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Old 06-22-06, 09:17 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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What is life expectancy of lighting systems?

Moved a battery cable and smoke, smoke, smoke. Wow, no even 14 months on battery. Both insulated lines are now showing massive exposed wires. This was a performance evo dual light set, not cheap at $150. But if just barely lasts over a year, not a good buy. Think of bitting the bullet and going for something like a Jet or L&M, but if they just last a year or so, it might be better to just think of lights as disposable and get a cheaper set.

I ride year round, so need something that will work in the winter.

So what's your experience, how long do lights/batteries last?
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Old 06-22-06, 10:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Moved a battery cable and smoke, smoke, smoke. Wow, no even 14 months on battery. Both insulated lines are now showing massive exposed wires. This was a performance evo dual light set, not cheap at $150. But if just barely lasts over a year, not a good buy. Think of bitting the bullet and going for something like a Jet or L&M, but if they just last a year or so, it might be better to just think of lights as disposable and get a cheaper set.

I ride year round, so need something that will work in the winter.

So what's your experience, how long do lights/batteries last?

This may be a workmanship issue (unless you can determine whether you shorted the battery somehow.)
See if Performance will take it back. They're usually pretty good about these things, especially if it's a workmanship issue.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:07 AM   #3
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This may be a workmanship issue (unless you can determine whether you shorted the battery somehow.)
See if Performance will take it back. They're usually pretty good about these things, especially if it's a workmanship issue.

I understand. Yesterday they didn't have replacement batteries and there is the potential to offer credit. But salesmen were distracted by a gaggle of cute girls in store. I'll revisit the issue on friday when I pick up the bike there.
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Old 06-22-06, 12:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Moved a battery cable and smoke, smoke, smoke. Wow, no even 14 months on battery. Both insulated lines are now showing massive exposed wires. This was a performance evo dual light set, not cheap at $150. But if just barely lasts over a year, not a good buy. Think of bitting the bullet and going for something like a Jet or L&M, but if they just last a year or so, it might be better to just think of lights as disposable and get a cheaper set.

I ride year round, so need something that will work in the winter.

So what's your experience, how long do lights/batteries last?

All parts of the system should, theoretically, last forever but stuff happens. It sounds like you shorted out the battery because of exposed wires. If your battery isn't a sealed lead acid, this shouldn't be too much of a problem especially if you didn't short the battery down to dead cells. SLA's don't like to be discharged like that (no battery really likes it ) and you may have ended up killing the battery.

Fixes: If the wires are exposed, you either need to replace the wires or at least the area that is exposed. I don't know how these wires are connected to the battery but you could cut the wire out and put a connector in its place or you could just reinsulate the wires. You could just put shrink wrap tubing over the exposed wire (on both pieces) and put an extra piece...or two...over the new insulation to help avoid wear through again. But that would depend on whether or you can get access to the wires to put shrink wrap tubing over it (soldered connections to the battery, for example). If the wear area is in the middle of the cord, you might not be able to put on the shrink wrap.

A less elegant way would be to wrap the bare wires (separately, of course) with electrical tape. It's way ugly but it works.

If you killed the battery, i.e. it no longer takes a charge, you can get replacement batteries from Batteryspace.com. You might need a new connector but those are easy to come by. My favorite is called a Dean's Ultra Connector which is available just about anywhere that carries RC cars (not Radio Shack). You have to solder the connection but it is not hard.
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Old 06-22-06, 01:31 PM   #5
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Thanks and speaking batteries. Is there much difference between NiMh and Li-Ion? besides price.
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Old 06-22-06, 01:36 PM   #6
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I have a 1947 Sturmey-Archer Dynohub that still works quite well.
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Old 06-22-06, 01:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver

So what's your experience, how long do lights/batteries last?
Most of the stuff you see at the bike shops are made for casual weekenders. Constant road vibs, rain and temperature changes really tank most bike accessories. If you want a light that'll last wire up one using auto parts. If might cost $150...but it'll last for years. And if something breaks the car shop has the replacement parts.
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Old 06-22-06, 02:08 PM   #8
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I have a 1947 Sturmey-Archer Dynohub that still works quite well.
I have a 2004 Shimano generator that is great. I replace the Lumotec bulb once a year, though.
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Old 06-22-06, 02:41 PM   #9
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I have a 2004 Shimano generator that is great. I replace the Lumotec bulb once a year, though.
I run a Shimano on another bike. Once you've had a generator hub, you never go back.
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Old 06-22-06, 02:48 PM   #10
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Uh oh, I feel a thread hijack...

But yes, I agree. I can't think of one complaint about my generator.
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Old 06-22-06, 03:23 PM   #11
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Number one problem of generator lights, they are simply not bright enough. We need North American lighting and not euro lighting, as bikes are not as common here.

I had an old generator light. Adv- no batteries to give out, or to have to discharge. Disadv- did I mention unsafe to ride fast at night?

LED lights and less than 30 watts are not sufficient. So halogen is barely serviceable. HID is great but cost is the big problem here. If you spend $400 for a light, you need to really ride at night and not avoid it.
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Old 06-22-06, 03:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Number one problem of generator lights, they are simply not bright enough. We need North American lighting and not euro lighting, as bikes are not as common here.
That's probably true. Not really an issue for me, though.
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Old 06-22-06, 03:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Thanks and speaking batteries. Is there much difference between NiMh and Li-Ion? besides price.
Yes, they have different voltages and charging charateristics... however if you are buying a battery with a charging system, the charger should be designed for the battery. Don't try to charge a battery with with a charger built for different type of battery... at best it won't charge, at worst you may end up with "rapid disassembly" a trade term for "explosion."

Now all that said, lets suppose that you need a 12 volt battery, for your 12 volt lighting system... well chances are your lights don't care about the actual source of the power, so any battery that delivers the right voltage and has the right milliamp-hour rating should work. A bit of a caveat to that... if you don't have the right milliamp-hour rating, again you may find your battery failing unexpectedly.
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Old 06-22-06, 04:52 PM   #14
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My home-brew systems last for years until I break a bulb or upgrade the power level. I have smoked two sets of wires. Both times using cheesy Trailor hitch connectors.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Thanks and speaking batteries. Is there much difference between NiMh and Li-Ion? besides price.
Yes, there is. One of the best sources I've found for battery information is 'Batteries in a Portable World'. It's got lots more information than you might need but all the information is spot on. In particular read Chapter 2 on battery chemistries. Look at the charts for advantages and disadvantages of each battery chemistry.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
My home-brew systems last for years until I break a bulb or upgrade the power level. I have smoked two sets of wires. Both times using cheesy Trailor hitch connectors.
I use heavy gauge speaker wire (from Radio Shack) and the Dean's Ultra Connectors. The Dean's will carry just about any current you can throw at them. And they are relatively cheap.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Number one problem of generator lights, they are simply not bright enough. We need North American lighting and not euro lighting, as bikes are not as common here.

I had an old generator light. Adv- no batteries to give out, or to have to discharge. Disadv- did I mention unsafe to ride fast at night?

LED lights and less than 30 watts are not sufficient. So halogen is barely serviceable. HID is great but cost is the big problem here. If you spend $400 for a light, you need to really ride at night and not avoid it.
You'd be amazed at the increased output of a halogen system by just changing from a 6 V system to a 12 V system. Overvolt the bulb (I run a 14.4V battery with 12 V halogen) and you have intense lights for a cheap price.

I use Niterider heads with my own batteries. The Niterider Sport (d-cell powered systems) are really cheap right now. I think I saw some at the Westminster Performance for less than $40 per unit. Three of them, with new bulbs and batteries would cost roughly $200 and the time to put it all together. The EVO system you currently have might take a 12V MR11 20W bulb too.
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