The shortest day of the year

Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at 8:39 pm

Either today or yesterday is the shortest day of the year for those in the southern hemisphere. This is ironic as last night my bicycle lights took another turn for the worse.

For the last few months I have only been running one of the lights from the set as the batteries no longer hold enough charge. Last night it faded out just over halfway through my ride home. Half the load only gets a quarter of the original runtime. It is now critical that I address the problem.

The batteries are in two sticks, each with five 1600mAh 1.2V C cells, which (originally) drives the pair of 10W lights at 6V for an hour. If I were to build a replacement battery pack it needs to be rated for at least 3600mAh.

A brief browse through the Jaycar site gives me:

Five cells and the charger (the charger I got with the lights is for NiCad) could be a solution. But is not cheap at $144.72. I have been meaning to find another source, such as a hobby shop with remote control vehicles, but have yet to do so.

When my light faded out on me last night and I was left with just the LED front light I asked myself: What about totally replacing the rechargeable+incandecent lights with LED based lights? For the price of building a new battery pack I could get some decent lights that:

  • are self contained, ie no wires to a battery pack
  • last for weeks on alkaline batteries

But how does the brightness compare?

It is a compelling alternative. One way or another I need to do something. Soon.

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