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Blinky Niterider & Cateye not getting a charge

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Blinky Niterider & Cateye not getting a charge

Old 07-23-21, 10:49 AM
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Blinky Niterider & Cateye not getting a charge

Apparently the USB mini chargers I am using can’t reliably charge my LED tail lights any more. Twice recently my tail lights went dead during an under 3 hour ride when they were removed from a charger prior to the ride (and been charging for an hour or more, usually overnight).
The manual for the Niterider says it will light up continuously ON when fully charged & blink when charging. Mine will blink weakly once or twice but then go dark so it appears nothing is happening.
Do LED tail lights burn out? I did expose one to road spray at least one (the little rubber cover was not in place).

Or, are there better quality USB chargers I can get? These little single cheapies I’ve been using do manage to charge my iPhone & iPad but perhaps are slow?

How can I improve the reliability of these LED tail lights that have been letting me down lately?

Last edited by masi61; 07-23-21 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 07-23-21, 12:06 PM
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Li Ion batteries do not last forever. If your lights have such batteries, that could be it.
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Old 07-23-21, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Li Ion batteries do not last forever. If your lights have such batteries, that could be it.
These lights are only a little over 1 year old. I wonder how many recharge cycles they can take before they are toast? Also, they appear to not be serviceable to where you can open it up to access the battery.
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Old 07-23-21, 01:15 PM
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I have this problem with one of my Niteriders - if I use a 1.5A+ USB charger, it is too much and behaves as you describe. Thought it was broken. But put it on a lower-powered 0.8A or 1A and seems fine again. Check your USB wall warts.
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Old 07-23-21, 01:33 PM
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If you go to a legitimate battery manufacturer's website, most will tell you that the lifetime for a rechargeable Li-ion battery like a 18650 is 500 recharges before the capacity falls to 80% of the original value. Some of these lights use a flat battery pack based on lithium polymer chemistry but the lifetime should be the same. If it affects all three of your lights, I would suspect the charger. I've charged my cheap Lezyne drive knockoffs with a variety of sources. That includes from outlets that have a USB port built in to small brick plug in modules. They all seem to work the same though. The lights are a couple of years old but still seem to have the same run time. That's pretty good for a 100 lumen light that now costs around $11 for a pair.
The LED does not burn out similar to an incandescent bulb though may give off fewer lumens after a lot of hours. The lights I use in my home were rated 50,000 hours which means they will certainly outlive the electronics in the fixture that changes AC to DC with the correct voltage to operate the LED.
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Old 07-26-21, 08:02 AM
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Chargers and cables go bad. Isolate the problem by swapping in known-working things. I have tons of wall chargers and cables and see them going bad fairly often.
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Old 07-28-21, 06:37 PM
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Try another USB charger. Some will charge faster and work better.

Lithium-ion batteries do have finite lives and runtimes per charge, but it varies wildly. I generally like Cygolite Hotshot taillights, but my first, the 25SL, lasted only about 18 months with regular use before I wouldn't take or hold a charge. Same with my first Light & Motion Urban 500 headlight. My second Cygolite, the Hotshot Pro 150, is still going strong after nearly two years of regular use.

My second Light & Motion, the Rando 500, still works after nearly two years, but with reduced runtime per charge. Both L&M lights tend to retain full rated output per setting and blink out suddenly. The L&M Rando 500 has one advantage -- using the special USB cable supplied by L&M, it can be charged and run simultaneously via a USB battery, but only in low power mode, so it's only useful as a running/warning light, or minimally effective nighttime headlight, at 125 lumens. If I planned to rely on the Rando 500 as a primary headlight via USB battery, I'd want at least two and preferable more. That's a bulky affair, with multiple lights, cables and batteries. It would make better sense to get a dyno hub light setup. Or just carry plenty of spare small headlights.

I have a few low power, inexpensive multi purpose lights that are still going after about 5 years. One is a Blackburn 2'Fer, multi-mode white/red steady/blinking clip on light that I mostly use as a red blinky on the back of my helmet. The other is another Blackburn, white only, steady or blinky -- I mostly use it on the front of the helmet. And a now-discontinued tiny headlight marketed under various names, rebadged from a generic inexpensive Chinese made light. It's about the size of a Bic lighter, very lightweight, with white steady high, low and blinking modes. I mostly use it as a helmet light. All are still holding a charge and seem to last almost as long per charge as when new.

My NiteRider headlights have generally been more satisfactory than Light & Motion. Good runtime per charge, longer overall lifespan. The main difference I've noticed is the NiteRiders tend to become dimmer gradually rather than blinking out suddenly. While neither is better than the other, the gradual dimming serves as a sort of warning that the light needs to be recharged. Because they use the same quick release mounts, I usually use the larger NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 twin-LED light, which is comparable to a decent motorcycle headlight; and on longer rides I'll carry a spare NiteRider, the smaller Lumina Micro 750 commuter grade headlight -- very bright but with a smaller battery and shorter runtime, although it'll last a few hours at the lower outputs. Good enough to get home after a long ride.

Also, at least according to some users, NiteRider headlight batteries can be replaced. That doesn't appear to be possible with Light & Motion, which are sealed units. The NiteRiders appear to have screws/bolts that can be removed to access the battery. I don't know whether the batteries plug in or need to be soldered.
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