Undercarriage Lighting Solutions

  Anyone have insight on creating an undercarriage lighting array?


  A fellow on the Terratrike Owners group suggested it. Am more concerned about the extra weight for a decent battery and regulator for the LEDs. Would be cool if one could use animated LED like runway lights coming from the crossbar and converging down the boom to the rear, but that's probably not possible and/or very expensive.

  Merely for possibility, what would it take to add static lighting to the undercarriage of a trike, what power supply options are there, and what would be needed to make it a reality?


  • You can get self adhesive LED strip lights from auto parts stores like Auto Zone and power them with a 9volt battery. Amazon and eBay have battery holders that will work very well. Very little weight added to the trike too. Can get just about any color that you like.
  •   @TheUndermind Do you by chance have a photo or video showing them? Am liking that alternating mode, just wonder if there's perhaps a way of extending the power with an external power pack... 3 hours on that mode, looks great for urban areas where there's like total darkness.

      Tempting to get at least a blue version, though rebating if I should get another color for the back area. They do look rather large, do they do okay underneath or be better on the sides & top?
  •   Was looking at these Rimfire Wheel Lights, though no having an on-board recharging Li-Ion battery so of puts it down, although the battery life is around 120 hours on 3 AA per unit.

      Yet, having an Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w) on the rear would probably leave the rear wheel out of luck with this type of system.

  • edited November 2016
      Internet went down right as I posted ... and seen it double posted so remove it.
  •   Ordered a blue LED Safety Flare to try out. Hope they aren't too thick to use underneath, as that would br a killer UFO look. :P

  • edited November 2016
      Soon as I figure out when all is needed and get a decent rechargeable battery option will put together something for the underside, probably in blue or blacklight purple. :)
  • edited November 2016
    With the preponderance of LED technology I'm wondering if people will not become somewhat jaded by all the flashing, swirling, eye popping lights.  In our area LED billboards have become the rage and some of them at night are really distracting.  It's seems to be the next phase in society.  I think that even if I had LED lighting on my trike I would be just as concerned and hyper vigilant as I would be without them.

    Being old school I still carry good old fashioned highway flares in my SUV.  Incidentally, these flares are still highly visible in the daytime.  Appropriate caution needs to be taken when using them, but they're dependable.  Maybe I like them because I've sparked a bazillion of them in my early law enforcement days. :))
  • Sometimes less is more
  • It seems to me the important thing isn't so much the type of light as the placement of the light. In a driver's line of sight seems to be better than near the ground for marker lights.
  •   Aye, but when you're out in total darkness it is comforting to have ambient light around you too. And... I've found some nice finds along side the roadways.  :)

      Will have to find a secondary light, around 300 ~ 400 lumens, that can stay on for 5 or 6 hours. The Bontrager Ion was great till the icon went to red and I dint no idea how much like I did have left. Put it on low strobe and got to where I was going, though a secondary headlight on the other side would of been better to see what I was driving over and what I should be avoiding. That's where having a light source underneath might help, and an LED strip would be low impact.

      It's an idea. If something can grab a driver's attention at a distance then it has done its job. If it can also throw enough light to make one safer, then that's a plus.
  • Point taken! :)
  • edited November 2016
      The LED itself is phenomenal. Wow! Really lights up the blackness on the sides, and I had cars noticing me even more tonight, some were slowing down to check out my ride. I felt safer in the dark areas and I did take a video when I was in one of the more darker regions.

      Heard someone say as I was riding by, "That's cool. Looks like a Batman light."

      On the way home a police cruiser came up a side road. I thought for sure I was going to get cited have a articulated blue light. They looked at me and drove off. They probably had better things to do than harass someone with so many lights.
      There are far too many cyclists without lights on, any light, let alone a reflector.

      Not impressed with the Super Bright LED's magnet. Sure it holds onto surfaces while the adhesive lasts, but the adhesive broke off shortly after I was wondering why the magnet wiggled. The magnet holds great onto metal surfaces but it's not strong enough to hold the unit over a normal bump.
      Ended up zip typing it to the crossbar on top, under my legs and forward of the seat, with a safety tie on the chain guide.
      Have some hard drive magnets and these things are super strong. I might try to dislodge one from a metal surface and see if it will do better on the SBL LED light. Otherwise I need to find a different method of mounting as I want in underneath the trike where the are no obstructions.

  • Sweet! Bloody Christmas tree you are!
  •   Very much like the effect the blue light has in the really dark areas, It's almost like a strobe effect through the front wheel spokes, and oddly enough this did throw blue light out the flank angles. Gives a person comfort in a way.

      Will throw much more light if can find a suitable method of undercarriage attachment. Or perhaps I should just go with an LED strip underneath and maybe mount the blue LED Flare on a more vertical angle behind the seat?
  • TheUndermind had their light(s) installed. No photos. :(
  • edited November 2016
    @IdahoTrailLizard Just a suggestion but you can get 3M Extreme mounting tape from home improvement store or auto parts store. This stuff is dark grey with a red protective strip and comes in different widths.
    I used it on my Semi Truck and trailer to mount several things. After 6 years, 700,000+ miles and many washings, everything was still where I put them.
    Clean the surface with a good window cleaner, and then wipe it with an alcohol swab before applying the tape.
    Beautiful country where you are. Been through Payette, ID and Ontario, OR hundreds of times. My favorite was US 95 from Payette up to Post Falls. GORGEOUS!
  • edited November 2016
      The problem with the tape is the recharging feature is on the magnet side, and the on/off/mode switch is on the other side. It does have holes on the outer area that I supposed could be utilized for mounting upside down. The LED Flare probably wasn't intended to be upside down.

      Was thinking of adhering a clear plastic material over the magnet end, or use silicone sealant. Then the manufacturer sent a shipping label and RMA for to send it back.

      I was going to see if I could slide a hard drive 'rare earth magnet' under the plastic but that stuff is fused on tight it wouldn't budge a little to get the shoulders of the magnet underneath it.
      It's a shame to send the LED light back since the fault is on the magnet mount and not the light.
  • edited November 2016
    @IdahoTrailLizard Sorry for the delayed response. I've been offline for a couple of weeks. I actually use two of the blue lights. I place one on top of the frame immediately under the front of my seat, and one on top of the frame immediately under the rear of my seat. Haven't thrown one yet when hitting a bump. I'm considering buying a couple more just to be extra flashy. I also get some jaw dropped looks on the road at night. They definitely see me. My wife says it looks like a UFO.

  •   Sent the blue LED Flair back as the magnet came loose. Hoping they will replace it with a decent one. Thought about sticking it behind the seat for a more horizontal side flash, but I liked them underneath better when in the dark.

      Will probably acquire an LED strip at some point, perhaps under the crossbar and down the main part of the boom. Had asked SBL if I needed a protection/flow circuit/regulator so I would not burn the LED out from applying too much juice, though no reply yet.
  •   Replacement flare light came in. SBL was much quicker in getting the unit replaced than it took to order in initially. Impressed, but the cost of 2nd day priority mail probably ate up most of their profit.
  •   So, these LED strips that people use, don't they require a regulatory circuit to keep the amperage from over-stressing the LEDs so they would last longer and not cause electrical stress on the components?
  • Everything is on the strip. All it takes is 12V DC and they pull minimal current too.
  • A note of caution to those who use flashing blue lights especially in Arkansas.  Flashing blue lights can only be used on police vehicles (Including police bicycles).  Similarly, flashing red lights to the front would also be illegal as those can only be used on emergency vehicles.  Flashing white/yellow to the front would be okay and flashing red to the rear would be okay.  You can get a citation if....  To light yourself up like a Christmas tree might best be accompanied by a thumper stereo and some rap.  Itsa joke..the last sentence.  =))
  • edited November 2016
      Rap is a four letter word. The C is silent.

      I wondered as a police cruise came by, but nothing was said. The light was like a foot off the ground and under the seat. If they say something I'll give it up.

      Still plan on adding a solid strip of lighting underneath, just not in a hurry. And one does not just add an LED strip to a battery, the current will prematurely burn-out the circuitry, and would be replacing it sooner. A resistor needs to go in between to reduce the amount of amperage being induced into the circuit. Will have to look up how to figure out the formula as it's been ages since I've worked in electronics.
      LED are light emitting "diodes." Diodes on allow electricity to flow one direction - doesn't do a thing to reduce amperage.

      Ohm's law
  • edited November 2016
    @IdahoTrailLizard. You can get self adhesive, ready to install strip LED's from the Auto Zone in Ontario, OR. Just go there and look at what they have. Most of the packages have a button you can press to see what the lights do. There is a small battery in the package. I know where of I speak. I was an Owner/Operator Semi driver. I used a lot of the strip LED's from Auto Zone on the inside and outside of my truck. After 6 years and nearly 750,000 miles they ALL still worked like the day I bought them.
    Current (or amperage) is the amount of power an item draws, not the amount the power supply is capable of providing.
    If you were going to use raw individual LED's and make your own strips, THEN you would need the ballast resistors to prevent overloading them.
    I am bringing my Rambler into the apartment for the winter and will be illuminating the heck out of it with LED's. When it's done, I'll post pics of before and after.
  • @TCEd Holy crap that's awesome. You truly can buy anything on Amazon.
  • O.M.G. Somebody actually MADE a jacket like that?
  • edited November 2016
    Now you're talking TCEd. That ranks right down there with the leisure suits from disco days.
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