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Dynamo light compatibility: hub vs bottle

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Dynamo light compatibility: hub vs bottle

Old 11-02-17, 10:23 AM
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Dynamo light compatibility: hub vs bottle

In building my winter commuter bike I am thinking of adding dynamo lighting, and am interested in trying a new bottle style dynamo like the AXA HR (to test the waters without committing to a new wheelbuild). I live on an unlit country road and need a relatively bright headlight so I'm looking at the newer B+M high output lights. Are there different lights for hub dynamos and bottle dynamos or are they all interchangeable? I think it would be smart to buy good lights and if I feel the need to later upgrade to a hub dynamo, but I don't want to fry some expensive light because I used it with a bottle dynamo.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:27 AM
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There is overvoltage protection built into the modern lights, so you don't have to worry. I have a bike with modern lights and an antique bottle dynamo. The system works fine except for the expected drag and noise. I also put modern lights and an old Sanyo under-BB (where the kickstand would go) dynamo, and that works fine, too. Drag is a little less than the bottle type, but it is said not to work when the tire is wet.

So go ahead. If you like the setup, and I expect you will, it's a good proof of concept. You might decide to get a front wheel with a dynamo hub. They weigh a bit more, but the convenience and lower drag are great. I leave my dynamo lights on all the time.

And you will love the new B&M lights.
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Old 11-02-17, 02:04 PM
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short version: Tom is right.. shouldn't be a difference.

long version (sort of): most dynamos have been designed to work with a standard headlight, which used to be a 12 ohm incandescent bulb. However, since LED lights have been introduced and matured, some dynamos are designed for the somewhat lower power requirements of the LED lights. ...plus... some are intended for use at higher speeds, and don't produce enough power at very low speeds to meet the German standards. The smallest Schmidt dynamo fits this description. Not sure about the SP or Shimano hub dynamos, though.

I've used bottle dynamos (and still have two) and I've used hub dynamos (have two). The hub dynamos are much lower drag, and I don't know if I'll ever use my bottle dynamos again. If you do buy a bottle dynamo, make sure you can return it after the first ride.

Have you priced the Shimano dynamos? I've heard that they are fairly affordable.


Steve in Peoria
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Old 11-02-17, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy
Have you priced the Shimano dynamos? I've heard that they are fairly affordable.
I'm definitely thinking about it...
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Old 11-02-17, 07:40 PM
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This is a timely discussion, because I was looking into dynamos earlier today. I was hoping to find a used dynamo to start with and expand from there.

Reference the B&M lights is there a particular model you recommend?

Thanks
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Old 11-02-17, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by dbikingman
This is a timely discussion, because I was looking into dynamos earlier today. I was hoping to find a used dynamo to start with and expand from there.

Reference the B&M lights is there a particular model you recommend?

Thanks
CYO IQ premium, or the IQ-X, if you can afford the extra expense. The CYO uses four small LEDs outside of the lens for a standlight--when you stop, you are all but out of light. There IQ-X steps down, but you can still see/be seen.

If you get an IQ-X, buy a spare metal wireframe mount, as the included plastic one is kind of bouncy.
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Old 11-03-17, 04:35 PM
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After you eventually buy a hub dynamo, you will ask yourself "why didn't I do this sooner."

Best to skip the intermediate step and go straight to a hub dynamo. You won't be disappointed.
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Old 11-03-17, 07:11 PM
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I have a Shimano hub and the Cyo Premium light and would never go back. The light was a little expensive but the hub was relatively cheap. You do of course have to build a wheel with it. I'd skip the bottle dynamo.
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Old 11-03-17, 08:18 PM
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thanks everyone for the feedback. I did more research after my previous post and I'm leaning towards the IQ-X based on the photos and videos I've seen of it. I like the even beam of light it gives out.

I'm still trying to figure out what tail light.

I agree getting the hub make since, but I'm looking at getting a different commuter bike since I will be commuting more often now.

Previously, I was more of fair weather commuter and that had to do with distance (30 miles) and how much longer the commute would be having to slow down with many shaded areas and roads that aren't regularly plowed. My commute is getting considerably shorter so I'm hoping to commute year round depending on how much snow we get during winter. While commuting with an inch or so seems possible there are times we get several inches at one time. I have a short commute on a rural road and if the snow gets plowed onto the shoulder I won't be able to ride. I'd be forced to ride in the traffic lane and that doesn't make sense on this road.
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Old 11-03-17, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by skimaxpower
After you eventually buy a hub dynamo, you will ask yourself "why didn't I do this sooner."
This ^^
I've used both kinds, and the hub variety is much more quiet and convenient. I've had good luck with SP ("Shutter Precision") dynamo hubs... the one on my folder has about 5,000 miles on it.
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Old 11-04-17, 02:39 AM
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B&m iq-x

Originally Posted by dbikingman
I did more research after my previous post and I'm leaning towards the IQ-X based on the photos and videos I've seen of it. I like the even beam of light it gives out.
I'm still trying to figure out what tail light.
B&M IQ-X is one of the best possible solutions for dynamo light currently available.

Tail lights are plenty of options:
bumm.de/en/products/dynamo-rucklichter.html
Rearlights, Bicycle tail lights | Spanninga
nabendynamo.de/produkte/ruecklichter_en.html

More information about dynamo lighing:
swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#dynamo_achterlampen
swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#dynamo_achterlampen_beoordeling
swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#dynamo%27s

Last edited by angerdan; 11-04-17 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 11-04-17, 06:36 AM
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If I were to buy another light it would be the IQ-X, but the Cyo Premium that I have is also pretty good, and I don't think the upgrade is necessary.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:40 AM
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I agree that once you get a hub dynamo, you will ask yourself why you didn't sooner BUT it's not much extra trouble and expense if you get the bottle dynamo first. Bottle dynamos are easy to put on and take off. You'll have to rewire when you change dynamos, though.

I got my bottle dynamos on ebay, cheap.

Check out xxcycle.com in France, as they seem to have more B&M models than anyone. Even if you don't buy from them, you get time to think about which features you need, e.g. light sensor, standlight.

One of my bikes has a Sanyo hub. It's the cheapest you can get, yet it works flawlessly. Another has a Velo-Orange hub which I think is made by SunXCD. It has a manual clutch which lets you remove all drag, a feature no other hub has, as far as I know. But I never disengage it, because I figure it's worth putting in the extra (imperceptible) effort to power my lights in the day.

The choice of tail light is not very important. Just choose one. And supplement it with a battery powered blinky. And supplement it with other things such as reflective material, wheel lights, etc.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:01 AM
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i have several wheels i have built with dynamo hubs. this is the cheapest hub i have used and it works very well. if you can build a wheel its a really low cost way to get started with dynamo lighting.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-Nex...cAAOSw4GVYOWZo
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Old 11-04-17, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
i have several wheels i have built with dynamo hubs. this is the cheapest hub i have used and it works very well. if you can build a wheel its a really low cost way to get started with dynamo lighting.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-Nex...cAAOSw4GVYOWZo
Does that put out a full 3 watts?
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Old 11-05-17, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Does that put out a full 3 watts?
i dont honestly know. i run an led axa pico30 and a spaninga tail light with it and they light up right away.

the beauty of the modern lights is they really dont need much power.
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Old 11-05-17, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Does that put out a full 3 watts?
It says in the description 6v/3w.
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Old 11-05-17, 09:35 AM
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Wow, that's a low price. What's the catch? Is it heavy or draggy? My Sanyo is said to have the highest drag, but it's not much worse than the others. "The worst" isn't bad, so the comparisons can be misleading. On the other hand, I built a wheel for another BF member with the SP hub. Wow, that's a gorgeous hub, and it's said to be among the most efficient. Next time I buy a dynamo hub -- and I don't know when that will be, -- I'm definitely getting an SP hub. It's also lighter than most of the others.
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Old 11-08-17, 03:29 PM
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Drawbacks of a bottle dynamo:
- It's a significant noticeable drain on your speed. It works by rubbing a piece on the tire, it eats up noticeable power. Hub dynamo's are far more efficient and don't do that.
- They can be noisy. Again because they're physically rubbing against the tire.
- Because a bottle dynamo has an external part exposted to the elements, it's far more affected by rain, snow, etc. I don't have one so I can't say I've only heard that they can start slipping and not working in the rain (perhaps newer models don't have this problem), but if your winter riding involves snow or freezing rain I would think there's a good chance it would wear out the roller part pretty quickly, suddenly your light wouldn't work in the middle of the ride. In contrast, a hub dynamo is completely sealed and not exposed to the elements at all. My winter bike for Minnesota has a hub dynamo.

I can see how a bottle dynamo could be fine for a fair weather rider. Or someone who wants a no-maintenance backup light.

But in my opinion is that advantage of a dymamo system is it's "no maintence" approach so I would only go with a hub dynamo.You always have a working light with you. No "shoot I forgot my light at home". No "I forgot to charge it". No "I charged it but my ride went longer than I thought and it's out of juice". No "I didn't realize the battery was running out of capacity and it turned off sooner than I expected". It's like your car headlights where if the bike/car can move, the headlights work. (Actually it's more reliable as most car headlights are halogen which burn out whereas dynamo lights are led's and do not not burn out).

But they're also really expensive. When my brother wanted a light, I bought him a battery light because I didn't want to spend a huge amount of money on it. With a usb charger cable in the garage he can charge the light while it's on the bike and he doesn't forget it. It also works well.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 11-08-17 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 11-08-17, 04:43 PM
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I fully agree with all of that, @PaulRivers. I put a Sanyo under-BB dynamo on my wife's bike in the country because I didn't want to spend too much, and she may never need it. I want it to be there if she ever needs it. I put a bottle dynamo on her city bike for the same reason. She can't remember to keep things charged. Even though she uses her phone every day, it discharges unexpectedly often. She never proactively charges her stuff.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:03 PM
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bottle dynamos tend to slip in the rain, lights don't need an off switch.

hub dynamos don't slip in the rain but they have an on/off switch.
[LED lights really never have to be turned off anyhow..]



Decades ago I used one of the BB dynamos, I could engage it while moving, with my toe on the lever..

back then some frame builders put a shift lever behind the seat tube, high up, to let it go against the tire or pull it away,
with the cable from that lever..





....

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-23-17 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Decades ago I used one of the BB dynamos, I could engage it while moving, with my toe on the lever..

back then some frame builders put a shift lever behind the seat tube, high up, to let it go against the tire or pull it away,
with the cable from that lever..
Yeah, that would be cool if you had to use the dynamo often.
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Old 11-13-17, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I fully agree with all of that, @PaulRivers. I put a Sanyo under-BB dynamo on my wife's bike in the country because I didn't want to spend too much, and she may never need it. I want it to be there if she ever needs it. I put a bottle dynamo on her city bike for the same reason. She can't remember to keep things charged. Even though she uses her phone every day, it discharges unexpectedly often. She never proactively charges her stuff.
It's such a cool idea!

But then...when I set people up with this stuff...if they're the kind of people who didn't charge something in the first place they're usually the kind of people who also forget how the cool stuff works when they actually need it... :-/
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Old 11-14-17, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
It's such a cool idea!

But then...when I set people up with this stuff...if they're the kind of people who didn't charge something in the first place they're usually the kind of people who also forget how the cool stuff works when they actually need it... :-/
Yes! She can't remember how to engage and disengage the dynamo. I tell her every few months, proactively.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Wow, that's a low price. What's the catch? Is it heavy or draggy? My Sanyo is said to have the highest drag, but it's not much worse than the others.
I have a cheap Shimano hub, and it's really draggy. It's hard to avoid the impression that dynohubs are a lot cheaper in countries other than the U.S. though. For my kids, who are not great at charging things, I put dynohubs on their bikes.
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