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Old 03-08-01, 11:22 AM   #1
RainmanP
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Someone's post about seeing a lost blinkie flashing forlornly by the roadside reminded me of some irritation I have had about these little critters.
My first blinkie was a Vistalite 7 LED that cost about 22 bucks. I had it for a couple of months. I did not like it very much from the beginning. Replacing the batteries required removing two tiny phillips head screws. This was not that difficult, but required an extra tool in the seat bag just to change batteries in an emergency. Also, the clip on it was not that snug and it escaped one day while riding the loop on the back of my seat bag.
My second blinkie was a brand new model superbright Specialized thingie that uses the same little batteries that cycle computers use. I was hesitant about buying something that used batteries that I can't recharge or get at any drugstore, but my bike shop buddy convinced me this was the latest and greatest. Also cost just over 20 bucks. The clip on this one is very short and integral with the body, ie, cannot be replaced. Guess what? It snapped off the very first time I tried to clip it to my seat bag! I didn't want to hassle the shop because they had done a couple of favors for me so I just rubberbanded it to the back of my rack where it serves as a backup.
Irritated with these "state of the art" superblinkies, I order two inexpensive (on sale for $7.99, regularly 9.99) 5-LED blinkies from Performance. I love these! Use 2 AA batteries, replaceable by snapping open, but still water resistant, and the clips are big enough to clip on even heavy fabric and are designed such that it looks like it would be very difficult for them to accidently come off of most things.
I just ordered a couple of similar looking items from Nashbar because they use 2 AAAs and are a little smaller.
Any other experiences?
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Old 03-08-01, 11:55 AM   #2
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You're right, Rainman about sometimes the simpler and therefore cheaper, the better. I've sometimes run into the problem of the clamps either not being the right size or orientation for where I want to put the blinkie. ie: on the seat stay as opposed to one designed for the seatpost where it would be hidden by my rack bag. Usually there are enough clamps, clips etc. hanging around from items that have got lost or broken that it's not a problem. The only thing I've found with AAA batteries is that they don't have the life of AA's.
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Old 03-08-01, 12:48 PM   #3
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i've had that annoying experience of losing an expensive blinkie right away... and i'm not sure that the more expensive ones are really any better, although i did have a compact vistalite once that snapped into a clip that seemed extra bright - of course i lost it when the clip broke. and then when i'm at the store i'm reluctant to cheap out on a blinkie since it is my safety.

here's a link to a good blinkie for sale right now at rei-outlet. at least as strong as my new large 5 LED vistalite. although the fastener is velcro, which takes more monitoring than a bolted in blinkie, it might be one someone will want to pick up as backup (i did... the price was right).

http://www.rei-outlet.com/cgi-bin/nc...9&prmenbr=8000

one more blinkie thought - watch out for those cheap al bolt plates that fasten the blinkie to your rear rack. i lost a blinkie when the metal plate broke after maybe half a year of abuse.

-jb
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Old 03-08-01, 12:51 PM   #4
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Rechargable batteries offset the shorter life of AAA and even AAAs last a long time in blinkies. I prefer NiMh batteries. Even though they are pricey, they last through hundreds or recharges and retain good life. Renewal rechargable alkalines are OK; don't cost much more than regular alkalines but don't have the same charge life as NiMh. I also have a neat Supercharger that I got for about $8 that recharges regular alkalines. It works great. It is especially useful for the 4 D Duracell Ultras I use in my headlight. The NiMh Ds I have seen were only 2200 mah which is pitiful. A regular Duracell AA is 2750 mah and the Ds are 15000. I probably get about 100 hours (total over multiple recharges) out of a set of 4 Ds.
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Old 03-08-01, 07:16 PM   #5
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Me too, Raymond, I use only rechargeables. I still use the first pair of "C" NiCd's I ever bought, and they still last as long as ever. I prefer rechargeable alkalines now, though, because I don't have to drain them completely each time (NiCd's sometimes lose capacity if discharged only partially on a regular basis). Save bucks! I use the alkaline "AAA" in my LED's.

Blinkies: not always available, but check Wal-Mart for a little $3.00 job. I was amazed at the brightness at a distance. I bought a handful last time I found them.

I attached them with zip ties to parts of my bike that don't wiggle or move (vibration is unavoidable). So far, so good.

Pete
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Old 03-08-01, 11:32 PM   #6
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I'm glad we're talking about blinkies, since I had bought a $20 one from the bike shop (my first one), and after 3 months, it fell apart. I don't know if it was spooked or somethin' but it kept on blinking! True story!

After that one, i decided just to get an inexpensive one from Target, and it works great! It was some no-name brand, too.

Thanks for the link to the sale blinkie, JuneBride, that looked pretty good for the price!

BTW, blinkies are great for work, too! I have never collided with anyone in the hall with a blinkie on my arm!
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Old 03-09-01, 10:48 AM   #7
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P.S. Don't look in the bicycle section (toy department) of Wal-Mart for the LED's I mentioned. Close by, around
hunting and camping supplies.
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Old 03-30-01, 11:11 PM   #8
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I find that blinkies are a great way to meet losers in bars.

Yes, it is true. The next time you go into a bar, wear your bike blinkie somewhere like on your leg or arm or belt loop. Keep it blinking for full effect.

You know that cute girl? The one with the unattractive friend who smokes and has nothing interesting to say? Well, the cute girl still won't have anything to do with you, but her unattractive friend suddenly will. "Hey, you're blinking." "What is that thing anyway?" "That is like so weird"

Sit at the bar. The guy with the long hair on the sides, but bald on top smoking a Virginia Slims that he mooched from the bartender; The guy with a dirty plaid shirt and dirty finger nails; he'll have something to say too. "Heyyy, man, did you hit a detour sign or something? Ha ha ha"

It is also a way to ferret-out epilepsy. Turn your blinkie to strobe mode and walk around. BrrrrEeeedududud.... THUD, THUD, THUD. They will fall right off their chairs and start doing the worm. I have never actually seen this work, but my experience wearing the strobe in bars is yet limited.

Mike

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Old 03-31-01, 12:08 AM   #9
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Mike, you're a sick puppy!

(Pass me another chunk of cookie-dough!)
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Old 11-30-04, 08:59 PM   #10
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The angle of LED lights is critical to how well you can be see. If possible use the plastic bracket and bolt them onto the seatpost, or even a seatstay if you can.Then they don't bounce off too.

Make the rear facing LED's horizontal.

The Performance "Flare" taillights are so much brighter than the other big vistalight taillights or any of the 5 or 7 LED flat blinkies, you will not believe your eyes. Don't look into the lights they are blinding. They are small, light, cheap and brighter than anything I can find on the market at the moment. They use three aaa's and are maybe 10 times brighter than what you have. Much brighter than car tailights from 1/4 mile away. Very bright during the day.

$15 plus shipping, when I got mine.
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Old 11-30-04, 09:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainmanP
Rechargable batteries offset the shorter life of AAA and even AAAs last a long time in blinkies. I prefer NiMh batteries. Even though they are pricey, they last through hundreds or recharges and retain good life. Renewal rechargable alkalines are OK; don't cost much more than regular alkalines but don't have the same charge life as NiMh. I also have a neat Supercharger that I got for about $8 that recharges regular alkalines. It works great. It is especially useful for the 4 D Duracell Ultras I use in my headlight. The NiMh Ds I have seen were only 2200 mah which is pitiful. A regular Duracell AA is 2750 mah and the Ds are 15000. I probably get about 100 hours (total over multiple recharges) out of a set of 4 Ds.
Ya know what really sucks though, is when you lose your $22 Vistalite blinkie loaded with expensive NiMh rechargeables (the only set of AAAs I had). Still pissed about that one. Maybe it'll turn up when hit those trails again this week...

-Trevor
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Old 11-30-04, 11:30 PM   #12
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my 5-led "wide" cateye is pretty darn bright as well, when I turn it on during the day, I can see a little wake of faint red light around my back wheel. Considering it's pointing stright behind...that's pretty impressive in my book.

However, the cateye clip leaves some to be desired...it should use hte same locking system their post clamp does.
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Old 12-01-04, 12:32 AM   #13
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though it is spendy http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...117944385&rd=1
this is a very bright light. the good part is the LEDS in the neds so it is the best side view LED out there. easy to change batteries you just twist off the end. but the mount is only for vertical posts (they don't want you turning it the wrong way(G) but it is very sturdy.
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Old 12-01-04, 12:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
The angle of LED lights is critical to how well you can be see. If possible use the plastic bracket and bolt them onto the seatpost, or even a seatstay if you can.Then they don't bounce off too.

Make the rear facing LED's horizontal.

The Performance "Flare" taillights are so much brighter than the other big vistalight taillights or any of the 5 or 7 LED flat blinkies, you will not believe your eyes. Don't look into the lights they are blinding. They are small, light, cheap and brighter than anything I can find on the market at the moment. They use three aaa's and are maybe 10 times brighter than what you have. Much brighter than car tailights from 1/4 mile away. Very bright during the day.

$15 plus shipping, when I got mine.
You know what really sucks? Newbies who don't check the last post date of a thread. Especially when the threads been dead since 2001 .
That's three and a half years ago people.
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Old 12-01-04, 12:40 AM   #15
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well yes the first person that replied is guilty but after that this message shows up in the new posts.
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Old 12-01-04, 01:48 AM   #16
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And so what? If it has relevance to today, why start a new thead?

BTW, I use a red blinky that my wife gets on a box at the pharmacy. I have to ask her for a new one, when the nonreplacable battery runs out.
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Old 12-01-04, 02:02 AM   #17
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I got some blinkies from ebay- they were only one euro each (though postage was higher). They are solar powered so I just leave them in front of my office window when I get to work.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:08 AM   #18
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I also use the cheapos. I got a Nashbar-branded one a few months back, and a similar unit from Walmart (Bell-branded) last week. They work fine and use AA or AAA batteries.

Regarding batteries, I use NiMH for many things, but not bike LED lights - the reason is that they draw very little power, and I have a little secret - here at work we have a cardboard box where people can drop dead batteries, then once a month or so someone takes them to the recycling center. Every couple of months, I grab the box when it's half full, spend 10 minutes going through it with a battery tester, and get enough batteries to last me a long long time.

Turns out there are a LOT of good batteries thrown away, for a couple of reasons: Many batteries now have built-in testers, and I've found some practically-new batteries with defective testers on them. Also people pick up a random handful of batteries out of their junk drawer for something that needs 4 batteries. When the device stops working, they toss all 4 batteries. Most of the time it turns out there are 3 good batteries and 1 completely dead one.

So I get dozens of 80% full batteries whenever I want them.

Something to keep in mind; maybe you all should start a "battery recycling service" at work!
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Old 12-01-04, 06:22 AM   #19
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I know this is an old thread, but I recently came up with a solution to the seatbag problem--I have a seat bag, so I can't attach a blinkie to the seat post. I use saddle bags, so I can't put it anywhere on the chain stays. I tried clipping one to my seat bag, but it would fall off.

Solution? I used two zip ties--one attached to each of the rods under the saddle (the things that hold the seat bag). I kept the blinkie attached to the seat post mount, and ran each of the zip ties through the round part that the seat post would go through. Bingo--my blinkie is now firmly lodged between my seatbag and the saddle, pointing perfectly backwards.

I also got a Cat Eye Compact Safety Light that dangles from the seat bag.

After this, I now keep a couple zip ties in my seat bag. Those things are handy.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:39 AM   #20
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How does 2manybikes keep dredging up these old threads?
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Old 12-01-04, 06:58 AM   #21
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I think it's kinda fun with a long-dead thread thrusts it's skeletal hand out of the mouldy earth of the forum graveyard.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:27 AM   #22
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I think it's better to bump an existing thread than to open a new one. Then half of us would be screaming "use the ¤%#¤ search button, n00b", and the other half would be reporting the thread for AOL'ese.

On the subject: I currently run a Basta Rugby. It is nice, small, versatile - and operates on a "button" type battery, which can be difficult to find and expensive. I have slowly upgraded my electric gizmos to run on rechargeable AA's. Methinks the Rugby is the next one to go - that Cateye rear blinkie looks promising.

--J
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Old 12-01-04, 08:22 AM   #23
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I think it's kinda fun with a long-dead thread thrusts it's skeletal hand out of the mouldy earth of the forum graveyard.
Especially when its yours, old man.
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Old 12-01-04, 08:34 AM   #24
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Yeah, a bit flattering, too!
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Old 12-01-04, 08:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknight
though it is spendy http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...117944385&rd=1
this is a very bright light. the good part is the LEDS in the neds so it is the best side view LED out there. easy to change batteries you just twist off the end. but the mount is only for vertical posts (they don't want you turning it the wrong way(G) but it is very sturdy.
This is an excellent light. I have one. No complaints. The side visibility is better than most. The performance flare is brighter from the rear by quite a bit, but the side visibility is not as good.It's also 2/3 the price.

Use energizer E2 titaniium batterys. They are brighter than the one that come with the cateye light.

I grew up with a Guy named Steve Knight. From Rhode Island originally. ??
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