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Old 04-18-10, 08:49 PM   #1
wildergeek
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Dinotte battery options

I have decided to buy a Dinotte 400L/240L light/taillight combo for my Trek 520, which I use daily to commute to work.

I have battery options and can specify two 2-cell batteries, two 4-cell batteries, or one of each.

Does anyone have any opinions as to the best setup? I'm a Clydesdale so cutting grams of weight is not even important to me.

The tail light will be used in blink mode 95% of the time but I will use the headlight on high in the AM and blinking in the PM so the headlamp battery is going to get a harder workout. The run times are so long for the blink mode, I'm wondering if I should order the light with a 4-cell and 2-cell. The 2-cell for the tail light and the 4-cell for the headlight to even out run times.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-18-10, 08:52 PM   #2
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4 cell for each
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Old 04-18-10, 10:54 PM   #3
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I personally own those lights and have both 4 cell and 2 cell batteries. But before I give you advice, I need more information -
1. Will you have to take the batteries/lights off the bike at work?
2. Will you be keeping the bike at home anywhere near a power outlet?
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Old 04-19-10, 03:26 AM   #4
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I park inside at work. No need to remove any accessories for security.

At home, I park right in front of my workbench, which is where I charge up.

I'm guessing you'll recommend the 2 x 4-cell. I read a bit more and realized the kit comes with a Y-cable. I didn't realize both lights run off a single battery. I originally thought I would have one battery for each light front and rear.
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Old 04-19-10, 09:56 AM   #5
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The info is very helpful in giving a helpful reply.

If you were taking the battery on and off the bike all the time I would suggest a single 4 cell battery and using the y splitter cable as you suggested for sure. Way easier to just take one battery on and off the bike.

And if you want to do that to save money, it's certain a decent option. However, I used to do that myself - a Dinotte 600 in the front and the 140 in the rear with the splitter cable. Then when I found myself very dissatisfied with the 600L and Dinotte was nice enough (wonderfully) to let me send it back and switch it for 2 400l's, where (because of power requirements) I had to run a 4 cell in the front and a 2 cell in the back.

I found that not having to mess with the y cable running down the top tube to be way easier. It didn't droop down. It didn't get caught on anything when moving the bike around. It didn't get pitched when I put my bike on my bike rack and cinched it down. Etc. Being that I'm not taking the batteries off the bike, it isn't really more work to connect 2 batteries to the chargers than just one.

My suggestion, based on my experience, would be to use a 4 cell in front and a 2 cell in the back. That worked the best for me. You're probably thinking "why would I use a 2 cell than than a 4 if I don't care about weight", but I suggest that because I found the 2 cell easier to keep attached to the bike with it's lighter weight and lower profile - I had to mess with the 4 cell for a while to get it to stay in the same place for my entire ride, but the 2 cell I just slapped on and it's never been an issue. Plus the 4 cell is a little more expensive, but I'd assume that's not a huge deal.

That's my experience, at least.

On a slightly different topic, I personally would never run my 140L on blinking mode at night unless I was biking along a high speed highway. That thing is *bright* - even on low, other bikes won't ride behind me because it's blinding to them (seems to be fine with cars though, I've tried it). I think blinking would be a little much. I mean, obviously it's your call, but I think blinking mode is primarily useful for daytime riding where the ambient light is so much brighter.
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Old 04-19-10, 11:31 AM   #6
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As PaulRivers said, I would go with 2 batteries, as they are easier to mount and you get more run time. I mount my battery on the top of the rear rack and it never moves, and since the tailight is mounted to the back of the rack, the cords stay on top of the rac.

The 2 cell for the rear 200L light and the 4 cell for the front 400L light would probably be sufficient, but I would recommend the 4 cell for the rear light. This would allow you to go longer between charges for the battery being used for the tail light. Also, if you start to run low on battery for your headlight (forgot to charge, etc.), you could swap batteries and still be able to see where you are going and have a tail light on flash for a while since the tail light will use a lot less power.
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Old 04-19-10, 12:31 PM   #7
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I purchased a 600L/140L combo during their sale last fall. It came with one each 2-cell and 4-cell battery packs. I use the 4 cell with the 600L and the 2 cell with the 140. During this past winter, I had decent run times with each (several days of use, approx 30 min each direction) with a mix of continuous and flash modes as circumstances dictated. The lights drop into a low-power mode when the battery runs down that was more than sufficient to get me home when I needed it; I have two PBSF as well as backups so I could have used the 2 cell battery up front if I needed to. If the additional cost is nil to minimal, however, I'd get 2 4-cell packs. The 4 cell is not that much larger than the 2.
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Old 04-19-10, 01:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bergjm View Post
But I would recommend the 4 cell for the rear light. This would allow you to go longer between charges for the battery being used for the tail light.
Well this is all the realm of my opinion, but -
1. If you can keep your bike next to a power outlet, it's easy to the recharge the battery with a dinotte lith-ion battery - you unplug it from the light, plug it into the charger and that's it - don't have to take it off the bike.
2. I simply make a habit of plugging my batteries into the charger after ever ride where I used them at all - why worry about running out of juice later?
3. I'm not a fan of trying to keep track of how much battery I've used on the front light, but I think trying to do that with the rear light is an absolutely TERRIBLE idea. The problem is - if you run out of battery on your rear light, because it's behind you you won't know. You'll be biking down the road with no tail light and be completely unaware of the problem until you get home and maybe notice it. I would suggest that if you hate plugging the battery into the charger that much, that you just get one 4 cell and use some zip ties to tie down the y-splitter cable and run both the front and rear lights off one battery and just charge that one battery every time you ride. The 400L runs like 2:30 off the 2 cell, it's like 5 hours off the 4 cell, so your commute would have to be massively long to worry about battery life, even as the battery ages.
I actually run a second AA rear blinky on the back both because I'm paranoid one of the lights will die somehow (bad connection, bad battery, etc) and because I found running a blinking light next to a steady light seemed to be the most visible solution, in my experience while driving.
4. As I mentioned, I've had some trouble getting the 4 cell to stay firmly attached to my bike and not try to roll around some. Fortunately, it's in the front of the bike so it's not an issue with my legs hitting it if it gets a little crooked. I've never had any issue in that regard with the 2 cell battery in the back, which is also mounted to the top tube of the bike, so that's what I prefer. I think the 2 cell runs the rear light at least 5 hours on steady/high.
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Old 04-19-10, 09:20 PM   #9
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Great insight Paul.
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Old 04-19-10, 09:51 PM   #10
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I recently went with the 800L/400R combo with separate 4 and 2 cell batteries. I run the headlight on high each morning, and the tail on strobe all the time. The batteries seem to indicate low about the same time, after 5 days of commutes lasting 30 min each way. Both batteries are mounted to the underside of the headtube. The size of another 4 cell wouldn't bother me, but I like how both my batteries drain at the same rate, so it's easy to keep track of when I need to charge them.

I'm not sure how these batteries react, but some batteries have longer life spans when they're not topped off after every ride and allowed to discharge more. You are going to love these lights!
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Old 04-19-10, 09:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
If you were taking the battery on and off the bike all the time I would suggest a single 4 cell battery and using the y splitter cable as you suggested for sure. Way easier to just take one battery on and off the bike.

And if you want to do that to save money, it's certain a decent option. However, I used to do that myself - a Dinotte 600 in the front and the 140 in the rear with the splitter cable. Then when I found myself very dissatisfied with the 600L and Dinotte was nice enough (wonderfully) to let me send it back and switch it for 2 400l's, where (because of power requirements) I had to run a 4 cell in the front and a 2 cell in the back.

I found that not having to mess with the y cable running down the top tube to be way easier. It didn't droop down. It didn't get caught on anything when moving the bike around. It didn't get pitched when I put my bike on my bike rack and cinched it down. Etc.
I use a 600L up front and and a 140 in the rear, with a 4-cell battery in the trunk bag, and a "Y" splitter.
After fussing with various methods of running the cable to the front, I finally found the solution:

http://store.somafab.com/toptubepads.html

The cable runs along the bottom of the tube pad, between the foam and the outer cover, and stays put.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:05 AM   #12
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I'm not sure how these batteries react, but some batteries have longer life spans when they're not topped off after every ride and allowed to discharge more.
It's my understanding that -

The much, much older ni-cad batteries were like that.

Ni-mh batteries were a strange tradeoff where if you completely drained them all the time they wouldn't last as long, but if you never completely drained them they wouldn't charge as much.

Li-ion batteries (the 2 or 4 cell that you can get with the dinotte lights) last the longest if you never totally drain them. But while it doesn't increase actual capacity, if you have something that tells you how much capacity is left draining them all the way resets the way that is calculated so it's more accurate (otherwise it slowly becomes less and less accurate).

There's some reference somewhere on the internet, but I'm to lazy to look it up right now - it's to late at night, lol.
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Old 04-20-10, 06:38 AM   #13
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The two cell will provide enough run time for any reasonable commute situations. (3+ hours on high )

So the question of recharging frequency, and your attention to recharge routine becomes more important.)

(Assuming the "L" means Lithium Ion)

Off hand one big and one small battery will give you all the options you need. You will be able to use more flexible recharge routines.
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Old 04-20-10, 07:55 AM   #14
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Thanks to all for the input. I opted to go the overkill route and get the two 4-cell batteries.
I can't wait to use it.
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Old 04-20-10, 08:24 AM   #15
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Thanks to all for the input. I opted to go the overkill route and get the two 4-cell batteries.
I can't wait to use it.
Actually, if you want to go overkill ;-), although I've recently been trying a different light, I've found the best combination with the Dinotte's is 2 400L's on the front, one on high with the regular lenses, and the other on medium with one regular lens and one wider angle (there's 3 lenses available, the middle one) has given me the best results. Just rode it last night for the 2nd time (with this lens combination), it's nice.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:27 AM   #16
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Thanks to all for the input. I opted to go the overkill route and get the two 4-cell batteries.
I can't wait to use it.
That won't look so much like overkill when you are heading out for a ride and discover your freshly-charged battery pack is dead.
It is nice to have a spare rather than needing to wait on UPS to bring a new one.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:37 AM   #17
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Thanks to all for the input. I opted to go the overkill route and get the two 4-cell batteries.
I can't wait to use it.
I will add one other word of caution - if you leave the batteries hooked up to the lights when they're off, it WILL drain the batteries. I experienced this myself this spring when I found myself out on the trail and went to flick on my lights only to find them completely dead. This fall I was trying to half drain one of the batteries (a 4 cell) and I left it hooked up to one of my 400L's (not on) and in about 4 days it drained to half capacity (according to the built in battery gauge thingy that blinks when you turn the light off).
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