Battery-free lights use eddy currents for power

I’m a sucker for high-tech lighting solutions so I spent some time studying the new Magnic Lights out of Germany. Ironically, these lights are illegal in that country. Doh!

I don’t see that they’re readily available after a Kickstarter campaign. You never know how those are going to pan out.

These lights promise battery-free, non-resisting energy generated by the moving rim. Strong batteries are required to generate an eddy current.

They don’t say how much resistance is created but I can’t imagine it’s much, and it doesn’t take lots of power to drive an LED light.

I don’t ride at night anymore, so I’m not highly motivated to own one, but it looks like promising technology.

Here’s another similar product, Reelight, with traditional dynamo-magnet technology. It’s clunkier, but available now.

2 Responses to “Battery-free lights use eddy currents for power”

  1. Grego Says:

    The first gen Magnic lights (from ~2013) are very good, especially the taillights. As there’s no ‘off’ switch, Magnics serve as daytime running lights as well. Resistance is very minimal (can barely be felt when spinning the wheel by hand); the units are small, well-engineered, not too heavy. The third gen are going to be even better. (I don’t have any of their second-gen lights.) They’ve been funded, are under development and are planned to be released this summer. I’ve been waiting through several kickstarter-style delays, but they’re coming soon…

  2. Thomas Maslen Says:

    I wasn’t game to sign up for the first gen, but after hearing a positive review from a rider at the end of a SF Randonneurs 600k (he rode it, I didn’t), I signed up for the second gen. Both the second and now the third gen have taken much, much (much) longer than originally claimed, but when I finally received the second gen it was a fine piece of German design and engineering (using some Chinese fabrication) and I have been quite happy with them — I think the main contributor to the schedule slippage is that the guy is a perfectionist. The second generation (“Magnic Light iC”) added a capacitor (“standlight”) so the lights remain on after I stop at e.g. a traffic light, whereas IIRC the first gen didn’t have that.

    The second gen was good but I don’t think that it could ever become a mass-market item: you have to adjust the installation fairly carefully so that the Magnic Light is close enough to the rim for it to do its magic but far enough away that it won’t often rub. I’m looking forward to the third generation (“Magnic Microlight”) because, c.f. the first and second, they mount in a different way (integrated into the brake shoe) and so I expect that adjustment should be less finicky. (On the other hand, I believe that for the third gen the taillights will include the “standlight” — good — but the headlights will not. Mine not to reason why).

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