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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-26-11, 05:04 PM   #1
ROJA
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Just got my DiNotte lights- request for tips and some questions

I got the XML-3 (w/ 4-cell battery) and 300R package. Everything looks very nice and well made.

1. How can I tell when the battery is fully charged? The instructions say that the battery is supposed to have an indicator that turns green, but I don't see any indicator. Is it on the battery or the charger?

2. What is the best orientation of the lights? I assume point the front light where it allows me to see the road best and point the rear light straight back and maybe a little bit down?

3. What is your favorite mode for city riding with other cars and streetlights, etc. I am guessing flashing F&R for daytime use and solid F/flashing R for night?

Any other advice on how to use these lights best, including mounting, charging, modes, etc.?

Thanks.
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Old 10-26-11, 05:52 PM   #2
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I just got mine a few weeks ago.

1. You have to plug the charger in before you plug in the battery. I made this mistake on my 1st charge and the light never changed color. The indicator is a small light on the battery. The problem is that it is underneath the charger next to where the cord comes out. I plugged mine in upside down to better see it.

2. Sounds right to me. Aim it down a bit. My ride is 19 miles each way. 10 miles on the MUP. While on the MUP I cover my headlight with my hand as I pass other cyclists head on (I do have a smaller lamp on my head and I turn this beam away from the on comers). I started turning off my rear light on the MUP and using my old weak blinky because someone complained about night blindness when the passed me. I have second thoughts about taking the time to turn it off because I only get passed or pass someone once every few days.

3. I keep it solid in the front at night. I haven't had any trouble with cars seeing me. I am more worried about the cars behind me. For the back light I have it on sold low + irregular pattern (if there is such a thing) blinking.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:09 PM   #3
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The charging hole cover looks flimsy. I am afraid I am gonna short my 300R after some heavy rain. All my Cygolite stuff has decent rubber hole covers that don't come loose/undone.

Ay suggs how I can reinforce it?
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Old 10-26-11, 06:13 PM   #4
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Thanks- now I spotted it on the bottom of the charger. I flipped mine over as well.

As for the charging hole, I think DiNotte is known for good customer service and high quality, so I will use it as intended and call them if there is ever a problem. I suspect they put in enough R&D to get comfortable that this works well.
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Old 10-27-11, 05:17 AM   #5
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The charging hole cover looks flimsy. I am afraid I am gonna short my 300R after some heavy rain.
I agree that it's so cheesy it's superfluous. Mine won't stay closed come hell or high water. Which is fine, since it seems to be fine with getting wet. I've had mine since they came out last year with no problems yet.
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Old 10-27-11, 07:52 AM   #6
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Its hard to believe such a well designed light has such a flimsy battery port cover, wonder who the engineer was who fell asleep on that one. I mounted mine so the port is pointed down to the ground just so rain would be less likely to get in.

I point my light right where the driver's eyes are, I often have to wait at a bridge with drivers who had just passed me, have had nothing but compliments about the light from them.
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Old 10-27-11, 08:36 AM   #7
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Those use Li-ion batteries right? Keep in mind that they work best when you top them off regularly. Don't ever let them fully discharge because the charging logic board in the battery might think they're EOL dead and not let you charge the battery ever again.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:46 AM   #8
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Those use Li-ion batteries right? Keep in mind that they work best when you top them off regularly. Don't ever let them fully discharge because the charging logic board in the battery might think they're EOL dead and not let you charge the battery ever again.
Really? They've put a lot of R&D into these lights, and so I strongly suspect they've put a failsafe in to protect against this.

First commute with the lights, BTW, and they are working well!
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Old 10-28-11, 09:08 AM   #9
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Really? They've put a lot of R&D into these lights, and so I strongly suspect they've put a failsafe in to protect against this.

First commute with the lights, BTW, and they are working well!
Actually, it *is* the failsafe that causes this! And it's part of the Li-ion battery tech, not the bike light tech.

Every Li-ion battery needs a charging controller that manages the voltage and amperage that are pumped into the battery during charging. This controller is usually inside the battery packaging.

When Li-ion batteries (or individual cells inside the battery) reach the end of their life, they no longer are able to output the proper volts/amps that are required, so the controller board is designed to keep track of the condition of the battery, and disable it when it detects that it has reached it's end-of-life.

Unfortunately, this controller always requires at least a small amount of power, even when your device is off. This means that if you discharge the battery until your device shuts off, this controller will continue to suck out the last bits of energy from the battery. As the battery's charge drops lower and lower, the controller can mistake the extremely low charge for a battery at it's end-of life. If it does make this mistake, your battery will be bricked before it's real end-of-life.
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Old 10-28-11, 09:14 AM   #10
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Do you think the lights are worth the price? I'm in the market for a new taillight and I'd love a high performance one, but I haven't been able to bring myself to shell out the money for one yet.
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Old 10-28-11, 09:56 AM   #11
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Do you think the lights are worth the price? I'm in the market for a new taillight and I'd love a high performance one, but I haven't been able to bring myself to shell out the money for one yet.
If you'd be OK with a narrower beam, the Cygolite HotShot is worth a look. $40, USB-rechargable, similar size/weight to a SuperFlash. The 300R is a flood beam, it really doesn't matter where you aim it. The Hotshot is more of a spot beam, so for long-range impact in the daytime it would be important to aim it carefully. Its center spot is significantly brighter than the 300R, I had both.
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Old 10-28-11, 12:42 PM   #12
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Do you think the lights are worth the price? I'm in the market for a new taillight and I'd love a high performance one, but I haven't been able to bring myself to shell out the money for one yet.
So far, I think so. I commute on pretty safe roads, but a few of them have a decent amount of traffic at times. To me, it is worth it to gain a lot more visibility, especially from the rear. After reading many positive comments here about how much improvement folks noticed with the DiNotte taillight, I decided that it was worth it to take the plunge. My commute costs $10 each way by car for just gas and toll (not even including depreciation, maintenance, wear and tear, etc.), so if I commute a decent amount, it will pay for itself in no time.
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