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What's wrong with dynamos?

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What's wrong with dynamos?

Old 09-18-19, 05:31 AM
  #51  
JaccoW
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
There is a german guy (laempie.de) who modifies existing lamps with cutoffs and adds additional LEDs for a (switchable) high beam, even on a dyno powered lamp. My Cyo Premium was modified there, i can give feedback on the light quality in 2-3 weeks.
This is the kind of engineering I like! I'd love to hear how it works for you.
I will be buying a Cyo Premium soon but for a city commuter so floodlights are not necessary.

The handlebar mount looks like 3D-printed nylon so I'm not sure it would survive being bumped into at the train station bike parking.

I was planning in disassembling the light to strip and polish the heatsink for a nice classic look though.

EDIT: I have dynamo lights on every single one of the bikes in my signature except for the Gazelle Superlicht. But that's because it is still lying around in parts.
Plan is to build a wheel around a classic Sturmey Archer GH6 dynohub and add LED lights disguised in classic housing.

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Old 09-18-19, 07:23 AM
  #52  
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I've had a dynamo light for 5 years now and would never go back. I took that bike last night into the darkest part of the city that I know, a completely unlit portion of Prospect Park and the Cyo Premium throws a beam that lights the road in front of you better than the streetlights in the rest of the park. There was a cop car where I went into the dark and I thought he would warn me not to go there.

Probably the biggest users of dynamo lights these days is Citibike. Every one of them has a dynamo. I'm surprised that this didn't create an increase in demand in bikes for sale with them built in.
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Old 09-18-19, 11:00 AM
  #53  
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Citibike probably uses Dynamo lights exclusively for their low maintenance, and for Safety reasons to avoid law suits because the battery in the lights either died, or was stolen when someone has an accident.

From a practical point of view I think LED battery lights are the best choice for most folks. But if you are reading this forum, Biking is a hobby too, And part of that hobby is trying different options. And Dynamo lighting is a very appealing one for commuters who ride at night, Or for touring.
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Old 09-18-19, 01:00 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
there is a german guy (laempie.de) who modifies existing lamps with cutoffs and adds additional LEDs for a (switchable) high beam, even on a dyno powered lamp. My Cyo Premium was modified there, i can give feedback on the light quality in 2-3 weeks.
Reading the website using google translate, it looks like he will sell parts to update lamps. I would like that so I don't have to ship my lights. Is google getting that right? I suppose I could send an email and hope he knows English
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Old 09-18-19, 01:16 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Reading the website using google translate, it looks like he will sell parts to update lamps. I would like that so I don't have to ship my lights. Is google getting that right? I suppose I could send an email and hope he knows English
he normally sells his service to modify lights. Either you send a cyo premium or a luxos to him and he modifies it or you can order a complete, modified light. Since you are from the other side of the big pond, sending an existing light would be stupid, so i can't imagine that he wouldn't just sell you the parts. I am pretty sure he is able to communicate in english, so just send a request!
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Old 09-18-19, 02:16 PM
  #56  
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thanks, I'll try it.
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Old 09-18-19, 03:46 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
No. The older sealed beam headlights had a wide low flat beam on low beam. The lenses were not as precise as modern lenses but they still had a good low beam that was not like a flashlight beam. Sometimes when driving down the road at night you might think that the approaching vehicle had their high beams on because they were so bright, but when the vehicle got closer you could tell that it was a heavily loaded pickup truck or a station wagon that was sitting lower on the rear axle which caused the headlights to be out of adjustment.

I am staying out of your other arguments at this time, but the one I commented on I felt warranted correction.
The old sealed beams were only slightly flat. The lamp and reflector are round without any kind of beam shaping. They weren't just conical but they were very, very close to that.
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Old 09-18-19, 03:49 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by xroadcharlie View Post
From a practical point of view I think LED battery lights are the best choice for most folks. But if you are reading this forum, Biking is a hobby too, And part of that hobby is trying different options. And Dynamo lighting is a very appealing one for commuters who ride at night, Or for touring.
I would say that dynamo lighting is only appealing to some commuters. I see very few commuters with generator lights around my town. Very few come into my co-op and we see a lot of bikes that are dedicated to commuting. Most people are running a battery light of some kind.
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Old 09-18-19, 04:59 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I would say that dynamo lighting is only appealing to some commuters. I see very few commuters with generator lights around my town. Very few come into my co-op and we see a lot of bikes that are dedicated to commuting. Most people are running a battery light of some kind.
I've only seen a handful myself in NYC, with the exception of Citibike as I'd already mentioned.
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Old 09-19-19, 10:03 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I've only seen a handful myself in NYC, with the exception of Citibike as I'd already mentioned.
Yup. And we dynamo users wink when we notice each other.
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Old 09-19-19, 10:08 AM
  #61  
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my LBS has a fairly steady number of customers that get dynohub wheels built. Between the high quality of battery lights, the expense of dynos, and the lack of knowledge about them in the cycling community, it's not that surprising that you don't see many out in the wild. It's gotten better than 10 years ago, when people would shout at me that my lights were on.
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Old 09-19-19, 01:36 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
This is the kind of engineering I like! I'd love to hear how it works for you.
I will be buying a Cyo Premium soon but for a city commuter so floodlights are not necessary..
Mounted the light today and went for a 20 min ride to a park with some dark paths. Nobody needs a high beam when there are streetlights, so in most cases it's more a "want to have it" thing. However in dark sections the high bean is very useful.
The new leds are a bit more efficient so the light got brighter (with a warmer tint as well), and electronics were modified so the lamp now consumes max 4W (instead of 2.4W) to achieve enough output for the high beam function. Cut-off in low beam is unchanged.

High beam has the same beam shape as low beam, just shifted above the cutoff.

Since i always try to bike along smaller, less car frequented roads and many bike routes lead through parks, the money was spent very well!
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Old 09-19-19, 04:11 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
electronics were modified so the lamp now consumes max 4W (instead of 2.4W) to achieve enough output for the high beam function
Looking at dynamo comparison chart it looks like many dynamos get to 3W at about 15 km/h , but 25 km/h is needed to get close to 4W. I'm curious if there would be any noticeable dimming of the head light below 25 km/h. Or if the extra headlight draw has much affect on the tail light (not that you'd be able to see it).

His site talks about dynamo lights with an extra 12V battery powered floodlight. I wonder if it would work with 7.4V which is a common battery voltage for bike lights if you wanted to use a battery you already own.


I was out riding last night with my dynamo light and I thought of another feature, a self leveling light. Hard cornering with my edelux is almost like not having a light, beam on one side goes into the ground and the other side up into the air with only a bit of the center being on the road.
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Old 09-19-19, 07:55 PM
  #64  
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to me, the high beam is probably most useful while descending, so the extra power would be available. When I was using my luxos, that was a really welcome use of the high beam. Cornering with the luxos on high was nice, didn't have to worry so much about the beam not illuminating the parts of the road around the corner.
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Old 09-20-19, 01:35 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by gecho View Post
Looking at dynamo comparison chart it looks like many dynamos get to 3W at about 15 km/h , but 25 km/h is needed to get close to 4W. I'm curious if there would be any noticeable dimming of the head light below 25 km/h. Or if the extra headlight draw has much affect on the tail light (not that you'd be able to see it).
At 15 km/h the high beam is not needed as one travels pretty slowly. I guess even high beam at slower speeds won't effect the tail light, since all modern tail lights have pretty good capacitors (mine, a B&M switches of after 4-5 mins (without previously dimming the brightness) after i stop riding) and a regular biker easily reaches speeds of 20-25 km/h to charge up the capacitors regularly. In addition, the current demand of (StVZO approved) LED tail lights is very low, i remember reading 20-50 mA (@6V)

He added (afaik) a LC resonator/oscillating circuit, i don't know whether that increases the voltage demand of the light. If so it would mean the full 4W are provided at lower speeds.


Originally Posted by gecho View Post
His site talks about dynamo lights with an extra 12V battery powered floodlight. I wonder if it would work with 7.4V which is a common battery voltage for bike lights if you wanted to use a battery you already own.
A typical e-bike voltage... But if one asks, he probably can include a step up transformer to the package..


Originally Posted by gecho View Post
I was out riding last night with my dynamo light and I thought of another feature, a self leveling light. Hard cornering with my edelux is almost like not having a light, beam on one side goes into the ground and the other side up into the air with only a bit of the center being on the road.
The high beam helps a lot in cornering and reduces the need for such a feature a lot, i agree with unterhausen.
In another forum a guy (who builds a lot of DIY dynamo lamps for himself) suggested a gimbal for this. It would also probably require a bit more weight at the bottom of the lights to guarantee that the light adjusts instantly when the bike inclines.. And it would make the lights significantly more expensive, if it is designed to be durable...
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Old 09-20-19, 07:47 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by gecho View Post
... I wonder if it would work with 7.4V which is a common battery voltage for bike lights if you wanted to use a battery you already own.
....
When you say "I wonder if it would ...", if by "it" you mean the dynohub, the voltage on a hub climbs as current flow is reduced. If I am not using any power at all out of a hub, I have measured over 30 volts (AC) with a multimeter on a shallow downhill.

When I put the meter on the hub wiring and used my USB charger, I found that the Sinewave USB charger was only taking as much hub output as it could use, so the voltage out of the hub climbed steadily with greater speed. On my Sinewave Revolution, I do not recall the maximum speed but the manufacturer has stated a fairly high speed for a bicycle that it would withstand without overloading from the high voltage in the hub output.

But on two of my dyno powered lights I was surprised that the voltage stayed constant at near 6 volts, thus I assumed that the lights had zener diodes or some other device that drained of excess power and converted it to heat while regulating the voltage. (A zener diode was used as a voltage regulator on my 1960s and 70s vintage British motorcycles years ago.)


Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
to me, the high beam is probably most useful while descending, so the extra power would be available. When I was using my luxos, that was a really welcome use of the high beam. Cornering with the luxos on high was nice, didn't have to worry so much about the beam not illuminating the parts of the road around the corner.
Some of my lights have a nice wide beam, such as the Luxos U, but some I have trouble cornering because the beam is so narrow, that would include my AXA Luxx 70 Plus which has a very narrow beam.

This website has a number of different light beam photos, if you right click on them and select open in another tab, you can get large enough images to see them.
https://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/te.../index_en.html

Unfortunatley it appear that the author of that website stopped updating it with newer lights a few years ago.

From the link above, the beam from my AXA Luxx 70 Plus is at:
https://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/te...x70plus-2s.jpg

Luxos U is at:
https://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/te...tandard-2s.jpg


Years ago on one of my motorcycles I had a headlamp that had a "Z Beam" made by either Cibie or Hella (I do not recall which) that had a very sharp cutoff on low beam but the right side beam had a higher beam that angled upwards at maybe 20 degrees so that when you cornered to the right, you still had light as long as you did not lean more that about 20 degrees. Left side beam was not higher, thus not much help cornering to the left but it did not shine in the eyes of oncoming traffic either unless the traffic was to your right when you were approaching a right hand curve.
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Old 09-20-19, 09:03 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When you say "I wonder if it would ...", if by "it" you mean the dynohub
No, some of the modifications he offers include an LED that is powered just by a battery, completely separate from the dynamo powered LEDs.
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Old 09-21-19, 11:39 AM
  #68  
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I took my IXON IQ Premium on a non-dynamo bike last night, which is another light that would be nice to upgrade. Considering it came out around 2014 and is twice as bright as the regular IXON IQ, an emitter swap wouldn't likely be a dramatic improvement. It probably has a Cree XR-E Q5 which is 99 lumens per watt, which was pretty much the end of the line for that particular emitter line. A Cree XML2 U3 is 170 lumens per watt but has a different forward voltage and physical illumination characteristics and might not work as a drop in replacement.

I came across some photos from a guy who was attempting high output upgrades of an IXON IQ using bigger batteries instead of the 4 x AA. He had to add large heat sinks, and in his final version with a Cree XHP70 (12V 3500 lumen emitter) the heat distorted the plastic reflector. IXON Cree XHP
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Old 09-22-19, 01:24 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by gecho View Post
No, some of the modifications he offers include an LED that is powered just by a battery, completely separate from the dynamo powered LEDs.
If i understood his page correctly (german native speaker, but my electronical skills are not the best), he offers some versions which are completely battery powered, and some which are dual powered. the dual powered ones do not have dedicated LEDs powered by the battery, the LEDs are just powered by two sources, dynamo + battery.

Originally Posted by gecho View Post
I took my IXON IQ Premium on a non-dynamo bike last night, which is another light that would be nice to upgrade. Considering it came out around 2014 and is twice as bright as the regular IXON IQ, an emitter swap wouldn't likely be a dramatic improvement. It probably has a Cree XR-E Q5 which is 99 lumens per watt, which was pretty much the end of the line for that particular emitter line. A Cree XML2 U3 is 170 lumens per watt but has a different forward voltage and physical illumination characteristics and might not work as a drop in replacement.

I came across some photos from a guy who was attempting high output upgrades of an IXON IQ using bigger batteries instead of the 4 x AA. He had to add large heat sinks, and in his final version with a Cree XHP70 (12V 3500 lumen emitter) the heat distorted the plastic reflector. IXON Cree XHP
The XHPs have a way to big emitter for this reflector, as they consist of four dies connected in series. One would have to replace the original with a newer automotive LED with a similar chip size, maybe it would work with two of the very close together. With an XHP70 one completely changes the beam shape (you either drive constantly with high beam or there is way too much light in front of the bike). The Cyo Premium has the same reflector+LED as the IXON IQ Premium, and my cyo got a new main LED as well.
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Old 09-22-19, 10:46 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
If i understood his page correctly (german native speaker, but my electronical skills are not the best), he offers some versions which are completely battery powered, and some which are dual powered. the dual powered ones do not have dedicated LEDs powered by the battery, the LEDs are just powered by two sources, dynamo + battery.
They way I read it (based on google translation) the two hybrid light versions with red text have the dedicated battery floodlight LED, and only on the luxos. One is upgraded low beam + battery floodlight and the other, low / high and floodlight. The floodlight on the first one acts as the high beam, and on the second one gives you a double power high beam to over 200 lux.
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Old 09-22-19, 11:00 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
...
Some of my lights have a nice wide beam, such as the Luxos U, but some I have trouble cornering because the beam is so narrow, that would include my AXA Luxx 70 Plus which has a very narrow beam.

...
For me it's a problem when the light is fixed to the frame, not turning with the bars, a sharp turn is almost dark. I had the thought to use a gyro to detect when I'm turning and automatically turn on secondary lights. It's one of those "is it worth the effort" projects that you never get around to.
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Old 09-22-19, 03:44 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
For me it's a problem when the light is fixed to the frame, not turning with the bars, a sharp turn is almost dark. I had the thought to use a gyro to detect when I'm turning and automatically turn on secondary lights. It's one of those "is it worth the effort" projects that you never get around to.
When I turn, I do not turn the bars enough enough to see all of the area that I would like to be lit. I might turn the bars 10 or 20 degrees for a slow 90 degree turn.

Both of those two lights I referenced, the Luxos U and the AXA Luxx 70 Plus have additional LEDs that provide better close in light at lower speeds and at higher speeds those LEDs are shut off, presumably the extra power goes to the distant LED light. When I am making a sharp turn when it is dark out, I am riding at slower speeds and those additional close in LEDs are lit but they do not shine very much to the sides. If those close in LEDs were re-aimed more to the sides and aimed slightly higher to make it easier to lean into the turn, that might be adequate for slower sharp turns. Then by turning those LEDs off at higher speeds, there is less chance of oncoming traffic seeing them. I think that is a simpler solution than a gyro.

Some AXA Luxx 70 Plus owners have complained about the closer in LEDs turning on or off suddenly and being bothered by that, but I got used to it pretty fast, does not bother me.

I have no clue how the lights determine your speed (high versus low speed), might be AC frequency, might be power out of the hub. But it does not really matter to me how they do it, it seems to work which is all I care about.
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Old 09-22-19, 07:12 PM
  #73  
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Fall is here in Florida, so darkness will come earlier.


I just got back inside from riding around the neighborhood, the streetlights are still broken from Hurricane Michael last year, and I did notice darker in the corners at speed and you can't necessarily tell what is going to be there with little to no streetlights. Plus, wanted to brag on my commuter, it was hit last year by a car and I have upgraded quite a few things to include a small basket I got off Amazon. I do wish that I would have known about Velogical from our friends in Germany (thank you polyphrast) as that would have saved me yet another wheel rebuild and lots of trouble.

Shimano DH-3D71 dynamo hub up front with B&M IQ-XS Senso plus silver and B&M Seculite Plus in the rear-mounted on the fender.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:03 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by wsgts View Post
...Plus, wanted to brag on my commuter, ...
Shimano DH-3D71 dynamo hub up front with B&M IQ-XS Senso plus silver and B&M Seculite Plus in the rear-mounted on the fender.
Nice looking bike. I especially like the giant saddle bag, it does not appear to sag at all onto your fender.

I have the IQ-XS on my rando bike (mine is black), I like that light.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:16 AM
  #75  
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When I turn, I do not turn the bars enough enough to see all of the area that I would like to be lit. I might turn the bars 10 or 20 degrees for a slow 90 degree turn.

Both of those two lights I referenced, the Luxos U and the AXA Luxx 70 Plus have additional LEDs that provide better close in light at lower speeds and at higher speeds those LEDs are shut off, presumably the extra power goes to the distant LED light. When I am making a sharp turn when it is dark out, I am riding at slower speeds and those additional close in LEDs are lit but they do not shine very much to the sides. If those close in LEDs were re-aimed more to the sides and aimed slightly higher to make it easier to lean into the turn, that might be adequate for slower sharp turns. Then by turning those LEDs off at higher speeds, there is less chance of oncoming traffic seeing them. I think that is a simpler solution than a gyro.

Some AXA Luxx 70 Plus owners have complained about the closer in LEDs turning on or off suddenly and being bothered by that, but I got used to it pretty fast, does not bother me.

I have no clue how the lights determine your speed (high versus low speed), might be AC frequency, might be power out of the hub. But it does not really matter to me how they do it, it seems to work which is all I care about.
I don't think that your speed is an indicator of whether you're turning or not, not if you want a gadget to turn a "turning light" on and off.

If you've looked at the steering tube movements, it's a whole bunch of small movements each way both in a turn and going straight. It would average into a few degrees on a turn, and that might work if you were looking at only the fork turning, but if you think about how to implement that you'd have to time-average it for a second. Two seconds maybe? You're already a good way into the turn before the light turns on.

My thought is that analyzing the motion of the bike itself, gyro+accelerometer, could more quickly tell me when a turn was being initiated, turn on that side light and illuminate the path around the turn. It would be simpler to just add a manual thumb switch though like a turn signal, and that's where I really come up against the "is it really worth it" reluctance. Except that I think it's an interesting problem.
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