Thorn Cycles Forum

Technical => Lighting and Electronics => Battery Charging from a Dynamo => Topic started by: Danneaux on April 29, 2018, 03:57:35 AM

Title: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: Danneaux on April 29, 2018, 03:57:35 AM
Hi All,

For the last year or so, I have been trialing and testing two Cycle2Charge v.2 charging units produced by Dirk Langhuber of Germany. Factory website is here (English version): http://www.cycle2charge.de/index.php/en/

The basic unit is designed to mount in place of the top cap on a 1-1/8in threadless steerer, but he also offers a CNC'd and anodized aluminum handlebar mount available to fit 22.2mm handlebars and quill stems. It makes the charger look a bit like a bell when mounted on the quill stem of one of my randonneur bikes. It will also fit a standard MTB handlebar or a Thorn Accessory T-bar.

So far, the Cycle2Charge v.2 units are working very well for me (I bought two) and I verified claims it produces 500mA (USB specification) at 12 km/h and 1A/1000 mA charge current at and above 21 km/h. It is equipped with a rotating plastic hood that blocks the entry of water and dust and has even allowed me to charge my devices in the rain (because it shields the male connector of my USB cord, but depends on orienting the socket rearward to prevent wind-driven rain from entering -- the device being charged goes under cover inside my handlebar bag, of course). Like the Tout Terrain The Plug, all the internal electronics are potted in epoxy and so are fully sealed against water. Even so, I would caution charging devices if water is in the socket, as electrolysis can eat away the charging connections in the charger's female USB port. Even gold-plated pins are subject to electrolysis in the wet after the soft gold is worn away over time by the friction of multiple insertion cycles. IN contrast, my Busch und Muller e-Werk uses shielded connections to the charger so rain-caused electrolysis is not a problem so long as the gadget being charged is inside a bag, protected from weather.

Having played with my two Cycle2Charge units over the last year and compared them side by side with my two Busch und Muller e-Werks and the one Tout Terrain The Plug 2+, the less expensive Cycle2Charge units have worked as claimed and I consider them good value for the money. Will a Cycle2Charge power your gadget? That depends, but it is far more likely it will -- at least when pedaling at or above 21kmh/13mph, when the unit produces 1000mA (1A) instead of the 500mA produced by some other chargers. As always, greater success will be more likely if you couple the charger with a buffer/cache/pass through battery to ensure continued charging when going slowly or during stops and to ensure a constant flow of electricity to your gadget -- especially if it has a high-demand circuit (i.e. large smartphone or some GPS units...I have found AA/AAA battery chargers can generally charge directly).

I still prefer to keep my dyno-powered lighting and charging separate rather than contained in one unit. This makes it easier for me to upgrade one or the other and to put together the system that best suits my needs. Others might prefer the convenience of an all-in-one light and charger combined.

For UK buyers, the Cycle2Charge is available from Amazon UK for less money than from the factory:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cycle2Charge-V2/dp/B007UEAR48
Brackets here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Handlebar-Adaptor-for-Cycle2Charge/dp/B00X2W5382
...but Amazon UK won't deliver to the US and it is much more expensive from the US Amazon reseller:
https://www.amazon.com/Cycle2Charge-V2/dp/B007UEAR48/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1524966561&sr=1-1&keywords=cycle2charge&dpID=41zDqAZzPyL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
In the US I found it less expensive to order from Dirk's Cycle2Charge website, reminding him to delete the VAT.

Here are some reviews that are largely congruent with my own experience. When reading reviews, beware and read carefully as the current V.2 (which I have) is vastly different than version 1 and Dirk advises me there will be no version 3:
http://www.viavelo.cc/review-cycle2charge-usb-charger/
http://bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot.com/2015/02/cycle2charge-dynamo-electrickery.html
http://bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot.com/2015/03/cycle2charge-electrickery-part-2.html
https://rollingeast.com/tech-on-tour-part-ii-power-dynamos-and-batteries/
https://www.facebook.com/pg/cycle2charge/posts/
https://triduffer.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/the-great-dynamo-usb-power-run-off/
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=88720.0
http://www.fixed.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=35915
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=10679.0

Stay tuned for more new chargers coming soon. Three-phase tire dynamos are entering the market and dynohubs aren't far behind. There's a whole slew of new chargers as well, and I will be looking into them shortly.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: Tiberius on April 29, 2018, 06:15:36 AM
I really like that.

I particularly like the fact that the whole electrickery stuff is in the top cap itself with nothing housed in the steerer tube (other than the connecting wire) and with no need to disturb the star fangled nut.

It's cheap, easy to fit, well made and it works.....I'm having one !!
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: in4 on April 29, 2018, 06:33:35 AM
The adapter/bracket for mounting it on your bars or accessory  bar will be available in may.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on April 29, 2018, 02:04:10 PM
It is nice to know that an option to the Sinewave exists that can pull a bit more power out of the hub at a comparable price to the Revolution model.

There is another high output charger out there called Forumslader.
https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-dynamo-usb-chargers-bicycle-touring-bikepacking/
 
While I have never felt any drag on my bike when using the USB charger (I have three, Sinewave Revolution, AXA Luxx 70 Plus, and B&M Luxos U), I have heard that the higher output on the Forumslader will cause noticeable drag on the wheel when riding.  I wonder if the higher output from the Cycle2Charge would cause noticeable drag on the hub or not?

On some of my bikes I use the stem cap position to hold a GPS bracket or something like that.  So, for me the stem cap option would work poorly for some of my bikes but work well for others.

I generally dislike attaching things to a bike with a rubber elastic, but the handlebar button/USB charger on my Luxos U is held on the bar with elastic, thus it will fit on any size bar.  That is the only thing I can think of that I like using an elastic and I would prefer that they make an option like that for the Cycle2Charge.  Or an option that attaches with a zip tie?  I used a zip tie to temporarily attach my Sinewave charger during a couple bike tours on both my Nomad and on my Sherpa.  I tie it on the headtube or top tube where it is close to the handlebar bag which would often hold whatever I am charging, yet be out of the way.  On the top tube, it was slightly aft of the headtube so that it was close enough that I could still plug things in while riding.

Based on the above, the lineup of mounting options would not work very well for me.  I wonder how hard it would be to fabricate a little Aluminum bracket that I could bolt the charger to and be able to zip tie it to the frame somewhere?

Thanks for the review.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PH on April 29, 2018, 07:33:18 PM
Looks interesting and afordable.  It'd be nice to have one of these for the couple of times a year I get away for more than a long weekend, but I wouldn't want or need it attached all the time.  Doesn't look like it'd be a big job to add/remove it as required.
Title: Temp Topic
Post by: julk on May 11, 2018, 06:50:45 PM
Dan et al,
Many thanks for the advice in this thread.
I have just bought and fitted a Cycle2Charge on my handlebars - sadly there was no clear way for me to thread the wires through the steerer.
I spliced the Cycle2Charge wires into the feed wires from my SON28 to Supernova lights. Turning the lights off gives all the charging capacity to my connected iPhone SE. I can also remove the front light which has the Supernova gold quick connectors.
I used https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/lighting-spares/solder-butt-connector-red-x-10/ (https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/lighting-spares/solder-butt-connector-red-x-10/) to splice the wires and found them extremely easy and quick to use.
Julian.
Title: Re: Temp Topic
Post by: Danneaux on May 11, 2018, 08:07:40 PM
Many thanks for the feedback on this, Julian. I hope it will continue to work well for you. I have no affiliation with the company beyond being pleased with my own two I bought.

Always nice to see new charging options on the market, especially ones with versatile mounts.

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Temp Topic
Post by: in4 on May 11, 2018, 09:50:58 PM
Good to see any photos you have Julian. I'm about to set my cycle2charge up too. I'm waiting for the bracket to become available  again before attaching it to an accessory bar.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: julk on May 12, 2018, 06:11:13 PM
in4,
1st is the handlebar viewed from the front,
2nd is the handlebar viewed from the rear,
3rd is the wiring loom.

Whilst riding the bike the handlebars have between the brake levers and from the left
Cycle2Charge, Supernova headlamp, stem clamp, Minoura bracket (fits small phones, ideal for iPhone SE) Cateye V3 computer

The dynohub is wired up towards the front light which attaches with 2 identical gold connectors. Identical because it is AC and anyway round works. The Cycle2Charge black and white wires are wound round a brake cable and spliced into the up feed using SJS supplied solder joints. All covered with heat shrink.
The front and rear lights can be disconnected and the front light removed for security.
Everything can be connected up, the phone still shows as charging even with the lights on whilst riding, turning the lights off gives all the charge to  the phone.

The bracket is available from Amazon UK as mine arrived this week.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: in4 on May 12, 2018, 06:58:28 PM
Brilliant!  Thanks for posting such a great reply, really appreciated. Amazon here I come
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: Andre Jute on May 12, 2018, 11:19:26 PM
Brilliant arrangement, Julian, and clever wiring. Impressive.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: silverdorking on June 20, 2019, 03:44:39 PM
Quote from Dan -
Here are some reviews that are largely congruent with my own experience. When reading reviews, beware and read carefully as the current V.2 (which I have) is vastly different than version 1 and Dirk advises me there will be no version 3:"

I remember reading and thinking how useful Dan's review here was. Just wondering, despite Dirk's reassurance if v3 is known to anyone on the forum.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: silverdorking on June 20, 2019, 07:25:30 PM
Apologies, should have posted relevant link:-
http://www.cycle2charge.de/index.php/en/
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on January 28, 2020, 10:01:54 AM
Does anyone know where to source these now, particularly V3. Amazon shows it as unavailable and Cycle2Charge don't seem to have either prices or any means of ordering on their website.
thanks
Phil
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: silverdorking on January 28, 2020, 10:11:57 AM
Having experienced similar difficulty I went straight to the manufacturer and received extremely good customer service:-
Dirk Langhuber
Goerdelerstraße 5a
33102 Paderborn

www.cycle2charge.de
langhuber@cycle2charge.de
0151 614 33102

Umsatzsteuer ID: DE302474924
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on January 28, 2020, 10:54:10 AM
Thanks for the quick reply. Are you still finding the unit to be a good solution?

I'm currently using a Luxos U to charge a larger cache battery from my Son 28 and running my Garmin on it's internal battery then re charging from the cache battery.
While not ideal, it deals with the constant cut in and out as the small cache battery in the luxos depletes when charging the Garmin or my iphone direct when in hilly terrain.
I'm looking for a better solution for my annual 3 month tour in Europe.
thanks
Phil
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: silverdorking on January 28, 2020, 11:19:21 AM
Lamentable I know but currently untested, awaiting opportunity to get son28 hub built up so afraid can't comment.
I can say that stem fitting is a piece of cake and uses star fangled nut rather than expander unit, employed by Cinq I will further inform once running dynamo wheel.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on January 28, 2020, 02:50:17 PM
...
I'm currently using a Luxos U to charge a larger cache battery from my Son 28 and running my Garmin on it's internal battery then re charging from the cache battery.
While not ideal, it deals with the constant cut in and out as the small cache battery in the luxos depletes when charging the Garmin or my iphone direct when in hilly terrain....

I have also found the Luxos U internal pass through cache battery to deplete when charging some devices.  It appears that the electronics in the Luxos U allows the device you are charging to draw power out of the battery faster than the electronics that recharge that same battery from the AC output from the hub.

I do not use the Luxos U for bike touring, only use it for riding near home.

Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on January 28, 2020, 04:47:27 PM
Yes the Luxos U is a good solution up to a point and I've made mine work for 3 x 3month tours, so 9 months total to date, but only by using it to charge a 6000 mAh cache battery, which it does ok. I would like a better solution but there are quite a few options now so it gets difficult choosing a decent cost effective system,
I'd like to keep the Luxos U as it's a great light, so something that plays nice with it's existing cache would be my favoured solution.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on February 02, 2020, 07:39:53 PM
On a recent thread I posted a link which is a google translate version of a German publication that has some good data on USB chargers that draw power from a dynohub, but the article is a few years old, does not have data on the Cycle2Charge.  And this link is to Figure 13 in that article, shows watt output at varying speeds:
https://fahrradzukunft.de/bilder/21/steckdose-unterwegs-4/13.gross.png

From that graph, the highest performing charger is the Forumslader V5, puts out a bit under 2 watts at 10 km/hr and a bit over 5 watts at 20 km/hr.

This graph is from the Cycle2Charge website:
http://www.cycle2charge.de/images/Bilder/Leistungsvergleich-eng_V3.JPG

From the graph, it looks like the Cycle2Charge Version 3 puts out a bit over 2 watts at 11 km/hr.  And about 4.8 watts at 20 km/hr.

Those two chargers appear to have comparable performance curves at speeds between 11 and 25 km/hr, which is the speed most people tour at most of the time that they are not hill climbing or descending.

That is very impressive output, certainly beats my Sinewave Revolution that is also shown on the first graph.

On a different forum someone used a Forumslader on a bike tour and commented that his bike felt slower when the charger was producing a high amount of power into his power bank, but he only spent part of each day charging the power bank. 

I however have never felt any resistance from my use of a dynohub and USB charger or with a dyno powered light, but my charger put out less power.  I often leave my light on when riding in daytime because I do not feel that there is any additional resistance.

That said, I would not be surprised if the Cycle2Charge could cause noticeable drag when it is putting out higher output rates considering that some have felt the drag from a Forumslader.

I did not post the graphs, instead provided the links, I do not know if posting the graphs would have violated copyright laws or not.

Now I have to decide if my Sinewave Revolution will still meet my needs or if I will need an upgrade.

***

Appendix:

The Figure 13 I cited above was from this link:
https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&sp=nmt4&tl=en&u=https://fahrradzukunft.de/21/steckdose-unterwegs-4/&xid=17259,15700021,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271,15700301&usg=ALkJrhinkvnrcxwGc8xhEoE9-pzKuWjO5A

Cycle2Charge website at:
http://www.cycle2charge.de/index.php/en/
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on February 06, 2020, 07:45:21 PM
I was still trying to figure out if I wanted to give the Cycle2Charge a try. 

The high output rating looks good.  Not sure about the level of waterproofing.

Their website lists shipping cost to USA at 30 Euros. 

I was quite interested until I saw the cost of shipping, total cost of the charger with shipping would exceed $100 USD.

My Sinewave Revolution still works, will stick with that for now.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: John Saxby on February 08, 2020, 12:42:44 AM
Quote
My Sinewave Revolution still works

Mine stopped working this past summer, its 6th year :(   The problem seemed to be that the USB (output) port had become ever so slightly loose, so that the charge was intermittent.

I took it to a well-regarded local repair shop which usually handles phones & tablets, and they said that they frequently see that sort of problem.  They were unable to repair the Sinewave, though, because it's sealed.

I had a good email exchange with one of the tech specialists at Sinewave, who gave me a series of tests to verify that the problem was indeed the charger, and not the wiring from the SON28.  He was also sympathetic--said that he'd never heard of this problem with one of their products.  I sent him the remains of the charger last fall -- haven't heard anything since.

In the end, I decided to buy a new Sinewave -- I'm familiar with it, and the dead 'un gave me five-plus years of reliable service.  The price for the first one worked out at about USD 20/year.  How does one assess that?  Replacement cost wasn't prohibitive, and if the new one lasts as long as its predecessor, it will take me to the end of my 8th decade. (Yikes!!)
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on February 08, 2020, 09:32:49 AM
I think 5 years is decent service for an all weather electronic device with a usb port John.
It might be worth getting a usb male to female adaptor and keeping it in place permanently by wiping a sealing bead of silicon around it. This would protect the sinewave port and connections making the adaptor a replaceable wear part. Vibration and cable instal and removal  along with corrosion is possibly the issue.

If you buy an adaptor get one with brass or gold plated connections.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on February 08, 2020, 09:42:41 AM
Just a thought, I always keep a can of Deoxit D5 handy and spray my charging and lighting contact with it occasionally. It’s about the best contact cleaner and protector I’ve found. Expensive but very good.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on February 08, 2020, 02:56:24 PM
If I recall correctly, Sinewave Revolution has gold plated contacts, should not require any sealing.

I bought the Sinewave for my Iceland trip because Iceland has frequent precipitation and I was concerned that the waterproofing around the USB port area on my AXA Luxx 70 Plus was non-existent.  But the Sinewave waterproofing of encapsulating all the electronics in epoxy sounded like the best waterproofing available.  But in Johns case, that waterproofing apparently prevents repair.

The Cycle2Charge with shipping to USA would be a bit cheaper than a new Sinewave.  If my Sinewave died, i would be tempted to try the Cycle2Charge to see how well that higher charge rate works.

I also have a B&M Luxos U, I bought that because my Garmin model 64 will not directly charge off of the Sinewave or the Luxx 70 Plus because they lack a pass through cache battery, the Garmin needs that for charging.  But I bought the Luxos U primarily for non-touring use.

***

I think I previously posted a comment somewhere on this forum that I measured on one of my 20 mile exercise rides near home that my Sinewave Revolution produced on average 2.5 watts while rolling on a route that is mostly flat.

Yesterday I put my meter on the USB outlet of my Luxos U and did the same ride, I got an average of 1.8 watts.  But, the Luxos U has an internal battery pack and it is possible that much of the rolling time was recharging the battery pack, so there could be a large error in that average of 1.8 watts.  This ride was less than an hour and a half, come summer when the temperature is above freezing, I plan to try a longer test of several hours, that would reduce the impact of battery charging/discharging on the USB port.

Looking at the performance chart for the Cycle2Charge, I would probably be getting closer to 4 watts on my exercise ride if the manufacturer data is to be believed.  The link to that chart again is at:
http://www.cycle2charge.de/images/Bilder/Leistungsvergleich-eng_V3.JPG

Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on February 08, 2020, 05:28:33 PM
I think there are problems other than corrosion with USB ports, once a cable is connected they aren't at all waterproof and shorting across the terminal can occur unless a cover is used. The other problem I see with USB connections is vibration wearing them out and making them loose, it's not really an ideal connection method for an all weather device subject to vibration. Hence my suggestion of using a sacrificial adaptor that could be replaced when worn. Using silicon to surround the adaptor would make it impervious to vibration  but easily replaced.

I understand the electronics are encapsulated but the terminals aren't, shorting out across them can damage electronics, I've experienced this. I normally use an adapted shower cap as a cover but have used the sacrificial adaptor on several  friends bikes and it works very well.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: Danneaux on February 08, 2020, 09:19:54 PM
Quote
I think there are problems other than corrosion with USB ports, once a cable is connected they aren't at all waterproof and shorting across the terminal can occur unless a cover is used.
One of the biggest problems with continued charging in a wet environment is electrolysis. Gold-plated contacts help, but if the water gets inside beyond the connectors in the presence of electrical current then over time it can eat away at the soldered connections and copper leads, causing a break there. It usually happens between the gold plated USB pins and the epoxy the boards are potted in. I've often seen it with devices intended to be waterproof that were used in wet environments after the seals deteriorated.

That is why I use a little homemade shower cap over my charger in the wet (or dry dusty conditions) and o-rings (See attached photos below). The o-rings reduce the entry point for water, especially if the rings are coated lightly with dialectric grease to help repel water and form a light seal for anything that gets past the shower cap. In my desert touring I have to also be mindful of the effects of corrosive alkali dust as well as water encountered in rain and thunderstorms. Taking the precaution of adding one or two alkali-resistant nitrile o-rings shields the socket from dirt and water entry to an additional degree. It is also helpful to cap the open USB socket when you are not charging. I fitted a later Cinq5 weather plug to my older Tout Terrain The Plug 2+ for this purpose, but the rotating weather cap on the Cycle2Charge does a surprisingly good job of deflecting the direct entry of dust and moisture. Regardless of whether the pins are gold plated or not,common dust and dirt caught between the sliding connection can affect conductivity. Alkali dust (desert playa) can be directly corrosive, enough that I usually pack a small eyedrops bottle filled with vinegar to counteract the effects on electronics. See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htKnGcpdBrQ
...and...
https://burningman.org/event/preparation/playa-living/post-playa-tips/
This is also why I take pH test strips with me. My first test of any potential drinking water found in the desert is for alkali level. Some is so alkaline it would scorch my oral mucous membranes and damage the electrodes on my SteriPen.

The last photo below shows one of my derailleur bikes crossing Nevada's Black Rock Desert in high summer, loaded with 26.5l of water. As you can see, this is near the edge of the dry lake's playa and this portion became damp as a result of groundwater and previous rains, making it soft enough for the bike to sink in and stand on its own. Just ahead is the larger stretch of dried salt-pan which is hard as concrete, self-leveled and a much better riding surface. The two surfaces each present their own challenges in terms of dust. The softer stuff clings and sifts, the harder stuff blows finely in the wind and when the tornadolike dust storms hit it goes into everything causing a virtual whiteout of dust. When it does rain, all turns to a corrosive pudding covered with water that sits atop the hardpan until it can soak in -- a soup that blisters skin and rusts steel pretty quickly. This photo makes it pretty clear why I prefer my Nomad's sealed Rohloff hub to an open derailleur drivetrain for my desert expeditions. It also explains why I set aside time in camp each night to clean the bike's exposed drive components.
Quote
Hence my suggestion of using a sacrificial adaptor that could be replaced when worn. Using silicon to surround the adaptor would make it impervious to vibration  but easily replaced.
<nods> All good aspects, but be sure to select a "neutral cure" silicone -- one without acetic acid. Acetic acid is the damaging, acute irritant to eyes and sinuses and lungs that smells like vinegar and can be harmful as it outgasses/cures. It can also damage electrical connections, as is well established:
https://books.google.com/books/about/Contamination_Effects_on_Electronic_Prod.html?id=wKXgVis88NkC
...and...
https://books.google.com/books/about/Avionic_Cleaning_and_Corrosion_Preventio.html?id=7Xw-AAAAYAAJ
...and...
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/789138-silicone-sealant-driver-damage.html
I learned this early in my former life troubleshooting and overhauling electronic engine-management systems. Acetic acid can etch electrical contacts as it outgasses and you can see the results under 30x magnification as pitting and discoloration that increases resistance. If you use a neutral cure silicone, acetic acid is not present. Just check the label first and then your nose -- if you smell vinegar, then try a different caulk formulation.

Best,

Dan.

Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on February 09, 2020, 01:12:56 AM
Wow, your low riders were getting close to too low.

On my Nomad I use a front rack that raises the panniers up about 3 inches (~~75mm) higher than they would be with a typical low rider rack.  I have not hit anything with any panniers on the front of any bike, but I just barely heard some scraping sound when my handle bar wanted to pull a bit to one side, realized I was almost grounding my pannier on some curbing, that was on my Sherpa with a regular low rider rack.  Close call.




Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: Danneaux on February 09, 2020, 08:30:36 AM
Quote
Wow, your low riders were getting close to too low.
<nods> Yeah I was sinking fast, George, and it was tough pushing at the "shoreline". As you can see, the bike is standing on its own because the wheels have sunk so far.

I took this bike on that tour because I was a little short of time and reasoned 700x32C tires would be faster on the paved roads between home and desert and on the hardpan playa. They were indeed fast as I made 200km/day but when I arrived, I saw I had miscalculated and paid the price as the narrow tires sliced through the soft stuff.Except for seasonal trends, I can't really tell how the playa will be until I get there. It would have been a lot more fun with the Nomad that trip. Also, by the time I returned home I had put a lot of wear on a cassette that was almost new when I left home.

Wider tires might or might not have made much difference in flotation on that trip given how very soft the play was until I hit hardpan, but the Nomad has worked as well for me on 200km days, its much sturdier frame would have been much a lot more stable and pleasant with the load I was carrying, and the Rohloff drivetrain would surely have helped.

I've generally had no problems with the height of the Thorn lowriders, but there was one instance in Croatia where an oncoming driver made a foolish pass causing my front bags to rub-through on a bridge apron. See: http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=12758.msg95077#msg95077 I was very lucky to come through unscathed but in that instance it would indeed have helped to have my panniers ride a little bit higher that day. Generally, though, they have been fine except for a few instances. Back in the 1980s I used high-riding racks, but generally prefer the better handling that comes from carrying the load a bit lower.

Pulling things back on topic a bit...

The bicycle in the photo is equipped with a B&M e-Werk. It uses sealed, screw-type connections that do a very good job keeping out moisture and dirt. I generally attach one lead to the little box that contains the e-Werk circuitry and then connect the dedicated B&M cabling that terminates in the B&M USB port, which I keep snake into my waterproof handlebar bag. It has adjustable voltage and current and completely solves the socket shielding problem (cover the main unit or tilt it so it doesn't get direct exposure to continuous rainwater), so has much to recommend it. B&M make a separate cache battery that can be readily integrated. See:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/dynamos/busch-muller-ewerk/?geoc=US
...and...
http://en.bumm.de/produkte/e-werk/e-werk.html
...and...
https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/ewerk.php  <== This link contains another link to a downloadable manual

The adjustable nature of the e-Werk can be its Achilles heel. It is important to match the voltage and current demands to the gadget being charged or damage can occur to the gadget; that's something to keep in mind if you swap in different gadgets with varying demands. I generally keep mine set to approximate the USB 2.0 standard 5vdc @ 500mA/0.5A (the e-Werk settings are not exact but close with 0.7v charging increments) and occasionally tweak the amperage upward for devices that can handle charging at a higher rate. Devices with nonadjustable outputs like the Cycle2Charge avoid such problems when one is tired or loses track. Still, the e-Werk works well enough I am transferring it to my gravel bike and expect to use it for some years ahead.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: mickeg on February 09, 2020, 12:43:37 PM
...
The adjustable nature of the e-Werk can be its Achilles heel. It is important to match the voltage and current demands to the gadget being charged or damage can occur to the gadget; that's something to keep in mind if you swap in different gadgets with varying demands. I generally keep mine set to a USB 2.0 standard 5vdc @ 500mA/0.5A. Devices with nonadjustable outputs like the Cycle2Charge avoid such problems when one is tired or loses track. Still, the e-Werk works well enough I am transferring it to my gravel bike and expect to use it for some years ahead.

Best,

Dan.

I only use 5v USB stuff, I would have no reason to buy a unit with adjustable voltage.

When not touring, my Sinewave is in use on my rando bike.  But I use the Sinewave for touring.  I rarely do more than one tour a year, so switching the Sinewave from bike to bike is rare and not a big deal, but that was part of my thinking on buying another charger to have just for touring purposes only. 

For touring, I have largely decided to use the dynohub exclusively for USB charging.  But for non-touring, use the dynohub mostly for lighting and occasional USB charging. 

Title: Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
Post by: PhilD28 on February 09, 2020, 01:33:40 PM
Yes I forgot to mention using a neutral silicon sealant, I always do, we use lots of different types of sealant in industry. The tube I’m currently using came from one of my electronics engineer friends. Thanks for the nudge there Dan.
The DeOxit D5 is superb stuff for keeping usb contacts in good condition, the price puts a lot of people off at £25 a tin,  much cheaper than new devices though. My electronics engineer friend repairs  high end audio equipment and he swears by it.