Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Racing on a Dynamo - Charging My GPS, A Bright Light and Some Very Special Hub Dynamo Wheels

In just under two weeks I'll be taking on the 1300miles of racing that is the EWE (England-Wales-England). This means I'll have to last a long time without being able to plug my phone, my GPS and my lights into a mains recharging socket. Suddenly my winter riding dynamo lights (nicknamed "the deanamo" by my friends) have taken on a whole new level of importance.


For the race I'll be free not only from mains charging, but I'll also be able to avoid faffing trying to find alkaline batteries (nasty things I try and avoid) from petrol stations and corner shops to keep my lights and navigation going. I'll be powering and charging everything from my Shutter Precision PD-8 hub dynamo :-)

Battery (and mains charging) free: Bar light and GPS charging all powered by a dynamo hub
Should I want to be connected to the real world, it will charge my phone too

The power is switchable, through a switch on the handlebar, between the lights (front and optional rear light) or a USB cable. The USB cable will spend most of its time plugged into my GPS unit, but can also be used to charge my phone or my Exposure Joystick headlight. Good times :-). I've been running this setup for a while now and I must confess to being really rather chuffed with it. Here's a quick overview of the three main components:


THE WHEELS: The heart of the dynamo power are a rather special pair of wheels. I am a very lucky rider indeed as Reynolds have made me a one-off 32hole set of their wonderful 29er rims, with custom red & white graphics to match the bike. I've loved riding their conventional wheels, so to be able to use these with my dynamo is a real treat. Into these I have a DT Swiss 240s 6-bolt hub at the back and IDC have supplied me with SP's lightweight & efficient PD-8 6-bolt dynamo hub which will produce the power. These are all laced together with DT Revolution spokes and, to top it all off, colour matched red aluminium nipples, again kindly provided by the lovely people at Reynolds.
Complete bike, showing off it's lovely and very, very special, "factory" colour matched wheels :-)
The tiny SP PD-8 disc brake dynamo 
hub that makes it all possible
DT240s rear hub to
complete the bling!
THE LIGHT: Exposure Lights announced the launch of their new dynamo light in their recent newsletter. I am lucky enough to have an early model clipped onto my bars. The official stats are yet to be published but I can confidently say I'm not missing either the MaXx-D or the Six Pack I had been using for long night rides. I'm certainly not missing worrying about charging batteries and switching light modes to conserve burn time, this is just bright, all the time! The eagle eyed will notice a second power port, this is used to plug a standard production Exposure RedEye rear light into, giving me a super bright, 80lm, rear light for riding on the road in the darkness, essential for safe riding in my opinion. What's even better is that this is connected to the main light standlight, so stays on when I'm stopped at a junction. Clever.

The Expusure Dynamo Light
Available this autumn, it's really rather good
Exposure's standard Redeye rear light plugs
into their dynamo light, a neat touch
Front and rear light also work off the Exposure dynamo light's standlight


CHARGING: The final touch for multi-day racing is charging. I've tried  a few different chargers, including the offerings from Softhema, Kemo and making my own. There are plenty more available from other well known brands. They're all small, lightweight and simple, comprising of just a few components. This is excellent as it makes them super reliable too. In this case I'm using the Softhema offering as it straps most neatly onto my bike setup, with the long thin form factor attaching neatly to the brake hose. A small toggle switch on the bars switches the power between from the lights to the charger so I can use the hub power to top everything up during daylight hours. 


The Dynamo two most common FAQ:


1) So, dynamos are heavy, right? No! The Exposure light comes in at a flyweight 112g, with the SP hub another 390g, A total weight of 502g. Yes, a MaXx-D is only 337g, but you still need a front hub, and with a Hope Pro 2 coming in at 190g, that's a total weight of 527g, 25g heavier. And that's without factoring in having to run my battery light on a low light setting or the weight of carrying alkaline batteries as spares for the GPS or some form of battery charger.


2) Isn't a dynamo draggy? Well, Please excuse the maths, but if you rode at 20mph for an hour the light would pull about 6W from your legs during this time, this is equivalent to approximately 5.2kcal. There are approximately 72kcal in a McVites Digestive biscuit, enough to power your light for just under 14hrs and that's assuming you pedal down the hills and around every corner! So yes, it does draw a tiny bit of power, but I certainly can't tell the difference and it's a damn good excuse to eat an extra biscuit every few rides ;-)




So, there we go, simple really and with more products and better products being released all the time, dynamo power it seems has really come of age, not just for urban riding and extended road tours, but for fast winter road rides and technical, mountain bike singletrack riding too.

53 comments:

  1. Very smart. Where did you get that clip on light?

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    1. The rear light is Exposure light's Redeye rear light (http://www.exposurelights.com/product/000060/redeye-(long-cable)-mk.2/), the front light is Exposure Light's new Dynamo light, which is due for release at the end of August this year. There are hyperlinks in the txt if you wish to follow them to find out more, or have a look on the Exposure lights website here: http://www.exposurelights.com/

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  2. That's one very impressive set up Rob, every conceivable base covered and in a race like EWE will be a massive bonus not having to worry about power for lights,gps and phone ! Good luck with the EWE, i'll be keeping tabs

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    1. Thanks, I hope it gives me one less thing to worry about, but I suspect the EWE will be pretty hard either way!

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  3. Definitely Rob, I think the difficulty and technicality of this type of challenge in the UK compared to something like the GDR in the states more than makes up for the distance's you can over there and if anything it will be harder ! Hope the weather will have broke and settled by then too...

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  4. hmm, could the port on the Revo be used with the smart port USB adapter?

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    1. One step at a time! The rear port fornthe light that I have been using only has an ouptu voltage suitable for driving an LED, so isn't suitable for a generic USB outoput that will be required to outoput 5V, but that's not to say a little adaptor couldn't be made in the future to step the voltage up, just like they've added accessories to the battery light range in recent years. The possibilities and permetations of dynamo power and USB charging combined with a light are many and everybody's needs and preferences vary dramatically, so it'll be interesting to see how this one goes. If you look at my setup, for maximum flexibility, I run the charger and light in parallel, using one or the other, there's more than enough juice to charge everything by lunchtime (phone, headtorch, GPS and even spare AA batteries) and then turn the light on in the evening once it gets dark. Running the light and charger in parallel may well steal power from the light at low speeds without careful development....

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    2. Fair enough! I'd managed to forget that the smart port was only powered whilst the light was on. Had visions of a nice clean set-up to charge a GPS/phone during the day, and running a red-eye at night...

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  5. Nice setup Rob! I have been off-roading for the past 18months on a Supernova E3 triple (800 lumen model), but find the low speed performance pretty poor, especially on techy climbs. I need a backup battery light for these sections.

    Have you used an E3 triple, and can you comment on whether the Revo is any better with low speed techy twisty bits? I'll consider an upgrade if it is!

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    1. I had an E3 Triple and sold it as it was no use on technical off road (and wasn't bright enough for me for narrow country roads in poor weather either). I put myself in the hands of the Revo for all 800miles off road, including Dartmoor, Exmoor The Peak District and Snowdonia and happily rode through the night without slowing down. One manufacturers 800lumens is not the same as anothers! The MASSIVE plus point of the Revo is not the 4th LED, but the standlight, it's just really bright and lasts a really long time :-) I'd highly recommend one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Oh and the final production one is much smaller than the early light body that I have been using, which makes it even better! I'm upgrading as soon as I can.

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    2. Nice one thanks for that info. Looks like I shall be upgrading as soon as they become available. I currently have a Shimano XT dynamo hub, take it that will work perfectly well?

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    3. Yep, dyno hub output of any hub listed as 3.0W/6V is pretty much standard from Shimano, SON and SP, it's just the weight of the hub, the efficiency and low speed power output that varies really. The XT hub will wok well and is light enough too, I use the lovely little, lightweight SP hub with mine (allso slightly more efficient!), but before that used a Shimano Alfine dynamo which was heavier but worked equally well. Enjoy never having to charge a battery, worry about burn time or turn you light brightness down ever again :-)

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  6. Howdy from Arizona Rob. Really enjoyed your trip report, as well as the light set up details. A quick question on the Revo performance on hike a bike sections. The Colorado Trail Race and Arizona Trail both have extended slowwwwww walking sections. Thoughts on the output at 1-2mph? Brilliant execution regardless.

    Randy Wolfe, Prescott AZ.

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    1. Hi Randy,

      At 1-2mph the Revo will be extremely challenged and will not really produce much light. However, during my ride I had some pushing sections on pretty slow terrain and up unrideable and extremely steep climbs, I guess I had comparable lighting requirements.

      For these I also had with me an Exposure Joystick head torch, which I used the dynamo hub to charge during daylight hours (it only needed an hour or two a day maximum to keep it fully charged) which was more than enough for the hike-a-bike sections.

      In fact, for any ride with any significant hike-a-bike, particularly somewhere remote, I'd always recommend a good head torch so you can see where you're putting your feet on uneven ground. Being able to charge the head torch from the dynamo was a huge bonus and allowed me to use the brightest settings every night. The hub produces enough power that I was able to keep not just the head torch charged, but also my phone and my GPS (which enabled me to use the backlight a lot to navigate without worrying about battery life). In fact, the hub produces enough power that, on a recent 1 week tour, a friend borrowed my setup and it was sufficient to keep three peoples phones and GPS units fully charged every day!

      Hope that helps. Thank you for your kind words on the report, great to hear you enjoyed it. Good luck in your own adventures :-)

      Rob

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  7. Hi Rob

    Great article. After losing a days mapping on a recent tour after not being able to charge my phone, I've been looking for a way of keeping everything topped up.

    Im not at all technically minded. Is your set up literally a case of having a hub dynamo built into a wheel, getting a charger from a supplier, and then fixing that to the frame and plugging in to the dynamo? I've also been looking at shimano hub with a busch and muller eworks regulator. Any idea if that is comparable to yours?

    Thanks for any advice, and may well then go and talk to my bike shop.

    Mike

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    1. Hi Mike, yes, it really is that simple:

      Get a dynamo hub, the SP ones are as light and efficient as they come. Shimano hubs are a little cheaper but a lot heavier. Both produce comparable outputs.

      Then just choose an external charger, plug it in and go. I'd get a dynamo light too if you're going multi-day, this makes you independent of daylight hours and, on busy roads, should you have to pop the occasional road section in, it's much safer in daylight too. I used an Exposure Revo front light with their Redeye rear light, also powered from the dynamo, and just flicked between charging stuff and powering my lights as I needed.

      Hope you enjoy the freedom from power supplies and infinite light and GPS life :-)

      Rob

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    2. Hi Rob,
      I've only just started looking into this sort of thing and your setup is very impressive!
      What "external charger" do you use then? And what switch do you use to change between lights and usb charging.

      Thanks,
      Ash

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    3. Hi Ash,

      Thanks!

      For chargers, as per the text in the blog post, for this bike I am using the Softhema S25a (this is hyperlinked in the post), I have also made my own and used the one from Kemo (which is also hyperlinked) too on other bikes.

      "I've tried a few different chargers, including the offerings from Softhema, Kemo and making my own. There are plenty more available from other well known brands. They're all small, lightweight and simple, comprising of just a few components. This is excellent as it makes them super reliable too. In this case I'm using the Softhema offering as it straps most neatly onto my bike setup, with the long thin form factor attaching neatly to the brake hose."

      Both the Kemo and Softhema chargers have the switch included within the charger, such that you connect the dynamo to one end, the light to the other and the switch diverts the power either to the charger or the light, you don't need to worry about sorting this out for yourself. I'd have a look at the options and choose the one that is a nice mechanical fit onto the setup you have chosen for your bike.

      Rob

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    4. Great, thanks for the info!

      Any idea where you can buy the "SOFTHEMA S25A"? As all of the sites they list don't stock it!?

      Ash

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    5. Hi Ash, I don't know the answer to that question, I got mine from eBay, I suspect my Google search powers are no better than yours ;-)

      I don't know what use you had in mind, however, if you're using a similar setup with the Exposure Revo light, you can use it as a dynamo USB charger by plugging the Exposure Boost Cable into the smart port power out in the back.

      Hope that helps

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  8. Hello Rob, can you state anything about the SP hub build quality? 1300 miles should yield some challenges to the sealings, right?
    Regards, Richard

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    1. Hi Richard, the SP PV-8 that I used for the 800 miles of bikepacking, off road and in the rain has also done the 210km of the BB200 (also off road, in bad weather and with luggage) and a load of other more regular riding in between and I'm delighted to say that the bearings are spinning happily as good as new. The quality seems right up there and as good as I could ever wish for so far :-)

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  9. Hi Rob.
    I love your blog and the matter you tell us your adventures. I'll try to be at EWE this year.
    Well, i'm very interested about the dynamo hub, but my fork needs a 15mm hub. Do you think that the people of SP are going to offer a PD8 15mm hub version for suspension forks?
    Regards from Spain.
    Manu.-

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    1. Hi Manu,

      Firstly, you'll love the EWE :-) Great to hear you're planning on racing. And many thanks for your kind words on my blog.

      I really hope that SP bring a QR15 version of their PD-8 dynamo hub out soon. Although there has been no official announcement, I think they must do this after SON announced a QR15 version of their SON 28 dynamo, the "SON 28 15" (see link here: http://www.nabendynamo.de/produkte/son_28_15_en.html). The SON is incredibly expensive compared the the SP products and the two have comparable weight and efficiency, but the SP dynamo system is simpler and, in my opinion, more reliable and a little lighter and more efficient for the same 3W rated performance.

      Like you, I'm waiting eagerly for SP to release a QR15 version of the PD-8, I'm sure it must arrive and I will do everything I can to get one as soon as they are announced!

      Keep an eye on my blog for any news ;-)

      Rob

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  10. Hi Rob,
    This looks like an excellent setup, which I'm hoping to copy.

    A couple of questions, if you have time to answer.
    1. I have a Garmin 800 - looks like that's what you're using, is this correct?
    2. Does the Softhema S25a need any buffer battery between it and the GPS/phone, or is it a direct connection?
    3. Did you have to muck about with the Garmin/phone USB plugs to persuade them that they should charge? I've read that some devices won't charge unless specific pins are shorted.

    Thanks,

    James

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    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for reading the blog. Your answers are:

      1) Yes, I am using a Garmin 800
      2) No, I don't use any barrier between the charger and Garmin, but you have to set the Garmin to not warn you when the external power is lost whenever you stop (the wrning disappears as soon as you start riding). It annoyed me for the first 10mins, but in real world use, not a problem.
      3) No, no special cables needed for me or any of my friends that have tried a few different chargers. It's just iPohnes that are problematic and you can buy charger adaptors for them.

      Hope you enjoy your dynamo power :-)

      Rob

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  11. Hi,
    Excellent blog, i'm interested in a dynamo light/gps set up. Does the latest version of the revo light give you the ability to charge gps devices from the smart port? Or do you still need something like the Softhema S25a aswell?
    Also, is EWE happening in 2013?

    Craig

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    1. Hi Craig,

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. Yes, you can plug the boost cable from Exposure into the back of the Revo to charge while you're riding I believe, the light needs to be on to achieve this.

      Yes, EWE is happening in 2013 to the best of my knowledge, keep an eye out here for information when it's available: http://www.aidanharding.com/ewe/

      Hope you enjoy your dynamo and EWE as much as I did

      Rob

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  12. Hi,

    Great post! I'm thinking about setting up a dynamo system on my 29er and while I'm fully sold on the Exposure Revo light, I'm skeptical about the SP PD-8 in terms of durability. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the SP PD-8 vs. a SONdelux or SON28 hub? I know the SON stuff is a LOT more expensive, but they seem to have the market leading position in terms of drag and durability.

    Ed

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    1. Hi Ed,

      Thanks, for the comments. I've never owned a SON hub (I think that's your answer there, but I'll continue!), but I think, from the testing I've seen, that the SP and SON products are comparable to each other and the differences really depend on the subtleties of test conditions as to whether one is better than the other. If you must have the lightest, either of their 2.4W hubs are ideal, but often you see the 2.4W SON compared to the 3W SP, which is where I think the perceived weight & efficiency differences come from. Assuning you want the 3W hub (my recommendation), my PD-8 has done over 1000miles of off road racing, almost all in the rain and more than that again night riding and commuting and it's as good as new, I don't think you can test it more thoroughly than that! I have a PV-8 on the road bike and that's a few thousand miles in too, again, it's as good as new.

      Hope that helps?

      Rob

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  13. Thanks Rob, great information and reassuring to know that the SP hub has stood up to real-world milage. Will have to give it some thought!

    Ed

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    1. You're welcome Ed. I'm happy to have been of help. You're choosing between a short list of some of the very best kit out there, so I think you'll be pretty happy whichever direction you go in. I hope you enjoy your eventual dynamo setup, I'm sure you'll wonder how you ever managed with the fuss and weight of charging batteries once you switch ;-), Rob

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  14. Hi,
    I'm struggling to locate a SOFTHEMA S25A, could you point me in the direction of your supplier or recommend me alternative yet similar product?

    Thanks

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    1. Hi "Anonymous", I don't know the answer to that question, I suspect my Google search powers are no better than yours ;-)

      I don't know what use you had in mind, however, if you're using a similar setup with the Exposure Revo light, you can use it as a dynamo USB charger by plugging the Exposure Boost Cable into the smart port power out in the back.

      Hope that helps

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  15. I loved reading this piece! Well written! :)


    Andress Rao
    linkwheel

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  16. Hello Rob.
    Nice article.
    Q1: Can you charge your Edge800 at the same time you are using it?
    Q2: If Edge 800 is attached to external battery backup with AA batteries. Will it then be possible to change AA batteries without Edge 800 stop function?


    Thanks
    Per/Denmark

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    1. Hi Per,

      Yes, you can charge your Garmin while using it, this is exactly what I do, I leave it connected to the charger all day so it stays 100% charged for the night.

      The answer to your question about external batteries, I suspect depends on your battery type and battery controller, so I can't answer that. But, in theory, if your external battery allowed you to draw power while charging, you could do this, however, as charging and discharging batteries is not 100% efficient, so providing power to your Garmin@s battery through and external battery would mean your charger would have to provide a lot more power from the hub to keep your Garmin charged, than it would do if you connected to your Garmin directly.

      I hope that helps, glad you liked the piece.

      Rob

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  17. Hi Rob,
    Enjoyed reading about your setup. Glad to hear that the SP hub has held up. I'd never heard of SP, but they do make a good looking hub, good to know the mechanical quality is there too.

    As for the charger, have you had any particular issues with them? The Softhema seems hard to find and the Kemo is limited to only 300mA, which should charge slower than a charger that can give you more current?

    In full disclosue, I work for Bright-Bike, but I wonder if you'd be interested in trying the Bright-Bike Revolution? It's a bit smaller than the Kemo and Softhema, and can provide as much as 1A, so it should charge significantly faster than the Kemo. I also don't know what sort of overload protection they have, or if they work with DC batteries, but the Revolution does. It's also waterproof!

    I'll look for replies if you have any questions or you can email me at david.dean@brightbikelabs.com

    Thanks,
    Dave

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  18. Hi Rob, i'm interested in Exposure Revo MK1 Dynamo Bike Light with USE Hub Pack the version with disc brake hub; but i mount it for the moment on a fork of road bike without disc brake..... Because in the next future i'll change bike with a fork for disc brake... For you should be a problem? thanks for you kind reply

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    1. Hi Attili,

      If you are asking about the hub/light/fork combination, no, this will be absolutely no issue, you should be able to use a disc hub with a rim brake without issue (I have done so!)

      If you are asking about the mount, as far as I know, the Revo only comes with a bar mount, but it should be no problem to find an adapter to place on your fork, to accept a bar mount for the Revo. I have seen several pictures on the web, where people have unscrewed the Revo mount and bolted on another company's fork mount too.

      Hope that helps

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  19. Hey Rob,


    Firstly, thanks for writing such an in-depth post; the Q&As to which hold perhaps even more wisdom and invaluable tips than the post itself. One of those rare instances where I find precisely what I'm looking for.

    So, essentially what I'm looking to do here is set up a touring bike, ready for the eventual long-distance hauls out in foreign countries. So I'm of course, amongst many other things, looking at rigging up an all-singing-all-dancing dynamo system, incorporating the following:

    1. Dynamo hub, either a Shutter Precision PV-8 or Biologic Joule 3 (essentially the same internals with slightly different shells, I believe).

    2. Dynamo lighting system from either Supernova (the "no-brainer" E3 Pro 2 I had in mind until stumbling upon your post), or the Exposure Revo + matching tail light you seem to prefer, for trails at least. The only problem with the latter seems to be that, although it's the brightest out there at 800 lumens/4 LEDs, it looks like it would cause significant problems on the road when perhaps its floodlight characteristic would burn the eyes of oncoming traffic. I guess I could fashion some sort of light shield to provide a cut-off point though, out of a drinks can, like this guy has done: http://goo.gl/ebNdlG

    3. A USB charging system for my iPhone 5/other gadgets. This is where it looks like it could get very complicated with wiring etc. (I'm not an electrician!) Basically, I want to have the option of disconnecting the dynamo hub from the lights during the day and charging my gadgets via the USB charging system, and vice versa at night, with the option of having the charging pack AND lights connected and powered at the same time if the need arises. I'd be looking at getting something like the Biologic ReeCharge Power Pack kit (a transformer and 1500 mAh battery that acts as a buffer aswell as enabling you to charge gadgets off the bike).

    So my question/s for you is - how might I go about rigging this whole system up in the aforementioned fashion, and do you know how waterproof this system would be, or at least how waterproof your system is (which is similar). I can't imagine how I could charge my phone, in its waterproof case, on the handlebar stem, without water getting in; the charging port seal on the case would have to be flipped open to do this, enabling water to trickle through.

    Any advice would be immensely helpful.


    Cheers

    Ruben

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    1. Hi Ruben,

      Thanks for your question sounds like you're building up just my kind of bike! The answer to your question is that the Revo, and the Exposure rear light are waterproof enough that I took this bike on a two week trip, sleeping outdoors (i.e. the bike was outside 24/7), and it rained most days, plus I dropped the bike in a river during a tricky bride-less crossing, and the lights were fine, I believe they are fully o-ring sealed. Phones are not waterproof, so I have a charging cable long enough to charge my phone inside the handlebag bag, or top tube bag, both of which are waterproof, rather than have my phone out in the rain. For your problem, you may have to customise your waterproof case, making an opening for the charge cable, allowing it to go onto the case when it is closed, which you will need to seal with silicone sealant or a rubber cable gland. Without knowing the details of your phone and case, the phone charging question is a hard one to answer, as I kept my phone in my bar bag most of the time.

      As for your power question, all systems are set up to provide power to either the light OR the charger, whether it charges a device or batter bank, so this operation of daytime charge and night time lighting will be fine. I only know of one off the shelf solution where you can have the dynamo power both the light AND charge a device, and that is the Exposure Revo with the Exposure boost cable attached. Using the boost cable means you must disconnect the rear light (hey, three devices would be greedy!), but a battery light would be possible, and also be aware that, as the dynamo only produces finite power, so as to not affect the main light output significantly, the charge rate is pretty low, enough to charge my GPS when it is on, but not enough to charge a smartphone with a giant backlit screen and GPS on too. I would also recommend giving serious consideration to how often you need many, many hours of nightime charging, as how much extra charging power do you need for one night where the device's internal battery, plus a 1500mAh battery will not get you through to morning, specially with a slow charge of your battery available?! Remember, as soon as the sun is out, you can start recharging at full power again.

      I hope that helps. I am sure a Revo, Redeye rear light and Boost cable (plus external battery and external charger for charging only operation) will more than suit your needs. Sorry I couldn't help with the charging your phone in the rain question.

      Rob

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  20. Hi Rob and thanks for your very useful article. How do you get the charger to charge a Joystick? I have a Joystick Mk1 which does not have a USB port. Are you using additional cables? Cheers
    Martin

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    1. Hi Martin, thanks for your kind words. The answer is simple, the joystick came with a USB charger and USB charge cable. The USB cable is available as a spare, see here:

      http://www.use1.com/exposure-lights/chargers-and-batteries/chargers/usb-top-cable

      I then connected this to the charger with a €0.99 adaptor to switch from the USB micro charger cable. Hope that helps

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  21. Hi,
    I'm very new to the world of dynamo hubs and accessories, so I found your blog super-helpful.
    I just bought a SP-PD8 and it's currently in the shop being put in my wheel. I also got the lightcharge (http://www.amazon.com/LightCharge-Bicycle-Charger-Smartphones-iPhones/dp/B008E9L4AE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401640066&sr=8-1&keywords=lightcharge) as I want to be able to switch between my iPhone5s (during the day) and lights (tunnels and a few hours of dusk riding).
    My question is, what connectors can you use? As a member of the plug-and-play generation, I guess I was expecting the connectors to come in the box with the dynohus. Are all connectors compatible between different dynohub makers (sp vs shimano)?
    I've found these listed for SP (http://www.ison-distribution.com/english/product.php?part=HUSPCCK&PHPSESSID=3di7l8dbg8efcrv1u18qoimmv5) which look exactly like the ones for shimano (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GSKMG2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1J8F6C6C3Q5GZ) and completely different from these others listed for SP (http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/sp-dynamo-hub-connector-kit-prod32495/?geoc=us). The last one most closely resembles the one seen in the pd-8 instructions (http://www.sp-dynamo.com/8-series-pic/connect-installation.pdf).
    This newbie is thoroughly confused. Appreciate any advice you could give.

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    1. Hi Em,

      Thanks for the kind comments :-)

      I am surprised, as the SP hubs I have used have both come with a connector in the box, and I believe yours should have too. However, you are correct in your assumption, I have successfully used a Shimano connector on an SP hub (and an SP connector on a Shimano hub). Although an SP connector on an SP hub has a unique and confidence inspiring "click" upon installation. I hope this little annoyance does not detract from a wonderful dynamo experience!

      Enjoy the endless, free(-ish) power

      Rob

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  22. Hi Rob,

    I am getting in to bikepacking this year. Want to run dynamo hub with light and ability to charge Garmin 800 on the go, aux Exposure diablo light and phone. I was recommended SON hub with Plug 3, Supernova E3 triple 2 light. Wheel build is over £600. Do you think the SP hub with Revo light is a good alternative? The bike shop who suggested the other set up seemed to think the SON hub was much better and the connections more robust. I have heard the SP and Exposure hub are essentially the same unit.

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    Replies
    1. The hubs are all pretty similar, and the Exposure hub is a re-branded SP. I have two SP hubs, both with more than 10'000 miles on them and have never, ever had any issue with hub or connector.

      Lights however are a different matter. With their superior standlight the Exposure Revo, or KLite offering with standlight, are far superior to the Supernova offering in my opinion, which is more a beefed up on road touring light not something designed for a MTB

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  23. And another question dude, sorry. The shop also indicated that you can run the light and charge another device at the same time, direct from the dynamo. Apparently two wires for each device, using a piggy back connector? Just wondered what set up you had set on and how it was working? Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. I am lucky enough to have tried several setups, on and off road, and yes, you can run a light and charger at the same time from the same hub, but the charger robs power from the hub. I recommend connecting them to a 99p switch from maplin, and use the switch to flick between a charger and the light. Even with nothing conneted, the Plug makes the Revo (and any light) weaker and more flickery at low speed as the charger gubbins charges and discharges its internal capacitors

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