Miller 597 – Vintage Rear Dynamo Light / LED modification

Recently, I found a gorgeous looking bicycle rear light on eBay.

It was a bit rusty but after cleaning it the following markings on it became readable:

  • Miller
  • 597

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much about on Miller as a bicycle light manufacturer and the different models they used to make… If anyone knows about it feel free to leave a reply at the bottom of this post.

597 rear lights are bottle dynamo lights so there is only one piece of wire coming out of the back them, but I converted this one to work of my hub dynamo!

With a  bottle dynamo fitted on your bike, the frame is the return path of the electrical circuit and you only need one piece of wire that runs form the dynamo to the lights to bring the current to the light bulbs.
With dynamo hubs, the frame is not part of the electrical circuit and you need to lay a 2-core wire from the front hub to the lights (usually the front light has a switch that the front and the rear light on & off).

It was quite easy to remove the original one core piece of wire to replace it with a  2-core one: I drilled into the rear of the light through the 1-core wire and also removed all the tar that was used to seal the unit and make the lightbulb holder stay in place.

Next step was looking into how to replace the lightbulb with an LED. LEDs on a bike are advantageous over incandescent lightbulbs because they are absolutely immune to vibrations (there is no filament to break). Incidentally they consume a lot less current but that’s not something you worry much unless you power them out of batteries.

Generators (dynamo) are AC generators. Their output tension is not regulated (the faster you cycle the more energy they produce) so I had to think about voltage and current regulation before using LEDs.

Here is a diagram of the circuit I built and managed to fit inside the 597 (these lights are small!).

The circuit can be broken down in to the following elements

  1. The hub AC generator
  2. The diode bridge that turn AC into DC.
  3. The zener diode that limits the tension to 5.5V
  4. The 0.47F (yes half a Farad) memory backup capacitor that smoothes the DC tension.
  5. The 150mA / 3.3V positive voltage regulator that drop the tension and limits the current in order not to fry the LED
  6. A miniature 1uF capacitor to prevent the regulator from oscillating
  7. A 30 Ohms resistor to lower the tension down a bit before feeding the LED

The design above has the advantage to give a “stand light” facility. That is to say, when you stop cycling (at a red light for instance), the 0.47F capacitor is charged an keeps powering the circuit. Depending on how much current is draw by your LED the light should stay on few minutes after you have stopped.

Design considerations if you if you want more that one LED:

  • Make sure you don’t exceed 150mA of current draw (or use regulators in parallel or a bigger one)
  • Make sure there is always a resistor before each LED if you use LEDs in parallel

List of components:

  • 4 x silicon rectifier diodes (more or less any type will do)
  • 1 x 5W 5.5 Volts Zener Diode
  • 1 x 5.5v 0.47F memory backup capacitor
  • 1 x 3.3V / 150mA positive voltage regulator (TS2950CT or equivalent)
  • 1 x 1 uF electrolytic capacitor
  • 1 x 30 ohms 1/4 watt resistor
  • 1 x red LED

It should cost you less than £10 to source the parts above. If you are based in London, the people at Cricklewood Electronics should have the components needed in stock!

Bellow are two pictures of the modified Miller 597 installed on my road bike.


Vintage mighty mouse


Although being completely satisfied with my Apple Mighty Mouse I bought on ebay a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t refrain myself from ‘moding’ it. In my endless quest of personality enhancement for mice I bought an authentic and vintage Apple ADB mouse on an auction site. The ground idea for this transformation is quite similar to my other mouse mod: trying to make the inside of a mighty mouse fit into a vintage ADB mouse to obtain a lovely and fully featured modern mouse with an breathtaking vintage look.

original_mighty_mouseI had no digital camera handy when I made this mod: you will only see pictures of the finished mod.


  • One Apple ADB Mouse.
  • One Apple Mighty Mouse.
  • An drilling machine (adjustable speed) and various drill bits.
  • A Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.
  • Various small files.
  • A soldering iron.
  • Epoxy putty.


As shown on picture bellow you end I ended up with a few spare bits and blobs: The ADB mouse inner-electronics and it’s ball, the mighty mouse plastic enclosure and it’s internal second and pressure sensitive clic frame. If one day I get bored of the vintage mouse and want to reassemble the original mighty mouse I’ll be able to do so.



External view:

The improvements of my enhanced apple ADB mouse over the original are the weight (ball removed) and an extra the scroll ball that is placed on the side, under the thumb (if your right handed).


Below is an underside view of the modified mighty mouse. The internal board was taped to protect it from people wanting to put a finger inside the ball hole.


Inside the mouse:

After taking the two mouses apart it was an nice surprise to discover that their internal electronic boards are almost identical in dimensions. This in fact helped a lot. However I had to dig the ADB mouse case to remove the internal relief made by ball opening mechanism (I melted it with the iron so that it doesn’t open anymore). And it took me quite a while to find the adequate drilling equipment to dig the side of the mouse where the scroll ball is now placed (I used a PCB drilling device).


The following four pictures detail the side scroll ball placement and the original ADB click switch on the mighty mouse’s main board. I used epoxy mastic to hold and stick the scroll ball and the click switch in the required position.


After a few days spent on that project, the mouse mod was finally achieved and amazingly… functioning! Unfortunately I had to remove the ‘squeeze click’ feature because it would have been extremely hard to fit in the vintage mouse’s body.
In the end, the mouse feature three clicks and a scroll ball, which is, in my opinion largely enough. All that with a stunning vintage look! As you can see on the two pictures bellow the scroll ball is placed just bellow the user’s thumb which in my opinion a million times more comfortable.

In the future I will probably get rid of the ADB connector altogether and solder a Grey USB type A connector… (the black inline socket on the picture bellow is a simple SVHS female connector).

Thank you Barbara for your precious help!


Bluetooth-enabling a Sun Type 4 mouse mod


The Anycom BTM 100 Bluetooth Mouse I bought a couple of month ago was fulfilling my wireless-mouse-needs perfectly except that I wanted a mouse with more personality. This mouse has a really good feature: unless many wireless mouse, you can still use the it while it’s charging, thanks to a clever charging dock system:

Anycom BTM 100 bluetooth mouse

A few years ago I found an old mouse made in 1982 (only recently a friend was able to tell me it was a Sun Type 4 mouse):

Sun Type 4 mouse

As far as I know this is one of the first optical mouse ever made (1982!). The mouse was manufactured in Santa Clara, USA by a company called “Mouse Systems”. The optical system was made of two pairs of led/photo-resistor. One pair was responsible for the detection of the vertical movements and the other for the vertical ones. Check out the patent for more information.
This clever system was unfortunately only working on a special striped mouse pad I didn’t had. Moreover the mouse connector was a RJ11 one (used for phones) and had always prevented from testing the mouse.

Bellow is a picture showing the Sun keyboards and mice of the Type 3 and 4:
Sun keyboards and mice Type 3 and 4

The BMT-100 being slightly smaller than the Type 4 I made the assumption it wouldn’t be too difficult making the Anycom’s electronic parts fit into the Sun Type 4’s plastic case. I also thought buying a an old classic Apple mouse but I choose the Sun Type 4 for the following reasons:
• It has three buttons (two for the left and right click and one for the wheel click).
• It is a bit bigger than the Apple classic mouse so batteries AND the charging control electronic would also fit in the case.
• I already had the Sun one!


  • One Anycom BTM 100 mouse.
  • One Sun Type 4 mouse.
  • One usb cable.
  • One female RJ11 connector.
  • A drilling machine (with adjustable speed) and various drills.
  • A Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.
  • A grip.
  • A soldering iron.
  • Mastic that behaves/glues well on plastic.
  • A wood scissor and a heat source (to melt/cut the plastic).
  • Patience (2 days of work ahead)!

The next two pictures show my work place and the orginal electronic board of the Sun Type 4 mouse:

Tools and workbench Inside of the Sun mouse

Unfortunately I had no digital camera at the time I made the mods, hence you will only see pictures of the finished mouse.

Mouse controls placement:

Placing the mouse mainboard into the Sun case was suprisingly easy: I just had to cut an angle of the board then it was in place. Then had to make the wheel fit in the case. I used a computer metallic case-part to hold the wheel in position. Finally I had a board on the top right corner of the case to place the left click button:
Inside of the 'new' mouse

The picture bellow shows a detail of the new wiring added to the mainboard to position the click-switches, the power-switch and the wheel in the case:
Wiring up

This is pictures is another view of the click-switches and power switch:
Detail of the click switches and power switch

I used an epoxy-based mastic model a shape that held the wheel in place:

Optical adjustments:

One of the hardest and longest tasks was the optical adjustment for the lens and sensor. The optical sensor can’t work properly when it’s out of focus (when it only ‘sees’ a blurry picture of surface where the mouse is operated). The problem was the Sun mouse case was slightly thicker than the Anycom one: I had to remove 2 millimeters (0.08″) of plastic. The technique I used was to remove any mouse relief on the bottom of the mouse and to ‘dig’ the inside of the mouse with a hot wood scissor until the mouse cursor moved.

Bottom of the modified Sun type 4 mouse
Inside of the bottom plastic case of the Sun type 4 mouse
Detail of the optical lens in place
ent 2.”>
Inside of the modified Sun Type 4 mouse

Please notice on the last picture the two little mirrors. They used to reflect the light coming from the mouse pad to the light sensitive resistors on the board.
The following picture shows optical sensor on the left (note than the CMOS captor is directly exposed to dust there, please pay attention to the little hole in the optical chip) and the Bluetooth antenna in the middle:

Detail of the bluetooth antenna

Charging system:

The last step to make was to integrate the charging control electronic of the original charging-dock into the mouse body and to integrate a connector to be able to bring +5 volts from an USB connector to charge the batteries when necessary.

Charging control board detail

I was first planning to use a small female USB2 connector (ie. the ones used on digital cameras) to be able to charge the mouse almost anywhere even if I had no cable with me but the problem was I had no such connector. Moreover, I was working on this project for almost two days and it was Saturday night: I wouldn’t be unable to buy a small USB2 female connector before Monday…
I finally dismantled a telephone extension cable connector (the quite big French ones) and took out a female RJ11 connector. Enventually, I cut another hole in the plastic case and fixed it with the epoxy mastic:
Charging connector detail


After about 30 hours of work, the mouse mod was finally achieved and amazingly, it’s functinning flawlessly. I mainly use this mouse as a Keynote/PowerPoint remote control to command the slide transition and it’s always a pleasure to hold such a device in my hand! (This mouse has the same age as me!)
The following picture shows the mouse while it’s batteries are charging:

Finished modified Sun Type 4 mouse

Bellow is the complete mouse package shown (the Bluetooth optical mouse, it’s velvet transporting bag and the USB charging cable):

Finished vintage bluetooth mouse package


Electro-optical mouse , United States Patent 4364035.
The Old Suns Picture Archive.
Anycom BTM-100 Bluetooth Mouse.
Toutcoller : Pattex ReparExpress Pate a reparer multi-materiaux This page presents the mastic I used to repair the wrong hole I made in the Airport plastic case (it’s in French). – Apple related news and DIY articles. Daily updated.
Mac mod – Site dedicated to Apple computer mods.