For Me, Bye Bye Nite Rider!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Stephen Harding, Jan 23, 2003.

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  1. Well my last NiteRider "Trail Rat II" blew a bulb last night for the commute home from work. Blew
    out just like the other three bulbs; instantly upon turning the light on.

    I'd already discarded the other troublesome 10W Nite Rider last winter. This last one blew with
    about 1 1/4 years time on the bulb, so perhaps it's just worn out.

    Fortunately, I've had a homebrew 20W light running off a 12V motorcycle battery the last three
    weeks, so I don't really miss the Nite Rider.

    I may or may not invest $25 in a new bulb for this one, but I think it's bye, bye NiteRider for me.
    My 10W Vistalight 420 is still running well, although the SLA is becoming tired after about 3 years.

    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.

    Time will tell.

    SMH
     
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  2. "Eric S. Sande" wrote:

    > You might as well replace the bulb, if you like the unit otherwise.

    Yeah. $25 bucks for a year might be worthwhile. It could serve "backup" use, just in case my other
    lights failed.

    > Probably a lot of life left in the battery, the NiMH one?

    Indeed. I really like those NiMH batteries for it. Very light and compact. I'd been using both
    batteries for the single remaining NR, alternating charging/using them.

    SMH
     
  3. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > >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.
     
  4. 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 [email protected]
     
  5. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Frank Krygowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > 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.
     
  6. Tom Kunich wrote:

    > > 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.

    I gave away my NiteRiders to my brother, who is fairly hard core MTB rider. I simply had no more
    faith in the NiteRiders and for the cost of a new $25 10W bulb, I can build a second, 20W entire
    light, for use with my current 20W home brew light, that is working very well.

    > 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.

    I toyed with the idea of going with a 50W bulb for this newest light, but wondered if the greater
    heat it will generate would cause problems, and whether 50W was really over-kill for my type of
    riding (mostly all road).

    The motorcycle battery I have to drive the single 20W shouldn't have trouble keeping up with a 50W
    as well, but I decided dual 20W's was the route I'd take.

    SMH
     
  7. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Stephen Harding" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > 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.
     
  8. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > 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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