Author Topic: Cycle2Charge charging unit  (Read 263 times)

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7394
  • reisen statt rasen
Cycle2Charge charging unit
« 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.

Tiberius

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 88
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #1 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 !!

in4

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #2 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.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1382
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #3 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.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 02:06:34 PM by mickeg »

PH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #4 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.

julk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 895
Temp Topic
« Reply #5 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/ to splice the wires and found them extremely easy and quick to use.
Julian.

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7394
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Temp Topic
« Reply #6 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.

in4

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
Re: Temp Topic
« Reply #7 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.

julk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 895
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 06:14:09 PM by julk »

in4

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 06:58:28 PM »
Brilliant!  Thanks for posting such a great reply, really appreciated. Amazon here I come

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3027
Re: Cycle2Charge charging unit
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 11:19:26 PM »
Brilliant arrangement, Julian, and clever wiring. Impressive.