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SO sick my lights dying mid-ride. Can I get some advice/recommendations on dynohubs?

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SO sick my lights dying mid-ride. Can I get some advice/recommendations on dynohubs?

Old 11-19-15, 09:30 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
I have some of those super bright LEDs with li-ion batteries that you can get off Amazon for quite cheap. They provide a ton of light, until the battery dies without warning mid-ride.

That the reason I use mine in the strobe mode. It give off plenty of light, but hasn't left me stranded the first time. It did take me a few miles to get used to the strobe, but it's better than trying to ride in braille.
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Old 11-19-15, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
How long is your commute time? A decent battery-powered LED light should have plenty of charge time for commute times up to 2-3 hours.
That's what I was thinking...my $115 magicshine combo lasts around 2-2.5 hours on solid beam front, blinky rear.
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Old 11-19-15, 12:27 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
I've tried doing some research into dynohubs, but can't make heads from tails with all the options. I've tried reading Peter White Cycles Home Page, but holy $#!t can I get a TL;DR on that? Any other recommendations? Ideally, I want a system that is as bright as the CREE LEDs I linked to, since I'll be riding in the dark through winter.

edit: I should mention that I have disc brakes on my commuter, which may be a factor.
Shutter Precision SD-8 Disc 6-hole dynamo hub 20'/24' 32L 2016

Disc dyno hub for 84 euro minus 19% VAT if you are not in EU + some shipping should get you a great hub for about a c-note, you can build a wheel yourself or send it to your favorite wheel builder to match to whatever rim you want.

or

~$200 for a built 700c disc wheel:

https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=35503

can't quickly find a 26" pre-built disc wheel w/ dynamo hub but I am sure they are out there in the ~$200 range.
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Old 11-19-15, 12:43 PM
  #29  
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Note that 700c wheel link uses the reflective dyad rims (32h), I have those rims, they are fine rims, but the reflective coating is worthless. Reflective stripes on my tires are way brighter. So if it's possible to save a few bucks by switching to non-reflective (black or silver) I'd recommend it. But if it's not possible, the reflective finish doesn't hurt anything, the rims are still good.
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Old 11-19-15, 01:41 PM
  #30  
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My dynamo setup cost about $160, which is more than some and less than others. You can certainly spend more than that on either dynamo or battery powered lights. Yes, I get fewer lumens per dollar with this than with battery powered systems, but the convenience and reliability justify it for me.

Another benefit is the convenience of never removing the lights. We have crazy bike thieves in NYC, but they seem not to carry the wrenches necessary to remove the lights. I just leave them on, and they haven't been stolen. Once in a bad neighborhood, where I left the bike for longer than I should have, someone tried to break mine off with his hands. He failed, and I still have my lights. I just had to bend the mount back into shape.
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Old 11-19-15, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
That's what I was thinking...my $115 magicshine combo lasts around 2-2.5 hours on solid beam front, blinky rear.
For me that's not enough runtime, even just biking with my family that's right up to the edge (1 hour out, 1 hour back, and we're out of battery). On top of that add on cold weather reducing battery performance, and age (lith-ion batteries start to degrade after about 3 years). Of course you can carry an extra battery to get around it, but that's a "when fairly new and the temp isn't to low" max runtime.
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Old 11-20-15, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
For me that's not enough runtime, even just biking with my family that's right up to the edge (1 hour out, 1 hour back, and we're out of battery). On top of that add on cold weather reducing battery performance, and age (lith-ion batteries start to degrade after about 3 years). Of course you can carry an extra battery to get around it, but that's a "when fairly new and the temp isn't to low" max runtime.
Fair enough. There are better batteries and ways to conserve power, although you've clearly stated you want dynamo.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:27 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Fair enough. There are better batteries and ways to conserve power, although you've clearly stated you want dynamo.
I didn't completely see the point of dynamo lights until I tried them. A friend sent me a dynamo hub as a gift, so I had to finish the set. The result is the setup on my Bianchi I cited earlier.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:36 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I didn't completely see the point of dynamo lights until I tried them. A friend sent me a dynamo hub as a gift, so I had to finish the set. The result is the setup on my Bianchi I cited earlier.
I had the same experience. I likened hub dynamos to bottle dynamos as that is all I had ever seen. Then a few years back I picked up an early 1960s Raleigh Superbe with a SA hub dynamo... it was obviously the old style that can blow up a bulb on a fast descent, although that never happened to me... and I salivate at the opportunity to try a modern one, so good was the 'crappy' old one. Next time I need a new front wheel for my touring bike I will probably get it with a Shimano Alfine dynamo hub.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:38 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I didn't completely see the point of dynamo lights until I tried them. A friend sent me a dynamo hub as a gift, so I had to finish the set. The result is the setup on my Bianchi I cited earlier.
I've been eyeing dynamo for a little while now, and I am sure I would love it (same with an igh) but my budget is too tight for dynamo+peripherals for now. Getting a promotion & raise though, so might have the extra cash in the future if I'm diligent.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:55 AM
  #36  
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@Wilfred Laurier, it's the lights that have voltage protection, not the dynamos. I've connected modern lights to old sidewall dynamos. The light is great, and I don't expect to blow anything, but of course, the drag is there.

You get a lot of miles per dollar on a bike, @jfowler85, so I hope you can find the money. A dynamo lighting system might last a good many years. Congratulations on your promotion and raise.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:57 AM
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Thank you kindly.
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Old 11-20-15, 11:16 AM
  #38  
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Okay so I stand corrected, I've been using my front light for 2 round trip commutes this week (5:30 total ride time, light on night pulse mode the whole time) and my light was nearly dead by the time I got home last night. The power button was flashing for most of the ride home and the light steadily got more and more dim. Though that's better than just shutting off suddenly, I suppose.

I'm sure I need a new battery as this one is nearing 3 years old. Although I need to get better about switching the light to Daytime Flash mode when the sun comes up since that setting uses the least amount of battery.
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Old 11-20-15, 12:58 PM
  #39  
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I've been envying hub dynamos for a while now but in the last few days, I think I've changed my mind, I'm going to get a bottle (sidewall) dynamo instead. Electronically, they are quite similar to hub dynamos in that current ones produce 6v 3w and therefore, can power any light (or front/rear light combination) that common hub dynamos can power, including a USB charger if you want to.

They have the advantage of lighter weight and easier installation and cheaper, especially if you can't re/build your own wheel to accommodate the new hub dynamo.

The disadvantages that many people quote don't seem to be realized as much as some say they do.
  • Wear on the sidewall is much less than some claim. If you're commuting or touring, you are likely using tougher tires than a racer would use and many city/touring tires have a patch on the sidewall specifically designed for bottle dynamos. Many bottle dynamos have rubber "clog-like" wheels that seem to reduce wear compared with plastic or metal cog-like wheels. Some bottle dynamos can be purchased with a smooth rubber wheel that can run on the rim instead of the tire.
  • Slippage from water or snow on the tire seems to happen much less than the critics suggest and one user simply increases the pressure on the tire a bit during wet/snow season to reduce slippage.

However, the resistance produced by a bottle dynamo is higher than a hub dynamo when producing power but, on the other hand, a person who wishes not to run the dynamo (or more specifically, the lights) during the daytime can reduce the resistance of a bottle dynamo to zero (by releasing the dynamo from the tire) but cannot do anything about the resistance produced by a hub dynamo. Furthermore, old bottle dynamos (forgive the lack of electronics knowledge) had 4 magnets whereas new ones have 8 and use rare-earth magnets thereby making the newer ones more efficient and less resistant than old ones.

A bottle dynamo does produce more noise than a hub dynamo but, again, newer ones are better than older ones.

For a bit, I didn't completely understand why sellers recommended that if a light came in two configurations, with or without a switch, that they recommended purchasing the non-switch models if you were matching them with a bottle dynamo. I figured it out: hub dynamos cannot be turned off so as long as you're moving, it is generating electricity so if you don't want your lights running, for example, during daylight, you can opt for the switch version so that, although the hubs will still be generating electricity, the lights won't be on. However, bottle dynamos can simply be pulled back from the tire and in doing so, they no longer generate electricity and the lights are no longer lit and therefore, you can save a bit of cash by purchasing the light model without the switch (if the option is available).

Sure, there is more aesthetic value to a hub dynamo so if you can get past that and the increased noise, I think you might want to consider a bottle dynamo.

Just my 20 (all this writing has to be worth more than just 2).
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Old 11-20-15, 01:02 PM
  #40  
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It's true that sidewall dynamos are cheaper and lighter and easier to install. If those are your most compelling criteria, then a sidewall generator is for you. However, the drag a dynamo hub is insignificant, even under full electrical load. I just can't feel it. At 20 mph, I start to feel vibration, but when I go 20+ mph, I'm going downhill, and I'm not really wasting human energy. So reduced drag when not in use should not be a decision criterion for you.

I have an old chrome-plated Miller dynamo on one of my bikes. It's extremely loud, and the drag is appreciable. I'm curious to try one of the new models.
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Old 11-20-15, 01:11 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
It's about a half hour each way. The lights I have now would be fine if I charged them every day or two, but in general it is better to do a full discharge/charge cycle on li-ion batteries....
We're better off to avoid full discharges of lithium ion batteries, no lower than 20% charge. Li-ion do not have the "memory" problem. It is also not necessary nor desirable to achieve full charge levels every time.

Since the frequent charging is annoying to me too, I purchased a larger battery pack which would give me 4 days of commutes per charge or better. The smaller pack would be drained after 2 days (or sometimes just before, which is the problem when it dies in the second day - you have to charge every day to be sure).

Not trying to talk you out of dynamo, but thinking you could improve the battery management.
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Old 11-20-15, 01:12 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
However, the resistance produced by a bottle dynamo is higher than a hub dynamo when producing power but, on the other hand, a person who wishes not to run the dynamo (or more specifically, the lights) during the daytime can reduce the resistance of a bottle dynamo to zero (by releasing the dynamo from the tire) but cannot do anything about the resistance produced by a hub dynamo.
The resistance of a hub dynamo with no load is similar to a non-dynamo hub (source: spun my dynamo hub wheel and timed the coast down time). There is a notchy feel to the axle if you have the wheel in your hand, but this notchiness does not add drag appreciably. The magnets tend to resist movement half the time and add to the movement half the time.
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Old 11-20-15, 01:55 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Fair enough. There are better batteries and ways to conserve power, although you've clearly stated you want dynamo.
I clearly like dynamo lights, that's not entirely the same as saying I only want a dynamo. I just bought a family member a battery light because it's a lot cheaper and easier than outfitting their 2-3 bikes with dynamo hubs and lights. Both dynamo and battery lights have their use.

OP's location says Michigan, between that and the time of year they're asking, just thought they should be aware that you do get reduced battery runtime in cold weather. Higher quality batteries can help but none of them are unaffected by being exposed to the cold. (Like I said you can work around it by bringing a second battery, or if you're commuting to work recharging your battery inside during the day). You can make either one work, but it's a little more expense or hassle with a battery light in cold temps.

I own both battery and dynamo lights. There's advantage and disadvantages to both. I do really enjoy the dynamo advantage that charging/bringing with me/taking on and off the bike/etc becomes a 100% non-issue - all that hassle goes away. Still, they're much more expensive than their battery equivalent. Battery lights still have a few other advantages as well.

If you ask me "which is better for bike lights, battery lights, an oil soaked torch, or building a bonfire every 25 feet to light the way?" there's no contest that battery lights win. Battery vs Dynamo is just a series of tradeoffs between the two choices, which one is better depends on your personal priorities.
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Old 11-20-15, 02:11 PM
  #44  
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For me, having to recharge the lights and turn them on and off is an easy choice to make if the lights are super bright (great lumen/dollar ratio).
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Old 11-20-15, 02:30 PM
  #45  
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As others have mentioned, charge your batteries after every use. It is hard to make heads or tails out of the research... But, many people seem to recommend light discharges, although, say an 80% discharge doesn't seem to be any better or worse than four 20% discharges.

The battery protection circuits should protect them from 100% discharges, but they are also very annoying with the sudden cutoffs (should drop to dimmest mode).

I usually buy battery packs rated with as many mAh as I can find. These are the latest packs I've bought.

12000mAh 4x18650 Battery Pack 8 4V Rechargeable for Bicycle Bike Light Torch | eBay

And, I always carry a spare with me.
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Old 11-20-15, 03:31 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
bottle (sidewall) dynamo...The disadvantages that many people quote don't seem to be realized as much as some say they do.
  • Wear on the sidewall is much less than some claim. If you're commuting or touring, you are likely using tougher tires than a racer would use and many city/touring tires have a patch on the sidewall specifically designed for bottle dynamos. Many bottle dynamos have rubber "clog-like" wheels that seem to reduce wear compared with plastic or metal cog-like wheels. Some bottle dynamos can be purchased with a smooth rubber wheel that can run on the rim instead of the tire.
  • Slippage from water or snow on the tire seems to happen much less than the critics suggest and one user simply increases the pressure on the tire a bit during wet/snow season to reduce slippage.

However, the resistance produced by a bottle dynamo is higher than a hub dynamo when producing power but, on the other hand, a person who wishes not to run the dynamo (or more specifically, the lights) during the daytime can reduce the resistance of a bottle dynamo to zero (by releasing the dynamo from the tire) but cannot do anything about the resistance produced by a hub dynamo. Furthermore, old bottle dynamos (forgive the lack of electronics knowledge) had 4 magnets whereas new ones have 8 and use rare-earth magnets thereby making the newer ones more efficient and less resistant than old ones.

A bottle dynamo does produce more noise than a hub dynamo but, again, newer ones are better than older ones.
It's also just my 2 cents, but bottle (sidewall) dynamo have drawbacks because you're running a small physical wheel against your tire (or rim). You can only improve efficiency, noise, and vulnerability to weather so much with that design. Dragging a physical small wheel against the tire (sidewall dynamo) is always going to have a number of drawbacks compared to sealed rotating magnets that don't physically touch anything (hub dynamo).

When I considered it, the advantage of the hub dynamo is it's near-infallable reliability (similar to my stem, seatpost clamp, etc, nothing is 100% reliable but odds of breakage are tiny). Going to a bottle (sidewall) dynamo significantly decreases reliability, as well as reducing efficiency in a way that can't be avoided when you have anything physically being moved by rubbing against a rotating tire/rim. To me it wasn't worth it - if I needed cheaper I'd go with a battery light, if I needed more reliable without a noticeably reduction in efficiency I'd go with a hub dynamo.

I suspect you'd find that despite a lot of modifying terms like "less than some claim" "seem to reduce wear" "much less than critics suggest" etc, bottle dynamo's still have inherent design drawbacks that cannot be improved enough to effectively overcome them, and it makes more sense to go with fully reliable (hub dynamo) or cheaper (battery light). My 2 cents of course.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 11-20-15 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 11-20-15, 03:36 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
$0.24 shipping from China; can't beat that...
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Old 11-20-15, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
If you ask me "which is better for bike lights, battery lights, an oil soaked torch, or building a bonfire every 25 feet to light the way?" there's no contest that battery lights win. Battery vs Dynamo is just a series of tradeoffs between the two choices, which one is better depends on your personal priorities.
Interesting analogy - I take this to mean that it takes a bit of spin to get adequate juice flowing to the light whereas the batt. powered light maintains its output, correct?
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Old 11-20-15, 04:46 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Interesting analogy - I take this to mean that it takes a bit of spin to get adequate juice flowing to the light whereas the batt. powered light maintains its output, correct?
Maybe but my dynamo (hub) headlight is lit just from the front wheel spinning when I pick it up from leaning against the wall to pointing out my office door.

I remember bottle dynamos being frustrating as all get out in the 70s when I was in grade school.
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Old 11-20-15, 05:05 PM
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The decent current LED dynamo head and taillight put a capacitor in the circuit to keep the lights on when you stop..

plenty of time for stoplights though super bright headlights may dim a bit, as they are not getting full power ..

Aka standlight mode.




Edit: B&M Luxos is top of the market .. premium priced ... its different.
U is the top priced one To get the USB charge.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-21-15 at 06:34 PM.
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