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  1. #1
    dtheo
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    BatterySpace pack and charger review

    This review is for the Batteryspace 14.4V 5000mAh NiMH Water Bottle battery and Smart Charger. I purchased this battery to power an old NightSun halogen system. Although the system is 12v, I wanted to over volt it for extra light output. The battery and charger combo is a great price compared to purchasing a replacement from the manufacturer. I had no trouble getting it hooked up to my lights. The battery came with several options for connectors to solder on in order to connect to my light. When I had it connected, it powered the lights fine. I did not do any bench test to see if my runtime was what I should get based on calculation values, but I never had any problems with the batteries discharging before I thought they were supposed to. So as far as capacity, they seemed to put out what was expected. It had been so long since I ran the lights from the manufacturerís battery so I cannot say if overvolting them made a big difference in brightness. I used a 10w and 20w MR16 bulb that I got from Batteryspace as well. I use the 10w on fire road and path and the 20w for off road riding which gives a good light. I would give the cells a very good rating and definitely recommend them for a replacement pack, extra pack or for a DIY light project.
    The bottle construction is ok. I have not had a problem with the wiring of the cells in the pack, but the lead under the mouthpiece of the bottle was starting to show some exposed wire. I think this occurs because batteryspace glues the valve of the bottle and then screws the cap on the bottle which twists the wire inside the bottle. There is just enough wire to fix this, but I wish they had left more wire inside the bottle. If it happens again, then the cells might need to be rewired from the ground up and that is probably more involved. Using a thicker wire casing might also prevent this from happening.
    The charger is the universal smart charger with .7 and 1.4 amp settings. I used this charger about 5 times last year and it worked fine. The light indicated when it had gone into shut off mode in order to prevent overcharging. However, this year, when I went to charge my batteries again, the charger started smoking almost immediately. I had a friend look at it and said it had continuity, but it wonít charge anymore. I knew the charger was around the 1-year warranty so I contacted Batteryspace to see if it was covered. I told them that I had hardly been used, but it was out of warranty and they said it would cost as much to fix as getting a new one so that is what I should do. I am not pleased at all with this. I got very little use out of the charger and it was clearly defective and I would like to see the seller stand behind their product. Since a new charger can be purchased for 20-25$, I am not going to cry, but I will try again and hope this one has a better lifespan. If not, then I will be done with Batteryspace. As it stands right now, I am lukewarm as to the quality of their products. I will see if that changes over time.

    DT

  2. #2
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    Your review was posted with good intent I'm sure but really doesn't prove much for Batteryspace's products. I have made many upgrades to systems my friends have including my own and have not had 100% success. Over-volting can be done but to much over-volting and you can't rely on your lights working every time. I was running a 14.8 volt Li-Ion pack with my 20W Turbocat light and went through three bulbs this year. That's $75 just for bulbs. Some of my friends replaced some too. It seems that the packs are just a bit to much. Look at the peak voltage rating in the specs. I had worse results with the 6v Turbocat bulb on my helmet with the 7.2v Li-Ion pack. I'm glad that LED's have stepped up to the plate because I have made the switch and won't go back to halogen. I needed longer run times and the packs to run halogens that long are just to heavy. In short what I'm saying is I wouldn't reccomend it unless you have alot of money for bulbs.

    Now as for the chargers. I think Batteryspace needs to do something about that bi-pin plug. I accidently made reverse contact trying to plug the pack in to charge it and blew it out imediately. This was a brand new charger not even a week old. Batteryspace will not warrany it if you do this. Lucky for me I know electronics and found that the zener diode that regulates the output shorted. I replaced it and the charger is fine now but I marked the two plugs with paint so it doesn't happen again. I would like to see some other type of plug option come from them.

    On a final note, alot of people have done alot of different things to increase the performance of their systems but I haven't seen to many that are really good. The best way to get predictable and reliable increased performance (over-volting) is to build a PWM circuit which isn't easy for most people. There is no one battery pack or cheap way that allows you to safely over-volt the lights or the manufactures would have been doing it.

    Sorry to rain on your parade.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    Your review was posted with good intent I'm sure but really doesn't prove much for Batteryspace's products. I have made many upgrades to systems my friends have including my own and have not had 100% success. Over-volting can be done but to much over-volting and you can't rely on your lights working every time. I was running a 14.8 volt Li-Ion pack with my 20W Turbocat light and went through three bulbs this year. That's $75 just for bulbs. Some of my friends replaced some too. It seems that the packs are just a bit to much. Look at the peak voltage rating in the specs. I had worse results with the 6v Turbocat bulb on my helmet with the 7.2v Li-Ion pack. I'm glad that LED's have stepped up to the plate because I have made the switch and won't go back to halogen. I needed longer run times and the packs to run halogens that long are just to heavy. In short what I'm saying is I wouldn't reccomend it unless you have alot of money for bulbs.

    Now as for the chargers. I think Batteryspace needs to do something about that bi-pin plug. I accidently made reverse contact trying to plug the pack in to charge it and blew it out imediately. This was a brand new charger not even a week old. Batteryspace will not warrany it if you do this. Lucky for me I know electronics and found that the zener diode that regulates the output shorted. I replaced it and the charger is fine now but I marked the two plugs with paint so it doesn't happen again. I would like to see some other type of plug option come from them.

    On a final note, alot of people have done alot of different things to increase the performance of their systems but I haven't seen to many that are really good. The best way to get predictable and reliable increased performance (over-volting) is to build a PWM circuit which isn't easy for most people. There is no one battery pack or cheap way that allows you to safely over-volt the lights or the manufactures would have been doing it.

    Sorry to rain on your parade.


    Your 6v T/C bulbs are actually 4.8v and we're already overvolted by 25% w/ a 6v battery. I share your frustration w/ the run times & battery weight w/ halogens however, the T/C are very bright as set up from the factory.

    LED's are just the way to go now if considering new lights. Now bright, light weight & mondo run times. I'm waiting another year though as my T/C's (s47 bar, s15 helmet) are still really good lights compared to how much it would cost to replace the brightness of them. Can't wait to see the advances in LED over the next year.

    MB

  4. #4
    ballbuster
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    Hmmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    Your review was posted with good intent I'm sure but really doesn't prove much for Batteryspace's products. I have made many upgrades to systems my friends have including my own and have not had 100% success. Over-volting can be done but to much over-volting and you can't rely on your lights working every time. I was running a 14.8 volt Li-Ion pack with my 20W Turbocat light and went through three bulbs this year. That's $75 just for bulbs. Some of my friends replaced some too. It seems that the packs are just a bit to much. Look at the peak voltage rating in the specs. I had worse results with the 6v Turbocat bulb on my helmet with the 7.2v Li-Ion pack. I'm glad that LED's have stepped up to the plate because I have made the switch and won't go back to halogen. I needed longer run times and the packs to run halogens that long are just to heavy. In short what I'm saying is I wouldn't reccomend it unless you have alot of money for bulbs.

    Now as for the chargers. I think Batteryspace needs to do something about that bi-pin plug. I accidently made reverse contact trying to plug the pack in to charge it and blew it out imediately. This was a brand new charger not even a week old. Batteryspace will not warrany it if you do this. Lucky for me I know electronics and found that the zener diode that regulates the output shorted. I replaced it and the charger is fine now but I marked the two plugs with paint so it doesn't happen again. I would like to see some other type of plug option come from them.

    On a final note, alot of people have done alot of different things to increase the performance of their systems but I haven't seen to many that are really good. The best way to get predictable and reliable increased performance (over-volting) is to build a PWM circuit which isn't easy for most people. There is no one battery pack or cheap way that allows you to safely over-volt the lights or the manufactures would have been doing it.

    Sorry to rain on your parade.
    I was running an older funky light that came with a SLA battery that was dead. I upgraded it to a NiMH from battery space, overvolted from 12v to 14.4v. Ran great, but the old light was funky and was falling apart. The steel bar it was attached to was fatigued, etc. I also ran it with a Light Brain controller. Worked frickin great apart from the light physically falling apart.

    So I found a NR Digital Pro12 on CL for $50 with a halfway going battery. The original charger went bad on the guy. No problem. I have a DeWalt charger rigged up for my batteries. Worked great. The NR light was nice and elegant compared to my old light. I adapted the Batteryspace battery to work with it, but it is wonky looking and clunky. Totally reliable, but looks like a hack. I don't trust it in the rain, tho.

    The BS battery seems to have good cells. I've been running mine for 3 years and it still runs plenty strong. I took out the original cable and replaced it with my own molex connectors with boots. From BS, it comes stuffed in a bottle packed with styro peanuts. Ugh. Total garage production. The peanuts break down after a few hours on the trail, and the cell pack bounces around in the bottle. I removed the peanuts and replaced it with expanding foam. Totally solid in that bottle, now.

    I was thinking of rebuilding the NR battery using the original bottle....

    On second thought, I'll either take the guts out of the BS battery and put it in the NR bottle, or just forget it and save up for an LED light, like a Newt2x or something. I don't think I wanna spend any more money on halogen.

    LED is where its at, baby.

    I'm glad I skipped the whole HID thing. Man, they are bright, but all my friends who have them have had ballast or bulb problems, and those things are not cheap to fix.

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure where you are getting a 4.8v halogen bulb from. I'm not going to say there isn't one, but I've never seen them and I've bought at least a dozen bulbs the last few years (for home brew builds too). Lets say they were 4.8 volts, you would never even be able to run them because they would pop the instant you hooked up to the battery. I know my bulbs were 6v because it's printed right on the glass. They can't say 6v and really be a 4.8v. They can be over- volted 20% which would be the Batteryspace's 7.2v Li-Ion pack but the problem comes from when it's got a fresh charge. Then it's 8.4 volts. If you don't charge the pack fully you can get away with it but then you lose your run times.

  6. #6
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    $25 for a halogen bulb? That sounds crazy... Have you looked at light bulb emporium or a similar online source? I haven't looked at 6v bulbs, but there's dozens of 12v 20w bulbs in the $2 to $3 price range. In my mind, compared to the cost of a good LED or HID light, over-volting and blowing bulbs from time to time isn't a big deal. I just ordered a couple that cost $12 (supposed to be better I guess), and still, my feeling won't be hurt if it blows early.

    BM
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  7. #7
    relax
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    I'm not sure where you are getting a 4.8v halogen bulb from. I'm not going to say there isn't one, but I've never seen them and I've bought at least a dozen bulbs the last few years (for home brew builds too). Lets say they were 4.8 volts, you would never even be able to run them because they would pop the instant you hooked up to the battery. I know my bulbs were 6v because it's printed right on the glass. They can't say 6v and really be a 4.8v. They can be over- volted 20% which would be the Batteryspace's 7.2v Li-Ion pack but the problem comes from when it's got a fresh charge. Then it's 8.4 volts. If you don't charge the pack fully you can get away with it but then you lose your run times.
    "Smart Light" or "Planet Bike" light use 4.8 volt halogen bulbs (it's printed on the bulb) and are powered by 6volt batteries. I have been using two sets for over three years with no probs.
    Switched to DIY LED a month ago.

    J

  8. #8
    Singletrack Daydreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    Now as for the chargers. I think Batteryspace needs to do something about that bi-pin plug. I accidently made reverse contact trying to plug the pack in to charge it and blew it out imediately. This was a brand new charger not even a week old. Batteryspace will not warrany it if you do this. Lucky for me I know electronics and found that the zener diode that regulates the output shorted. I replaced it and the charger is fine now but I marked the two plugs with paint so it doesn't happen again. I would like to see some other type of plug option come from them.
    LOL, I thought I was the only one who did this. Straight out of the box, cooked the charger. I now switch everthing I buy from batteryspace over to Radio Shack Molex's and haven't had any problems since. It's just irresponsible for batteryspace to sell products where they can be plugged in reverse polarity so easily. It gets even worse when you're 24 hour racing and lactate-stupid-as-hell at o'dark-thirty in the morning after your seventh... errrm... or was that you eigth lap... Everything that has to do with electronics and 24 hour racing should be 100% idiot-proof because 100% of the people who 24-hour race are at least 50% nuts.
    Train 'til you puke. Cheat to win. Party like a rockstar. We miss you, Jan!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockymtnway
    LOL, I thought I was the only one who did this. Straight out of the box, cooked the charger. I now switch everthing I buy from batteryspace over to Radio Shack Molex's and haven't had any problems since. It's just irresponsible for batteryspace to sell products where they can be plugged in reverse polarity so easily. It gets even worse when you're 24 hour racing and lactate-stupid-as-hell at o'dark-thirty in the morning after your seventh... errrm... or was that you eigth lap... Everything that has to do with electronics and 24 hour racing should be 100% idiot-proof because 100% of the people who 24-hour race are at least 50% nuts.
    OUCH!! I agree, epecially with my bad eyes, it's hard to tell which is the very slightly larger pin. I would advise to plug the battery into the charger, making sure it's right before plugging the charger into the wall.

  10. #10
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    Batteryspace's smart charger has to be pluged into the wall before pluging in the battery pack.

    If anyone has had a problem with one of their chargers and Batteryspace won't warranty it, I would recommend opening it up and troubleshooting it yourself. Power supplies and chargers are some basic devices found in everything we use. Some simpler than others but they operate and do the same things. With the internet as your guide/teacher you can find all the information you need to get to the bottom of the problem. All components have manufacture's ID and part numbers so you can look up the spec sheets. In the process you'll learn alot. You like building these light systems don't you? I think building other devices are just as much fun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    Batteryspace's smart charger has to be pluged into the wall before pluging in the battery pack.
    Wow. I never do it that way. I always plug the battery pack in first, then plug the charger into the wall socket. I've been doing this for about two years. Interesting....

  12. #12
    I win.
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    Quote Originally Posted by achesalot
    Wow. I never do it that way. I always plug the battery pack in first, then plug the charger into the wall socket. I've been doing this for about two years. Interesting....
    Me too, I plug my battery in then the charger into the wall.

    If I remember correctly that's what the instructions called for.
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  13. #13
    dtheo
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    which to plug in first?

    Quote Originally Posted by mofoki
    Batteryspace's smart charger has to be pluged into the wall before pluging in the battery pack.
    Interesting - would like to hear more including the reason why this is.

    I wonder if I didn't accidentally fry the charger by misplugging the connector. If that is the case, then that is another issue that BS should consider in future packs - make it idiot proof as another poster suggested.

    I also agree with what was said about the overall construction - what I was alluding to is the fact that it is kind of shoddy with the way the wire is twisted up inside the bottle. Mine is stuffed with strips of styrofoam packing - not exactly hi-tech - but keep in mind that this is an inexpensive alternative. I can live with it like that.

    As for my intent of the review - if you post a review of a BS product, you can get a certificate for $30 credit!! I am all for LED technology over halogen or HID and my next light will be of this nature. I am considering the new 1000 lumen Hope system, the TriNewt, or hooking up an iblaast to this battery.

    DT

  14. #14
    Its got what plants crave
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    I've been using a BS pack and charger to overvolt a 12v Niterider halogen. I'm still on the first bulb I bought with maybe 50 runs on it, usually rides of 3+ hours. It's running on a 14.8v lithium pack. I have a spare bulb but they're cheap, about 4-5 bucks even if it does blow. I've got a problem now with the pack. Several of the cells seem to have died and I only get about an hour of run time on it now between charges which IMO is lame. I don't consider the battery used anywhere near enough times to justify the 90 dollar price tag. They offer a 4200 mah battery that I might consider for my next battery since it's about 50 bucks.

  15. #15
    ballbuster
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    Wfiu....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    I've been using a BS pack and charger to overvolt a 12v Niterider halogen. I'm still on the first bulb I bought with maybe 50 runs on it, usually rides of 3+ hours. It's running on a 14.8v lithium pack. I have a spare bulb but they're cheap, about 4-5 bucks even if it does blow. I've got a problem now with the pack. Several of the cells seem to have died and I only get about an hour of run time on it now between charges which IMO is lame. I don't consider the battery used anywhere near enough times to justify the 90 dollar price tag. They offer a 4200 mah battery that I might consider for my next battery since it's about 50 bucks.
    ... overvolting by 20% cuts the bulb life in half or something like that. Since the bulbs are rated at 2000 hours, 1000 hours should give you lots of time to ride your bike in the dark. I mean, think about it. How many hours a year do you really ride at night? 20? 40?

  16. #16
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    I think part of the problem is that NiCads are pretty true to 14.4v, even at full charge, where 14.8v Li-ions can be 16.8-17.1v at full charge, which is closer to 35-40% overvolting. That's way more than you can expect to abuse a bulb. I've worked around this by using a pair of 10w, 1.5 ohm resistors in parallel to bring down the current some with the Li-ions, but it's not an ideal solution. The resistors can get hotter than Hades since you're using them at their limit.

    He may also be having issues with heat management. While halogens aren't as sensitive as LEDs to heat, they still don't like it.
    Train 'til you puke. Cheat to win. Party like a rockstar. We miss you, Jan!

  17. #17
    Its got what plants crave
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    ... overvolting by 20% cuts the bulb life in half or something like that. Since the bulbs are rated at 2000 hours, 1000 hours should give you lots of time to ride your bike in the dark. I mean, think about it. How many hours a year do you really ride at night? 20? 40?

    Exactly. From my vague understanding of electronics, a halogen is also more efficient when it's overvolted correct? So even if I have a limited bulb life they are cheap to replace. The only problem with the setup so far is the battery

  18. #18
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    I recently purchased a BS battery as well, and have had good luck so far. They must have addressed the plug that is easily reversible, because I can't see how it would be possible to reverse the polarity with what I've got.

    II have a Nitesun Team Issue light I bought a number of years back, and when the battery died, I thought it was time to replace the system. I was having trouble convincing myself to fork over the dough for a new light, even though current HID and LED lights are far superior to the Nitesun, so I started considering the idea of replacing the battery. First I looked at the Nitesun website; they sell a 12V/30Wh replacement for $100! What a scam! I decided reluctantly to start shopping for a new light. When researching lights on Candle Power Forums (CPF) and mtbr.com, I learned about batteryspace.com.

    With a forum to answer questions and an easy to navigate website, it was easy to pick the proper Batteryspace.com battery. I selected a 13.2V/5000mAh NiMH water bottle battery, smart charger, and a Trail-Tech Coaxis male plug to connect to the NiteSun light to be able to plug it into the battery pack. I placed my order and waited.

    I was shocked a few days latter to receive a package from Batteryspace. Shipping was in record time and everything was packed well. It was straightforward cutting the light connector off the Nightsun and then soldering in the new male plug. This connection looks water-proof and is of much higher quality than the original Nightsun connector. After completing the connector change, I prepared for a ride. The battery charged fully in less than 3 hours, which I consider completely acceptable. I put the battery in my down tube water bottle cage, and with a little taping up of excess umbilical, I was off.

    Based on recommendations from CPF and batteryspace, Iíve now over-volted this light 10%. The results of the over volt were obvious as soon as I hit the trail. I rode for 2 hrs using both the 10W and 30W settings with no signs of dimming. After the ride, I left the light on for another 2+ hrs still with no signs of dimming. Based on this, I expect to be able to do 3 hour night rides using high and low beam as I feel the need. That is 50% longer than I would have considered with the original Nightsun battery.

    Overall, Iím very happy with this purchase. The order was easy to place. The product shipped and was received very quickly. The quality of the product appears to be good. The cells are placed solidly in the water bottle, and the connector is of very good quality. Although the charger warms up more than Iíd prefer during charging, the charger is easy to use and results in a quick charge. Iíll be using this light for a 24 race, and expect to have no battery or charging problems.

    If there were any down sides to this purchase, it would be that the battery is too large. Tipping the scales at more than 2 lbs, this battery is heavy. But I guess that is what I have to accept using outdated halogen bike light technology.

  19. #19
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    I noticed on the website Battery Space have replaced the silly little round two pronged plug with a Tamiya remote control type of connector to stop people blowing chargers.

    I wish I knew all I needed to do was take it apart and replace a diode. I got a new charger and threw the old one out. I have also put some paint on one side to let me know which way to plug it in as it is too easy to do it wrong

    I expect to do about 100 hours a year riding with a light. That is based on 20 weeks commuting in the dark for an hour per day. Sure I miss a few days but then I also do a few night races which I think makes it even.

  20. #20
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    One thing to note on the BS website, it recommends testing the leads for positive/negitive. To go on a rant about what happens when you don't follow the manufactures suggestions is a bit funny. You guys get upset when you get bit by a dog after the owner says, "Don't pet, he bites"?

    I bought the water bottle pack and smart charger a few weeks ago to power my triple cree. The same thing was even pointed out in the literature that came with the battery and charger.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

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