hub generators, in which the front wheel would generate a/c at around 12 volts and ground the frame. Why carry around two batteries in a fanny pack when you could just do that? How much current are these tubes drawing, anyway?

  5. Too bad those are illegal in my state. No high luminance lights are allowed on any vehicle, bike, or pedestrian unless necessary, ie no cosmetic add-ons. They’re supposedly a hinderence for on coming vehicles, claiming they cause visual confusion.

  6. i probably would have used EL wire because i would be afraid of braking the tubes… but then again ive never used neon or cold cathode so that may not be a problem

  7. Slip rings. Devices used to transfer power, or signals, between fixed and rotating parts are called “slip rings”. There are many types for different applications.

    There are even rotary transformers, which transfer power or signals purely by induction, without any metal-to-metal contact.

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