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Thread: Dynamo lighting

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    Dynamo lighting

    Does anyone here have experience with dynamo lighting? Though I would like to buy a dynohub, it's just too expensive. The LBS say that they can install an old Sanyo bottle dynamo that runs off the top of the tire instead of the side wall. This will cost about 40 bux not including the light.

    I ride at night a few times a week (probably much as the days grow shorter) and though most of the streets are well lit, there are some sections that are almost pitch black.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I used a dynamo light about 30 years ago. Basically, it was bright enough that you could see the potholes before you hit them, but that was about it. If you're dinking along at 10 miles an hour like I was, you're probably okay. If you're burning up the road, you probably want something better.

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    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
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    Dynamo systems have come a long way in thirty years and there are even some that deal in just about any type of system you'd want.
    "Engineering! It's like math, but louder."

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    Quote Originally Posted by yamcha View Post
    Does anyone here have experience with dynamo lighting? Though I would like to buy a dynohub, it's just too expensive. The LBS say that they can install an old Sanyo bottle dynamo that runs off the top of the tire instead of the side wall. This will cost about 40 bux not including the light.

    I ride at night a few times a week (probably much as the days grow shorter) and though most of the streets are well lit, there are some sections that are almost pitch black.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    I love dynamo hubs. They can be expensive, but if you build the wheel yourself, that saves a big chunk of the expense. Also, note that most of these hubs are designed for wheels in the 26" - 27" range, so if you put one in a folder with a smaller wheel, you'll get higher rpm's, so higher voltage, so you'll fry the 6-volt bulbs out pretty quick. The most expensive German dynamo hubs are available in a small-wheel version that doesn't have this problem, but they're annoyingly expensive. Instead of that, I just run higher voltage. My DT mini has a Shimano Nexus hub in the front wheel, and runs a somewhat home-made 12 volt system, which gives pretty good light.
    With a bottle-type dynamo you won't have the voltage problem, and they're pretty simple to install. Most bikes being ridden around in Europe have such systems. I suggest you install it yourself; these things are reliable enough but occasionally there are problems -- bulbs die, wires get loose, that kind of thing-- and you'll need to understand the system well enough to fix them yourself; running to the LBS would get old pretty fast.
    You can get a cheap dynamo set at Target for $10, and it's okay, definitely not great. Search the internet, I'm sure you'll find something better.

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    If you do get a dynamo, make sure you keep a couple of cheapo blinkies on the bike. No fun at all when the bulbs burn out to be left having to ride home unlit. I'm thinking of the importance of being seen on a wet night, rather than lighting up the road here, but in the end, that is the difference between living and dying. Dynamo bulbs fail too often for my liking, so a fallback is essential.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

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    Don't these dynamo lights Blow Up?

    If you do a search on the internet for bicycle dynamo lighting systems, you will undoubtedly come across warnings about lights blowing out if you ride your bike too fast. This is true of systems designed back in the 1920s, and used on bikes such as Raleigh three speeds up through the early 1980s. These were very crude systems by today's standards. While you can still buy cheaply made dynamo lights that will blow bulbs on a downhill run, none of the systems I sell are so poorly made that you have to concern yourself with this. Without exception, every headlight I sell for use with either a hub dynamo or sidewall dynamo incorporates circuitry to prevent the overvoltage of the bulb. You have absolutely nothing to worry about.

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Shimano3N70.asp


    Not anymore they don't. They even have lights that come with an capciter that turns on an led blinker while you are at a stop, allowing others to see you for up to 5 minutes. So how old did you say you were Evil?

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    Incandescent bulbs fail Vamcha - you know that from your own house lights I expect. A red blinkie can be had for very little money, weighs a couple of ounces and will be ready when yu need it. Alternatvely, you could just carry a Zippo and set fire to your arse when the rear bulb blows. That should glow quite brightly when you get up speed and get some air to it.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

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    The point is that they don't burn out because of pedaling too fast.

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    Vamcha is right.

    However, the side effect is increased load - erm, I'm quoting from memory from someone who measured their SON. I think the load (at wheel) was about 3.5W when under 12mph, rising to 7W at 19mph.

    this was on a 700c wheeled bike.

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    what do you prefer: battery / dynamo hub or bottle dynamo

    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a Batavus 20 inch folder which compares quite well to a Dahon MU. In fact it has a lot of components in common and the dynamo hub reads Dahon. I haven't done a lot of test driving but just spinning the wheel I notice the drag by the dynamo is quite considerable.

    My everyday bike has a bottle dynamo. The benefit of that is the lack of drag when you don't need the light.

    Most of the time I use battery lights nowadays. They have zero drag and wheigh the same as a decent dynamo. There are also no more bulbs to burn out as it's a LED lamp.

    So here's a question: what sort of lighting do you prefer on your folders? Bat / dyn hub or plain old sidewall dynamo?

    Bye

    Michael

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    Well I don't really care about weight at all since I more or less use my folder as a utility bike. I have grocery panniers on both side and plan to put a collapsable basket on the handle bars. What I want is a light that is strong enought to light up 15ft of road in front of me while I am cruising. I hate changing batteries and I am a forgetful person so a rechargeable system might not be the best thing.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    The bulk of my bikes have generators of one sort or another on them. I have 4 hub generators, one bottom bracket mount and 2 sidewall mount. I prefer the hub generators, they always work, unless there is a problem with wiring or light bulbs (rare occurrence) My second choice is the bottom bracket mounted generator, it works well except when the wheel is very muddy. That leaves sidewall as my least favorite. The best hub generator for the bucks is the Shimano Nexus followed by the Biologic Jule on the Dahon Folder. I currently have one Nexus installed with one waiting to be built into a wheel. All but the cheapest of the newest generators have built in protection to keep from blowing bulbs. Also from what I understand with the newer LED generator headlights that is a non issue. My favorite head light is the B&M with the stand light. The Lumotec Oval Plus and then the Lumotec Oval. The stand light is a great feature it is an LED that charges up while you are riding and stays on for a few minutes when you stop.

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I can buy older used Union sidewall dyno light sets for about $10 complete with lamps; I upgrade the bulbs to halogens, I can live with the drag and the old union lamps throw very good focused beams providing plenty of light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    The best hub generator for the bucks is the Shimano Nexus followed by the Biologic Jule

    Aaron
    Could you please talk a bit more about the Joule dynamo? I have never actually used any kind of dynamo before. Is a 2.4 watt light strong enough to light up the road well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    I can buy older used Union sidewall dyno light sets for about $10 complete with lamps; I upgrade the bulbs to halogens, I can live with the drag and the old union lamps throw very good focused beams providing plenty of light.
    I bought a Union sidewall generator from the LBS about a year ago. Have run it on four different size tires:
    630, 590, 559, and 406 (27, 26, 26, and 20"). I've run it through rain, mud, slush, and snow. The only tire it has slipped with is a bone dry 47-406 Primo Comet, but I didn't set it up to have a lot of pressure on it since the Comet has fairly thin sidewalls.

    I'm using the stock Union (Basta) headlight and have not burned out any bulbs, although I probably haven't had it over 25mph more than once or twice. Light is fine for my purposes, although I keep a battery powered LED handy for backup (one each fore & aft).

    There are commercially available LED dynamo lights, but at less than $20 (advertised price) for a halogen Lumotec, that's kind of tough for me to justify.

    I personally prefer the "yellow" light of halogen to the white of LED lights. It seems less stressed somehow.

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    Dynamos are useful if you ride where there are no stores to replace batteries. If there are any stores open where/when you ride I suggest a battery system or even a flashlight (3W led maglite). Something that mounts to your helmet would be nice too.
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    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post
    Dynamos are useful if you ride where there are no stores to replace batteries. If there are any stores open where/when you ride I suggest a battery system or even a flashlight (3W led maglite). Something that mounts to your helmet would be nice too.
    I went with a dynamo because
    1) it's always there, always charged
    2) it works when it's cold (NiCd & other fancy batteries have poor performance below freezing temps)
    3) No landfill, recycling, or worrying about chargers or the number of charges left.

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    Well I bought a halogen sytem today. It's pretty bright and was on sale for $85 marked down from $150.

    http://www.amazon.com/Niterider-Trai...2253962&sr=1-4

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