Waterproof Edelux lights?

Waterproof Edelux lights?

Few bicycle headlights are actually waterproof. The Planet Bike headlight in our test wicked water past the headlight lens, and the standlight function stopped working. Busch & Müller’s lights are open at the bottom, so moisture can drain out. This means that you should not mount them in an area where they can be exposed to tire spray.
Schmidt’s Edelux headlights were designed to be waterproof, and for most customers, this claim has held true. In our group of friends, we have used Edelux lights in a Flèche that saw pouring rain for 20 hours straight. In PBP, I rode through 10 hours of thunderstorms with my lights on. None of us had problems with water getting into our lights.
However, a couple of customers report that water is getting into their lights, sometimes repeatedly, so we asked Andreas Oehler of Schmidt Maschinenbau about this. Here is his response:
“We had a few issues of Edelux being not 100% watertight with earlier production models. The water in these cases found its way inside through the internal sealing of the rear light connector. Current-production Edelux have an improved seal there.
“The most problematic situation is a headlamp mounted directly in the water spray from the front tire without a classic mudguard and without the plug of a rear lamp cable inserted. If this kind of use is planned with an older Edelux, we recommend to cover the rear light connector hole with a little piece of Duct tape. If a rear lamp connector is used, it should be isolated with heat shrink tubing and mounted with some bearing grease.
“Users should open the headlamp only as a last resort, because the front glass or the seal around it might get damaged. Noticeable amounts of water inside are a defect that is covered by our 5-year warranty.”
Here are some hints to get the most out of your Edelux (or other light):

  • Mount it in a protected location.
  • Underneath a handlebar bag is ideal, as it also is out of the spray being blown back from the tire at high speed.
  • If you mount your light next to the wheel, use fenders with rolled edges, so no spray exits at the sides. (One case of multiple Edelux failures was on a bike with flat wooden fenders.)
  • If you don’t use the taillight connector, you can cover it with a piece of tape. Or put a dab of grease into the recess.
  • If you use the taillight connector, use heat shrink tubing on the wire, not just to insulate it against the light housing, but also to fill the recess. Then add a little grease to make sure no water pools in the recess.
  • If your light needs to dry out on a tour (where sending it back under warranty is not an option), you can unscrew the lens. Before you do this, mark the top, so you don’t overtighten the lens retaining ring when you reassemble it. Make sure the seals and their mating surfaces do not get contaminated. However, disassembly is only a last resort, and should not be necessary.

For most users, the Edelux has been working flawlessly for many miles. Use the above guidelines to reduce the (already very small) risk of your Edelux suddenly going dark during a ride.

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Comments (11)

  • Andy

    I have a B&M Cyo, center mounted on the front rack, since I worry about it getting banged up on a side mount (and the front didn’t require me to find any new pieces to mount it). I’ve learned the hard way no to wash out your fenders with the bike upside down, as that dumped water right into the vent hole of the light. It did dry out, but there are some visible spots on the lens – though these spots didn’t result in any noticeable difference of light on the road. Being center mounted and having a front fenders that doesn’t extend far enough forward, I took a $1 plastic “for sale” sign and cut it in such a way to make a nice curve around the rear of the light, and it attaches to the same bolt holding the light on. That has worked perfectly, and kept the back of the light dry.

    February 10, 2012 at 7:11 am
  • Brian Ogilvie

    Andy–that’s an elegant solution. My Cyo hasn’t had problems with water, but it does have a dead spider inside; the poor critter crawled in through the drain holes and then couldn’t get out. Fortunately it’s a small spider and doesn’t cast much of a shadow (its corpse is now stuck between the lens and the reflector).

    February 10, 2012 at 9:51 am
    • Rolly

      I also have a centre-mounted Cyo. What a great idea, Andy, to keep it protected – thanks for sharing. I use old stock Esge fenders (found a whole box of them, brand new but without mounting struts and hardware) and I use a rear fender on the front, held in place with struts that I made and some hardware from VO… plenty of coverage. I did an 8 hour trip in the rain, and plenty of shorter trips and commutes, before I switched to using a rear fender for the front and still had no proiblems though. Still, even with the rear-front fender thing, I’ll porobably use Andy’s for sale sign water guard just to be safe.
      I came a hair close to buying an Edulux but chose the Cyo for budget reasons; no regrets but I’d still liove to have an Edulux or Supernova some day, and the Philips looks like a killer light too.
      I wonder how long it’ll take for that spider corpse to become dust?

      February 11, 2012 at 6:26 am
  • Conrad

    I have a Busch Muller Cyo center mounted on the front rack too. I’ve been using it for 2 years in a lot of bad weather, and there have been times while riding that I thought I could see some water sloshing in the periphery of the beam. When I examine the light later on, there is never any water in it. I thought I was imagining it. I didn’t realize there was a drain hole. No problems so far though.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm
    • Andy

      I’ve seen that too, while riding in heavy rain. I stopped to look at the light but no water was inside. I believe it’s just cased from water pooling at the bottom of the outside of the lens, and creates that shadow close up. I haven’t ridden in more than about an hour of rain at a time though, but from that I have never seen water enter the housing other than my upsidedown mistake.

      February 11, 2012 at 6:17 am
  • Stephen

    By the end 2 winters of commuting in wet Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the inside of my first generation Edelux had developed a layer of condensation on the lens. It was mounted on the fork crown with full length Gilles Berthoud mudguards. To my knowledge the bike had never been washed upside down. The function of the light was unaffected.
    On a day I was violently thrown from my bike when a stone caught between the wheel and the fork crown daruma (I was running the bike with unsafe clearances). The lens split. I contacted Schmidt through SJS Cycles who repaired it for free. Neither company charged me a penny, and both were aware it was ‘operator error’. Great customer service supporting a great product. Thanks!

    February 12, 2012 at 12:32 am
  • Joseph E

    I have a B&M Lumotec LED headlight (from 2008 or 2009), similar to this one: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tnaSOGlW_sg/TS9t2_OQpOI/AAAAAAAAJpg/qgThpqom8Nc/s200/b%252Bm+lumotec.jpg
    I’ve ridden in Portland rainstorms multiple times without problems. The only time I had a problem was one day when I left the bike outside in the rain all day, and then hung it up on the hook in a MAX light rail train. The bike hooks have the bike hanging vertically, so some water went back into the electronics instead of draining down thru the vent hole. The light cut in and out intermittently for the next day. Now it works fine, but I take care not to turn the bike upside down or hang it up after a heavy rain.

    February 12, 2012 at 1:20 am
  • DJ

    The article mentions that the newer Edelux’s have improved seals that should protect the light from water getting inside. My question is, how does one know if his Edelux is one of the newly made ones with the improved seals and not the older versions? Is there a way to know from looking at the lamp? Can one know if the new seal looks obviously different from the older one by visual inspection?

    February 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      I compared a current-production Edelux headlight with the “prototype” we got for testing when they first came out. There does not appear to be an easy way of telling the difference externally.

      February 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm
  • Alexander Krauß

    I can affirm the great customer service of Schmidt, the maker of the Edelux. I got a new light since mine (2010 model) broke down (unfortunately at PBP). Inspection by Schmidt revealed that there was moisture inside. It was replaced without charging a penny. I have washed my bike using a hose before, but I dont know the exact reason, I still wonder however, why the problem occured only in the second night of PBP after the bike was on the outside in Loudeac during the big thunderstorm. I can not imagine that the pressure from the rain was big enough to get water into the light of a standing bike. Might the difference in temperature have played a role, the colder body of the light (metal) sucking in moisture? Maybe that explains why lights with a plastic body did not have the problem?

    February 13, 2012 at 3:40 am
  • Jeff

    My Edelux also went bad on the second night of PBP (90 hour start). I was soaked all the way from St. Nicolas du Pelum to Carhaix and, after spending about an hour in Carhaix trying to get myself warm and dry (forget about sleep), I found the light wouldn’t come on. I had taken the precaution of wrapping it in a baggie with the front open (sealed by rubber bands) for better optics. I expected that the light would dry out over the course of a few hours and function again, as this had been my experience on a previous 1200K soaking, but I was stuck using my backup light for the remainder of the ride. The light finally did completely dry out when I got back to Texas and I haven’t had any problems with it since. I can’t help but think that my wrapping the light in a baggie quite possibly trapped water and only made matter worse! I’m going to try duct taping the rear light connection.
    Descending Roc Trevezel in the darkness and drizzling fog was quite an experience with only my backup light (Planet Bike Blaze.) I really missed the considerable comfort that the Edelux provides.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

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