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Lighting: in praise of the Down Low Glow!

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  • dianedouglas8
    Hello Roots Radicals, After last weekend s time shift backward off daylight savings, many of us are commuting home from jobs during a much darker time of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 5, 2009
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      Hello Roots Radicals,

      After last weekend's time shift backward off daylight savings, many of us are commuting home from jobs during a much darker time of the day. Although I've seen threads supporting this blinky vs. that front strobe; I wanted to give a personal shout out to my favorite new light system, the Down Low Glow from Rock the Bike.

      Commuting around town in DC, I can say that this thing really works! Not only do people now see me, they stop and stare at the lovely blue glow beneath my BD.

      I don't have much experience with rechargeable battery based light systems, but I'll try to give everyone updates as I use it.

      I had a couple of questions I wanted to pose to the group:

      Considering the effect cold weather has on rechargeable batteries, do others remove their battery at night? (Particularly if you store your Xtras in an unheated area.)

      Should I be concerned with charge memory effects on the batteries?

      What's the best way to keep my glow bright and long-lasting?

      locus
      Washington, DC
      (..Who's praying he doesn't run over a tea-bagger on the way home!)
    • Rick Pickett
      ... I keep mine indoors, so can t say. ... Like any battery, a full discharge is a no-no. A dual tube setup lasts 2-hours roughly, so, keep it at that or under
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 5, 2009
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        On Nov 5, 2009, at 1:44 PM, dianedouglas8 wrote:

         

        Hello Roots Radicals,

        After last weekend's time shift backward off daylight savings, many of us are commuting home from jobs during a much darker time of the day. Although I've seen threads supporting this blinky vs. that front strobe; I wanted to give a personal shout out to my favorite new light system, the Down Low Glow from Rock the Bike.

        Commuting around town in DC, I can say that this thing really works! Not only do people now see me, they stop and stare at the lovely blue glow beneath my BD.

        I don't have much experience with rechargeable battery based light systems, but I'll try to give everyone updates as I use it.

        I had a couple of questions I wanted to pose to the group:

        Considering the effect cold weather has on rechargeable batteries, do others remove their battery at night? (Particularly if you store your Xtras in an unheated area.)

        I keep mine indoors, so can't say.


        Should I be concerned with charge memory effects on the batteries?

        Like any battery, a full discharge is a no-no. A dual tube setup lasts 2-hours roughly, so, keep it at that or under and you should be fine. 3-hour for a single tube I think.


        What's the best way to keep my glow bright and long-lasting?


        Keep the tube clean and scratch free.


        locus
        Washington, DC
        (..Who's praying he doesn't run over a tea-bagger on the way home!)

        Rick "Rockin' the Dual Tube DLG" Pickett
        Oakland, CA



        "Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use."  – Charles Schulz

        assistant (to the) visual manager  | rick@...
        888.537-1401 x709 | find your eleventh gear

      • Carl Ray
        Hey Mate! I too have and am a big fan of DLG s I have been running them for 2 years, no mem issues. The only issue is i want another pair and I can t afford
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 6, 2009
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          Hey Mate!

          I too have and am a big fan of DLG's I have been running them for 2 years, no mem issues. The only issue is i want another pair and I can't afford them right now. But yes you will be seen, My ride is 2hrs 20 min long and half is in the dark.
          I am going to get the fast smart charger because of the shorter days. I have two batteries and that helps.

          way to go in DC. Maybe we can have Obama run a Cash for clunkers bike program with a pair of DLGs thrown in for free!!!

          Peace from California,

          Carl

          On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 1:44 PM, dianedouglas8 <diane.douglas8@...> wrote:
           

          Hello Roots Radicals,

          After last weekend's time shift backward off daylight savings, many of us are commuting home from jobs during a much darker time of the day. Although I've seen threads supporting this blinky vs. that front strobe; I wanted to give a personal shout out to my favorite new light system, the Down Low Glow from Rock the Bike.

          Commuting around town in DC, I can say that this thing really works! Not only do people now see me, they stop and stare at the lovely blue glow beneath my BD.

          I don't have much experience with rechargeable battery based light systems, but I'll try to give everyone updates as I use it.

          I had a couple of questions I wanted to pose to the group:

          Considering the effect cold weather has on rechargeable batteries, do others remove their battery at night? (Particularly if you store your Xtras in an unheated area.)

          Should I be concerned with charge memory effects on the batteries?

          What's the best way to keep my glow bright and long-lasting?

          locus
          Washington, DC
          (..Who's praying he doesn't run over a tea-bagger on the way home!)




          --
          “A plant, which is a living and breathing entity, has the ability to understand and work in synchrony with the body’s internal needs, in harmony with the vital force within us, to heal and give life”

          -Donald R. Yance
        • Tone
          Locus, 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
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 9, 2009
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            Locus,
            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:
            http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-LitOnPorch.jpg
            2) Photo of primarily DLG system set up:
            http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-BottleCapsule.jpg
            3) Photo of close up of capsule with open lid and interior:
            http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-CapsuleOpen.jpg
            4) Photo of close up of bottom of capsule with cut out hole:
            http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-CapsuleBottom.jpg
            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.

            Locus,
            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 inquiries…
            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
            it.
            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,
            _TONE_
          • Carl Ray
            Tone, Thanks for the story, I too had a minor issue with my Green DLG. Called Rock the Bike and he took care of me. No BS just straight talk and deeds. I am a
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 9, 2009
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              Tone,

              Thanks for the story, I too had a minor issue with my Green DLG. Called Rock the Bike and he took care of me. No BS just straight talk and deeds. I am a loyal customer now. I have two batteries and on a heavy week 3-4 days commuting 30 miles each way. I need to get the fast smart re-charger 4hrs or less. Because it is dark going in and coming home now in california. Some day light savings? W/o my DLG in the mostly city traffic I am in I would be in a very unsafe commute. But with the DLG I am in a protective glow! That's how I think of it anyway. Oh yes I am hyper vigilant and do not trust drivers at all regardless of lighting. The combination is just awesome!

              Carl

              On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 7:27 AM, Tone <tone@...> wrote:
               

              Locus,
              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:
              http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-LitOnPorch.jpg
              2) Photo of primarily DLG system set up:
              http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-BottleCapsule.jpg
              3) Photo of close up of capsule with open lid and interior:
              http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-CapsuleOpen.jpg
              4) Photo of close up of bottom of capsule with cut out hole:
              http://www.cranksgiving.net/xs/DLG-CapsuleBottom.jpg
              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.

              Locus,
              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 inquiries…
              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
              it.
              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,
              _TONE_




              --
              “A plant, which is a living and breathing entity, has the ability to understand and work in synchrony with the body’s internal needs, in harmony with the vital force within us, to heal and give life”

              -Donald R. Yance
            • jj
              I am not a paid company hack, fyi. Y all might want to look into the the website for CleverCycles. They have them on sale right now at something like 40% off.
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 9, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                I am not a paid company hack, fyi.

                Y'all might want to look into the the website for CleverCycles. They
                have them on sale right now at something like 40% off.

                jj
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