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Your opinions on bottle dynamos - Nordlicht versus AXA HR

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Your opinions on bottle dynamos - Nordlicht versus AXA HR

Old 10-22-12, 09:54 PM
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Your opinions on bottle dynamos - Nordlicht versus AXA HR

I've pretty much selected my dynamo powered lights and am currently deciding between getting either the Nordlicht (tried and true robust design), or the AXA HR-Traction dynamo. I know the bottle dynamo of the Nordlicht design, having seen that design around for pretty much forever. The AXA is a different design than I'm used to. Also, I can get a Nordlicht for $31.84 +shipping, versus $25.20 for the AXA. In other words, not a whole lot of difference in price. Major things I can see is the Nordlicht looks to have a metal body while the AXA appears to be plastic, but I may be wrong. I haven't been able to find any really decent reviews on either. I am still wading through Google results though. Also, I currently have no interest in hub dynamos. I don't want to go to the expense of lacing up an entire wheel. Also, I am likely to need to run two sets of tires this winter (regular and studded), so I'd prefer to be able to just swap rims and not have to have two sets of rims each with it's own hub dynamos.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:12 PM
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Hub dynamos are generally more expensive but their also more efficient with less drag, bottle dynamos are louder and wear out the tire faster, a slight out of roundness or wettness of the tire will cause the light to flicker. Of the hub dynamos, Sanyo is as cheap as a bottle dynomo as far as cost of the actual unit, to rebuild a wheel and new spokes still makes it more expensive. Schmidt dynamo hubs produce no drag until you switch on the light then it produces about 3 to 5 watts of drag, same with the Shimano but the Shimano produces drag even when the light is off, but the Shimano is less expensive, also 3 to 5 watts of drag is about the same amount of watts it takes to go from latex to butyl tubes! In other words, you're never going to notice the drag.
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Old 10-23-12, 09:42 AM
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I would think you would have issues with a bottle dynamo, especially running studded tires (which I assume is for ice and snow) which would in turn mean the the dynamo would be in the middle of all the water, ice, snow, mud, dirt etc which might cause premature failure of the bottle dynamo. The hub dynamo is out of all that mess for the most part and always works, never slips.

That being said, I don't really have an opinion on the bottle dynamos you selected. I was never a fan of the older design (to many replacement tires required) The newer designs would be more efficient and at those prices easy to replace if you have problems with one or the other.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:05 PM
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No direct experience with any generators, but I'll be following this thread.

From research, a bottle dynamo does produce a bit more drag than a hub one does, but I tend to ride slower at night, so that's a non consideration for me. There are wire wheels to help with traction in wet conditions, as well as tires that feature a special strip on the sidewall for a bottle generator to make contact with. I'd have to experience the noise issue before I could even think about weighing in on it.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:08 PM
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Have you looked at the Dymotec? I got one from Peter White about 2 years ago, loved it and wrote a post about it on my blog:

https://affordableluxuryblog.com/2010...cle-generator/

Haven't had any problems with reliability or tire wear and it's still going strong.
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Old 10-23-12, 01:01 PM
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I have the basic Dymotec bottle dynamo and used it with Nokian studded winter tyres. The Dymotec worked well, in snowy winter conditions too. It did require a bit tweaking on the initial setup to minimize the drag and still keep a reliable contact to tyre. I opted for a bit of extra drag, just to be sure. One Axa model was a contender, but the Dymotec was most efficient in that price bracket, and only slightly more expensive.

I had the bottle dynamo for a while just to see if the 6V, 3W light was good enough for me. It was, so I upgraded to a (cheap) hub dynamo. I'm not going back to battery operated lights on my winter bike.

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Old 04-15-14, 06:21 PM
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Regarding Bottle Generators: I own a early 70's French Cibie bottle generator 6v 3w old original yellow bulb light. Over the years it's starting to show it's age. This light now flashs like a strobe when in use. It's always been a solid beam in the past. Something is wrong!

Do any of you know a company that rebuilds these bottle
dynamos. Seems like their popularity is surging lately.

Oh.......... and how about a Velox rubber wheel cap for the same generator.

Thanx for the help guys,
HH
Fort Collins, Colorado

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Old 04-16-14, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AgendaBuster
Regarding Bottle Generators: I own a early 70's French Cibie bottle generator 6v 3w old original yellow bulb light. Over the years it's starting to show it's age. This light now flashs like a strobe when in use. It's always been a solid beam in the past. Something is wrong!

Do any of you know a company that rebuilds these bottle
dynamos. Seems like their popularity is surging lately.

Oh.......... and how about a Velox rubber wheel cap for the same generator.

Thanx for the help guys,
HH
Fort Collins, Colorado


It sounds like the wheel on the generator is worn out, or it has high and low spots..;which means it's worn out! Or the bearings inside are worn, or the contacts are worn. Not sure if that can be taken apart, but if it can then take it apart and clean the contacts with an clean eraser, relube the bearings, and put it back together and see what happens. Make sure too that your wheel is perfectly trued and there's no low and high spots on the side of the tire. But it's probably just worn out since that brand is no longer made and it's probably quite old.

You can get new bottle generators, you can either cheap no name ones for under $30 on Amazon, or really nice ones like the Dymotec 6 that will cost around $50 but you also need a matching headlight like the Lumotec Fly for about $20 or again another really nice light for around $110 (including wire) by Schmidt E6-OS. It's a lot cheaper to do a bottle generator then to get a hub generator but the hub ones work better. I also wouldn't get the Amazon one because it looks a little too cheap.

You can see these bottle generators and lights here: Dymotec
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Old 04-16-14, 09:19 AM
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I, too, really like the Dymotec. If the rubber wheel wears out, you can replace it, and there is no drag at all when the light's are off, which is most of the time for me. I've used it with studded tires, and you can adjust the tension so that the generator still works if it's wet or snowy.
I've never used the Nordlicht. I've used the AXA quattro, which was fine until the grooves in the plastic wheel wore down.
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Old 04-16-14, 09:56 AM
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AXA HR is relatively bulky, if that matters. One issue to consider regarding the bottle dynamos is that, with their decline, it becomes more likely to run into tires lacking a good dynamo track. In particular Continental tires began to be equipped with a rather marginal track, apparently changed to make the tires look more sporty. Bottle dynamos slip in the rain unless they are run off a good track and they slip off the current generation (cannot make a claim that off all of them) Continental tires.
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Old 04-16-14, 10:12 AM
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I saw a link to this high tech, expensive dynamo that uses the brake track instead of the tire.
velogical rim dynamo

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Old 04-16-14, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
I saw a link to this high tech, expensive dynamo that uses the brake track instead of the tire.
You can run other dynamos off the rim as well, quieting them down in that fashion. However they generally quit turning once there is any water involved.
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Old 04-16-14, 12:00 PM
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One can certainly do what they want, and it's no problem to ignore my post here, but I wanted to mention that this is how your tire can end up looking in winter riding. It's why I preferred a hub dynamo, one less thing trying to rub road grit against the wheel. Just an fyi, good luck.








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Old 04-16-14, 06:36 PM
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I think my biggest concern about a bottle dynamo or the Velogical dyno, is when things get wet you get all sorts of debris and grit sticking to the rim and tire and I would think that would cause the dynamo to skip and the light to flicker? But more importantly I would think the debris would make short work of the thin little rubber band going around the drum. That's just from an observational standpoint NOT from a practical standpoint since I don't own one. However it is cheaper than a hub dynamos, and Velogical does seem very promising as far a bottle (if that's what they call it) type of generators go. If the rubber band is easily replaceable and the company doesn't charge $20 for a .25 cent band then it might be a reasonable solution to an otherwise expensive one, but I can't find the replacement cost of the band on their website which scares me into thinking they don't want you know because it's expensive.
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Old 04-17-14, 01:12 PM
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This:


they generally quit turning once there is any water involved.
AXA was the entry level Dynamo lighting for Brompton, now its a Shimano Dynohub.

once the weather turns against you , you might need a Battery light when the Drum starts slipping ..and the light is out.

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Old 04-25-14, 03:02 PM
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Holy Zombie-thread Batman! I never did buy that dynamo that I intended to back in '12, but now I'm building a new bike and it will have dynamo lighting. Again, I chose sidewall dynamo lighting for several reasons, not the first of which was to save a bit of weight in spite of drag or other perceived issues regarding slippage in inclement weather. I eventually settled on a Nordlicht dynamo due to the metal body being able to dissipate heat better than the plastic body (and more bulky design), of the AXA unit. These days I'm trying to figure out whether it should be mounted on the 20" wheel or the 26" wheel.
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Old 04-25-14, 10:15 PM
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Spoke too soon. I actually bought the AXA unit after all, along with an AXA headlight and taillight. There's a good article (albeit a bit old), which rates numerous dynamos on issues of high and low speed drag, performance, etc. The AXA comes tops in terms of best performance across the board, being beaten out only by hub dynos. The headlight I chose was the Luxx70 Plus which is a 70 lux output light with the neat additional feature of having a port that allows you to charge USB devices when you're not in need of the lights.
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Old 04-26-14, 10:26 AM
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Sounds like a mix and match , the USB power conversion typically is with a Hub dynamo ..

as the power is from the wheel rotating when the lights are off .. and it's turning anyhow..

Bottle dynamo is usually paired with an un-switched light as the on and off is how the bottle dynamo is engaged or not.


Guess you didn't want a wheel build .. redo.
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Old 04-26-14, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kiltedcelt
Spoke too soon. I actually bought the AXA unit after all, along with an AXA headlight and taillight. There's a good article (albeit a bit old), which rates numerous dynamos on issues of high and low speed drag, performance, etc. The AXA comes tops in terms of best performance across the board, being beaten out only by hub dynos. The headlight I chose was the Luxx70 Plus which is a 70 lux output light with the neat additional feature of having a port that allows you to charge USB devices when you're not in need of the lights.
Looking forward to your review once you get a chance to take her for a spin.

As someone who is interested in dynamo set-ups ( but doesn't have one as yet ) I am finding this thread informative. While I can see some advantages to using bottle dynamos in my opinion all of those advantages get trumped once you take into consideration the ( poor) weather performance factor. For me the purpose of using a dynamo is to give the user the option to have a "reliable never-ending" source of light. I would hate to be on a really long epic ride, find myself dealing with a sudden downpour and then discover that now my lamp is only a small flicker of light. While I would probably still carry a back-up torch I would hate to have to rely upon it for an extended ride.

I can see a place for bottle dynamo set-ups but I think you really need to really figure out how you're going to use it and what's going to happen if you need to ride in inclement weather. Personally, if I were to go on a short two to three hour night ride I can see using a bottle dynamo ( and carrying a small back-up battery lamp ). Otherwise for a four-five ( plus ) hour ride I would feel better relying on a hub dynamo. While I usually do ride only in dry weather, sudden pop-up downpours like to happen during the summer in my neck of the woods. I always keep that in mind when I plan my rides.
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Old 04-26-14, 04:06 PM
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I think the "slipping in the rain" is mostly unfounded from what I've read, particularly when you are discussing the newer models of bottle dynamos. It's all in adjustment. If there was a necessary adjust for hub dynamos that if not done properly would produce poor results, you can bet you'd have folks disparaging hub dynos as well, simply because all it takes is one person to not set their gear up correctly and then roundly condemn the technology because they didn't know what they were doing. Also, I can't see an issue where tire makers are going to stop producing tires with dynamo strips. All of the Schwalbe Marathons still come with dynamo strips and for that matter the whole dynamo lighting standard is a German thing and with Schwalbe being a German company, I can't see a near future where sidewall dynos go away. They're far cheaper and easier to install and use than a hub dyno. Also, sidewall dynamos are nearly ubiquitous on bikes in places like Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, not to mention other big cycling cities like Munich. Everything I've read about the newer models of sidewall dynamos and LED lighting systems contradicts EVERYTHING that is said about the negatives of sidewall dynamos. Assuming a sidewall dynamo is set up properly with the correct amount of tension (and the ability to increase that tension if necessary), there should never be slippage issues in inclement weather, especially when used with a tire that has a dynamo track such as many of the Schwalbe tires.
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Old 04-26-14, 11:10 PM
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Dynamo track does not make much difference. When it is wet, bottle dynamo goes out.
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Old 04-26-14, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by yyy
Dynamo track does not make much difference. When it is wet, bottle dynamo goes out.
If the dynamo is poorly positioned, it might be true. If it is positioned correctly, a good track makes a world of difference. Still, life may be more complicated such as when wet snow freezes around a bottle dynamo turning it into a ball of ice. However, such occasions are much more rare than a random rain.
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Old 04-27-14, 12:43 AM
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I have both Nordlicht and dymotec 6 bottle dynamos.They are both good.If i was to choose one for snow and studded tyres, I think the Dymotec 6 fitted with the bad weather roller/wire brush.In the rain(we have our share of flooding) the Nordlicht has not slipped.The dymotec is on the front wheel,the nordlicht is on the back.Do adjust the alignment often to get a quiet setting.In town,so many people cross the road viewing the phone,I may leave it noisy.
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Old 04-27-14, 07:23 AM
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When I was a kid I used to have one of these that came on my Hercules English bike (vintage circa 1955, cost $50 new from Montgomery Wards). I still remember how surprised I was to find that when you stop, you are in total darkness. This was out in the country with no street lights or anything.

Doesn't it seem just a bit unsafe to be stopped at a stopsign or something with no lights showing at all? Or do you have a battery light that you switch on when you are stopped? Also a battery taillight? PITA.

The only way I would switch from rechargeable-battery-powered lights would be to go to a hub generator with an integral battery backup--in other words the hub generator keeps the battery charged and then the battery powers the lights automatically when the bike is stopped and the generator is not producing. Like a car or motorcycle. I assume this type of setup is currently available no? Frightfully expensive, I'm sure.
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Old 04-27-14, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii
Doesn't it seem just a bit unsafe to be stopped at a stopsign or something with no lights showing at all? Or do you have a battery light that you switch on when you are stopped? Also a battery taillight? PITA. The only way I would switch from rechargeable-battery-powered lights would be to go to a hub generator with an integral battery backup--in other words the hub generator keeps the battery charged and then the battery powers the lights automatically when the bike is stopped and the generator is not producing. Like a car or motorcycle. I assume this type of setup is currently available no? Frightfully expensive, I'm sure.
Pretty much* all modern dynamo-powered LED headlights and taillights have a capacitor in them that stores power and provides a "standlight" when the dyno isn't working. This can last for several minutes. As for "horribly expensive", I had a Spanninga headlight/taillight combo with the standlight feature that came in around $65 USD, about the same for mid-range battery lights.

*Does anyone know of one that doesn't have a standlight?

Last edited by adventurepdx; 04-27-14 at 09:49 AM.
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