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bubbaPDX
09-10-2009, 12:25 PM
Google as I might, I can't find such a thing as a battery-powered amber LED side marker light. Plenty of hard-wired examples (http://www.thefind.com/sports/info-mini-marker-light), but nothing like a typical bike blinkie that uses AAA batteries.

Any ideas?

Alan
09-10-2009, 01:49 PM
Me too! Any budding entrepreneurs, here's what I want: Dead-simple, small, light, cheap, and adequately bright and reliable. Single AAA powered. Choice of white, red or amber lamps. On/Blink/Off switch incorporated into the battery housing so that it is actuated by pushing on the LED/lens itself. That way the entire battery and casing can be buried out of sight and reach with only the lamp protruding, for example inside bar ends, under saddles or tucked in helmet vents. Mounting kits optional; I have a zillion options already for mounting such a simple unit (glue, tape, tie wraps, rubber bands...).

K'Tesh
09-10-2009, 02:09 PM
Gotta a few ideas, but they'll have to wait as I'm heading to Jefferson for a few (hundred) miles.

q`Tzal
09-10-2009, 05:05 PM
This may be a little hardcore:
DiNotte's amber daytime running light (http://store.dinottelighting.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=dinotte&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=930645167&Count2=847785592).

I think perhaps y'all are thinking of the smaller watch battery lights (http://www.meritline.com/mini-led-light-bicycle-strap-215---p-33809.aspx?source=fghdac)that look they are made of that "jelly" wristband stuff.

Can't find then in amber though...odd.

Alan
09-11-2009, 01:58 AM
Thanks, Q'ztal. That Meritline.com stuff is cool and fun, they probably know who could make what I want. And those DiNotte Lumens look nice--very nice!--but they're not what I'm dreaming about. My imaginary little marker lights are like this:

- $10-$20 units; $120 is right out (even if 4 Lumens for $400 is a good deal). I might use 4-6 units per bike, at least two side markers.
- AAA batteries a "must" for this application, and standard across as much of my kit as possible.
- oversized and overdesigned cases add to expense and don't fit in the tightest places I want to put a marker light (inside bar ends, etc).
- battery pack separate from lamp won't work for what I want, either.
- switch *must* be an integral part of the lens assembly or else it won't work where I want to tuck it. (Think: mechanism of a retractable ball point pen, where the pen button is the lens of this light and the rest of the pen is hidden away out of sight and unaccessable.)
- needs to come in amber (side marker), red and white.

To help visualize what I have in mind, take an AAA battery and imagine a plain-jane tube just big enough to slip it inside; tube could be high-impact plastic or thin metal. The negative end is sealed. The positive end is threaded or otherwise allows detachment of the LED/switch assembly, which might be covered with a plastic lens. The case might need a lengthwise rib or an eyelet for more stable mounting options, but the concept is KISS (small and simple). That's it; the whole thing is smaller than my pinkie (with a blinking finger nail ;)). Push in on the lens assembly to cycle through on/blink/off. Unscrew the lens assembly to access the battery. The light-emitting part of the lens assembly should protrude past the tube far enough to be visible from wide angles (close to 180). If it gets scrubbed off in an oopsie, well, remember, it's a $15 unit, not $120.

canuck
09-11-2009, 06:46 AM
Would a Knog Frog light work?

Get some amber colored nail polish and paint the lens?

The turn signal bulbs in my car are just standard bulbs with an amber coating.

Alan
09-11-2009, 09:40 AM
I haven't used Knogs but I've seen them. They fall in the same general class I'm thinking of: marker lights. They have a big advantage over what I'm talking about in that they exist as a finished product.

lynnef
09-11-2009, 09:48 AM
In a word, Tireflys (http://www.tireflys.com/bicycle.html). Cheap. Effective. Only drawback is they want Schraeder valves, so if you have Prestas, you'll need to buy an adapter.

Alan
09-11-2009, 10:25 AM
Tireflys (http://www.tireflys.com/bicycle.html)

Oh! Now those I have not seen before. Some fun possibilities, too, including bar ends. Schrader works for me. Any clues which LBS carry them?

lynnef
09-11-2009, 11:07 PM
nope. Mail ordered mine years ago.

steve knight
09-12-2009, 09:36 PM
the mars 4 has amber lights on the sides
http://www.blackburndesign.com/mars_4.html

bubbaPDX
09-14-2009, 12:31 PM
Back from weekend travels... thanks for the feedback. Interesting products!

I'm intrigued with the Tireflys... but they appear to be centrifugally activated... do they go dark when you come to a stop, or is there a delay before they switch off? Can't decide if I like the spiders, butterflies, or skulls better! :D

I'm still struck by the lack of a basic product (eloquently described by Alan), that could be attached at various points on the frame, forks, etc.

q`Tzal
09-14-2009, 04:46 PM
All that I have disassembled, after they died, have had a little spring contact that is surrounded by, but not touching, 2-3 contacts.
When the spring touches a contact the light switches on. The spring contact acts as a inertial trigger for a count-down timer that leaves the light on as long as the spring gets jostled on a regular basis.
This delay is usually about 20-30 seconds.

Some TireFlys have replaceable batteries - some not. Over time the product became more resistant to water but the plastic case is sensitive to UV and is fairly light and thin. As such they have a tendency to break down at a rate where I don't think they should cost more than a dollar, two tops.

You can adjust the position of the spring but it is very small and it is very easy to accidentally make it so it makes contact all the time or none of the time.

I would be really cool if these could be made with a magnetic pickup coil that would juice the circuit off a permanant magnet on the frame. As it passes the magnet it would incude a current that would go in to a capacitor. Since it does not be need opened, to replace batteries, it could be made completely weather proof and maybe lighter.

q`Tzal
09-14-2009, 05:28 PM
Oh, if only these came in an "outdoor" version:
Amber Ultra Thin Battery Operated LEDs (http://www.holidayleds.com/christmas_lights/amber_ultra_thin_battery_operated_leds).
There are different colors available:D

Alan
09-14-2009, 11:16 PM
Cool idea on the induction generator, Q'ztal! Your experience with Tirefly's switch matches the instructions on their website. It looks like www.tirefly.com (http://www.tirefly.com/) are their own best source but their website says that Target is a distributor. I checked a Target store near me with no such luck. But what I did find are Maglite Solitaire AAA (http://maglite.com/product.asp?psc=1AAACELL&pt=R) flashlights which are sort of like what I described, for $5. They have the typical Maglite screw-on switch so the unit can't be buried quite as deeply as I'd like, it only comes with a clear lens and the lens is recessed slightly so it's not brightly visible from wide angles. Like all Maglites, the beam pattern is adjustable. I'm surprised Maglite doesn't have an LED version, but Solitaires seem to have a cult following right up to the point that someone is selling a conversion kit (http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/fs-maglite-led-upgrade-kit-color-options-42598.html) to LED with alternate battery pack (that's a downside for me) and even multicolored lights. Anyway, it's cheap and available.

Bent Bloke
09-15-2009, 07:36 AM
I was thumbing through Bicycle Magazine yesterday, and saw an advertisement for spoke mounted lights. I think they were amber. I can't remember the vendor, but I can check when I get home.

You should get great side visibility with those when you're rolling.

biciclero
09-15-2009, 11:56 AM
I would be really cool if these could be made with a magnetic pickup coil that would juice the circuit off a permanant magnet on the frame. As it passes the magnet it would incude a current that would go in to a capacitor. Since it does not be need opened, to replace batteries, it could be made completely weather proof and maybe lighter.


reelights. (http://www.reelight.com/)

Not really side markers, but magnetically inductive...

Bent Bloke
09-17-2009, 09:39 AM
I was thumbing through Bicycle Magazine yesterday, and saw an advertisement for spoke mounted lights.

I looked through the magazine again last night, and they were Planet Bike Orbits. Curiously, I can't find any info about them on PB's website.

But a Google search did turn up these: http://www.safetylightsandsignals.com/Bicycle-Lights-73.aspx?page=1. Not amber, but they do have green or red.

Bent Bloke
09-17-2009, 02:40 PM
No, not Planet Bike, they were Cateye Orbits (http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/576), and they are amber. Looks like they are just coming out, and won't be available until October. I just may get me some of those!

bubbaPDX
09-17-2009, 03:46 PM
That's what I'm talking about (or dang close enough)! Thanks for the assist, and I'll keep my eyes peeled for them, as well.

http://www.cateye.com/sites/cateye/upload/products/576-og.jpg (http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/576)

Compelling ad copy, too: :D

"This lightweight, spoke-mounted LED projects light in virtually all directions. This unique placement creates eyecatching movement when you ride that will stop traffic, letting you maintain your sphere of influence on the darkest streets."

wsbob
09-17-2009, 08:54 PM
Reelight(s) , in using "...electrodynamic induction...", are a slick idea. It has been a blinky type light, but the company now offers a steady light model as well. Pretty good buzz on this system over at bikeforums and roadbike review.

Not much on the website about mounting, but info on the weblogs suggests they're designed to be mounted in the area of the wheels; a magnet passing the light, mounted within the wheel's radius, activates the light. So I was trying to learn whether the system allows use of a wire that would allow the light to be mounted elsewhere on the bike. Maybe an explanation is there, but I didn't see it.

It's interesting that the Cateye Orbit's shape is so close to that of the magnets that Reelight uses in their system. I suppose Cateye could incorporate a magnet into its light unit and eliminate the need for batteries. Since "...electrodynamic induction..." seems to offer options for power generation of bike lights, what about simply magnetizing the spokes of bike wheels to let them generate power?

lynnef
09-21-2009, 03:50 PM
the Tireflies blink for awhile after you stop.

bubbaPDX
11-04-2009, 09:52 PM
Aw yeah. eMAC** rockin' the DLG (http://rockthebike.com/lights/downlowglow). Know'm sayin'?

[** eMAC = eastside Middle-Aged Commuter]

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2738/4077261996_3d209bea7a.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2549/4076507683_f578dca16f.jpg

bubbaPDX
12-02-2009, 12:41 PM
No pictures yet, but amber Cateye Orbits (http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=33369) (ordered from Universal Cycles) are installed on my daily commuter.

http://www.universalcycles.com/images//products/medium/33369.jpg

Strobe setting plus wheel rotation makes for a very eye-catching effect. Reflection off the rims increases the apparent size of the source.

Cateye claims 50 hrs runtime on strobe setting (30 hrs steady). If quality and reliability prove to be good, then $10 a pop is a bargain.

q`Tzal
12-02-2009, 02:50 PM
Does it stay on continuously unlike the Tireflys which shut down after a certain period of no movement?

Sound good, has anyone seen these Cateye Orbits (manf page: http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/576) in town?

My only qualm is the power source: 2 CR2032 coin batteries. The Energizer spec sheet (http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/cr2032.pdf) shows that they only have about 240mAh in 3.0 grams each. I commute a lot and 50 hours goes by too fast for the cost of CR2032's or any other disposable battery.
2 AAA batteries could have gone in the area that looks like a "swooshy" counter weight at each end. Alkalines would weigh about 12 grams each and deliver about 4~5 times the capacity: NiMH AAA weigh about 12 grams and would deliver about 4 times the capacity of the button battery.

So let me see if I can draw out our lurking EE cyclists to set straight the following BS/ignorance: ;)

what would be optimal is an electromagnetic induction setup that has many coils of thin transformer wire (28-34 gauge?) that pass by a strong magnet, like say the 1" Dia. x 1/4" thick Disc from United Nuclear (https://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=70_71&products_id=242) proud facilitators of Adam Savage's and Jamie Hynaman's hi-jinks. To top it all off, forgo the chemical battery entirely and switch to a super capacitor circuit (like shown here http://www.scribd.com/doc/17684600/SuperCap-Battery). Use two 3.3F @ 2.5V capacitors (like these http://www.newark.com/jsp/search/productdetail.jsp?SKU=78K7804&CMP=AFC-GB100000001) which together come in at the same overall volume as one AAA battery and individually weigh 2.8 grams to the CR2032's 3.0 grams.

Obviously the charging will be in quick pulses but the capacitor can handle the input side but, for efficiency's sake, it might be better to switch to a boost converter and a single higher farad capacitor for the load especially if it is a current sensitive LED load.

Known facts:
> magnet must be at least 1/2 inch from a ferrous components like say my CroMo frame. Don't want to waste all those precious magnetic force lines coupling in to the frame.
> spacing between magnet and coils needs to be tight. You could locate the coils outside the light to allow the user to install them towards the center of the wheel so that spacing and mechanical loading is easier to manage but to go in defiance of the KISS principal by making two separate pieces connected by a small wire is asking for failure.

bubbaPDX
12-03-2009, 11:23 AM
Does it stay on continuously unlike the Tireflys which shut down after a certain period of no movement?

Sound good, has anyone seen these Cateye Orbits (manf page: http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/576) in town?

My only qualm is the power source: 2 CR2032 coin batteries. The Energizer spec sheet (http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/cr2032.pdf) shows that they only have about 240mAh in 3.0 grams each. I commute a lot and 50 hours goes by too fast for the cost of CR2032's or any other disposable battery.
2 AAA batteries could have gone in the area that looks like a "swooshy" counter weight at each end. Alkalines would weigh about 12 grams each and deliver about 4~5 times the capacity: NiMH AAA weigh about 12 grams and would deliver about 4 times the capacity of the button battery.

Orbits have a steady (30 hr) and bilnk (50 hr) mode... I'll be watching how the in situ runtime squares with the specs [having a duh moment... to your point, they are manually switched and do not power off for "inactivity"]. Got mine locally from Universal Cycles (web order, local pickup).

I'll see, also, how I stomach the battery replacement costs. The "swooshy" bits are thin and flexible, providing the friction to wedge in the spokes. Given (for now) the relative lack of active side-marker illumination products, I'm happy to pay for extra conspicuity/visibility... something that helps "connect the dots" between a disembodied headlight and taillight. Okay, that and the DLG (http://www.bikeportland.org/forum/showpost.php?p=22257&postcount=23).

We'll see if I'm singing the same song after living with the Orbits for awhile. Perils of the Early Adopter. :cool: