Shocking truth about Cycle Light Battery Packs





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  1. #1
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    Default Shocking truth about Cycle Light Battery Packs

    Cycle Light Battery Pack Comparison

    One of the most over looked and under appreciated element of a cycle light is its battery pack. Selecting a light is often based only on price and lumens. The price is significantly influenced by the quality of the battery pack. Up to 2/3 of a lightís cost can be attributed to the battery pack. For this reason the quality of the battery pack is compromised to accomplish price cuts. Regardless of how good the light is, if its battery pack is unable to provide sufficient power, the light is useless. Therefore the quality of the battery pack should not be compromised. In our opinion, the battery pack is even more important than the lumen rating.

    We have taken the time to test a few readily available battery packs. At this stage, we have only compared 4 cell configurations, but the results should also be representative of 6 and 8 cell configurations.

    Test setup


    We have an analogue timer and a Lux sensor that are modified to turn on the power to the timer when a pre-set Lux measurement is reach. We aimed to have the timer stop running when the light output dropped below half its max. All the batteries were charged using the same charger. We used an Extreme 1400 cycle light as our test unit. It was connected to a fully charge battery pack and the test system, in a dark room to represent real world results.

    The Extreme 1400 has the latest Cree XM-L2 U2 LED, but power wise it is about the same as most single LED Cree XM-Lís. The test should be representative of other Cree XM-L lights in regard to runtimes. It should be noted at this stage that most over claimed lights which are supplied with the cheaper, lower capacity battery types, do not power the LED to its full capacity. This is done to fool the user by thinking the extended runtimes are due to the quality batteries.

    Test subjects

    In total seven batteries were tested. It was interesting to note that all of them were sold claiming to be waterproof. We seriously doubt that the cardboard end caps of Type A will stand up against South African rain. Type A,B and C are covered with PVC heat shrink which will provide a minimal amount of water proofing.

    The battery cost range from R150 to R700. This is a very large jump and we were interested to know if the high end battery packs were worth 4.5 times more.

    Weight does not vary much due to the battery configuration being the same. high quality pouch and waterproof rubber housing. The lightest battery pack is 209 g and the heaviest is 288 g. The 80 g weight difference can be attributed to the difference in quality of the battery housings.

    All Li-ion batteries should have some protection against over-charging. Shockingly though, Type A had none and Type Bís was not functioning. The risk of setting your house on fire with Li-ion batteries are real. For the supplier to provide batteries that are not protected is very irresponsible.





    Test results



    * Capacity was calculated based on runtimes and is estimations, not actual. The runtime is determined by the built-in protection of the battery and the lower limit set on the timer. Therefore the calculated capacity should just be used as an indication.

    **These batteries did not have a low voltage cut-off protection. The light were capable to run for much longer due to this, but the output of the light dropped to below the preset Lux level and the timing stopped. It is detrimental to run Li-ion batteries below 30% of their capacity. The protection circuitry should prevent this.

    Summery

    The results clearly show that not all Li-ion batteries are equal. Also that it will be hard to choose based on the advertised runtime values. Taking into consideration that the first 5 types all claim the same capacity and waterproofing, but the results prove differently. At the end it is clear that cost does affect performance. As can be seen with this test a 4.6 times increase in cost results in a 6.6 times increase in performance. That is if you ignore the improved pouch, waterproofing and battery protection circuitry.

    The incredible runtime of the Panasonic cells confirmed its fantastic reputation. We found it hard to believe and thus repeated the test 3 times to verify only to confirm its honest performance.

    Very alarming was the missing protection circuitry in the cheaper battery packs. This is very dangerous and irresponsible. Li-on batteries are very unstable at high voltage levels. To rely on the chargerís ability to prevent over charging is very risky. Over charging Li-ion batteries can explode or spurt out a flame jet. Easily setting alight any flammable material in close proximity.

    How do one know what to look for in a battery pack?

    If you are dealing with a reputable dealer it should be easy to compare based on capacity(mAh and Voltage) values. Unfortunately unethical advertisers easily over state there specification to make their product more attractive. This makes it nearly impossible to compare. At the end price and appearance are very good indicators. It is highly unlikely that the supplier will choose to drive up cost by providing high quality pouches with waterproofing, without addressing the quality of the batteries to the some extend.

    Cycle lights that come standard equipped with Panasonic cells are:
    Extreme 1400 1000 lumen for 9h weighing 416g
    Extreme 2k 1800 lumen for 4h weighing 399g
    Extreme 3K 3000 lumen for 3h weighing 616g
    Light Up Your Adventures with Extreme Lights TM
    Cycling, Trail running, Motor Biking, Diving and much more.
    www.extremelights.co.za/

  2. #2
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    same goes for torches then
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    Very clever marketing post. For a second I almost fall for the add. Guess what, they are ON SALE too
    I love Mozambique!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomario View Post
    Very clever marketing post. For a second I almost fall for the add. Guess what, they are ON SALE too
    He provides the details of his test and the results. That's not marketing, it's science.

    Hannes sells excellent products because he does this type of investigations. He doesn't simply import from China and sell in SA. I've bought numerous products from him and I'm very happy with the quality and value for money.
    Niel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musashi View Post
    He provides the details of his test and the results. That's not marketing, it's science.

    Hannes sells excellent products because he does this type of investigations. He doesn't simply import from China and sell in SA. I've bought numerous products from him and I'm very happy with the quality and value for money.
    Good post and i can second that statement. Black on white doesnt leave much room for "i tell you mine is better"

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