More on bike spoke light LED signs (POV)

  • 2004/8/09 – Adding link to Hokey Spokes.
  • 2014/8/10 – Adding link to manufacturer of YQ800X series products.

Last year, I posted an article discussing a cheap bike wheel LED display I picked up for $6 on e-Bay. Recently, I discovered many other ones seem much better. The cheap one I have has 32 blue LEDs, and is single sided, so you can only view it from on side of the bike. Since then, I have discovered full color versions with more LEDs and, most importantly, double-sided so they can be viewed on either side of the bike. Here is a rundown of my researc so far, mostly posted here so it can be indexed in Google, BING, etc. and maybe help others.

I will post links to the items available from Amazon (but NONE are actually sold BY Amazon, and most ship from China and take weeks to arrive). I have found hundreds of e-Bay stores selling them, too, often at far lower prices.

There is a company called ExcelVan that makes several, ranging from $20 to over $100.

The ones I have found so far include:

  1. YQ8003 – $45, double-sided, two arm, 128 LED, programmed via USB cable.
    http://www.amazon.com/Excelvan-Colorful-Waterproof-Programmable-customize/dp/B00WS2I8K2
  2. YQ8005 – $26, double-sided, two-arm, 96 LED, maybe not programmable (25 included pictures).
    http://www.amazon.com/Excelvan-Colorful-Pictures-Waterproof-Mountain/dp/B00W8QC1JC/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1439079623&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=YQ8005
  3. YQ8007 – $90 (but I found it for $40), double-sided, two-arm, 144 LED, programmable by SD memory card. This Amazon link is for a different brand name, so it is either a clone/bootleg or just another company selling the item under their name.
    http://www.amazon.com/Yongchengg-Programmable-Programming-Double-side-Waterproof/dp/B011U02790/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1439079839&sr=1-1&keywords=YQ8007
  4. YQ8008 – $150 (Amazon Prime), double-sided, three-arm, 216 LEDs, programmable by SD memory card. By having THREE arms, it can display the color picture at a slower speed.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product//B00RE6KGNY/ref=twister_dp_update?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Update: Since the original posting, I think I have located the manufacturer of these devices. They produce YQ8001 to YQ8009. Some use preset patterns, some are programmable (they call them “DIY”), and some can even do video. I will try to put a chart together as I learn more.

Here is the YQ8003 installation video:

By searching for the “YQxxxx” numbers, you can find them being sold all over e-Bay and other online places — most shipping from China. The prices vary greatly. GearBest has the YQ8007 (they claim) for $40.99 with free shipping, for example.

XuanWheel (pic from Amazon store).

XuanWheel (pic from Amazon store).

There is a difference in how they work, too. Some just display static photos, and some can display animation. But, the best one (maybe), is the XuanWheel.

http://www.ixuanlun.com/en/indexEnMobile.html

I believe it started out as an IndieGogo campaign called HaloWheel, but since Halo Wheels is a name of a bike wheel brand, maybe that’s why they changed it to XuanWheel? It is a double-sided, four-armed one that is programmed via Bluetooth over an Android or iOS device. This HaloWheel (per IndiGogo name) or XuanWheel (per website) runs $89 on Amazon (there is a $5 discount code right now) with free shipping (from China, so it takes a month to reach the USA). I found similar devices on e-Bay for as low as $73 (they may be knockoffs or clones).

This one looks like it can synchronize both wheel displays (if you have two). I could not find ANY information on what size hub it would fit, so I asked on YouTube and they replied:

The diameter of the hub should not be larger than 3.8 centimeter

WARNING: Their iOS app is not in the App Store. Instead, you just go and download it direct from their website. Assuming you like to just download random apps from sites in China… Yes, just like Android, you can directly install iOS apps without going through the App Store. BUT, they are not supposed to do that. That is, I think, how developers allow beta testers to get access to their apps before they are done and submitted to Apple. They only get a limited number of installs this way, I believe, and they are not meant to be distributing software like this. At least the iOS device will warn you:

Currently not in the App Store, you have to take changes with a non-inspected app from a website in China. Scary!

Currently not in the App Store, you have to take changes with a non-inspected app from a website in China. Scary!

And lastly, there is even the Monkey Light Pro  by Monkeylectric that sells for $1000. It looks good, but not $1000 good!

More to come… I am hoping to have a review unit of one of these in a few weeks.

UPDATE: Commenter wb8nbs pointed me to Hokey Spokes, which at $20 16-LED spoke lights that can display preset patterns or simple one line text. The unique thing about them is you can use just one, or multiple. They sync to each other using infrared, and from the demo videos, it appears they all just do the same thing so all patterns look symmetrical (thus, any text would show the same in three places of the wheel when using three of these). Not color, but you can get them in different colors and create interesting rainbow effects. Not the most cost effective solution, but if you just want cool lights, one would be pretty cheap, and they ship from Indiana!

7 thoughts on “More on bike spoke light LED signs (POV)

    1. Allen Huffman Post author

      Wow! Tiny. I was working on an Arduino program that would use addressable LEDs to make my own but reprogramming existing hardware is nicer. How did you figure out how to load the firmware and such?

      Reply
      1. nomeata

        I ran the official windows software on Window (in a virtual machine), and used a COM port sniffer to get the traffic. Looking at it I (and googling) found that it was talking with the STC ISP protocol, and wrote a small tool to extract the actual payload from that protocol dump. This means I had the firmware, and could tinker with it. It also told me the precise microcontroller used.

        I then managed to run my own software on the microcontroller, and talk to it via the serial port, but no LEDs yet. Soon I was able to react to the magnet. But figuring out how to address the LEDs was a lenghty process, and I even wrote https://github.com/nomeata/bisect-binary to assist with finding out the relevant instructions. But eventually (by modifying the binary machine code to understand what’s going on), I got it.

        Actually implementing my own firmware was then “just” simple programming, and mostly straight forward.

        Reply

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