Suggestions on lighting systems

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by David Johnston, Jul 24, 2003.

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  1. I'm fed up with my Niterider Trailrat always burning out its bulb! I've burnt out four bulbs in the
    last year and a half! I'm not even knocking the thing around or dropping it. It always burns out
    suddenly when I turn it on.

    Is this kind of thing normal? Are all lighting systems going to have this kind of trouble? I
    looked at Niterider's web site and they claimed that a bulb should last years!

    So I'm considering getting a more reliable lighting system, instead of continuing to shell out $20
    every four months. I was thinking about one of the Niterider digital models, but I've read some
    negative reviews, and Niterider is kind of on my shit list right now....

    Can anyone give me some advice? I'll be using it for commuting in
    Los Angeles. About 3/4 of the time I ride on streets with overhead
    lights. I've been happy with the Trailrat so far except for its short
    bulb life. I'd love it if I could get something with a smart charger
    and longer battery life. Also, a fork mount option would be a bonus.

    -David
     
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  2. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    I've been delighted with my Schmidt dynamo hub and fork mounted headlight. There are no batteries
    and the drag is imperceptible. It wouldn't be suitable for off-road night rides, though.
     
  3. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "David Johnston" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I'm fed up with my Niterider Trailrat always burning out its bulb! I've burnt out four bulbs in
    > the last year and a half! I'm not even knocking the thing around or dropping it. It always burns
    > out suddenly when I turn it on.
    >
    > Is this kind of thing normal? Are all lighting systems going to have this kind of trouble? I
    > looked at Niterider's web site and they claimed that a bulb should last years!
    >
    > So I'm considering getting a more reliable lighting system, instead of continuing to shell out
    > $20 every four months. I was thinking about one of the Niterider digital models, but I've read
    > some negative reviews, and Niterider is kind of on my shit list right now....
    >
    > Can anyone give me some advice? I'll be using it for commuting in
    > Los Angeles. About 3/4 of the time I ride on streets with overhead
    > lights. I've been happy with the Trailrat so far except for its short
    > bulb life. I'd love it if I could get something with a smart charger
    > and longer battery life. Also, a fork mount option would be a bonus.
    >
    > -David.

    Sounds like a problem with the wiring in the head unit. You tried talking to Niterider?

    Mike
     
  4. Weezel

    Weezel Guest

    I strongly suggest a $50 fix. Get the CatEye OmiCube with the 5 LCD lights in it.

    It is powered by 4 AA batteries and the charge lasts for 1 yr dude!

    I have it and a Planet Blinking White 3 LCD light ($10) on my Lightning Thunderbolt recumbent and
    find it great for night riding in the Suburbs of Glendora, CA. (25 miles East of LA.)

    The Cateye throughs out one hell of a lot of light for a AA Battery powered.

    Don Boring Glendora, CA USA dboringATispwest.com
     
  5. Stu

    Stu Guest

  6. Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I've been delighted with my Schmidt dynamo hub and fork mounted headlight. There are no batteries
    > and the drag is imperceptible. It wouldn't be suitable for off-road night rides, though.

    The Schmidt dynamo hub is appealing, but it's so expensive for
    something that doesn't produce a lot of light. Also, I don't know how
    I'd feel about the reduction in light, going from 10 Watts to 3. Yes,
    going to 6 watts is possible with a secondary light, but that comes
    out to about $250 without even factoring in the new rim and spokes.

    In response to the Cateye LED light, that doesn't look like it has the sort of power I'm looking
    for (though I admit I've never actually tested one out).

    -David
     
  7. David Johnston <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Tim McNamara <[email protected]>:
    >>I've been delighted with my Schmidt dynamo hub and fork mounted headlight. There are no batteries
    >>and the drag is imperceptible. It wouldn't be suitable for off-road night rides, though.
    >The Schmidt dynamo hub is appealing, but it's so expensive for something that doesn't produce a lot
    >of light. Also, I don't know how I'd feel about the reduction in light, going from 10 Watts to 3.

    Don't worry about that. The beam patterns of the better headlights for this use are remarkable. I
    use the Bisy headlight, and although I mount two 3W battery headlights (one LED, one halogen) as
    backup, I am perfectly happy to ride in the dark (ie, no streetlights) with the Bisy alone.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  8. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    "Weezel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I strongly suggest a $50 fix. Get the CatEye OmiCube with the 5 LCD lights in it.
    >
    > It is powered by 4 AA batteries and the charge lasts for 1 yr dude!
    >
    > I have it and a Planet Blinking White 3 LCD light ($10) on my Lightning Thunderbolt recumbent and
    > find it great for night riding in the Suburbs of Glendora, CA. (25 miles East of LA.)
    >
    > The Cateye throughs out one hell of a lot of light for a AA Battery powered.
    >
    >

    We sell them for $30 but ... what makes you think this light even compares? How many Halogen watts
    equivalent do you suggest this light produces?

    Until they can get LED's (not LCD's!) to produce the same lumens and focus as my 10W Niterider, I
    won't be using one.

    FWIW, I've burned out one halogen bulb (on a NiteSun Trilight) in 8 years.

    --
    Robin Hubert <[email protected]
     
  9. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    David Johnston wrote:

    > In response to the Cateye LED light, that doesn't look like it has the sort of power I'm looking
    > for (though I admit I've never actually tested one out).

    I took the Cateye 5-LED light to France this month, just in case I got caught out in the dark. It
    was so bright that oncoming cars were flashing their high beams at me. I was impressed. I was
    designated the nighttime lead rider, due to the brightness of my light.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  10. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 25 Jul 2003 15:10:53 +0100 (BST), David Damerell <[email protected]> may have said:

    >David Johnston <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Tim McNamara <[email protected]>:
    >>>I've been delighted with my Schmidt dynamo hub and fork mounted headlight. There are no batteries
    >>>and the drag is imperceptible. It wouldn't be suitable for off-road night rides, though.
    >>The Schmidt dynamo hub is appealing, but it's so expensive for something that doesn't produce
    >>a lot of light. Also, I don't know how I'd feel about the reduction in light, going from 10
    >>Watts to 3.
    >
    >Don't worry about that. The beam patterns of the better headlights for this use are remarkable. I
    >use the Bisy headlight, and although I mount two 3W battery headlights (one LED, one halogen) as
    >backup, I am perfectly happy to ride in the dark (ie, no streetlights) with the Bisy alone.

    The reason this works is that with a 3W conventional bulb, only about one quarter of the energy used
    (at best, and generally much less) is converted to light; with an LED, it's more on the order of
    two-thirds. Most of the wattage of a regular bulb goes into making heat, not light. The comparison
    is similar to fluorescent vs incandescent for indoor lighting; the energy usage of fluorescents is
    trivial by comparison to regular bulbs. There are a few people making LED converions for MagLite
    flashlights, and the probable life expectancy for the batteries in an *average* user's possession is
    much longer than their shelf life. The light pattern isn't as tight since the conversion uses
    multiple LEDs in a small cluster, but it's about the same level of brightness.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy.
     
  11. [email protected] (David Johnston) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I'm fed up with my Niterider Trailrat always burning out its bulb! I've burnt out four bulbs in
    > the last year and a half! I'm not even knocking the thing around or dropping it. It always burns
    > out suddenly when I turn it on.
    >
    > ...... Can anyone give me some advice? I'll be using it for commuting in Los Angeles. About 3/4 of
    > the time I ride on streets with overhead lights. I've been happy with the Trailrat so far except
    > for its short bulb life. I'd love it if I could get something with a smart charger and longer
    > battery life. Also, a fork mount option would be a bonus.
    >
    I have two Niterider lighting systems, one since 1998. I have had to replace the bulb once. However,
    I am not impressed with Niterider QA. I have had to fix several problems on their systems myself,
    just to keep them going.

    Anyhow, the point is that something is wrong with your system and Niterider should fix it. There
    still may be recourse even though the warrantly is expired. Check the laws in your state.

    Tom
     
  12. Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:
    ><[email protected]> may have said:
    >>Don't worry about that. The beam patterns of the better headlights for this use are remarkable. I
    >>use the Bisy headlight, and although I mount two 3W battery headlights (one LED, one halogen) as
    >>backup, I am perfectly happy to ride in the dark (ie, no streetlights) with the Bisy alone.
    >The reason this works is that with a 3W conventional bulb, only about one quarter of the energy
    >used (at best, and generally much less) is converted to light; with an LED, it's more on the order
    >of two-thirds.

    This is completely irrelevant, since dynamo-driven headlights use conventional bulbs.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  13. Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:
    ><[email protected]> may have said:
    >>This is completely irrelevant, since dynamo-driven headlights use conventional bulbs.
    >Is no one making an LED/dynamo setup? It seems like a natural symbiosis to me.

    Rear dynamo lights are LEDs, because there there is a real efficiency improvement with the lack of a
    need to use the rear filter. I remain to be convinced that there's much in it for headlights - LEDs
    make great "being seen" lights, but don't seem so good for seeing.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  14. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 25 Jul 2003 17:17:47 +0100 (BST), David Damerell <[email protected]> may have said:

    >Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:
    >><[email protected]> may have said:
    >>>Don't worry about that. The beam patterns of the better headlights for this use are remarkable. I
    >>>use the Bisy headlight, and although I mount two 3W battery headlights (one LED, one halogen) as
    >>>backup, I am perfectly happy to ride in the dark (ie, no streetlights) with the Bisy alone.
    >>The reason this works is that with a 3W conventional bulb, only about one quarter of the energy
    >>used (at best, and generally much less) is converted to light; with an LED, it's more on the order
    >>of two-thirds.
    >
    >This is completely irrelevant, since dynamo-driven headlights use conventional bulbs.

    Is no one making an LED/dynamo setup? It seems like a natural symbiosis to me. (Or perhaps the
    dynamo setup could be retrofitted with an LED conversion...)

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy.
     
  15. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (David
    Johnston) wrote:

    > Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > I've been delighted with my Schmidt dynamo hub and fork mounted headlight. There are no
    > > batteries and the drag is imperceptible. It wouldn't be suitable for off-road night rides,
    > > though.
    >
    > The Schmidt dynamo hub is appealing, but it's so expensive for something that doesn't produce a
    > lot of light. Also, I don't know how I'd feel about the reduction in light, going from 10 Watts to
    > 3. Yes, going to 6 watts is possible with a secondary light, but that comes out to about $250
    > without even factoring in the new rim and spokes.

    Don't be mislead by watts, which are not necessarily a good indicator of light output. Optics design
    is just as important. There's a lot of good discussion about this on the Internet and in the bike
    lighting mailing lists.

    As far as output goes, I find after 6 hours of riding at night, my Schmidt system (with Lumotec
    Oval headlight) puts out a lot more light than any battery powered system. ;-) My lighting
    system is perfectly suitable for riding in rural areas with little or no ambient light, at
    speeds up to 35 mph.

    I find this system superior for my needs, which of course doesn't make it so for anyone else. It's
    always on my bike (well, that particular bike), so I can ride without worrying about the sun going
    down whether riding for fun or commuting.
     
  16. Pico23

    Pico23 Guest

    Thats odd because I have a petzl headlamp that I use for climbing/hiking/kayaking ect. and the light
    on it is super bright and I prefer it for seeing in the 10-15meter range with fresh batteries. The
    light in question also has a second built in light with a halogen bulb and sure I use this for spot
    beaming but I still use the LED 99% of the time even when climbing a pitch.

    I think you need to reevaluate LEDs. High quality ones are really bright and work well. I wouldn't
    be suprised to see them in REAL light systems in the next few years. "David Damerell"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:eek:5l*[email protected]...
    > Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:
    > ><[email protected]> may have said:
    > >>This is completely irrelevant, since dynamo-driven headlights use conventional bulbs.
    > >Is no one making an LED/dynamo setup? It seems like a natural symbiosis to me.
    >
    > Rear dynamo lights are LEDs, because there there is a real efficiency improvement with the lack of
    > a need to use the rear filter. I remain to be convinced that there's much in it for headlights -
    > LEDs make great "being seen" lights, but don't seem so good for seeing.
    > --
    > David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  17. Stu

    Stu Guest

    >The reason this works is that with a 3W conventional bulb, only about one quarter of the energy
    >used (at best, and generally much less) is converted to light; with an LED, it's more on the order
    >of two-thirds. Most of the wattage of a regular bulb goes into making heat, not light. The
    >comparison is similar to fluorescent vs incandescent for indoor lighting; the energy usage of
    >fluorescents is trivial by comparison to regular bulbs. There are a few people making LED
    >converions for MagLite flashlights, and the probable life expectancy for the batteries in an
    >*average* user's possession is much longer than their shelf life. The light pattern isn't as tight
    >since the conversion uses multiple LEDs in a small cluster, but it's about the same level of
    >brightness.
    LEDs and quartz halogen have about the same lumens per Watt. Leds don't needs as much focusing
    because most of the light comes out the front anyway. So for a nice wide beam they work great. If
    you want a pencil beam you will have trouble. and for the same sort of output you are talking lots
    of $. See MR-16 about halfway down the page only $80each(l think you would need about 4 of them to
    replace a 15W halogen) http://www.theledlight.com/dcbulbs.html and there figures are a little umm
    misleding (leading get it)
    >60mA at12vdc; 180 lumen; approximately 15 watts.
    the 15watts they are talking about must be an incandescent bulb, which is a little misleading being
    that it is a replacement of a halogen bulb

    some more interesting stuff on LEDs http://www.theledlight.com/ledbulbs2.html
     
  18. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Sat, 26 Jul 2003 11:39:53 +1000, "stu" <[email protected]> may have said:

    >>The reason this works is that with a 3W conventional bulb, only about one quarter of the energy
    >>used (at best, and generally much less) is converted to light; with an LED, it's more on the order
    >>of two-thirds.

    >LEDs and quartz halogen have about the same lumens per Watt.

    My lightmeters disagree. The comparison is more like 3 to 1 in favor of the LED, compared to 6 to 1
    for a conventional incandescent. This is taking readings from several angles and averaging them
    together. The data in one of the LED manufacturers' spec sheets suggests that my estimates are off
    by a good bit in the halogen's favor, but I'll take mine. They suggest a ratio that seems absurdly
    good; the halogen would have to be using less than 4% of its energy consumption for light production
    for the figures to be correct, and I think that's probably a bit low.

    >Leds don't needs as much focusing because most of the light comes out the front anyway.

    Good news and bad news there; the beam *can't* be focused very well by the use of additional
    reflector elements; the lens is all you have to work with. This isn't optimal by any means.

    >So for a nice wide beam they work great. If you want a pencil beam you will have trouble. and for
    >the same sort of output you are talking lots of $.

    Higher than incandescent initially, yes, but cheaper in the long run in appropriate
    applications...and frankly, the site you mentioned is horribly overpriced. I can get many of the
    same items locally for about one third of those prices. Not everyone knows where the stuff is
    available, so they probably get a lot of business from folks who just don't know of any other
    source. Many of the local truck lines have entirely swapped over to the LED tail and signal lamp
    assemblies because the price for that long-life unit is about half the cost of the conventional unit
    with two years' worth of maintenance added in.
    >See MR-16 about halfway down the page only $80each(l think you would need about 4 of them to
    >replace a 15W halogen) http://www.theledlight.com/dcbulbs.html and there figures are a little umm
    >misleding (leading get it)
    >>60mA at12vdc; 180 lumen; approximately 15 watts.
    >the 15watts they are talking about must be an incandescent bulb, which is a little misleading being
    >that it is a replacement of a halogen bulb

    The lumens thing is also a bit difficult to make a comparison on; the halogen bulb's output can, at
    this point, be utilized more efficiently with reflectors that are already well understood and in
    production; if, however, the lamp assembly is designed for the LED light source, useful illumination
    levels which are comparable to those from halogen bulbs can be achieved with less than one third of
    the power consumption of halogen, just nowhere near as cheaply. On the other hand, the LED assembly
    will be far more reliable. There are tradeoffs everywhere.

    >some more interesting stuff on LEDs http://www.theledlight.com/ledbulbs2.html

    What they don't say (probably since I doubt that they know) is that white LED units with a
    brightness adequate for automotive headlights should be in mass production within the next 6 years,
    and should appear in automobile and truck applications soon thereafter. There are fundamental
    headlight design issues which must be addressed, and it is considered unlikely that a DOT-approvable
    LED conversion for existing headlamp bulbs will be marketed anytime soon, if ever. On the plus side,
    it's not expected that the LED headlamps will be anywhere near as hideously expensive as the
    high-frequency Xenon strobe units that are currently available. They very well may reach the level
    of standard equipment on low-end vehicles within 10 to 12 years. Since it's likely that the average
    LED headlight will outlast the car that it's delivered with, they probably won't be something that
    you'll find on the shelf at every parts store.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy.
     
  19. John Albergo

    John Albergo Guest

    David Johnston wrote:

    >I'm fed up with my Niterider Trailrat always burning out its bulb! I've burnt out four bulbs in the
    >last year and a half! I'm not even knocking the thing around or dropping it. It always burns out
    >suddenly when I turn it on.
    >
    > Is this kind of thing normal? Are all lighting systems going to have this kind of trouble? I
    > looked at Niterider's web site and they claimed that a bulb should last years!
    >
    > So I'm considering getting a more reliable lighting system, instead of continuing to shell out
    > $20 every four months. I was thinking about one of the Niterider digital models, but I've read
    > some negative reviews, and Niterider is kind of on my shit list right now....
    >
    > Can anyone give me some advice? I'll be using it for commuting in
    > Los Angeles. About 3/4 of the time I ride on streets with overhead
    > lights. I've been happy with the Trailrat so far except for its short
    > bulb life. I'd love it if I could get something with a smart charger
    > and longer battery life. Also, a fork mount option would be a bonus.
    >
    >-David
     
  20. pico23 <[email protected]> wrote:
    >"David Damerell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>Rear dynamo lights are LEDs, because there there is a real efficiency improvement with the lack of
    >>a need to use the rear filter.

    Of course I mean a red filter here.

    >>I remain to be convinced that there's much in it for headlights - LEDs make great "being seen"
    >>lights, but don't seem so good for seeing.
    >I think you need to reevaluate LEDs. High quality ones are really bright and work well. I wouldn't
    >be suprised to see them in REAL light systems in the next few years.

    Don't top-post, it gives you crabs.

    I did check out several LED headlights recently; while I run a Schmidt hub dynamo, I have two 4xAA
    battery lights as backup, one of which is an LED light. It is very visible at a distance, but of
    little use for seeing unless the surface is highly reflective; the halogen bulb light remains much
    more useful for seeing what I'm doing.

    Of course the LED light consumes less power, but it doesn't seem feasible to get higher-power
    arrangements without the multiple LEDs on the Cateye EL300. However, current headlights for dynamo
    use are very precisely focused, which would not be possible with a number of separate light sources.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
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