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Lights for urban trike

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Lights for urban trike

Old 05-29-19, 01:06 PM
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salcedo
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Lights for urban trike

My wife and I are about to buy a Nihola cargo trike (Nihola Family). I need some advice to choose lights for it. Things to consider
  • I want to mount one rear and one front light on each front wheel. Maybe also a fifth rear light on the seat post
  • I don't want to spend more than 200$ (I would be happier spending a lot less)
  • We will ride slowly and mostly on well-lit roads or residential areas. I don’t need the lights to be super bright, I just want to be seen. But we will have our son on board and share the road with cars so it is very important to be seen. I’m also planning on using 3M reflective tape
  • The bike is mostly for short rides (5 to 15km) and will be used daily all year round
  • It gets dark at 4:00 pm during winter where we live, and I don’t want to have to charge 4 lights every night. The most important thing for me is long battery life. Ideally, I would only have to charge or replace my batteries once a week (or once a month if possible).
  • Nihola trikes have weird light mounts on top of the fenders. I guess I could drill holes or mount lights with o rings, but some lights might be incompatible
  • My LBS guy wants to install LED lights that run with disposable batteries because he says they have much better battery life than rechargeable lights. Can anyone confirm this?
Thanks for any tips

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Old 05-29-19, 01:58 PM
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Cool Crowded marketplace..

lower wattage demand extends the battery life .. as does a blinking function.

D sized flashlight batteries generally are higher capacity, .. that's amp/hours data..

probably can put a big common battery in the cargo box,
but 2 AA, one per your mudguard perch could be adequate.

I got a bolt on mount that Busch and Muller offer to have a QR clip ,
for many handlebar mounted headlights * off the handle bar..

Alkaline disposables are 1.5v rechargeables are 1.2v so you need a 5th battery to reach 6v rather than 4.

*

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Old 05-29-19, 01:59 PM
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I mostly use AAA batteries in my taillights. I like the Ikea brand Ladda NiMH rechargeable batteries, the white ones. Ikea sells two versions, the more expensive white ones are the ones I recommend. Maybe disposables last a bit longer, but if you are going through that many batteries, buying a good quality recharger and a bunch of rechargeable batteries might be cost effective in the long run.
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90303880/

The recharger I use is no longer made, but I think this is the replacement for it. Very good charger.
https://www.amazon.com/AccuPower-IQ3...dp/B013HP4N70/

If you go this route, get twice as many batteries as you need, then you can swap them and charge some while the others are installed.

For comparison:
https://d2ei442zrkqy2u.cloudfront.ne...400_US_CT1.pdf

***

Will the trike be stored in a sheltered area out of the rain when you are at home? If so and if I was doing what you are planning, I would seriously consider a Li Ion system with USB ports in each light, you can plug in the lights while still mounted on the bike with long USB cords.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by salcedo View Post
  • My LBS guy wants to install LED lights that run with disposable batteries because he says they have much better battery life than rechargeable lights. Can anyone confirm this?
Unclear which exactly you mean, but many of those lights will work on NiMH or NiCd cells, too.

I actually have a little flashlight that takes either an alkaline AA, a rechargeable AA, or a 14500 lithium. As a need-targeted helmet light it's plenty for urban circumstances, not really enough for the MUP out in the wilds but it goes along there anyway as my backup to larger solutions, and as the light I bring "just in case" on "this will be over long before dusk" rides. I generally run it on rechargeables of one sort or another, but a fresh alkaline AA doesn't weigh much to bring as a backup.

If you mean those silicone-strap-encased coin cell rear blinky's, those are also nice as a minimal/unplanned-after-dark solution, though I sometimes mount something more if I'm going to be in actual traffic and not a MUP or lane.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:53 AM
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Fantastic trike!

Since rechargeable lithium-X batteries have come in, I don't think alkaline disposable batteries have an advantage anymore.

Charging many lights can be a pain, not only because of the trouble but also because of the margin for error. One possible solution is to install permanent wiring on the trike and power the lights with an external battery. You can remove the battery and charge it off the trike, and you'll only have to do it once every day or two. Really, you can do it a lot less frequently, depending on its capacity, but I find that if I have a daily habit, it's also a more reliable habit. I charge most of my things every day, even when they don't need it, to be safe. And this does not harm lithium-X batteries!

Another idea is hub dynamo power. A dynamo isn't powerful enough for all of your lights. On my commuter bike, I have a mixture of dynamo and battery powered lights. Tail lights don't need frequent charging, so I power my headlight and one taillight with the dynamo. I power a second taillight and a spoke light with batteries. The battery taillight us USB chargeable, and I only have to charge it once a month. The spoke light uses a coin battery, and I only have to change it every two or three months, as it is not powerful, though it is very effective. A dynamo headlight is ideal for me because it is always on, and the power source is never ever reduced. The light is bolted onto the bike 24 hours a day, and it comes on whenever the bike rolls. The light stays on for a few minutes after I stop rolling.

Headlights and taillights powered by coin cells are too meager. I know others feel different, but I think they are worse than useless because the user thinks they work adequately. This prevents them from using adequate lights.
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Old 05-30-19, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...
Another idea is hub dynamo power. ....
That was my first thought, but I am not familiar with any dynohubs that attach to a bike from only one side. From the photo, it appears that the wheels are not attached to a conventional fork. Are there any dynohubs that would work?
http://www.nihola.com/fileadmin/_mig...Kaleche_06.jpg
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Old 05-30-19, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by salcedo View Post
  • We will ride slowly and mostly on well-lit roads or residential areas. I don’t need the lights to be super bright, I just want to be seen. But we will have our son on board and share the road with cars so it is very important to be seen. I’m also planning on using 3M reflective tape
An urban setting requires brighter lights to compete with all the other lights. That's just my opinion.

For reflective tape, see if you can source Oracal (Oralite). It works extremely well.

https://www.hhsignsupply.com/product...Vinyl-c686.htm


-Tim-
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Old 05-30-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
That was my first thought, but I am not familiar with any dynohubs that attach to a bike from only one side. From the photo, it appears that the wheels are not attached to a conventional fork. Are there any dynohubs that would work?
http://www.nihola.com/fileadmin/_mig...Kaleche_06.jpg
Ah, that does present a challenge. There are rear dynamo hubs, but that doesn't help much. I think there is an add on that can attach to your wheel, but I don't know how good they are. And there are bottle (sidewall) dynamos, but they present a lot more drag.
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Old 05-31-19, 05:33 AM
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on one of the pics on their site, I'm pretty sure I saw a Phillips Saferide mounted. They must have a mount for the fork crown like Bob posted above. I think I could figure out how to mount a Spanninga Pixeo to the back, maybe with a brake post mount. Or a Cygolite Hotshot with a rack mount

I think I would have a good taillight mounted to the rear of the trike and another on the left front fender.

I think a bike like this really needs a dyno, but I agree there aren't any dyno hubs that would fit. The B&M sidewall dyno looks okay

Last edited by unterhausen; 05-31-19 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 05-31-19, 07:57 AM
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Maybe the additional drag of a sidewall dynamo wouldn't be very significant, given how much energy it takes to propel it. You won't believe how much you'll love the convenience of a dynamo once you try it. To me, the most important thing is the headlight, since headlights use so much more power than taillights. Never worrying about the charge of a headlight's battery is a wonderful thing. And you can actually power two headlights with a dynamo.
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Old 05-31-19, 10:10 AM
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I had an old Union sidewall tire driven generator on my errand bike. For a mile and a half to the grocery store, it was ok. But if using every night, I would look for something better. I have never seen a Velological, but they look interesting. Half the wattage of a dynohub, and expensive, but I suspect the drag is less than on a tire mounted sidewall. Someone told me that the Velological is noisy, but I have never seen one so I can't comment on that.
VELOGICAL RIM-DYNAMO - Standard Bicycle Dynamo - Smooth Running, Lightweight, Efficient

There are you tube videos that I never watched, but if I was thinking about buying it I would do a lot more research. Here I am only pointing out that they exist.
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Old 05-31-19, 11:40 AM
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Hub dynamos for trikes : https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/h...os/for-trikes/


# 227601 for Christiania trikes, may be applicable..






....

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-31-19 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:42 PM
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With the OrfosPro, you could connect all lights on each bicycle to one powerbank.
https://www.orfos.us/pages/pro

So the capacity of the powerbank decides about the runtime.
And you can get an 4x18650 powerbank with 4x3,5A cells (50Wh).
Soshine E3S-QC 18650x4 Portable Power Source Bank + Quick Charger 30W - Soshine
Soshine High Quality E3S 18650 Portable Best Power Bank+Charger 3.5A - Soshine
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Old 06-07-19, 10:29 AM
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I had an old Union sidewall tire driven generator on my errand bike. For a mile and a half to the grocery store, it was ok. But if using every night, I would look for something better.
And in fact, the Axa HR and B-M Dymotec are better than your old Union. I run the Axa on one of my bikes. I was promised by anonymous internet experts that if I fitted one I'd wind up cursing the grave of Baron Karl Friedrich Christian Ludwig Freiherr Drais von Sauerbronn, but around town IMO it's just dandy.

Anyway, I was thinking the ne plus ultra answer for our OP is perhaps something from Reelight or Magnic.

Say, do the fender-mounted rear facing lights shine into the rider's peripheral vision?

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Old 06-08-19, 08:52 AM
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Peter White cycles still has some 6v B&M Bottle dynamos in his inventory , as of a week ago..
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Old 06-08-19, 01:00 PM
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Can't find any component spec delineation on Nihola's Family web page, but those front hubs look like Sturmey-Archer X-SD single sided 70mm drum brake hubs. If so, swap the right-side one out for an X-SDD dyno hub.

Sturmey-Archer | X-SDD

6 volts, 3 watts, no waiting, power LED lights, no batteries, Bob's your uncle, hoodibaba:


Last edited by tcs; 06-09-19 at 08:48 AM.
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