Commonly asked questions
Initially copied from the Google/site, but I will add and update here as necessary.
Q: Are you making these lights available for sale?
A: Yes, you can buy the lights directly on the On-Line Store, but subject to availability. Real-time stock status is maintained on the store site. As of May 2015, I have around another 180 taillights to be built and exactly 21 more headlights. All lights will ship configured for 7.4V use, but can be configured differently if needed. Check out the "All Things Batteries" forum for more good information on batteries in general.
Q: How do I pay for these lights?
A: The Volusion store is up and running, so you can check out as normal with secure credit card or PayPal.
Q: Can I try these lights risk-free?
A: Yes. Consider every product you buy from me to be a "Demo" until you decide to keep it. Simply buy the lights that you need, put them through the paces for 30 days and if they're not right for you, and/or they don't seriously exceed your expectations, ship them back for a full refund, no questions asked. If 30 days isn't enough, just let me know.
Q: What kind of quality control do you perform on the lights?
A: Each light is hand built and fully tested prior to shipping. If anything goes wrong due to no fault of your own, I'll fix it for free, period. If ever damaged in a crash, I'll repair it for the cost of parts and shipping (if it's repairable).
Q: Can I run these lights in the rain?
A: Yes, the lights themselves are highly waterproofed and ready to take whatever weather you throw at them. My original batteries were basically waterproofed, but for the future, when you purchase your batteries from any number of 3rd party vendors, there are a lot of options out there, ranging from not waterproofed at all, to completely waterproofed. Think of the battery as a standard consumable that you only have to purchase every 2-3 years.
Q: Does the charger cut off when finished and should I disconnect the battery?
A: Sort of... the charger does actually continue to have a very very small output once the charge light has turned green. No concern if you leave it connected for a day, but in general, you should disconnect the battery from the charger when it's finished. BUILD #2 exception: with Build #2, a balancing circuit was introduced into the battery pack's internal PC board, and you might feel some warmth on the PCB side of the pack toward the end of the charge as the balancing circuit begins to scrub off power as part of the normal balancing. In general, disconnect the charger from the pack sooner rather than later, after the green light as come on, indicating a full charge.
Q: Do I have to disconnect the battery from the light after a ride?
A: No. The light will not drain the battery if still connected but turned off. Standby current requirements are in the micro-amp range. However, if you have disabled Superlock mode, you should disconnect the battery anytime there may be the possibility for an accidental turn-on (handling the lights, transporting bike with lights mounted, etc).
Q: Can I run both lights off of the same battery?
A: Yes, both lights can use the same 7.4V battery (or 11.1V battery), but the battery status indicator can become a bit difficult to interpret in this situation (mainly for build #1). Build #2 has a higher "hysteresis" setting on the controller board, which helps to smooth out the battery status indication, particularly when one light is steady while the other is flashing.
Q: Can I switch from steady mode directly to flashing mode?
A: NO. To switch basic operating modes (steady vs. flash), you must first turn the light off then turn the light back on into the desired mode. Once you're in either of those modes you can change the steady power level or change the particular flash mode (refer to the user's manual to understand the functionality of the power switch.)
Q: Can I use my existing 7.4V li-ion batteries with the DS-500?
A: Yes, absolutely. The DS-500 loves running off of 7.4V or 11.1V, equally well. The only thing required to make the switch between voltage standards is some very simple re-programming of the battery status voltage thresholds on the controller board. This programming can all be accomplished through a series of menu operations using the power switch. The headlight can also be run on 7.4V, (with the caveat that level 5 operation with no air flow will be limited). So in summary, both lights (head/tail) can be run off of 7.4V or 11.1V, but the headlight can also run on 14.8V.
Q: How long do these lights run?
A: That's a complex question to answer, depending on battery capacity, and at what power level and mode the lights are running. There is a fairly comprehensive run-time table in the user's manual on the on-line store. With an inexpensive 4400mAH, 7.4V pack, you can get roughly 10+ hours of flashing in the highest power mode from the taillight.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about Li-ion batteries?
A: Yes! Read the battery section in the taillight user's manual, but the basics things to know are: Avoid excessive heat. Know that temperatures below freezing will reduce run times. Never store the battery for extended times at full charge; half charged is ideal. There is no "memory" effect. Charge whenever you like, but do it at room temp. Li-ion batteries can endure many hundreds of charge cycles, but their life cycle is also on a timer. From the moment they leave the factory, the clock is ticking. Don't expect that because you haven't used them in a year that they are still in the same condition they were a year ago.
Q: How hot do the lights get?
A: These lights were designed specifically for bicycling applications (or other moving platforms), where some amount of airflow is available to help get the heat out of the case. Stationary operation is possible for short amounts of time (<4 min) at the highest possible power level before the thermal protection circuit kicks in and throttles back to a manageable power level for stationary operation. All that to say, these lights will get very warm to the touch when sitting still which is completely normal. While riding, even at the highest power level in steady mode operation, the light body should just be warm to the touch.
Q: How bright are these lights?
A: Bright enough to cause permanent eye damage if you look directly at them from short range for any length of time, so be VERY careful. These lights are NOT toys and should never be used by young children if the light is dismounted from the bike. That said, however, my 11-yr old is capable of using it safely without issue. (Here comes the disclaimer...) With the amount of actual lumens coming out of these lights, it's ultimately up to you to use them appropriately for the riding conditions that you find yourself in. At night, they must be turned down to lower power levels (level 3 or lower), or you seriously risk having a blinding effect on motorists.
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