Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups

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  1. #1
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    Battery pack from cheap Chinese light nearly burns down a guy's house!

    He stopped using an Image 5,000 lumen light because the pack was corroding and bought a SolarStorm. Didn't end well.

    A Cheap Chinese Bike Light Nearly Burned Down this Rider?s House | Singletracks Mountain Bike News

  2. #2
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    That's cheap Chinese battery packs for you. And their cheap chargers.

    Sucks that guys house got gutted. Could have been worse though.



    First thing though is he admits he didn't do any research and we always say NEVER EVER charge any light (except USB) on a walwort charger unattended. And reading that article, he has money and plenty of it. Why take risks when you can obviously afford pricier stuff.



    It was the charger that caused that, and the pack protection failed to cut off charging so charger overcharged the pack and blew it up.



    This is why I keep telling people to stop buying Chinese lights off eBay, especially ones that include battery and charger. THEIR DANGEROUS!



    There's honestly no reason with all the reviews done here and us locating quality packs, that people have to continuously be stupid (not ignorant, they read the stuff here and know better, so stupid) and cheap. Buy what's proven to work and we know is safe. You have money for a bicycle and internet access to be on the internet, you have money to spend the few extra dollars to have a safe battery and charger.
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  3. #3
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    +1^^^

    Well said!! I feel for the guy as I'm sure he's banging his head against what's left of his walls.

    It just perplexes me people riding bikes worth thousands will opt for a $20 bike light set up for off road riding,,,,, then complain that run times, or output isn't what they were expecting. Or in this case loosing their home to fire.

  4. #4
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    Me I could save up for good lights, but since I enjoy tinkering etc, Cheap lights work fine for me. And some are good, just very few have good and safe batteries/chargers
    Trek Marlin 29er

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arebee View Post
    He stopped using an Image 5,000 lumen light because the pack was corroding and bought a SolarStorm. Didn't end well.

    A Cheap Chinese Bike Light Nearly Burned Down this Rider?s House | Singletracks Mountain Bike News
    The story that the guy tells is just "weird". Guy comes home, smells smoke, hears fire alarm going off and can't figure out that something is wrong?

    Anyway, guy says it was the second time he charged the battery . So...was it damaged before he got it or did he do something to it? We don't know. What we do know is if a Li-ion battery is damaged externally ( or if poorly constructed by the factory ) it can catch fire. Usually there is going to be a burning smell before the batteries gets to the stage where it catches fire and explodes. This is why you ALWAYS charge Li-ion cells in a safe place and never leave them unattended for an extended time when charging.

    Summing up, we don't know if the issue was just that the battery was a cheap ( faulty ) Chinese battery or if the battery was damaged during shipping or if damaged by the owner somehow. Crap happens. People burn their houses down everyday with other relatively "safe products" that can become dangerous when either the product fails or someone uses the product in an unsafe manner. People leave food cooking on stove tops unattended. Space heaters sitting too close to flammable materials. Candles burning unattended. The common causes for house fires could fill a couple pages in a book.

    Of course there is always the uncommon; Meth-head has his homemade lab catch fire ( or blow up ) while mixing chemicals. Interestingly, I believe Li-ion batteries are sometimes cut open and used for their chemistry when cooking up meth...or was it crack...I forget now, saw it on an episode of "Drugs Inc." a couple weeks ago. ( no innuendo intended, just relating some facts )

    ( Side note: I'm still wondering why the guy never tried to use one of the fire extinguishers that are required for all residential apartment or condo type dwellings? Where I live they are required to be at least one on every level. I don't live in Fla. though so I don't know their public safety laws. Didn't make a lot of sense to throw water on an electrical fire. I just hope nobody got hurt. )

  6. #6
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    Bummer for the condo owner!

    I have a couple solarstorm lights. At some point, I tested the batteries and they totally sucked (pitiful capacity). I went through all of my batteries and threw out any that were suspect (capacity significantly below rating). On the other hand, I didn't even think about the chargers themselves. I tend to use my RC car hobby charger, but will also just hook them up to one of the many random 8.4v chargers on occasion. Time to rethink that strategy. When charging, I also tend to put the pack in a protective battery safety sack. Not sure if it would have prevented this disaster, but it can't hurt. Time for me to become more comprehensive about my battery procedures. My bike room is directly below my daughter's bedroom. I might have to rethink that situation.
    baker

  7. #7
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    I live in MA and I never heard of a law requiring private residences to have fire extinguishers. I have many of them though.

    Should I charge my Gemini and MagicShine in a charging bag? What about my Macbook Pro and iPhone? Where do you draw the line?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Me I could save up for good lights, but since I enjoy tinkering etc, Cheap lights work fine for me. And some are good, just very few have good and safe batteries/chargers
    Understandable tigris99 as unlike many out there who believe their getting a 5000 lumen light with good battery's/chargers for $20,, you know what your doing. You know how to source a quality battery/charger while using a cheaper head unit to get a decent and safe set up well under $100.

    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.
    If NightFighter gets a new BT21 with a decent connector on Amazon with a good battery, then sure.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    If NightFighter gets a new BT21 with a decent connector on Amazon with a good battery, then sure.
    YES!! A waterproof connector is a must, and NF inconsistent connectors I guess are another part of the problem with cheap lights.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.
    I have 2 Nitefighter chargers that don't charge....so I guess that makes them really safe.....or maybe not.
    As a former insurance industry guy.....that whole story smells really funky. There's 2 sides to every story...then there's the truth.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    I live in MA and I never heard of a law requiring private residences to have fire extinguishers. I have many of them though.

    Should I charge my Gemini and MagicShine in a charging bag? What about my Macbook Pro and iPhone? Where do you draw the line?
    The guy said he lived in a condo. Usually these are multi-residential. Where I live there are fire extinguishers in the entrance hallways on every level ( floor ). Maybe he meant to say "townhouse". (?)... Anyway, everyone should own a fire extinguisher ( if you don't have one easily available ). Just like having a smoke detector it is a really smart thing to do.

    Not too long ago I came home one day after work and smelled a burning smell in my kitchen. Turned out it was coming from a small fluorescent lamp which is mounted over my sink ( which I always leave on ). The smell was coming from the lamp's ballast module that was going bad and was beginning to heat-up. Burning wires have a particular smell that is easy to ID. Anyway, got rid of that lamp real quick.

    Yep, my own smoke detector is really old. I need to have it checked and it can't hurt to buy another...just in case. BE CAREFUL with the Christmas lights!...one of the biggest causes of home fires.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    I have 2 Nitefighter chargers that don't charge....so I guess that makes them really safe.....or maybe not.
    As a former insurance industry guy.....that whole story smells really funky. There's 2 sides to every story...then there's the truth.
    I'd have to go back and read the thread again, but I thought depending on the vendor where the light was purchased the quality of the battery/charger would be good or poor?

  14. #14
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    The days of the old hot Christmas lights seem over. Unless you have them and don't buy new ones I guess.

  15. #15
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    Stuff like this happens no matter what the electronics.. How many articles have been put out of mobile phones exploding, catching fire, laptops melting down?

    I've had a phone battery short in my pocket a while back.

    I usually never leave batteries (or any device) charging when I'm not home. When my stuff is charging...I'll periodically check on it to see if it's done charging. Always unplug the charger when not charging.

  16. #16
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    I agree the whole story seems to reek of stupidity and then the moral of the story comes across like "don't buy cheap Chinese lights". I'm glad to see the "positive" comments below about people using cheap lights.

    When you buy budget electronics direct from China (well sometimes locally too) you are automatically taking a risk. With that risk comes responsibilities like verifying charger & battery behavior before trusting them. If you're not willing to do this then you shouldn't be buying these products!

    Like tigris99, I enjoy the hobby of tinkering with these lights; that's my draw to them. Sure I could buy 1 or 2 great expensive lights, but where is the fun in that? I draw the line with cheap Chinese packs though!

    -Garry

  17. #17
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    Someone on the electric bike forum tested every 18650 cell from Amazon that was under X dollars. I think X was $3.

    He then returned any that didn't make at least 70% of their rated capacity. He had to return every one.

    Moral - decent 18650 cells cost something like $5 in bulk and $7-8 individually. If you shop for cheaper ones, it is almost certainly going to be a failure. So a six-cell pack for under $45 or so (after their profits and expenses are added) is not going to be good.

  18. #18
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    Forgot to mention that I'm seeing a lot of cheap Chinese power banks being sold everywhere locally. They scare me. I'd never trust those either.

    -Garry

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    ...When you buy budget electronics direct from China (well sometimes locally too) you are automatically taking a risk. With that risk comes responsibilities like verifying charger & battery behavior before trusting them. If you're not willing to do this then you shouldn't be buying these products!...

    -Garry
    Very true. Not to mention even when you think they are working fine it is a good idea to charge them in a area that would not easily catch fire ( or in a container that would not allow fire to spread in a worse case scenaro ).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    The days of the old hot Christmas lights seem over. Unless you have them and don't buy new ones I guess.
    Yeah but even with newer lights the wires will eventually get old as the years go by. And as with all things electrical if bared wires get crossed, broken or exposed, bad things can happen.

    I remember my sister telling me once that she had to stop having a Christmas tree because her cats used to mess with the tree. Last thing you need is for the tree to fall over, short out a lamp and maybe cause a fire. Crap just happens, unfortunately. That's why people are required to have insurance for their homes.

  21. #21
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    Even my Xmas lights are led. So much safer and more efficient

    Things can happen and will if proper precautions arent taken.

    I have lipo bags from rc days. If I need to charge while away, I use it. Their rated to handle a lot more than these packs will generate for heat. Handle up to 6C 30C 5Ah LiPo going nuclear. These liions haven't got crap on those packs.
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  22. #22
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    Time for a link to a thread started years ago after another panic about a battery charging accident.

    And more batteries

    A little bit tongue in cheek, but really, considering the billions of lithium chemistry batteries in use world-wide. I'd be more worried about the neighbor kids playing with matches.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  23. #23
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    So... the guy realizes there's a fire, and goes in and out a few times to save his "stuff". But it's not until the HOMEOWNER from across the street sees what's going on and then they call 911?

    Well, you gotta have priorities and I suppose being an azzh0le can be one of them.

  24. #24
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    Can anyone recommend a good replacement battery packs, not from China?
    I want to ride my bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtiseddie View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good replacement battery packs, not from China?
    No, but...
    BATTERIES ? Action-LED-Lights

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