NiteNumen
Results 1 to 28 of 28

Thread: bicycle generator light sets

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,857

    Default bicycle generator light sets

    When I was a kid in the late 70s, they were quite popular. The generator had a friction wheel that rested on the rear tire of the bicycle and turned when the tire turned. It did make pedeling somewhat more difficult.

    Now I don't see them around anymore and I always thought they had a lot of potential for improvement. One big change would be to regulate the output so you wouldn't blow bulbs if moving too fast. Also perhaps a low power battery backup bulb. Or have the generator charge a battery, just like a car system. Of course they have high end rechargeable lights now, albeit quite expensive in some cases but I still think there would be a use for an improved bike generator light. True not for stop and go like mountain biking but for commuting road bikes, it would be an endless supply of renewable energy. I put mine to good use, commuting home from a late night restaurant job.

    Anybody know if they're still around?

  2. #2

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    The generator lights are still around. They aren't valued very highly, though, for bicycles. Anything on a bike that diverts your work to anything other than moving it, is undesirable. The system that might work would be a generator that comes into play only during the near-free rides downhill, and then it would only recharge a light-weight battery like a NiMH.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,567

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    generators are still popular overseas. To view the best available check out peter white cycles.
    The schmidt even has a capacitor that powers a LED when the wheel stops.

    or check out sheldon browns site here

    Besides being a caver and flashaholic I am also a biking nut!
    I have an old fashioned wheel drager cheapy for sale cheap if you want to experiment.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    305

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    There is a Simpson's episode where Bart is riding his bike at night (to do some star-charting punishment with Principal Skinner), and he says "Better turn on my light"- He engages the generator, and the bike slows to a crawl, as the light puts out a weak pulse of light with each pedal stroke Bart can muster. That is about how efficient the generators were that I used as a kid. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    The Netherlands (NL)
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Bicycle generators are very very popular in The Netherlands (bicycle country #1). They have been so for many many years. In fact, each bicycle (except some mountainbikes) comes with one standard. They power the headlight and the red taillight.

    Some generators are very cheap, which results in having to put a lot of physical power into each pedal stroke to generate light and the light output can still be minimal. But there are also much better models that generate full brightness with even the lightest pedal stroke. These often also have an output regulater to protect the lamp from blowing if you're going (too) fast.
    We mount generators on the rear part of the frame.

    The most popular bicycle headlights over here have different finishes and styles. The cheapest are made of metal, use a krypton lamp and have a bad light beam (dark spots, rings, etc.). These are mostly used for a certain type of bicycle we call "granny/grandpa bicycles" because of their overall style. The better headlights are made of high-impact plastic with polycarbonate lenses, mirrored or partially faceted reflectors and halogen lamps. These often have nice round beams that are really bright and powerful. They are perfect for unlit terrain as they really penetrate the dark. Some are even to powerful (you'll notice that when the beam hits your face [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ). I've also seen a couple of headlights that had a white-bluish (sp?) tinted beam. Perhaps these use xenon lamps?

    All in all, those generators are really useful. I can't imagine a Dutch bicycle not having one.


    Greetings,
    Velcro

  6. #6
    Glowing admin B@rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Land of Tulips and Philips
    Posts
    9,757

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Hi Velcro,
    my Challenge Hurricane doesn't have one...and it's not even an ATB.
    they can be very handy, but on a recumbent?
    Seems to me that it isn't build to even accommodate one.
    I wonder why? [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Vista, CA 92084
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I thought about doing an LED setup with one of these "wheel draggers" (that's avery apt name by the way) But after I built my first 4 white LED headlamp with 4 AA batteries, I decided I didn't want to pedal any harder! With the new NiMh, it's practically free to operate.

  8. #8

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I have a Schmidt SON hub dynamo that's very efficient. I can't notice the drag when I turn it on.

    It can put out about 12V 6W at higher speeds (25km/hr). It puts out more or less a constant 500mA (AC).

    I've been thinking about making an LED headlamp out of 4 Luxeon Star/O LEDs in series/parallel, but mounted back-back so that two would run when the voltage was positive, and then the other two when the voltage went negative.

    With enough heatsinking, I think I can get the Luxeons to take the peak currents (which I suspect will be almost 700mA).

    I'm going to try using a dummy load made out of 8 1N4004 diodes first so I don't invest $60 in 4 LS LEDs.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Berkeley, CA
    Posts
    871

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    BikeNomad, any luck or progress with your conversion? I'm thinking of doing a trip across the country in a few years...this could be the perfect lamp! (Don't want to lug along my NiteRider system, etc.)

    I did a SF to LA trip with some friends last summer, but never really rode at night. The one night we were caught in the dark, I whipped out my Eternalight, but this wasn't really mounted very well...

    A two or three or...four ( [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] ) LS lighting system would light up a road no problem. I think even two Luxeons running around 350ma each should do the trick?

    BTW, were you the one a while back that modified the Specialized light with two luxeons? That was a neat mod...ever consider doing it again? (hint..hint...)

    EDIT: I found it...(it wasn't you after all): http://homepage.mac.com/abrankod/PhotoAlbum1.html

  10. #10

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I know this is a little off topic, but I thought bicycle enthusiasts may be interested. You should check out http://www.napa.ufl.edu/2001news/glowingbike.htm. Some students in Florida created a glow in the dark bicycle.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    FlashlightReviews.com
    Posts
    4,329

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Link didn't work, but try this one:
    http://www.napa.ufl.edu/2001news/glowingbikeph.htm

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Calina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Longueuil, Québec
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Any news on this front?
    Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

  13. #13

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    *
    Last edited by macforsale; 08-28-2007 at 12:35 PM.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* AndyTiedye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    Posts
    2,034

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Last edited by AndyTiedye; 02-16-2007 at 07:15 PM.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ulm, Germany
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Quote Originally Posted by B@rt
    Hi Velcro,
    my Challenge Hurricane doesn't have one...and it's not even an ATB.
    they can be very handy, but on a recumbent?
    Seems to me that it isn't build to even accommodate one.
    I wonder why? [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
    Well, my Mistral has a holder for a bottle dynamo, but I'm using a SON hub. Since the (normal) Hurri has the same rear fork, there may be some of them around with a dynamo.

    Bye
    Markus

  16. #16
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ulm, Germany
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Quote Originally Posted by bikeNomad
    I have a Schmidt SON hub dynamo that's very efficient. I can't notice the drag when I turn it on.

    ....
    I've been thinking about making an LED headlamp out of 4 Luxeon Star/O LEDs in series/parallel, but mounted back-back so that two would run when the voltage was positive, and then the other two when the voltage went negative.
    ...
    Usually not worth the effort. 4 LEDs means twice the Optics/Reflectors and twice the front area compared to 2 LEDs and a silicon bridge. The Lux IIIs will stand it - they'll also stand it with 1 LED and a bridge and still have an output comparable to a halogen bulb. Depending on your setup (which SON in which size wheel), you'll get a good efficiency from 3..4 LEDs in series at higher speeds, but need to switch back to 1..2 LEDs for slow riding (just bridge the superfluous LEDs with a switch).

    Bye
    Markus

  17. #17
    Glowing admin B@rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Land of Tulips and Philips
    Posts
    9,757

    Wink Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I checked, and there is no attachment for it.
    Not that it matters much, I'm using the Cateye TripleShot...
    BART

  18. #18

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Quote Originally Posted by geepondy View Post
    When I was a kid in the late 70s, they were quite popular. The generator had a friction wheel that rested on the rear tire of the bicycle and turned when the tire turned. It did make pedeling somewhat more difficult.

    Now I don't see them around anymore and I always thought they had a lot of potential for improvement. One big change would be to regulate the output so you wouldn't blow bulbs if moving too fast. Also perhaps a low power battery backup bulb. Or have the generator charge a battery, just like a car system. Of course they have high end rechargeable lights now, albeit quite expensive in some cases but I still think there would be a use for an improved bike generator light. True not for stop and go like mountain biking but for commuting road bikes, it would be an endless supply of renewable energy. I put mine to good use, commuting home from a late night restaurant job.

    Anybody know if they're still around?
    Not only are generators still around, they are very popular in the United States among Randonneurs (long distance cyclists). The better ones not only provide voltage regulation, but the most efficient ones are in the hub itself. The Schmidt and Shimano generators are in the front hub, they are not cheap, but are efficient enough that we use them on 24 - 90 hour rides (sleep is optional). Full details can be found at Peter White cycles on the web.

    I intend to replace my generator powered halogen light with leds - the reason I've joined the forum is that I don't want to pay the $200 to $300 for a E3 or E3 triple so I'm going to learn to build my own.

    Albert

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Hudson Valley
    Posts
    3,174

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I am sure you will find the information you seek!
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  20. #20

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,128

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    A basic light would consist of a bridge rectifier, two 3 watt white LEDs such as Cree XR-E's, and appropriate optics. Mount the Cree's to a suitable heatsink, put some sort of housing around the LEDs and electronics to protect them from the weather, and attach to the bike.

    A more advanced light would include a standlight, and there are varying degrees of sophistication in this type of design. There was a good thread in this sub-forum a few months ago.

    You might also want to wire in a second set of LEDs for high speed descents.

    There is also the option of using the quad die Cree MC-E LED instead of individual XR-E LEDs. Haven't tried this myself, but it is tempting.

    There are lots of options. Since you are using a conventional halogen light at this time, I think you'll be very happy switching to a basic two LED light. The improvement is significant!

    regards,
    Steve K.

  22. #22

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Thanks everyone, I have my homework lined up!

  23. #23

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I saw a friction-free, contact-free dynamo (to power a battery-free bike light)in the web , it is not a hub dynamo that we need to change the whole front whell, but just a attachment to the whell, but still deliver 15 Lux of light power at 10 meter distance, it must be a nice idea to review it, they are at www.magtenlight.com.
    Last edited by michaelmuller; 03-27-2009 at 07:39 AM. Reason: update information

  24. #24

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I just built this basic light, and it's been working great.



    See http://yojimg.net/bike/equipment/lig...ights.php#dyno for details.

    -Jim G

  25. #25
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I don't know about you guys, but I use my bike for commuting, and it's really convenient to have a dynamo lighting the way. I keep battery powered lights for backup, but safety is my main concern; I don't mind carrying a few extra ounces, and I don't mind working a little harder. I commute by bike for exercise, not to compete with anyone.

    Bell still makes the dynamo. I'm going to order another for my wife's bike. She rides so seldom at night, it's nice to have the security of a light system that won't run out of juice because it's setting there. AND, I don't have to check the batteries.

    There's a set on amazon.com for 14.95 right now, and there are more expensive ones out there. USA Brand makes one too, a little more expensive. Haven't tried that one out yet, but, I 'm very happy with my Bell set.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Calina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Longueuil, Québec
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Quote Originally Posted by dbaeren2002 View Post
    I don't know about you guys, but I use my bike for commuting, and it's really convenient to have a dynamo lighting the way. I keep battery powered lights for backup, but safety is my main concern; I don't mind carrying a few extra ounces, and I don't mind working a little harder. I commute by bike for exercise, not to compete with anyone.

    Bell still makes the dynamo. I'm going to order another for my wife's bike. She rides so seldom at night, it's nice to have the security of a light system that won't run out of juice because it's setting there. AND, I don't have to check the batteries.

    There's a set on amazon.com for 14.95 right now, and there are more expensive ones out there. USA Brand makes one too, a little more expensive. Haven't tried that one out yet, but, I 'm very happy with my Bell set.
    That is the great advantage of dynamos: they never run out of juice. And now with the high power LEDs available, you get all the light you need and more; plus it is relatively easy to have a stand light on your lamp.

    What's not to love?

  27. #27

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    Dynamo light are still around & have made a big come back now we have super efficient LEDs...

    I offer a nice looking dynamo kit, also in DIY form for you guys that like to roll your own... check out the link on the bottom of this post for details...

    K

  28. #28

    Default Re: bicycle generator light sets

    I have dynamos on both of my bikes: a shimano dh3n80 hub on my commuter with a homebrew dual xr-e light (design borrowed heavily from sfCyclotourist), and a Schmidt hub with a Schmidt Edelux light on my rando/long-distance bike. On the Schmidt bike I can feel the extra weight of the wheel, but I can't tell a difference between the light being on or off - it's very efficient. The Shimano has a bit more drag, but my commuter bike is pretty heavy anyway with racks and fenders, so it's not a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

    I just really love being able to run a bright headlight on my commute home and not have to worry about carrying extra batteries or stopping in the cold or rain to change batteries.

    On brevets I usually have a Princeton Tec Eos helmet light to supplement the Edelux. We usually ride on really dark back roads, so the extra light is helpful.

    Chris

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •