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  1. #1
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    Turbocat replacement battery

    I have a set of early to mid 1990's turbo cat light's. I have not used them for many years and the battery is no good. The lights and switches appear to be in good order. I took the battery pack apart and the battery is a Panasonic LCR6v6.5BP. Searching the net, I can only seem to find LCR6v6.5BP2. Is this a good replacement for this older system?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    According to this page: http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/...scontinued.pdf

    The battery you have is a Sealed Lead acid 6volt, 6500mah (6.5Ah) battery. I'm guessing this is a Halogen light, I had a very similar Niterider 15watt system back in the day that I had to replace my SLA battery too.

    You could replace with the P2 battery you mention - like this one here: Panasonic LCR6V6.5BP2 Battery

    It would work fine - it has a little more capacity, which equals a longer runtime. $14 for a replacement battery isn't too bad. But if you wanted to upgrade away from a SLA battery, read on.

    Lithiums aren't going to be a great choice for you, as a fully charged 2 cell LiIon pack is 8.4v hot off the charger. You can overvolt those halogen bulbs, but I'm no expert on the longevity of the bulbs in those situations.

    I went with a NiMh 6V pack for my old Halogen, cause I had a good hobby charger, and it couldn't do SLA batteries.

    Making an assumption that your light is 15watt - then it is about a 2.5amp draw on the battery. The original 6.5ah battery would have given about 2.5hours of runtime in a perfect world.

    So to keep decent runtime, you'll need as close to the same Ah capacity of the cells in whatever you pick. So - this pack:
    Rechargeable Batteries & Battery Chargers - NiCd 6V 5000mAh Battery Pack for Emergence Light would give a theoretical 2 hour runtime.

    This pack:
    Rechargeable Batteries & Battery Chargers - Nimh 6V 10000mAh Battery Pack with Bare Leads( Customize)

    would give ~4hours of runtime.

    Again, my runtimes are based on me assuming you have a 15watt light, which was about the maximum for lights if that vintage. 10 or 12watt lights would result in longer runtimes.

  3. #3
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    adrenalnjunky, thank you so much for the reply. I swung by home depot last night and found a very similar battery. Apparently these things are widely used as backups for emergency lighting. The numbers matched. The only difference seemed to be that the positive connector on the battery was larger than my original. I just snipped it down, plugged everything in and now it works! I hope it doesn't blow up on me, basically the thing is between my legs during a ride.

    I actually have a 2 light setup, one 15w, the 2nd 10w I think. The 15 is on a finger switch to preserve battery life. I can't believe these things still work after so many years.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    No - as long as you have a 6volt battery, you should be fine. Your original charger should work just like it did before.

  5. #5
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    8.4 is a 40% overvolt which for the sealed mr11 bulbs is quite doable. More importantly the 7.4 nominal voltage is close to the 7.2 volts that manufacturers like turbocat and niterider usually ran their 6v rated bulbs at when they switched to using nimh batteries. You could get a battery store to make you a pack as a 2s3p configuration that would give you the volts and amps you need. When you feed more volts to the bulb it will also pull a bit more current but the lumens will jump much higher also. With 20% more voltage you almost double the lumens. The bulb life does suffer, but a 20% over still gives you a couple hundred hours of life out of your typical halogen bulb.
    Last edited by DeeEight; 10-21-2012 at 07:01 AM.
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  6. #6
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    TImely finding this thread as I am also looking to switch out older (about 10 yr) water-bottle battery (Nicad) for my Turbocat 6v, 15 watt flood. The replacement cost is $125 which I find hard to justify,since I only really do 8 or so night rides/yr...so looking for a less expensive DIY.


    For the electrical guru's out there (adrenalnjunky, DeeEight et al):

    (1) Can I indeed change over to the 7.4 volt Lithium? How much run time can I expect?

    (2) or....should I go for the 6 volt, 100000 mAh NiMh listed above for a longer run time?


    Thanks for opinions

  7. #7
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    I'm not a halogen expert, I never got hardcore into modding halogens back when that was popular, but here's my understanding:

    the original 15watt output bulb took a 6V input, so by basic electrical math, Watts=volts*amps so:

    15=6*?A
    15/6=?A
    2.5=?A or 2.5Amp bulb

    With halogens, they get brighter with more voltage - but what I don't know is if they draw more current. Assuming they don't - you'd need at least a 5000mah battery for a 2hr run on high.

    10,000mah would be almost 4 hours on high.

    In lithium Ion - you'd still need a considerable mah rating (5000 or greater) to have a 2 hour or better runtime.

    The good news is that you can get 7.4V lithium battery 5200-6000mah for $39-45 typically, and a great multi charger like a Turnigy for <$30 shipped, or you could get a wall-wart charger for the 7.4V pack like a magicshine charger for $10. Either option comes in way less than the price you mentioned for the turbocat pack.

    When overvolting a halogen, you get a good bit more light, and the nominal voltage for the Lithium pack is only barely above what turbocat moved to when they went NiMh but were still using MR11 bulbs.

  8. #8
    Dr. Beat
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    Came across this thread. Looks like over-volting does draw more current, so would need higher mAh for same run time if I understand the calculations and graphs correctly



    runtime calcs. for overvolted halogen?

  9. #9
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    I'm not sold that it is drawing more current - that calculator doesn't actually tell you anything, cause you don't know 2 of the required figures.

    Either way - I still think you're good w 7.2V and a ~5000ma pack for close to 2 hour runs. Some beam shots out there for your setup overvolted look nice.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalnjunky View Post
    I'm not sold that it is drawing more current - that calculator doesn't actually tell you anything, cause you don't know 2 of the required figures.

    Either way - I still think you're good w 7.2V and a ~5000ma pack for close to 2 hour runs. Some beam shots out there for your setup overvolted look nice.
    The calculator ( Electrical & Electronics, Ohm's Law, Formulas & Equations) requires 2 values and works out the other 2. The thing is the ohms stay the same so as you move from 6 volt/15 watts and 2.5 amps (& 2.4 ohms) to 7.2 volts (& 2.4 ohms), it increases to 3 amps and 21.6 watts.

    Tim

  11. #11
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    Ahh - like I said - I never got into the halogen side of things - I guess I should have realized resistance is the constant value. I figured there had to be one, or there was more math I was missing.

  12. #12
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    A li-ion battery for a halogen lamp often has problems with tripping the battery protection circuit due to high initial current flow through the bulb. Unprotected battery or a "soft start" circuit may be required.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalnjunky View Post
    Ahh - like I said - I never got into the halogen side of things - I guess I should have realized resistance is the constant value. I figured there had to be one, or there was more math I was missing.
    The resistance of a halogen bulb is not constant, it changes quite significantly with filament temperature. Which is exactly why you have the in-rush current issue that vancbiker mentions. When the bulb is cold the resistance is extremely low so when you first connect a power source the initial current is very high for first few milliseconds until the filament gets hot. The resistance does increase as you overvolt so the current won't go up as much as you may expect, but it does rise a little because the change in resistance is less once you're in the higher temperature range.

    I used Li-Ion batteries with my first generation DIY halogen bike lights for a short period of time. Dealing with the in-rush current of a halogen bulb, that Vancbiker mentioned, is a real pain. It very reliably trips the over current protection on just about any li-ion pack. I had to do a bunch of tricks in my electronics to get it to work reliably.

  14. #14
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    This is a timely thread

    This is perfect timing for me. I've got a Turbocat S32/S47 light. As the original poster, the lights themselves and mounts are super nice, however the water bottle battery is old. I was going to get a Li-Ion pack and am glad I read these.

    this set uses their 13.2 V batter pack. Any suggestions for a replacement NiMH pack that isn't too expensive?
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  15. #15
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    to be honest, with all old lights that have duff batteries, it's worth seriously considering the cost of a replacement battery vs. buying a complete new light from China. I'm not a big advocate of Chinese lights, but for around $50 or so you'll get way more light for much longer than you would spending $30 or so on a new battery for a halogen light. I know everyone's priorities are different and $20 can be alot or pocket change, but it's worth thinking about.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    to be honest, with all old lights that have duff batteries, it's worth seriously considering the cost of a replacement battery vs. buying a complete new light from China. I'm not a big advocate of Chinese lights, but for around $50 or so you'll get way more light for much longer than you would spending $30 or so on a new battery for a halogen light. I know everyone's priorities are different and $20 can be alot or pocket change, but it's worth thinking about.
    Ditto. I hate saying it too, but for $45 shipped from US sellers, I can't build lights for my buddies anymore that include batteries and chargers.

    Course most of my friends are el cheapos anyway and are running 200lm flashlights.

  17. #17
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    Wasn't there a great thread from someone who did an LED/Cree conversion with those housings? I too still have a complete set, and I have been holding on to them until I came across a SIMPLE DIY how-to/walk through.

    Maybe I just dreamed that thread....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Wasn't there a great thread from someone who did an LED/Cree conversion with those housings? I too still have a complete set, and I have been holding on to them until I came across a SIMPLE DIY how-to/walk through.

    Maybe I just dreamed that thread....
    I have an old set too. I thought there was a conversion thread, but I don't remember it being inviting enough to try. My neighbor has a set too and I wanted to convert his over to LED.

  19. #19
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    Anyone in this thread end up converting to LED? I just bought 4 turbocat lights off eBay. S25 combo and two 6watt floods, only one battery and charger. I'm currently trying to decide how to set these up. Do I buy a 10Ah pack for the S25 and use the original pack for the two 6watts and mount those to my helmet? Do I replace the bulbs in the S25 with 12v bulbs with higher lumens... Or do I swap the internals and go to LED.

    I truly bought the lights on impulse... $58 shipped for 4 lights, a battery and a charger seemed like a good deal!

  20. #20
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    I have converted an old Turbocat to LED. As it turns out, a P60 drop-in flashlight module fits perfectly, making the project ridicu-easy. All I had to do was cut a lens out of plexiglas, wire it up and screw down the cover ... and as it turned out, the shape of the TurboCat housing is perfect. When the cover is screwed down and everything is tight, the metal base of the module contacts the TC housing pretty solidly, giving a good thermal path.

    Mine's performed flawlessly for about a year of (mostly) commuting now. Here's a link to my CPF post with a couple of pics: Show us your bike light set-up - Page 5

    The flashlight module I used was from user "nailbender" on CPF ... he sells tons of custom modules on their buy/sell/trade forum. Mine is a 3-mode XM-L (100%/40%/5%) driven at 2.8A on high. It puts out a lot of light (probably around 700lm after optical losses) but being an XML it is a fairly broad beam with a ton of spill. The beam is great for mountain biking but for commuting I prefer a much tighter beam for good throw. I'm actually thinking of experimenting with dual XP-Es for better throw. I've got more TurboCat light heads that I can use, and I have some cheapo DX modules enroute so I can experiment.

    As far as batteries go, I'm using a 4.8V NiMH pack, made with 4200mAh SubCs that I recycled from the 14.4V pack I had been using for halogens (12V MR16s -- 20% overvolting works great on halogens, BTW, if you don't go LED). NiMHs aren't as sexy and energy-dense as Li-ions, but IMO they're still great workhorses and a lot safer, plus I have a lot of them and several associated chargers lying around. I haven't tested the runtime, but I think it's close to 2 hours on high, and the great thing about a multi-mode module like this is if I do run it too long on high and the high mode won't light anymore, I can still run it on low for quite a while to get myself home safely.

    If you're going to reuse the TurboCat batteries and go the drop-in module route, make sure to get one that's rated for MORE than 6V maximum ... most of nailbender's modules would be at risk for damage if you ran them off a 6V lead-acid battery, since a full charge might be a bit over 6. DX has quite a few modules rated for 8.4V max or higher, and nailbender does appear to offer higher-voltage versions of some of his modules.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 01-17-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Thank you for the info though from your post I'm guessing I'm not in luck. My lights are the S25 combo, which uses two MR11 sized bulbs at 6v. If you have any of the smaller light housings and play around with retrofitting those let me know!

  22. #22
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    I'm not aware that TurboCat made more than size housing, though different lights did use different voltages. The S10, S15, S25, S32 and S47 all used the same size bulbs AFAIK.

    The MR16s I mentioned above were from a different project using a different housing. My TurboCats all housed MR11s, and a P60 (aka "D26") module fit perfectly. You should still be in luck. You may want to start with one of the $8-12 DealExtreme or Kaidomain modules if budget is tight, you aren't sure you want to go this route, or you just want to experiment.
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  23. #23
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    Thanks for the response! I'll take a look at those LED's and see what I can come up with.

    My 13.2 Ah battery just came in a few minutes ago and I've been drooling over it. After I've had a chance to break that in I'll take a look at other options for housing. One question though... the P60 shows as having only 300 lumens. Seems a bit low... is that really an improvement in light over the stock halogens? I'm not sure what lumens my friend's LED light has... but the turbocats easily overpowered his LED.

  24. #24
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    LEDs are all over the place, and can range from 100 lumens to 1000 or more depending on the emitter. Depends on which P60 module you're looking at and whether you're talking about emitter lumens (which many light makers quote) or actual out-the-front lumens.

    An S25, with MR11s overvolted by 10%, might be in the 400-500 lumen range, tops. A P60 with an XM-L emitter, such as the one I have, is going to be producing around 700 out-the-front lumens and consuming something around 10 watts of power.

    Even using the less powerful emitters that have been on the market longer (XP-G, XP-E, XR-E), a dual emitter system (if you converted both of the TurboCat's light heads) should still be able to match the S25 for both brightness and throw.
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  25. #25
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    Well, considering I have the battery life for more riding in a night than I could handle, if I switch to LED I want to have a sizable upgrade in both brightness and throw. I'm not worried as much about efficiency, as anything in LED will be more efficient than the halogens. I've started reading up on LED's, so I guess I might just have to play around with finding what will fit in my housing.

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