Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Helmet Taillight Mounting Nirvana: Learning to Love the Clip

Gathering the materials and tools

I had a simple project in mind to sew a tight loop of heavier webbing onto a square of 3m dual-lock in order to fabricate a generic, strong mounting point for any clip light. In this case, to mount any clip light to any spot you can stick another square of dual-lock, which is more or less any semi-flat surface. Like my helmet. I was ready to get started in the photo above.

I still think that would be a good idea. But as I looked at the project, the parts, and the time, which was getting late, the idea simplified way down: grab that Velcro one-wrap, cut some just the right length, and see if that won't go through the rear vents of the helmet to serve as a tight holder for any clip light. Eh voila.

So, so simple. And secure.

This approach had the added advantages (beyond letting me to get a bit more sleep) of requiring no modifications at all to the helmet or clip light. It seems very firmly attached. Yet easily removable. In systems terms, it is an interface which is loosely coupled: as Wikipedia defines it, "a loosely coupled system is one where each of its components has, or makes use of, little or no knowledge of the definitions of other separate components." This is in comparison to my previous taillight project, which was tightly coupled: the holes I drilled into that light and stuck bolts through make it only applicable now to that particular mounting situation, and not the more generalized clip anywhere interface. The drawbacks I have seen with the clip interface, though, are the obvious ones: pointing it the direction you want it to go in, and retention. This simple helmet strap resolves both of those. Oh, along with instant flashy gratification, since I don't have to wait 72 hours for the adhesive to cure.

Subsequent clicking around since my previous taillight post has yielded the information that the PDW Radbot 1000 includes a rack mount. Which is great, although it still appears temporary, click into place, not screwed on. Searching various UK and European sites yielded the further information that there is a different rack mounting standard at work on some racks there (see 50mm to 80mm for examples), and also that there are several permanently rack mounted battery-powered taillights available there. Although I may end up feeling the Radbot 1000 impossible to resist, as I mentioned previously, I am pretty well stocked up on taillights at the moment, and am thus focused more on how to use what I already have, rather than buying more. Inspired by this small one-wrap victory, I continue to seek the ultimate in secure, flexible, flashy brightness.


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