Utility Cycling - solar-powered bike lights
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09-03-09, 07:49 PM
i was in the homecenter yesterday and saw a solar LED bike light, I think it was this one:
looks like a good idea in principle, Y2000 ie $20, seems cheap, anyone have anything similar and have anything good/bad to say about it? I'm trying to avoid buying some cheap crap that ends up as landfill, on the other hand if it works well then it's a great idea. I know it probably won't light my way in complete darkness but I mainly want it to be seen rather than to see. Nice feature seems to be that it also has a flashing rear light that links up via a cable to the main front unit.
thanks for anyone with anything to say
09-04-09, 10:38 PM
At current levels of technology it pretty much has to be a "to be seen" light rather than a true headlight IMO. From the photo it also looks quite large in size, about like the old cruiser bike D cell battery operated lights. To me a dynamo light setup such as I have on my Civia Hyland is more practical, particularly when upgraded with something like the B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo dynamo headlight and dynamo taillight I am running. No batteries and it puts out a very useful amount of light to actually see by.
Interesting concept though and certainly cheaper than a dynamo and good lights for it..
09-05-09, 09:57 AM
If you take apart the cheap solar 'stick in the ground' walkway lights, you will see they have rechargable AA batteries in them. If you used one of those to charge your batteries and had an extra set of batteries, that might work as a solar light. I wouldn't bother with some cheap old technology leds because the more expensive, newer leds are much brighter and more efficient. I try not to leave my bike in the sun all day because the sun eats paint, rubber and all else.
09-05-09, 10:58 AM
There are also dedicated solar battery chargers that will handle the popular battery sizes. Should be more practical than one just made for the bike.
09-06-09, 05:37 AM
thanks for the thoughts
long term i want to get a front-and-rear hub dynamo setup, to take all the thought out of it, but that's a couple of years down the line at least.
I'll mull it, I'M thinking its probably not all that great but would be a nice backup.
thanks for the replies
09-06-09, 09:37 AM
Since the light is used at night and the solar panel is used during the day, doesn't really make sense to have them in the same unit, other than convenience. I currently use rechargeable NiMH batteries in a light that lets me know when the charge is getting low. I carry spare batteries, too.
Interesting thread, though. I might look into a solar charger. It would probably require buying more batteries. Because I normally charge my batteries at night and don't have easy access to an electrical outlet during the day, I would have to leave a set of batteries at home charging, in addition to those in the lamps and spares in my backpack.
Hmm, everything in one package, charging when it's sunny and lighting my way when it's dark, does sound a lot more convenient than rotating three sets of batteries...
09-06-09, 10:11 AM
The ideal of a solar charged bike light seems like the way to go however, it is an easy set up for breakage. If the panel is on the light and the bike falls or impacted, it will break. If you want to go solar, just buy rechargeable batteries and charge them using a solar powered battery charger. I have one and it works well. Another option is to use a crank light on the bike. I have a few and never have to worry about batteries.
09-06-09, 06:01 PM
crank light? I googled it expecting a light that is somehow powered by attaching to the bike crank, duh. interesting idea tho (now that i understand it....), does it work well? It kind of looks like you'd need to stop and wind pretty often, is that your experience?
09-11-09, 09:26 AM
I just ordered an Owleye Solar headlight just to check it out...
09-11-09, 06:40 PM
let me know what you think when you get it, i found the same light (as the one i found before) in another shop but only $10 this time.
09-11-09, 07:02 PM
Egg- I bought my crank lights from sierratradingpost.com. They are small lights that need to be wound up for a few minutes before use. They put out pretty well on all three settings and hold a "charge" for some time.
Alice- Let us know how the solar lights pan out.
09-14-09, 05:21 PM
Just received the Owleye, first impression is good. Nice packaging. Graham Hill from 21wheels, CO included a free lanyard...:)
I set it on the windowsill and I'll test it tonight.
09-16-09, 06:50 AM
let us know!
09-16-09, 11:24 AM
let us know!
Well it's smaller than I expected, about as long as a deck of cards, but not as wide or thick. It fulfills the legal "visible from 300 feet" law in California.
10-10-09, 08:04 AM
You'd be better off with a double "D" led flashlight attached to your handlebar than one of those.
Two questions: One--when you ride under a streetlight does it go into charge mode as compared to
discharge(lights on) mode?
Two--Can you contact the seller currently? I tried 2 years ago had fail email contact with his site.
10-10-09, 11:31 PM
thanks for the good points dogbit, i never did buy that light, I have doubts about the quality and the light output, recently i've concluded i need more light, currently mulling options at the low end of the LED pricerange
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