Author Topic: Front Light  (Read 6253 times)

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: Front Light
« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2019, 10:30:04 am »
Because you overestimated how long they would last
Or because it got much colder, which can have a big effect on the output of batteries. I once got a Garmin 820 down to 2% charge in just over 2 hours at slightly below zero; it normally lasts 3-4 times that long.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Front Light
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2019, 10:34:47 am »
The most obvious failure mode of battery lights is the batteries being dead when you don’t want them to be. Because you overestimated how long they would last; underestimated how long they need to charge; lost track of which batteries are full and empty; because the plug came loose when they were meant to be charging; because they switched themselves on in your bag; etc.

This entire category of failure has no equivalent in the world of dynamo lights.
Yes; I'd say every one of these could happen on PBP. Not WILL happen - but things worth ruling out, all other things being equal.

I've certainly seen someone (on a 600) surprised that their new power-bank had no charge in it. As for the other issues, I've probably had most of them at some point!

(but I do still use battery lights a lot!)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Front Light
« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2019, 11:12:32 am »
I have the Ixon Iq Speed (two) and the main issue is the batteries need refreshing when used infrequently. I'm tempted to try replacing them with a 7.2 or 7.4V Li-ion pack (or two so I have spares). These will hopefully hold their charge better when not in use.

4-cell packs with 5000mAh capacity would be lighter than the standard packs.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Front Light
« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2019, 02:16:25 pm »
The most obvious failure mode of battery lights is the batteries being dead when you don’t want them to be. Because you overestimated how long they would last; underestimated how long they need to charge; lost track of which batteries are full and empty; because the plug came loose when they were meant to be charging; because they switched themselves on in your bag; etc.

This entire category of failure has no equivalent in the world of dynamo lights.

none of these failure modes is applicable if the light is fully charged before the event, shows the burn time remaining and lasts way longer than required. fit and forget.
even on the tcr (two weeks) i didn't need to charge the lights on the go; topped them up once in a hotel.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2019, 09:11:21 pm »
What are the night light burn time estimates for the 90 hour 80-90 hour riders?  I am guessing I need around 21 hours with the lights on but this is a wild guess.  What are other riders on the board planning for?

Front Light
« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2019, 09:21:11 pm »
About 9 hours per night


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

SPB

Re: Front Light
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2019, 09:55:40 pm »
I guess it depends on whether you think you'll sleep mostly in the day or at night, and whether you want to allow for running lights to help you be seen in any rain or morning mist.

I was thinking of ensuring I have at least 40 hour run times if I take battery lights, in the hope that would give sufficient contingency to cover worst case.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Front Light
« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2019, 10:20:35 pm »
You need to allow for having lights on in poor visibility as this is a PBP regulation.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #58 on: March 16, 2019, 02:32:49 pm »
Dynamo lights are probably more reliable than battery lights, as there's less to go wrong, but it might happen.

How do you make that out?  There's far more to go wrong with a dynamo generator than a battery light.

I was talking about the light itself, in a paragraph where I'd already separately considered the reliability of the generator and wiring.  Obviously the system is only as strong as its weakest link[1].

A dynamo light doesn't have a battery compartment, which means it doesn't have a method of opening to access the batteries, which is subject to wear and stress, while compromising the waterproofing (or, in the case of external battery packs or rechargeable lights with non-replacable batteries, electrical connectors subject to frequent mating cycles).  It doesn't have spring battery contacts.  And it generally doesn't have an afterthought of a quick-release handlebar bracket to go wrong, either (semi-permanent attachment is the order of the day, which usually[2] makes for simpler, better-engineered, attachment methods like nuts and bolts).  And of course there aren't any batteries to fail or simply be insufficient for unexpected conditions.

Which isn't to say it can't fail in ways that are common to both battery and dynamo lights - water ingress or vibration damage to the electronics or optics, for example - just that it's avoided a whole load of other points of failure by having less to go wrong.

That said, the most common battery light failure modes are down to human errors which - while cumulatively significant in day-to-day use - are unlikely to be an issue for long audax rides (eg. not planning sufficient battery charge for a ride, damaging or failing to secure lights properly when removing them for security reasons, or just not bringing removable lights with you).  The always-ready nature of dynamo lighting is advantageous on a commuting or touring bike, but irrelevant for something like PBP.


[1] In a dyanmo system I'd say that was the wiring.  In a battery system I'd say that was the user.
[2] Emphasis on the 'usually'.  There are some decently-engineered battery lights that get this stuff right.  Dynamo lights and battery lights with external battery packs have something of an advantage in that they have less mass for the mounting to support.


5 minutes in (almost) any french supermarket will yield a temporary,cheap but not necessarily high quality, solution to battery light failure which could be quickly put in place. You can bin the broken ones if saving weight is a consideration. Broken dynamo lights can be cured through the same route but the installation side will be longer and more fussy (or you revert to the battery alternative, again more fussy to install, depending on how much wiring you want to remove or immobilise with cable ties). In the end failure of either system need not be a game killer unless happening late at night (outside shop hours!) when you don't have a sleep margin to fall back on (which of course under Murphy is exactly when it will happen  :'(  )

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Front Light
« Reply #59 on: March 16, 2019, 02:48:16 pm »
The most obvious failure mode of battery lights is the batteries being dead when you don’t want them to be. Because you overestimated how long they would last; underestimated how long they need to charge; lost track of which batteries are full and empty; because the plug came loose when they were meant to be charging; because they switched themselves on in your bag; etc.

This entire category of failure has no equivalent in the world of dynamo lights.

none of these failure modes is applicable if the light is fully charged before the event, shows the burn time remaining and lasts way longer than required. fit and forget.
even on the tcr (two weeks) i didn't need to charge the lights on the go; topped them up once in a hotel.
What zigzag means is:
"Only an unprepared fool would experience any of these failures on their big ride of the year."

... but fortunately he is too polite to write that :)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Front Light
« Reply #60 on: March 17, 2019, 11:08:05 pm »
What are the night light burn time estimates for the 90 hour 80-90 hour riders?  I am guessing I need around 21 hours with the lights on but this is a wild guess.  What are other riders on the board planning for?
Broadly (times of sunrise and sunset of course vary with date and longitude) there's 10 hours between sunset and sunrise (just after 9pm to just after 7am). Fuller value (90 hour) riders will ride for all of Sunday night and for good parts of the next 3 so that's 40 hours of lighting required, less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark, but plus a buffer for using lights during daytime when poor visibility so warrants.
But sometimes a less powerful setting will suffice (in a group and not leading) and this can reasonably be taken into account.
https://app.photoephemeris.com/?ll=48.390290,-4.486280&dt=20190820010700%2B0200&z=13&spn=0.04,0.15&center=48.3903,-4.4863


Re: Front Light
« Reply #61 on: March 18, 2019, 12:02:53 am »

 less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark,

This is the actual question. 

Re: Front Light
« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2019, 12:26:09 pm »

 less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark,

This is the actual question.
Since you implicitly ask, for me: 12 hours on nights 2 and 3 (10 hours sleeping), aiming to finish at sunset on Wednesday (Sunday 1830 start). My (separate battery 4.4Ahc 252g) light (130g) will run for 24 hours on low and 5 hours on high. I will carry one spare battery, and not expect to use it.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Front Light
« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2019, 12:56:56 pm »
Broadly (times of sunrise and sunset of course vary with date and longitude) there's 10 hours between sunset and sunrise (just after 9pm to just after 7am). Fuller value (90 hour) riders will ride for all of Sunday night and for good parts of the next 3 so that's 40 hours of lighting required, less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark, but plus a buffer for using lights during daytime when poor visibility so warrants.
But sometimes a less powerful setting will suffice (in a group and not leading) and this can reasonably be taken into account.
https://app.photoephemeris.com/?ll=48.390290,-4.486280&dt=20190820010700%2B0200&z=13&spn=0.04,0.15&center=48.3903,-4.4863

I think 40 is a huge overestimate.  Yes it's 10h per night and you may ride 4 nights and yes the roads can be very dark (no-one's mentioned this - the rural roads are much darker than typically in the UK, and have fewer markings - white lines and so on - so bright lighting options are a must).  But subtract sleep AND controlling/feeding times from nights 2, 3 and 4 if you must, and you're unlikely to ride more than 5 night hours on each of those nights. 
For dawn and dusk and lit roads I would strongly commend using separate visibility lighting at the front, and this would probably save at least 2 more hours per night on your main lighting.
 
Last (and 7th) time Sheila rode PBP she was on a fairly slow schedule, she packed batteries for 20 hours of main lighting (3W LED, with an option to run 2 at once) and came back with some batteries unused.  Separate visibility light at the front was key.  Modern lights with their multi-levels may change that strategy a bit but you still need two main lights for redundancy, however multi-talented your main light is.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2019, 03:26:59 pm »
Just dug out my old spreadsheets from 2011 & 2015 and I have it at 19.7 & 21.2 hours of actual night riding.

I move along at around 21 km/h on long rides and take about 87 hours.  I don't rush through controls and only sleep proper (4 hour stops) on the 2nd and 3rd nights, after which I catnap at every control.

I've never noticed any difference in speed, over the years, whether I use dynamo or battery.  I am 15 stone, so any weight difference is largely irrelevant. I've only ever had one light fail on a ride and that was a battery powered B&M Ixon IQ (the contacts are rubbish).

Re: Front Light
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2019, 05:29:56 pm »
Fuller value (90 hour) riders will ride for all of Sunday night and for good parts of the next 3 so that's 40 hours of lighting required, less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark, but plus a buffer for using lights during daytime when poor visibility so warrants.
I think 40 is a huge overestimate.  Yes it's 10h per night and you may ride 4 nights . . . . But subtract sleep AND controlling/feeding times from nights 2, 3 and 4 if you must, and you're unlikely to ride more than 5 night hours on each of those nights. 
For dawn and dusk and lit roads I would strongly commend using separate visibility lighting at the front, and this would probably save at least 2 more hours per night on your main lighting.
 
. . . Separate visibility light at the front was key.  Modern lights with their multi-levels may change that strategy a bit but you still need two main lights for redundancy, however multi-talented your main light is.
"I think 40 is a huge overestimate." I agree - see above.
"you may ride 4 nights . . ." Question was asked for fuller value riders who will finish after the 4th night.
"subtract sleep AND controlling/feeding times from nights 2, 3 and 4 if you must, and you're unlikely to ride more than 5 night hours on each of those nights." See above "less the time one plans to spend stopped in the dark". So that's 10 plus three lots of 5.
". . . Separate visibility light at the front was key." Expect all riders will have one - they'll need the discipline and effort to conserve the main light when there's an opportunity. Headtorch in back pocket/bag as well.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #66 on: August 29, 2019, 11:23:03 pm »
Post-ride debrief

For equipment I had:
-Wahoo Bolt GPS (15 hours battery life - I'd set my watch alarm for 14 hours to remember to plug it in, this worked once, then I forgot, and ended up losing 3km of track whilst I revived it)
-Cateye Volt 1300 main front light (15 hours on constant low)
-Lezyne Zecto Drive 250 commuter front ligh (11 hours on constant low)

My backup front light didn't arrive in time so I was stuck with a commuter as a backup; so my strategy was to use the commuter when I was riding with others in front of me at night then turn on the main when I was in the front, saving battery for the main. Given sometimes I would need to put the main on 'high' when riding solo, which only gives 2 hours, somehow I made it the entire course without needing to charge any lights.  The rest of the time the pack behind me gave sufficient light for me to only need to put Volt on 'low'.  Taking sleep breaks during the night also helped.

-For Rear light and backups I used AAA battery powered ones. I had two installed on the bike, with a third in my pack. I did not need to use any of the two spares.

-For batteries I carried one of each of 20000mAh and 10000mAh Anker packs, plus a very light but bulky 3000mAh battery backup. I used the 10000 first to charge the Wahoo and my iPhone (lots of use) and maybe used just 25-50% of the 20000.

-So all in all managed very well, but next bike (if that ever happens) will have a dynamo for sure!  Certainly can't rely on the above strategy for similar rides with less lights on the road.

75 hr 15 min total time.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2019, 08:32:06 am »
I carried 2 USE joysticks running them on low - 250 lumens which was fine even when I was on my own.   The first did the whole of the first night and was just giving me low warnings as the sun rose.   

I got to Brest in daylight and then used light 2 for the first couple of hours on the way back, the evening into Villaines and then the first couple of hours on setting off for home.   If I'd have gone into a 3rd night I might have struggled.

I carried a 10,200mAh battery and that recharged the Garmin 1030 a few times and my phone once.

My rear lights were Cateye, running on AAAs and I replaced the batteries on the last night, but probably didn't need to.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2019, 08:44:52 am »
Main light: Exposure Strada mk6 on low for 1 whole night then 2 half nights, finished with 37% battery left.
Backup / descending light: Exposure Joystick mk7 used on low pointing down the road on faster descents, finished with 50+% left on battery.
Rear: 2 x Exposure TraceR on low constant mode, one did the first night + most of the second, other light did the rest, recharged the first during Tuesday but didn't need to in the end.

Carried 5200mAh and 6700mAh powerbanks plus the proprietary cable for charging the front lights just in case but didn't use it, just charged the rear light once as above (and the phone twice, the ipod shuffle once and finished with the 6700 dead but most of the 5200 left).

Have used this setup on 600s for the last 2 or 3 years and worked perfectly for a 1200; never want to go back to my dynamo thanks (memories of mid-ride SolidLight failures still haunt me!).

Edit to add: doubly pleased my Strada is fine after I bounced it down the road at 20mph and subsequently paid Exposure to repair it in April. Every dent tells a story, to paraphrase Mater (those with young kids will know what I'm on about).

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Front Light
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2019, 08:57:48 am »
I had 2 Exposure Strada lights with me, one on the bike and one in a drop bag at Fougeres.
They were used in Low mode.
I rode one full night and 2 partial nights.

Light 1 was used all Sunday night, and was about 50% remaining when I swapped it for the backup in at dawn on Monday.
It was left on charge from a 10,000mAh battery pack in the drop bag in case I needed it on the return ( I didn't).

Light 2 was then used on Monday evening into Brest, and after a few hours sleep, on the Tuesday AM.
It was still pretty full on Tuesday, and I slept again at Fougeres on Tuesday night on the return leg ( thus using up some hours of darkness ) and did not bother swapping the light back out again.
It has a comfortable level of charge remaining after 2 partial nights use.

( When I retrieved the drop bag, light 1 was back at 100% and the 10,000mAh battery pack was also still showing 100%! )

For the Garmin, I was carrying 2 x 5200mAh battery packs, which was well enough. I did have a couple of spares in the drop-bag just-in-case, but I did't need them.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Front Light
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2019, 09:55:40 am »
i rode only two nights so had lots of battery charge left unused.

front light - exposure sirius - always on in low mode used when dark. about 50% battery left.
exposure toro - main light used in low mode when riding solo or in front of the groups, occasionally in medium mode. 72% battery left.

rear light - cateye tl-ld130 with lithium aaa's - runtime 100hrs in constant. lasts months on my hack/commuter bike.

3350mah "lipstick" power bank - charged garmins few times
13,000mah power bank - carried as a backup for armageddon scenario - not used

phone switched to a flight mode and used for taking photos only. ~60% battery left.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #71 on: August 30, 2019, 01:38:32 pm »
. . . for me: 12 hours on nights 2 and 3 (10 hours sleeping), aiming to finish at sunset on Wednesday (Sunday 1830 start). My (separate battery 4.4Ahc 252g) light (130g) will run for 24 hours on low or 5 hours on high. I will carry one spare battery, and not expect to use it.
Post ride 'debrief'
Chinese '1000 lumen' job (130g) with separate 'Magicshine' battery, rated at 4.4Ahc (233g), and back-up smaller (2.6Ahc) battery (133g). A 'be seen' mini light (Topeak Whitelite II with 2 x CR2032 batteries) as well. Main light has low (1/3ish) and full options. 'Low' offers enough light mostly. Fast downhills with complications when 'on the front' require 'full' (also used as a 'signal' when another rider's been on the front for 'too long'. Bench testing achieved 24+ hours on low. No plan to recharge battery though did carry mains charger (57g) and continental adaptor (23g).
Day 1 1830 start.
2100: gilet and 'be seen' light on at pop-up water refill stop in Senonches (28kph average). In train and passing nearly all the time. Occasional use of main light on low. Fougeres @ 7am for lights and gilet off. (So 10 hours of light various).
Day 2 arrive Carhaix before 9pm and stayed with long sleep for 7 hours.
Day 3: Depart Carhaix 4am ish and so 3 hours light mostly alone or leading to Brest (climbing Roc T a lasting memory with the 80 hour guys streaming past downhill and ahead a 'staircase to heaven' of PBP gilets jaunes). Rode into the night (so lighting from 9pm till 2am arrival at Tinteniac) - 5 hours use of main light on low with occasional 'full' use.
Day 4: Post dawn start (after 6hours stop and long sleep).  Too much sleep including 2 hour zeds each day meant I would need to ride into the last night as opposed to hope to finish by Day 4 sunset (75 hours).
So into the dark before Mortagne - and pressed on to Dreux for just after 2am: 5 hours light, slighter higher percentage on high as 'on the front' or alone (minimal) on the Perche downhills. Light/battery went 'red' before Senonches so stopped at pop-up there (about 1am) to change to 'spare' battery (and soup).
Day 5 am: After 4 hours (3 sleeping) at Dreux set off at 6:30 so an hour's light required.
Total hours of riding when light required - 24. Entirely content with planned provision, including carriage of spare battery.

Re: Front Light
« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2019, 03:08:02 pm »
so my strategy was to use the commuter when I was riding with others in front of me at night then turn on the main when I was in the front, saving battery for the main. Given sometimes I would need to put the main on 'high' when riding solo, which only gives 2 hours, somehow I made it the entire course without needing to charge any lights.  The rest of the time the pack behind me gave sufficient light for me to only need to put Volt on 'low'.  Taking sleep breaks during the night also helped.

This was totally my experience too, I had the same light Cateye 1300 + a Cateye 800 + a backup AA battery power light for emergencies.  I had a 26400 Anker power bank.
Between the Cateye 1300 and 800 I figured I would get 8 hours at medium power.  With a sleep and controlling I probably wouldn't need more, but could be charging one whilst using the other to get more anyway.  However, when riding with others, I only used both lights on their lower power setting.  Only on fast descents did I feel the need to use higher power.  So I had far more light time than anticipated.
Whilst this was a cheaper option than a reliable dynamo solution, I wouldn't necessarily say it was better.  I did manage to get about 2.5 hours charge into the power bank during the ride, but it did empty about 6 hours before the end and lost power to the Wahoo because of this.  It is also not a particularly lightweight solution, given the powerbank and the batteries in the lights them selves.
I think for PBP due to the number of other riders on the road, you don't need a dynamo solution, but for other less populated rides, a Dynamo would be the better bet.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Front Light
« Reply #73 on: August 30, 2019, 03:39:53 pm »
1st night: moving for for 8h (off at controls for 2h)
2nd night: moving for 7.5hrs
3rd night: moving around 5.5hrs
4th night: moving around 6hrs, but that includes dealing with the conditions after Dreux where lights were needed in the mist.

That's 27hrs where lights were needed; due to a wiring issue on my dynamo set up I used the Ixon IQ Premium on a single set of batteries on and off, mostly on the first night on descents due to the USB-Werk stealing light when the capacitor decided to recharge regularly (it shouldn't do this) so it dopped to standlight on a regular interval, fineo n the flat or uphill, not so good when you descend into corners at 60k, disconnected the USB-Werk when darkness was approaching, it had always managed to top up my battery pack and never ran out of power on my dying wahoo.
and on the last morning because the cobbled together fix to the co-ax connector seemed to be giving up (although it worked fine on the tour home).

Given the heat I possibly should have taken PhilW's advice and slept during the day, but daylight has an amazing restorative effect on me that means I rarely sleep in light.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Front Light
« Reply #74 on: August 30, 2019, 04:01:55 pm »
I built that Li-ion battery pack and it worked a treat, lasted the entire ride even though I left it on until midday one day, by mistake.