Build #2 , April 9, 2012: The Final 50

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I say "final" just because they are the last of the build 2 housings that I had made. I still hope to make another 50 total out of build 3, but that's still up in the air at the moment with the CNC shop being out of commission for machine repair.

Here's a shot of the final 50 awaiting final assembly. Also a shot of the headlight lid assembly, wired and ready to install. All of the lids for the 50 lights have already been pre-wired like this. The "goop" that you see on the underside of the switch and status LED, is only for strain relief on the wires, since they're small gauge, and I didn't want vibration over time to cause a problem with solder joint on the leads to the switch and LED. I'm essentially working to finish all 50 and trying to take advantage of as much repetitive processes as possible to speed things along.
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    Looks good, what's next? I think it is wiring the power cords into each case, right?

    - Roger
    Exactly right. First I go through my existing build notes and make a note of any custom length orders, then I cut all of the (pre-screened) connector wires to length, "shape" the outer insulation (so it can be started through the o-ring and housing). Then once it's through the hole, strip the outer insulation (about 1"), strip the insulation (about 1/4") on the inner two conductors, and finally solder to the power board.

    Got all the series jumper wires soldered in place for the taillights last night. Plan on finishing the jumper on the headlights tonight, then starting on the power wires.
    Very Cool. Well, I'm taking my bike in to be tuned today since it will be raining for the next 3 or 4 days - then on May 1st, I'm having a professional body geometry fit done so I finally get comfortable on my new bike (3-years old) as I was on my old bike that I had for 15-years before my accident.

    So I'm getting prepared to be able to really start riding again and with your lights, be able to do it safely!

    - Roger
    50 additional lights?! Where do you find the time? I can imagine your wife and/or kids giving you the bad eye look.
    Yes, it's really tough. I have to be pretty rigorous to stick to a schedule... like, OK I'm going to work for 1 hour tonight. Always later in the evening after kids are in bed.
    Wow, just 1 hour a night, must be hard to get it all done. Still, I bet you can get into a groove when doing the same task over and over.

    - Roger
    Yes, it's pretty tough. Wasn't having the best luck last night, though. I was actually finishing up your taillight and was about to close up the lid, but the screw holes didn't line up... I have no idea how, but somehow a single build #1 lid ended up in my build #2 lid box, and I managed to miraculously pick that lid for yours, so I ended up having to remove the electronics, un-solder, modify another lid, re-solder, re-install, etc. I still managed to get 15 taillights done with electronics installed and power wire connected, but I was hoping for all 26. We'll see how it goes again tonight!
    Wow, what bad luck. I hate it when things like that happen. I hope tonight goes better.

    - Roger

    Its been a while since your last post, anything cool going on?

    - Roger
    Yes... building lights like a mad man this weekend. Still amazed at how long it takes for final assembly. I do have several good ideas for new posts coming up, so stay tuned.
    Look forward to the new posts. When you say "final assembly" you mean the whole thing once you have the parts, or the part after the electronics are put on-board? Also, I personally would like to see some pictures of you putting things together. For example, the front gasket. You said you made some new tools to make the job easier, be cool to see what they were.

    - Roger
    Yes, final assembly really entails "marrying" up the housing (with LEDs) with the pre-wired lid assembly.

    Strip power wire after inserted into housing
    Solder power wires to control board (VERY tricky)
    Apply thread lock to control-board hold-down screw
    Apply MX2 to thermal mounting tab
    Arrange wires and mount control board into housing with 2-56 screw (torque appropriately)
    "Fish" power wires through the center holes of the LEDs
    Trim power wires to length
    Strip and Tin power wires
    Precisely bend (90 deg) power wires to mate to LED boards
    Solder power wires to LED boards

    And that's before even touching the lens cover or the front face o-ring, or sealing up the lid, or mounting the extender bars, cleaning the LED domes, cleaning up the housing, leak checking, programming, testing, packing up orders.... whew. I actually took some video of prepping the o-rings and assembling into the lens cover. That process alone is at least 5 minutes. I have a whole NEW appreciation for assembly line workers now.