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Charging devices from hub dynamo

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Charging devices from hub dynamo

Old 10-22-20, 10:37 PM
  #1  
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Charging devices from hub dynamo

I've been successfully charging my GPS and a Sinoele 10Ah USB-compatible battery from my hub dynamos for some time. I've used a Luxos U light (which has a built-in USB outlet), and a B+M USB-Werk to convert dynamo electricity to USB. On one Cycle Oregon, I charged the Sinoele battery during the day's ride, and used it to charge my phone, GPS and iPad during the night. I'm not 100% sure that I generated as much energy as I used, but I had no trouble keeping everything charged for a week.

Now that the USB-Werk seems to have died (see my previous thread), I'm in the market for a new hub-dynamo to USB converter. My requirements:
  1. Can be mounted in my handlebar bag and plugged-in to a connector on the bike, so that I can move it form bike to bike. This would seem to rule-out these very clever (but not very waterproof) designs that put the converter in the steer tube, and the USB plug in the steerer cap. In any case, my Atlantis has a 1" quill stem.
  2. Doesn't deplete my retirement account too much.
  3. Compatible with the B+M IQ-X headlamp — ideally letting me choose between full charging and full light when there isn't enough energy to provide both.
  4. Has a cache battery. This may not be a strict requirement, because it may be possible to use my Sinoele battery as a cache; it seems to allow simultaneous charging and depletion. However, a cache battery would be nice; many devices don't take kindly to their charging current being turned off every time one stops at an intersection.
  5. High efficiency!

I've found useful (but slightly dated) information about USB charging here, and about available chargers here, but no clear winner for my requirements. What do you use?
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Old 10-23-20, 08:15 AM
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I mentioned on your other thread that I use a Sinewave Revolution and an external pass through cache battery.

A bit of background, I started with a AXA Luxx 70 Plus headlamp with USB charger, but I really did not like the lack of water proofing on it. So, when I did a month long bike tour in Iceland (where rain is expected), I decided to buy the Sinewave Revolution which had better water proofing. After that trip, I bought a Garmin 64 GPS that can be charged with USB, that GPS uses a battery pack that consists of two NiMH AA batteries. But, the Garmin and the Sinewave did not play well without pass through battery. I experimented with a variety of pass through cache batteries, eventually bought a Voltaic V44 battery that is 44 watt hour battery pack that can operate in pass through mode, it will charge my Garmin while simultaniously being charged by the Sinewave. The V44 is no longer sold, but Voltaic does make larger and smaller ones.

My Sinewave is mounted on the bike, the battery pack is in the handlebar bag. Thus, I run a USB cable from my handlebar bag to the Sinewave. The Sinewave is attached with a zip tie, if you wanted something that would be easier to move from bike to bike, perhaps some velcro instead? I use some spade connectors on my Sinewave to connect to the light and hub. With the spade connectors, it would still take a few minutes to move from bike to bike, if you used some headphone type connectors, that would be faster.

I did a five week bike tour in summer 2019, during the first half of the tour I was not producing power as fast as I used it. I eventually realized that I had a high resistance cable between the Sinewave and the battery pack. Switched to a better cable, and the rest of the trip I was self sufficient on power. I made two other changes that improved my power consumption, I cut back on phone screen time to a bare minimum for weather forecasts and occasional Komoots routing when I had Wifi. And I only used my phone with a warm battery in it, I discovered that when my phone was 40 degrees (F) that battery consumption was much higher per minute of use than warmer, so I often warmed up my phone in my sleeping bag if I was going to check weather forecasts in the morning.

That is what I use for charging for bike touring, am very happy with it. And a 44 watt hour battery pack gives me several extra days of power if I needed it, so the weight of that much extra battery in my opinion is worth it for the extra contingency power.

Instead of storing my Sinewave on a touring bike, I store it on my rando bike, pull it off when needed for a bike tour.

I noted on your other thread that I had a Luxos U. I do not tour with that. In 2017 I built up a titanium bike, and bought a Luxos U for that bike. But I think that the Sinewave puts out a bit more power than the Luxos U, so I only tour with the Sinewave.

I wrote up a discussion of my power usage and devices from my 2019 tour on a different forum that summarizes what worked for me on that bike tour and that is what I plan to use for future tours, that thread is here if you are interested.
Electrics that I use for bike touring - what works for me.

Sinewave on my rando bike handlebar bag bracket in the photo. After the photo was taken, I have since changed it so that the USB port faces down instead of up as shown in the photo, that way the USB port does not fill up with rain water.



My wiring looks a bit like a spaghetti bowl of wire, in part because I also have a wired bike computer, but I have not found an incentive yet to make it look cleaner.



When I turn the light off, then I have full power available for charging. So, the light switch is the only way I switch things, the Sinewave consumes almost no power when the light is on and I have nothing plugged into the Sinewave.
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Old 10-23-20, 08:42 AM
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I have not used one, but I'm very interested in the Igaro. It does not have a cache battery but I think it meets your other requirements. Igaro seems like a one-man operation; right now he's also working on an STVZO-compliant dyno headlight that incorporates a USB converter and a cache battery, and has a satellite taillight in the works after that. He posts progress reports on Facebook from time to time.
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Old 10-23-20, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
I have not used one, but I'm very interested in the Igaro. It does not have a cache battery but I think it meets your other requirements.
Igaro have temporarily suspended sales while they work on fixing a problem. They hope to be back in "late November".
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Old 10-23-20, 04:49 PM
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The best output for your pedaling effort, and for your money, seems to be the Forumslader V5. It comes as a kit, which I think is within my capabilities to assemble. I haven't figured out how to actually order one, though; their website says "order by email", but gives no address. Does anyone have one?

One downside to the Forumslader is that it requires you to switch off the bike lights to charge a device. Of course, when the lights are on, there is much less power available for any charger to harvest, but I found (somewhat to my surprise) that the B+M USB-Werk would work fine with the lights in "daytime running light" mode. If all I'm doing is keeping my GPS topped up, there is plenty of power. Many other chargers have the same "feature", I've been learning.
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Old 10-24-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SquireBlack View Post
The best output for your pedaling effort, and for your money, seems to be the Forumslader V5. It comes as a kit, which I think is within my capabilities to assemble. I haven't figured out how to actually order one, though; their website says "order by email", but gives no address. Does anyone have one?

One downside to the Forumslader is that it requires you to switch off the bike lights to charge a device. Of course, when the lights are on, there is much less power available for any charger to harvest, but I found (somewhat to my surprise) that the B+M USB-Werk would work fine with the lights in "daytime running light" mode. If all I'm doing is keeping my GPS topped up, there is plenty of power. Many other chargers have the same "feature", I've been learning.
Gauvins has used one, check out:
Forumslader (USB charger) - first impressions

If I recall, he could feel the drag on the hub when charging things because it was so efficient at getting the most out of the hub.

Cycle2charge is another one out there that claims high output, no cache battery. I considered ordering one but when I saw the cost with shipping to USA from manufacturer, I decided to use what I had instead of trying a new one. I just looked for the link for them and saw they no longer sell direct, but I am not researching that further.
https://www.cycle2charge.de/index.php/en/

***

On my rando bike I get 2.5 watts on average while rolling from the Sinewave Revolution, lights off, this is based on my speed on exercise rides which are mostly on the flat. But with my IQ-XS and Secula lights on, I got 0.6 watts out of the Sinewave. Not sure what my average speed was, probably near 13 to 14 mph when you factor in some of the riding was on streets which involve stop lights and stop signs.

If I recall, you have the IQ-X, that being a higher wattage light than my XS, I suspect that you would get less power out of the USB port than I did.
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Old 10-31-20, 08:06 PM
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I've used the original E-werk + cache battery for around 9 years now.
In that time I've replaced one of the cables due to corrosion (curtesy of sjscycles.com) and twice the cache battery.
Simply works and does it so well, I invested in a second unit for my trailer.
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Old 11-02-20, 05:51 PM
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Wire recommendation needed.
Does any one have a recommendation for what wire I should use, particularly to power my rear light? I have a Son28 in the front with a Son Edelux front light and B+M Secula rear. Also want to wire in a Sinewave and a Voltaic pass-through battery for my various gadgets (I followed Tourist in MSN 's advice when building my bike, as discussed elsewhere.

Initially I wanted to use door bell wire (2 separate conductors) but it's so thin that I am concerned its resistance is too high over the length of the bike. Both lights use alternating current. Can I use the bike frame instead of one the wires and then just rely on one conductor (it wouldn't technically be called ground, but same idea)? I need something wiht low resistance and a sturdy insulation, taht I could hopefully thread through the fork.

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Old 11-02-20, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by koenbro View Post
Wire recommendation needed.
.....
Initially I wanted to use door bell wire (2 separate conductors) but it's so thin that I am concerned its resistance is too high over the length of the bike. Both lights use alternating current. Can I use the bike frame instead of one the wires and then just rely on one conductor (it wouldn't technically be called ground, but same idea)? I need something wiht low resistance and a sturdy insulation, taht I could hopefully thread through the fork.
you can look up the resistance for any wire gauge....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_wire_gauge

for instance, 22 gauge wire has a resistance of 16 milli-ohms per foot. This is 0.016 ohms per foot, so if you had 10 feet of wiring, the resistance would be 0.16 ohms.

For comparison, the old incandescent dynamo bulbs were nominally 12 ohms, which is 75 times as much as 10 feet of 22 gauge wire. This shows that the resistance of 22 gauge wire is insignificant compared to the incandescent bulbs.

Personally, I use 22 ga wire, but more for the mechanical robustness than for the low resistance.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 11-02-20, 08:40 PM
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I am not sure what I use, I suspect somewhere between 18 and 22 gauge wire between hub and headlamp. I want wire that is unlikely to break if it snags on something between the hub and the fork crown. At the fork crown I have some quick connectors that either go to the Sinewave, the headlamp, or both.

On bikes where I use a dyno powered taillight, I usually use whatever wire B&M provides, which is probably similar to your door bell wire. The wire that B&M supplies for taillights and for wiring to the hub is probably equivalent to the wire that SInewave includes with the Revolution USB charger.

If you try to use the frame as a conductor, keep in mind that the headset is between your headlamp and taillamp. Headset may or may not be a good conductor, steerer tube could have some rust on it, etc. I think it is probably simplest and most reliable to just use two conductor wire. Some headlamps and some taillamps are grounded to the frame, some are not. Shimano dynohubs are grounded to the fork, SP is not, I do not know about SON.

I do not recall if you use fenders or not on your bike, is your Secula mounted to a fender? If it is and if the fender is metal, the Secula might be grounded to the frame, I do not recall if the Secula bolt is isolated from the circuit or not. I mention that because if you wire everything up and something does not work, it could be because a couple components are grounded and you got the wires crossed when you wired it. That is how I learned that Shimano hub is grounded to the fork, I also had a headlamp that was grounded to the fork and i had my wires connected wrong so nothing worked because the system was shorting out on the fork, eventually figured that out, switched the wires and everything worked. My first two dynohubs were SP, so when the third one was a Shimano, that was when I learned the hard way that it can get complicated.

I think it would be hard to find a wire that is too high a resistance for taillight, that is a low wattage component.

Most of my wiring projects are somewhat temporary in nature. if I put a rack on the bike and the taillight is on the rack, then the taillight wiring changes, etc., thus the wiring is somewhat temporary and is not carefully hidden. Only one of my bikes has wiring that is intended to be permanent, that one I used heavier duty wire to the taillight, taillight mounted on the rear fender, glued the taillight wire inside the fender where it is hidden, etc.
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Old 11-05-20, 09:45 AM
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In summary, any wire will be fine because the amount of current going through it is tiny.
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Old 11-05-20, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
In summary, any wire will be fine because the amount of current going through it is tiny.
practically speaking, yes.

however.... since I own and use a lot of different kinds of wire, I would like to clarify the statement to say that any wire that will be large/robust enough to not break during use will likely not cause any noticeable loss of power delivered to the lights.

As an example, I've got some tiny magnet wire... perhaps 36 gauge? Maybe 40 ga? I used a couple of feet of this for a desk lamp, in order to hide the wires. They are nearly invisible from a small distance, but add about an ohm of resistance. If you were looking to run wires inside of a rack tube or tape to the inside of a fender, the small size would be very convenient. The losses might not be acceptable, though.

For general use, I think 22 ga is great, especially with teflon insulation. This makes it pretty small in diameter while still quite abrasion resistant. It's also a bit pricey, if that is a concern.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 11-05-20, 03:07 PM
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Good points, @steelbikeguy. I was coming with the point of view of people who are used to seeing wires less than (thicker than) 22 ga and might think 22 ga wire is not sufficient. I also would not use something as tiny as 40 ga.
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Old 11-05-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
In summary, any wire will be fine because the amount of current going through it is tiny.
Sort of agree, but should be a multi-strand wire.

Telephone wire is a solid conductor, not multi-strand and the solid conductor could easily break at any points where it flexes a lot, like between the fork and frame.
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Old 11-06-20, 06:55 AM
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An inexpensive digital multimeter is a great time saving troubleshooting tool for these type jobs too.
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Old 11-30-20, 05:04 AM
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I have used the Cycle2Charge converter for about half a year and generally am happy with it. Took like 2 minutes to install (I have it wired to the front light wire and the frame, not the hub directly). I haven't performed any multimeter tests, but works just fine for charging phones and powering my garmin even with the lights on (even though manual instructs to turn them off for charging and thus not use the converter when lights might be required, perhaps it has something to do with the German StVZO regulations?). The only drawback is the lack of a cache battery, even a tiny one to last a minute during traffic light stops, simply because the notifications about charging started/stopped are so annoying on many devices.
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Old 11-30-20, 06:29 AM
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Here's how I'd do it in your situation. Grab a Forumslader, if you have the technical skills, make it up into a PVC tube the size of an old school bike pump with 18650 batteries. Get some SKS pump clips to store it on the down tube but easily take it into your tent. Otherwise get Jens to make it up with 18650s in heatshrink like he usually does, that can go in your handlebar bag. Get some waterproof 2.1mm dc connectors from ebay to connect it to the bike wiring. Grab a USB boost charger so you can charge the forumslader from AC, use it as a powerbank. Get the IQ-X AC to DC circuit and fit that to your light so you can run the light of the 12V lighting circuit of the Forumslader so you can have lighting and nearly full charging (less the current running the light)
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Old 11-30-20, 01:04 PM
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Kind of like this?

Waterproof start button and 4-pin aviation-style connector (with threaded cap) for hub input and 12V light output on top, water-resist 2xUSB on bottom. Plastic furniture slider caps and clear polycarb stock (2" OD, 1 7/8" ID)
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Old 11-30-20, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
Kind of like this?

Waterproof start button and 4-pin aviation-style connector (with threaded cap) for hub input and 12V light output on top, water-resist 2xUSB on bottom. Plastic furniture slider caps and clear polycarb stock (2" OD, 1 7/8" ID)
Yeah,that would be adequate (smarty pants....LOL)!!!!
In my case I put the 18650s in a linear fashion, so it makes a long tube, looks like a bike pump on the bike, and a pipe bomb to airport security.... always good for a conversation starter and a laugh, those guys get bored sometimes.
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Old 12-07-20, 01:12 AM
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I bought a Cycle2Charge. It was hung up in US Customs for around a month, and when it finally arrived at my house USPS had destroyed the box and repackaged it in an apology bag. Seems to work fine, though. I already had a small Coaxial power socket that I had used for the USB-werk, so installation was easy. I’m keeping the Cycle2Charge in my handlebar bag.

Now I’m looking for an inexpensive and light battery to use in pass through mode.

As far as wiring goes, my rear light uses a single strand of the B&M wire, routed through the rolled edge of the Honjo Fender. The neutral connection is through the frame and fender. This has given me zero problems. The wiring to the front light was glued inside the front fender, originally with two separate 2-conductor wires (one feeding the headlight, and the other going back to the taillight). I put silicone caulk over the wires to protect them; this was a big mistake. The caulk makes the wires impossible to maintain: you can’t remove it, and nothing will stick to it, not even more caulk. Don’t try this at home!

If I were doing this over from scratch, I would run two single conductor wires inside the rolled edge of the front fender, one on each side: one wire to feed the headlight, and the other to go back to the taillight. The fender itself would be the neutral.

Connectors to the hub and the rear light wire are hidden in the bottom of the head tube. With my headset, tying the neutral to the front fender grounds the whole frame; YMMV.
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Old 12-07-20, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SquireBlack View Post
I bought a Cycle2Charge. It was hung up in US Customs for around a month, and when it finally arrived at my house USPS had destroyed the box and repackaged it in an apology bag. Seems to work fine, though. I already had a small Coaxial power socket that I had used for the USB-werk, so installation was easy. I’m keeping the Cycle2Charge in my handlebar bag.

Now I’m looking for an inexpensive and light battery to use in pass through mode.

As far as wiring goes, my rear light uses a single strand of the B&M wire, routed through the rolled edge of the Honjo Fender. The neutral connection is through the frame and fender. This has given me zero problems. The wiring to the front light was glued inside the front fender, originally with two separate 2-conductor wires (one feeding the headlight, and the other going back to the taillight). I put silicone caulk over the wires to protect them; this was a big mistake. The caulk makes the wires impossible to maintain: you can’t remove it, and nothing will stick to it, not even more caulk. Don’t try this at home!

If I were doing this over from scratch, I would run two single conductor wires inside the rolled edge of the front fender, one on each side: one wire to feed the headlight, and the other to go back to the taillight. The fender itself would be the neutral.

Connectors to the hub and the rear light wire are hidden in the bottom of the head tube. With my headset, tying the neutral to the front fender grounds the whole frame; YMMV.
Thanks for the update. Looks like you have it figured out and it is working well.

I used Silicone caulk to glue the wires inside my plastic rear fender, so far that has been trouble free. Hopefully it will stay that way. Glued it in spring of 2018. I used Dap Dynaflex 230. Kingston on this forum has used tape to put wiring inside fenders, but I am not sure exactly what kind of tape.

I do not have a rolled edge on my fenders since mine are plastic, thus the option you chose was unavailable to me. My wiring on most of my bikes is rather ugly, it is all external other than glued inside the rear fender on one bike. Sounds like yours being hidden looks much better. But on most of my bikes, I occasionally change the setup for a variety of reasons. My Sinewave usually resides on my rando bike, but if I go on a bike tour, the Sinewave gets moved to a different bike. Sometimes I use a rear rack with a rack mounted light, sometimes no rack on the bike, etc.

There were a lot of shipping difficulties from Europe to USA last spring when a lot of passenger aircraft were grounded, but that seems to be largely fixed. I was surprised your package was hung up in customs this fall. I ordered something recently from the UK, ordered it on a Saturday, arrived following Wednesday, that is the fastest international shipment I have ever had.

Inexpensive and light battery, the inexpensive part is less likely to occur, but it depends on your definition of inexpensive. Someone on this forum a couple years ago commented that battery packs that are used for solar power installations usually provide pass through capability, he specifically mentioned a Voltaic V15 battery pack he was happy with. I had previous problems with several other pass through batteries for bike touring that I decided to get a big enough one that would last me for several days without charging, I bought the Voltaic V44 and was very happy with that. The V44 is no longer made but they make bigger and smaller ones. I have had zero problems putting power into it from my Sinewave Revolution while simultaneously drawing power out of it to charge GPS or other devices. I used the V44 for a five week bike tour in summer 2019 and since then occasionally carry it in my handlebar bag on other rides.

Looks like V25 is the smallest they make right now. Price does not look too bad. And a much better price than the batteries that are specifically sold for bicycle pass through applications.
https://voltaicsystems.com/

I got my Voltaic battery from Amazon to cut the shipping cost.

I think we would all appreciate an update in a few months on how the Cycle2Charge works out for you. And if you mount it where it is exposed to rain, let us know how weatherproof it is.
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