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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 11-18-15, 07:45 AM
  #1  
realityinabox
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SO sick my lights dying mid-ride. Can I get some advice/recommendations on dynohubs?

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. I've starting using two at a time, in case one dies, but I'm sick of worrying about them and sick of recharging them every few days.

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.

Last edited by realityinabox; 11-18-15 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 11-18-15, 08:13 AM
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1. The least expensive dyno system will solve your problem
2. Trick shaped-beam LED headlights with standlights and daylight sensors are awesome - worth my $$
3. Get a wired tail light too, install everything, set to sensing mode and forget about it.
4. If it's really TL;DR just call Peter White, tell him what you need and he'll build it and mail it to you ready to install. I don't think you'll pay much of a premium, if any, compared to other sources for new parts - and you'll get very good advice.
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Old 11-18-15, 08:45 AM
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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.

I've got a dynamo light system on my main commuter bike, but have used battery-powered LED lights for years with no problems commuting 2-2:30 hours round trip. Dynamo lights are great but much more expensive. A dynamo front wheel, headlight and taillight can easily cost $400 or more, but you can buy a high-quality battery-powered LED light for $100 or less. My Light & Motion Urban 850 cost about $120 and less powerful models can be bought for $50-100.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:02 AM
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A Nordlicht bottle dynamo might be a good option as well. We have them on several bikes. Hub dyno's are a bit quieter and slightly less drag but not much.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:06 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.
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. So, I'm either left guessing as to when I should charge them, or finding out the hard way in the middle of a ride. Even if I did decide to throw caution to the wind and just recharge them everyday regardless, it is a pain in the ass to get the batteries on/off the bike. The models I use have a separate battery pack connected via a somewhat flimsy inline DC connector. I've had more trouble with solder joints failing due to this than I'd care to recall.

I've thought about getting one of the $100+ all in one units. I just looked that the Light & Motion Urban 850 that you mentioned. It looks alright, but for $180 list, and a 1.5 hour run time at max brightness, seems a steep, especially when looking at the chart on their website that shows light drop-off throughout it's run time. It lists 800 lumen, but you only get that for the first 10 minutes. I'd be arriving home with about 400 lumens during the darkest part of my ride. That's not even to mention the fact that batteries wear out and don't hold a full (nominal) charge after X number of cycles.

If I'm going to spend $180 on a somewhat better solution in which I'll still be yearning for a dynohub, I'd rather forgo the intermediate step.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:12 AM
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I have three of these they work great for me.

https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/...0-battery-pack
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Old 11-18-15, 09:18 AM
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Get a Li-ion LED light for a reputable company. It will last.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:19 AM
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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. I've starting using two at a time, in case one dies, but I'm sick of worrying about them and sick of recharging them every few days.

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.
You want a good shmino dynoub (or a son)
this: Busch + Müller Lumotec LUXOS B LED headlight | Front Lights Shop
and this: Busch + Müller TOPLIGHT Line Brake Plus LED-Rear Light 50 mm | Dynamo operated Shop
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Old 11-18-15, 09:23 AM
  #9  
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For half an hour a rechargeable light should be plenty. I just spent 5 hours riding around in the dark last night and I still had enough battery to blast 700 lumens on some roads near my house. Im using a cygolite metro 750, great light. It will tell you if its running low, and no batteries to mess with.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:24 AM
  #10  
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IMO, the best bang for the buck is a Shimano hub, B&M Cyo premium plus headlight, and a B&M Secula tail light for fender or seat stay, or B&M Topline plus for a rack.

I use both dyno and battery lights together.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:25 AM
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Woah, that tail light looks awesome! Thanks for the link.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:49 AM
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Niterider Lumina 750 is a high quality self-contained light that will more than meet your needs, and not break the bank in the process. You could probably get four for the same price as one decent dynolight system.
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Old 11-18-15, 10:42 AM
  #13  
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Here is my 2-1/2 year old article on my light system. I have been using it often, and I haven't changed a thing. I supplement it with a Cygolite Hotshot tail light and a Nite Ize Spoke Lit spoke light.

The cost of my dynamo system was $160. I hear the Shimano hub is better than the Sanyo, but I haven't compared. This works for me. The whole thing is so reliable that it amounts to a lot of reassurance. Once, a wire came out of the tail light. Maybe I yanked on it somehow. That is the only problem I have had in two and a half years of frequent use. Think about that for a minute.
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Old 11-18-15, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
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.
This is opposite to my understanding.

From How to Prolong Lithium-based Batteries - Battery University :
“If at all possible, avoid full discharges and charge the battery more often between uses. Partial discharge on Li-ion is fine. There is no memory and the battery does not need periodic full discharge cycles to prolong life.”
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Old 11-18-15, 10:50 AM
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Yes, this is a Chinese website but this might be worth considering, a dynamo hub plus headlight for ~$100 USD.

Bicycle headlight illumination from Dynamos bike light bike accessories Generate electricity -in Bicycle Light from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group
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Old 11-18-15, 12:51 PM
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First, as others mentioned, you do not have to do a full discharge of Li-Ion batteries, nor is it recommended. That may have been true with NiCad batteries, but not Lithium.

Second, dynamo lights generally are not as bright as high quality LED battery-powered lights. So, to compare the run time of a L&M Urban 800 with a dynamo light, you would be better to compare its run time on the medium or low setting rather than high. I have a B&M Luxos, which is their top dynamo light, and on high it is comparable to my Urban 850 on medium. The Urban 800's run time on medium is 3 hours. I usually run my Urban 800 on medium in the dark, and low or pulsing during daylight. The only times I run it on high are when it's dark and raining, or in situations where there is a lot of competing light from signs, stores, etc.

Dynamo lights are great and I'm not trying to talk you out of getting one, but make you aware of their higher costs and other drawbacks. It sounds like you have been unwilling to spend the relatively minor cost of buying a higher quality battery-powered LED light, yet are willing to spend much money to buy a low to medium quality dynamo light. My dynamo light system is topnotch and cost $500-600 including the new front wheel with SP hub and B&M Luxos headlight and Toplight taillight. For all that money, it isn't as bright as my $120 L&M Urban 800. You do the math on which is a better bargain.
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Old 11-18-15, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
Get a Li-ion LED light for a reputable company. It will last.
+1

The most expensive component of a good flashlight system is the battery, so those kits are made cheap by including crap batteries.

I had exactly the same experience as you, and then I bought two of these (not the only option, there are other websites and other brands) and I'm golden. I have a flashlight that uses one 18650 battery. I charged those two batteries up and put one battery in the light, used it camping on Oct 29-30, then put it back on my handlebars, and did 11 commutes with it since then, using it on medium for half an hour on the way home each evening. Finally last night I swapped in the other battery (probably should have done it a day or two sooner, but I was seeing how long I could go). That's more than 5 hours; since I only need to use the light in the evening, that means I can charge it every other weekend, but might as well charge it every week.

Depending on how long your commute is and whether you need 1 or 2 batteries at a time, and whether you need light both morning/evening, you should be able to choose the number of quality batteries you need to be able to charge just once per week as well.

BUT if you want a dyno, go ahead and get a dyno. I don't want to impugn dynos at all or participate in (yet another) battery vs dyno flame war. Just giving my experience here...
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Old 11-18-15, 01:27 PM
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Here's a well organized page that lists (and sells) dynamo stuff:
Dynamo Hubs and Dynamo Lights

Hub: Shimano Dynamo hub or Shutter Precision is what I choose for a good cost/performance ratio ($220, $250, for a hub and wheel):
SP Dynamo Wheel
Shimano Dynamo Wheel w/ Busch & Muller Lumotec Lyt N Plus

There are other options, the Sanyo hub is much cheaper ($135) but turning it off doesn't really turn it off and other components are cheaper on it as well. Schmidt Hubs are more expensive - they're like the Lexus of dynamo hubs, nice, but often overpriced for most people (they're not significantly more efficient or anything practical like that):
Custom Dynamo Front Wheel

Light: The best price/performance dynamo light right now is the Cyo Premium (around $110):
LUMOTEC IQ Cyo T senso plus premium

They're coming out with a slightly brighter new model called the IQ-X soon (it's been officially announced but is not available yet) but it will be more expensive and we don't know how good/bad it will be. Schmidt makes a more expensive version of the Cyo Premium called the Edelux II which uses nicer looking materials and is slightly brighter, but I had it and don't think it's worth the extra cost personally. It actually has some ways it's inferior to the Cyo Premium to (worse standlight). I don't think any of the less expensive dynamo lights are worth saving a little money if you have to buy the hub anyways, the Cyo Premium puts out noticeably more light than anything priced below it.

Tail Light: Busch and Muller Toplight Line Plus ($40, plus installation and wiring)
Busch and Muller Toplight LIne Plus

There are cheaper rear dynamo lights, but imo this is the best one (you need a rack on your bike to mount it though) because of it's wide visibility and it's "straight line" across the back makes you stand out as a bike. If you're not sure if you want to stick with dynamo lights, a battery tail light works fine to. But a rear dynamo light is convenient, as it turns on automatically when you turn on your front light and start rolling in addition to not having batteries to recharge. The biggest drawback of the rear light is you do have to run a wire from the front of the bike all the way to the back to get it installed.

My links have been to calhouncycle, I've found Home - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts to be a little cheaper but they didn't list a prebuilt hub/wheel on their website so I didn't link to them. If I'm ordering online I use them. Some people find cheaper deals by ordering from overseas as Europe seems to have a lot more dynamo lighting available than here in the US.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 11-18-15 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 11-18-15, 02:24 PM
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You can get a machine built Shimano Dyno Hub wheel for pretty cheap

Alfine from them has a Disc Mount.

> 6v 3w < you can get any light you want .. Ill leave the Dueling favorites to others..
typically the Dynamo powers the headlight , a wired taillight is plugged into the headlight.

Taillight can be Battery powered, they dont draw so much power. particularly blinking ones..

standard draw for taillights, since bulb days is 0.6w, headlight takes 2.4 of the 3.

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Old 11-18-15, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Here's a well organized page that lists (and sells) dynamo stuff:
Dynamo Hubs and Dynamo Lights

Hub: Shimano Dynamo hub or Shutter Precision is what I choose for a good cost/performance ratio ($220, $250, for a hub and wheel):
SP Dynamo Wheel
Shimano Dynamo Wheel w/ Busch & Muller Lumotec Lyt N Plus...
Nice job putting this together, Paul. I'll have to remember Calhoun as another option in the future. Being able to get a pre-built wheel makes dyno lighting more accessible.

I second the Shutter Precision hub as a good quality dynamo hub at a reasonable cost, and it is available in a disk brake version. I have the rim brake version on my winter bike and am very happy with it after two years and lots of miles. Compared to the Schmidt SON on my primary, I haven't noticed any difference as far as drag, resistance, or power output.

Having gone dynamo, I won't turn back, but Tarwheel makes a very important point about the significantly higher initial investment. Both have their advantages, and initial investment usually makes battery the sensible choice for many people. For a 1/2 hour commute, good battery lights are probably more than sufficient.

I would be cautious of making direct "brightness" comparisons between dynamo and battery lights, though. Battery lights are usually measured in lumens (brightness), while dynamo lights are measured in lux (brightness over area). It isn't uncommon for a dynamo light's beam to cover more of the road than its battery counterpart, even though the battery light is brighter.
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Old 11-18-15, 09:49 PM
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Charge your lights after every ride and you won't have this issue (and you won't even have to spend any money on new lights).

LI ION batteries are very low maintenance, you DO NOT have to follow the old rule of complete discharge cycle before recharged, that rule was for NI-CAD.
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Old 11-18-15, 10:14 PM
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I u:se both a dynamo hub powered light (busch & muller - front and back) as well as a battery powered light on my helmet (Light & Motion urban 800.) Clever Cycles in Portland, OR has a great deal on a shimano dynamo hub AND wheel that is already built up:

Front wheel hub-dyno, Shimano, inc fixings

I believe this is the same wheel and dynamo hub that I purchased from Clever Cycles about 4 years ago for $99. It still works perfectly after more than 1000 commute trips of 7 miles. I'm sure there are better hubs and better wheels... but there are no better deals (am I a poet?) You can't go wrong for $138 (no sales tax in Oregon... you'll probably have to pay for shipping.)

The battery light is great, also. I recharge it about every other day. No reason to run it on the brightest level all the time. I only have it on the brightest level for about 5 minutes when I am on the darkest part of the MUP. Otherwise, I ride on the lowest level or the pulse mode. Haven't noticed any loss in performance of the battery with my charging and use patterns. The light is really, really bright. It easily pivots so that you can shine it to the side and out of the eyes of oncoming riders.

Either... or both would be a great option for your short commute.

Last edited by InTheRain; 11-19-15 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 11-18-15, 10:38 PM
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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.
Actually the opposite is true. You'll get longer life with shallow discharge/charge cycles. The only reason to do a full charge/discharge is if the battery contains a fuel gauge and it gets out of calibration which isn't uncommon with laptops. Cheap lights don't have sophisticated fuel gauges in their batteries however so you're better off charging every day.

edit: Sorry, I didn't read the rest of the thread where others said basically the same thing regarding charging Lithium batteries.
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Old 11-19-15, 01:13 AM
  #24  
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I run shutter precision hubs, SON hubs and Edelux, EdeluxII, BM Lumotec IQ and BM Toplight in various configurations on 4 of mine, wifes and kids bikes.
They all provide ample light for night riding and have never failed me commuting in the dark or just fun riding in the dark.
Only my MTB for trail riding I use battery powered Light & Motion head and taillight, since I don't want to install a dynhub on the MTB.
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Old 11-19-15, 08:44 AM
  #25  
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Combo Urban 350 (Obsidian Stout) - Light & Motion
$100; This would be more than enough for a commute and its a $100 on LNM site or you can look around the internet for it cheaper.

Combo Urban 800 (Anchor Steam/Silver Moon) - Light & Motion
$220; this is $120 more if you want it even brighter, I do not think 800 is really necessary for a commute but to each their own.

I run on 120 lumens most days with a 550 as backup (it really does not get used all that often).

Serfas 255 / 30 Lumen Combo Light Set - 2014 Closeout - REI.com
REI is closing these out, I picked up a set as a backup for me or if anyone needs a light while I am out and about. It operates on AA/AAA batteries and will last a good while plus at 250 lumens thats plenty.
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