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  1. #1
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    Dynamo Odyssey - one year on

    Been running my lights with dynamo power for over a year now, and I'm totally sold. Last winter (2012), I finally built a dynamo-hub front wheel for my winter/wet commuter (Shimano Alfine Hub and 26 in. MTB rim). After 10 years, I was getting lazy about battery charging, with the obvious results.
    The Alfine powers my 2 headlights (Cree XMLs) and tail light (19 red LEDs) "to infinity and beyond", and all I have to do is turn 'em on and clean the lenses. I built a circuit (fits in the steer tube) that boosts output at my optimum speed and provides an acceptable stand light - 1 headlight and taillight. Running around 500 mA, the XMLs put out decent light to see and be seen (commute is on lit city streets), without blinding anyone. It works so well, this winter I decided to do the same thing for my summer/dry commuter. While not really necessary, I still have the bug, and wanted to try the SP hub.
    So, I bought a Shutter Precision PD-8 (6 bolt disc) hub and built it up with a 700c rim. This hub is touted as one of the lightest, most efficient dynamo hubs on the market. At $130 USD (including shipping), the price was certainly right. It is small and light (for a dyno hub), has sealed bearings, and seems well built. Used the same circuit to power 2 headlights (SSC P7) and a taillight (red Cree XP-E). The PD-8 has noticeably less drag (spinning in the workstand) than the Alfine - in use, it does take another (3rd) pedal stroke to achieve full, steady brightness. Otherwise, it works as expected (same 500mA output - less weight and drag).
    Actually, on the road, I don't notice any drag from either hub, so now I just leave the lights on all the time. (Why did I bother with those sweet top cap switches?)
    Nevertheless, I've already had multiple questions about the taillight on the summer bike (still in only limited use). Even had a motorist say how bright it was and ask where could he get one. All in broad daylight (and music to my ears). I guess the red XP-E, running near its max, is plenty bright. Nothing left but to put one on the winter bike, too.
    I hope this post inspires others (at least commuters) to (get smart) go dynamo.

  2. #2
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    Cool deal. Do you have info on the steerer tube booster circuit? I have multiple dynamo hubs and associated lights, but haven't found myself using them much lately. Not doing as much commuting and for racing I've just been using battery packs (no efficiency losses).

    Thanks
    baker

  3. #3
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    Sounds awesome! Can you post some pictures?

  4. #4
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    Dynamo pics

    Baker - this is the circuit I'm using. Dynamo Odyssey - one year on-tunedstandlight.jpgDynamo Odyssey - one year on-circuit-harness.jpgIt's basically Martins circuit 7 (Pilom Electronics Web Presence) for 3 LEDs with Frontrangers stand light circuit tweaked to include the taillight. Got most of the parts (caps and diodes) from Digikey (breadboard, resistors and switches at a local electronics surplus outlet). This is how I wired it to fit in the steer tube. The spade lugs connect to the top cap switch, and the other connectors mate with a wiring harness to lights and hub. The harness and connector facilitated testing of (multiple) circuits. Not enough room for the connector on the summer bike, so it's hard wired to above circuit.
    Varider - here are a few more pics of the setups.Dynamo Odyssey - one year on-summerdry.jpgDynamo Odyssey - one year on-summer-taillight.jpgDynamo Odyssey - one year on-winterwet.jpgDynamo Odyssey - one year on-switch.jpgDynamo Odyssey - one year on-winter-taillight.jpg

  5. #5
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    Nice! I love my dynamo lights but I lack the skill to build so it is all purchased. I do use battery lights too as back up and additional light but love the fact that I have light when I pedal with no worries about batteries for the primary lights. I am also really liking the more advanced LEDs that are starting to come available for dynamos. Until recently, there was not too much out there that competed with battery lights.

  6. #6
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    Wow, awesome setup. Thanks for the pictures.

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