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For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!  

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
"Eric S. Sande" <esande@erols.com> wrote in message news:3E02B4C1.B46DB57@erols.com...

> >I agree soft start is likely to be valuable in a light with expensive bulbs. But it seems it
> >shouldn't take digital electronics to do that.
>
> Nine dollars isn't expensive. Relatively. But consider that the mission of the light is to operate
> reliably and effectively over time with minimal operator intervention.
>
> Full power is available on demand in a battery light. This means switch on, switch off capability.
> Whether moving or stopped.
>
> It would seem reasonable that the operator would expect the bulb to last indefinitely, but the
> physics don't support the expectation if the cold filament is repeatedly subjected to a full
> power start.
>
> We agree on this, I think.
>
> The light has to be made to be resistant to failure in operation.
>
> That doesn't mean a rheostat, that means electronics that doesn't let the operator hard start
> the light.
>
> You don't have this problem with a generator, but you DO have this problem with a battery light.
> The electronics address this, but it costs more to get the feature.
>
> The real question is how many $9 bulbs do you have to burn out to justify the cost of soft start,
> and are the additional features of the electronics worthwhile as value added elements.
>
> Such as variable step down, continuous available power readout, etc.
>
> We are going to continue to disagree on this as always, but you do have some good questions.

Before going on tangents about electronics, etc., let's look at these bulbs. They're basically the
same bulbs used for low voltage track lighting, the kind you see in Ikea catalogs and such. The
standard bulbs are usually rated for 2-4000 hours. However, most bike light bulbs are not standard.
They're custom made for companies like Nightrider, with hotter, brighter burning filaments. They
give quite a bit more light at the expense of bulb life. Typically, this means about 20% more light
for about 10% of the bulb life -- a few hundred hours still being OK for most consumers. In my
opinion, getting a little over 200 hours from one of these bulbs is probably on the low side of
average, but still within the normal range.

Matt O.
post #2 of 5

Re: For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!

Matt O'Toole wrote:
>
> I researched this when I had the crazy idea of going into the bike light business. Sylvania would
> cobble up anything I wanted at prices comparable to generic, if I would buy 10k units. That's a
> lot of bike lights to have to get rid of...

I'll say! Hmmm... I wonder, what the annual sales volume for one of the smaller companies? Would you
guess something like 1000 units?

What sort of premium would Sylvania charge for 1000 custom bulbs?

--
Frank Krygowski frkrygow@cc.ysu.edu
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Re: For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!

"Frank Krygowski" <frkrygow@cc.ysu.edu> wrote in message news:3E0493E4.60629EC0@cc.ysu.edu...

> Matt O'Toole wrote:
> >
> > I researched this when I had the crazy idea of going into the bike light business. Sylvania
> > would cobble up anything I wanted at prices
comparable
> > to generic, if I would buy 10k units. That's a lot of bike lights to
have
> > to get rid of...
>
> I'll say! Hmmm... I wonder, what the annual sales volume for one of the smaller companies? Would
> you guess something like 1000 units?

Or less...

> What sort of premium would Sylvania charge for 1000 custom bulbs?

At the time, they would only do 10,000. There seem to be a lot more of these lamps around now
though. You could probably order anything you want from Taiwan, or wherever they're coming from.

I've heard that Nightsun made their own lamps back in the beginning, re-potting MR16 reflectors with
10W bulbs, because 20W+ were the only ones available. In fact, the only 10W MR16 lamps I've been
able to find are Nightsun's. There's a much larger variety with the smaller MR11.

Matt O.
post #4 of 5

Re: For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!

"Matt O'Toole" <matt@deltanet.com> wrote in message
news:<4iqM9.4623$uV4.2791689@news2.news.adelphia.net>...
> "Stephen Harding" <harding@hobart.cs.umass.edu> wrote in message
> news:3E01FED1.17B9B341@hobart.cs.umass.edu...
> > The home brew is the way to go though. Lots of light, and cheap, and after a mere 3 weeks
> > through several snow storms, reliable.
>
> Still more expensive than just buying another bulb for the Trail Rat, though.

For the first one, yes, but not the second. I built up a dual 20W system 12 years ago and it is
still working like new. I paid less than $50 to put it together at that time (though we did put ten
of them together so we got a break in the bulbs and gel cell motorcycle batteries) and that included
a small battery charger which I subsequently threw away and used a normal automatic motorcycle
battery charger.

One of the bulbs is a wide beam and the other a narrow beam. I run normally on the narrow beam but
when I'm doing fast offroad at night I'll add the wide beam in there to cover more of the trail. The
motorcycle battery runs about 4-5 hours of useable light.
post #5 of 5

Re: For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!

"Eric S. Sande" <esande@erols.com> wrote in message news:<3E02B4C1.B46DB57@erols.com>...
> Full power is available on demand in a battery light. This means switch on, switch off capability.
> Whether moving or stopped.
>
> It would seem reasonable that the operator would expect the bulb to last indefinitely, but the
> physics don't support the expectation if the cold filament is repeatedly subjected to a full
> power start.

I simply used a smaller power wire and get a little drop across the wire and don't deliver full
voltage to the bulb. I suppose you could do the same thing with an inductor but the wire gauge thing
works just as well. And it costs LESS to make the system that doesn't blow bulbs and only knocks off
a percent or two of light.

What would you rather have: a system that tests brighter than everyone else's or a system that lasts
pretty much forever?
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