How To Install a Dynamo on a Wheel

Don’t skimp on safety and install efficient lighting on your bike! The wheel dynamo is far from obsolete: no battery, no battery to charge. Your lighting is always ready to go. Are you planning to install a bottle dynamo? We explain how to connect it in 5 steps!

Step 1 – equip yourself with the necessary equipment

The first step is a classic: you must first equip yourself with the necessary equipment ! You will need:

A bottle dynamo

The dynamo provides electricity for your bicycle light. Needless to say that it is essential for an autonomous lighting power supply, without battery or battery! Before installing it, check if your frame has a mounting bracket  (see photo below). And if not, you can mount a  dynamo bracket on your bike. It is fixed on the fork or on the stay cable.

Are you about to choose a bicycle dynamo  ? So be careful, there are left and right dynamos. It’s all in the spring: don’t forget that it must be pressed against the sidewall of the tire.

To help you choose between these two models, remember that on a bike where we attach the dynamo to the left side of the bike :

– fixed on the fork (towards the front) : left dynamo
– fixed on the fork (towards the rear) : right dynamo
– fixed on the frame stay (towards the front – photo below) : left dynamo
– fixed on the frame stay (towards the rear) : right dynamo

Explanation: A right dynamo is mounted on the left side of the bike (fork or frame) when placed towards the rear of the tube or fork. Why? Quite simply so that the dynamo is pressed against the tire by the spring.

Note that generally, bike dynamos are installed on the left side of the bike, either on the fork or on the frame stays.

Front and rear lighting

Your bicycle light must be designed for a wheel dynamo power supply . The front and rear lights of your bike can be LED, incandescent bulb or halogen bulb.

Electric cable

The electric wire for fire and dynamo is necessary to supply your lights with electricity. And don’t forget cable ties to keep your cables in place during assembly.

Lugs or connectors

Lugs and connectors ensure the connection of the cables to the dynamo and the lights. Choose a model according to your equipment.

Step 2 – Attach the dynamo and light to the bike

Position the dynamo

Once the equipment has been acquired, start the installation! Start by positioning the bottle dynamo on the frame or on the fork of your bike, as well as the mounting bracket if necessary. A word of advice: do not tighten the dynamo yet. I advise you, in fact, to concentrate first on the assembly of the elements and then to carry out the adjustment, once the assembly is finished.

Fix the bike light

Now place the front and rear lights on your bike. There are different types of fixing. Take a good look at where your lights are attached. Put them in place, and tighten them properly.

Step 3 – Position and connect the electrical wires

Everything is in place, all you have to do is connect your dynamo to your lighting system!

Some good connection advice:

Do not neglect the protection of electric wires against the risk of tearing and against UV rays . Route cables through the frame when possible, use a protective sleeve for sensitive areas, or use a self-adhesive electrical cable. 

Also, use the cable ties to keep the cables in place. Make sure that the electric wires are long enough , especially when turning the handlebars.

For a steel frame: lightly sand the contact areas between the dynamo and the frame. At the very least, a cable is not necessary! Current returns to ground through the frame or mudguards (if metal). A few centimeters of cable may be enough to reach the frame. It is an effective solution for improving the passage of current to ground, in particular at the level of the mounting bracket.

Step 4 – Set up your bottle dynamo

The last step before the test: the adjustment is very important for a good functioning of the lighting , but also to avoid any premature deterioration of your equipment.

Adjust the position on the tire

The dynamo roller is positioned on the sidewall of the tire, neither too high nor too low.

Adjust the orientation of the dynamo axis

The axle should be aligned with the center of the hub. This is important to prevent the roller from rolling askew on the sidewall (premature tire wear). Also important: tighten the dynamo well to prevent it from moving!

Step 5 – All you have to do is test!

Go! Let’s go for the test. Place your bike on your workshop stand or bike rack to see if the lights are working. Position the dynamo against the sidewall and spin the wheel relatively quickly. See if your lighting works on the front and back!

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