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10135RE: [rootsradicals] Lighting: in praise of the Down Low Glow!

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  • Tone
    Nov 9 7:27 AM
      I have a blue dual-tube Down Low Glow (DLG) on my Big Dummy as well. I
      have had the DLG for a number of years, even back when I was still
      working as a messenger in NYC with my Xtracycle. Though I must admit I
      disconnected it from my bike not long after installing it due to paranoia
      from both theft and wet weather. I of course took water-proofing
      precautions, but when your DLG is out in the rain over eight hours in any
      given day you have to worry a little about whether the vinyl cloak you
      made for it is enough.
      Fortunately for me it was, but I still removed the DLG from my bike for
      my daily working routine and reserved the DLG for special occasions.
      Eventually I stopped messengering and moved to York, PA where I
      encountered the same issues of commuting to work in the early morning
      darkness as you did. That is when I reinstalled my DLG as a permanent
      fixture on my bike, but set up better than it ever was before.
      I ordered a plastic water bottle cage storage capsule/container from
      Nashbar for about $3-4, cut a small rectangle out of the bottom, which
      was just big enough to slide in the controller box for the DLG system,
      then I adhered another strip of Velcro on the inside of the capsule to
      keep the controller box from rattling around inside. At that point all I
      have to do is pop open the container lid, insert the DLG battery into the
      bottle-capsule along side the controller and connect the two via their
      plugs. When I want to turn the system on or off all I have to do is open
      the bottle-capsule and flip the DLG power switch. When I want to recharge
      the battery I once again open the capsule, unplug the battery and go.
      There is no more need to repeatedly disengage the various Velcro straps
      and no worries about hitting a bump hard enough, which might rattle the
      Velcro straps loose, especially after they wear out over time from being
      open and closed so much.
      Obviously having the guts of the DLG system all inside one enclosure
      keeps it fairly protected from the weather as well as a little more
      out-of-sight-out-of-mind from potential thieves of opportunity. I believe
      Rock the Bike has actually made some improvements with additional
      water-proofing features to their DLG since the version I first bought.
      Therefore there should not be as many worries about exposing the system
      to rain, but regardless the capsule just makes disconnecting the battery
      way easier, makes the system look even slicker, and provides just a
      little bit more stow-away capacity for that extra patch kit, energy bar,
      and/or keys.
      1) Photo of lit up DLG on my Big Dummy while locked up on my porch with
      another bike:
      2) Photo of primarily DLG system set up:
      3) Photo of close up of capsule with open lid and interior:
      4) Photo of close up of bottom of capsule with cut out hole:
      One note I should point out to anyone else thinking about rigging up a
      DLG set up like mine is to make sure you first insert both the controller
      AND battery into the capsule to determine interior fit/sizing issues
      BEFORE sticking the strip of Velcro onto an interior wall of the capsule.

      I realize the description of my set up did not answer your direct
      questions, but I thought you and others might appreciate it. Now to
      actually get to your inquiriesÂ…
      I am no battery expert either. In fact I admittedly get mixed up about
      all the different rechargeable battery types, the way they perform, and
      the best way to maintain them that way. My approach is basically to
      disconnect and recharge the DLG battery over night after a ride when I
      have noticed it fading down enough. In the past my commute was roughly
      20-30 minutes one-way, and I only had to use the DLG in the dark early
      mornings. That meant I could charge the DLG on Sunday night and get
      enough charge for an entire work-week. Usually by Wednesday or Thursday I
      would notice some fade, so I would just take it in then for recharge.
      Recharging it over Thursday night would also mean it would be pretty well
      charged for any extended-run Friday or Saturday night excursions.
      I can not say I have really noticed the cold having any extremely harsh
      effect on the DLG, and I definitely ride in sub-zero temperatures as well
      as keep my bike locked out on the porch. I generally keep my ride as
      maintenance free as possible, so I tend to allow myself to forget about
      doing any kind of maintenance on a regular basis unless it is
      specifically a daily routine. Therefore the DLG battery is usually just
      sitting in the capsule day in and day out, even if it is not used during
      those day-light seasonal periods. When it is not being regularly used
      during those winter months, which do provide enough light, I do try to
      remember to simply keep the battery inside or at least carry the
      relatively charged up battery in my bag, which comes inside with me
      wherever I go.

      About a year ago my DLG stopped working. At that point I had not used it
      for a long time because one of those seasonally-lit periods had passed. I
      figured I must have allowed the battery enough time to fade out
      completely. I contacted Rock the Bike and ended up mailing it all to then
      with the understanding that it might cost me something like $14 for labor
      and return delivery on-top of the possible battery replacement, which I
      forgot the additional price of. I did not mind the price because I had
      owned the DLG for over three years by then and really enjoyed/appreciated
      When they got it and looked it over, they e-mailed me to tell me my
      battery still had something like 70% of its original charge capacity,
      which they thought was extremely good considering how long I had owned it
      for. They also located the actual problem with the wiring connection
      inside the controller box and recommended I just stick with my original
      battery. I agreed because I did not see why I should waste a decent
      battery (or shell out so much additional money for no real benefit).
      After maybe another week had gone by I received a package from Rock the
      Bike with my repaired DLG system. From its appearance it looks like Rock
      the Bike also reinforced the seams and wire entry point of the controller
      box with epoxy or sealant.
      I was actually surprised when I got back the working DLG system because I
      thought I was waiting to hear back from Rock the Bike about the status of
      my repair being complete, exactly how much the repair would cost, and
      what way I should pay for it. Instead, all I ended up paying for was the
      one-way shipping of the DLG to them. I presume once they actually got
      inside and saw the problem they figured the repair was covered in their
      warrantee or something.

      I hope this helps answer some of your questions.
      Ride safe,
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