Author Topic: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs  (Read 5113 times)

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Offline Jeff_V

Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« on: January 30, 2018, 11:17:39 am »
Newb to dynamo hubs. I'm building up a new wheel set that will include a SP PD-8x Dynamo Disc hub which will produce 6V3W. I'm having trouble discerning which headlight and USB charging system will work best for my needs. I would like to exclusively use daylight hours for charging only. Any clarification, recommendations and experience is greatly appreciated. The anecdotal information I have come across in research is older/out of date as this technology appears to be advancing with the advent of newer USB standards and LED advancements.


Online RonK

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 03:08:23 pm »
I use and recommend the Sinewave Beacon
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 05:12:31 pm »
2017 was slightly unusual, in that I don't think any major changes in dyno lights came out.  The best (IMHO) include the Busch & Muller IQ-X and Lumotec IQ Premium Cyo (lovely bright light!).  The B&M Luxos U has a USB port in the light, and the Schmidt Edelux II are in my top 5 dyno lights, as of today.  You can see a bunch of photos at, but it may be cheaper to order them from the various European mail order places.

This topic pops up periodically on the bikeforums electronics forum at

Offline Pavel

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 06:16:26 am »
One has to examine their riding speed and longevity aspirations a bit more than you've described.  Unfortunately, I don't remember where I read about it (It may have been the Thorn Forums in the UK and their focus tends to be on rugged expedition gear,  but I do recall one users experience with the the SP PD-8x. He was happy with the Dyno but disappointed with the longevity and the company made it clear these are not designed to be rebuilt.

One always gets what they pay for, but all too often that last little bit of performance, durability and design smarts come at a steep cost.  What sort of riding do you plan to do?  On road only or off road?  I would consider that because of the speeds reached on good smooth roads tend to be high enough that worrying too much about the Nth degree of efficiency may not be worth extra cost but if you go slow, like I like to, or off road, you may want to look at a more efficient hub.

The absolute most efficient and rugged, designed for year of use and insane mileage is the Schmidt Son 28.  I have one and have had two others over the years.  Where the Son 28 makes a difference is low rolling resistance (though I've never really been able to tell while riding compared to my less efficient Shimano hubs) and they are reputed to be the very best in charging efficiently at low speeds.  They are I believe at full charging capability at 15 kilometers per hour vs 19 for the smaller lighter Son Delux. 

I'm not sure how that compares to my Shimano. I tend to not fret over small differences in performance but charging at slow speed is imprtant to me, since I go slowly and always charge my cache battery, which is in line to the GPS and acts as a buffer so I don't worry about constant shutdowns on the GPS or the iPhone. I like to be able to run the lights at the same time. I do quite a bit of riding at night.  Your needs might be quite different.

What I sort of learned the hard way however is that sometimes little details make a huge difference in use over time.  I've found the hookups to the Shimano, which is the same as on the Precision shutter dyno to be a pain.  In the first place I've already broken one. In the second it's not as elegant to put in clips for two wires and the more breaks in the wire the more likely the problems. Thirdly they are a bit more fiddly to take on an off for wheel swaps or flats repairs and the plastic clips are far less robust compared to the spade connectors.  Since I have several wheels, some light, some heavy - I like to be able to interchange wheels but the different connecting systems make that impossible. I regret not sticking to one over another style.  If I had to start all over again though, I'm not sure which would win out, quality and a small performance gain, or economy. 

The one thing I can say for sure however is that I'll never ever build a wheel without a dyno.  It's just so nice to have.  Good luck.

Oh, one last point.  I save a heck of a lot of money by ordering dymos and light from overseas.  The shipping hurts but not if one waits and buys several items at once.  My next purchase will be to upgrade my Bush & Mueller CYO lights for a couple or Schmidt Edelux II.  My lights are fine but the Edelux has such a nice broad even illumination, somewhat more even and wider than mine are, is metal compared to plastic and even the switch feels better to use.  Life's short. Spend foolishly.  ;)

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 08:08:18 am »
There's a lot of personal preference in this area.

I used dynamo hub on a tour. I wanted to use it in some kind of combination of providing light and charging my phone. It never really fulfilled the mission. I still had to find power outlets to charge things. One pays a high price -- building a wheel, looking for boxes that allow charging devices, getting special this and special that. It's cheaper to buy a USB hub and rechargeable lights, or use good rechargeable batteries (such as Eneloop) combined with a good charger. In my case, I use the same bike, with the same wheel, for commuting and pleasure riding. The hub adds nothing much of the year.

Offline DaveT

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2018, 09:34:05 pm »
"The hub adds nothing much of the year. " Unless you like to ride at night... a dynamo light is always ready when your recreational ride is late getting home or you need to pop down to the pub.

The other thing to consider is that USB lights are almost all in the "bright spotlight" camp. These put a bright spot out in front of you that ruins your vision for anywhere outside the spot (like when you are turning). A quality dynamo light from B&M or SON puts out a beam more like a car headlight with a wide, even illumination. I rode with the former for years, and couldn't believe how much better you can see where you are going with a real light.

I have been using a SONDeluxe Widebody hub with a SON Edelux 2 light for 3+ years and can't recommend the setup enough. The light comes on automatically in low light conditions (like blowing into a tunnel at 30+ MPH on a downhill. It also charges my phone and Garmin InReach SatCom on tour. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for.


Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2018, 11:38:46 pm »
I use an SP dynamo hub with the B&M IQ-X (very nice beam pattern), and a sinewave reactor for USB charging.  I don't use the charging as much as I thought I would.  I just keep two 12,000 mAh battery packs charged as often as possible.  The sinewave does give me piece of mind knowing I will always have a charge source available .

Offline lipsjochem

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 02:31:53 am »
I'm looking into this myself, mostly to give my already-installed dynamo hub another purpose besides lighting up the road at night. For me personally, whenever I'm touring, I carry a head torch (with built-in rear light) anyway. This is the best solution for cycle touring IMO: you can see wherever you're looking, and it's incredibly useful when setting up your tent/cooking etc. late at night as it's hands-free!  :)

However, some kind of small device to build in between the hub and the lights with a USB-out seems like a cheap and effective way to charge a spare USB battery while riding during the day. Something like this, for example. Has anyone ever tried this kind of system?

Offline Jeff_V

Re: Recommendations for dynamo lighting/charging configs
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2018, 11:01:40 am »
Thanks for everybody's input! I ended up getting the B&M Luxos IQ2. Reasons:1.) B&M is a solid manufacturer. 2.) I liked the handlebar mounted control and USB attachments. 3.) After fitting the light and going on some early morning training I was really impressed with the beam pattern and coverage of the light.