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Old 07-27-11, 11:56 PM   #1
Captain Blight
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See A Little Light: The official dynamo lighting thread

I just installed a JOS Type T "Dynamobloc" headlamp to the left fork leg on my Centurion. Lucky me, I got it for free when it came through the shop and no one else wanted the poor thing. Well, it languished in my parts bin gathering dust and shopwear until last week, when I realized it had got late and dark on me at the shop and I'd forgot my PB Beamer headlamp. Normally I'd just borrow one of the display models and return it the next day, but we seemed to be temporarily out. So, the dynamobloc. Cleaned it all up, clamped it on, put a new bulb in it and took it out.

ZOMG this has t3h Awsum!! It roXXors my boXXorz!

It is almost silent, just a thin, high-pitched whirr coming off the front tire. And it puts a goodly amount of light right where it will do me the most good. And it seems that it always, always works. I keep a spare bulb taped under my saddle but even though I've screamed down some long downhills-- fast enough to keep up with traffic, say 35-38 MPH, the bulb hasn't blown yet.

I'm a little in love. And the fact that the other retro-grouch at the shop has been pouting that I have one and he doesn't, doesn't hurt a bit.



So whaddaya got? What lights your path?

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Old 07-28-11, 01:21 AM   #2
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Is the title a Bob Mould reference? If so, I approve.
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Old 07-28-11, 03:31 AM   #3
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  • 1958 Sturmey Archer FG powering a Miller Bullet light
  • 1970 Sturmey Archer AG powering a B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo on my Twenty
  • 1972 Sturmey Archer GH6 powering an anemic stock headlight
  • 1967 Columbia Commuter II with a stock JOS sidewall generator powering a stock headlight and tailgiht
  • 2 Union bottom bracket mount generators on Giant Expeditions (yes I have two of them) powering Union Halogen head lamps and tail lights
  • 1970 Sports Axa bottle mount powering a Lumotec halogen headlight
  • Shimano DH-2R30 powering a IQ Fly on my 2006 Redline R530
  • On order is a Sturmey Archer XL-FDD for my son's city bike build up.
  • Peugot with the OEM Soubitez sidewall generator and the stock French code yellow headlight

And the Lord said: " Let there be light..." and it was good.

I won't ride a bike very much unless it has some sort of permanent lighting system. I have been caught in the dark one time too many with bad batteries. I ride a fair bit on unlit country roads.

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Old 07-28-11, 06:05 AM   #4
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^^ I could just repeat Aaron's post but the details are a little different for me.

My commuter has a Shimano HB-NX20 hub and home made LED lights, awesomely bright and always on. My old Trek 720 has an old Sanyo dynamo hub driving an E3 Supernova and matching taillight. The rest are all Sturmey Archer. My orange Norman three speed has a '51 SA AG hub driving SA headlights retrofitted to take LED bulbs. My '48 RRA and my Lambert both have '56 GH-6 hubs running home made LED lights, basically the same as on my commuter bike; but the hubs being weaker and the wheels being large the voltage and wattage are lower, so the light is somewhat less awesome (dang good, though!). My Fothergill has an older dynohub, I'm not even sure whether it's a GH-8 or GH-12, running the same home made lights again... bright!

And that's not even a complete list.
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Old 07-28-11, 09:34 AM   #5
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I have 4 Navy bottles that all work on the bench and 2 old british headlamps getting converted to LED. If I like them on the pub cruiser and as back up for the tourer then I will get another set of lights for the commuter and loose the batteries.
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Old 07-28-11, 01:17 PM   #6
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I am actually VERY interested in LED conversions! I've got some nice old Miller and Union (and even a couple Soubitez golfballs) that I'd like to press into service, but good Lloyd, the Millers just blow through the bulbs for whatever reason. I've got a couple Sanyo BB dynamos that I'd like to get to using as well, but I fear I shorted one out on a rainy night and the other has a rattle in it I don't much care for. I wasn't aware Union made BB units; are they still?

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Is the title a Bob Mould reference?
Yes it is.
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Old 07-28-11, 02:39 PM   #7
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  • Shimano 3N-80 powering IQ CYO Senso Plus
  • SON28 powering IQ CYO Senso Plus
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Old 07-28-11, 03:13 PM   #8
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...the Millers just blow through the bulbs for whatever reason....
I've read about (but never seen) 12V Miller generators, maybe you have one?
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Old 07-28-11, 03:39 PM   #9
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Oh, maybe! I just slapped it on and wired it up, maybe that's the problem. Will check when I get home, thanks for the tip.
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Old 07-28-11, 03:52 PM   #10
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...and even a couple Soubitez golfballs....
Back in 1970 I had one of those on my 1967 Schwinn Racer (with 2-speed IGH). I used to race down the hill in the dark, staring at the light trying to make it even brighter by pedalling faster and faster. It's a wonder we survived
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Old 07-28-11, 05:24 PM   #11
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I am actually VERY interested in LED conversions! I've got some nice old Miller and Union (and even a couple Soubitez golfballs) that I'd like to press into service, but good Lloyd, the Millers just blow through the bulbs for whatever reason. I've got a couple Sanyo BB dynamos that I'd like to get to using as well, but I fear I shorted one out on a rainy night and the other has a rattle in it I don't much care for. I wasn't aware Union made BB units; are they still?


Yes it is.
YUP they are Union. Kind of interesting coming on a Taiwan built bike. I don't have a picture of the label side but here is one of the business end. I also have a Soubitiez block generator in the pile. One of these days if I ever run out something to do I might inventory and take pictures of all the odd parts I have.

The tail light on the Columbia is kind of neat too. It is an old JOS off the shelf part from the 1960's. They don't make things like that today.

Aaron



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Old 07-28-11, 06:25 PM   #12
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Is the title a Bob Mould reference? If so, I approve.
Currently reading his biography.

Lighting:

Schmidt SON hub & Supernova E3 headlight w/ wired tail light. One set up on my commuter and the same set up on my winter bike.

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Old 07-28-11, 06:29 PM   #13
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Currently listening to Candy Apple Grey. And, YEP, the Miller generator is indeed 12V! Problem identified if not solved. I suppose I might try it out with a 12V bulb, that might make some sense, huh?


Question: Can I run a higher-wattage bulb than the 3w recommended? Will that burn the dynamo out or will it just give me a dimmer light? I really am no electrician; wiring in a car stereo is about as complex as I can handle.

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Old 07-28-11, 06:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Question: Can I run a higher-wattage bulb than the 3w recommended? Will that burn the dynamo out or will it just give me a dimmer light? I really am no electrician; wiring in a car stereo is about as complex as I can handle.
I read on the internet, who knows where, that it would put more resistance on the dynamo; but in my experience it just made a much dimmer light.

I'm no electrician either, but by trial and error (mostly the latter) I've learned to make pretty powerful LED light sets for about $25 a pop.
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Old 07-28-11, 07:09 PM   #15
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Question: Can I run a higher-wattage bulb than the 3w recommended? Will that burn the dynamo out or will it just give me a dimmer light?
It'll be dimmer... the dynamo simply won't have the "oomph" to push a higher wattage bulb if the dynamo is engineered to put out 3W @ 12V.

Now if you want a seriously bright light... try running that 12V generator into a 10V bulb. It'll burn much brighter, and overvolting the bulb by 20% will only cut the bulb's life by about 90% or so, so a bulb with an average life of 3000 hours will last about 300 hours. I used to run a homebrewed lighting system that used two 20W 12V MR16 halogen bulbs overvolted to 14.4V... that setup would freeze cars at stoplights because they thought that I was a motorcycle! It did suck down a battery though. It ran for about 45 minutes on a 5000mAH battery that weighed 4 pounds.

Overvolted halogens were my lights of choice until the new generation of LED lights made dynamo lighting really bright and usable on the pitch black rural roads that I ride daily.
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Old 07-28-11, 07:11 PM   #16
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Currently listening to Candy Apple Grey. And, YEP, the Miller generator is indeed 12V! Problem identified if not solved. I suppose I might try it out with a 12V bulb, that might make some sense, huh?


Question: Can I run a higher-wattage bulb than the 3w recommended? Will that burn the dynamo out or will it just give me a dimmer light? I really am no electrician; wiring in a car stereo is about as complex as I can handle.
Fix the stereo in my Honda Accord (dealer has tried 3 times and I will buy you a bunch of bulbs.

It will load up the generator a bit, but the biggest problem is dimmer light. Are you running a tail light? If so you want a .6 watt for that and a 2.4 watt for the front to take full advantage of the output. FWIW this is the main reason I run LED they are usually 1 watt or so for headlights and a bit less for tail lights. So no problem powering them up. I tried to run a 2.4 watt halogen on the SA dynohubs, but it takes a lot of speed to get the light up to par, swapped in the LED light and bingo, bright light at a walking speed.

Aaron
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Old 07-28-11, 08:09 PM   #17
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This being C&V and all, I'm interested in running my Miller light set off my SA dynohub with incandesent bulbs. I don't use the set up except for Sunday rides around town and then only on overcast days or if I'm still out poking around at dusk. Anyway, is there a good source for the bulbs? I've found a stash of the dimpled NOS bulbs, but they are pricey, I just want my lights to work and have a few bulbs to keep in my saddle bag.
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Old 07-28-11, 08:19 PM   #18
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Anyway, is there a good source for the bulbs? I've found a stash of the dimpled NOS bulbs, but they are pricey, I just want my lights to work and have a few bulbs to keep in my saddle bag.

Check with one of the big online electronics distributors... like Mouser.com or Newark.com
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Old 07-29-11, 05:21 AM   #19
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This being C&V and all, I'm interested in running my Miller light set off my SA dynohub with incandesent bulbs. I don't use the set up except for Sunday rides around town and then only on overcast days or if I'm still out poking around at dusk. Anyway, is there a good source for the bulbs? I've found a stash of the dimpled NOS bulbs, but they are pricey, I just want my lights to work and have a few bulbs to keep in my saddle bag.
Can't find the link...Found it! Reflectalite
But there is a company that stocks everything including upgraded bulbs that will fit the Miller. IIRC they are in the UK but the shipping and pricing was very reasonable.

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Old 07-29-11, 07:19 AM   #20
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Hey Aaron thanks, perfect! the shipping charges are minimal compared with other sources.
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Old 07-29-11, 08:22 AM   #21
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-- fast enough to keep up with traffic, say 35-38 MPH, the bulb hasn't blown yet.
And you arent disappointed??

Ahhhhhh, another benchmark in the making.

"So how many bulbs did you blow in that TT last night??"
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Old 07-29-11, 11:19 PM   #22
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"So how many bulbs did you blow in that TT last night??"
Only one, and please don't ask about the glass in my mustache.
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Old 07-30-11, 08:36 AM   #23
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I won't ride a bike very much unless it has some sort of permanent lighting system. I have been caught in the dark one time too many with bad batteries.
Years ago, no, make that decades ago I purchased a Union light set with seatstay bottle generator, big headlight, and medium-sized taillight. So when I set up my UO8 as a road-bike-style commuter I mounted that generator with new B&M LED lights. I believe the headlight model is Lumotec IQ CYC R somethingorother w/standlight and w/too many letters in the name.

They work wonderfully. The system never has dead batteries. There is no drag when the generator isn't engaged, though it does have bearing drag when it is. I've even run it during my day commute when it has been on a gloomy or rainy day. B&M lights are expensive but they do light up the road.
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Old 07-30-11, 01:17 PM   #24
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Insofar as LED conversions: Are there off-the-shelf designs that will work at a reasonable price, or am I going to have to mortgage an arm to get someone to custom-build me one?
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Old 12-26-12, 05:51 PM   #25
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A bit of a zombie thread, but I decided to add to it for two reasons:

1. I found a good resource for finding specs on light bulbs: Bulb Town. You can look up bulbs by application, by base type, by voltage, etc.

2. My system is a little different in that my bottle generator puts out 12 VAC, 6 Watts, so I had to find my own bulbs.


I decided to address the head and tail lamps on my old Raleigh DL-1. They run off a bottle generator. Looking through various threads on generator lights, it seems that most generators put out 6 VAC, 3 Watts (0.5 amp). Mine is different though





That's right: 12 V, 6 Watts (still 0.5 Amps)... twice the power. That makes things complicated, because I can't use the standard bulbs everyone else does.

My bulbs had both blown out over a year ago and I did some replacement... the tail light bulbs I got didn't last. I tried LED bulbs in the front, but they didn't sync up with the reflector and put out very little light. I ended up with an automotive 1003 bulb, which works, but is not very bright.







I found a web site called Bulb Town that has a huge selection of bulbs, including what base styles they have, plus their voltage, current and power ratings. I found that the 1003 automotive bulb I put in the headlight draws 12 Watts of power, so that's what it wasn't very bright. I also discovered it had a BA15S base, so I looked for 12 V bulbs with that base and found the 5007 bulb: 12 Volt, .42 Amp, 5 Watt, BA15S Bayonet Base, and in the LL (long life) version, 400 Average Rated Hours. This bulb is commonly available in auto parts stores. Looked about right.



For the tail light, I was pretty sure it had the same E10 based used on the 6 V systems,



so I looked at Bulb Town and found a #52 Miniature Bulb with an E10 BASE, 14.4 Volt, 0.10 Amp, 1.44 Watt, 1,000 Average Rated Hours Derating it to 12 V at 0.10 Amp draw and it pulls 1.2 Watts. That, plus the 5 Watts from the other bulb, is 6.2 Watts.... close enough, I hope, to the 6 Watt rating of the generator. This bulb is available at Radio Shack, Model: 52, Catalog #: 272-1127.



The only thing is, the Radio Shack version says it's only good for 30 hours.

Anyway, I got two of each bulb, the headlight at Pep Boys, and the tail light at Radio Shack. I installed them and they seem to work okay; we'll see how long they last.

(This is as much note to myself as it is a post for the thread; if/when the bulbs burn out I want to refer back to this post.)
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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