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  1. #1
    Senior Member brianinc-ville's Avatar
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    spanninga luceo review; your rating of the best inexpensive dynamo lights

    A brief review of the Spanninga Luceo XS dynamo headlight, since I really couldn't find much good information before I bought it:

    So, you might be looking for a dynamo headlight, and you might find this one on the Peter White Cycles site, the very cheapest he sells. And you might figure it's worth buying. Let me save you some time and money: it's not. Now, I don't at all take part in the the cold-war-style headlight arms race that often prevails around this forum ; my wife and I ride only for transportation, and only in the city, so we're only concerned with being seen. The Luceo, though, doesn't do it.

    It's rated at 10 lumens; driven with a Shimano dynohub, it really seemed quite faint.

    It also seemed to draw too much power in relation to the rear light, leaving the rear light pretty useless.

    Finally, it doesn't seem to have a built-in rectifier -- when powered with an AC dynamo, it flashes at low speed -- so I don't suspect that it will last long without a separate rectifier.

    On the plus side, the standlight is fairly bright.

    Anyway, if you're looking to save money on a dynamo headlight, you might want to look elsewhere. From what I've seen, the B&M Lyt N is pretty much the most inexpensive light that'll do the job on US city streets.

    What's your opinion? What's the cheapest way to outfit your bike with acceptably bright front and rear dynamo lights for city use, both with standlights?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Don't have a dyno set-up, but oddly enough, I am (or maybe was now) contemplating the Luceo XB.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
    Finally, it doesn't seem to have a built-in rectifier -- when powered with an AC dynamo, it flashes at low speed -- so I don't suspect that it will last long without a separate rectifier.
    There's not much need for a rectifier on a generator driven light, and they're pretty uncommon. (neither of my B&M has one, at least not visibly, for instance.) A rectifier gives you two things: protection against reverse voltage, and constant on. Protection from reverse is important because LEDs are polarity sensitive, and can fail if supplied with too high reverse voltage, but there are plenty of ways to prevent that that don't require a rectifier. Constant on is important, but only at low speeds. The generator is an AC source, so half the time it's producing the wrong polarity current, which means the lights off, and some of the time the voltage is the correct polarity, it's below the minimum to light the lamp. But generators are pretty high frequency (a typical one will be about 25 Hz at 10 mph, depending on model and wheel size (bottles are much higher)), and so they provide time when the lamp is lit that it really is on close to full time. (and there are ways to improve their behavior that don't involve a rectifier).

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    The Spanninga niche is in inexpensive lights so your findings are not that surprising. My recommendation would be to go with B&M whose niche is decent lights that are not overly expensive. (Often inexpensive ends up being the more expensive option.) For the front, I'd take Cyo and Toplight Flat for the rear.

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    Randomhead
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    I have the Lyt, which I'm happy with. I think any dyno light worth having will have some form of voltage doubling and this requires a rectifier. I haven't seen the Lyt kick into high gear, but the Supernova noticeably changes modes when you start going faster. There will be some low-speed flashing with most dyno lights.

  6. #6
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    As far as cheapest goes, I think it depends not only on cost of lights and availability of the models you want but shipping cost also. I just received an order of 2 Busch & Muller lights (Lumotec Lyt N Plus and DToplight) and the total with shipping was $55 CAD from xxcycle.com (odd looking site and it's in France but they delivered so...).

    On a passing note, even if I wanted to try them right now I can't. I got news on my financial situation and it may take months to find out if I can complete my touring bicycle project. (Or I could wait until I get x-mas money.)

    EDIT: Ah, found the links on the lights I ordered and received.
    http://www.xxcycle.com/d-toplight-pl...dynamo,,en.php

    http://www.xxcycle.com/front-light-l...178ndi,,en.php
    Last edited by hybridbkrdr; 06-04-12 at 04:40 PM.
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  7. #7
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Maybe the place to start might be looking for a 6V 3W light (any light) that you would consider 'acceptably bright for city use' - because as far as I know thats the most one of these generators can push. As a reference - I believe most automotive tail lights are 10W.

    Anyway - I couldn't find any myself. A hint might be that Peter White uses ISO 3,200 for his beam shots. MTBR uses ISO 100 for their beam shots. But they test battery driven units.
    Last edited by Burton; 06-04-12 at 06:54 PM.

  8. #8
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    Dynamo generators can push more than 3W fairly easily. They're rated for that power based on German standards--which measure at 10km/h. My dynamo setup puts out between 6-8W between two front and one rear LED. The Supernova E3+Taillight also draws more than that power, although its actual output values are a little lower due to less efficient LEDs.

    Edit: Upon reviewing the Supernova E3's I see they've upgraded to more powerful LEDs, I was getting my numbers from the old XRE-powered versions.
    Last edited by A10K; 06-05-12 at 12:53 PM. Reason: More info

  9. #9
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A10K View Post
    Dynamo generators can push more than 3W fairly easily. They're rated for that power based on German standards--which measure at 10km/h. My dynamo setup puts out between 6-8W between two front and one rear LED. The Supernova E3+Taillight also draws more than that power, although its actual output values are a little lower due to less efficient LEDs.

    Edit: Upon reviewing the Supernova E3's I see they've upgraded to more powerful LEDs, I was getting my numbers from the old XRE-powered versions.
    OK I agree - the latest version of the Supernova claims to be the worlds brightest dynomo light and puts out 800 lumens and might be a fair light for offroad. It isn't, however, legal for on-road use in Germany which means it has no cutoff, and 800 lunens is maximum brightness. At speeds of less than 10mph you would get less light.

    Also agree that it might be OK for some commuters, but I personally want more than that to feel safe playing in traffic. Currently I'm using up to 60 watts of power. If that sounds like a lot - keep in mind that cars are playing with about 150watts and a bicycle is a much smaller vehicle trying to get noticed in traffic.
    Last edited by Burton; 06-06-12 at 07:59 PM.

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    Randomhead
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    I have the supernova e3 symmetric, which is (arguably) legal for road use in Germany. I am constantly getting flashed by motorists that think I have it on high. I have it aimed fairly low too, under many conditions the cutoff is lower than street signs. I think it's plenty bright. I think the Lyt is plenty bright for commuting too, it's far better than the Shimano it replaced.

  11. #11
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have the supernova e3 symmetric, which is (arguably) legal for road use in Germany. I am constantly getting flashed by motorists that think I have it on high. I have it aimed fairly low too, under many conditions the cutoff is lower than street signs. I think it's plenty bright. I think the Lyt is plenty bright for commuting too, it's far better than the Shimano it replaced.
    That light is rated by Supernova at 370 lumens but apparently was measured at just 140 lumen at 20 km/h so I somehow doubt that motorists were flashing at you because the light was bothering them. Independent reviews and beam-shots are nice. I checked out that light on this site before dismissing it myself: http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tes.../index_en.html

  12. #12
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    Actually, I kinda like the Spanninga l̶u̶c̶e̶o̶ ̶ Micro FF. I think it compares favorably with the inexpensive battery powered LED lights like the PB Blaze. I like the fact that it retains a charge if you switch it off. As far as flashing at low speed, that happens on more expensive lights also (I have an edelux also).

    I consider it a dynamo light for those who are unwilling to spend a lot of $$$ on a better lighting system, and do the occasional night ride. I consider the Luceo to be a minimum light, compare it to a old Sturmey Archer incandescent driven by an old SA dynohub, and it beats the vintage system.

    It would not be my first choice for someone who rides at night on a daily basis. The Lyt is the next level up on inexpensive lights. I like it because it provides good side marker lighting as well. (Side marker lighting to be seen, not to see with).


    Correction Edit: I mistook the Luceo for the Micro FF. I have both and what I said above was intended for the Micro FF. The Luceo does not have as nice of electronics as the Micro FF, but they are both about the same brightness. I'm comparing the LED versions of both lights.
    Last edited by krome; 06-08-12 at 10:40 AM.

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