Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Topic started by: JulesP on September 29, 2019, 11:21:01 am

Title: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: JulesP on September 29, 2019, 11:21:01 am
My B&M Lumotec IQ-X has failed due what looks like water ingress (an all-too-common problem?), so I'm looking for a more reliable dynamo light + USB dynamo charger replacement.

I'm leaning towards a B&M USB-Werk at the moment (light TBC), but I have no idea how it works with a dynamo light. Is some cable splicing required to have the dynamo connected to both the light and the USB charger, and if so, how is switching between the two handled..? Or it it just a case of disconnecting and connecting the appropriate cable, as required..?
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: T42 on September 29, 2019, 03:19:45 pm
If you're running off a Shimano dynamo you shove both USB-Werk & light cables into the plug. If you're running off a SON you need special piggyback spade clips like this: https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/lighting-spares/schmidt-cable-connector-noninsulated-48-mm-female-with-piggyback-connector-pack-of-20/

My USB-Werk & battery have had a couple of good drenchings - no problems.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on September 29, 2019, 03:44:39 pm
Or you can do something neater with a connector of choice so that you can connect and disconnect the charger without interfering with the lighting wiring.

Either way, they just run in parallel.  If the lights are on at the same time as the charger's working, you get slightly less light and a lot less charge.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: JulesP on September 30, 2019, 11:43:12 am
Ah, I see... Presumably the cable from the hub can be split any any point (piggy back clips at the light, for instance)? I'd rather not have that level of clip and cable  complication at the SON hub itself.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on September 30, 2019, 01:35:05 pm
Ah, I see... Presumably the cable from the hub can be split any any point (piggy back clips at the light, for instance)? I'd rather not have that level of clip and cable  complication at the SON hub itself.

Yeah, absolutely.  On my tourer, I have the cable run from the hub, splitting at a female Tamiya connector at the lowrider rack, up to a switch at the handlebars (because the IQ-X switch fault isn't funny on a recumbent), and then along the boom to the front light.  My E-Werk lives safely in one of the front panniers with whatever it's charging, with the input cable terminating in a male Tamiya emerging from the pannier.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: grams on September 30, 2019, 02:08:51 pm
You kind of have to live with joining them at the hub if you go for a light with a captive cable (like the otherwise excellent Edelux 2).
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on September 30, 2019, 02:12:15 pm
You kind of have to live with joining them at the hub if you go for a light with a captive cable (like the otherwise excellent Edelux 2).

Only if you run the full length of that captive cable to the hub.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: aidan.f on October 08, 2019, 06:08:18 pm
For an conventional upright, put the joint up inside the steerer above the mudguard bolt with a plastic wine cork and a few cable ties or helicopter tape to hold cables in place.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 08, 2019, 06:19:57 pm
Or do something like this:

(http://www.ductilebiscuit.net/gallery_albums/kitchen_pr0n/IMG_2573.sized.jpg)

The joint is in the back of the female Tamiya connector.  Charger plugs in with a male Tamiya when needed.  Tamiya connectors are non-shorting when wet, and dry out quickly - I've done thousands of miles (mostly without anything plugged in) on two bikes with this sort of arrangement without any problems.  Everything's nicely secured to the bracket for strain relief.  The inline spade connectors to the right are the cable to the rear light.
Title: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: JulesP on October 13, 2019, 02:14:10 pm
While piggyback spade connectors do the trick, I’m not crazy about this arrangement. I can rewire to tidy things up and move this lump of plugs out of sight, but it still strikes me as a bodge.

Is there some compact junction box-type component that would provide a more elegant solution for a permanent three-way connection (dynamo, front light and USB adapter)..? I’m fairly clueless about options here and am not sure what to look for.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191013/3e124bde742c1254e054e5c91b30b73d.jpg)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 13, 2019, 05:26:56 pm
Personally I'd solder and heatshrink.  But a Wago connector might do the trick.  Not sure how they handle getting wet.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Paul H on October 14, 2019, 05:18:26 am
SON have recently, or it's recently come to me attention, started doing a range of connectors that are not of the spade type.
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/
My recent Edelux light came fitted with one and it's a lot nicer to connect than the traditional fitting.  I think it's probably the neatest way to split a cable and possibly the most expensive.  Though whatever you do it still looks like a lot wiring.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 14, 2019, 06:51:52 am
SON have recently, or it's recently come to me attention, started doing a range of connectors that are not of the spade type.
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/
My recent Edelux light came fitted with one and it's a lot nicer to connect than the traditional fitting.  I think it's probably the neatest way to split a cable and possibly the most expensive.  Though whatever you do it still looks like a lot wiring.

My USB-Werk came with those screw connectors. It also came with a cable with screw connector on one end, and bare wires on the other. I shoved that into the lego block connector of the Shimano Dynamo. It's currently not mounted on the bike and the screw connector is just cable tied to the Di2 ratsnest on the handlebars. It's had several good soakings and hasn't seemed to effect the performance of the Dynamo or the hub. Wish they may an inline switch tho, there's no mechanism to turn off the usb-werk. If you're charging and want your lights on at the same time, both are slightly hindered.

J
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: T42 on October 14, 2019, 08:58:44 am
This thread reminded me that I haven't used my B&M buffer battery since PBP 2015.  Visions of totally dead pricey Li-ion triggered adrenalin flow and crushing shame until I got the thing out and read NiMH on the destructions. Still developing 5.12v after 4 years on the shelf.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: JulesP on October 14, 2019, 10:37:14 am
SON have recently, or it's recently come to me attention, started doing a range of connectors that are not of the spade type.
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/
My recent Edelux light came fitted with one and it's a lot nicer to connect than the traditional fitting.  I think it's probably the neatest way to split a cable and possibly the most expensive.  Though whatever you do it still looks like a lot wiring.

So the SON Coaxial Junction Box with coaxial connector Male (https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/dynamos/schmidt-coaxial-junction-box-male-connector-w-coaxial-adapter-80-cm/) appears to provide a coax connector to the dynamo and a hard-wired connection (inside the junction box) to the light, with a separate coax connection splitting off for a USB charger. That still leaves the rear dynamo light connection dangling somewhere, but it looks neater than a tangle of crimp connectors.

Filling the junction box with hot glue (as SON recommends (https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/downloads/sch-y-junc-inst.pdf)) makes it a spendy use-once option, though, and not hugely different from just soldering the wires and heatshrinking them – just without the option to disconnect the USB charger at that end.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: grams on October 14, 2019, 10:52:01 am
But a Wago connector might do the trick.  Not sure how they handle getting wet.

I've just acquired two pole connectors like these (https://www.toolstation.com/in-line-spring-lever-connectors/p30952) for that purpose - which aren't a clone of a product Wago actually makes, they're a Chinese factory innovation. Mainly because trying to shove two pairs of wires into a Shimano lego brick has never lasted very long.

Mine are translucent and it looks like there's potential for water to pool inside. I might drill some holes in them.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Paul H on October 14, 2019, 12:42:52 pm
SON have recently, or it's recently come to me attention, started doing a range of connectors that are not of the spade type.
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/
My recent Edelux light came fitted with one and it's a lot nicer to connect than the traditional fitting.  I think it's probably the neatest way to split a cable and possibly the most expensive.  Though whatever you do it still looks like a lot wiring.

My USB-Werk came with those screw connectors. J
I don't know which connectors you're referring to, the SON one I have is push fit.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Paul H on October 14, 2019, 12:48:24 pm
Filling the junction box with hot glue (as SON recommends (https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/downloads/sch-y-junc-inst.pdf)) makes it a spendy use-once option, though, and not hugely different from just soldering the wires and heatshrinking them – just without the option to disconnect the USB charger at that end.
Yes, if you can do away with the need to disconnect the charger then the neatest job would be as you suggest.  Thanks for the PW link, which led me to look at the Supernova connectors, I hadn't looked there recently, it is an excellent source of info on all things dynamo. That it's one use doesn't bother me,  it's going to last the lifetime of he light, which will do me fine.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Nightmare-1 on October 22, 2019, 02:12:41 pm
Why would you want to disconnect the "USB WERK"?
Just unplug the USB cable.

P.S.
Does anyone know where to get a waterproof cover for the USB port/connector on the USB WERK?
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 22, 2019, 03:56:35 pm
SON have recently, or it's recently come to me attention, started doing a range of connectors that are not of the spade type.
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/
My recent Edelux light came fitted with one and it's a lot nicer to connect than the traditional fitting.  I think it's probably the neatest way to split a cable and possibly the most expensive.  Though whatever you do it still looks like a lot wiring.

So the SON Coaxial Junction Box with coaxial connector Male (https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/dynamos/schmidt-coaxial-junction-box-male-connector-w-coaxial-adapter-80-cm/) appears to provide a coax connector to the dynamo and a hard-wired connection (inside the junction box) to the light, with a separate coax connection splitting off for a USB charger. That still leaves the rear dynamo light connection dangling somewhere, but it looks neater than a tangle of crimp connectors.

Filling the junction box with hot glue (as SON recommends (https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/downloads/sch-y-junc-inst.pdf)) makes it a spendy use-once option, though, and not hugely different from just soldering the wires and heatshrinking them – just without the option to disconnect the USB charger at that end.

The splitter box has 1 pass through cable and 1 socket.
You run the light through the box and plug the charging device into the socket on the box.

Ok it's not a box its a cuboid but...

What else I will say is I'm rubbish at soldering and those connectors need you to be good at soldering.


The other advantage you get is that the Co-Ax connector with the spade conversion block is much easier to remove from your front hub than the spades.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 22, 2019, 05:47:39 pm
Why would you want to disconnect the "USB WERK"?

Starter for 10:  So it doesn't get nicked.

Also, because you only need it for a handful of rides a year, so why have it on the bike the rest of the time?
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 22, 2019, 11:37:50 pm
Why would you want to disconnect the "USB WERK"?

Starter for 10:  So it doesn't get nicked.

Also, because you only need it for a handful of rides a year, so why have it on the bike the rest of the time?

More over, the battery within the device has a limited number of cycles in it's life. No point having them wasted commuting to work...

J
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: andrew_s on October 24, 2019, 01:44:55 pm
Does anyone know where to get a waterproof cover for the USB port/connector on the USB WERK?
I doubt that there will be one.
The circular plugs are waterproof, but USB ports aren't.

You could look for a USB-A socket on a long lead to a round plug, or a round plug to round socket extension lead, that would allow putting the socket in a handlebar bag.
An extension is part of the e-Werk cable set (£21). I've not seen it separately, but I've not looked.

Alternatively, get a length of inner tube that's fat enough to accommodate the socket, put the lead through it so the USB socket is recessed inside by about an inch from the end, then zip tie it to your head tube, folded over in the middle so both ends are downwards.
Should be pretty rainproof so long as you use mudguards. An advantage of this is that any water that does make it into the socket will dry off fairly quickly. The same can't be said for an attempted waterproof cover that's leaked.
If you don't have any dead tubes that are fat enough, Poundland sells inner tubes that were fat enough for my Igaro D2.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Bolt on October 25, 2019, 10:13:03 am
In terms of lights that incorporate USB charging the Axa Luxx 70 plus continues to perform extremely well for me after extensive use over quite a few years, even surviving a full submersion following a canal path off :o  I use it in conjunction with a pass through charging powerbank with the light itself mounted on a handlebar extension giving easy access to switch between modes.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 25, 2019, 11:47:39 am
Does anyone know where to get a waterproof cover for the USB port/connector on the USB WERK?
I doubt that there will be one.
The circular plugs are waterproof, but USB ports aren't.

You could look for a USB-A socket on a long lead to a round plug, or a round plug to round socket extension lead, that would allow putting the socket in a handlebar bag.
An extension is part of the e-Werk cable set (£21). I've not seen it separately, but I've not looked.

Alternatively, get a length of inner tube that's fat enough to accommodate the socket, put the lead through it so the USB socket is recessed inside by about an inch from the end, then zip tie it to your head tube, folded over in the middle so both ends are downwards.
Should be pretty rainproof so long as you use mudguards. An advantage of this is that any water that does make it into the socket will dry off fairly quickly. The same can't be said for an attempted waterproof cover that's leaked.
If you don't have any dead tubes that are fat enough, Poundland sells inner tubes that were fat enough for my Igaro D2.

You get a cover for the USB-Werk side of the splash proof connectors; however if you have luggage on your bike, it's easier to leave the USB end on and stuff it into said luggage.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 25, 2019, 12:40:32 pm
If you have luggage in on your bike, it's easier to put the entire charger, along with whatever is being charged, inside and have some sort of connector upstream.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: fboab on October 25, 2019, 01:48:15 pm
In terms of lights that incorporate USB charging the Axa Luxx 70 plus continues to perform extremely well for me after extensive use over quite a few years,
Me too. I don't like the judge-y light pattern ("you are so slow you don't need proper light now") and the beam has more artefacts than our Cyos but you can't knock the straightforwardness of the charge point. I haven't ever submerged it, but it's survived torrential downpours (so far). We've barely used the E-werk, we switched lights to the Axa when we thought we'd want charging.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Nightmare-1 on October 28, 2019, 01:37:13 am
Does anyone know where to get a waterproof cover for the USB port/connector on the USB WERK?
I doubt that there will be one.
The circular plugs are waterproof, but USB ports aren't.

You could look for a USB-A socket on a long lead to a round plug, or a round plug to round socket extension lead, that would allow putting the socket in a handlebar bag.
An extension is part of the e-Werk cable set (£21). I've not seen it separately, but I've not looked.

Alternatively, get a length of inner tube that's fat enough to accommodate the socket, put the lead through it so the USB socket is recessed inside by about an inch from the end, then zip tie it to your head tube, folded over in the middle so both ends are downwards.
Should be pretty rainproof so long as you use mudguards. An advantage of this is that any water that does make it into the socket will dry off fairly quickly. The same can't be said for an attempted waterproof cover that's leaked.
If you don't have any dead tubes that are fat enough, Poundland sells inner tubes that were fat enough for my Igaro D2.

You get a cover for the USB-Werk side of the splash proof connectors; however if you have luggage on your bike, it's easier to leave the USB end on and stuff it into said luggage.

Thanks for the replies.
It's always struck me as insane that they didn't make the USB waterproof!
After all you can buy pre-wired waterproof USB's plugs & sockets (molded silicone covers) with removable caps, just the wire connectors are different from/not compatible with the "Werks" ones. :(
 
I've solved the problem (temproarily) with the cut off fingers from latex gloves stretched over it.
Tested today in the rain and it seems to work OK. :thumbsup:

You'd have thought someone would have come up with something like a miniature version of the plug & socket covers for gardening, where you connect them and then put the waterproof cover over it.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: andrew_s on October 28, 2019, 10:09:39 am
The basic problem is that you can't waterproof without requiring dedicated cables, and persuading all the phone makers etc to switch to a standard design of waterproof socket. This latter isn't going to happen.

I dare say that B+M thought that using standard plugs and a USB-A socket was preferable.

B+M do sell a round plug to micro-USB plug lead for the *-Werk, which gives waterproofing as far as the socket in the device.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 28, 2019, 10:47:31 am
If you have luggage in on your bike, it's easier to put the entire charger, along with whatever is being charged, inside and have some sort of connector upstream.
Depends on the luggage and what else you've stuffed into it...
It could go in my toptube bag along with the battery pack, money, ancient Nokia, head torch etc, but it's a pretty tight fit as it is.
If I put it in the frame bag it'll fall out every time I open it.
The trade off I've gone for it to zip tie it to the down tube and run the USB cable up into the top tube bag where all the USB cables congregate.
But then that's on the bike I use for the circumstances that call for on the go charging.


Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Nightmare-1 on October 28, 2019, 01:04:50 pm
The basic problem is that you can't waterproof without requiring dedicated cables, and persuading all the phone makers etc to switch to a standard design of waterproof socket. This latter isn't going to happen.

I dare say that B+M thought that using standard plugs and a USB-A socket was preferable.

B+M do sell a round plug to micro-USB plug lead for the *-Werk, which gives waterproofing as far as the socket in the device.

No need to persuade anybody, if you start making waterproof USB plugs/sockets that "work" then in time everybody else will use them.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 28, 2019, 01:14:15 pm
Unlikely to happen, USB is supposed to be a reliable low-cost connector for connecting computing peripherals, not something for use in rough environments.

In the style of the EtherCON, Neutrik have a ruggedised version of the USB A and B connectors that's IP65 rated.  I'd trust those to work, but the size and weight (and the fact that the thing you want to connect to probably has mini/micro/C connectors) makes them completely impractical.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 28, 2019, 02:14:41 pm
The standardization on USB mostly happened because the EU threatened to legislate a standard plug and ban the selling of wall adapters with phones. (or something along those lines)
USB was too convenient to not use as it was and phone manufacturers no longer need to make/order wall adapters.
Apple did as Apple does and produced something to lock their users into holy wafers Apple approved products.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 28, 2019, 04:30:08 pm
To be fair to the Mega-Global Fruit Corporation, even their stuff speaks USB.  It just uses a funny connector.

The regulation was always about the wall wart, rather than the charging port.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 28, 2019, 04:40:19 pm
To be fair to the Mega-Global Fruit Corporation, even their stuff speaks USB.  It just uses a funny connector.

The regulation was always about the wall wart, rather than the charging port.

True, though once the USB based standardization for both charging and communication happened it made no sense to continue having the separate charging port, my last Nokia (an E72) had both a USB Micro port and the "small nokia" port, both of which could be used for charging. 
Which was a bit pointless...

Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 28, 2019, 04:57:47 pm
That did make sense at the time, given that the Nokia chargers were as close as we got to a de-facto standard.

But yes, the move to USB has greatly simplified matters, in an as-confusing-as-possible sort of way.

None of these things are waterproof, of course.  I'm not sure what the ideal solution to that is, other than enclosing things.  Inductive charging is inefficient, which isn't what you want here.  Something like the old Garmin serial connector would probably be how I'd attempt to make a waterproof charging port on a handheld device.  Or swappable batteries a la eTrex, which is increasingly impractical for phones, just as 18650 cells have become sort-of mainstream.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Nightmare-1 on October 28, 2019, 06:55:01 pm
The micro USB connector for the phone is not a problem as the phone has a waterproof case and the connector is inside it.

It's the "Standard" sized USB at the other end that's the problem, all that's needed is a cover for that when you're charging.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Kim on October 28, 2019, 08:45:11 pm
If you don't need to unplug it, you can waterproof an inline USB A-A connection with self-amalgamating tape.  I've got such a connection in a dusty corner of the bathroom floor (don't ask) where it's regularly soaked during mopping sessions, and it's been fine for a few years now.

Of course, if you've got an e-Werk or USB-werk and don't need to unplug it, you can eliminate that connection entirely by buying the appropriate cable.
Title: Re: Connecting an USB dynamo charger to a dynamo
Post by: Nightmare-1 on October 28, 2019, 09:04:16 pm
If you don't need to unplug it, you can waterproof an inline USB A-A connection with self-amalgamating tape.  I've got such a connection in a dusty corner of the bathroom floor (don't ask) where it's regularly soaked during mopping sessions, and it's been fine for a few years now.

Of course, if you've got an e-Werk or USB-werk and don't need to unplug it, you can eliminate that connection entirely by buying the appropriate cable.

Doh! :facepalm:
Thanks Kim I didn't think of that.

I'm off to source a cable. :thumbsup: