Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    "Best" Lights for Cold Weather

    My Fenix L2Ds will run over 2 hours on high on a nice summer evening, but barely over an hour when the temperature drops, especially as it drops below freezing. My rechargeables are Ni-Mh. I've just ordered a couple of Magicshines whose Li-Ion batteries are supposed to last upwards of 3 hours on high. In general how does cold affect Li-Ion batteries compared to Ni-Mh ones?

    On a related note, if I went to a dynohub and LED light combo, would sub-freezing temps have any impact on brightness?

    I'm determined to get at least 3 hours run time with enough lumens to see well. I'm not there with the Fenix (in the cold). If the Magicshine is as bright as I read here, I might possibly get that 3 hours if I use them in tandem, turning the second on after the first one's done.

    I'd love to read recommendations from those with cold weather experience with their lights. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,957
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My Li-Ion-powered DiNotte 600L signals "low battery" much earlier in cold conditions when running at full power. The issue isn't necessarily a simple one. The LEDs themselves like cooling, so cold weather will only help in that regard.

    My Fenix L2D's runtimes seem to be consistent regardless of temperatures, so maybe you just have wimpy NiMH cells? What brand/model are you using? Cells can go bad, too... I've got one bum cell from a set of four. Time to get a new 4-pack of Sanyo 2700s, methinks

    If you're contemplating the dynohub already, that might be a good solution for someone who rides 3 hours in the dark. You can always add a booster in the form of a battery-powered light when you need more lumens.

  3. #3
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm using Wal-Mart Ni-Mh batteries in the Fenix. Where are the Sanyo 2700 available reasonably? I recall reading favorable comments about them last year when the Fenix was the hot item. And it sounds from your experience that Li-Ion technology isn't any better in the cold, and might be worse.
    Last edited by akansaskid; 10-08-09 at 09:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    84
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Lithium batteries are the best type for cold weather performance.

  5. #5
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    My Bikes
    Giant Defy Composite,Trek 1.7c, Specy Hardrock, Nishiki SL1, Jamis Commuter
    Posts
    2,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Always wondered if insulating the torch would help. It should warm itself up enough to improve battery life.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,957
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    I'm using Wal-Mart Ni-Mh batteries in the Fenix. Where are the Sanyo 2700 available reasonably? I recall reading favorable comments about them last year when the Fenix was the hot item. And it sounds from your experience that Li-Ion technology isn't any better in the cold, and might be worse.
    Here's the Sanyos: http://www.batteryjunction.com/sanyo2700.html

  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    5,850
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Pretty much similar experiences regarding NiMHs and a Fenix L2D. Li-Ions are supposedly better. Have not tried those myself for my lights. Some people over here mod their flashlights to use an external battery pack for increased burn time. This also gives the option of keeping the battery pack in pocket close to your body, where it will stay warmer.

    Dynamo lights are definitely better in this regard. Cold, or even extreme cold will not have effect on them. I have a bottle dynamo on my winter bike. It did require a fair bit of tinkering to get it properly adjusted at first, but I haven't had any issues since. I was skeptical about the amount of light, so I got the bottle dynamo and figured, if I'm happy with the light, I can always upgrade to dynohub when the tire driven dynamo dies. Well, I'm happy, but it seems the bottle dynamo is dying nowhere in foreseeable future. Damn Busch & Mueller quality products.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


    Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
    Community guidelines

  8. #8
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Riverdale, NY
    My Bikes
    2002 Seven Axiom
    Posts
    667
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    My Fenix L2Ds will run over 2 hours on high on a nice summer evening, but barely over an hour when the temperature drops, especially as it drops below freezing. My rechargeables are Ni-Mh. I've just ordered a couple of Magicshines whose Li-Ion batteries are supposed to last upwards of 3 hours on high. In general how does cold affect Li-Ion batteries compared to Ni-Mh ones?

    On a related note, if I went to a dynohub and LED light combo, would sub-freezing temps have any impact on brightness?

    I'm determined to get at least 3 hours run time with enough lumens to see well. I'm not there with the Fenix (in the cold). If the Magicshine is as bright as I read here, I might possibly get that 3 hours if I use them in tandem, turning the second on after the first one's done.

    I'd love to read recommendations from those with cold weather experience with their lights. Thanks!
    My thoughts would be to get better batteries such as the Sanyo battery. However I swap out batteries in my light when I'm on the road. Its not a big deal. I carry 4 Eneloop in my saddle bag, pull over and usually am done within 2-3 minutes. My commute is about 1hr 30-40 minutes and do not swap them out when I get home. Now that it's dark during the full ride i'll most likely do that. Last winter I did notice battery run time down but always was able to have them last the entire trip. You can also switch to medium or low when HIGH/Strobe is not needed to conserve.

    Suggestions:
    Better Quality battery
    Conserve Battery use
    Keep extra batteries inside jacket or near body during winter.
    Remember to swap batteries if nearrun down when you get home.
    Lastly, Always TRY to have a back up flashlight, secondary light with you.
    Robert
    Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo

  9. #9
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by oldranger View Post
    Lithium batteries are the best type for cold weather performance.
    ^^^ this

  10. #10
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
    Posts
    11,776
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tested my MagicShine by putting the battery pack in the freezer, which was running at about 10*F. Run time was diminished from 3 hours 10 minutes to 2.5 hours. Or thereabouts. It shut off when I wasn't paying attention, sometime between 2:15 and 2:45.

    I'm going to check the temp of the deep freeze in the basement, since I really want to know the run time at -10 to -20*F, since I do ride in the dark in those temps. But with the length of the cord I could just put the battery in a pocket when it's that cold.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  11. #11
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I tested my MagicShine by putting the battery pack in the freezer, which was running at about 10*F. Run time was diminished from 3 hours 10 minutes to 2.5 hours. Or thereabouts. It shut off when I wasn't paying attention, sometime between 2:15 and 2:45.

    I'm going to check the temp of the deep freeze in the basement, since I really want to know the run time at -10 to -20*F, since I do ride in the dark in those temps. But with the length of the cord I could just put the battery in a pocket when it's that cold.
    Back when I used to use alkaline/NiCad/NiMH external battery packs, I'd keep them in a handlebar bag with one of those chemical handwarmers when the temps started dipping below freezing. Last winter was my first winter with a LiIon battery pack...I didn't need to bother with the handwarmer anymore, tho I still used the handlebar bag, just cuz it's handier than having to strap the thing onto my bars/stem/frame.

    This will be my first winter with the P7 torch...no external batteries to mess with.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Boise, ID.
    Posts
    1,253
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    People have this problem with digital cameras in cold weather. Batteries don't like the cold.

    Maybe you could try insulating your batteries if they are separate from the light? Perhaps wrap it with cloth and one of those hand warmer chem packs?
    1993 Cannondale T700 - 1994 Specialized Rockhopper - Actionbent T1 (Electrification in progress!)

  13. #13
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
    Posts
    11,776
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't even use chem warmers for MYSELF - I'm too cheap to buy them even to keep my hands and feet warm, to heck with using them to warm my battery. I'll just toss the thing inside my clothing. Is that a battery pack in your pants, or...
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  14. #14
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for all the tips and anecdotes. I'm heartened to hear that most of you are reporting good cold-weather performance with lithiums. I'm anxious to get the Magicshines.

    My problems may be self-inflicted. Like others I run the Fenixs on as low of power as needed to see adequately at the time. But I'm also a cheap b@$&$#d who's never sure of the best charging techniques for current battery technologies. So I'm hesitant to charge my Ni-Mh batteries until they're close to run-down, and I'm skeptical of how many charging cycles they can take.

    Help me with good battery management: How much am I hurting Ni-Mh batteries if I charge them daily even if they may only be half-depleted? Same question for Lithium. Is memory a problem? Limited number of recycles? Does charging capacity diminish rapidly after a certain number of recharges for both technologies? I don't mind replacing the Ni-Mh batteries somewhat regularly, but lithiums cost more, so I want to be more careful.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,340
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Last winter I rode a bike with a dynohub last year. Never ever had an issues with brightness or the light working.

    Whenever they come out with a new led dynamo light, every time they come out, it talks about how they've improved cooling which makes the light brighter. Which makes me wonder if the LED light might be *brigher* in the cold.

    And as I said, the dynamo doesn't seem to be very affected by the cold.

    In the winter I run a dynamo front light (a Lumotec Cyo) and tail light. I'm picky, I like plenty of light. This provides enough light for me most of the time, particularly when I don't need to see stuff off to the sides (rabbits jumping out, going through that creepy section of woods, etc).

    To make up for those sections, I also run a helmet mounted light. I keep the battery pack in my jersey pocket on my back, under my jacket, which definitely protects me from the cold.

    Between the two I definitely have all the light I need! :-)

  16. #16
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    Thanks for all the tips and anecdotes. I'm heartened to hear that most of you are reporting good cold-weather performance with lithiums. I'm anxious to get the Magicshines.

    My problems may be self-inflicted. Like others I run the Fenixs on as low of power as needed to see adequately at the time. But I'm also a cheap b@$&$#d who's never sure of the best charging techniques for current battery technologies. So I'm hesitant to charge my Ni-Mh batteries until they're close to run-down, and I'm skeptical of how many charging cycles they can take.

    Help me with good battery management: How much am I hurting Ni-Mh batteries if I charge them daily even if they may only be half-depleted? Same question for Lithium. Is memory a problem? Limited number of recycles? Does charging capacity diminish rapidly after a certain number of recharges for both technologies? I don't mind replacing the Ni-Mh batteries somewhat regularly, but lithiums cost more, so I want to be more careful.
    LiIons can hold a charge for eons, but don't like to be deep discharged. So basically you can charge it and not worry about topping it off if you don't use it for a couple of days/weeks later. What they don't like are deep discharges...so try not to run them down to nothing. LiIons don't have near the 'memory' problem that NiCad and NiMH can have, so charging them often is not a problem either.

    NiMH loose their charge when doing nothing, so you pretty much want to top them off before usage. But they do tend to develop a 'memory' (not as bad as NiCads tho), so it's good to run them down as far as you can before recharging.

    I'm not a battery expert, so hopefully someone that is will correct me if I am wrong.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,340
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    Thanks for all the tips and anecdotes. I'm heartened to hear that most of you are reporting good cold-weather performance with lithiums. I'm anxious to get the Magicshines.

    My problems may be self-inflicted. Like others I run the Fenixs on as low of power as needed to see adequately at the time. But I'm also a cheap b@$&$#d who's never sure of the best charging techniques for current battery technologies. So I'm hesitant to charge my Ni-Mh batteries until they're close to run-down, and I'm skeptical of how many charging cycles they can take.

    Help me with good battery management: How much am I hurting Ni-Mh batteries if I charge them daily even if they may only be half-depleted? Same question for Lithium. Is memory a problem? Limited number of recycles? Does charging capacity diminish rapidly after a certain number of recharges for both technologies? I don't mind replacing the Ni-Mh batteries somewhat regularly, but lithiums cost more, so I want to be more careful.
    Having watched my mother try to extend the lifespan out of everything we had, as a kid, I've developed a philosophy of just doing whatever's most convenient unless it's actually *obviously* better to do something else.

    When Toyota first came out with the Prius hybrid, the very early prototype models had issues with the battery pack having a relatively short lifespan - way less than the lifespan of the rest of the car. They did some more research into it, and found that if they simply did not fully charge or discharge the batteries (I think it's something like that the battery is never charged more than 70% or discharged more than 30%, but don't quote me) they could dramatically improve the lifespan of the battery pack to the point where it often lasted as long as the entire car did.

    So my impression is that fully discharging a Ni-mh cell every time you use it is harmful to the battery.

    Here's some other opinions on Ni-mh -

    "Do and don't battery table"
    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-21.htm
    "Avoid too many full cycles because of wear. Use 80% depth-of-discharge."
    "Discharge to 1V/cell every 3 months to prevent memory. Do not discharge before each charge"

    "Battery FAQ's"
    http://www.starbatteries.com/battery...#Do%20I%20need
    "Nimh Rechargeable Batteries have almost no Memory Effect. Nimh have a different internal chemistry and are not as susceptible to the same “memory” problems as NiCds. In fact Nimh batteries can and should be charged from any discharge state. This is a major advantage of Nimh batteries over NiCd. If your Nimh batteries performance is no longer acceptable use the conditioning feature of your charger to help restore performance."


    Here's a page on Lith-Ion:

    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

    "Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges."

    "Although lithium-ion is memory-free in terms of performance deterioration, batteries with fuel gauges exhibit what engineers refer to as "digital memory". Here is the reason: Short discharges with subsequent recharges do not provide the periodic calibration needed to synchronize the fuel gauge with the battery's state-of-charge. A deliberate full discharge and recharge every 30 charges corrects this problem. Letting the battery run down to the cut-off point in the equipment will do this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate."

    "No maintenance needed. Loses capacity due to aging whether used or not."

    "A lithium-ion battery in use typically lasts between 2-3 years. The capacity loss manifests itself in increased internal resistance caused by oxidation. Eventually, the cell resistance reaches a point where the pack can no longer deliver the stored energy although the battery may still have ample charge...The worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures, which is the case with running laptop batteries. If used on main power, the battery inside a laptop will only last for 12-18 months. I must hasten to explain that the pack does not die suddenly but begins with reduced run-times."

    "There are no remedies to restore lithium-ion once worn out. A momentary improvement in performance is noticeable when heating up the battery. This lowers the internal resistance momentarily but the condition reverts back to its former state when the temperature drops. Cold temperature will increase the internal resistance."

    "Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns."



    So...6 of 1, half a dozen of the other. With either ni-mh or lith-ion it sounds like you it's better for the battery if you avoid depleting them completely and recharge them frequently, and since it's also the most convenient, that's what I would do. Fully discharging ni-mh may help battery capacity if done periodically but sparingly, like every 3 months. At the same time, lith-ion batteries will lose capacity do to simply sitting around and not being used...go figure?

  18. #18
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    NiMH loose their charge when doing nothing
    Didn't need the NiMH for the summer and the long daylight hours. So the batteries just sat. Topped them off yesterday, but one set of 4 only took about 20 minutes to charge, and even less time to totally discharge last night on medium-low light setting. The other set of 4 took much longer to charge, so I'm hopeful they'll run longer tonight. They'll have to make it until I can get some Sanyos delivered.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,340
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    LiIons can hold a charge for eons, but don't like to be deep discharged. So basically you can charge it and not worry about topping it off if you don't use it for a couple of days/weeks later. What they don't like are deep discharges...so try not to run them down to nothing. LiIons don't have near the 'memory' problem that NiCad and NiMH can have, so charging them often is not a problem either.

    NiMH loose their charge when doing nothing, so you pretty much want to top them off before usage. But they do tend to develop a 'memory' (not as bad as NiCads tho), so it's good to run them down as far as you can before recharging.

    I'm not a battery expert, so hopefully someone that is will correct me if I am wrong.
    The newer low-discharge nimh batteries don't lose an appreciable amount of capacity just sitting around (though they also have slightly lower full capacity). That's what I use, for that reason - my Dinotte 200L still lasts over 2 hours on high with them.

    EDIT: I use the Rayovac "hybrid" batteries you can get from Target for $10 for a 4-pack. Other people seem to have a preference for the Sanyo Eneloops. Both have a reliable capacity of 2100mah (or so I've read). The non-low-discharge batteries typically have a capacity of 2500mah, the better ones 2700mah, I've seen ones rated at 2900mah but reviews have said they're overrated - either the capacity is wrong, or the capacity is only good for the first 1-10 charges then they drop noticeably in capacity. If you're looking for non-low-discharge batteries, I've heard good things about both the Sanyo's and the Maha's.
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 10-09-09 at 01:06 PM.

  20. #20
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Having watched my mother try to extend the lifespan out of everything we had, as a kid, I've developed a philosophy of just doing whatever's most convenient unless it's actually *obviously* better to do something else.

    "Battery FAQ's"
    http://www.starbatteries.com/battery...#Do%20I%20need

    Here's a page on Lith-Ion:

    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm
    This is great information; thanks for taking the time to find and post it.

    Sounds like I need to reverse what I've been doing. Charge before every ride instead of waiting until I thought they were nearly depleted. Had always thought that was the way to preserve capacity. Glad to read the right way to do it, so, again, thanks!

    (Your mother and I have a lot in common. )

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,340
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    This is great information; thanks for taking the time to find and post it.

    Sounds like I need to reverse what I've been doing. Charge before every ride instead of waiting until I thought they were nearly depleted. Had always thought that was the way to preserve capacity. Glad to read the right way to do it, so, again, thanks!

    (Your mother and I have a lot in common. )
    I say this in a humorous tone - :-) - You mean you both go to a lot of extra effort and inconvenience to extend the lifespan of things you buy, only to regularly find out later that your actions have been shortening the lifespan of the product? hehe

    Glad I could help!

  22. #22
    Freddin' it
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wichita
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I say this in a humorous tone - :-) - You mean you both go to a lot of extra effort and inconvenience to extend the lifespan of things you buy, only to regularly find out later that your actions have been shortening the lifespan of the product? hehe

    Glad I could help!
    You mean like extending the life of the chain only to find you've ruined the cassette and chainrings in the process?

    Admittedly, it's tempting, but I've resisted.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,340
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
    You mean like extending the life of the chain only to find you've ruined the cassette and chainrings in the process?

    Admittedly, it's tempting, but I've resisted.
    Lol, yes, that's the kind of thing I mean. :-)

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The new Hybrid batteries are supposed to work at lower temps than regular NIMH batteries (-10deg C). I haven't had a chance to test them (Rayovac Hybrids) in the cold but they last a real long time in my fenix e20 flashlight.

  25. #25
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
    Posts
    11,776
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    -10C is nowhere near cold enough. I've run my NiMH pack down to -25*F, which is -32*C. It still worked and lasted the whole commute (about 55 minutes) though it's entirely possible that the lifetime would have been really short. The light had about a 2.5 hour runtime and when it's that cold I charge it every chance I get.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •