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Old 09-08-13, 11:46 AM   #1
Bjforrestal
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it's going to be getting darker....

Ok, lights. So right now I have a basic setup but will be going through batteries like crazy if I keep on the same path once the dark catches up with my commute. Another piece of info, live in Minnesota and am going to attempt to commute in the winter at least 3 times a week, 20 mi hilly rt.

What I would prefer to do is keep costs down and mount a couple lights on my forks. I have front mount attachment points halfway down the fork blades that will most likely be used as a mounting point for whatever concoction I end up using.

What is everyone's experiences with rechargeable
batteries, aaa or AA and brand/model recommendations also. If you started this route, didn't like the setup and ended up upgrading anyways please share. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:17 PM   #2
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I've gotten away from Battery lights, nowadays Hub dynamos dont have an amp hour capacity problem,

But, being a tinkerer, when I did , need long running battery lights,
I built up a 5 D CELL battery pack to have see by lights .. It's the amp draw for a number of hours situation .
and C and D cells have more than AA..

newer LEDs are more miserly in current draw , and if this is a be seen, urban,

rather than dark rural road see by, light, then the flashing modes extend the battery life ..

get 2 chargers, have 1 at work so as to top off the battery charge, have some spare charged batteries .
on hand/in pocket.

if you got a Cubicle job, then USB rechargeable lights will be able to be recharged

as you key stroke your little fingers to the bone.

another Issue [in MN] is the cold battery is not functioning as good as a warm battery..
if you have a long cord for a battery pack inside your coat, then, that will be better than one on your handlebars .

or down on your forks ..

others tout brands of things they bought , they will chime in now..

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Old 09-08-13, 12:24 PM   #3
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Buy one of these and call it a day.

http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...umen-white-led
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Old 09-08-13, 12:28 PM   #4
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Buy one of these and call it a day.

http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...umen-white-led
40 bucks, that's what I'm talking about. I assume you have one and its working good?
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Old 09-08-13, 12:35 PM   #5
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does have the put the battery in your pocket option, it seems .
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Old 09-08-13, 12:36 PM   #6
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40 bucks, that's what I'm talking about. I assume you have one and its working good?
Don't have one but folks at mtbr.com says it works well, plus all the chinese dual xm-l 1000 lumen lights are $40 now.

http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/1...00-lumen-led-b

These are $50 but the housing quality is superb.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white

I don't use battery lights, I use dynamo lights (definitely not the route you want to go if you insist on keeping the cost down, a dynamo setup is minimum $150 to start (and nowhere as bright as that $40 light)).
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Old 09-08-13, 12:41 PM   #7
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I use AA and AAA rechargeable batteries, and I have developed a system that is dependable and effective for me.

My charger recommendation is Lacrosse BC-700:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My rechargeable battery recommendation is Eneloops:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The Lacrosse charger is a smart charger - it can charge any mix of AA and AAA batteries, you can change charge settings for each individual battery if you want, it will not overcharge (when battery is full, it switches to trickle charge to maintain). It is great. The Eneloops are durable batteries. I have been using the same 8 AAA's and 8 AA's for over a year, and they still hold a charge and function great.

My system:

I run two headlights (which use 2 AA's each) and two taillights (which use 2 AAA's each). So I have 4 AA's and 4 AAA's in use at any one time.

So I got 8 AA's and 8 AAA's and two Lacrosse chargers to run in a rotation. At any given time, 4 AA's and 4 AAA's are in the lights, and the other 4 + 4 are on the two chargers.

When I first started, I tried using just one charger, and trying to keep track of which batteries were which... but it was more complicated trying to keep charged batteries guaranteed that way. With my two charger method, I just keep the two chargers at my desk and swap battery sets every morning when I get in to the office. As the work computer is firing up and I'm getting my first shot of caffeine, I swap batteries and am done with it. 8 on the chargers, 8 in the lights, every day.

Whatever system you go with, definitely get some good lights. They are important. Good luck!
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Old 09-08-13, 12:43 PM   #8
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In the cold, NiMH batteries, like the typical AA rechargeables, lose a good amount of voltage and longevity. My AA lights signal low voltage after a couple of miles. My winter commute is fairly short (4 miles) so the longevity isn't a problem for me. But on longer rides I've had them shut down before the rated amount of time. Inside, after warming up, everything's hunky dory again.

It should be noted that the cold does not seem to have an effect on how long the charge lasts over the week. I don't have to charge any more often in the winter. It's just how long they can be outside before temporarily losing voltage.

Should you decide to go AA NiMH, there are no better chargers on the planet than those made by Maha. I own a Maha MH-C800S. Electrically, it functions as eight separate chargers. Thus, you can spot and replace weak individual cells, rather than having to guess, or replace all four, and one bad cell won't spoil the charging cycle for all of them. It has three modes: Fast, "soft", and conditioning.

IME, lithium-ion battery packs do not experience low-voltage or longevity problems in the cold. At least not at the temperatures we get around here. Our winters are generally in the teens and 20s with a week of single-digits.

The baseline of my experience is using a NiteRider TrailRat with proprietary NiMH several winters ago, six winters with DiNotte 200L-AA headlights and their 140R taillight, and three more recent winters of using proprietary lithium-ion battery packs in Magicshine headlights and a DiNotte 300R. I still use the 200L-AA lights as DRLs.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:50 PM   #9
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For winter (and summer, pretty much any seasons), I stay away from AAs for front lights. I retired AAs years ago and haven't look back, all my flashlights and lights now use 18650 or 26650 cells, it packs way more punch and it's smaller than AAs for the comparable voltage and amperage.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
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40 bucks, that's what I'm talking about. I assume you have one and its working good?
I don't have that model...yet...but I have other similar lights. The ones I have have performed very well without issues. And, at $40, you aren't risking much.
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Old 09-08-13, 01:11 PM   #11
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40 bucks, that's what I'm talking about. I assume you have one and its working good?
Don't have one but folks at mtbr.com says it works well, plus all the chinese dual xm-l 1000 lumen lights are $40 now.

http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/1...00-lumen-led-b

These are $50 but the housing quality is superb.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white

I don't use battery lights, I use dynamo lights (definitely not the route you want to go if you insist on keeping the cost down, a dynamo setup is minimum $150 to start (and nowhere as bright as that $40 light)).
I'm going this route I think. Looks to be a solid product for the $. The 50 dollar version that is. ill pay 10 more for a better casing any day of the week. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, my head now hurts from the technical details you gave me, but great advice on the certain batteries loosing voltage.
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Old 09-08-13, 01:52 PM   #12
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I can't give much info on battery lights as I am all dynamo. However, the Philips Saferide range does have a battery version which is meant to be very good.

Here is a good review for it - http://reviews.mtbr.com/philips-safe...ights-shootout

And some beam shots...







Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
...

My rechargeable battery recommendation is Eneloops:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
...

Should you decide to go AA NiMH, there are no better chargers on the planet than those made by Maha. I own a Maha MH-C800S. Electrically, it functions as eight separate chargers. Thus, you can spot and replace weak individual cells, rather than having to guess, or replace all four, and one bad cell won't spoil the charging cycle for all of them. It has three modes: Fast, "soft", and conditioning.

...
Agree with both of these comments - if you go down the battery route.

I have less experience with li-ion/li-poly batteries and lights. The only thing I will say with these is that charging of the cells needs a little more care than NiMH and definitely requires a smart charger if you are to avoid "venting".

Dynamo set-ups can be more costly, but have the benefit of not (unless of serious malfunction) dying mid-ride.
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Old 09-08-13, 04:55 PM   #13
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I'm going this route I think. Looks to be a solid product for the $. The 50 dollar version that is. ill pay 10 more for a better casing any day of the week. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, my head now hurts from the technical details you gave me, but great advice on the certain batteries loosing voltage.
I'd suggest the first one that Mr Bubbles linked to. The others use o-rings which I've never found to be that positive a mounting option. The clamp on the MT-U2 light is a better mount.
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Old 09-08-13, 05:16 PM   #14
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The others use o-rings which I've never found to be that positive a mounting option.
My experience has been that O-rings work just fine on the oversized clamping area of road bars, and the area covered by bartape. In the bare sections of standard diameter bars, I agree.
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Old 09-08-13, 05:18 PM   #15
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I like the O Rings.
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Old 09-08-13, 08:15 PM   #16
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The others use o-rings which I've never found to be that positive a mounting option.
My experience has been that O-rings work just fine on the oversized clamping area of road bars, and the area covered by bartape. In the bare sections of standard diameter bars, I agree.
Took a closer look at the lights and can't get a good view of the mounting systems. So my understanding is the 50 dollar version definitely has a better casing, but its a toss up which mounting system is better?
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Old 09-08-13, 08:58 PM   #17
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Took a closer look at the lights and can't get a good view of the mounting systems. So my understanding is the 50 dollar version definitely has a better casing, but its a toss up which mounting system is better?
If you are mounting it on an oversized handlebar, it will probably fit tighter. If your handlebar is a 25.4 or 26.0, the o-rings are more likely to slip, especially with a larger, heavier head like these head lamps have. The clamp allows you some control over the slippage.
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Old 09-08-13, 09:09 PM   #18
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I just got some small lights. Still bright enough. I personally love riding at night. It feels so nice.
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Old 09-08-13, 09:21 PM   #19
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Took a closer look at the lights and can't get a good view of the mounting systems. So my understanding is the 50 dollar version definitely has a better casing, but its a toss up which mounting system is better?
Correct. Some prefer the latter, some prefer the former, some don't care. The first light (mt-u2) I showed at the beginning of the thread seems to be fitted for 31.8 handlebars so rubber shims will be required if you are using anything smaller.

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If you are mounting it on an oversized handlebar, it will probably fit tighter. If your handlebar is a 25.4 or 26.0, the o-rings are more likely to slip, especially with a larger, heavier head like these head lamps have. The clamp allows you some control over the slippage.
The dimensions of these are smaller and lighter than the magicshines (and their clones), the $50 light is 4.4cm by 4.2cm by 3.8cm, that's tiny, and 60 grams to boot.
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Old 09-08-13, 10:36 PM   #20
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I have one of the magic shine headlights and it still works good and there equivalents are down to like $20 just make sure if its one of them it has the newer battery/ a good one. Here's an example. http://www.amazon.com/Lumen-Bicycle-...rds=bike+light

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Old 09-08-13, 11:02 PM   #21
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Just came in from a night ride.

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Old 09-08-13, 11:17 PM   #22
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Just came in from a night ride.
What kind of spoke lights are those?
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Old 09-08-13, 11:20 PM   #23
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What kind of spoke lights are those?
Those looks like 3m reflective tapes lit up by his camera's flash, he's got them on his front rack too.
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Old 09-08-13, 11:26 PM   #24
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Those looks like 3m reflective tapes lit up by his camera's flash, he's got them on his front rack too.
Yep;Just the tape


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Old 09-09-13, 05:09 AM   #25
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I have two of those 250 lumen "Cree" flashlights mounted with hose clamps, they run AAA batteries unfortunately. I wanted to get some rechargables but i might check out one of those 18650 running flashlights.
Those fasttech lights seem pretty neat, $30 for 900 lumens seems like a good deal too.
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