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E-bike front lights

Old 11-18-21, 11:17 AM
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fourfa
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E-bike front lights

Hello, I donít have an e-bike but I do have a dynohub and Forumslader electrical converter for my regular bike. This takes the A/C input from the hub, charges a large 3x18650 battery pack, and outputs USB and (more relevant for this thread) 12V at up to 5A for a front light.

Iím looking for front 12V lights that have a nicely-controlled beam pattern, lots of light output, and a pulse/strobe mode. Pulse/strobe is non-negotiable, most of my rides are daylight in strong dappled light under trees, and in city traffic, and this is what works for me. Iím currently using a Light & Motion Nip 800 but itís just a simple floodlight with no beam pattern, half the output going up in the trees, and not quite bright enough for when I do end up riding after dark (more and more this time of year). Its low power pulse mode in daylight has been working well though.

It seems the German regulations (stvzo?) that govern bike beam patterns also prohibit any pulse/flash mode, so there seems to be a hole in the market (Iím in the USA where there are no rules lol).

So far Iíve only found Light & Motionís Seca 1800, some B&M IQ-X variants (with no pulse modes), and tons of eBay lights of unknown quality. Looking for any other pointers or reviews you all can give, thanks
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Old 11-19-21, 06:59 AM
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I would expect that hub lights try to keep up with technology. Maybe there's a newer model that would fit your needs. I'd also want a small backup light, just in case. There's a bunch of cheap lights suitable for occasional use. Or a more expensive one to simply add to your current setup. There's a whole forum for that sort of thing, you might have better luck there.

https://www.bikeforums.net/electroni...hting-gadgets/
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Old 11-19-21, 12:44 PM
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I don't know about any commercial lights like that (maybe just never noticed either). You could go the DIY route (carefully) ... find a suitable rechargeable light with blinking mode (commonly available) and wire it for an external power source instead of it's internal battery. One thing to consider - the recharge amperage on these USB chargeable lights is much lower than the running amperage when the light is on (but much lower in blinking mode). So make sure you have enough amperage from the dynohub and particularly the converter to comfortably power the light and not to just recharge the battery.
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Old 11-19-21, 03:37 PM
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Thanks - the Niterider rechargeable front lights I’ve used force the lamp off while charging, every tailllight I’ve tried does the same. Probably a thermal concern to try doing both at once. Plus, I’m already carrying a bunch of battery, I’d really like to simplify the number of things to manage and charge and just use a simple light head. In fact this whole project started as a way to reduce the number of battery packs on my touring bike down to exactly one.

The electronics sub hasn’t been very helpful, as the 12V converter I use is quite uncommon in regular use. The Touring sub has a lot of experience with direct dyno-powered lights but not so much with the Forumslader, whose high-current 12V output is unique.

Looks like the e-bike aftermarket for such things is still emerging? Oh well, I guess I’ll just give the Seca a shot since it does seem to tick all the boxes
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Old 11-19-21, 07:33 PM
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There is no need to flash or pulse unless you are in an emergency situation like say a Firefighter or Paramedic. The e-bike lights out there are really excellent and are much safer. The StVZO regulations are actually quite nice they make for a light with a good beam pattern that isn't going to blind people but keep you nice and visible plus my Supernova M99 Mini Pro front light has a lovely high beam function like a car and has come in quite handy. My rear light has brake lights so when I squeeze the brakes they get brighter like my other fellow road users rear lights.
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Old 11-19-21, 08:46 PM
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Cool, I'm happy for you that you live in a place where you don't find the front flash necessary. I have the exact opposite experience commuting in San Francisco, where every other vehicle is an uber whose driver is poking at an app, turning around to talk to passengers, driving aggressively, and wearing sunglasses. It's quite unsafe honestly but what choice do you have? When I switched to flash-on for commute, the increase in visibility and safety was immediate and unmistakable. Uber drivers who think nothing of diving suddenly into the bike lane to pick up or drop off, all of a sudden see you coming in their side mirrors and move out. If you haven't had this experience, lucky you, maybe listen up when others have. Like I said in the OP, this is non-negotiable. I certainly don't use it all the time but when I need it, it's literally a life-saver
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Old 11-19-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
Thanks - the Niterider rechargeable front lights Iíve used force the lamp off while charging, every tailllight Iíve tried does the same. Probably a thermal concern to try doing both at once. Plus, Iím already carrying a bunch of battery, Iíd really like to simplify the number of things to manage and charge and just use a simple light head. In fact this whole project started as a way to reduce the number of battery packs on my touring bike down to exactly one.

The electronics sub hasnít been very helpful, as the 12V converter I use is quite uncommon in regular use. The Touring sub has a lot of experience with direct dyno-powered lights but not so much with the Forumslader, whose high-current 12V output is unique.
Interesting ... I tried two of my lights - A CatEye Volt that didn't work when it was charging and similar one branded Serfas that does sort of work (light on but no access to changing the brightness or enabling the blinking mode). I was actually always thinking about using a rechargeable light without it's internal battery. Since you wouldn't be going through the recharging circuit driven off of the 5v from the USB port you'd have to keep the external voltage down to less than 4.2v (assuming a single Lithium rechargeable battery or if it uses multiples that they are wired in parallel) but it should give you the features you need. With a premium light like the Niterider you'd have to get creative if you didn't want to totally change it from having the rechargeable capabilities ... something along the lines of wiring up a jack so that when you plugged in the external power source that it disconnected the internal battery (not an uncommon capability with small audio jacks). So not trivial, but likely doable with some extra thought.
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Old 11-20-21, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
Cool, I'm happy for you that you live in a place where you don't find the front flash necessary. I have the exact opposite experience commuting in San Francisco, where every other vehicle is an uber whose driver is poking at an app, turning around to talk to passengers, driving aggressively, and wearing sunglasses. It's quite unsafe honestly but what choice do you have? When I switched to flash-on for commute, the increase in visibility and safety was immediate and unmistakable. Uber drivers who think nothing of diving suddenly into the bike lane to pick up or drop off, all of a sudden see you coming in their side mirrors and move out. If you haven't had this experience, lucky you, maybe listen up when others have. Like I said in the OP, this is non-negotiable. I certainly don't use it all the time but when I need it, it's literally a life-saver
It is not necessary, it is absolutely dangerous. I live in a place with Łber drivers and other bad drivers as well. Most people do, you don't have anything unique you are just making it harder for other road users. I literally have to avert or close my eyes when I see a flashing light coming at me, which is not safe and has caused me to nearly crash a few times. You are a road user like everyone else so get a good solid front light like everyone else. Unless you are an actual emergency vehicle speeding towards an emergency you do not need flashing white lights. If you won't listen then make sure you have a set of flashers pointed back at your own eyes and ride like that so at least you are sharing in the damage.

I am lucky I don't get seizures because flashing lights like that can easily give someone a seizure and a seizure is no joke. I have a friend who has them occasionally and watching him writhing on the floor and not really being able to do anything beyond wait for the paramedics is kind of scary and if you are riding on your own and that happens, I wouldn't want to imagine the horror.
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Old 11-22-21, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
It seems the German regulations (stvzo?) that govern bike beam patterns also prohibit any pulse/flash mode, so there seems to be a hole in the market (Iím in the USA where there are no rules lol).
In Germany, all is forbidden, unless explicitly allowed
In US, all is allowed, unless explicitly forbidden.
and in France all is forbidden, but it is all negotiable.

That is from a sign in an office where I worked for an american company located in a tiny country between France and Germany.
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Old 11-22-21, 09:30 AM
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Interesting question.

As you probably know, US tends to use lights with integrated batteries, while dyno systems tend to be European. I guess the ebike market is evolving.
German lighting laws can get interesting. I remember laws where it was illegal not to have a light on a bike, and it was illegal to have an LED with integrated batteries (i.e. not dyno driven). Its always odd waiting for laws to catch up with technology.

I agree, a blinking light is important for safety and daylight riding. Now that most cars have DRL, it is dangerous to ride a bike without one. And, as a driver, I notice bikes a lot easier in the day with a flash. All my lights tend to work different, but I do have one that is both always on and flashing. It catches people's attention without being too obnoxious.
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Old 11-23-21, 07:12 PM
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Sigh. Americans and their scorched earth this is non-negotiable red lines. We still get clobbered at rates that would make Germans blanch if it was happening there. I'm throwing in with the non-flashers. Front flashing is NOT all that necessary or most (more) of us would be roadkill by now. Can some of y'all get a grip? How often is traffic coming at you on your side of the road? Are you habitually riding salmon on main arterials? If not (and I hope not). You just need to be legal. Your defensive driving skills must do the rest. The WORST thing a rider can do, but many do anyway, is get that 9 mode wonderlight and then proceed to blast into active intersections secure in the knowledge that drivers will BLAM!!! Yeah, right they will. Buy a light. I like MagicShine but there are other players. Oh, by the way ... a 3x18650 is NOT a 'large battery pack', where was I ... buy a light and call it good. Put it on your helmet! The light that runs off the e-bike battery OR the light that runs off a dynamo hub is to BE SEEN only. If that's all you need, rock on. If you also need light TO SEE. Then you need brighter lights than OEM. Don't worry about blinding drivers. Do they worry about blinding you???!!! Legal DOT low beams are what? 1700lm (and don't screw with the DOT when you say your light is 1700lm it better be)? Most cars have two. High beams? Yikes. 3,000lm HID (x2) and we feel like we are overstepping with our 800lm (500 actual, no DOT enforcing truth in advertising). Buy as many lumens as you need.
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Old 11-23-21, 11:01 PM
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For day time, The flashing lights are more noticeable. No problem there. Where I have an issue is the night riders who have the super strong lights and have them pointed directly at on coming drivers. Stupidly dangerous
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Old 11-26-21, 04:05 PM
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You could look to kLite - I have a set of the front and rear flashing lights for my SON28 dyno setup.
https://www.klite.com.au/product-pag...g-safety-light

They have some impressive power storage, so you can be sitting still for a while and they are still flashing happily...
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Old 11-26-21, 09:45 PM
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Have you thought about hooking up a headlight modulator made for a motocycle.

https://www.cyclegear.com/parts/sign...sku_id=1192712
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Old 11-27-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by wsteve464 View Post
Have you thought about hooking up a headlight modulator made for a motocycle.

https://www.cyclegear.com/parts/sign...sku_id=1192712
Not sure why they would want/need to do such a thing. Components designed for motorcycles are HEAVY and that thing needs a (not optional) wiring harness that will NOT be compatible with the wiring of an e-bike battery system even if the o.p. figured out a DC-DC inverter to feed it 12V. There is a plethora of pulsing, strobing, or otherwise modulated, headlights made for bicycles on the market. They will be light, powerful, and way better suited to being used on a bicycle.
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