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Battery power vs USB rechargeable tail light

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Battery power vs USB rechargeable tail light

Old 05-13-19, 10:05 PM
  #76  
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I also have a Cygolite 150 and I just don't like the thing. I don't find that the charge lasts very long, even when not in use. The flashing while charging is annoying too. I had planned to use this in combination with my Magnic Light rear light that runs off the rotating aluminum rim with no contact and no magnets. It is bright and always on. It has a standlight that is programmable, but I have yet to figure out the program. They aren't in widespread distribution but available. You'll have to look them up. The last alternative is the old standby Planet Bike Super Flash. The battery lasts a pretty long time and is always available to buy, and when they're off, they're off. I turned one on the other day on a bike that hadn't been out in about a year, and it worked just fine.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:34 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I also have a Cygolite 150 and I just don't like the thing. I don't find that the charge lasts very long, even when not in use. The flashing while charging is annoying too. I had planned to use this in combination with my Magnic Light rear light that runs off the rotating aluminum rim with no contact and no magnets. It is bright and always on. It has a standlight that is programmable, but I have yet to figure out the program. They aren't in widespread distribution but available. You'll have to look them up. The last alternative is the old standby Planet Bike Super Flash. The battery lasts a pretty long time and is always available to buy, and when they're off, they're off. I turned one on the other day on a bike that hadn't been out in about a year, and it worked just fine.
After I read your comment on turning your light on after a year and it still worked, I thought Id check out some of my lights. It might interest you to know I did the same thing with several Li ion powered lights that have been off but were charged when put away more than a year ago and they all worked. I put one of them back on the charger and it showed as fully charged.

The lights in in question were a combination of several models of the Cygolites and Bontrager Flares.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:57 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
After I read your comment on turning your light on after a year and it still worked, I thought Id check out some of my lights. It might interest you to know I did the same thing with several Li ion powered lights that have been off but were charged when put away more than a year ago and they all worked. I put one of them back on the charger and it showed as fully charged.

The lights in in question were a combination of several models of the Cygolites and Bontrager Flares.
Since I don't generally need lights when I ride over the summer, I'll see if my Cygolite still has power in the fall I guess. It hasn't been used much in any case.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:11 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Since I don't generally need lights when I ride over the summer, I'll see if my Cygolite still has power in the fall I guess. It hasn't been used much in any case.
Im a big believer in high power daylight running lights. They get used on every ride day or night. I think it adds a lot of visibility.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:46 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Im a big believer in high power daylight running lights. They get used on every ride day or night. I think it adds a lot of visibility.
My Magnic light is always on in the rear, there is no switch. My front dynamo hub light OTOH I turn off as I find it useless in daylight.
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Old 05-15-19, 09:33 AM
  #81  
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Regarding the usefulness of summer and daytime light, I drove a motorcycle for decades for commuting. After several years it became quite evident that the sunny days were days when very few drivers treated me as if I was invisible. My motorcycles were older Brit bikes that had a light switch, on sunny days I often rode with the lights off to help keep the battery charged even though the law said lights had to be on.

But the days when there was overcast or lots of clouds, those were the days when drivers acted like I was invisible, even with my lights on I had a lot of close calls by people that appeared to not see me.

Based on that experience, on bright sunny days my lights are often off during daytime. But overcast and cloudy days I am wearing bright high vis colored clothing and have a taillight or two on in blink mode as those are the most dangerous days.

In the photo, the bicyclists with bright high vis clothing are approaching so you can't tell if they have tail lights on or not. But the point of my photo here is even though it is daytime, in overcast or cloudy conditions it is pretty easy for a bicyclist to be almost invisible to a bored driver until they get quite close.

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Old 05-15-19, 12:09 PM
  #82  
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I've had all kinds of goofy lighting systems - and I was also hit by a car in the afternoon in brilliant sunshine. (no lights)

My experience would suggest that bright blinking lights should be used in all directions - and at all times.

I guess if I was happy with the performance of a USB light - I would buy four or five of them for use during long rides.

Back in day I used experiment with AA battery packs for type of lights.

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Old 07-05-19, 06:40 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Im a big believer in high power daylight running lights. They get used on every ride day or night. I think it adds a lot of visibility.
Same here, we also run daytime lights. I know other's disagree, but as a car driver, I'm definitely aware of a bike with a daytime flasher, maybe because I'm a cyclist? In any case, I went to rechargeable lights last year because they are brighter than AA/AAA batteries. It does make me have to think about charge time, etc. So much so that I still carry my PB Super flash as a backup, just in case.
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Old 07-06-19, 10:32 AM
  #84  
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I tried my cygolite the other day after not using it for a few months and it was dead again. It had been fully charged. Ill stick with my magniclight on my commuter bike and grab my PBSF when I want one on my roadie
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Old 07-06-19, 02:49 PM
  #85  
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The hotshots do seem to go dead when not used, I suppose they are always thinking about something
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Old 07-07-19, 07:34 PM
  #86  
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I just got a set of these for daytime....these things are nice. $18 on amazon, not bad...they are USB rechargeable.

https://cycletorch.com/product/bolt-...ght-combo.aspx





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Old 07-19-19, 08:30 AM
  #87  
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Back in 2006 I bought this Blackburn Quadrant & Blackburn Mars 3.0 combo for like $35 and I JUST replaced it in 2019 with a Cygolite Metro 700 and Cygolite Hotshot 100 combo.

The Blackburn headlight took 4 AA and the taillight took 2 AAA and I replaced them like once or twice a year at most. The Cygolites have to be charged like every 3-4 days; they will probably go a few more hours but they start to get dim around 6-8 hours of use. I pretty much use flashing modes day or night. Well I don't really ride at night apart from daybreak and a little after sunset. IK don't need the headlight to provide light to see, just to be seen.

My opinion is that USB rechargeable sucks. It's nice that the Cygolite headlight is a lot smaller and definitely brighter, but the taillight is the same size.
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Old 07-19-19, 08:49 AM
  #88  
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USB rechargeable is the only way I'll even consider a light.

No, they don't hold a charge as long as a paid of AA batteries. But so what?

For my riding my big cygolites last for a couple weeks of commuting between charges. My smaller cygolites last about 1 week between charging. They give a warning that they are low when you turn them off (rapid flashing) so I get to work, charge them on my desk, and they are full again when I ride home. Easy as can be.

The larger cygolites (150 red in the back, 460 white up front) won't last more than 10 hours of constant use, but so what? Even if I rode 10 hours a day, there is a charger at my house when I get home.

I also don't leave them constant on. I have them blink at the lowest frequency. I find that's more than adequate for making sure cars see me and it makes the battery last much longer.
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Old 07-19-19, 09:11 AM
  #89  
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AA powered lights have insufficient battery to provide good daytime visibility IMO. You need at least 100 lumens in a taillight and you need at least 500 lumens in a headlight to have solid daytime visibility.
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Old 07-19-19, 10:06 AM
  #90  
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I've been running my Cygolite 360, Hotshot combo for almost five years and they keep going....
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Old 07-19-19, 02:51 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
You need at least 100 lumens in a taillight and you need at least 500 lumens in a headlight to have solid daytime visibility.
I trust that you do, but I don't.
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Old 07-19-19, 03:43 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I trust that you do, but I don't.
I've been riding with daytime lights for a long time. When we broke over the 100 lumen barrier for LEDs, that's when I really noticed driver behavior changing in a dramatic way. By changing, I mean they slowed down and would go around me with much wider margins similar to the effect when you "take the lane." I attribute the effect to enhanced visibility and a longer time to get used to the idea that there's a cyclist up ahead.

I've also found the you can get the same effect with better directed lenses and lower light power. But the selection of lights that qualify is pretty limited and only few lights. Some of the newer Cygolites and the new Bontrager Flares both have good optics which help a lot. The new Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar also has good optics.

FWIW, a lot of my riding is on roads with speed limits of 45mph or higher.

I certainly would agree that different riding environments might get away with less light output but more is almost always better..

J.
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Old 07-20-19, 07:29 AM
  #93  
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I think I've mentioned my Sigma Sport Stereo taillight before. It's USB-rechargeable *and* uses AA cells (it came with rechargeable AAs). I still use it and like it. I recently got notice that Sigma Sport is ceasing US operations, though. I think we'll still be able to get their products, but only through importers.

I prefer rechargeables, but I'm not completely opposed to alkaline-powered lights, either. I'll add to the discussion that I've never had rechargeables leak acid and corrode the insides of a light, though.
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Old 07-21-19, 05:31 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
You need at least 100 lumens in a taillight and you need at least 500 lumens in a headlight to have solid daytime visibility.
That's not true.
100lm is extremely brigt at day, so it'll blind following traffic.
Also 500lm is double the output a normal headlight has.

Even 40lm of red light is so bright, you'll blind people at a distance of 4m.
(Knog Blinder MOB Mr Chips V)

What is important for daylight visibility is a wide beam angle for the taillight.
And a steady or pulse/low frequent light mode.
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Old 07-21-19, 09:18 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by angerdan View Post
That's not true.
100lm is extremely brigt at day, so it'll blind following traffic.
Also 500lm is double the output a normal headlight has.

Even 40lm of red light is so bright, you'll blind people at a distance of 4m.
(Knog Blinder MOB Mr Chips V)

What is important for daylight visibility is a wide beam angle for the taillight.
And a steady or pulse/low frequent light mode.
Car headlights are 700 lumens on low and 1200 lumens on high (halogen, LED are much brighter) - on that you're wrong. Cars have two of them. Here is a source for that information and here's another. In point of fact, a 9004 Halogen bulb (very common car headlight bulb and is around 1700 lumens). So, at 500 lumens, we're not even close on a bike.

Oncoming motorists are not now, nor have they ever, been blinded during the day by headlights during the day. Consequently, if we use this demonstrably safe number as the upper limit, 100 lumen tail lights and 500 lumen head lights are not going to be blinding anyone much less during the day. At 100 lumens, we have more than ample safety overhead. In point of fact, we're approaching almost an order of magnitude of difference. With a 500 lumen headlight on a bike, we aren't even near what a single car headlight puts out.

At 4m, if I blind someone with my wimpy and almost useless 40 lumen taillight, I have other far larger problems. Besides that, lux - the amount of lumens square area decreases as the square of the distance away from the light source. So if I go to 8m, the effect is 1/4th as strong. But other than that, go take a 40 lumen light out on a 45 mph road and see how far away it's useful. The vast majority of them are almost inconsequential at 500' (about 6-7 seconds of warning for a motorist at 45mph). Granted, better optics help a lot and really help a lower lumen light punch above it's weight for sure.

But here's the thing: As a cyclist, I'm far FAR more vulnerable than that motorist in their 3000 lb car. As such, if my little lights are perceived as annoyingly bright (it's an impossibility that they are blinding during the day), then my safety trumps their annoyance by at least an amount large enough to be in the "don't care" range.

I've been riding with headlights and taillights on bikes for the last 20 years. I've been riding with both during the day for the last 3 years. I can tell you based on experience of both following at other cyclists with whom I'm riding at a distance, and by observing motorist behavior with respect to me, that these are the level at which significant change happens. Some lights with better optics (only a very few lights) can do this with less, but in general, I think the rule holds.

And to put a point on it - no one is getting "blinded" with a wimpy 100 lumens during the day. If that were the case, we'd have had cars in ditches and head on collisions from blinded drivers for decades simply because that's about the output of car taillights and it's less than 1/5th the output of a car headlight. Motorists have been experiencing daytime driving with headlights for decades without consequence.

You can add to the visibility of the light by flashing or pulsing - on that agree and it also agrees with the research that Bontrager relied upon for the flashing interrupter patterns their Flare series of lights use.
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Old 07-22-19, 11:36 AM
  #96  
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Good points, @JohnJ80. I will be buying high-intensity lights from now on, and I'll be recommending them. It amazes me when I see people riding with lights that they clearly think are consequential but are not.

I do have some B&M lights that have received compliments on their intensity and focus even though they are low power, but I can't afford them for all of my bikes. My unshaped Cygolite headlight gets some respect.

I went on a rural ride today and had totally forgotten both of my lights. It was a sunny day, so I decided to continue. I was fine, but it's still better to ride with lights.

The other trick to pull off is to make sure to have enough charge in my batteries. That's why I prefer dynamo-powered lighting. I never need to tend to it. I use a rechargeable taillight on my bikes with dynamos, because I only need to charge the taillight once a month. A good headlight needs frequent charging, and I don't trust myself with that.
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Old 07-22-19, 12:11 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Good points, @JohnJ80. I will be buying high-intensity lights from now on, and I'll be recommending them. It amazes me when I see people riding with lights that they clearly think are consequential but are not.

I do have some B&M lights that have received compliments on their intensity and focus even though they are low power, but I can't afford them for all of my bikes. My unshaped Cygolite headlight gets some respect.

I went on a rural ride today and had totally forgotten both of my lights. It was a sunny day, so I decided to continue. I was fine, but it's still better to ride with lights.

The other trick to pull off is to make sure to have enough charge in my batteries. That's why I prefer dynamo-powered lighting. I never need to tend to it. I use a rechargeable taillight on my bikes with dynamos, because I only need to charge the taillight once a month. A good headlight needs frequent charging, and I don't trust myself with that.
I got sort of interested in LED technology (I'm an electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry) and started tracking it in bike lighting back to about 2000. So I started collecting LED tail lights and comparing them to find what I could achieve with a given brightness. So I've spent a lot of time sort of comparing lights one to the other on both my rides and side by side at distance.

In a gross sense, I found that right around 60-100 lumens in a tail light, motorist behavior started to change significantly. I sort of attribute it to the red flashing tail light being bright enough to trigger driver attention since it starts to approximate car tail lights or emergency vehicle brightness at the very lowest end. That leads to reflexive responses and translated into drivers slowing down and going way wide around me at night. During the day, the effect is less pronounced but still there nonetheless.

I think the reason why it works is because motorists have sort of tunnel vision down the lane they're driving in according to the people who study this (found a lot of this on Cycling Savvy's website). So the more distinct of an attention interrupter the light is the more it encourages drivers to examine the shoulder and edge of their lane where we ride and see us from considerably greater distances. Once they see the cyclist, they take action. The farther back that is, the less surprised they are and the less anxiety it produces giving them the time and calmness to do the right thing by slowing down and swinging wide.

There are just a few lights that have low lumens and great optics that punch above their weight. They typically have narrow viewing angles where the light energy is concentrated down that axis. You can really see this when you compare the Bontrager Flares against other 60 or 90 lumen lights. It's right up there with the brightest out there that have significantly larger lumen output. But if you get off axis, then the intensity drops quickly which I think is an acceptable trade off. On axis, the Bontrager Flare seems to me to be as bright as my 800 lumen Niteflux older RZ8 light which has an almost 360 degree pattern (i.e. no axis at all). I don't have the instrumation to prove if, but I'd bet that Bontrager's great optic means the intensity on axis is about the same as at a given point for the Niteflux. It just lacks the side visibility of the RZ8.

So I'm a fan of the Bontrager Flares (both the 65 lumen and the 90 lumen version. Both are excellent). They last a long time on a charge. They are small. And they are bright on axis. Good tradeoff. The Cygolite Hotshot starting with the Micro are all pretty good too (have great optics as well). Most of the other blinkie style lights are close to worthless.

Keeping track of battery charge is kind of a sign of the times. I'm not a fan of dynamos - I don't like wiring and when all is said and done, I like a little more power.
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Old 07-22-19, 12:22 PM
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Fact is, at least until better technology comes around, rechargeable batteries at some point cease being capable of holding a long charge. At which point, the cells need to be replaced, if "full" charging is desired.

Which pretty much means: either have replaceable batteries, or end up tossing an internal-battery rechargeable unit when it ceases to hold sufficient charge (in a handful of years).

I suppose I prefer the longevity of replaceable battery type devices, given how I can correct the charging issue when it arises simply by swapping to a newer, better set of cells.

But then, I do like the USB-rechargeable format, simply from an ease-of-use standpoint. Am still evaluating whether it's worth having, at the cost of being incapable of replacing the internal cells.


Basic math, using a 2x18650 Li-Ion cell example: A couple of 18650 cells (for a headlight) might cost $20, plus the charger (an other $25); and when those cells get weak then it's an other $20 for a pair of cells. Can keep a light fresh and provided with a long charge for as long as the light survives. Versus a ~$100 light that at some point ends up with weak internal cells. Probably cheaper, overall, to go with replaceable cells+charger. Despite the added "cost" (time) of swapping out cells from time to time with freshly-charged ones.

JMO
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