Inolight Without a Taillight
When I began selling the Inolight headlights, I understood that they could be used for riding at any speed without a taillight when powered by a hub dynamo, such as the Schmidt SON. I have now learned that this is not correct. If you are using a hub dynamo, and if your speed exceeds 35 miles per hour, and if you do not have a taillight attached, one of the diodes on the circuit board inside the Inolight will overheat. It will get hot enough to melt the solder connecting it to the circuit board and fall off of the board. The light will no longer work, and when you shake it, you will hear a rattling sound as the diode moves inside the headlight.
The beam of the Inolight isn't suitable for riding at speeds over 30mph. It's just not bright enough so at high speeds you don't have enough time to react to something in the road. When the engineers at Inoled tested the light, they never tested it at very high speeds without a taillight attached. In Germany, everyone is required to use a taillight, and the easiest way to have a taillight is to wire it to the headlight. That's how German lighting systems are designed. So since just about everyone in Germany has a taillight attached, Inoled didn't get any reports of failures there, since there weren't any. And in the US, where riders often just use battery taillights, most people don't ride fast enough at night to overload that diode even without a taillight wired to the Inolight. I've always advised people to use a headlight other than the Inolight if they will be riding fast down hills.
Because of this, the few reports we received of failing lights never got properly reported to Inoled in Germany. The fact that our light failures were happening to lights without taillights attached was never taken into account. I would send a light back to Germany, they would assume it was being used with a wired taillight, and they were baffled as to the cause of the failure. It just didn't make any sense. Compounding the problem was the fact that nobody at Inoled is very fluent in English, and I speak no German.
So at this point we have some people who have sent us back Inoled headlights which failed due to overheating and we have replaced them. However, we haven't really solved the problem. If they ride fast enough with their light on, it will overheat, stop working and they'll need another replacement. Hopefully they won't crash in the mean time. The real solution is to set up the Inolight in such a way that it won't fail. And of course there's another solution. People who have purchased an Inolight can return it for a refund, or they can choose another type of light to use with their dynamo. And to be clear, this is a problem with hub dynamos only. With a battery, or a six volt sidewall dynamo, there's no problem. I'm still gathering data so it's too early to tell if using an Inolight without a taillight when powered by a 12 volt sidewall dynamo would be a problem. As far as I know, nobody in the US or Canada is using that combination.
There are ways to set up an Inolight 10+ or 20+ that ensure the circuitry will not overheat. Here's a list.
(1) You can use a wired taillight.
(2) You can use two Inolights wired in parallel to the hub dynamo. (2 Inolight 10+, 2 Inolight 20+, or 1 Inolight 10+ and 1 Inolight 20+)
(3) Never ride at speeds over 35mph. If you live where the land is flat and never go flying downhill, your Inolight will never overheat, even if you have no taillight wired to it. So if that's the case, you might consider doing nothing. But this could be problematic since you may forget about the issue, and when you get that invite to go riding in Vermont, well, you could have your headlight fail. But if you know for certain that you'll never ride over 35mph, the light will be OK.
Once you have two Inolights, you also have the option of having a taillight attached to either one or both Inolights. So you could have two Inolights with a fender mounted B&M Seculite Plus, and a rear rack mounted B&M DToplight Plus, or any other wired six volt taillights. All four lights, two headlights and two taillights will work very nicely with no problems. And the drag is not high at all, just slightly higher than when using a single headlight and tailight. That's because the electrical efficiency of the entire system goes up with the second headlight attached. Less of your energy is dissipated as heat, and more as light.
Many people will not want a second headlight. And some will not want a wired taillight. Others will object to having to buy additional lights to make a system work which ought to have worked as advertised. I understand this completely, and I will not require anyone to pay more money than they already have to keep their system working. So, anyone who bought an Inolight headlight prior to April 5, 2007 and didn't buy a taillight with it, can receive a suitable taillight at no charge, not even shipping, along with any B&M bracket and wiring that may be needed. If you prefer to solve the problem by using two headlights, I'll sell you a second Inolight, either the 10+ or the 20+ at a 40% discount. And if you would rather just have a different headlight, such as a Busch & Müller or a Schmidt E6, I'll give you full credit on your purchase price of the Inolight towards a replacement headlight from us. And you can also just return the Inolight for a full refund if you want to use some other light that I don't sell. This return option is only for the Inolights, not for any dynohub or dynohub wheel you purchased to power it. It also applies to Inolights you bought from another dealer in the US or Canada, provided that dealer purchased the Inolight from Peter White Cycles since I'm the importer. You'll need to provide a receipt if you didn't purchase the Inolight directly from us. We have your record if you did purchase it directly from us. We will also pay the shipping costs. The offer of buying the second Inolight at a discount does not apply if you bought your Inolight with a taillight. The purpose of this offer is to make sure everyone who bought an Inolight has a safe light for their type of riding at the lowest cost possible, not to give folks a great deal on a headlight.
Please call and ask for me, Peter, if you have any questions about this and if you want to work out a solution to this problem on your bike. I apologize for the inconvenience this will cause people. It's not my intent to make people jump through hoops to get their bicycle lights to work. And I'll do the best I can to make sure your lights are safe and reliable.
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This page updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Peter White Cycles