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NiteRider Digital Evolution died... thank God for REI

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NiteRider Digital Evolution died... thank God for REI

Old 09-19-05, 11:56 AM
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kf5nd
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NiteRider Digital Evolution died... thank God for REI

After 18 months of use, I got the dreaded red LED and blinking green LED false low battery indicator. I was hoping against hope that I would be spared this travail... but it was not to be.

Fortunately, I got the light at REI, they will take it back no matter what, even though it is out of warranty! So REI will then ram that piece of crap down NiteRider's throat.

REI is such a great place to shop...
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Old 09-20-05, 10:07 AM
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Oh, I love REI ! I loves them, my preciousssss !!!

I returned this broken NiteRider digital to them for $219, then got an analog Cygolite for $74 (good price), and also a water purifier (Tropical Storm Rita is coming this way), and I STILL have $31 left over !!!

Woo-hoo !!!

I am going to wire up my NiteRider rear tail-light, which I dearly love, with 12 volts worth of rechargeable AA batts stuffed in my bike rack trunk, so it will be completely stand-alone and seperate from the front lighting system, and the batteries will be cheap to replace.
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Old 09-20-05, 11:21 AM
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This is the reason I got my light set from Performance. They also have a "we'll take it back no matter what" policy.
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Old 09-21-05, 04:18 AM
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Kf5nd Please tell me how you are going to wire your Nightrider tailight (in detail) I have two and want to keep them when I toss my Digital Evoloution system battery (second one and its starting to go nuts) off the roof.
Nightrider sure makes good lights, too bad they can't make a battery or decent connector to go with the lights.
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Old 09-21-05, 01:16 PM
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Gear, I'm gonna first do a Google search to see if I can find those same Surelok rubber connectors... if so, will connect the mating connector to a battery tray from Radio Shack that will hold 8 AA cells. I will charge the cells with a regular battery charger.

The tray I will just gently place into my bike trunk, which rides on my rear rack. Nothing fancy. Will reinforce where needed with electrical tape to keep wires from ripping out.

If I can't get sureloks, then I will cut them off and just wire direct to the battery tray.

I'm not sure about polarity... will have to test with a small battery, to see which way the LEDs have to be hooked up.






Originally Posted by gear
Kf5nd Please tell me how you are going to wire your Nightrider tailight (in detail) I have two and want to keep them when I toss my Digital Evoloution system battery (second one and its starting to go nuts) off the roof.
Nightrider sure makes good lights, too bad they can't make a battery or decent connector to go with the lights.
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Old 09-22-05, 06:49 AM
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Thank you very much. Have a nice ride!
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Old 09-22-05, 09:16 PM
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REI rules.


Originally Posted by kf5nd
I am going to wire up my NiteRider rear tail-light, which I dearly love, with 12 volts worth of rechargeable AA batts stuffed in my bike rack trunk
I haven't done this exactly, but there a few things to keep in mind.

First off, the nominal voltage of NiMH rechargeables is 1.25V; they start out fresh at around 1.40V, but quickly drop to 1.25-ish volts for much of their run-time. With 8 cells in series, this gives you an initial voltage of around 11.2V, dropping to around 10.0V relatively early and then holding that for a while. 12V lead-acid batteries, on the other hand, tend to start their discharge cycle at about 13.5V, and generally are not taken below 10.5V if you want them to last. So, depending on the electronics in your 12V light, it may run dimly, and it may cut out long before NiMH AAs are discharged much if it has circuitry to protect a lead-acid battery from over-discharge.

Second, you'll need to worry about the individual AA cells being unbalanced as far as capacity is concerned: some cells just won't hold as much energy as others, due to variances in manufacturing or whatnot. This becomes a problem when one cell in your set discharges significantly earlier than the others; it may be sitting at around 0.8V-1.0V, while the others are still supplying 1.20V or more. The problem here is that the other cells are still forcing current through it, and they can actually cause the "slow kid" in the pack of cells to become over-discharged, reverse-charged, or may cause that cell to short internally if enough metal solidifies to bridge the electrodes. Any of these conditions severely decreases the service life of that cell. Given the cost of rechargeables, this is unattractive.

For examply, I just noticed that one of the four AA NiMH cells I use in a bike headlight now measures 0.00V and 0.4ohm at the terminals; it fell victim to this early-discharge problem. (Those four cells appeared identical, and were purchased as a single four-pack.) The more cells you string in series, the more of a problem this is, and the tougher it is to detect and protect against because the margin of early discharge to damage in a single cell is below the operating range of the entire pack. I suppose you could identify the weakest cell or two and add a circuit to monitor the voltage across them specifically in order to protect the entire set. Monitoring all eight to ten would be a bigger pain. You might be able to get away with monitoring the current instead?

Best of luck; I'll be interested to hear how it works out for you!

JAB
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Old 09-23-05, 04:53 AM
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JAB
What if I use 8 AA acaline batteries rather than the rechargable batteries?
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Old 09-23-05, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gear
What if I use 8 AA acaline batteries rather than the rechargable batteries?
First off, I should make it clear that I haven't actually done this, so it may all work fine.

With 8 alkalines, you'll have an initial voltage closer to 12.0V, and it will drop pretty evenly down to 8.0V as the cells discharge. The voltage drop is more gradual than with NiMH, but "the voltage issue" could still be a concern depending on the electronics in your 12V light.

Then, there's "the balance issue". I don't know if the cells in an eight-pack of alkalines from a store are essentially identical, but if you have any one cell in the string with less capacity for whatever reason, you'll have a similar problem as with the rechargeable case. However, instead of worrying about reducing the cycle-life of an expensive rechargeable cell, you'll have to worry about an inexpensive alkaline cell leaking all over the place. In my experience, over-discharged alkalines do exactly that.

With either battery type, you might be just fine: if your light has no low-battery protection circuitry, it won't care about the lower voltages (but it will probably be dimmer). Also, if you're aggressive about checking the batteries as soon as you notice substantial dimming, the "balance issue" may not be a problem either. I just wanted you to have a heads-up on things to look out for.

-JAB
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Old 09-27-05, 09:48 AM
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Here's what I did...

I bought an R/C (radio controlled toy car) rechargeable battery and charger from Radio Shack... also the spare battery cables for same. I bought a 9.6 volt battery. Total outlay was $23.

Cut the plug off of the end of the NR tailight, stripped the two wires inside the cable, crimped on the spare cable onto the bare wires, charged up the battery, and I'm on the road with NR taillight !!!



Originally Posted by gear
Kf5nd Please tell me how you are going to wire your Nightrider tailight (in detail) I have two and want to keep them when I toss my Digital Evoloution system battery (second one and its starting to go nuts) off the roof.
Nightrider sure makes good lights, too bad they can't make a battery or decent connector to go with the lights.
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Old 09-27-05, 10:42 AM
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If you had called Nightrider on the phone they would have fixed your light for free and paid the return shipping too. No hassles at all.
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Old 09-27-05, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jab
First off, I should make it clear that I haven't actually done this, so it may all work fine.

With 8 alkalines, you'll have an initial voltage closer to 12.0V, and it will drop pretty evenly down to 8.0V as the cells discharge. The voltage drop is more gradual than with NiMH, but "the voltage issue" could still be a concern depending on the electronics in your 12V light.

Then, there's "the balance issue". I don't know if the cells in an eight-pack of alkalines from a store are essentially identical, but if you have any one cell in the string with less capacity for whatever reason, you'll have a similar problem as with the rechargeable case. However, instead of worrying about reducing the cycle-life of an expensive rechargeable cell, you'll have to worry about an inexpensive alkaline cell leaking all over the place. In my experience, over-discharged alkalines do exactly that.

With either battery type, you might be just fine: if your light has no low-battery protection circuitry, it won't care about the lower voltages (but it will probably be dimmer). Also, if you're aggressive about checking the batteries as soon as you notice substantial dimming, the "balance issue" may not be a problem either. I just wanted you to have a heads-up on things to look out for.

-JAB
slvoid has been doing this for some time. I think he uses rechargeable NiMh AA's.
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Old 09-27-05, 02:11 PM
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Too bad they don't publicize this, I might've done it... but then I would've been without a strong light for several weeks, and then the darn thing would've broken again eventually... not, I've very happy with my new CygoLite.


Originally Posted by 2manybikes
If you had called Nightrider on the phone they would have fixed your light for free and paid the return shipping too. No hassles at all.
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Old 09-27-05, 02:59 PM
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kf5nd,
Don't regret for a minute not sending your whole Niterider DE system to Niterider (they want you to send the whole thing, not just the battery), I did it, TWICE. Did without a lighting system TWICE. Where am I now? With my THIRD wacky battery. They make great lights, they just make bad batteries and connectors.
Thanks for the details on the Radio Shack battery set up, wil do just that.
I'm considering a Light and Motion set up to replace the NR.
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