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  1. #1
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    Airzound horn minimum volume?

    Yo! I haven't been on this forum for years. Last time I posted here, I was a Chicago bike commuter who had only been riding a bike for a year. I am more experienced now of course, but I no longer live in Chicago. I live in Hanoi.

    Yes, this Hanoi:



    I just picked up the best bike I can afford here, which is a China-for-US 2009 Schwinn Cutter. It has a bell, but obviously the bell is no good here. I thought about having my friend in the States, who is coming to visit me in a few weeks, bring an Airzound horn with him. I'm in a predicament though: I need a horn that's loud enough to compete with (maybe very slightly overpower) the din of motorbike horns, but I don't want a horn that's truly loud enough to scare drivers of cars and trucks. I'm going to be honking at motorbikes 95% of the time, so I'd be a huge dick to blast an Airzound at the maximum 115dB. So... how does the volume control on the Airzound work? Does it actually cut the level significantly? Can it go low enough to be sensible to use on someone who's not enclosed in a metal and glass box?

  2. #2
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    destro713, I have actually installed a moped horn on a bike. Most moped horns are AC but DC can also be found on the market and the latter is needed when powering the horn from batteries. My mounted horn runs off 6V that I get from 5 AA rechargeable batteries. I also have another 6-12 V horn that is equally or not more loud at 6 V as my mounted horn. Anyway, I thought that it could be useful for you to know of this option of being like a moped. The loud signal is much more effective than a bell when dealing with motorized vehicles.

    P.S. That intersection looks quite OK compared to what I've experienced in some other cities.

  3. #3
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I know that the volume is "supposed to" adjustable, basically it works by pinching the air line before it gets to the diaphragm.
    I used the term "supposed to" because mine didn't last long enough to find out. Mine seemed to have an air leak of some sort that I couldn't seem to locate even with water submersion techniques. Also, I found that the cold weather performance to be severely underwhelming. YMMV
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  4. #4
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    There is a little dial on the side of the horn that adjusts the amount of air that is allowed to pass thru it (by pinching the line, as mentioned above), thereby affecting the volume. It's almost impossible to adjust on the fly, so I just leave mine on full blast. I figure that if I need to resort to my Airzound, I want it to be as loud as possible.

    Unlike xtrajack, I've had zero problems with mine (knock on wood), and so far it has worked in temps as cold as -17 degrees C (~1 degree F). Just make sure to keep the pressure topped up; it only takes a couple of strokes from my floor pump, so I make sure to do it regularly. If you need to use it a lot, there are members here who have successfully converted their Airzounds with a larger reservoir. IIRC, two of said members were AdamDZ and colleen c. Just do an "advanced search" with the keyword "airzound" and their user names.
    Last edited by irclean; 12-29-10 at 12:18 PM.
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  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    AirZounds is a bottle pumped up with your tire pump, what sound level adjustment there is ,
    is just a rotary valve squeezing the hose connecting the soda bottle tank
    and the horn.

    Not really that loud, length of burst is more practical than air volume being restricted.

    There is a fellow in the area has some air horns that he salvaged off Ships..
    on top of his Pick up truck canopy .. really don't want to block his path ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-30-10 at 10:45 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Carley P.'s Avatar
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    I have no answer about the horn, but I'm so blown away by the video of that intersection that I couldn't remain silent.

    Do they not have red lights there?

  7. #7
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    There are a few major streets that have lights, but for the most part, no.

  8. #8
    Old, but not really wise CptjohnC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carley P. View Post
    Do they not have red lights there?
    Welcome to the developing world. Chaos is the norm. On the other hand, drivers tend to be more aware of on non-car traffic (to the extent they are aware of anything). My experience was in Port au Prince, Haiti, but it seems like it's all SSDD.

  9. #9
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Looks like typical undeveloped Asia road to me. Honestly I don't think you will need to cut back on the volume. I've been to places in Asia such as Jakarta where the traffic is similar. When you get to the intersection, it's first come, first serve. Whenever there is a traffic light, all car come to a stop anyways they can. There is no void left unfilled. If motorist needs to jump out of a car, forget trying to open the car door because the car next to you are within the space of the side mirror. Best bet is to break the front glass and crawl out. The noise is loud, mostly from motorcycle. Most of those motorcycle do not have muffler and are they ever loud. I say just use the Airzound at full volume and vary the time duration length of the sound instead of the controlling the volume. Also make sure you have plenty of Air in your bottle. Link to increase the capacity.
    Last edited by colleen c; 12-29-10 at 12:51 PM.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  10. #10
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    ...Link to increase the capacity.
    Aah, there it is. Thanks, Colleen.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  11. #11
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Get some Dinotte lights while you are at it. Be heard and seen. I recommend the Amber 140L and the Red 140L. Works great both day and nighttime. Don't know if these lights are legal there, but check them out. I feel very confident on the road whenever I have them.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    Yeah... the DiNotte lights look good, but one of the reasons I'm interested in the Airzound is that it's fairly inexpensive, costing a mere five times my daily food budget (!). The lower-end DiNottes seem to represent more like a full month of eating in Hanoi. Can't really afford that.

    I'm going to have my friend grab the Superflash off my old bike in Chicago and bring that to me, and maybe also the strap that allows me to attach my Cree LED flashlight to the handlebar. The light pollution is so bad here anyway that I'd probably be seen easily with no lights, even at night.

  13. #13
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    So, I now know what the "volume control" on the Airzound is actually doing physically, and I know that it might be smart to leave it on full volume regardless, and I know that some Airzound horns have manufacturing defects, and I know that there are other options for noisemaking and general safety devices.

    But I'm still interested in my original question. Does the volume control (or pinch valve or whatever you want to call it) on the Airzound actually function effectively as a volume control? Does it modulate the volume of the horn significantly?

  14. #14
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by destro713 View Post
    So, I now know what the "volume control" on the Airzound is actually doing physically, and I know that it might be smart to leave it on full volume regardless, and I know that some Airzound horns have manufacturing defects, and I know that there are other options for noisemaking and general safety devices.

    But I'm still interested in my original question. Does the volume control (or pinch valve or whatever you want to call it) on the Airzound actually function effectively as a volume control? Does it modulate the volume of the horn significantly?
    I have a download Studio Six Digital sound meter App for my phone. It is not a precision unit but OK for relative measurment. With the valve pinch off to the minium where the Airzound produces some tone, I measure out 80 to 84 db from three ft away. On the same note, a normal conversation measure from three feet away was 62 to 67 db.

    The volume knob has a motion range close to 180 degree, tweeking it to get minium sound was not too hard to do. However it did take a needle nose plier to do the task as I cannot turn it to easily with my fingers. The knob was at half way close position when I tried the test, between the half close and full open, you can still vary the volume from minium to full blast.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  15. #15
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detail!

    That's quieter than I was expecting. If it's roughly 20 dB louder than a normal conversation, that means it would perceptually be about 4 times as loud as speech... perhaps similar in volume to a stern "HEY!", though that's just a guess. I should definitely be able to find a sweet spot on the dial for honking at motorbikes as an equal noisemaking force.

    I wonder if I can mod the shape of the horn so that it plays La Cucaracha every time I honk.

  16. #16
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    I do my biking these days in Porland, OR... Hillsboro actually which has some of the more bike aware motor traffic. I can't exactly speak for Vietnam but I think it is fair to say that a situation in which your horn "saves you" is also a situation in which no horn would have also "saved you". Neither as a driver or as a cyclist do I ever touch my horn. In NYC and NJ I heard a LOT of horns being honked in anger... after the fact for the most part. Out here there is a lot less horn blowing going on. There are a lot fewer accidents too. Loud horns do not do anything for the accident rate. Defensive driving and riding is the only thing that really works. Just my take.

    H (once an up close eyewitness to a horrific crash in Hoboken. Heard someone laying into a horn and looked up... the car doing the horn blowing took no other evasive or braking action... he plowed into the drivers side of the other car at ... maybe 20 miles an hour. The blow hurled the passenger on the other side of the car right at my feet! I'm standing on the sidewalk in stunned disbelief. I called 911 and waited till they arrived but did not wait around beyond that. I wasn't much into horns before that day.

  17. #17
    Senior Member destro713's Avatar
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    Yeah, in Vietnam it's far, far different than in the States. There are basically no road rules to obey, so nearly everyone is very aware of their surroundings and would never do something like the driver in the incident you saw, where they're depending on someone else's alertness or common sense for their own fate. Honking here is not an angry gesture, and it's often not even a request for someone to move out of the way. It usually just means, "hey, I'm here." People honk before they round a corner so people know that a motorbike is about to come around the corner, and they honk when they're about to ride up close to the side of someone to warn them not to make a sudden move to the side.

    It was a difficult adjustment, actually. At first I kept getting mad, almost as a reflex, when someone would blast their horn at me and then breeze past me. Now I see it as a precautionary measure, and I actually get mad when someone passes me closely and they didn't honk first.

    So being here without an effective horn is kind of like trying to maneuver through a crowd without being able to say "excuse me, pardon me".
    Last edited by destro713; 01-06-11 at 02:51 AM.

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