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LIGHTING - Anyone running headlights off of multi-use USB batteries??

Old 01-09-20, 10:05 AM
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LIGHTING - Anyone running headlights off of multi-use USB batteries??

Is anyone running headlights or multiple headlights off of non-cycling specific USB power packs, like the ones for aux cell phone power, etc?

I was considering running TWO headlights off the same batt since:
1. I don't need that long of life, I have charging at home and work
2. One can be backup, use two only on the darkest/wettest commutes
3. Cheap lumens for the $$
4. The weight penalty is mostly due to batt
5. Symmetry: I am considering moving my headlight(s) down to my forks.... secondary reason though....
6. Conversation starter at coffee shop, brewery, LBS.... (LOL)

If so, I have the following questions:
1. what MAH rating is your batt? (I see several ~90,000 MAH options for good prices)... Would need enough power two headlights at full power for a MINIMUM of 45 mins
2. What output do the USB ports need to be in order to run a 8,000-15,000 lumen light? The batteries I have seen have 2.1V ports, not sure if that's enough

I got this idea by looking at a very powerful headlight which cost next to nothing on eBay but ships without a batt (BYOB, I guess)

Thanks
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Old 01-09-20, 10:41 AM
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Well, 8K lumen rated H11 car headlamp is rated for ~70W....which for a 5V USB connection means you only need a "mere" 14Amps of current. NOTE that this load is such that just about all consumer USB cables do not have thick-enough AWG wiring internally to carry it without melting, nevermind without severe voltage drop....presuming a USB battery would even do it. Most cells for this kind of load use 12V.

15k lumen, are you planning on doubling as an airport runway beacon?
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Old 01-09-20, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Well, 8K lumen rated H11 car headlamp is rated for ~70W....which for a 5V USB connection means you only need a mere 15Amps of current. NOTE that this load is such that just about all consumer USB cables do not have thick-enough AWG wiring internally to carry it without severe voltage drop....presuming a battery would even do it. Most cells for this kind of load use 12V.

15k lumen, are you planning on doubling as an airport runway beacon?
1. See my signature - especially true that I know nothing about electricity except it hurts like hell when you touch it.
2. See a screenshot of the inexpensive/relatively hi-powered lights which are the subject of this post (maybe not this particular one because I need the base to pivot if I am to get the correct trajectory on my forks). They appear to be Asian-sourced and there may be some things getting lost in translation

Lincoln NE? Go Huskers.
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Old 01-09-20, 10:59 AM
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davei1980 , I know about as much about electricity as you do - it hurts to touch it. I do think that 8,000 lumens will be nearly impossible to achieve easily and reliably, and will also be waaaay too much light. You don't need that much to see the road, and you will blind other users (e.g., motorists) to the point of being a hazard.

It seems to me that twin headlights of more reasonable output (1000 lumens or so) will be much easier and more usable.
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Old 01-09-20, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
1. See my signature - especially true that I know nothing about electricity except it hurts like hell when you touch it.
2. See a screenshot of the inexpensive/relatively hi-powered lights which are the subject of this post (maybe not this particular one because I need the base to pivot if I am to get the correct trajectory on my forks). They appear to be Asian-sourced and there may be some things getting lost in translation

Lincoln NE? Go Huskers.
The problem with lots of electronics, especially lighting...

A) The lumen ratings are often outright lies, unless they come from a major manufacturer. Bigger numbers sells more units and makes better ad copy. "BRIGHTEST FLASHLIGHT" on Amazon has a skazillion entries on Amazon.

B) Lumens only describes the raw-flux of the LED itself....it says absolutely nothing about the reflector or how it is focused....even if the rating was true.

C) No name electronics from China....they're almost certainly NOT UL-rated. Which means if/when the thing bursts into flame from poor electrical design and burns down your house....they'll dodge your lawsuit by simply unincorporating and re-incorporate under a different name 5 minutes later and keep selling.

The actual products those guys copied, sold by legit dealers, with even half that luminosity retail for $500+USD...and their power-supply cable and contorller resembles a residential extension cable:

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/n...NjQ2F0MTAwMDQ2

And even 4200lm is overkill for a bicycle unless you're doing some very extreme speeds at dusk in rain storms. The only time I need the full 850lm on my niterider is when it is dusk and raining and white top is hard to judge the surface of.
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Old 01-09-20, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
davei1980 , I know about as much about electricity as you do - it hurts to touch it. I do think that 8,000 lumens will be nearly impossible to achieve easily and reliably, and will also be waaaay too much light. You don't need that much to see the road, and you will blind other users (e.g., motorists) to the point of being a hazard.

It seems to me that twin headlights of more reasonable output (1000 lumens or so) will be much easier and more usable.
Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
The problem with lots of electronics, especially lighting...

A) The lumen ratings are often outright lies, unless they come from a major manufacturer. Bigger numbers sells more units and makes better ad copy. "BRIGHTEST FLASHLIGHT" on Amazon has a skazillion entries on Amazon.

B) Lumens only describes the raw-flux of the LED itself....it says absolutely nothing about the reflector or how it is focused....even if the rating was true.

C) No name electronics from China....they're almost certainly NOT UL-rated. Which means if/when the thing bursts into flame from poor electrical design and burns down your house....they'll dodge your lawsuit by simply unincorporating and re-incorporate under a different name 5 minutes later and keep selling.

The actual products those guys copied, sold by legit dealers, with even half that luminosity retail for $500+USD...and their power-supply cable and contorller resembles a residential extension cable:

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/n...NjQ2F0MTAwMDQ2

And even 4200lm is overkill for a bicycle unless you're doing some very extreme speeds at dusk in rain storms. The only time I need the full 850lm on my niterider is when it is dusk and raining and white top is hard to judge the surface of.
All good points, and yes I do think 8K LM is an exaggeration in this example, but I have no frame of reference of what's a high number, etc.

On the non UL approved - I didn't think of that, I have all very high end and/or bullet proof parts on my bike; however, stuff like this is not necessarily "mission critical" like a crank arm or a tire so I don't mind saving a few $$. (Full disclosure, I am currently running a "Victagen" 2400LM light which cost $25 on Amazon, based on the feedback provided, I am guessing that's an inflated lumen estimate, so far, so good but you make a great point, midwestern sensibility I suppose)

I don't mind spending good money on good lights if that's the most reasonable conclusion here.

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Old 01-09-20, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
All good points, and yes I do think 8K LM is an exaggeration in this example, but I have no frame of reference of what's a high number, etc.

On the non UL approved - I didn't think of that, I have all very high end and/or bullet proof parts on my bike; however, stuff like this is not necessarily "mission critical" like a crank arm or a tire so I don't mind saving a few $$.

I don't mind spending good money on good lights if that's the most reasonable conclusion here.
There are plenty of good sites about bike lighting...Consensus seems to be that around 800lm is probably fine for riding on nice pavement in the dark, and more output is necessary for riding off-road in complete darkness.

FWIW, I recently bought this. I might use the full 1300lm in an off-road event that may go past sunset, but around town I would probably never use it higher than the medium setting, which is 850lm. It's got a good beam pattern, warm-ish light, a solid mount, and good run times. But there are plenty of good lights on the market.
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Old 01-09-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
All good points, and yes I do think 8K LM is an exaggeration in this example, but I have no frame of reference of what's a high number, etc.

On the non UL approved - I didn't think of that, I have all very high end and/or bullet proof parts on my bike; however, stuff like this is not necessarily "mission critical" like a crank arm or a tire so I don't mind saving a few $$.

I don't mind spending good money on good lights if that's the most reasonable conclusion here.
For reference....a single 55W halogen car H11 headlamp, you know those "modern" orangish halogen bulbs that are hard to see any kind of safe-stopping distance on the highway (even in good weather) with, is about 1000-1300 lumen IIRC. Note halogen lamps, not the old old-school sealed-beam PAR-like units that were standard equipment on cars 2+ decades ago. Of course, a car is going 50-80MPH on the highway and "safe stopping distance" is 1/4 mile or so.

Today, you can get HID or LED retrofits for cars that do 2500lumen per side for $50USD....and those blindingly bright annoying cars you hate going the opposite way....those are probably 4,000-8,000lumen per side. Car LED retrofits have gotten so obnoxiously bright that Germany and elsewhere have started regulating max brightness on car headlamps as it became an arms-race where everyone loses in the race for higher numbers.
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Old 01-09-20, 12:02 PM
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Yeah, 6-800 lumen is plenty most of the time. I have a 12 yo Serfas with probably less that 600 (good at the time) that doe just fine for city riding and is plenty bright on settings #1 and 2; just not enough run time at those levels. My new NightRider with 1100 is ridiculously bright and I run it almost always at the lowest setting. My most common exceptions, downhill and the 1/2 mile to my house where the road gradient is uneven and there is no fog line. I get regularly blinded by cars with their lowbeams. Light's gotta be bright to keep me out of the ditch.

Funny "bulletproof" parts - I've watched two riders break cranks and crash. (Front row seat, I was on their wheels.) Tires - I spend real money there to keep my skin off the pavement. I consider them "mission critical".

Ben
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Old 01-09-20, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Yeah, 6-800 lumen is plenty most of the time. I have a 12 yo Serfas with probably less that 600 (good at the time) that doe just fine for city riding and is plenty bright on settings #1 and 2; just not enough run time at those levels. My new NightRider with 1100 is ridiculously bright and I run it almost always at the lowest setting. My most common exceptions, downhill and the 1/2 mile to my house where the road gradient is uneven and there is no fog line. I get regularly blinded by cars with their lowbeams. Light's gotta be bright to keep me out of the ditch.

Funny "bulletproof" parts - I've watched two riders break cranks and crash. (Front row seat, I was on their wheels.) Tires - I spend real money there to keep my skin off the pavement. I consider them "mission critical".

Ben
First point is important: buy a light with a higher max setting than needed, so it will run on a lower setting for a longer period. And if you ever need more brightness, well, you've got it.

Second point: our old group ride had several sprint points. One evening, as we all started sprinting toward one of them, I was coming around another rider, just as he jumped up and started sprinting...And his cleat broke. I had a front row seat for that one, and put on new cleats the very next day. He was already up to 30mph when he went ass over teacups, and it was quite scary.
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Old 01-09-20, 01:23 PM
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8000 lumens is bonkers. You don't have windshield glare and you're not going 100mph. 300 is adequate and 800-1000 is great. 8000 is probably a lie anyhow... Don't believe too much the mAh of that pack either. 2200 mAh is typical for 18650 cells and 3000 mAh is about the top end... if you don't wind up with counterfeits. 9000 isn't real. So 90,000 mAh for real would be a hell of a brick, and it's probably more like 22000 if it's ten cells.

USB is indeed pretty low voltage. It's supposed to be 5v regulated, so if you are charging a battery from that it needs to be even lower. USB-recharging lights mostly use a single cell, my 6yo Cygolite Metro is a single 18650 style.

My new light's battery is a 4-cell 18650 pack which is rated 8.4v / 4400 mAh so that's 2x2. It uses a wall charger and the Magicshine style sealed connectors, not USB.
http://kaidomain.com/bike-lights-and...for-Bike-Light
http://kaidomain.com/bike-lights-and...ens-Bike-Light
The above is a reliable seller who will send you what you pay for and does not traffic in fiction, but they are located in HK and there was a few weeks delay on my kit, probably because of the riots.

Despite this all sounding cautious, LED lights, brushless motors, and lithium batteries are all a hell of a lot better than anything we had twenty years ago. Rejoice!
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Old 01-09-20, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
8000 lumens is bonkers. You don't have windshield glare and you're not going 100mph. 300 is adequate and 800-1000 is great. 8000 is probably a lie anyhow... Don't believe too much the mAh of that pack either. 2200 mAh is typical for 18650 cells and 3000 mAh is about the top end... if you don't wind up with counterfeits. 9000 isn't real. So 90,000 mAh for real would be a hell of a brick, and it's probably more like 22000 if it's ten cells.

USB is indeed pretty low voltage. It's supposed to be 5v regulated, so if you are charging a battery from that it needs to be even lower. USB-recharging lights mostly use a single cell, my 6yo Cygolite Metro is a single 18650 style.

My new light's battery is a 4-cell 18650 pack which is rated 8.4v / 4400 mAh so that's 2x2. It uses a wall charger and the Magicshine style sealed connectors, not USB.
http://kaidomain.com/bike-lights-and...for-Bike-Light
http://kaidomain.com/bike-lights-and...ens-Bike-Light
The above is a reliable seller who will send you what you pay for and does not traffic in fiction, but they are located in HK and there was a few weeks delay on my kit, probably because of the riots.

Despite this all sounding cautious, LED lights, brushless motors, and lithium batteries are all a hell of a lot better than anything we had twenty years ago. Rejoice!
Thanks for helping to quantify this for me!

Basically what it boils down to is running 2 lamps off the same battery.... Just need to know the math to make it work both from brightness and batt life POV
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Old 01-09-20, 02:36 PM
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I would just buy a combo kit from these ppl

https://magicshine.us/products/?gcli...SAAEgJeQ_D_BwE
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Old 01-09-20, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I would just buy a combo kit from these ppl

https://magicshine.us/products/?gcli...SAAEgJeQ_D_BwE
OOOH Thanks
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Old 01-09-20, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I would just buy a combo kit from these ppl

https://magicshine.us/products/?gcli...SAAEgJeQ_D_BwE

Those look intriguing. But remember that sheer lumens isn't everything: the way the light is focused (if at all) makes a huge difference. A 2,000lm light without any sort of lens will underperform a 1,000lm light that is well-designed.

I would look at some reviews of those magicshine lights before springing for them. For the money, that's a lot of power, which makes me wonder if they may have cut corners.
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Old 01-10-20, 01:09 AM
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Magic shine has been around for a decade at least, you know they’re not random weird Ali Amazon stuff.

My new light is floody and I put it on my handlebars. My old Cygolite is spotty and I moved it up on my helmet. I wish they were the same color. My new light is very medium color (listed as 4000 kelvin) and the Cygolite is much cooler/bluer.

You would not believe how far you could nerd out with this stuff, but suffice to say it’s possible to DIY and build exactly what you wish if you can figure it out

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Old 01-10-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Magic shine has been around for a decade at least, you know they’re not random weird Ali Amazon stuff.

My new light is floody and I put it on my handlebars. My old Cygolite is spotty and I moved it up on my helmet. I wish they were the same color. My new light is very medium color (listed as 4000 kelvin) and the Cygolite is much cooler/bluer.

You would not believe how far you could nerd out with this stuff, but suffice to say it’s possible to DIY and build exactly what you wish if you can figure it out
Okay, good to know about Magicshine, thanks.

Yeah, my Cygolite throws out pretty cold white light, too. I prefer something a bit warmer.

"Nerd out"? Oh yeah. Somehow, buying a bike light (or tail light) seems to merely create a need for another one. I don't quite understand it, but there you go.
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Old 01-11-20, 03:34 PM
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By far the best headlight I have ever used--and that is a whole darn lot of them--is my new Outbound Lighting Road Edition. Little mini-review upcoming.
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Old 01-11-20, 04:27 PM
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I'm a bit of a fan boy when it comes to Magicshine, and currently own almost all their lights. I've reviewed them on Youtube/website as well if you want more information about them. They have larger mountain bike lights with external battery packs and all-in-one commuter style lights.

Personally, I really like the external battery pack lights like the Eagle F3 as you can keep using the headlight even after the batteries die by replacing the battery pack. There are other lights like the Fenix BC21R v2 that also have replaceable 18650 cells. That makes it pretty easy to carry extra batteries in case you run out of power mid ride.
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Old 01-11-20, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetcyclists View Post
I'm a bit of a fan boy when it comes to Magicshine, and currently own almost all their lights. I've reviewed them on Youtube/website as well if you want more information about them. They have larger mountain bike lights with external battery packs and all-in-one commuter style lights.

Personally, I really like the external battery pack lights like the Eagle F3 as you can keep using the headlight even after the batteries die by replacing the battery pack. There are other lights like the Fenix BC21R v2 that also have replaceable 18650 cells. That makes it pretty easy to carry extra batteries in case you run out of power mid ride.
Watched a couple of your reviews and thought they were good. Nice job.

That said, if you rode in this town with those lights at their psychotic output level, you would be flipped off, yelled at, had brights constantly flashed at you, and maybe more. People here are totally intolerant of having others blast them in the eyes with insanely bright bike lights. It is considered unacceptable bike behavior. When I formerly used my 1300-lumen Cygolite, I pointed it basically at the pavement right in front of the bike (defeating the purpose of the light)--and I still made people mad sometimes. A legit 1300 lumens is that bright.

Once I saw an STVZO-type light in use for the first time, I could see what all the fuss was about. Now, I carry my Cygolite on the bars, but it is only for use in an emergency. I won't go back to using a light without a cutoff again.

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Old 01-12-20, 07:59 AM
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davei1980 : I recall that you want to mount your lights down on your fork, and recently came across this, which may be of interest. Looks like an elegant solution, if your fork has the appropriate mounting points.

Just throwing it out there, in case it helps.
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Old 01-13-20, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
davei1980 : I recall that you want to mount your lights down on your fork, and recently came across this, which may be of interest. Looks like an elegant solution, if your fork has the appropriate mounting points.

Just throwing it out there, in case it helps.
Thanks! The bike I just bought has bosses on the fork for water bottles, racks, you name it.

The website says: casting the beam lower reveals bumps in the ground etc. I think something like this in tandem with a helmet light = awesome and it saves space on the top of my H bars which I can keep clean in order to occasionally zip tie a milk crate to for library trips and beer runs! (see Jones H Bar design)

That said, is it bad I am tempted to build these myself?? LOL

It's really the ideal bike to prepare for the zombie apocolypse.

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Old 01-14-20, 10:00 AM
  #23  
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Funny you started this thread because I just got to thinking about something similar. In my case, I'm thinking of running lights made for dynamos but with a USB battery pack instead of a dynamo. My favorite battery is the Anker Astro E1 rated at 6,700 mAH. The 'm' is small because it stands for "milli." The E1 costs about $25. Someone here proved that even though dynamo lights expect A/C, they do OK with DC. I have to work out how to mount the battery to the bike and how to run the wiring. Neither should be hard.

Headlights made for dynamos have some advantages. They're not as bright but for many of us, they are just as effective because of the beam shape. No one knows how many lumens they put out since they're rated in Lux rather than lumens. My guess is that they're 200 or 300 lumens. Honestly, it's enough for me. I get compliments on how sharp the light looks, and I see pedestrians noticing my light and backing off on their plans to cross my path.
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Old 01-14-20, 11:56 AM
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davei1980
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Funny you started this thread because I just got to thinking about something similar. In my case, I'm thinking of running lights made for dynamos but with a USB battery pack instead of a dynamo. My favorite battery is the Anker Astro E1 rated at 6,700 mAH. The 'm' is small because it stands for "milli." The E1 costs about $25. Someone here proved that even though dynamo lights expect A/C, they do OK with DC. I have to work out how to mount the battery to the bike and how to run the wiring. Neither should be hard.

Headlights made for dynamos have some advantages. They're not as bright but for many of us, they are just as effective because of the beam shape. No one knows how many lumens they put out since they're rated in Lux rather than lumens. My guess is that they're 200 or 300 lumens. Honestly, it's enough for me. I get compliments on how sharp the light looks, and I see pedestrians noticing my light and backing off on their plans to cross my path.
can’t wait to hear what you get set up!
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