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Recharging Headlight NIMH Battery?

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Recharging Headlight NIMH Battery?

Old 11-01-04, 03:14 PM
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aiguy
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Recharging Headlight NIMH Battery?

I bought the Cygolite NightRover NIMH. The website says it is "is designed to last hundreds of charge cycles to endure years of rigorous use", but it doesn't have a low-level or "recharge" indicator.

It seems to me that if I charged it every night and it is designed for "hundreds" of recharges, I could easily burn it out within a year (assuming I used it each night, which I don't in the summer. But you get my point...)

It is good for 3 hours low beam or 1.5 hours combined Lo-Hi beams. And my commute is around 30-40 mins. But trying to keep track of how long I use it each night - and then keeping a running mental total that would trigger my recharge - seems like a pain.

If you use - or have used - a similar light/battery for commuting, what is your experience? Recommendation?

* Recharge each night?
* Keep careful records?
* Recharge on a schedule (e.g. Monday night and Friday night)
* Recharge only after fail and rely on my backup headlamp (3xAAA)
* Something else?
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Old 11-01-04, 03:56 PM
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I have the same light (Cygolite Night Rover NiMH xtra). My commute is 30min, but sometimes I don't use light for whole distance and sometimes I use it after commute later in the night.

* Recharge each night?
No
* Keep careful records?
No
* Recharge on a schedule (e.g. Monday night and Friday night)
No
* Recharge only after fail and rely on my backup headlamp (3xAAA)
No
* Something else?
I charge it up after 2hr or so times of low beam only use, nothing I keep track of on paper. I did get the red low warning light once, I shut off the light (as it was not really needed at time -this was during my daylight learning of the light) and when I turned it back on it did not light (but red light was on). I understand the big no no with NiMH is not to run them dry, so it seems that this light has some feature to prevent it. I honestly am not trying to squeeze the most life from the battery, just average, hence my average charging concern. Its more important that I have at least 30min for the commute, so I perhaps charge a bit too often.

Al
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Old 11-01-04, 03:59 PM
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listening .... i just bought this light and have the same concern.
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Old 11-01-04, 04:13 PM
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I have the nightrover nicad extra. Granted we have different batteries but i have used it dozens of times this fall and i know it inside and out. Yep, i have even had to fix their bad, cheap switches a couple times so far.

First of all it should have a red light (on the light) that comes on when the charge is low. Mine does.


* Recharge each night?

Absolutely. I have a $2 Xmas light timer that i use to turn it off. It is the kind with the red and green little plastic pieces that switch on/off the timer. I only use the red one to turn it off. Take the green one out. Then just set it to charge for 17 hours and then it turns off.


* Keep careful records?

No. No reason too.
* Recharge on a schedule (e.g. Monday night and Friday night)

Recharge every night. REMEMBER TO RUN IT DOWN UNTIL THE RED LIGHT COMES ON (ON THE LIGHT). This will require 1 hour and 20 minutes of run time (both lamps) to get the red light to come on. (on mine)

* Recharge only after fail and rely on my backup headlamp (3xAAA)

Recharge when the redlight comes on.


* Something else?

You are going to ruin your battery the way you are doing it. This is simple: Run the battery down every time until the red light comes on. Your goal is to run it down every day. If your commute is shorter than 1 hr 20 minutes, say, 40 minutes, than you can run it down over two days. Then recharge.

Remember you will weaken you battery if you keep recharging it before it discharges. Also someone will soon tell you that batteries "don't have memories" and it doesn't matter. I have tried that theory and I don't care if they have a memory or not. I discharge the light until the little red LED comes on and then recharge it.
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Old 11-01-04, 04:18 PM
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Since the NiMH and the Nicad are diifferent battery types, isn't your advice possibly wrong? I ask as I understand its is important to completely discharge Nicad, but bad to to this for NiMH. Wheras it is OK to recharge only partially discharged NiMH, but not a good idea for Nicad.

Al
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Old 11-01-04, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
I have the nightrover nicad extra. Granted we have different batteries but i have used it dozens of times this fall and i know it inside and out. Yep, i have even had to fix their bad, cheap switches a couple times so far.

First of all it should have a red light (on the light) that comes on when the charge is low. Mine does.

...
* Something else?

You are going to ruin your battery the way you are doing it. This is simple: Run the battery down every time until the red light comes on. Your goal is to run it down every day. If your commute is shorter than 1 hr 20 minutes, say, 40 minutes, than you can run it down over two days. Then recharge.

Remember you will weaken you battery if you keep recharging it before it discharges. Also someone will soon tell you that batteries "don't have memories" and it doesn't matter. I have tried that theory and I don't care if they have a memory or not. I discharge the light until the little red LED comes on and then recharge it.
Unfortunately for me, the difference between the NiteRover NIMH and the NiteRover NIHM Xtra appears to mostly be that the Xtra has the red light. And I've been using it a for a while, so too late to return.

Guess I'll try to get on a schedule that approximates running it down (but not quite completely since the instructions caution against that), and rely on the headlamp as my back up if my estimation is off and I fail to recharge in time.

Buy in haste, repent in leisure...
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Old 11-01-04, 04:24 PM
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As long as you don't drain it completely dry, assuming you charge it once every 2 days for your commute, it'll last you long enough till you save up and want something better.
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Old 11-01-04, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by aiguy
Unfortunately for me, the difference between the NiteRover NIMH and the NiteRover NIHM Xtra appears to mostly be that the Xtra has the red light. And I've been using it a for a while, so too late to return.

Guess I'll try to get on a schedule that approximates running it down (but not quite completely since the instructions caution against that), and rely on the headlamp as my back up if my estimation is off and I fail to recharge in time.

Buy in haste, repent in leisure...
Are you sure that yours does not have the red light? It is the light on top of the head unit that lights white when the lights are on - it does turn red when the battery is low.

I asked Cygolight thru customer service email what the difference between xtra and regular is - they responded that the only difference is that the xtra has a 6hr run time vs. 3hr for standard. So likely the xtra batter has a higher capacity - probably worth the extra $ you spent.

Also - before you start a battery charge plan, make sure it is compatible with the type of battery you have (NiMH). Following a Nicad battery charge plan may be bad for a NiMH battery - I don't know, but have suspicion it is - I also need to find out.

Al
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Old 11-02-04, 08:46 AM
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Nope, no light on top of my head unit - white or red. To see if it is working (or for that matter, if the battery has given out), I have to stick my hand in front of the head unit and see if it is lit up.

I shoulda got the Xtra - the extra cost for the indicator light and the longer-life battery is worth the extra cost.

Maybe I'll retire this one to my summer bike, and get the Xtra for the Winter commuter...
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Old 11-02-04, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by aiguy
Nope, no light on top of my head unit - white or red. To see if it is working (or for that matter, if the battery has given out), I have to stick my hand in front of the head unit and see if it is lit up.

I shoulda got the Xtra - the extra cost for the indicator light and the longer-life battery is worth the extra cost.

Maybe I'll retire this one to my summer bike, and get the Xtra for the Winter commuter...
Stick a tiny drop of hot glue on the top of the light at the edge. That way, it picks up some light and the glob glows when the light is on.
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Old 11-02-04, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by aiguy
Nope, no light on top of my head unit - white or red. To see if it is working (or for that matter, if the battery has given out), I have to stick my hand in front of the head unit and see if it is lit up.

I shoulda got the Xtra - the extra cost for the indicator light and the longer-life battery is worth the extra cost.

Maybe I'll retire this one to my summer bike, and get the Xtra for the Winter commuter...
I would think you could learn the characteristics of this light well enough to live with it. Learn how long it runs on one lamp, and both lamps etc. Then factor your commute time in and come up with an internal knowledge that will be nearly as good as a 10 cent LED that basically just illuminates when the voltage drops to X volts.
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Old 11-02-04, 05:58 PM
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I'm not sure metal hydride batteries have the same issues with overcharging or need to be drained before recharge. I use NiMH AA batteries in my walkman and blackberry pager. I have four batteries in the charger all the time. There are three batteries in my devices (total of 7 batteries). Three batteries are dedicated to the pager, so two are charging while one is being used. So the batteries charge for two days for every one day of use. The device shows 80% charge in the morning and 40% at the end of the day and they are rotated daily. The cd(mp3) walkman runs 10 hours per day average, shows full or 3/4 power at the end of the day. Two pairs rotated daily (each battery is charging 50% of the time). I've had to replace a few cells, but I haven't bought any for at least 6 months, maybe one year.

Lights use lots more power, but I think you can charge NiMH batteries as much as you like. They seem a whole lot less finicky than old type rechargables, night and day really. Maybe your lights don't have low battery indicater because they don't need deep discharge to maintain capacity. If your light didn't come with warnings about overcharge or topping off, it might be because it doesn't matter.
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