Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Of Glass

I knew it was the BAFTAs last weekend. Not because I read it anywhere, but because they'd blocked off Bow Street to build a massive lighting rig for the red carpet.

I love seeing what's going on at street level as I amble through the centre of the universe every morning. On the bridges and near railway stations, increasing numbers of Boris Bikes are ridden by fellas wearing suits and wool coats. In Covent Garden it's the morning after the night before: Brakes are delivering boil-in-a-bag food, and Coe Vintners are replenishing the booze supplies. Someone from Addison Lee is driving his MPV shockingly badly past some rather dazed-looking people in Soho who maybe, just maybe, are still partying.

And then there's the building works. The roadworks in Dean Street - gone today, hurrah! - were there because there's a cave underneath the road full of BT equipment.. which had collapsed. The top end of Tottenham Court Road is completely closed off at the moment as they build the new Crossrail station.

But this is the Daddy, going up near London Bridge:

The Shard of Glass, from Southwark St in Borough

Get up close and the sheer bulk of it is overwhelming; a monster! I can see it from home in Bermondsey, and I wouldn't be surprised if, once it's finished, I can see if from Baker Street as well. Recently in The Sun the crane driver who works at the top recounted how, one day, he was above the clouds, and the only other thing he could see was the top of the tower at Canary Wharf. Geometric leviathans flashing their red eyes at each other over our heads.

Love it or loathe it - and I'm in the former camp, I think - the Shard will be talked about for years, and it's a privilege to watch a landmark slowly emerging from the grubby streets behind the train station. I can't wait to go up inside it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not very bright

To: info@reelight.com


I think your lights are a genius idea. I commute 15km a day across central London, so I have bought an SL520 front and SL620 rear for my commuting bike. It's great to have no more dead batteries - or detachable lights dropped in the Thames!

The first thing I noticed about the lights was the very brief flash. Of course they need to be very frugal with power, especially when running on the capacitor, so I understand that - and the eye does retain the image even after the LED has actually stopped.

I also noticed that the front loses its capacitor reserve quicker. I assume that is by design because the back light is more important at a junction.

But even when the capacitor is fully charged and I am going quite fast, the light does not either stay on longer or get brighter. The front, at least, just flashes quicker - too quickly, I think (isn't there a legal limit of 4Hz?). I can't see the back light when I'm moving but I assume it does the same.

I've set them up carefully and there seems to be plenty of power available - the capacitors start to charge just from me pushing the bike to the gate! - so it seems a shame that they don't use it more intelligently by doing brighter, longer flashes (rather than more frequent flashes) once the capacitor is fully charged, perhaps reverting to the short flashes at 1Hz when running from the capacitor.

So I think they're wonderful but not as bright as they could be - and I wonder if I'm missing something?




Thank you for your interesting feedback. We value feedback from users of our products vey much. First of all I'm sorry for the late reply we have been away travelling.

A little feedback on your comments and questions:

- you are right about the limited current resulting in brief flashes. We are currently working on developing our generator concept to enable us to provide a higher output. This should result in flashing products with longer and brighter flashes and steady light with an actual light cone on the road.

- the difference in capacitor reserve is actually mainly due to variations in physical setup. The lights are programmed with the same software.

- the back-up light automatically stops after 2 minutes. This is to avoid the light flashing for ½ an hour after you have parked. Also this serves further reserve when you stop soon after and haven't had time to fully recharge the capacitor.

- When the reserve starts reaching the capacitor limit the light increases the flashing frequency and the flash length - and can actually increase up to constant if ridding fast enough.

I agree and have noted your input about doing brighter and longer flashes rather than more frequent flashes. This requires more advanced software programming than in the current lights. I expect that we will implement a better solution like this in future lights along with improved generators. And by the way I can tell from you comments that you have been very careful with the setup of our lights - resulting in plenty of power. Not everybody is as careful as you.

Again thank you for the feedback - happy safe ridding!

Best regards / Med venlig hilsen

Steffen Buck-Hansen
Research & Development manager

Reelight ApS.
Hasselager Centervej 11, 1.
DK-8260 Viby J. Denmark
T: +45 86 74 24 90 / D: +45 89 38 61 06