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  1. #1
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    Dynamo/battery light for bad night vision?

    I have been blessed with bad night vision and am shopping around for a good headlight/tail light for my bike. I really want to go the dynamo route for the ability to jump on and go but I am not opposed to battery systems. I need a light with a wide beam pattern, high lumens/lux as possible, and a cutoff to avoid blinding others on the road. So far I am thinking of one of the Busch & Muller models for the bike and a Dinotte for my helmet. If cost was no option what would you suggest? I am not too interested in flashlight systems since they seem to have a narrow beam pattern. I just need to be able to see in the dark for pretty damsels in distress!

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    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Last edited by seeker333; 08-07-09 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Hello I just ordered a Shimano Dynamo hub/wheel. I can't wait to see how it works but I think a descent battery operated light like a cateye would be good for stoplights and other stopps where visibility is needed
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    Egads! That has to be so bright as to blind oncoming drivers. Also the price is a bit too high. I meant to say to leaving pricing out in order to find a light that suits my needs and then I'll do some price shopping/comparo. Any other suggestions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    Hello I just ordered a Shimano Dynamo hub/wheel. I can't wait to see how it works but I think a descent battery operated light like a cateye would be good for stoplights and other stopps where visibility is needed
    I agree wholeheartedly with you Bianchigirll. That is part of my plan but I'm still debating on battery vs dynamo for the main light.

  6. #6
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPJeep View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly with you Bianchigirll. That is part of my plan but I'm still debating on battery vs dynamo for the main light.
    A lot of the dynamo lights have a "standlight" which provides lower power lighting for a few minutes after you stop, and charges up again while you ride. Effective enough for stoplights etc.

    To the OP have a look at the beam patterns here
    http://peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp

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    Member Zen Bicycle's Avatar
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    Working on a dynamo project, but in the mean time I have plenty of battery powered options. I will be down in Austin next week.

  8. #8
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Go big or stay home:

    Supernova E3. Standlight circuit included.

    I've got a B&M Lumotec that doesn't suck as far as dynamo LEDs go, but if I were to start a setup from scratch, this headlight would be part of it.

    They have a conventional round beam or one with a horizontal cutoff that they call "asymmetrical". Beam shots here:
    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/e3_comparison.html

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    The 2 brightest dynamo lights I'm aware of are either the Lumotec Cyo (60 lumens, $100) or the Schmidt Edelux (claimed 80 lumens, $200). The drawback of both those lights is that they put a lot of light on the road in front of you, but not much to the sides. The Supernova e3 assumably puts out as much light as the Cyo, but it doesn't have a cutoff and doesn't throw as much light onto the road. My guess is it puts out about as much light as my dinotte 200L, which just barely puts out enough light for me at night (I prefer more) and I have no night vision issues that I'm aware of - if I had night vision problems and was going the dynamo route, I'd go with the Schmidt Edelux.

    Wish I could advise you on dynamo vs battery, but I just don't know. If you get the dynamo and it's not enough, you might end up having to get an additional battery light which seems like "why didn't I just get the battery light to begin with". On the other hand, it's nice to have a backup (at least I have some light!) in case you forget to charge the battery.

    If you want to look at dynamo lights, the Peter White site is what a lot of us reference:
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp

    P.S. I take it back. If I had poor night vision, I probably wouldn't screw around with dynamo lights at all unless I had a friend or a shop that would let me try one after dark. I'd just buy a Light and Motion Seca - probably the 700 ($550), but they have a 900 model (more $) that's brighter, to:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...le-light-33585

    It's the only really bright, battery powered light I know of that has a shaped beam - a cutoff above the horizon (though I think it still puts out some noticeable light above the horizon, just not as much as other lights). It's my vague understanding the Cyo and e3 put out around 200 lumens, the Edelux couldn't then be putting out more than 300 (probably a little less), the 700 puts out 700 lumens, and does it (apparently) in a nicely engineered pattern to provide optimal light distribution on the ground.

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    The Supernova e3 assumably puts out as much light as the Cyo, but it doesn't have a cutoff and doesn't throw as much light onto the road.
    I can't refute that the E3 is rated at a "mere" 200+ lumens, but it can be had with an asymmetrical lens that has a horizontal cutoff:
    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/e3_comparison.html

    If I'm on a dark trail and see someone approaching, I slow a bit and aim my Dinotte at the ground in front of me. It's bright enough for me, but it just sprays light all over the place, too. I've been on the receiving end of super-bright headlights, and really, it sucks -- I can't even see the path under me unless I block the oncoming light early enough to not ruin my night vision. Having a light with a good cutoff, whether an E3 or Seca, is much more considerate to other people.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    I can't refute that the E3 is rated at a "mere" 200+ lumens, but it can be had with an asymmetrical lens that has a horizontal cutoff:
    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/e3_comparison.html

    If I'm on a dark trail and see someone approaching, I slow a bit and aim my Dinotte at the ground in front of me. It's bright enough for me, but it just sprays light all over the place, too. I've been on the receiving end of super-bright headlights, and really, it sucks -- I can't even see the path under me unless I block the oncoming light early enough to not ruin my night vision. Having a light with a good cutoff, whether an E3 or Seca, is much more considerate to other people.
    Thanks for the reply.

    I have done some dynamo light research myself - I was all excited to buy the Supernova e3 Assymetrical. Then (fortunately) before I ordered it, I noticed 2 things on Supernovas own comparison page - http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/e3_comparison.html

    1. The "asymmetrical" version doesn't appear to reach as far in their pics. In their pics, it barely reaches the end of the benches, where as the normal "symmetrical" version reaches noticeably past the end of then benches.
    2. Their own page gives it a "3" vs a "5" for the regular symmetrical version
    3. I've emailed them and asked, and they said the assymetrical version doesn't go quite as far down the road as the symmetrical version

    My own recent testing of mounting my Dinotte 200L near the top of the fork (still trying to decide which dynamo light to get) suggests it might put out enough light by itself for me at that position. But it's at a point where it might be enough for me - but I don't have bad night vision. So I don't think it's enough light for someone with bad night vision like the OP. I think the Cyo might be better, as it basically concentrates the same amount of lumens in a smaller space, but as I mentioned *if* I had terrible night vision I think the Seca would be the best bet. My thoughts do not apply to those of us who have regular night vision. :-)

    I really, really appreciate you mentioning extremely bright round lights coming at you destroying your night vision. I've had the same thing happen, and as just yesterday someone in bikeforums was trying to tell me that throwing out 15,000 lumens from a home made light setup was totally not a big deal, not going to blind anyone, and then argued with me about how your "night vision" would be destroyed by any amount of light at all so it didn't matter. Glad to hear someone else doesn't think 200 lumens of light right in your eyes "totally doesn't effect your night vision", lol. :-)

    Hey, do you have both a Supernova e3 and a Dinotte 200L? Could you tell me what (if any) differences you felt there are for the light output and beam pattern between the two? :-)

  12. #12
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Hey, do you have both a Supernova e3 and a Dinotte 200L? Could you tell me what (if any) differences you felt there are for the light output and beam pattern between the two? :-)
    No Supernova here, unfortunately -- by the time I found out about it, I had already upgraded my city bike from its OEM Shimano "bulk order, get it out the door" halogen light to a B&M DLumotec Oval and added a Selectra rack light. I bought them at a shop when visiting family in Germany (the guy cut me some wire and crimped on some spade connectors covered in shrink tubing, too). Taking into consideration that the multitudes of bikes I saw in the city with lesser dynamo lighting were still easy to recognize, I think this is plenty for riding on lit streets. Can't say for sure about dark roads, though.

    I keep wondering about throw distance. Wouldn't it be as simple as angling the light upward a bit, or is it actually dimmer? I continually adjust the aim of my Dinotte depending on conditions -- straight ahead in town among cars, down a bit on darker streets or paths, and almost at my wheel on dark MUPs with oncoming people. Sometimes I reach down and nudge the Oval for the same reasons. When I aim them down, I slow down accordingly, but it's no big deal—those are usually situations where I'd go a little slower anyway just to be safe.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    No Supernova here, unfortunately -- by the time I found out about it, I had already upgraded my city bike from its OEM Shimano "bulk order, get it out the door" halogen light to a B&M DLumotec Oval and added a Selectra rack light. I bought them at a shop when visiting family in Germany (the guy cut me some wire and crimped on some spade connectors covered in shrink tubing, too). Taking into consideration that the multitudes of bikes I saw in the city with lesser dynamo lighting were still easy to recognize, I think this is plenty for riding on lit streets. Can't say for sure about dark roads, though.

    I keep wondering about throw distance. Wouldn't it be as simple as angling the light upward a bit, or is it actually dimmer? I continually adjust the aim of my Dinotte depending on conditions -- straight ahead in town among cars, down a bit on darker streets or paths, and almost at my wheel on dark MUPs with oncoming people. Sometimes I reach down and nudge the Oval for the same reasons. When I aim them down, I slow down accordingly, but it's no big deal—those are usually situations where I'd go a little slower anyway just to be safe.
    Yeah, that Shimano light came on my bike to - what a ***! Doesn't even have a standlight, so it turns off when you stop moving. Sheesh. *Completely* useless.

    I would agree that you don't need nearly the amount of light a Cyo or e3 puts out to "be seen". But I like to "see", and it sounds like that's what the OP is looking for to. :-)

    I certainly have no experience about whether aiming the e3 up more would give it more throw. As I mentioned, I email them to ask and they told me the shaped e3 beam put more light on the road in front of you then the non-shaped e3, but didn't project quite as far no matter how you aimed it. I have increased the reach of my Cyo by aiming it farther down the road, but being that it's currently mounted on my handlebars there was a certain point at which the main part of the light hit people in the eyes, which obviously wasn't good.

    My biggest though is just that if you're going to get the shaped beam anyways, why not save $100 (and 100% of the cost) and just buy a Cyo for half as much?

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    'Cuz I forgot about the Cyo...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    'Cuz I forgot about the Cyo...
    Lol

  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    One other thing I forgot about the Cyo is that, as it is from the factory, the mount might not work on the bike. That shop I mentioned recommended the Oval right away after we told them that my bike had cantilever brakes (they added the cantilever-friendly mount, too). I don't see such an option for the Cyo, so it would need modification somehow.

    The mount they gave me was the one on the right in the top image here, which was normally not included with the LED DLumotec:
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/light-mounts.asp

    Hmm... well, looking at the page more, I'm reminded that the Cyo's heavy gauge steel mount can actually fit with a canti brake wire going right through it. Neat..

  17. #17
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    This is a great discussion on the difference between a trail light and what you want on the road, along with the limits of dynamo lights. Looking out for overhanging tree limbs is a different problem from facing oncoming traffic and the odd pothole. Not knowing the models, I'm wondering whether you are you using a 12 volt system? Are there comparisons you have found of the German lights next to the American lights that help you see the difference in their light patterns?

  18. #18
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    No 12 volt system in my stuff.

    From what I've seen in pictures (and looking at the difference between my Oval and Dinotte, disregarding their very different brightness levels), the key difference between light patterns is in the horizontal cutoff. Standing in front of the Oval, you really can't get the full effect of the light unless you crouch down. The Dinotte, of course, lights everything up. If you want to reduce upward glare, the Oval's cutoff will let you aim it a little higher and get more of a horizontal spread; the Dinotte has to be aimed pretty low to get the same reduction in glare.

    I've heard of another BF'er modifying his Dinotte with a piece of foil to make a cutoff and reduce upward glare to make it more onlooker-friendly. I may yet do that to mine, but I just haven't decided.

  19. #19
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    See the British Light Test for comparison of both dyno and battery powered lights. I like how the beam patterns show light distribution on the targets in some of their shots, and the road photo comparisons make this test comparable to the mtbr.com light shootout information if you have a point of cross reference. The Dinotte 200L is common to both of the tests. Peter White also has photos of many of his lights.

    The drawback of the mtbr site pictures is there is a fence at 30 yards, so you can't see the full reach of the lights, but the site is oriented toward trail riding. The German lights are supposed to distribute light over the road surface so more light is reflected onto the most distant part of the road. Creating a more consistent light level across your field of vision should make it easier for you to see everything in your path. Lights designed for trail riding put most of the light in the center, and the light is more diffused in the distance, sides, and foreground. Asymetrical units seem to do a better job as well.

    Might light patterns with bright spots cause someone with poor night vision more trouble because parts of their beam appear brighter? After all, our perception is influenced by relative levels for everything from our sense of feeling pressure to our sense of hearing. Vision is similar.
    Last edited by dfarinwi; 09-13-09 at 09:47 AM.

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    Does someone tested or used the Novatron Dynamo Hub from Velo Orange, HU-0001, US$50.00 cost?.
    Francisco Bolivar
    Brazil

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