Portable lighting for car maintanence

21 Feb 2007
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United Kingdom
Hello, I am an undergraduate at Nottingham Trent studying Product Design, and I am designing a portable light to aid you when carrying out maintenance on your vehicle in poor lighting conditions.

I am investigating user needs and characteristics.

Please could you share any difficulties you encounter when carrying out maintenance, in terms of space, time, weather, anything any problems you encounter on any type of job.

Also if you can think of any features you would like in the light, and also things that would not be useful to you in a light, maybe you wouldnt need the light to be changed between spot and flood, anything you think of please share with me.

Thankyou very much in advance,


Tim Peck
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If you actually manage to designh one you will make a fortune !
Problems incurred over 24 years.
Lamp must be a sealed unit to eliminate a fire hazard
Lamp must be cordless to eliminate a tripping hazard
I guess it would need to be some sort of cross between a flourecent and a torch beam.
The problem is with a flourescent lamp it gives a broad beam that is not focused,a torch beam is too focused. you ne to be able to attatch it to the vehicle but it needs to be smaller than a hand held torch size due to compact spaces you need to get in. We have head torches with both fl and torch beams incorporated in one unit ....swichable between the two..problem as soon as you move you head the beam goes with your movement.ie darkness....maybe a gyroscope would help !!!!!
Is this a different light to the one you posted about in February?
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Ideally cordless
Magnetic and some sort of crocodile clip....... maybe even a rubber sucker on it for sticking to dashboards etc?
fully adjustable
directable beam....... nothing worse than working on a car with the poxy light shining in your eyes
LED's rather than bulbs which blow

Basically, a telescopic, rechargeable, LED strip light which will stick to anything!

Simple :D
Thanks very much for your help, yeah its the same light, I have developed it into the idea of just a portable light for car maintenance
Rechargeable led lamps, adjustable beam, fully enclosed are all ready available, come up with an even better idea, and your a winner!
This sounds a bit wild and therefore i might be doing myself out of a good idea.

How about a pair of glasses with directional LED around the frames, shining light forward and slightly sideways.

With a recharge unit for the glasses to sit in when not in use.
Aqua said:
How about a pair of glasses with directional LED around the frames, shining light forward and slightly sideways.

been done
breezer said:
been done

Yes breezer i see (no pun intended) however that is a pair of frames with 2 torches strapped to the sides ;)

I am talking about some 20 - 40 small modern LED lights integral to the frames which give a daylight brightness in dark confined area's. Allowing the user to see forward and sideways clear vision.
Aqua said:
........ Allowing the user to see forward and sideways clear vision.

be a miricle if i could look sideways while lookig forwards. i find i have to turn my head if i want to look sideways
dmc63 said:
problem as soon as you move you head the beam goes with your movement.ie darkness.

The forward/sideways stuff is about the above, breezer.

The ability to see sideways while looking forward is of course possible, it's called peripheral vision :LOL:

With the pedantic stuff dealt with, what does our budding inventor thing ;)
One of the issues with many shop-bought emergency lamps -especially the halogen ones- is uselessly short running times on the internal battery, and excessive drain on the car battery.

A fluorescent powered by an HF invertor gives by far the most light output for power input, important when on 12V. Plus it gives an even light suitable for working by.

Ideally this should have a reflector which limits the light-spread to slightly less than 180 degress, so eyes aren't dazzled, and a polycarb cover to take the knocks. The type of tube used in 'low energy' mains lighting has potential here, being compact and easy to put into a rectangular reflector.

It should be of a shape which will stand upright without risk of falling over. (a major failing of most fluorescent lantern designs)

Since it may get wet, and invertors create moderate voltages (120-200v) it should be reasonably waterproof for safety's sake.

The option to run at reduced brightness on an internal rechargeable battery would be useful, with full power and recharging available when on vehicle 12v.

Battery technologies- There are arguments in favour of metal hydride or lithium - While lithium has greater capacity I favour metal hydride for their ready availability. The use of alkaline 'throwaways' should definitely be discouraged.

For a beam option I would use one of the new 6W or 9W Luxeon LEDs - these outshine any torch bulb for the same power input, and are extremely robust.

As for service time, a decent rechargeable pack should be able to give 2-3h on the fluorescent at economy brightess, and longer with the Luxeon at say 3W input, which is probably what you would use for walking.

All in all, this wouldn't be a budget lamp. But, it would be a good one.

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