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  1. #1
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    Cygolite Expilion and getting around proprietary batteries

    A lot of the more technical guys on here know that almost all of the rechargeable headlights are powered by 18650 cells - some better quality than others - and this is a significant long-term cost for the consumer.

    Question for anyone that owns an Expilion (especially the latest/800): Do you think that the plastic molded case can be snapped/cut to reveal the 18650 battery, so that a better valued and spec'd one could be purchased and replaced after X number of uses? If so, one could possibly purchase a 3400 mAh Panasonic and achieve longer runtimes.

    I know the Niterider Lumina has a 18650 with a lead soldered to it. Just trying to compare which one would be easier to mess with. The Gemini and Jetlites seem to be pre-built for 18650 cells, but they are more $.

    Thanks,

    Sheldon
    Last edited by diylighter; 04-18-2014 at 07:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    You should cut it open. Im waiting for one to die and do the same. I think the current cell in there is 2200mah so alot of room for improvement in run times. I was hoping there was a patent so I could look at the diagram but I cant find anything.

  3. #3
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    That's one of the things I didn't like about the cygolites, that proprietary battery. I don't know how wise it is to cut into it. I think if you puncture the cell you could start a very intense fire! There's a lot of energy in those cells, probably even when they are discharged. Maybe you could safely wedge it open. It's begging for a 3-D printed solution, since you need to get the end that screws into the light body. Of course you can just buy new cygolite battery, but they are double the cost of a decent cell!

    The only lights (as far as I know) that just use a regular 18650 are the lezynes without modification. I also remember reading an older thread about the Lumina's where you could just unscrew the light body and pop in a new battery (perhaps even unprotected). It just sat there in some sort of slot.

    The ability to replace the battery and the associated cost aren't talked about much in the review of these all-in-one lights. For me it's a major factor. I have a pile of mp3, bluetooth headsets etc that are all junk because I can't get new batteries. The manufacturers of these light also shouldn't be charging two or three times the cost of a top-of-the-line panasonic cell for their lousy proprietary single-cell battery. It's BS. Chances are they won't even be available three or four years from now. Cygolite will change the design slightly "to make it better" and the old batteries will get phased out. Then you will be forced to buy a new light!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    That's one of the things I didn't like about the cygolites, that proprietary battery. I don't know how wise it is to cut into it. I think if you puncture the cell you could start a very intense fire! There's a lot of energy in those cells, probably even when they are discharged. Maybe you could safely wedge it open. It's begging for a 3-D printed solution, since you need to get the end that screws into the light body. Of course you can just buy new cygolite battery, but they are double the cost of a decent cell!

    The only lights (as far as I know) that just use a regular 18650 are the lezynes without modification. I also remember reading an older thread about the Lumina's where you could just unscrew the light body and pop in a new battery (perhaps even unprotected). It just sat there in some sort of slot.

    The ability to replace the battery and the associated cost aren't talked about much in the review of these all-in-one lights. For me it's a major factor. I have a pile of mp3, bluetooth headsets etc that are all junk because I can't get new batteries. The manufacturers of these light also shouldn't be charging two or three times the cost of a top-of-the-line panasonic cell for their lousy proprietary single-cell battery. It's BS. Chances are they won't even be available three or four years from now. Cygolite will change the design slightly "to make it better" and the old batteries will get phased out. Then you will be forced to buy a new light!
    Niterider sells a replacement battery for the Lumina series. It looks like a protected 18650 with a lead soldered on, but I would have to call to find out the mAh. If it's below 3400, I would look forward to an improvement, as mentioned.

    I've been waiting for the self-contained lights to get to 700-800 lumens with 2h runtime and they are here now, but good ones like the JetLites FU-3 are $170 (my current fav). Twice the price of a Lezyne, but better lumens and runtime.

    FWIW, on the budget side, I bought a $13 Ostart headlamp on Amazon to try out and so far it's alright but haven't had it on the trail. Compared to my magicshine P7 and XM-L, it's not as many lumens but the color is excellent. I'm hoping that if the circuitry isn't totally inefficient, I'll get 2+ hrs out of 2 (salvaged MS) cells and maybe in the 600 lumen range. Definitely not as convenient mounting-wise on a helmet, but I have 2 helmets so could strap the headlamp down and leave it. Also can charge right on the helmet with the built in charging circuit. Will post when I have tried it out.

  5. #5
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    UPDATE: I was able to remove the headlamp pack straps easily, as the plastic holders are slotted, and replaced with velcro. Removed the head pad and replaced with o-ring clamp from another Magicshine light and BAM - have a nice helmet-mounted solution with no extraneous cords dangling. The rear pack on the helmet even glows red as a taillight. I really hope this thing will hold up as it is reasonably light and looks good. Pics to follow.

  6. #6
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    Diylighter,

    Mike from Jet Lites here.

    The F3 is 1000 Lumens and runs for 2 hours on 1 3400 mAh 18650. It's replaceable so you can use any 18650 you want.

    However, not all 18650 batteries, or even the panasonic cells are the same. The protection circuit ads length and that length is critical. If the battery is too short, the contact will interrupt when you're shredding the gnar, and that's not awesome.

    Also, many 18650 batteries that do and don't have protection circuits have weak + terminals and those can get crushed in the contact pressure during heavy vibration on our lights.

    That said, we charge $25 for the batteries by themselves and $20 as an upgrade when you buy a light or light combo. Given what we have to pay to get them and the quantities we order, that's reasonable retail pricing. You can find them cheeper on Amazon and Ebay. Just make sure you know the critical details that matter for your light and then order away!

    -Mike
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

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