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  1. #1
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    What's with AAAs? (Where are the 2xAA blinkies?)

    Well the title pretty much says it all: with AA batteries the choice for so many headlights and other electronics, why are all the popular blinkies 2xAAA? I don't want to buy/maintain AAA batteries just for a blinky, and interchangeable is always good. So, can anyone point me to a decent 2xAA blinky?

  2. #2
    Gear Hub fan
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    Cateye TL-LD1100 is about the only one on the market that I know of. The best price I have seen on it is from Lickbike the last time I checked.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    I know. I'm kind of surprised that the Radbot 1000 doesn't use AA. I guess it's a victim of the weight weenie syndrome.

  4. #4
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yup, same problem here. All my lights and gadgets use AAs except for rear blinkies

  5. #5
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    I dropped a short email to the Planet Bike product manager pointing out what a great marketing opportunity a Superflash revision using AAs would be. They could sell the Blaze and Superflash AA set with "Use the same batteries in all your lights!" as a selling point.

    I looked at my Superflash last night to see if there was enough room to carve out space for AAs. Sadly, i think not.

  6. #6
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    The extra weight is not just a problem in itself, it also is much harder on the mounting. I used to have a Cateye LD1000 on a steel bracket, the bracket eventually broke due to vibration and I lost the light. If it had run on AAAs I probably would still have it.

    That said, I wish they ran on AAs too, I could stand the brackets being a little thicker. I don't like AAAs, though really these days there are good AAA rechargables. I use Eneloops, so I only have to swap them out about once a month. $16 for eight AAA Eneloops for my 3 blinkies wasn't that big a deal, and I have a couple of spares.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  7. #7
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    It's hard to believe there's a reason the mount can't be strengthened to withstand 30 g more (about twice the battery mass).

    Here's what i've found:

    Trek Flare Bseen $30 http://bontrager.com/model/07562
    Cateye 1100 ~$35 http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/550
    Serfas TL-SSR Stop Sign $15 http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=306

    Every one of these has a review complaining about the mounting mechanism, but that may be par for the course with blinkies.

    Since i mostly want this for my tourer, i may just buy the Stop Sign and bolt it to the rear rack. It has an integrated rear reflector and should just fit on a rack. Still, buying 5-year-old technology new galls me, even if it's cheap.

    Another recent discussion: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-blinking-mode

  8. #8
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    Do you have rechargeable AAs? Many AA rechargers also have a slot for AAAs; mine does, and it's a cheap Rayovac.

    I agree that it is a pain to have two types of batteries on one bike, but the current taillights already have 100 hour runtimes with 2 AAAs, so I see why many people see no need for AAs.

    You could also go for a headlight that uses 4 AAAs. This has the advantage of higher voltage, in a smaller package and less weight than even 2 AAAs, though run time is not as good. I like these dealextreme.com lights, which use AAAs:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.18307 ($7.40, 1 watt 50 lumen headlight; just bright enough "to see")
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.454 ($4.15, weak LEDs, but good way "to be seen" as a front blinky)
    This one also has good reviews, though I haven't tried it:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.26800 ($12.35, Cree P4 headlight, bright enough to see for most uses)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Spudd's Avatar
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    I have a BLT Ultra Wazoo that takes AA's. It's pretty good.

    http://www.blt-lights.com/product/re...trawazoodx.php

  10. #10
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudd View Post
    I have a BLT Ultra Wazoo that takes AA's. It's pretty good.

    http://www.blt-lights.com/product/re...trawazoodx.php
    That's exactly the light that I bought at Wal*Mart about 5 years ago for I think $8. It was Bell branded. It's fairly weak compared to a Superflash, and I consider the Superflash to be in the low end of acceptable brightness. Also I found that it faded badly if the batteries weren't fresh.

    If I had to live with a blinkie of that style now, I'd get a Radbot 1000. Yes, it's AAA and I wish it were AA.

    For AA I think the Cateye TL-LD1100 would be acceptable. It's more expensive than the Radbot, but it does take AA cells.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Another issue - that needs additional "light" - is the fact that led circuits can be optimized for exacting voltages. Operating a "blinkie" on
    (~2.5V-2.8V NiMH) as opposed to 3V alkaline battery source could affect performance.

  12. #12
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Another issue - that needs additional "light" - is the fact that led circuits can be optimized for exacting voltages. Operating a "blinkie" on
    (~2.5V-2.8V NiMH) as opposed to 3V alkaline battery source could affect performance.
    The 1.5V is a bit of a myth. Alkalines average more like 1.2V over their discharge curve. You are better off running NiMH as they supply a higher voltage for most of the runtime. Alkalines fall off more gradually though, so you get more of a warning to change them, NiMH can be quite abrupt.

    Want really bright? Put 1.7V lithium cells in.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    you're quite a myth - you give erroneous advice almost daily.

  14. #14
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    The 1.5V is a bit of a myth. Alkalines average more like 1.2V over their discharge curve. You are better off running NiMH as they supply a higher voltage for most of the runtime. Alkalines fall off more gradually though, so you get more of a warning to change them, NiMH can be quite abrupt.

    Want really bright? Put 1.7V lithium cells in.
    True. Alkalines are pretty bad for that. The voltage tapers off steadily as the battery discharges. NiMH holds the voltage up very well until just before it dies. This is one of the big reasons why alkalines are just a really bad idea for high draw devices like digital cameras and camera flashes, and flashlights.

    Alkalines have been good for low drain devices, particularly ones that will sit unused for a long time, but modern low-self-discharge cells like Sanyo Eneloops can sit unused for a year and still hold plenty of charge.

    Alkaline:


    NiMH:

    (source http://www.powerstream.com/AA-tests.htm)
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I've got an old Vistalite tail-light that uses AA batteries. At the time I got it (about 10 years ago), it was one of the brightest battery operated tail-lights. It is quite a bit bigger and heavier than your typical AAA light, but it was much brighter than any of the AAA lights available at that time.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Alkalines average more like 1.2V over their discharge curve
    I'm wasn't commenting on overall run time nor discharge rate. I was commenting on LED driver/flasher capacity. I know -way over your head.

    This is one of the big reasons why alkalines are just a really bad idea for high draw devices like digital cameras and camera flashes, and flashlights.
    Right, again I mention how their is usable additional capacity for higher power in many "flasher" style LED circuits - so you answer with a chart about batteries. OK - good stuff.

    OK - one more time - it is possible to get superior "blinkie" performance by using a battery that supplies higher voltages. Whether or not you find an Alkaline battery to do that is your own business.

    Last night I used a 9.5V AA battery pack to drive two MS tail lights on "blink." The difference between the 9.5V source and a Lithium Ion battery was noticeable. The battery pack failed -by growing very dim - after about seven hours. Today, I discovered that the three Alkaline cells had all drained and the four NiMH cells were still around 1.2V - yes mixing cell types - on purpose - egads - kill him!

    That's pretty much what I expected. However, I'm getting tired of being geeky and playing with batteries so I'm just over with "how bright can it get phase."

    FWIW - the emitter in the MS 900 light can be driven over 12V. I've run PBSB off a 4.5V battery pack for hours -and it was much brighter than the standard AAA setup. However, I decided the pack and wiring was too kluge......

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    I'm wasn't commenting on overall run time nor discharge rate. I was commenting on LED driver/flasher capacity. I know -way over your head.
    Why are you being a dick?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    That's exactly the light that I bought at Wal*Mart about 5 years ago for I think $8. It was Bell branded.
    It's on DX for $4.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3639

  19. #19
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    I've run PBSB off a 4.5V battery pack for hours -and it was much brighter than the standard AAA setup.
    See
    http://www.pilom.com/BicycleElectron...mercialBTL.htm

    And then:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=264326

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    That's not the same light, it simply looks the same, but it made of of cheap and brittle plastic, weak LEDs, has a horrible mount, and has no reverse polarity protection. I have a couple and they are total rubbish.

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