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Thread: DC Power Kit for LED Lighting and Battery Charging

  1. #1
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    DC Power Kit for LED Lighting and Battery Charging

    I'm looking to assemble a DC power kit similar to the one shown in the 1982 ATC200 wire diagram. I need some help though because I don't have access to the target machines this would be for.

    I'm waiting on specs from my china supplier on the regulators I picked out, but hopefully one of them is 200w+ max load to be a universal fit across machines.

    Anyway, I need a measurement from the engine connectors to the nearest mounting location for a regulator (single bolt). One that has plenty of extra threads for ~1/4in would be nice. I kind of hate to get the zip tie route, but it can be an option too. Here's the machines I need the measurement on.

    80-83 ATC185S/185/200
    84-86 ATC200S

    Might be able to make a kit for these machines too, so nearest mounting location would be great to know.

    ATC70 (for use with an upgraded alternator/stator)
    ATC90/110
    83-85 ATC200X
    85-86 ATC250R

    I personally own these machines, but I'll list them so you know what machines I'm targeting (basically any that doesn't have DC power factory).
    ATC350X
    81-84 ATC250R


    I think that covers all the machines. Of course each one has limitations on power output and such, I'll include that info in the listings when I build the kit. Anyway, I'm open to discussion on this topic. Basically this kit would allow an LED headlight/taillight to be used on machines that generate AC power. I might make a second kit like a LED light kit or something to include headlight/taillight pig tails with the DC power kit. Not 100% sure how I'll package everything to keep it relatively simple for the buyers.

  2. #2
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    just a heads up ps2fixer if you use a banshee/ tri-z voltage regulator on a fist or second gen 250r you can run led tail light with no issues, I have been doing so for the last 2 years, the voltage regulator will ground out the extra voltage and keep it stable to prevent the blowing of lights. And on a side not my Z has been runnig an led tail for over 6 years, and yes same light and never had a problem.
    rectum nothin damn near killed them
    feel free to leave feed back for me here. http://www.3wheelerworld.com/showthr...06#post1119306

  3. #3
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    Talights are a little different, the actual LED component doesn't care if it's AC or DC power, max voltage ranges around 2.5-3.5v (white generally is 3.5ish). So the way the tail lights are generally built is with a resister inline to drop the voltage down to the correct range. Down side to this is as LEDs heat up, they draw more power and can have a runaway effect. Anyway with a large enough resister the risk of that is basically gone unless it's over voltage input. Just to note, the LED in the tail light is actually flicking at the hz of the AC, generally it's too fast for the eyes to see, same exact thing happens with florescent lights on grid AC power, 60hz for the USA, some people can get headaches from it, but kind of a side point for house lighting, not trail lighting.

    The LED headlights on the other hand almost always use what's called a current driver, it's a type of power supply that instead of outputting an exact voltage, it outputs an exact amperage for the LEDs to run on with a min/max voltage to function as designed. That current driver power supply is expecting DC power. I know some people have had luck running just a voltage regulator with some LED headlights, but I've never seen one spec'ed to run on the AC generated by ATVs.

    I've wired 1w LEDs in a out door light fixure for a porch light. The current driver I used was spec'ed for DC input, but the power supply I used is the same type of DC power that an ATV would have with a regulator/rectifier (it still is AC, just the negative curve is gone, so because it's always a positive voltage, it's counted as DC).

    Here's a few pics just to visualize the power differences.

    Typical AC vs DC, most people probably have seen this at some point in their life.



    Here is full wave vs half wave rectifiers



    And a bonus one, 3 phase AC which is common on the larger machines which has the 3 yellow or white wires coming from the engine's alternator. Basically it's 3x AC (3x coils generate it vs 1) and each AC curve is offset by 120 degrees of phase (360 = a whole cycle).



    Long story short, LED tail lights only need to be kept in the right voltage input range, so they should function more or less fine even with out a voltage regulator. It's 5w vs ~0.1w for the tail light, so it doesn't effect the overall voltage nearly as much as the 45W+ headlight, but the voltage regulator is a nice safety net to protect the bulbs from blowing all at once if something goes wrong.

    Also, the voltage regulator/rectifier I'm looking at will remove nearly all doubt if an LED light will work or not, a battery in the system basically guarantees it to work. It might be overkill for some LED head lights assuming they function fine on AC power, but better safe than sorry. Besides that, it makes the kit more universal component wise. I could cheat and use a 2 wire voltage regulator & a diode to get a half wave rectifier going, but it's only a little more to get full wave rectifier + voltage regulator in one component.

    I guess I haven't mentioned any prices, just running the numbers quick in my head, the full kit should be somewhere around $30-40 and that would include a pig tail for the LED headlight to plug into the stock harness connectors, and the branch off at the engine area to wire in the voltage regulator/rectifier. This kit would also work for machines with high output alternators too, and I plan to make it part of the kit for an optional output wire to go to a battery to charge. Pretty much a universal DC kit, just the adapters would be the differences between machines.

  4. #4
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    Sounds good. I'd buy some.

  5. #5
    86125m is offline Got The Holeshot Arm chair racerJust too addicted
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    yep sinse leds are just diodes they can block out the negative part of AC power and make dirty dc power. my electronics instructor and I were trying to figure out the best way to add led lights onto my 200x he said that it would probably work with no modifications. So we used a signal generator to recreate the conditions of a running bike. It worked just fine just at lower rpms the lights would flicker "so what they do that from stock anyway". the problem was he told me was that the leds would eventually give out because they couldn't handle the constant change in voltage and curent so a regulator would have to be added to the system to keep that from happening.

  6. #6
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    That's pretty spot on, that is far the raw led on it's own, not looking at the current driver.

    I was looking into home lighting using LEDs and a 12v power supply. I have LED's at my mom/dad's place still burning with no resisters, but they are so dim/worn out from being on 24/7 for like 12 years now. They are in a constant voltage range, but their current isn't limited. Since then a year or two ago I put the right resister in for a set of lights in my dad's room and they are just as bright as they were when first installed. FYI, the lights are just basic 20mw LEDs 120 degree white. More of a night light type of lighting, but spread across the whole room.

    You can reduce the flickering by build a full wave rectifier which is basically 4 diodes so when the AC power goes negative, it still pushes on the positive side on the DC output. You'd still need a proper sized resister as a current limiting device and a series of LEDs to handle the voltage. This is basically build your own LED headlight instead of buying a pre-made one lol. You could drive the LEDS directly off the AC power too, and run a second strip in the opposite direction to light up on the negitive side of the AC curve to even out the flicker too. Probably should mention, the hz the AC is on an ATV changes with RPM, so at low rpm it might be like 30hz or something, while 5k rpm could be 100+ hz (not real numbers, just examples). Around 50-60hz is when the human eye can pick up on the flicker which in theory should be around 3600rpm (60hz = 3600 cycles per minute).

    If you want any help building a home made LED headlight/tail light, I can help with what I know. I never took an electronics class, just kind of jumped in and played with stuff since I was around 10. Only got into actual electrical components around 2006ish, and sadly haven't actually designed/built any circuits besides simple switches and such, like using a thermostat to kick a relay on to turn on a fan.

    Kind of funny this thread kind of turned into a talk on electrical, but I'm always up to learn something new which is why I'm trying to present my understanding on things so if I'm wrong, someone correct me.

  7. #7
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    Ran though the 3 wheeler models noting down wattage, common ground vs isolated ac design (alternator design), and some of the pinouts. Not sure if it would be useful for anyone, but I could post it once I'm done building the info. Basically would say which engines electrically are plug and play with other machines, like 80-81 atc200/185/185s has different connectors than 82+ atc200/200s/185s.

    I also made my parts order, last time it took around a week or so to get, hopefully it's similar speed again.

    First kit I'm targeting (DC101) will fit any atc185/185s/200/200s, so a nice wide range of machines for one kit to fit. Also made a wire diagram for it, I think it came out pretty nice.

    Fitment for the kit:
    • 80 atc185
    • 81-83 atc185s
    • 81-83 atc200
    • 84-86 atc200s


    Also ran the numbers and looking at $35 shipped within the USA. That's for the harness and regulator assuming the regulators I bought pass my testing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DC101.png  

  8. #8
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    Keep us updated. I'd be at least interested in one DC101 kit. Maybe more in the future too.

  9. #9
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    Will do. Might try to post a pic of the test process of maxing out my 350x alternator (200w) lol. I have 4 regulators on order (2 different models), one to try to test to the max to see if I can make one fail for each model, and one to sell with a kit. As soon as I know what model does better, or if they are both good, I'll get another order in and be able to sell one kit per regulator that pasted the testing.




    Like I mentioned in the post above, I was noting down isolated vs common ground on the ac system. Reason that is, is because only one system can have the ground, AC or DC, not both. The CDI/spark/ignition system is a separate coil, so isn't effected by the lighting coil. On the common ground machines, the DC negative cannot be frame grounded, and it seems to be most other machines that are that design (200x, 350x, 250r etc). Seems like the 185/200 engines were designed for like the big red/200m, then "down graded" to the no letter/200s series and it retained the same alternator design.

    Another option for the common ground machines is a half wave rectifier (basically a single diode + voltage regulator), benefit is it can have a common ground with the AC system, but you get half of the wattage out of it if I'm thinking right. Bit of a tricky thing to design around. I'll have to research half wave rectifiers a bit more to validate what I'm thinking, but it works great for charging a battery like the Goki system used for electric start kits.

  10. #10
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    Got the regulator/rectifiers in. The black one is smaller than I was expecting. Based on the surface area of the heat sinks, the gray one should handle around 3-4x more power than the black one assuming the heat sink size is sized to it's capacity. Aka, the black one might not pass my 150w+ test, but pretty sure the silver one will. Now I get to make up a sub harness to plug this regulator into my 350x and have the wire leads out to put the draw on (several headlights I'm thinking). Probably going to atleast take a amp reading of each light individually to see what their max draw is and test the max voltage it runs at and load it to about 150-200w and watch the voltage output and temp of the regulator. I suspect a 1-5min load test would tell if it's going to burn up or not. It's not typical use, so shouldn't need an hour test or anything like that. On the machines I'm targeting, it's looking at about 50-75w load with the stock lighting sizes and alternator.

    Assessment of the parts so far w\o testing them is that they look pretty good quality on the surface. The plastic housing of the connector looks consistent and fits my Japanese made connectors well (snug but fits cleanly). Terminals feel to grip the spades pretty well. The only thing I'm not sure of is what material the regulator's terminals are made of. They are quite shiny silver. Normally silver is tin plated brass, but I know china, sometimes they use steel or other materials that can deteriorate. If I burn one up I'll clip it to see if the inside is yellow (brass), or orange (copper). Either case, it would be suggested to use an anti corrosive grease like dielectric grease (any automotive parts store would have this) since the connection isn't sealed from the weather.

    Anyway, overall pretty happy with what they look like. Internally there isn't a whole lot going on, so the electronic quality shouldn't be too hard for China to have plenty good enough.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_20181127_163427_529.jpg  
    Last edited by ps2fixer; 11-27-2018 at 07:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    Sorry for the delay, bad weather and been tied up with other projects. Have to love weather in Michigan. Anyway, had to do some work on my 350x to get it running, still need to pull the carb and clean it out, I guess i've let it sit too long, oops. Also the petcock leaks on the tank, I rigged up a dirt bike tank on it for now just for testing with.

    Anyway, bad news, all four (two different models) ohm out as having no connection. There's no pin out info, so I had to base it on their other products with a wire lead and a ATC200ES harness. Getting no power output which is weird. I sent a message to the supplier to see what they say, hopefully it's just a bad batch or something. This is exactly why I test all China parts before selling them. Hopefully I just overlooked something simple.

  12. #12
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    Supplier is still waiting on a response from the factory that makes them. One of the pages does have a wire diagram which made no sense to me when compared to old regulators, but oddly it seems to use a common "ground" for AC and DC. Everything I learned about the old regulator/rectifiers that was a bad thing to do because of how the rectifier works. Apparently they are designed to be wired this way. Just theory so far, but I was able to power a small 5w 12v bulb though the regulator. The power supply I used is from an NES (10v AC), and the power output was around 5v so the light was dim. Clearly I'm under-volting it, if all goes well I'll test it on my 350x tomorrow again wired the new way and check voltages and such better. Seems like my wire diagram further up this thread will be invalid if what I've figured out is correct.

    Their wire diagram used icons for lights that I didn't know what they were, some searching solved what they are though.

    Anyway, just wanted to provide an update on this. Hopefully I can load test and try to burn up the little regulator/rectifier. Guessing it won't handle the full 200w of power, guessing it will get overly hot at around 120-150w+. Should be plenty good for a 70w 3 wheeler though (200 series).

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