• 03-02-2004
    spacoli
    Homemade Niterider batteries
    Has anyone made up there own batteries for there niterider lights?

    Has anyone every taken apart the waterbottle type batteries?

    I want to take apart my waterbottle battery and rebuild it with new batteries.

    How do these come apart? Do you have to cut them apart?

    Are there any tricks or advice on doing this?
  • 03-02-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    Metroid wrote a FAQ...
    ...but I don't know if it made it over to from the old forums.

    The bottle opens just below the "neck". It's sealed with a brittle adhesive that breaks apart easily if you have something pointy to jam in there.

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/niteriderbattery.jpg">

    It's pretty simple to get 11 cells and solder them together, rewire the whole contraption and get it running again. Suggest you look to BatteryStation.com for the cells, and suggest you consider the highest capacity NiMH cells that'll fit.
  • 03-02-2004
    spacoli
    What size cells
    What size cells are they (c or d )?
    I'm not up to date on electronics.
    What do you mean buy highests capacity?
    What number relates to the capacity is it the ah?
    You just shouldn't go over the voltage (13.2) right?
    Shouldn't you try to match the original specs ( my battery specs 4.0 ah 13.3 volt)
    The battery specs on the battery staion are in mah, what is this?
  • 03-02-2004
    damion
    The FAQ is in the upper right hand corner of this page.
    It will answer all of these questions for you.
  • 03-03-2004
    Homebrew
    Like the others said, the DIY Light FAQ is in the upper right hand corner of in any General Discussion post, including this one. I'm going to be adding a good battery building post with pics next time I build some since this specific topic comes up so often.

    But to answer your questions...

    Cell size 4/3A or FAT 4/3A which are slightly larger.

    Capacity is rated in Amp Hours. That's the amount of time a cell can be run at a given current. It is often shown as milliAmp Hours. Milli means one thousandth of an Amp. 1 Ah = 1000mAh

    You should stick with the 13.2V. That's 11 individual 1.2V cells. The cells are run in series so the voltage additive and current is constant. This is already overvolting the rated voltage of the bulb (12V) by 10% to give the best balance between brightness and bulb life.

    If you go with the same capacity rating, you will get the same burn time. If you go higher, it will be longer, less and it will be lower. Although it may appear that going with the highest might be the best idea, however sometimes you can get lower capacity cells much cheaper. Also, the lower capacity cells are capable of producing much higher actual capacity. I've tested 3800mAh rated cells at over 5500mAh actual. The higher capacity cells aren't going to produce as much over their rated capacity as the lower capacity cells. If you get the 4/3 A cells, all eleven with fit nicely on the bottom of a standard waterbottle. If you get the FAT 4/3A cells, you might have to double stack them. Be sure to put some insulation between them if you do.

    I have a bunch of 3800mAh 4/3A cells because they were on sale for less than half the price of the 4500mAh cells. These give 2+ hours with a 20W at full power. This works just fine for me.
  • 03-03-2004
    spacoli
    Thanks to all.....great info.....nm
    no message
  • 03-03-2004
    cheetos316
    Can you use the original charge with this setup?
    Or do you have to get the chargers mentioned in the DIY FAQs page?
  • 03-03-2004
    Homebrew
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cheetos316
    Or do you have to get the chargers mentioned in the DIY FAQs page?

    You can PROBABLY use the same charger. No guarantees though. With the standard trickle charger, battery chemistry and capacity don't really matter much. The hard part with these is trying to guesstimate how long to charge for. In the case of the NiteRider smart charger, you can use these for both NiCad and NiMH. It will charger higher and lower capacity cells just fine but the time it takes to fully charge will be different.
  • 03-03-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    No problem...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cheetos316
    Or do you have to get the chargers mentioned in the DIY FAQs page?

    If you've got the old style (constant current / "dumb" charger / wall wort) you've got to calculate a new charge time based on current output and battery capacity.

    For instance, if you build a 4000mAh pack and have a 300 mA constant current charger, you'll divide 300mA into 4000mAh (4000/300 = 13 hours) then increase that time by 40% to account for inefficiencies during charging (13 hours x 1.4 = 18 hours).

    If you have a Micro Brute or other Nite Rider "smart" charger, it detects charge level through a change in voltage as the battery peaks, and the charger will differentiate between NiCad or NiMH cells (peak behavior is different for each). So again, even if the new battery has a higher capacity than the old, the charger is oblivious and will simply take longer to complete.
  • 03-03-2004
    ctxcrossx
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by f*nætik
    If you've got the old style (constant current / "dumb" charger / wall wort) you've got to calculate a new charge time based on current output and battery capacity.

    For instance, if you build a 4000mAh pack and have a 300 mA constant current charger, you'll divide 300mA into 4000mAh (4000/300 = 13 hours) then increase that time by 40% to account for inefficiencies during charging (13 hours x 1.4 = 18 hours).

    If you have a Micro Brute or other Nite Rider "smart" charger, it detects charge level through a change in voltage as the battery peaks, and the charger will differentiate between NiCad or NiMH cells (peak behavior is different for each). So again, even if the new battery has a higher capacity than the old, the charger is oblivious and will simply take longer to complete.

    If you have the dumb charger, can you upgrade to the smart charger? I have the Digital pro 12 (or whatever it is called, they grey one but with the blinking light guage). This has the old style connectors. I was told by a friend that some of the electronics for the smart charger were in the batteries. Is this true? Or can I just try to track one down on ebay or something? Thanks!

    Chris
  • 03-03-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    I *think* that...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ctxcrossx
    If you have the dumb charger, can you upgrade to the smart charger? I have the Digital pro 12 (or whatever it is called, they grey one but with the blinking light guage). This has the old style connectors. I was told by a friend that some of the electronics for the smart charger were in the batteries. Is this true? Or can I just try to track one down on ebay or something?

    ...the extra connector for the "smart" charger goes to a temp sensor in the battery. The temp sensor would act as a secondary cutoff, in case the battery gets over a certain temp while charging. *If* that proves to be the case, I don't know how difficult it would be to get the smart charger working. If you bypass the temp sensor, you're eliminating a safety mechanism that helps to ensure you don't burn your house down while you're sleeping.

    If you go with a Maha C777 Plus II charger, the temp sensor is external (it's attached to a separate lead off the charger and affixes to the outside of the battery). You'll still need to rig up a different connection method since the Maha only comes with generic connectors, but that's no sweat (just cut the leads off your old wall chargers, solder them on to pig-tails that connect into the Maha). The benefit of the Maha is that it works on anything from one to 12 cells, so you can use the same charger on multiple battery packs.

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/maha(2).jpg">

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/maha(3).jpg">

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/maha(4).jpg">
  • 03-03-2004
    spacoli
    What diameter 4/3 A cells at the battery station
    What diameter 4/3 A cells did you use that fits perfect in a waterbottle?

    Are they the:

    4/3 A SIZE: DIA 17.0 mm X HT 66.0 mm

    PART NO MFR COMMENT MAH GRAMS OZ PRICE
    HR-4/3AUX Sanyo Ni-MH 3800 52 $ 4.50
    HR-4/3AU SALE w/tabs Sanyo Ni-MH 4000 55 $ 4.00

    VH-4000 SALE w/tabs Varta Ni-MH 4000 55 $ 4.00

    Or the:

    4/3 A SIZE: DIA 18.0 mm X HT 66.0 mm

    PART NO MFR COMMENT MAH GRAMS OZ PRICE
    HR-4/3FAU Sanyo Ni-MH 4000 62 $ 5.50
    HR-4/3FAUX Sanyo Ni-MH 4500 62 $ 5.95

    Seems like the 4000 mah are cheaper than the 3800 mah.

    Should I go with the larger capacity?
  • 03-03-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spacoli
    What diameter 4/3 A cells did you use that fits perfect in a waterbottle?

    I'd go with Sanyo, the largest capacity you want to afford.

    17 or 18mm really doesn't make too much of a difference.

    You'll appreciate a hot glue gun to construct your pack, something like so:

    - O - O -
    O - O - O - O
    - O - O - O
    - - -O - O

    That shape fits pretty well into the interior of the water bottle. You'll have to "connect the dots" so to speak, connecting positive to negative to create the circuit. To finish if off, after gluing and soldering the pack toghther, I used insulating foam in a spray can to fill the bottle.
  • 03-04-2004
    Homebrew
    I would just go with the Sanyo 4000mAh cells that are on sale unless you think the slight increase in burn time of the 4500mAh is worth paying 50% more per cell. Personally, I would look at that price increase as half way to another pack.
  • 03-04-2004
    Homebrew
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ctxcrossx
    If you have the dumb charger, can you upgrade to the smart charger? I have the Digital pro 12 (or whatever it is called, they grey one but with the blinking light guage). This has the old style connectors. I was told by a friend that some of the electronics for the smart charger were in the batteries. Is this true? Or can I just try to track one down on ebay or something? Thanks!

    Chris

    That charger is nothing more than a timed trickle charger. It is supposed to shut off after a set period of time (probably around 14 hours) after being connected. It doesn't care if you hook up a fully charged battery. It is still going to charge for 14 hours.

    With the old style connectors, there is nothing extra in the battery pack. Can't be with only two wires. A new fast charger will work fine as long as you get the same connectors. Jet Lites use the same connectors as the old NiteRider if you want to use one of their smart chargers or you can get a Maha and make your own connector cable like Nate did.
  • 03-04-2004
    jimjo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Homebrew
    I would just go with the Sanyo 4000mAh cells that are on sale unless you think the slight increase in burn time of the 4500mAh is worth paying 50% more per cell. Personally, I would look at that price increase as half way to another pack.

    did you use a regular soldering iron to put it all together? or an adjustable temperature one? did you use the batteries with or without tabs?
  • 03-04-2004
    Homebrew
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jimjo
    did you use a regular soldering iron to put it all together? or an adjustable temperature one? did you use the batteries with or without tabs?

    I have a solding iron with two different elements, one is a regular 23W, the other is high power 45W. If using cells with tabs, the 23W works fine. Without tabs, you need to use a high power iron. The key without tabs is to rough up the surface, use flux and get it done quick.
  • 03-04-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jimjo
    did you use a regular soldering iron to put it all together? or an adjustable temperature one? did you use the batteries with or without tabs?

    Initially I bought batteries w/ tabs, but I didn't like them.

    I ripped the tabs off and cleaned the tops of the batteries with a Dremel & sanding wheel.

    Then I got a 40w (+/-) soldering iron with a chisel tip + required solder type (acid core? forgot which). Key is a hot iron for only a brief few seconds. Smaller irons will heat up the whole battery without getting the surface of the cell hot enough to complete the job.

    From my local RC store, I picked up some "battery braid" which is just flat ribbon cable to connect the cells. I pre-tinned those, then sandwiched the braid between the cell and iron for a 5-count and let the solder heat up, wick in. When pulling the iron away, use a wood popsicle stick to hold the braid to the cell for a few second while it cools.

    Lots of good references online from the guys that build their own RC car battery packs. Another key is to have the cells all glued together before beginning the soldering.
  • 03-04-2004
    jeffj
    A few words to avoid trouble.

    If you look at f*nætik's picture and see the cells with the metal casing that look as if they are touching each other, look again. You will notice that the cardboard has been cut away (for whatever reason) on the outside of the cells and they are not actually touching each other metal case to metal case. I have had cells short out this way if you don’t insulate them from each other. I know you can get heat shrink tubing that will fit sub-c cells easily and I imagine you can get it for all different sized cells. I have used electrical tape if I didn’t have any shrink tubing handy.

    If you can’t find the braided cable, you can use the type of wire sold in RC stores used to connect batteries to speed controls and motors. Novak and Deans are two companies that comes to mind that make a high quality wire suitable for this application. I use bars because they make them for the sub-c cells I have been using.

    I also have a jig made for assembling sub-c batteries in flat packs, but I put together two or three cells in a row using the jig and then finish assembling them in a 5 cell hump pack holding them together with a couple of winds of electrical tape. Note: Mine are 5 cell packs because I have 6v light systems. 12v systems use 10 cells at 1.2v each and 13.3v systems use 11 cells.

    The 4/3A cells seem like the power/price/size winner for bike lights. I use sub-c cells because I am so familiar (I have dozens of RC battery packs) with them and have the jig to help with assembly.

    Then I take a section of an old innertube and stretch it over the whole battery pack.

    Buy the “60/40” solder at Radio shack. It’s cheap and works perfectly (a half pound spool costs about $6 to $7). I like a ¼” chisel tip for good “on and off” in about three seconds soldering action that is still easy to maneuver. If you use a smaller tip, I find they don’t hold enough heat to do it quickly.

    I could ramble on and on about chargers for way too long just to get you to this conclusion that is the logical choice for most people looking to upgrade from the simple low powered “brick” style chargers:

    Unless you are willing to spend some substantial coin, just simplify your life and get one of the Maha chargers that will handle the voltage for your system. They are THE most simple, cost effective, relatively quick charging (mine charges @ 700mah) units available for nicd and nimh cells. Now, 700mah is not super quick (I have chargers that will charge at safely at 5500mah), but they are far better than the 200mah units that come with many light systems. AND they will cycle your packs as well. I’m going to stop now…

    One other thing about making your own battery packs… It’s kind of addicting and hard to make just one.
  • 03-04-2004
    FM
    I got a related question....

    Can I use my newer micro-brute charger (came with a storm HID) to charge my older 12v battery pack I made for my classic dual-beam?

    I made this pack just like f*naetik's with Sanyo 4000mah's. The battery works great, but I don't get consistent charges with my old nite-rider "dumb charger" - mainly just becuase I'm never in one place long enough to give it a full charge. Understand I will need at least some sort of adaptor- does nite-rider sell this, or any tips on fabricating one?

    Thanks a ton!
  • 03-04-2004
    piercebrew
    13.2V can I make it from 11+ batteries?
    I know that to build a replacement for my 13.2V NR classic battery, I need 11 1.2V batteries. Could I set it up so I have 13 or 14 batteries, and add the last two or three in parallel or a series, which ever way as to not increase the voltage but to increase the burn time on my NR light?
    Forgive me for not knowing the technical terms.
    Thanks.
  • 03-04-2004
    Speedub.Nate
    Ooohh, I should point out...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jeffj
    If you look at f*nætik's picture and see the cells with the metal casing that look as if they are touching each other, look again. You will notice that the cardboard has been cut away (for whatever reason) on the outside of the cells and they are not actually touching each other metal case to metal case. I have had cells short out this way if you don’t insulate them from each other.

    ...that the batteries in the picture I posted of the open water bottle are the original Nite Rider batteries that I had already hacked at with a razor blade in the process of breaking the pack appart.

    Those are C cells soldered end to end. I constructed my pack out of 4/3A cells which did not require stacking; the follow the side-by-side diagram illustrated in my O - O - O diagram in one of the previous posts.
  • 03-04-2004
    spacoli
    Niterider battery plugs ends
    Where could I get plug ends (old style niterider) that come from the battery and plug into the light cord / charger port of my old digital 12.

    I want to build more than one replacement of my old battery?
  • 03-04-2004
    Albuquerque Rockhopper
    1 Attachment(s)
    I make RC battery packs all the time for my other hobby (electric RC airplanes), and found that these plugs work really well. They are press-fit plugs that also pull apart with just a bit of intentional force (good if your battery departs from your light), and they are designed for up to 80 amps of juice (maybe more, but thats the most I have put through them). Cheap for a set too.

    I am going to set up my batteries to use these plugs so I can charge my standard NiMH niterider batteries from my computerized peak detecting charger.

    http://www.wsdeans.com/products/plugs/ULTRA-PLUG2.jpg
  • 03-05-2004
    spacoli
    battery plugs
    Where could I get plug ends (old style niterider) that come from the battery and plug into the light cord / charger port of my old digital 12.

    I want to build more than one replacement of my old battery?