Build #3 Update: Dec 4 - Batch #2 Assembly Progress

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Build 3 Shipping Tally to Date (as of 11/13):
Taillights: 19
Headlights: 6

Starting in earnest on the second batch tonight.

So far it looks like 26 taillights and 24 headlights, but I may end up adding a few more taillights.
Got all the LED boards adhered to the taillight housings. All power wire o-rings are also done. 13 switches adhered to taillight lids.

Learned a valuable lesson tonight. Never push one part of an identical looking two part epoxy out onto your mixing board and then get up to do something else. This becomes a real quandary with a 5 minute epoxy, when you're not exactly sure if you've mixed the two halves. New protocol... Always push out part "A" first, just in case.

Way back when, someone wanted to see one of my "special" tools. Well, here's a picture of my super-secret high tech tool for holding the tact switches while applying epoxy. Also makes insertion very easy.
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Update 11/15
Got all the taillight lid power switches attached. 11 of the headlight switches done. 8 headlight housings with star boards attached.

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Speaking of which, there's another opportunity for a custom tool. Need something to hold the star boards while applying epoxy and placing the board to the housings, without ever touching the dies. A sharpened dowel rod with a bit of heat shrink tubing does very nicely.

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Here's an important tip. Artic Alumina is a PERMANENT adhesive, but in order for it to really do it's job, the surface needs to be absolutely clean. I use MEK to prep the surfaces for the switch and star board adhesion (and power o-ring).

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Which brings up another important point.... when you're permanently attaching a switch, then it better be a good one. Yes, you guessed it... each and every one has to be pre-screened in an operating circuit to insure that it's viable switch. I get a bad one every now and then. I started the screening process right after I had to tear apart a completed light just to replace the switch.

11/19/2012 Update
OK, whew, took a psuedo break for the weekend. Got my parts inventory a little more organized and put together the order for the last few LED boards that were needed to complete the entire build. When I made the initial order, I didn't have a final count on the housings.

So it looks like I'll cutoff batch no. 2 with 30 taillights and 12 headlights, all of which have LED boards attached, and about half of which now have the series jumper wired installed. Would like to have all of the series wires installed and all lids completely wired before heading out for Thanksgiving for a couple of days.

One thing I always take for granted is the extra time required to pre-cut, strip, tin, and pre-bend a stack of wires.
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11/21/2012 Update
Cruising right along... Series jumper wires installed on all 40 lights. All taillight lids finished (wires soldered to switch and strain-relieved). Only the 12 headlight lids remain to be wired. These take just a bit longer than the taillight due to the status LED, but I'll easily finish those tonight. In fact, I will also go ahead and install all 40 lid o-rings as well before taking off for Thanksgiving. When I get back, it'll be time to start installing the electronics and grinding down those headlight lens covers (which I dread... painfully tedious). But in the meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

11/22/2012 Update
Whew... way too much food today, but very thankful for family to share it with. Accomplished the goal last night. All lids for the current batch are finished.
Nice new user-review YouTube video posted today by my first German customer. Here's the LINK.

11/26/2012 Update
Lights, lights everywhere! Spent a good part of the weekend putting up Christmas lights, but also made some good progress last night. All of the taillights now have the power wire installed, with stripped and tinned ends, strain-relieved, and ready to be mated up with the electronics, which I'll be working on tonight. Also talked to my machinist, and we got the final shape of the color filters worked out. By the way, if you're ordering a headlight and you didn't know about the color filters or if you wanted to add a couple to your order ($2 ea), just drop me an email and let me know. They make a really cool effect during the day that tends to stand out more than the straight white.
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11/27/2012 Update
Got all of the taillight lids soldered into their respective power boards last night. Tricky working with 30 gauge, silicon insulated wire. Will finish mating the taillight lids with the controller boards tonight and begin installing the boards in the housings. There's just no way around it.... it takes a LONG time to build these things when you only have an hour or two each night to work on them. Consequently, when batch two (30 taillights, 12 headlights) is finished and shipped, I'm probably going to take a break and start batch 3 after Christmas.

11/28/2012 Update
All 30 of the taillights now have their electronics/lid assembly soldered on to the power supply wires. 8 units are buttoned up with the electronics and lid installed. Will button up the remaining 22 taillights tonight and get the drive wires soldered to the LED boards. If any time remains, will start installing the lens covers. l'll then be moving on to the headlights. Can you tell I'm putting off grinding those lens covers as long as a can? Ack.

11/29/2012 Update
Down to about 10 more taillights to button up. Then it will be on to installing lenses, and finishing up the headlights. Sorry I haven't been posting many pics as of late... I have an idea for a good picture with the taillights (in the spirit of Christmas), so stay tuned. Oh, and by the way, if you haven't seen Bjoern's new pictures of the DS-500 in the snow, you've got to check THESE out.

Here's a pic of what I've been working on this week. Going from the "open" circuit/lid/housing assembly, to the "buttoned up" unit, ready to accept the lenses and lens cover.
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12/2/2012 Update
Just a quick update...
All 30 taillights buttoned up and ready for lens install. Had to spend some time tonight addressing a possible water leak issue with one customer. You can see the discussion on the review forum. Also got the first attempt at some filter pieces from Robert. They look great, but he thinks they can even be better, once he gets the correct fixturing.
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12/4/2012 Update
Rolling right along. Only lacking install of 6 lens cover assemblies for the taillights. Will begin shipping out the taillight-only orders while finishing up the headlights. If it wouldn't take so long, I'd line up all of those lights and turn them on outside just for fun.... oh well, maybe next time.
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    Great work... well done AND TAKE A BREAK after Christmas

    PS: SNOW AND DS-500 -----------> awesome !!!
    Updated 11-30-2012 at 04:30 PM by shark_attack