|Schmidt Edelux front light and Busch & Muller Toplight Plus rear light|
Recently investing in a SON dynamo hub for my Santos commuter/tourer, I have been using it to charge electrical devices while touring. This allows me to be self sufficient - charging my smartphone and bulletcam without having to resort to mains electricity and meaning I have much more freedom where I camp for the night. I must say it works rather very well but this was only ever one intended use of the SON hub. The other was to have it powering front and rear lights. Great for winter commuting and, who knows, maybe some through the night Audax rides in the future.
Well folks, I hate to be a killjoy but Winter is coming! I know we need Autumn first but let's be realistic - the nights are drawing in and soon, with my shifts, i'll be commuting in the dark at both ends of the day. I didn't get the lights when I bought the hub as I had no great need of them over the Summer and had more immediate financial commitments but last month decided to make buying and fitting them an August project. So I have. They are now fitted and working brilliantly (literally). This is a film by a guy in Finland who has the same set up. I intend to make my own when I get opportunity.
If your experience of dynamo lights is running some pathetic excuse of a front light from a bottle dynamo as a kid (as mine was) then you have no idea how good this set up is. They are both LED lights and very, very bright. They both have standlights so will carry on working for several minutes after the dynamo has stopped turning. The front light has an ambient light sensor so, if this setting is chosen, will turn on automatically when it darkens. The rear light is wired into the front light circuit so will do the same. They can also be either on or off. The LEDs will last for thousands of hours and they draw very little power. I was expecting good light output but really am blown away by how effective they are. I had to be quite careful angling the front light as am worried it will dazzle other road users if i'm not careful.
The Edelux came with the mount and had wiring attached. I chose to get the longer, bare ended wire option as I was always going to fit double spade connectors to allow the charging unit to be plugged in when needed as well. Crimping on the connectors was a doddle. The rear light came with bolts to fit the rear rack and spade connectors but no wiring. I had some appropriate USB cable I could make use of and this was wired to the front light with no problem. The wiring is discreetly cable tired along the rack and then lies alongside the existing brake/gear cabling on the underside of the top tube until it reaches the head tube. It then spirals round a brake cable until it meets the front light. All very neat. Apart from one short circuit before I had put some heat shrink on the live cable where it enters the front light, it's all works perfectly and took about an hour to fit. Bring on the darktime!