frequently asked questions
September 2020. Support available via the contact page
choosing a light
Can I buy a new light?
No, the Solidlights XB2 and other lights are no longer available for sale.
Can I get my light upgraded to XB2 standard?
The factory upgrade program is no longer available. However, the 'technical tips' section below describes what the upgrade consists of. In addition, an upgrade for your light to use Cree XP-G2 LEDs is possible, under part number 99002.
Will a 1203D, 1203DR or XB2 work with my dynamo?
The 1203D, 1203DR and XB2 will work with Schmidt, Shimano and modern Sturmey Archer hub dynamos. They may also work with SRAM hub dynamos but have not been tested with them.
Even though the dynamo is rated at 6 volts, 3 watts, the special electronics in Solidlights can extract more power from it. This does not pose any risk to the dynamo.
They will not work with any bottle dynamos at the moment.
Can I use a Solidlights dynamo light on more than one bike?
Yes, you can. Just order another handlebar bracket and the right connecting cable for the other bike's dynamo and you'll be able to swap the light between more than one bike, even if they have different types of dynamo hub.
How long are the wires on a Solidlights dynamo light?
The cables included with 1203D sets are 1m long to the dynamo. They're the same length in both handlebar and fork crown versions. Some cable ties are supplied so that you can wrap up any spare cable neatly and securely.
Which rear light should I use with my 1203DR?
The 1203DR should work with any standard dynamo rear light rated at 6V 0.6W. We use a 1203DR with a Busch and Muller DToplight Plus and it works very well.
Does using a rear light with a 1203DR reduce the power of the front light?
Although the rear light draws a little power from the dynamo, the difference in the brightness of the front light is hard to discern with the naked eye and almost impossible to see when riding, so there's no need to be concerned about it.
Can I use my 1203DR with a Shimano hub dynamo?
Yes! But there's a catch.
The electronics in the 1203DR provide a constant, smooth supply to the rear light regardless of the variations in power coming from the dynamo. To do this the connections to the dynamo and the rear light need to be kept completely separate.
Shimano hub dynamos have one wire connected to the bike frame, as do the majority of dynamo rear lights. This creates a short-circuit which confuses the electronics in the 1203DR and results in a dim, flickering light.
It's easy to work round this problem with a simple modification to the rear light, shown in this document. However, because this modification is required, we don't sell the 1203DR for Shimano dynamos as standard.
If you are prepared to do this modification and would like a 1203DR to use with your Shimano hub dynamo, please contact us and we'll happily sell you one. The kits (part number 40044 with handlebar bracket, 40055 with fork crown bracket adapter) are the same prices as the Schmidt versions.
What sort of bracket should I use for fork crown mounting?
Versions of the 1203D and 1203DR designed for fork crown mounting are not supplied with the fork crown mounting bracket itself. This is because there are a wide variety of different brackets suitable for different bikes, different brakes, and different positions. A selection of different light mounting brackets are available from most bike shops.
However, we've had good results with the Thorn alloy headlamp bracket from St John Street Cycles. It's a good match for Solidlights in both fit and robustness. Note: we have no connection with St John Street Cycles except as satisfied customers.
My light's not working! What do I do?
Firstly, check all the obvious things: wiring for dynamo lights, battery charge for battery lights, connectors firmly attached, and that the light is switched on. The 1103 and 1303 need the button to be held down for a second or so to switch on. If there are no problems with any of this, there may be a fault with the light. Contact us and we'll do what we can to help. If your light needs repair, we can do that too: look at the support page for more information.
Can I shorten the wiring to my 1203D?
Yes, you can. It won't invalidate your warranty, but please take care that all connections are clean and firm to avoid unreliability.
Is it OK to use the 1203DR without a rear light connected?
Yes. The electronics in the 1203DR automatically redirect the available power to the front light if there's no rear light connected.
There's condensation inside my light! What should I do?
Although we take great care to keep the weather out of Solidlights, sometimes after prolonged use in the rain a little moisture can creep in as the light cools down. No damage will be done as long as the light is allowed to dry.
Simply unscrew the four side screws holding on the side panel with the Solidlights logo on it and pull off the panel. Leave the light in a warm place such as an airing cupboard for a a few hours and it will dry naturally. Reassemble it being careful to get the seal in place and avoid overtightening the screws.
We've made various improvements to the seals on Solidlights over the years, most notably longer fixing screws and an improved material for the 'o' rings. If you think your light could benefit from upgraded seals, contact us and we'll work out what's best for your light.
What sort of LEDs do Solidlights use?
The first generation of Solidlights products (1103, 1203D/DR, 1303) use Lumileds Luxeon III LEDs. For the technically-minded, we used brightness bin 'T', which means 67.2 to 87.4 lumens per LED under test conditions. See Lumileds data sheet AB21 for more information.
The Solidlights XB2 uses Seoul Semiconductor P4 LEDs. We specify the brightest type, bin code 'U'.
I want to make my own cables. What sort of connectors do you use and how are they wired?
Solidlights use the Binder '710' series of locking connectors, which are available from various electronics distributors including RS and Farnell in the UK. They are wired like this:
2-pin connectors (1203D)
- (blue wire) dynamo or battery
- (red wire) dynamo or battery
3-pin connectors (1103 and 1303)
- (blue wire) battery negative
- (red wire) battery positive
- (green wire) remote control/programming data - ignore this one if you're just connecting up a battery
4-pin connectors (1203DR)
- (blue wire) dynamo or battery
- (red wire) dynamo or battery
- (green wire) rear light negative
- (yellow wire) rear light positive
Note that the 1203D and 1203DR don't care which way round a battery is connected.
I want to use my own battery. What voltages are OK?
What does the XB2 upgrade consist of?
There are several parts to an XB2 upgrade. Some of these may or may not be necessary depending on the age of the 1203D being upgraded.
Firstly, the optical components get upgraded:
- the LEDs are replaced with Seoul Semiconductor P4 stars, type W42182-U
- the lens holders are replaced with Carclo Optics type 10036
- the lenses are replaced with Carclo Optics type 10193
Next, the electronics are checked and upgraded to the latest specification where necessary. This is mostly to improve their performance under adverse conditions: extremes of temperature and moisture, particularly.
The case seals are also upgraded:
- The top and bottom foam seals on the front window are replaced with silicone rubber tubing, which involves removing 1mm from the height of the window to allow sufficient clearance.
- If necessary, the case fixing screws are replaced with 3/4" long ones, and the o-rings with Viton ones which are resistant to sunlight and contaminants.
- The neoprene side panel gaskets are left in place unless they have been damaged by oil and grease.
Finally, the light is thoroughly checked and tested and any worn brackets, cables or connectors repaired or replaced.
Please bear in mind that this service is no longer available from Solidlights and this description is provided for information only. Solidlights cannot supply the individual parts at present, nor can we advise on suppliers.
sales and export
Can you do tax-free sales for export?
Yes. For sales outside the EU we can remove the 20% UK VAT from the prices of lights and accessories. We still have to charge VAT on shipping, but the overall saving is worthwhile. Please bear in mind that taxes may be due when your order enters your country. Contact us if you would like to place an order for export.