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powerful mini-flash light rig in place of Night Rider?

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powerful mini-flash light rig in place of Night Rider?

Old 07-11-02, 07:36 AM
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Loaded_Volpe
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powerful mini-flash light rig in place of Night Rider?

Question for the group re: light systems. I'm planning ahead for the winter darkness and wondered if I could avoid the expense of the Night Rider system by rigging up my own headlight source.

Please note that my commute is relatively short -- I can do a daily route that runs just over 3 miles one way and the ride takes 15 minutes. Very little of the ride is done in city traffic. Most of the ride is through the park.

Has anyone ever tried to rig up a powerful swivel-head flashlight to the handlebars using recharchable batteries to power it? I'm curious about whether this is a viable alternative for my relatively short commute.

Re: the tail light, any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 07-11-02, 08:03 AM
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riderx
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Personally, I'd go with the Niterider Trailrat. It's a nice system for $100 - Performance has it on sale for $85 right now. It will last a long time if you take care of it.

If cost is the issue and you don't need a powerful light, you could go with the flashlight and use on of these mounting blocks by Two Fish.

Performance also has a nice 10 watt rechargableSchwinn light on sale for $34.98 regularly $79.99
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Old 07-11-02, 08:06 AM
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Rich Clark
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You've got four issues. Focus, brightness, shock resistance, and mounting.

General purpose flashlights usually don't have focus patterns that are going to be particularly useful for illuminating the road in front of you without wasting most of their light. Not all bike lights are great at this, either. If you will be relying on your light to reveal the road ahead of you, this is critical; it's easy to outrun a dim or poorly-focused light.

Bike lights have separate batteries. This makes mounting much simpler. The head unit is relatively light, so it's easy to to clamp to a handlebar or fork in a way that' secure and rigid and won't work loose. The heavy part, the battery, can be mounted to the bike frame. And it can be recharged without unmounting the lamp itself.

This way, the mounting system lets the light stay aimed and keeps it from vibrating. The mounts ovten have aim adjutments built in you you can change the aim for changing conditions without re-mounting the lamp.

Not all flashlights will be designed to protect the bulb from the jouncing of bicycle mounting. Whacking a hot lamp that's not designed for it will often cause it to fail.

You may not need a terrifically powerful light if your route is well-lit the whole way. If you don't need to reveal the road surface in front of you, a 5 or 6 watt rechargeable bike light, particularly if it's well focused, could be enough to make you sufficiently visible to oncoming and turning traffic.

For tail lights, I like the Vistalight Super Nebula 5., personally, but there are a lot of decent LED blinkies. I recommen using at least two, one mounted as high as you can get it (on the back of your head, say). And don't skimp on reflectors -- reflective tape on your shoes, helmet, seatstays, fork, wherever. Particularly on roatating parts like wheels and shoes. You want to look like fireworks whenever anybody points their car at you.

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Old 07-11-02, 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by Rich Clark
You want to look like fireworks whenever anybody points their car at you.
Good advise.
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Old 07-11-02, 09:38 AM
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There are plenty of good dynamo/generator style headlamps which come with mounting brackets for your bike. They have a light distribution optimised for cycling, they are lightweight, reliable and easy to get from good bike shops *. At about $15 each, why bother with any other kind of lamp unit ?
The 3w,6v lamp doesnt sound too powerful compared to the various sealed beam units, but the reflector is designed to make good use of this.

I wired one of these to a battery in a waterbottle, and bought a decent recharger (for 6v lead-acid unit, but you can use whatever battery technology you like).

For the rear I use a good LED blinkie. I may wire up a standard rear fender lamp to the battery as well, since these are more visible from side angles. My SKS fenders have internal conductive strips for this purpose. The best LED lamps these days are mounted on the rack (eg DT Toplight), but my rack doesnt have a bracket.

*such as
https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/

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Old 07-11-02, 10:19 AM
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MichaelW,

Can you clarify your setup? Am I reading correctly that you bought the headlamp generator-type light and then wired it to a rechargable battery in the water bottle?

Is your tail light also wired to same battery?

Thanks.
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Old 07-12-02, 02:42 AM
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On my commuter bike the standard dynamo headlamp is wired to a 6v lead acid battery, using the same wiring scheme as for a generator.
The rear lamp can be wired in parallel to the same waterbottle-mounted battery, but I havent done that yet.
On my touring bike I have a front and rear powered by a dynamo because of the problems recharging on-tour.

The connectors are all standard crimp style and except for the lamp units, you can get all the parts from a Tandy store. Cycling Plus magazine published the lighting scheme about 3 years ago, and Ive been using it daily since then.
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Old 07-12-02, 06:35 AM
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Hosfelt electronics is a good source in the US for the lead acid batteries.
https://www.hosfelt.com/
Used them for many of my lights over the years, they sell the same batteries that Vista used and my older Trail Rat - only they are less than 1/2 the price.
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Old 07-12-02, 07:08 AM
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See my post on this same subject at:

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthrea...91136#post91136

The ethernaLight illuminates the road pretty well, is easy on batterys and the light is always where you are looking.
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Old 07-12-02, 12:04 PM
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If you want something inexpensive, check out the 3 LED Headlight at Sportsmansguide.com. "Click Order from any Catalog". Enter item number CX2C-59933. Then click on the item number to see the description. I have a whole Vistalite setup with extra batteries, 5W, 10W, and 15W light heads to choose from, and guess what? I use this little LED headlight for commuting 9 miles in the dark EVERY morning. I am amazed at how bright it is. The 3 bluish white LEDs throw a beautiful, bright, tight 4-5 foot diameter beam on the road a few feet in front of the tire. It seems at least as bright as the 5W Vistalite light head. Plenty bright for my purposes. I actually just slip the headband right on my helmet and use it as a helmet light. My Pneumo happens to have vents in just the right places for the strap to have a nice place to hold. I think it would work fine with any helmet. I find myself grabbing this little light to use as a flashlight, just stick it on my head and I have both hands free. The light itself clips onto a bracket on the headband. It is quite secure. You can take it off to clip it on a cap bill if you want to. Swivels anywhere you want it. My favorite feature is that the 3 AAA batteries last 80 HOURS. The Vistalite I had to charge every night. I have been using this little light since March, and I love it. I originally got it for camping because I like to read before going to sleep. It works great for that, too. Beats the heck out of trying to hold a little flashlight with your neck and REALLY bright. I also like the fact that by using on my helmet I can slip it on and off as needed so on the way home I just stick it in my bag or pocket.

The price shown on the website is US$14.97, but when I called the sales line 800-888-3006 they said it was on sale for $12.97. One caveat - Sportsmans Guide's shipping charges are a little more, probably $7-8 on this item. So it will cost a little over $20. HOWEVER, I have seen other brands of similar lights for $50-60 so I still consider it a bargain.

I use 2 blinkies. One on my seat bag and one clipped to the back of my helmet suspension. I buy the 5-LED house brand from Performance or Nashbar. Nashbar calls their Photon. They are exactly the same. List is about $9.97, but if you check both places one usually has them on sale for about $8. I have spent $20 on blinkies from Vistalite, Specialized, etc. These are just as good and it doesn't tick me off nearly as much when one gets lost or broken.
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