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Since it's mostly light here these days, and I don't want to leave my lights on my bike to disappear into someone else's schwag bag, I've been carrying my lights in my bag just in case, but not using them very often. I've started to have problems with them turning on and draining the battery while they've been in my bag. Do you have any ideas how I can prevent this type of problem?

The main light that is causing me problems is a Topeak front light, but that's not the only light. I also have small back lights and one of them has had the a similar problem. In general these lights are great and this doesn't happen very often, but it's sufficient of a pain that I'd rather it never happened.

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http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-whitelite-ii-front-light/

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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Get a box to put them in, remove the batteries or get something else.

The NiteRider UltraFazer 3.0 LED (available at Wiggle) has the lock-out switch to prevent accidental turning ons. This is a relatively rare feature which is crazy given that lights are invariably carried in bags.

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Although that is a new feature to the model. You can send them back for a refund if you get the old model with no quibbling needed.

You should always carry two front (and rear) lights anyway.

As for the back, the basic Cateye and Smart ones seem to survive the bag experience. This is because the switch is placed close to the bracket and is not what gets squashed first. Again, two rear lights, one mounted on your bag is a very good idea.

The Cateye models deserve the IgNobel award for bike lights because you have to hold the switch down for an age of seconds for them to turn off, but for turning them on just a quick dab will do. Then you have to flick through a dozen flashing modes to get something sensible. They should have it the other way round - a three second push to turn them on, straight to the sensible flashing mode and a single push to turn them to full beam and another press to turn them off.

Anyway, the UltraFazer is affordable lighting - not the brightest, but waterproof, good side-lighting and a sensible switch.

Also worth checking at your preferred online retailer are the 'Exposure' range. These have the twist option rather than a switch to turn them on and off. These lights are also available in the better-appointed LBS and, given their price, you may want to look before you buy.

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I'd add only one thing to Matthew's answer: Don't put them in the bag. Ride with them, even though it is light out. There is no downside to having extra visibility on the road, and in many locations it is a legal requirement to have at least the red rear light if you are on publicly traveled roads. Where I live, the white front is also required. –  zenbike Jul 7 '11 at 9:34
    
@Matthew, while I agree that for storage the Cateye power switch seems counter intuitive, it is quite effective when you need light quickly on a dark road. For liability and practical purposes most manufacturers base the switch pattern on the possibility of emergency need, and fumbling for a 4 second delay switch while riding one's bike in the dark is not a way I would choose to go. Of course, I would also turn them on before I started. –  zenbike Jul 7 '11 at 9:37
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Both my rear lights are cateye's, although older models. I agree that their switch positioning is better but one of them has gone flat (once) too. I wonder if I should write to the the manufacturer to suggest the feature since it doesn't sound like I'm alone and it's a feature I'd pay for. –  Colin Newell Jul 7 '11 at 11:40
    
@Colin Newell - Their exclusive UK distributor is zyro.co.uk - I wish you the best of luck, you can add my name to the petition! –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Jul 7 '11 at 12:00
    
I find that a pill bottle (not a hard yellow plastic one, but a soft white one) is easy to cut with scissors and often fits a bike light with some creativity. –  memnoch_proxy Sep 27 '11 at 5:20
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You could take the battery out?

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That is one solution. It's not terribly convenient but I guess I could resort to that. –  Colin Newell Jul 7 '11 at 9:12
    
For multi-cell lights, rather than removing the batteries, take out half the cells (the ones pointing "up" rather than "down", eg) and reverse them (all pointing the same way). –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 7 '11 at 11:48
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On one set of lights, I rolled up some paper, and then fixed the paper roll round the switch. This stop the switch being pressed by anything that was larger than the switch.

My spare set of lights had some thin plastic sheet put at the end of the battery that I removed when I needed to use them. However this is too much effort for lights that are used every day.

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Don't put them in the bag. Ride with them, even though it is light out. There is no downside to having extra visibility on the road, and in many locations it is a legal requirement to have at least the red rear light if you are on publicly traveled roads. Where I live, the white front is also required.

Edit: Decided this was worth an answer on its own.

Of course, as was pointed out to me, this only applies if you're riding the bike. Still need to remove them for anti-theft, etc...

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Does not work when you need to put the lights in a bag while you are walking etc –  Ian Jul 7 '11 at 11:32
    
There is some logic to that but as Ian pointed out that still doesn't solve the major problem. I'm sat here in the office at work right now and I don't want to leave my lights on the bike in town to be stolen or turned on and drained! –  Colin Newell Jul 7 '11 at 11:42
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It takes me 10 minutes to operate the "quick release" on my "removable" headlight so I can remove it -- sometimes I wish someone WOULD steal it. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 7 '11 at 11:45
    
Ah. Colin, sorry I missed the point of your post. I thought you were saying you were just leaving them off because it was light out and didn't need them. The anti-theft bit didn't occur to me because I bring my bike inside the office. I wouldn't trust the bike outside if I couldn't leave the lights on it. I've lost 2 that way. Not everybody has that option though. –  zenbike Jul 7 '11 at 12:33
    
You're half right, I'm not bothering to fit them to my bike so often, but there is the general problem that I can't leave them on my bike anywhere except at home. –  Colin Newell Jul 7 '11 at 14:25
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