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  1. #1
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    Dinotte 200AA power options

    Good morning!
    We have a Dinotte 200AA, with the standard battery holder and 9-volt battery connectors.

    I'm thinking about trying something different, maybe using Trailtech connectors or what have you. What I really want to hear about is optional battery packs. I don't know the voltage range for the Dinotte circuitry, nor if there's a maximum limit to current.

    The Dinotte 200AA's run on roughly 5 volts (four 1.25 volt NiMH's in series). Has anyone wired several 4-packs of batteries in parallel to increase the current? Is there a limit to how many 4-cell packs you could run in parallel?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I've experimented with putting a second pack in parallel on a Stella and the batteries drew down very evenly.
    The terminal voltage values fell evenly - I'm assuming they discharged evenly.

    The Dinotte has additional circuitry I don't know anything about. I do know that the power switch on the older models did in fact cut the current levels in half. I rewired the Stella to accept a 9V as well as another waterproof connector. That's when I realized I could hook up two battery packs "to see what happens."

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    What did you use for your waterproof connectors?

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    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I emailed Dinotte once and they really got cranky about me suggesting that I hook a 7.2v lithium pack to the 4AA taillight. They claimed that the two lightheads were different and that the 4AA one couldn't take the extra voltage.

    Personally I kind of doubt it, because even after I said that I'd put a buck converter in line to drop the voltage to the same as the AA cells, they said I'd damage the light. I think either the person that sent the email was a sales person who only knew to say that and not any engineering, or they just wanted to sell me the LiIon light instead of having me mess with the existing light.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    These are exactly the "gold standard" but as near i can tell they -will work for a bike ride.

    Dinotte sales people were probably speaking the truth. You can't know what type of parameters their devices can tolerate.

    The only thing I have learned is to use "current" reading as a function of light performance as well as battery life. Putting a mix of NiMH cells together will work. It just won't work "twice" as well. Nor wil they last twice as long. And like i said - Other lights have other circuitry - I've seen "unexpected" results when i tried increasing the voltage on various flashlights.

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    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Dinotte sales people were probably speaking the truth. You can't know what type of parameters their devices can tolerate.
    Sure you can. Two methods: Empirically (hook them up and see if it work) or open it up, reverse engineer the circuit and figure out what range of voltages it can tolerate.

    IMO, they lost some credibility when I said that I would put in a voltage regulator to deliver exactly the same voltage from the LiIon pack as from the AA pack, and they still said it would damage the light.

    I guess it's built to only accept the NiMH flavored electrons, the ones from LiIon are too bitter.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    I wish it was easier to recharge the batteries without having to remove them from the holder, plug them into a charger, and put them back in the holder, etc.

    It would be nice if you could disconnect the battery pack, and connect it to a charger, then just reconnect it when it's charged. Similar to recharging a cell phone.

    I use P7's instead of my Dinotte due to the hassle of recharging the Dinotte battery pack.

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    Senior Member badrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Sure you can. Two methods: Empirically (hook them up and see if it work) or open it up, reverse engineer the circuit and figure out what range of voltages it can tolerate.

    IMO, they lost some credibility when I said that I would put in a voltage regulator to deliver exactly the same voltage from the LiIon pack as from the AA pack, and they still said it would damage the light.

    I guess it's built to only accept the NiMH flavored electrons, the ones from LiIon are too bitter.
    volts is volts (dc). but maybe i think the Dinotte batteries have special vitamins added for that extra flavor that the lights just love.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I guess it's built to only accept the NiMH flavored electrons, the ones from LiIon are too bitter.
    volts is volts (dc). but maybe i think the Dinotte batteries have special vitamins added for that extra flavor that the lights just love.


    Yeah right - neither of you have posted a schematic of a Dinotte light head - nor of a PCB of battery cell or pack...... howz about taking a solid state device and sticking it up your core??

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    I ordered my light years and years ago, but Dinotte themselves did actually include a "C" size battery holder that held 4 batteries that hooked up to the light for longer runtime. After I got it though, I realized that the C size batteries that are cheap (from Duracell, Energizer, etc) actually had the same rating as the AA version (apparently they just wrap more material around a AA core). They cost $40 for 4, plus the extra cost for a "C" size charger...at that cost, it was about the same to just buy the lith-ion version of the light. The lith-ion battery is way easier to charge as well. I keep my bike by a power outlet, to charge the battery I just disconnect the wire from the light and plug it into the charger - don't even take the pack off the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    I wish it was easier to recharge the batteries without having to remove them from the holder, plug them into a charger, and put them back in the holder, etc.

    It would be nice if you could disconnect the battery pack, and connect it to a charger, then just reconnect it when it's charged. Similar to recharging a cell phone.

    I use P7's instead of my Dinotte due to the hassle of recharging the Dinotte battery pack.
    Doesn't the P7 use AAA batteries? Don't you still have to remove it from the flashlight to charge the batteries? I ask because I'm genuinely curious.

    My biggest complaint with the Dinotte and the AA's is that the case they use lets the batteries slip out of connection way to easily. I strap the case and stuff to my road bike frame and one of the batteries slips out and the light turns out once every couple of rides. Way worse on my mountain bike. I have to strap rubber bands around both the batteries and the 9-volt connector to get them to stay in there. It works, but it makes the whole process of taking the batteries in and out of the case even more work - worse thing is that getting the battery case into the cloth case to strap it to the bike is now a real p.i.t.a. because it's a little to wide for it.

    Radio Shacks sells (or used to sell, based on the current page :-() a flat, enclosed battery hold that looks like it would work waaaaaaay better:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...uctId=2062253#


    Problem is, I don't have any way to strap it to the bike because it's a different shape, so no case for it. Otherwise I would totally use it.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post

    Yeah right - neither of you have posted a schematic of a Dinotte light head - nor of a PCB of battery cell or pack...... howz about taking a solid state device and sticking it up your core??
    Look, it's taking voltage from 4 AA cells, at 1.2 to 1.4 volts each. The NiMH pack is fully capable of delivering enough amperage to utterly catch fire to the lighthead; at least 5 amps at the 5 volts or so. If I regulate a LiIon to 5 volts, there is simply no conceivable way that the lighthead could even know the difference, even if they designed it to try to tell.

    I've done plenty of circuit design, including buck/boost regulators, and there is simply no accounting for what the guy at Dinotte said. He really got grouchy about it, and I just decided to heck with it, it's not worth arguing with this guy.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  13. #13
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    My biggest complaint with the Dinotte and the AA's is that the case they use lets the batteries slip out of connection way to easily. I strap the case and stuff to my road bike frame and one of the batteries slips out and the light turns out once every couple of rides. Way worse on my mountain bike.[/IMG]

    Problem is, I don't have any way to strap it to the bike because it's a different shape, so no case for it. Otherwise I would totally use it.
    I have the same problem, but I solved it a couple of weeks ago. Cut an inch wide cross section of inner tube (I used a 28mm tube) and use that as a rubber band. The battery will NOT slip out - you have to stretch it firmly and work it over the pack.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I have the same problem, but I solved it a couple of weeks ago. Cut an inch wide cross section of inner tube (I used a 28mm tube) and use that as a rubber band. The battery will NOT slip out - you have to stretch it firmly and work it over the pack.
    How do you fit it inside the case? And what do you do to keep it...attached? Do you tie it to itself?

    No matter what you do, I imagine at best it's one more annoying step to keep the batteries in the pack. :-(

  15. #15
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    How do you fit it inside the case? And what do you do to keep it...attached? Do you tie it to itself?

    No matter what you do, I imagine at best it's one more annoying step to keep the batteries in the pack. :-(
    I use a similar method with an inner tube cut to size. as far as fitting I just wiggle it in. 1 goes around the battery holders, the other is used to keep the connector tight against the holder. Since I have strated to use both methos I have never had a disconnected power source.
    After I ride home which may take an 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours based on if I do some training I take the pack out and and pop in 4 recharged batteries so that I do not have to worry about riding and forgetting while on the road. I additionally leave 4 Eneloops inside my saddle bag just in case I'm out longer or one battery goes bad.
    Robert
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    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Doesn't the P7 use AAA batteries? Don't you still have to remove it from the flashlight to charge the batteries? I ask because I'm genuinely curious.

    My biggest complaint with the Dinotte and the AA's is that the case they use lets the batteries slip out of connection way to easily. I strap the case and stuff to my road bike frame and one of the batteries slips out and the light turns out once every couple of rides. Way worse on my mountain bike. I have to strap rubber bands around both the batteries and the 9-volt connector to get them to stay in there. It works, but it makes the whole process of taking the batteries in and out of the case even more work - worse thing is that getting the battery case into the cloth case to strap it to the bike is now a real p.i.t.a. because it's a little to wide for it.

    Radio Shacks sells (or used to sell, based on the current page :-() a flat, enclosed battery hold that looks like it would work waaaaaaay better:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...uctId=2062253#


    Problem is, I don't have any way to strap it to the bike because it's a different shape, so no case for it. Otherwise I would totally use it.
    Inner tubes, rubber bands, etc, etc. There are just too many operations to charging a Dinotte battery pack for my lazy a$$ to do.
    P7's use one 18650 battery. The P7 is held to the handlebar in an easy-to-use clip. Snaps right in and out. It's just so much simpler to use. When it's time to ride I want to ride, not fiddle with batteries and rubber bands. I have 4 of the 18650 batteries, so that gives me a good 4-8 hours of riding time (depending on the mode) between charges.
    I do use my Dinotte, just not near as often, and knowing what I do now I would probably buy something different if I was a first-time buyer. Something like my Shiningbeam MC-E flashlight. You could get the light, charger, and batteries for the same or less than the Dinotte 200.
    AND the Shiningbeam works well as a regular flashlight.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    Inner tubes, rubber bands, etc, etc. There are just too many operations to charging a Dinotte battery pack for my lazy a$$ to do.
    P7's use one 18650 battery. The P7 is held to the handlebar in an easy-to-use clip. Snaps right in and out. It's just so much simpler to use. When it's time to ride I want to ride, not fiddle with batteries and rubber bands. I have 4 of the 18650 batteries, so that gives me a good 4-8 hours of riding time (depending on the mode) between charges.
    I do use my Dinotte, just not near as often, and knowing what I do now I would probably buy something different if I was a first-time buyer. Something like my Shiningbeam MC-E flashlight. You could get the light, charger, and batteries for the same or less than the Dinotte 200.
    AND the Shiningbeam works well as a regular flashlight.
    As I was saying, I definitely agree with you - it's waaaaaaaaay to much hassle with the Dinotte.

    However, I do feel obligated to point out (if I have this right) that the P7 has around a 1 hour runtime, right? The Dinotte is 2 hours. If your ride length happens to be between 1 and 2 hours (which it may not, just saying "if it is"), you may be trading the hassle of rubber bands and such vs changing the battery mid-ride. This may change dramatically based on your ride (raining? riding in a group? snowing? -20 degrees?).

    As I said though, I do certainly agree that the Dinotte AA version is a ton of hassle. How much did your P7 battery and charger cost extra? The Dinotte has the same thing - having to buy AA batteries, and often a charger as well - just asking. The lith-ion version of the light (probably intendtionally) is much, much easier to charge, as I mentioned you often don't even have to take it off the bike - but it also costs like twice as much.

    I still think a decent AA battery case for the Dinotte AA version would make it much less hassle. :-)

  18. #18
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    As I was saying, I definitely agree with you - it's waaaaaaaaay to much hassle with the Dinotte.

    However, I do feel obligated to point out (if I have this right) that the P7 has around a 1 hour runtime, right? The Dinotte is 2 hours. If your ride length happens to be between 1 and 2 hours (which it may not, just saying "if it is"), you may be trading the hassle of rubber bands and such vs changing the battery mid-ride. This may change dramatically based on your ride (raining? riding in a group? snowing? -20 degrees?).

    As I said though, I do certainly agree that the Dinotte AA version is a ton of hassle. How much did your P7 battery and charger cost extra? The Dinotte has the same thing - having to buy AA batteries, and often a charger as well - just asking. The lith-ion version of the light (probably intendtionally) is much, much easier to charge, as I mentioned you often don't even have to take it off the bike - but it also costs like twice as much.

    I still think a decent AA battery case for the Dinotte AA version would make it much less hassle. :-)
    I get an hour on High from my MC-E. Medium or low is much longer run time. It takes maybe a minute to change batteries. The MC-E is a standard flashlight.

    P7's from Deal Extreme are about $30. Charger ~ $10 and Batteries around $10-15/pair IIRC. My MC-E was $65, and a good Pila charger is $45. Add batteries and that's still far less than the cheapest Dinotte.

    I like this thread. I hope we can come up with an easier method of charging the AA's for a Dinotte.
    Let's say you put a connector in line between the battery pack and the light. If you could leave the battery pack and the light mounted to the bike, then disconnect the light from the batteries and connect the batteries to the charger, then the problem would be solved.
    What kind of charger would allow you to charge the battery pack through a cable while leaving the batteries in the pack?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    I get an hour on High from my MC-E. Medium or low is much longer run time. It takes maybe a minute to change batteries. The MC-E is a standard flashlight.

    P7's from Deal Extreme are about $30. Charger ~ $10 and Batteries around $10-15/pair IIRC. My MC-E was $65, and a good Pila charger is $45. Add batteries and that's still far less than the cheapest Dinotte.

    I like this thread. I hope we can come up with an easier method of charging the AA's for a Dinotte.
    Let's say you put a connector in line between the battery pack and the light. If you could leave the battery pack and the light mounted to the bike, then disconnect the light from the batteries and connect the batteries to the charger, then the problem would be solved.
    What kind of charger would allow you to charge the battery pack through a cable while leaving the batteries in the pack?
    Hmm. I've heard they currently exist and are possibly orderable, but they don't charge the batteries as fully as individually charging them in a charger.

    There is one light that's really cool regarding batteries - the Busch and Mueller Ixon IQ:
    http://harriscyclery.net/product/bus...eries-2692.htm

    The light takes 4 AA's that go inside the light, but you can order it with a power plug that plugs into the wall and into the light and charges the batteries - right inside the light. Yeah, you're thinking "that's what I just said", right? But I think the trick is that the way they go into the light, each battery can be connected to individually. I could be wrong, that's how the connectors looked.

    I bought one but didn't end up keeping it for various reasons I probably shouldn't distract this thread from. But that does make me think - does anyone make a 4 AA battery case that would let you do the same thing? Or - does charging all 4 at once actually work fine and not result in reduced runtime. I mean, the runtime of the light is equal to the point where the worst battery in the pack gets depleted. If the other stronger cells only get charged to the point of the weakest battery, maybe it doesn't matter anyways.

    Hmm...interesting...

    P.S. Oh hey, I *did* bookmark the thread where someone had a specific suggestion about a charger. Check it out here:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...43#post9927743

    This is the link to the cheapest one that was suggested:
    http://www.batteryspace.com/multi-cu...x?SSAID=314743
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 05-25-10 at 12:55 PM.

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    I've actually been playing around with a new battery holder for the Dinotte. I took an Altoids tin, and added a battery holder from Radio Shack, similar to this:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Simp...ds-AA-Charger/

    Then I added a jack from Radio Shack to the Tin, #274-1563 and wired it to the batter holder.

    Then I spliced this into the the Dinotte wire:

    http://www.batteryspace.com/connecto...h6prewire.aspx


    It's working pretty well, except I want to remake the tin, with the jack out the side instead of the end of the tin. It will fit better in my saddle bag then.

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    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Looks like some workable ideas here. I like the "cheapest" battey charger.

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    I emailed Dinotte once and they really got cranky about me suggesting that I hook a 7.2v lithium pack to the 4AA taillight. They claimed that the two lightheads were different and that the 4AA one couldn't take the extra voltage.

    I had a very similar experience with someone from Dinotte a coupla years ago. I emailed and described how I'd taken a small 6V motorcycle battery and wired it to my 200AA. I got a reply stating that the increased amperage capacity of the motorcycle battery would probably kill the light and I should immediately stop doing that. I think their SOP is to discourage any deviation from the supplied bits. I'm not sure I wouldn't do the same if it was my company.

    Unlike ItsJustMe, I don't know much about electrons. What's a buck converter? I kinda think Dinotte could learn from some of the homebrew hacks made by their smarter customers, instead of just saying NO to everyone.

    Our Dinotte 200AA questions/issues became less important in my mind a couple of days ago. Based on the glowing reviews at STR (Southern California Trail Riders) and elsewhere, I ordered the MagicShine GMG 900 PLUS Racer's Special.

    Now, it's important to note that the reviews are often qualified with comments about "for the price". As in, "we weren't crazy about the UI, but for the price"...

    This light is preposterously bright compared to the Dinotte, the cables are similar to TrailTech cables instead of the cheesy 9V battery connectors, recharging the battery pack is a one-step affair.

    If nothing fails prematurely, this is one heck of a commuter lamp, which is what we'd be using it for. We're certainly not going to go racing with our Cannondale tandem.

    Maybe I'll wrap some red plastic film over the Dinotte and use it for a tail light

    hammond9705, is the Trailtech connector that you spliced to your Dinotte noticeably thicker than the standard Dinotte wire emerging from the lighthead? I opened up my Dinotte a few days ago just to see what was going on inside. It would be relatively easy to desolder the two wires and replace them with something else if you could get the new cable out thru the hole. I imagine it could still be done with a slightly fatter cable but you'd need a good source for different sized grommets. A determined individual could even drill out the hole in the Dinotte's backplate and find the next sized up grommet diameter, but that's further than I want to go...
    Last edited by Telkwa; 05-31-10 at 09:39 AM.

  23. #23
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telkwa View Post
    I had a very similar experience with someone from Dinotte a coupla years ago. I emailed and described how I'd taken a small 6V motorcycle battery and wired it to my 200AA. I got a reply stating that the increased amperage capacity of the motorcycle battery would probably kill the light and I should immediately stop doing that.
    See, that's what I'm talking about. It's utter bull****. The AA NiMH delivers more than adequate current to make the lighthead burst into flames if it were susceptible to "too much current." Anyone with any damn electronics knowledge at all would know that statement is horsecrap. Circuits draw as much current as they are designed to draw, you could hook them up to a battery the size of a house as long as it's still just putting out 6 volts and it'd be fine.

    I respect the company for putting out good products and making them in the US, but when they start just lying to me, I don't appreciate it. If they want to void the warranty due to me hooking it up in a non-approved fashion, that's their choice, but I wish they wouldn't just make crap up to get me to stop doing what they don't like.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I ordered my light years and years ago, but Dinotte themselves did actually include a "C" size battery holder that held 4 batteries that hooked up to the light for longer runtime. After I got it though, I realized that the C size batteries that are cheap (from Duracell, Energizer, etc) actually had the same rating as the AA version (apparently they just wrap more material around a AA core). They cost $40 for 4, plus the extra cost for a "C" size charger...at that cost, it was about the same to just buy the lith-ion version of the light. The lith-ion battery is way easier to charge as well. I keep my bike by a power outlet, to charge the battery I just disconnect the wire from the light and plug it into the charger - don't even take the pack off the bike.
    aren't there higher capacity Nimh C size batteries out there?

    here they are 6000mah that's more than the typical 2650mah AA battery

    here's a case to put them in

    http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a...-CELLS//1.html


    http://www.onlybatteries.com/cat_fea...d=112&uid=1015
    Last edited by LeeG; 05-31-10 at 01:30 PM.

  25. #25
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    aren't there higher capacity Nimh C size batteries out there?
    Yes, you can buy actual C and D cells. Real NiMH D cells are something like 12000 mAH. Fake ones are just one (for C) or three (for D) AA cells with a steel can wrapped around them. You can tell because when you pick them up they feel pretty light for their size. A real D cell is pretty heavy.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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