Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Check Your Batteries

Just a friendly reminder for anyone using battery-powered lights (especially LEDs) to make late-night target practice easier for drivers: If your batteries are rechargeable, charge 'em. If they aren't, think about replacing 'em.

I got a little lazy with my bazillion-LED setup, figuring that with so many lights, who cares if they start to dim? Besides, LEDs will keep cranking out some light, even on weak batteries. So, if I turned on the switch and there was light, lo, it was good.

But something inspired me to slap the whole pile of cells on the charger this weekend, and the result was shocking. I had no idea they'd dimmed that much.

Moral of the story: Top 'em off, and let's be careful out there.


Anonymous said...

the advantage of leds is that they work even when the batteries are dying.

The disadvantage is that they work even when the batteries are dying, and you don't realize that you're much less visible and the lights are only a few hours from being completely dead.

The solution is scheduled maintenance. Figure out what the run time of the batteries are, and plan to recharge/replace them when they are 50% or 75% dead. Put a note on your calendar or palm pilot or whatever.

Also... carry spare batteries, such as alkalines, for those times when you totally forgot to charge the batteries and they died.

the last part of the plan?? Start saving $5 a week towards buying a hub dynamo. :-)

Steve K.
(happy owner of two hub dynamos)

Steve Fuller said...

Too many bikes in the fleet to put hub dynamos on all of them. Lithium ions and LEDs here, with a couple of spare batteries. For the shortness of my commutes, once every two weeks or so seems to work for my batteries. That said, I keep a small two cell lithium in my backpack or handlebar bag for the headlight and a planet bike blinky for a spare taillight.