DIY Bicycle Turn Signals

| 2/15/2013 10:30:01 AM

Finished ProductThis article was originally posted on Instructables and is reposted with permission from Michael Chen. 

Bicycle turn signals really improve the visibility of cyclists at night, and yet you rarely see anyone wearing them. We designed this do-it-yourself project so cyclists could easily be seen by drivers while riding the streets at night. Check out the awesome EL panel that will flash like lightning when you signal your turn.

The operation of these bicycle turn signals is entirely hands-free. They operate automatically when you extend your arm. Even raising your arm slightly causes the mercury tilt switch to complete the circuit and lights up the EL panel. Give this DIY project a try, and you'll be amazed at how it will increase your nighttime bicycle safety.

Step 1: Assemble the Materials

2 EL panels — Dual arrows, with AA-battery-powered AC inverters (the EL panels and the inverters may be separate; if you'd like to have solid EL panels, soldering might be required)
2 mercury tilt switches
4 to 6 pairs of adhesive-backed Velcro fastener strips
2 1.5-volt alkaline button cell batteries — AG13/LR44
Electrical tape
2 armbands 

Step 2: Place the Button Cells

Placing Button CellsCut a tiny piece of electrical tape to about the width of the batteries. Loop the tape so its sticky side faces outward, then adhere it to the side of one of the button cell batteries (see photo at left). Place the battery inside the inverter battery compartment, with the negative side — the side without writing — touching the spring inside the compartment (see photo below, right). Repeat these steps with the second inverter's battery compartment. 

Step 3: Insert the Mercury Tilt Switch

Be very cautious during this step because the tilt switch contains mercury, which is very toxic.

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