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View Full Version : Anyone use Rechargeable Batteries for their Lights?


garlicmonster
05-24-2008, 07:13 AM
Hello-
The nice thing about LED bike lights is that they last forever. But the bad thing is that they are super bright when you put in new batteries, but then they start to fade, and I don't like throwing away the batteries when they start to fade, so I end up riding my bike with dim bike lights, trying to drain the batteries as much as possible before exchanging them.

I want to get rechargable AAA batteries, that way when the lights start to fade I can just charge up the batteries and have nice bright lights again. Does anyone do this? How well do they work/hold their charge? Any recommendation for a brand, or where to get some around town? Thanks!

lynnef
05-24-2008, 05:58 PM
I recommend a generator hub and light. No batteries. Ever. You don't have to be "cheap" with your light, it will never go out... Plus you are off the grid :D

K'Tesh
05-24-2008, 06:48 PM
I recommend a generator hub and light. No batteries. Ever. You don't have to be "cheap" with your light, it will never go out... Plus you are off the grid :D

However, with a generator, if you stop to, say repair a flat... or even just stop at a light, your lights go out... Also, Dynamo's are a real drag (on performance).

See You Out There!
K'Tesh

lynnef
05-24-2008, 08:24 PM
However, with a generator, if you stop to, say repair a flat... or even just stop at a light, your lights go out... Also, Dynamo's are a real drag (on performance).

See You Out There!
K'Tesh

Not true. My light has a 7 minute standlight. Many generator lights do. I always have a secondary light on my helmet in any case, for reading cue sheets and shining in motorists faces. And no, they aren't a REAL drag. Just a bit of one, and only when they are on.

If you think they are drag, try thinking about them as your own personal spin class...

bonny790
05-24-2008, 09:02 PM
Generator hub is on my list of things to get, someday, probably very far away. So in the mean time, I use rechargeables. I don't see why anyone wouldn't. They cost a little bit more, but even after buying the charger and batteries, they'll pay for them self in no time. They don't last quite as long, but I can't quantify that. I just swap them out once a week or two. Plus, you know you always have a fresh set waiting at home because you don't have to worry about buying more when you use the last of them. They don't hold their charge as long when not in use though. I carry a AA Mag Light in my tool kit, and I found out the hard way I should use alkaline batteries in it.

Toby

K'Tesh
05-24-2008, 09:04 PM
I'm glad to hear that they have improved to have a standby time, but I still don't trust them.

I've had experience with two types of Dynamos:

One that attaches to the chainstay, then flips down onto the side of the tire... lots of drag. Zero standby time, but this is probably 30 year old tech, and heavy.

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/pm5t_amsterdam_bicycle_genr.jpg

The other that dropped straight down onto the center of the tire... (couldn't find an image of one now) didn't drag as much, but anything over 16mph, and the bulb blew, and at 4.00 each and were only going to survive maybe 2 rides. I found that it was not cost effective, or safe. I decided then to go to batteries... then when I moved to Beaverton, NR Halogen... and now NR LEDs.

As for rechargable batteries (such as AA, AAA), I haven't used them for some time now. I now use NIMH or Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries from the light's manufacturer. I do use a Cateye LED (EL400) but I only use that rarely, so I just use whatever one time use AAA batteries I have on hand.

Now, if someone could come up with a solar powered rechargable that is better than what I've found so far, I might be interested in that...

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/mfl/lowres/mfln556l.jpg (http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/s/solar_powered_gifts.asp)

Cya Out There!
K'Tesh

Simple Nature
05-24-2008, 09:48 PM
I use rechargables exclusively. Today's NIMH batteries carry a pretty good punch. Just read the MAH number on the battery to know what you are buying. The good thing about the NiMH is that they like to be worked hard and they actually last longer per charge than their alkeline buddies. A common AA is now 2500MAH... and a common AAA is nearly 900MAH IIRC.

I do recommend the slow chargers... you will get more life out of the batteries.
This is definitely somehting to keep an eye out for sales. Harbor Freight had/has[?] a sale on 2500MAH AA's, 4 for $4.99

Be aware that rechargables are only rated for 1.2 volts instead of the normal 1.5 volts. Some stuff will not function with NiMH or Cadnium batteries... and lights may not be quite as bright.

I've been using them in my mouse and keyboards for years... Just please... if/when you do have to dispose of them... recycle! In 4 years, I have yet to toast a set.

lynnef
05-25-2008, 11:18 PM
Well, there's HUB generators (what I have) and RIM generators (those ones you are familiar with).

Shimano and Schmidt both make hub generators. One buys the hub, and has the wheel built.

RIM generators have improved greatly since the old days. When I was a teenager, I had one too.

It is the light that has the capacitor that gives it the standlight capacity, not the generator itself.

There are many lights one can buy to go with one's generator. I have the B&M Lumotec IQ Fly Senso Plus, which is an exceptionally bright little sucker. I am lusting after the Supernova E3, even brighter...

The less things I have to remember, the better. Especially involving recharging and batteries :)

phototron
05-26-2008, 03:39 AM
I use rechargeable batteries in my lights too. AA and AAA I already ha the charger because I use it for other things too. The initial brightness isn't quite as high as a regular battery but it stay bright longer and it's a much cheaper solution than generator lights, especially if you already have the battery lights and maybe a charger.

The batteries last for ages and really don't take a ton of power to charge. If your worried at all about using household electricity you can always get on a renewable energy plan.

Use what you have and if you want bigger a better get it when you can afford it.

tarheeltreehugger
05-26-2008, 08:58 AM
I use Real Goods (www.realgoods.com) NiMh rechargeable batteries for my Dinotte lights. Just bought 8 batteries for $20 for my wife's lights. I've been happy with how long they power the lights and how quickly they charge. Good investment in my opinion.

Ride safe!
ThTh

SeaBike
05-27-2008, 12:08 PM
NiMH rechargeables with LEDs are great. Keep a spare in your pocket, or have two sets of lights (helmet and bike, for example) and you'll be fine.

PhatLipMagee
05-31-2008, 12:33 PM
I've been using rechargeable batteries for almost two years I guess. They are more expensive initially, but after 3 months, you've saved versus buying alkaline batteries.

I have noticed that over the course of time, each recharge lasts for shorter periods. This is stretched out over a year, so you still save, but you end up having to recharge more frequently.

At first I kept my headlight on a steady beam because I don't really care for strobing lights. But after my first 4pack of AAA started lasting for only a few days from a charge, I started using the strobe setting on my headlight. My 2nd pack has lasted decidely longer and I've gotten used to the strobing. With my flashing headlight, rear lights and 4-6 guppies on my helmet, I am very visible.

Now if only they would make rechargeables for the short batteries (size N) I use in my tail lights and the flat quarter size batteries in my guppies. :cool: