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noglider 05-10-13 11:53 AM

Tom's dynamo lighting system
I finally wrote a new blog post about my dynamo lighting system. I wrote the first seven months ago. It's refined, adjusted and proven now. The official price on this entire system is $160, not counting the cost of plain wires and zip ties. I'm extremely pleased.

Here is my blog post.

Yo Spiff 05-10-13 12:40 PM

Thanks. I'll give that a read. I have a dynamo hub on a recent build, but no dynamo lights for it yet.

J.C. Koto 05-10-13 12:57 PM

Great read, thanks! Wish I'd read it a week ago when I had some spare bread to spend...

What do you think of the durability and serviceability of the hub itself?

Also, thank you so much for being considerate about not shining the light into other peoples' eyes. Probably the number one thing I hate about riding when the weather is nice is that a lot of the people who don't ride regularly after dark (like in the autumn and winter months) don't realize how painfully blinding their lights are.

noglider 05-10-13 03:07 PM

Koto, the Euro-spec lights don't put out nearly as much energy as the super-duper Chinese-made battery powered lights we talk about in this forum. It's hard to compare, because lumens and Lux are not analogous. But it suffices to say that these put out less. They leverage the amount of light with highly engineered optics. If I aimed my light into your eyes, it's not likely to hurt. This is another reason to consider Euro-spec lights, in my view. The flashlight-type lights send a lot of light where you don't need it. This wastes power, gets in people's eyes, and it can mean you don't have light where you do need it. With my lights, it's easy to aim it out of people's eyes, because it's made to light up only the road and not the trees. It doesn't even light up the sidewalks. That's efficiency!

I've heard that some experimenters put the high-power LED's in these super duper lights to get the best of both worlds. Sounds interesting, but I guess that means you can't use batteries any more. I wonder how much power those Magic Shine and similar lights draw. Does anyone know?

I don't know about the Sanyo hub, but the Sturmey Archer dynohubs from the 1930's and later are still running and working, without any maintenance needed. Pretty amazing, huh? Output has increased by about 100%; the old SA's put out about 3 watts, while this one is said to put out 6 watts.

As for serviceability, I don't know yet. The SA hub was tricky. If you disassembled it wrong, you would instantly demagnetize the magnets, and there is no repair for that.

DiegoFrogs 05-12-13 01:36 AM

Thanks for this review, Tom. Based on this and some other information, tonight I ordered a wheel with the Sanyo dynohub very cheaply from e-bay. I'm still not sure how I'll build it up, or what bike it'll go on, but that's most of the fun!

This will be my first dynamo hub, as I am sure it is for most people based on the cost. I'm hoping it'll do a lot for my confidence in night-time riding. I plan to report back and graduate to bigger drugs.

zacster 05-12-13 05:40 PM

I guess that's the reason I gave up on the idea of a dynamo hub. In NYC, you aren't looking to light the road, you want to be seen, and be seen in no uncertain terms. I like the fact that my light is blinding, everyone just gets out of the way. One time I was coming up to a bunch of rather large guys coming off the football field, and one shouted "I thought a f'in freight train was coming at me". That's pretty effective.

noglider 05-12-13 10:24 PM

Zacster, I don't know that my lights are any worse at making me seen than yours are. I suspect I can be seen as well as you.

unterhausen 05-13-13 06:35 AM

given the number of times I get flashed by the high beams by passing motorists, I think they see my dyno lights

Richard Cranium 05-14-13 06:30 AM

Well done - great article. I saw trans-con tourists on Sunday - running continuous head lights - some day they "will make" a touring bike that comes with a set equal to yours......

noglider 05-14-13 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by Richard Cranium (Post 15623449)
Well done - great article. I saw trans-con tourists on Sunday - running continuous head lights - some day they "will make" a touring bike that comes with a set equal to yours......

Thank you for the compliment. I don't think my setup is any better than any other dynamo light set. I just wanted to document how it goes on and how it works. I hope to spread the gospel of dynamo lights, which was lost in this country somehow. I'm glad to see a small revival. Maybe they'll become more popular as time goes on.

bemoore 05-14-13 02:07 PM

The connectors you show are not rated for outdoor use. The most problematic part of any electrical system will be the contacts. I HIGHLY recommend using dielectric grease on all your connectors. That will go a LONG way to making an indoor connector work for outdoor use. Just goop the stuff on all the contacts you can access, then plug and unplug the connector several times to distribute the grease. Dielectric grease is non conductive, so there's no danger of it causing a short between the contacts. It's purpose is to keep the contacts from oxidizing. I had reliability problems with my bottle dynamo setup until I started using it.

Otherwise, great writeup.

noglider 05-14-13 03:38 PM

Good tip, bemoore. I'll do it.

DiegoFrogs 05-14-13 09:19 PM

I think the revival is probably due to the influx of high-quality LED lamps and low cost hubs like the Sanyo. And probably due to the availability of information in the internet, too!

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