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Cygolite longevity?

Old 10-04-18, 07:14 AM
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Cygolite longevity?

I have a Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150 rear red light

Last night it stopped working. The LED is functional as it turns on constantly when plugged in (not flashing like it should when its' charging).

But when unplugged it won't power on. Just suddenly dead.

I've had it about 12-18 months. I took it apart last night and there are no signs out moisture in the housing. And I didn't hit any puddles or anything yesterday that could have killed it.

Do they just not last very long? Or is this unusual?

I liked it as a light. I'm trying to decide if I should get another one or replace it with something else that has a better longevity record.
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Old 10-04-18, 07:31 AM
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Unfortunately you are probably beyond the 12 month warranty period for Cygolites. You can opt for sending it in for repair. Information here: https://cygolite.com/warranty-and-repairs/ You must have the original sales receipt for warranty services.

It could be the battery or it could be the charging components in the light. That is a rather short lifetime for a light that sells for $33 to $50 depending upon where you buy it. Lithium polymer batteries are usually rated for 500 recharges before the capacity drops to a point where the light is less useful. Sending it in and paying for repair and return may be more than the light is worth.

It's why I have been a fan of the cheaper USB rechargeable lights. If you spend $5-$10 on a light and it fails after a year, it's no big deal. Losing $30 to $50 is a big deal for me.
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Old 10-04-18, 08:22 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I have a Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150 rear red light

Last night it stopped working. The LED is functional as it turns on constantly when plugged in (not flashing like it should when its' charging).

But when unplugged it won't power on. Just suddenly dead.

I've had it about 12-18 months. I took it apart last night and there are no signs out moisture in the housing. And I didn't hit any puddles or anything yesterday that could have killed it.

Do they just not last very long? Or is this unusual?
I've had exactly the same experience. Mine is on a bike that I keep at my daughter's house and is therefore lightly used. Was working fine at the end of my visit last spring but acted the same as yours on my return late in the summer (bike&light were left stored inside the house). Have still been able to get some use out if it by carrying a separate USB charging battery on the bike and leaving the light plugged into that. [OTOH, the Hotshot 80 on my primary bike is still working fine despite being older and many times as much usage.]
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Old 10-04-18, 08:32 AM
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My wife is still using the pre-PRO Hotshot 2-Watt, purchased from Amazon on January 23rd, 2015. Battery life is still excellent.

I'm using a Hotshot PRO, purchased September 21, 2016-- so just past 2 years old. No issues to report.
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Old 10-04-18, 09:03 AM
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This happened to me with one of my Cygolite tail lights. I don't remember the model but it wasn't a 150. It was out of warranty. Customer service told me to send it to them, and they would replace the battery. I did, and they replaced the entire light. These batteries normally last about three years, but there are some that don't, and it's hard to prevent that. Quality control can only do so much.
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Old 10-04-18, 09:57 AM
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Well this got weirder.

Last night nothing I did was getting it to work. Nothing. I took it apart and inspected it. It was clean and dry inside. No visible signs of deformation on the battery.

This morning...same thing. Just a constant red light on. No blinking. No indication of charging. Totally dead when unplugged.

I just plugged it in 1 more time at lunch to see if by some miracle it was suddenly working....and low and behold...it was. It's now charging. Light is flashing. After charging for 1 minute it was working properly when unplugged on battery.

Hell if I know....

The only thing I can even think of is that the battery had run down so low that it somehow couldn't register a voltage that let the circuit board charge it. Then by lunch the room is warmer and voltage goes up a tad and it will suddenly take a charge. That's my only guess.

If the circuit board was faulty or corrupted somehow the problem would not fix itself.

So...hell if I know.

Fun fact I learned...the battery is easily replaceable, at least in the Hotshots (I'm assuming all the models of Hotshots have a similar internal design) The battery is a small drone sized battery with a standard connector. It is not hard wired to the circuit board or glued to the housing. It unplugs and pops right out. So as long as you can find a replacement battery with the same specs/size/connector, it would take you about a minute to swap it out. 3 standard screws in the back of the housing.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:27 AM
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I've had my Cygolite Hotshot Micro & Hotshot Pro 80 for over 3 years now.
No issues/problems. One thing I can complain about is the Pro80's charging
port; it's a mini USB. Instead of the usual micro USB on all of my other lights
+ phone. Is the Cygo 150 still mini USB? Anywhoo; will probably go with
Nitetrider 300 or Lezyne 250 if when I need another tail light.

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Old 10-04-18, 11:33 AM
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Cyogolite switched to MircoUSB on all new products. The Hotshot 150 is MicroUSB

Also...that must be the safest bench in the world. I bet no one ever hits it by accident.

Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
I've had my Cygolite Hotshot Micro & Hotshot Pro 80 for over 3 years now.
No issues/problems. One thing I can complain about is the Pro80's charging
port; it's a mini USB. Instead of the usual micro USB on all of my other lights
+ phone. Is the Cygo 150 still mini USB? Anywhoo; will probably go with
Nitetrider 300 or Lezyne 250 if when I need another tail light.

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Old 10-04-18, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Cyogolite switched to MircoUSB on all new products. The Hotshot 150 is MicroUSB

Also...that must be the safest bench in the world. I bet no one ever hits it by accident.
Ah ok; good to know. Oh another complaint w/ my Pro80; when I 1st plug it in the USB connection
of my work tower - I get an overload warning. It goes away after a few minutes; but it's the only light
that does that. My other lights(Blitzu 168, Niterider 150, Cygo Micro, Planetbike 800, Niterider 650, etc);
don't give an overload signal.

Check out this bench at the 15 second mark
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Old 10-04-18, 12:24 PM
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@Skipjacks, maybe there was moisture causing a short and the moisture dissipated? That's all I've got.

PLEASE tell us where to get these batteries! I'd like my lights to outlast their batteries.
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Old 10-04-18, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@Skipjacks, maybe there was moisture causing a short and the moisture dissipated? That's all I've got.

PLEASE tell us where to get these batteries! I'd like my lights to outlast their batteries.
I spent an hour last night looking for them online. I had no idea what to search for.

I'm sure they are an off the shelf product. I refuse to believe Cygolite burned R&D money to get a custom battery at 5 times the cost per unit. It's just a matter of finding the battery they used.

If you pulled the battery out and took it to a battery store, here we have a place called Batteries+Bulbs that specializes in oddball batteries and lights, I'm sure they could match it.

My guess...if you could find them, is that they would cost $10 or less.
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Old 10-04-18, 01:53 PM
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OK, thanks. That's enough to go on, I guess. I pass one of those stores often enough. Did you actually find the battery you would need after an hour's search?
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Old 10-04-18, 02:55 PM
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Took 2 minutes to disassemble both to find that the Hotshot 2W and the Hotshot PRO use the exact same battery pack.

Li-ion 3.7V -- 3.1Wh 830mAh
Model: J139
28mm H
39mm W
8mm D

Battery appears to have a typical JST micro 3-pin connector. I haven't been able to find a matching item yet, all of the results keep bringing back LiPos, and I'd rather not have my light explode, as there is no built-in discharge limiting circuit.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:19 PM
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I am still using the old model hotshot, the 2 watt one I believe and it is still going strong. I don't use it daily though. I ran an old cygolite halogen light for years before I switched to HID then finally LED. I've had great luck with Cygolite.
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Old 10-05-18, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Took 2 minutes to disassemble both to find that the Hotshot 2W and the Hotshot PRO use the exact same battery pack.

Li-ion 3.7V -- 3.1Wh 830mAh
Model: J139
28mm H
39mm W
8mm D

Battery appears to have a typical JST micro 3-pin connector. I haven't been able to find a matching item yet, all of the results keep bringing back LiPos, and I'd rather not have my light explode, as there is no built-in discharge limiting circuit.
Cool. Mine didn't have a sticker or anything.

You wouldn't have to fine THAT battery, just one that that voltage and physically fits in the casing. (And that doesn't explode. That sounded like a good safety tip.)
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Old 10-05-18, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Took 2 minutes to disassemble both to find that the Hotshot 2W and the Hotshot PRO use the exact same battery pack.

Li-ion 3.7V -- 3.1Wh 830mAh
Model: J139
28mm H
39mm W
8mm D

Battery appears to have a typical JST micro 3-pin connector. I haven't been able to find a matching item yet, all of the results keep bringing back LiPos, and I'd rather not have my light explode, as there is no built-in discharge limiting circuit.
This one has the correct electrical values but seems to be a tad too large fro the Hotshot casing

https://www.batteryjunction.com/empi...e-battery.html

We're getting closer though
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Old 10-05-18, 07:15 AM
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Oh, I've been looking. Cygolite makes a whole lotta lights, it's not outside the realm of possibility that they had these batteries batch made. I found one Li-ion that was close in dimensions, but has a 2-wire lead.

That one is too long because it's the explodey LiPo kind, and has to have the regulator board on the end.

I have the battery from my original Hotshot 2W, which has a broken pin in the mini-USB port-- so it can't be charged. While I have one "extra" battery, finding a source for replacements would be great.
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Old 10-05-18, 07:31 AM
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Yes, even at $15 for a replacement battery that's battery that's better that buying a new light for $40

Assuming the casing and buttons are in good working order, of course.

I do find that the battery lasts forever between charges though. I use the 1 second blink interval. I hardly ever need to charge mine. So if it does last 500 cycles like it should....that's just short of forever. So by the time by battery actually burns out (and doesn't just go haywire like mine did earlier this week) there will probably be a better cheaper light on the market I might want instead.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 10-05-18 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 10-05-18, 07:38 AM
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I'm still blown away by how small the battery is for the rated capacity. It's really small. If the third wire is just for a thermistor (overheat protection for charging) then a 2-wire could be used by just swapping plugs. I would only consider that as an option if I can find the correct sized packs from Asia, where they would be $2-3 each.

...or just 3D print a new housing and put a 2,000mAh in there. Would run for days.
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Old 10-05-18, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I'm still blown away by how small the battery is for the rated capacity. It's really small. If the third wire is just for a thermistor (overheat protection for charging) then a 2-wire could be used by just swapping plugs. I would only consider that as an option if I can find the correct sized packs from Asia, where they would be $2-3 each.

...or just 3D print a new housing and put a 2,000mAh in there. Would run for days.
You could wire a 2,000 mAh to a micro USB plug and just velcro the battery pack to the back and run a 1 inch USB wire to the charging port. Dirty, but effective.
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Old 10-05-18, 07:44 AM
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While I've never tried it, I'm not sure the Hotshot will operate while charging, as it goes into "charging mode," where the LED blinks/lights to indicate the charging state.

Been browsing Amazon to see "what's new." Still no competitors for brightness/battery life at the price point.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
While I've never tried it, I'm not sure the Hotshot will operate while charging, as it goes into "charging mode," where the LED blinks/lights to indicate the charging state.

Been browsing Amazon to see "what's new." Still no competitors for brightness/battery life at the price point.
I just tested it. Both the Hotshot red light and Dash head light work while charging.

The blinking 'charge indicator' light is replaced by normal operation when the light is powered on. (I keep a spare USB battery pack with me for just this reason and I've used it to power my headlight while riding multiple times when the battery dies at the least opportune time)

The real question would be if the light overheats if used while charging. My bet is the flashing light at 1 second intervals doesn't produce enough heat to make added heat from charging a problem. But the headlight in 'constant on' mode it might. Like I said I've charged it while using it in real world use, but never thought to made sure it wasn't overheating. I also don't think I've ever done it in 'constant on' mode while riding at night. I'm pretty sure I've only done it when flashing the light as a be seen light in daytime.

Also of note....the Hotshot rear light works when plugged in even if the battery is removed. The battery is not in a series circuit with the control board. It can be entirely bypassed. So if you were to try and external battery for constant power, you could remove the internal battery and also remove any worry about too much heat from use while charging. (Note: I have no idea if the headlights work the same way. I've never taken that one apart)

My god I love using electronics other than as directed by the manufacturer!
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Old 10-05-18, 08:27 AM
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I'm glad to learn that they are using liion. I always assumed that they were using lipo because of the form factor. It probably is a standard offering from some battery manufacturer, but that doesn't mean it's available retail

re-doodling the innards into an externally powered light is an interesting idea. Too bad I lost my hotshot 80 in the woods somewhere
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Old 10-05-18, 10:00 AM
  #24  
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How dangerous are lipo batteries? I'm willing to take some reasonable amount of risk.

Thanks for your experiments @Skipjacks. They may prove to be useful to me.
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Old 10-05-18, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
How dangerous are lipo batteries? I'm willing to take some reasonable amount of risk.
In the proper device that is functioning correctly, not very dangerous.

But if something isn't working right, very.

They don't have automatic kill switches that stop the battery from charging. So they can be overcharged if there is not a regulator stopping it. That can lead to fires.

And if they discharge too fast and become hot they tend to get a little 'splodey'. Again, a regulator on the circuit is supposed to prevent that.

But if you put a LiPo battery in a device designed for a Li-ion that doesn't have those integrated safety features, it's basically asking for a fire.
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