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  1. #1
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    Other Cold Weather Users Breaking Wires Too?

    I have a question for other cold weather riders regarding their experience with different companies.

    I live in Wisconsin and ride with my lights year round. I was an early adopter of the Gloworm brand, and ordered a X1 (helmet) and X2 (bars). During the first winter of use, the wire insulation cracked on both the battery and X2 light harness. Jim @ Action LED was awesome to work with, and had warranty replacements to me in short order.

    But a year after sending me the X2 v.2 (which was supposed to have improved wiring) the same thing has happened again. The insulation has cracked on my X2 harness at each point of the Y-connector, and at the battery plug. The lights stay on my handlebars and helmet, and have been removed 3-4 times in the last year, so its not like they are experiencing a lot of abuse. I was also taught early in life to never use the cord as a gripping point.

    I called Jim this morning, and he once again said its a known issue with cold weather riders, but the latest and greatest should work much better. But he now considers them to be out of warranty, meaning $40-50 out of pocket to have the harnesses replaced and shipped back and forth, has me with a sour taste in my mouth and a week off the bike.

  2. #2
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    My cold weather experiences

    Sorry to hear you are having a problem, sound like Action is/has been taking care of you.


    Been riding my Amoeba lights for over 6 years now. Have many, many customers in very cold climates and have never had a failure due to cracking/fraying. I use Trail Tech cables on my lights. They seem like overkill for my tiny lights but I use raw materials that I know are going to last and I can stand behind for years.



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  3. #3
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    Being "winter biker", I'm aware of that problem: my cycling club's mates experienced cracked/broken insulation quite often. The problem is specific to cheap Chinese lights only. Medium-grade brands (like MagicShine, for example) never had this issue in my practice. This is solely depends on quality of materials used in cables.

    BTW, most cheaper clones don't even require cold weather for that: even people who ride exclusively at the summer, have noticed that cheapest lights exhibit this issue after approximately one year of use.

    In your case, I believe it's better to buy MagicShine extender (about $3) and replace the cables - either yourself or with help of some friends / electronic repair shop.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar View Post
    ...I use raw materials that I know are going to last and I can stand behind for years.
    This is the solution. Scar has posted pics while riding in like single digit temps IIRC.

    The PVC insulation on Chinese cables stiffens and gets brittle in the cold. It also gets harder as it ages.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  5. #5
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    Yes, I have this problem with my older magicshine mj-816 and Gemini Olympia. I will have to attend to both at some point, for now just been using an x2 on the head and an older single xm-l titan that was my backup light. Both the 816 and the olympia probably had a good 60+ rides in 20-30 degree weather on top of warm weather use which contributed to this though

  6. #6
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    Single digit temps, pfffftt! Try double digit negative temps fellas.

    These are not supposed to be cheap chinese lights, I thought I paid a premium for quality.

  7. #7
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    Been years since I read about this problem but years ago I can remember reading ( somewhere on the web ) that there is a special kind of insulated wire used for arctic temperatures. For someone who really plans on doing a lot of winter riding in really low temperatures it would probably be a good idea to be prepared to mode the lamps you plan to use with something like the Arctic Ultra-flex wire. Of course if you did that it would probably also be necessary to switch out all the connectors as well which would be a PITA to say the least.

    Of course there is option #2; Switch over to a self-contained system for the cold. The down side of option #2 though is that those types of systems mostly use only 1 or two cells, not good for cold weather.

    Personally I have no desire to start riding in sub-zero temperatures but if I did I would certainly consider modding at least one ( bar ) lamp with the Arctic level wires. Then again I have lots of spare lamps so doing two wouldn't be a bad idea.

    On a side note a couple years back I figured out a way to keep my bar mounted battery warm in the cold. Sadly though I never did figure a way to really keep my feet warm for more than an hour ( even with winter shoes ) while on a bike. Anyway, I tip me hat to the blokes that can stave off the cold enough to still enjoy the ride.

  8. #8
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    I am usually out for less than 2 hours on each ride, and I don't think my batteries would last for two rides at temps below 10-15 degrees. I keep my bar mounted lights battery in a Revelate Designs Gas Can, which sits on my top tube and conntect to the steerer tube. On really cold rides I can stick a hand warmer in the bag to keep everything nice and toasty.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    These are not supposed to be cheap chinese lights, I thought I paid a premium for quality.
    They are premium quality as far as Chinese lights go, but would not consider them "premium quality" in the broader spectrum of what is available. They use materials that get the job done for the majority of users. Your use falls outside that.

    I don't ride in low temps at all but use polyurethane jacketed cable on my lights. You should look for cable using that material for the jacket as it is usually rated to -40F or so.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  10. #10
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    As far as a solution for the batteries, I use a zefal top tube bag that sits on top of the top tube and connects both there and at the stem to stabilize. It is perfect for up to 3 4 cell packs or two 6 cells and with a hand warmer seems to be a cheap and practical solution

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by manbeer View Post
    Yes, I have this problem with my older magicshine mj-816 and Gemini Olympia.
    That's interesting: I've heard some very first batches of MagicShine suffered from fragile wiring, but haven't seen it myself - even on my old MJ-808 (original models with P7) ones.

    As for temperature, we have relatively cold winters here: typically -5 to -15C (23F to 5F), and I personally keep riding down to about -20C (-4F). For several years of use, no problems with MagicShine cables...

  12. #12
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    PVC is a problem while Silicon is much better. Extender cable for Magicshine at DX is much better (thicker 20AWG and softer) than most of others. I'm using it to replace some heavy power lights cabling tipicaly has only 22AWG. I can recomend to use THIS.

  13. #13
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    That's exactly what I'm using.

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