Front light advice? Cateye ABS-25

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Andrew Reddaway, Feb 2, 2004.

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  1. Hi everyone. I cycle as my main mode of transport, on a commuter (entry-level touring) and a good
    road bike. I do 1-3 hours in darkness per week, on a mix of well-lit roads and dark bike/pedestrian
    paths. Nothing extreme, just a few bunny-hops sometimes.

    My current front light is a 4-year-old Cateye Daylite 5W/10W with a rechargeable SLA battery that
    hangs off the frame. I also bought a smart SLA charger from an electronics shop, which has been
    great. The old Cateye has done a good job, but it's heavy, the battery is slowly dying and I'd like
    a bit more power for dark downhills. Plus, the "spot" light has always been misaligned to the right
    - annoying.

    MUST HAVE
    - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options
    - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.
    - Rain-proof
    - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)
    - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on
    - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get an extra mounting bracket)
    - Charger will accept 240V mains power
    - Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger, to charge it up fast, detect
    when fully charged, then trickle.
    - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle" when I want
    - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars
    - Robust components - last for several years
    - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly

    NICE TO HAVE
    - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc. Alternatively, parts that are easy to
    replace DIY.
    - Battery charge status visible when riding

    I've searched the manufacturers' sites (the Cateye and Nightrider sites are crap by the way),
    newsgroups and online reviews, and it looks like the Cateye ABS-25 meets all my "Must Haves", and
    most of the "Nice to Haves". The price is OK if it does. I saw that the supplied charger should only
    be used on two fully-discharged lights. That would be annoying, but I plan to get a good smart-
    charger that can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to have NICAD
    batteries and plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for that model.

    http://www.cyclexpress.co.uk/products/Cateye_ABS_25_537.asp

    Sooooo...
    - Does this light meet my needs?
    - Any other problems with it?
    - Are there any better lights out there for me?
    - What is a good smart charger to use with its batteries?
    - I can't find it on any USA-based websites - why is this?
    - How good is the Cateye support in Australia, if I buy the bike online from overseas?

    Thanks for your help! Andrew
     
    Tags:


  2. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 09:03:15 GMT,
    Andrew Reddaway <balachaiN0SPAM@hotmail.com> wrote:

    Just do the decent thing and buy a set of lumicycles - www.lumicycle.co.uk. Actually, if you were in
    the UK this would be easily the best solution, but the reference to australia further on hints that
    just maybe you're not. I don't know how well Lumi could support an Australia customer, but you could
    email and ask them - I've never heard anything but good feedback about them (and only had good
    experiences myself), so I expect you'd get a realistic answer.

    > MUST HAVE
    > - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options

    Lumi use the twin-light system, so have eg a 12W in one, a 20W in teh other and you have 12W, 20W or
    32W options. Or a spot and a flood, or whatever.

    > - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.

    13.2V, 4Ah battery, should do an hour on each of 12W and 20W

    > - Rain-proof

    Well, mine live on my commuter, which spends nights in a garage, but every day on unprotected bike-
    racks. If it rains, it gets rained on. The bulbs are not designed for this sort of exposure, and the
    halogen capsule mounting paste breaks down eventually when it gets damp. However, having noticed
    this I've found that simply putting a new bulb in once a year fixes this - it takes longer than that
    for this to cause a problem.

    > - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)

    My kitchen scales say teh battery is 722g, and I think the bag version is lighter

    > - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on

    Yes - switches on teh back of the lights, or a remote switch option.

    > - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get an extra mounting bracket)

    Pretty quick - choice of velcro-attached bag or bottle-cage-mount (either-or, it's not one pack that
    does both) for the battery, choice of releaseable cable ties or quick-release brackets for lights.

    > - Charger will accept 240V mains power

    Yes. UK is 240V. However, the standard charger is a single unit with moulded-in prongs for the mains
    socket. This would be one of teh things you'd need to ask them about.

    >- Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger,
    > to charge it up fast, detect when fully charged, then trickle.

    Comes with such a charger. Alternatively, I actually now use a rather cleverer charger on mine. See
    notes below.

    > - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle" when I want

    Yes. But beware of looking like a proper vehicle a mile away and having some pillock pull out when
    you're actually only 6' away. I put the lamps as close together as I can, so they can't be seen as
    two spaced lights.

    > - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars

    Yes

    > - Robust components - last for several years

    Yes

    > - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly

    I've never blown a bulb. I use the lights at least 30 mins a day 5 days a week for about 6 months of
    the year, and occasionally otherwise. I replace bulbs annually as noted above.

    > NICE TO HAVE
    > - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    > - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    > - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    > - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    > - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    > - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    > - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    > - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc. Alternatively, parts that are easy
    > to replace DIY.
    > - Battery charge status visible when riding

    Of these, spot/wide is achieved (as noted above), handlebar space was a 'must have', beam
    direction adjustable is possible depending how tight you've done up teh brackets, charge in place
    is possible if you have a socket near enough, availablility is something to ask Lumi (uses 12V
    MR11 bulbs, which I imagine exist everywhere, but you'd know better than me about Australia), but
    you don't get the rest.

    > can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to have NICAD batteries and
    > plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for that model.

    Why don't you like NiCd? Memory effect is a myth, if that's your concern. NiCd or NiMH are more
    likely to meet your power / weight requirements, and can generally be charged faster - fast charge
    for lead-acid is generally C/3, but fast for NiCd/NiMH is at least C, and might be up to 3C. To be
    fair, the lumi smart charger only uses 1.1A (ie, a touch below C/3), and while the one I'm now using
    will do 5A, I haven't yet asked Lumi what their cells will take and just set it to
    14.1A for now.

    NiCd/NiMH will also give you light closer to maximum brightness for more of teh discharge cycle
    (though admittedly you then lose brightness with less warning).

    (note followup set to where I am)

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  3. Mike Schwab

    Mike Schwab Guest

    I like http://www.nite-hawk.com/

    Andrew Reddaway wrote:
    >
    > Hi everyone. I cycle as my main mode of transport, on a commuter (entry-level touring) and a good
    > road bike. I do 1-3 hours in darkness per week, on a mix of well-lit roads and dark
    > bike/pedestrian paths. Nothing extreme, just a few bunny-hops sometimes.
    >
    > My current front light is a 4-year-old Cateye Daylite 5W/10W with a rechargeable SLA battery that
    > hangs off the frame. I also bought a smart SLA charger from an electronics shop, which has been
    > great. The old Cateye has done a good job, but it's heavy, the battery is slowly dying and I'd
    > like a bit more power for dark downhills. Plus, the "spot" light has always been misaligned to the
    > right - annoying.
    >
    > MUST HAVE
    > - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options
    > - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.
    > - Rain-proof
    > - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)
    > - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on
    > - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get an extra mounting bracket)
    > - Charger will accept 240V mains power
    > - Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger, to charge it up fast,
    > detect when fully charged, then trickle.
    > - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle" when I want
    > - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars
    > - Robust components - last for several years
    > - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly
    >
    > NICE TO HAVE
    > - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    > - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    > - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    > - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    > - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    > - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    > - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    > - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc. Alternatively, parts that are easy
    > to replace DIY.
    > - Battery charge status visible when riding
    >
    > I've searched the manufacturers' sites (the Cateye and Nightrider sites are crap by the way),
    > newsgroups and online reviews, and it looks like the Cateye ABS-25 meets all my "Must Haves", and
    > most of the "Nice to Haves". The price is OK if it does. I saw that the supplied charger should
    > only be used on two fully-discharged lights. That would be annoying, but I plan to get a good smart-
    > charger that can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to have NICAD
    > batteries and plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for that model.
    >
    > http://www.cyclexpress.co.uk/products/Cateye_ABS_25_537.asp
    >
    > Sooooo...
    > - Does this light meet my needs?
    > - Any other problems with it?
    > - Are there any better lights out there for me?
    > - What is a good smart charger to use with its batteries?
    > - I can't find it on any USA-based websites - why is this?
    > - How good is the Cateye support in Australia, if I buy the bike online from overseas?
    >
    > Thanks for your help! Andrew
     
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