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Question about Performance Lights(18 posts)

Question about Performance LightsKristin
Oct 8, 2003 6:23 AM
I was in my local shop last night and picked up a returned, older model (lead batter), 12Watt Dual light system for $40. It had a broken mount clip and operated propery in the store. But as I was playing with it this morning, I discovered that there is a problem in the wiring for the main light. Last night the power switch for that light was working. Today, it does not work. But wiggling the wire where it enters the light housing does cause the light to go on and off. I pulled out the bulb to take a look inside, but I don't know anything about electical! Would this be easy to repair? Or just take it back?
re: Question about Performance Lightsmtnb1kr
Oct 8, 2003 6:39 AM
If you can see it works at all like you said for $40 it's still a deal. Just a short in the wire. Take it to any kind of appliance repair shop and they should be able to fix it for minimal cost or any electrition friend you may have. Where ever you may work? I'd go back to the shop though and see about a partial refund or repair from them.
take it backColnagoFE
Oct 8, 2003 6:44 AM
I have a Performance single 12W and it works great and is relatively cheap compared to comparable brand-name models. Burn time of only about an hour though so if you need longer look elsewhere. The nice thing about Perfomance is that they take anything back. Why mess with it?
Take it to a friend...Andy M-S
Oct 8, 2003 7:02 AM
who knows how to solder. Either the connector itself is damaged (either on the cable side or the light side) or there is a problem with the wiring connections inside the head. A friend who knows how to solder and who owns a VOM will be able to find and fix the problem in about 20 minutes, so bring a small offering and you should be fine.

You *might* need to pick up a replacement plug at Radio Shack (I'm assuming that light most lights, this one uses a coaxial power fitting)...
Kristin, these fellas are all well meaning, but don't mess withbill
Oct 8, 2003 7:20 AM
it. Take it back. Performance will indeed take back almost anything, and they obviously took back something that didn't work and re-sold it to you. Which I have known them to do.
It's not worth fooling around with. There are lots of deals on lights out there, particularly lead acid batteries; maybe you'll pay another $20 or $30 for the same thing, but you'll get one in the wrapper that works.
Take it backpmf1
Oct 8, 2003 7:24 AM
There's a reason you got it so cheap and it looks like you have discovered it.

Lights are expensive. A "cheap" light that seems to get pretty good reviews (Doug Sloan uses them) is the cygolight. I saw a big stack on sale recently at REI. They had a pretty good price, but I forget what it was. Anthing under $150 is a decent price for a lighting system. You get what you pay for. Buy a cheap system with a LA battery and it won't last as long. Plus they're more finicky about recharging than a NiCad or NiMH battery.

It seems like a lot of money, but I rationalize it as either paying it every other year, or give up commuting for 5 months.
I always thought that LA batteries were less finicky, justbill
Oct 8, 2003 7:35 AM
heavier. Am I wrong?
I have a LA battery that I had in my basement for about two years and never used. Bought it for $50. I used it all last winter and started using it again, and it works fine -- so far, so good, I guess.
Yes, heavier and bulkierKristin
Oct 8, 2003 7:55 AM
The newer batteries are about 1/3 of the weight of the old lead batteries. They hold a better charge too. The LA batteries typically are water bottle mounted. Whereas nickel batteries can hang in a pouch off your handlebars.
from what I understandpmf1
Oct 8, 2003 8:32 AM
LA batteries are more susceptable to a footprint --i.e., if you discharge it only 50%, then recharge it several times, the battery loses capacity.

Dealing with light batteries has always been a mystery to me. I let them almost fully discharge (let the light get dim) the fully charge them. Other folks say this is not necessary.

Mine worked fine after sitting for the last six months. They had some charge that I let run and are now fully charged and waiting for the clocks to roll back.

Yeah, LA are heavier, but when you're wearing all the winter clothing, what's another 200 grams? I'd never notice it. The last LA system I had (a Vistlite), didn't last that long. I recall going through a battery almost every year.
no...the opposite from what i've readColnagoFE
Oct 8, 2003 8:39 AM
maybe i'm wrong, but i thought it was the nicad that had to be discharged before recharging. think about your car battery--a lead acid--you NEVER want to let it run down all the way. keep it charged up.
The skinny on battery memoryKristin
Oct 8, 2003 8:53 AM
I spent 4 hours talking with an Motorola engineer about this over drinks one night. Finally, my knowledge can be put to use!!! :-)

Its been several years since that conversation, and I'm a little fuzzy on the physical attributes of an imprinted battery. A battery has two chambers. The act of ions flowing from one chamber to the other generates current. When one chamber is in a vacuum state, you're battery is either fully charged or decharged--depending on which chamber is empty (empty isn't really a good word for it, but I'm not engineer.) There are two ways you can cause memory in a rechargable battery:

1. Charge it only partially and then drain it fully. Rinse. Repeat. Etc...
2. Charge it fully, drain it partially. Rinse. Repeat. You get the idea.

Some how this impact the internal physical materials inside the battery. I think it is an issue where material builds up on the inside of the chambers makeing the internal cavities smaller, thus unable to gain as much charge.

The other thing you can do to rechargable batteries of to over-charge and under-charge. This is why smart chargers were created. I don't know what happens with over charging--we didn't talk about that. But draining a charge too far will cause the interal walls of those chambers to develop pits. This reduced the ability of a battery to hold a charge. Basically, it can charge to the same capacity that it did when new, but some of the energy in the battery is disapated. This is why you are warned when your laptop or cell phone batter reaches 10% capacity. If you keep turning it back on without plugging it in, you can damage the battery.

Lead Acid batteries are the oldest and most suseptable to memory. However, claims that newer batteries are memory-proof are incorrect. No battery is memory proof. Its their nature. Differnt materials are more resistant to memory than others, but I garantee I can produce memory in rechargable any battery you give me. Well, Humah Hah may be able to proove me wrong in this. I suspect he has access to batteries that I know nothing of.

There you go. More than you ever wanted to know about memory effect.
4 hours of drinks with a Motorola engr? Wow. That's the realbill
Oct 8, 2003 9:21 AM
story here. What's that like?
I have many ribauld and harshly inappropriate thoughts about recharging and overcharged and undercharged and empty chambers and overfull chambers and thanks for the memories (effects), etc., but none are ready to take on the road.
Ah, Kristin. You are always a hoot. And, as patronizing as I'm sure I sound, I really don't mean it that way.
yes...i think they are less finickyColnagoFE
Oct 8, 2003 8:37 AM
though don't let them run down all the way if you can help it--pretty much the opposite of nicad. keep a charge on it. just like your car battery.
Cygo lite 6V 25W (10/15) $95 @ REISteve Young
Oct 8, 2003 8:27 AM
I picked up the higher end cygolite Explorer at REI at the weekend. I've only used it once but at 95 USD (including tax and a 20% off in the current (until 13th I think) REI sale it seems like a good deal.

There are several variants of the 6V system if you want to spend less - their offerings are described in detail on their website. I ran it flat out and got 1 hour 16 at 25W. Literature suggests that 3 hours would be possible on 10W which is more than enough for riding at a steady speed on an unlit trail. I was doing about 15 mph on a totally unlit trail (fullish moon though) and the 25W was overkill - just wanted to use the new toy on full beam.

I'm pretty sure you could get something very reasonable for 60 dollars or so. It all depends on your actual requirements. The 12V systems are clearly differentiated in performance. However for me the extra performance was superfluous to requirements and didn't merit the additional cost.

Having said that, once i have saved some cash I'd like to buy one of the new HID systems that puts out something like the equivalent of a 40W halogen system for 4 hours to enable me to ride my mountain bike on single track int he dark. That is however a totally differnt requirment to riding my roadbike on a smooth trail with no overhanging trees, broken branches and steep sides etc.

Once I have a few more rides with the new light I'll post a review but initial impressions are very favourable.

One note - there's little warning when the batteries run out of juice.

Steve
NightHawk 6v SLA systemsAndy M-S
Oct 8, 2003 9:09 AM
Last year, I bought a NightHawk 5w SLA system for about $30, including a smart charger. It worked well last winter, so this year, I picked up another one, 10w this time, for about the same price. So, for $60, I have a 15w system with two smart chargers and two batteries (I did some cable splicing to power the whole mess from one battery).

Last night, I did a group ride on the local state trail--completely unlit. My 10+5 Nighthawk system was about the brightest thing out there, even though there were a bunch of people with the single-head dual-light Cygo systems.

One of the advantages of having a second battery and charger is that I can always carry a spare battery, and I keep the second charger at work so that I can top off the batts before heading home...

One other thing to consider is mounting. I dislike handlebar mounts, so I made a fork mount using a section of handlebar and a reflector bracket. This keeps the lights low enough to help pick out road imperfections, and gives me more room on the bar for my hands. I'm working on a second version of this now that spaces the lights about 6-7" apart, and leaves room for an emergency LED backup.
Take it back...I'd give them some lip service too...biknben
Oct 8, 2003 7:41 AM
Gotta agree with the other person. You found out why it was such a good deal.

Shame on Performance for offering defective crap at a discount. If it was returned to the store due to a problem it should be sent back to the manufacturer. This isn't an "open box" or "floor model". It's been returned because it is defective. Don't try to pass it on to the next sucker who comes through the door.
In their defenseKristin
Oct 8, 2003 8:08 AM
I don't think they were aware of the fact that the lights themselves were broken. Its a used light system with a broken hanlebar mount--which is all they thought was wrong with it. It probably played out something like this:

- Guy buys light system 2 years ago and uses it for a while. (this model is that old)
- He brings it back to Performance and claims its defective
- Store gives refund and tosses it in the back w/out writing down what's wrong with it.
- Shop guys look at it later and it works properly so they think the clip is just broken.
- Put it out for sale for forty smackers.
In their defensemtnb1kr
Oct 8, 2003 9:17 AM
Your senario is probably pretty close to right. Which is why I suggested at first that it is probably an easy fix on the cord. You obviously bought it with the broken mount realizing you were getting a deal on a less than perfect system and thought you could work around the mount issue. I agree Performance will probably take it back and you can get a good one for another $40 or so. But than you don't have the satisfaction of the deal or being able to make it work for you. Personaly if it were me and I had know about both problems. The mount would have been the reason to stay clear not the shorted wire.