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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 3:24 pm   #1
Hybrid tellies
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Default Ever Ready Torch

I have owned this old 1960’s bicycle lamp from new.

I was rather impressed with the one my brother owned so I bought this one for myself well before I could ride a push bike. It had heavy use just as a torch, especially during the long dark winter evenings, taking the dogs out for a walk along the coastal path often walking straight into the teeth of a southerly gale with horizontal rain and sea spray.

At other times it would be used for just going out to play or going on errands as our village only had a few street lights which were well spaced apart. This part of the world also suffered power cuts which would often last for hours so this lamp would have sometimes been used to find your way around the cottage.

The other main and very important use was for reading in bed long after bedtime and not being found out.

When I eventually did get to ride a bike it was then pushed into service as my front headlight on my Raleigh Chopper bike and saw heavy use in all weathers and survived quite a few hair raising crashes. Even when it was used just as a torch it was often dropped bashed and kicked but each time you use to pick up the pieces put it back together and it always worked. The only thing that nearly let it down were the plastic parts of the switch which at some time I repaired by welding the parts back together using a soldering iron. I must have stank the house out when I did this.
I had other torches over the years but they all succumbed very quickly to natural wear and tear, faulty switches, battery leakage etc, this being the only torch that has survived. I put this down to its robust construction with its solid metal case but am surprised the glass lens did n’t break or crack.

I used this lamp for as long as possible until the batteries were no longer available then it got put to one side.
A few days ago whilst not feeling to well and being involved in a rather challenging repair that I was doing for a friend I had one of those God inspired moments and realised that there was a simple way of getting it going. So a trip to Maplins for a 2 x C battery holder and a trip to Bath for an MES 2.2V pre focused torch bulb the repair/restoration was soon underway. I soldered one lead from the battery holder to the centre tip of the bulb and the other lead to the on-off switch. I fitted the battery holder into the case using some packing materials to make the fitting snug and of course it worked. Using alcohol cleaner and a small screw driver I carefully cleaned the switch contacts and it is now working as good as new.

An interesting point about polarity arose, of course it will work whatever the polarity, but as the metal case is part of the circuit I remembered being told that positive earthed cars rusted more quickly than negative earthed cars so with this in mind I soldered the positive lead to the bulb and negative lead to the switch. Last night I ran some tests in a darkened room and out in the garden and it compared well with the more modern Krypton, Halogen and LED torches and the softer white illumination from the incandescent bulb is very kind on the eyes.

I could clean and repaint the case and try and clear some of the rust and corrosion from inside the case but I think it would lose some of its authenticity, so I think I will leave well alone and just be happy that this important relic from my childhood now works.
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 4:21 pm   #2
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Nice to see it still in use! I have the later plastic cased Ever Ready 'Frontguard' and 'Rearguard II' on my 'town bike' (a 1973 Raleigh Wayfarer) where modern lights would not look right. I have upgraded them with LED bulbs though, there is a pre-focus drop-in replacement version available now with 3W output so I can see and definitely be seen!

I wouldn't paint yours, the 'patina of age' gives it great appeal and if it could talk I'm sure it could tell a few stories!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 4:24 pm   #3
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Nice job!

I had several of these 'Ever-Ready' bicycle lamps, which I also used as torches, although mine all got chucked out after breaking, failing, etc...

I also recall they were made in black as well as grey.

'Pifco' produced a similarly-syled bicycle lamp, but was chromed with a larger reflector and a slide-switch instead of the sturdy turn-key 'Ever-Ready' version; rather vulgar and brash, in my opinion, as were many 'Pifco' products with respect to 'Ever-Ready'.

The 'Pifco' was 'Empire Made' (i.e: Hong-Kong) whilst the 'Ever-Ready' was a British product.

Thanks for re-kindling old memories!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 4:27 pm   #4
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

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Originally Posted by Jonster View Post
Nice to see it still in use! I have the later plastic cased Ever Ready 'Frontguard'
Oh, I still have one of those in the shed! Must dig it out... I also have a 'Miller' bicycle dynamo set: chrome front and rear lamps, bottle dynamo 6V, purchased about ten years ago but exactly how they were when I was a kid in the 1960s.

Made in India!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 4:37 pm   #5
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

At the risk of going OT, my town bike also has a Sturmey-Archer front 'DynoHub' powering the original front SA lamp that again has been modified to take an LED. But that's another story!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 5:37 pm   #6
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Nice job Simon. I too had one identical but once I moved out from the family home, Lord only knows where it went!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 11:29 pm   #7
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

I remember those cycle lamps, with the double battery with brass strip contacts; specifically, using one to explore a friend's under-stairs cupboard!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 11:44 pm   #8
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

AFAIK the cells in the old battery (the 800) are the same size as the cells in a Lantern Battery (996), so if you're really keen you can manufacture a drop in replacement with some card and a couple of bits of brass strip.

I believe for a while there was a purpose designed adaptor made to drop in two D cells (U2 in old Ever Ready) but I've never actually seen one. It might be possible to modify a two cell D holder to suit.

The cycle lamp I preferred was similar but with a simple screw down contact onto the top strip of the battery. This really had nothing to go wrong, not even switch contacts.

I reckon the old ones were just too reliable to be a regular earner, I'm sure the switch mechanisms on all the later replacements were carefully designed to wear out after a year or two of constant use. There was much ado about better beam patterns etc from the new plastic lenses and prefocus bulbs, but there is no technical reason why the same lens treatment couldn't have been applied to the old style lamps which were easy enough to focus anyway..
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 12:15 am   #9
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

I remember seeing the Ever-Ready adaptors on sale in my local cycle shop, but didn't need to buy one as by then I had got a dynamo. I think that the old style batteries continued to be available from Ray-O-Vac for a while after Ever-Ready stopped doing them.

My cousin had one of the chromium Pifco lamps with the large reflector. I seem to remember that the reflector had a shallow hood fitted with a plastic prism intercepting the upper edge of the beam so that the rider could see if the lamp was lit or not.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 2:01 am   #10
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

That was it -- a #800 battery. Couldn't think of the number. #8 was the othet 3V one, like 1.5 C cells.

I've seen convertors to fit two D cells in place of a #800. Should I ever acquire another of these lamps, I'll probably make up one of my own, with a pair of NiMH rechargeables.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 10:30 am   #11
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

I once used one of those lamps for a sort of fibre-less fiber-optic link for a school open day when I was doing my A-levels. Must have been in the late 1960s.

The transmitter was one of those lamps with the top removed and the output of a valve amp clipped between the top battery contact and the lamp casing. The bulb (via the battery) provided the load on the amp, and the secondary of the output transformer provided the DC path for the lamp "bias". The receiver was based on an OC71 with the paint scraped off (much cheaper then an OCP71) with a 3" lens in front of it. The setup worked down the length of the blacked out physics lab (other folk had other optical demos involving prisms, etc) - probably 30 feet or so.

Programme material was provided by a reel-to-reel tape recorder at one end played via the optical link to the speaker at the other end. It worked best with the modulation set to hardly cause a visible flicker to the bulb brightness. Parents were duly impressed that they could affect the audio by moving their hand through the beam, but I don't think it could have been called "hi-tech" even in the 1960s!

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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 12:35 pm   #12
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonster View Post
At the risk of going OT, my town bike also has a Sturmey-Archer front 'DynoHub' powering the original front SA lamp that again has been modified to take an LED. But that's another story!
Have you arranged for the LED to light on both halves of the cycle?!
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 4:09 pm   #13
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

I remembered that I had a couple of bicycle lamps that I got, of all places, in a camping store when I lived in Montreal. They use "U" type batteries, now "D" Cells. There is a manufacturers name on them and were made in Hong Kong.

As you can see I had to modify the switch on one of them, and they came with both clear glass and red glass, one for the front and one for the rear. I used them on my Raleigh folding bicycles for years
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 6:15 pm   #14
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Have you arranged for the LED to light on both halves of the cycle?!
Yes, I have full wave rectified the AC using a bridge (made from Schottky diodes to reduce volt drop), and smoothed it with 2200uF to stop the flicker.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 7:55 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

You might squeeze a bit more juice out of the dynohub (only good for about 1.5W ISTR- 6V 200mA front and 6V 40mA rear) with a synchronous rectifier using mosfets. Even a schottky bridge must be losing about 400mV or so.
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Old 4th Oct 2012, 1:28 pm   #16
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

I have always been intrigued by transmitting audio over a light beam. When I can no longer buy the MES torch bulb I shall be on the lookout for an MES LED replacement. I was tempted to use D cell batteries but they will not fit with the holder. My brother had the same bike lamp, in blue, he fitted that adapter enabling it to run off two D cell batteries instead of the 800 type.
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Old 4th Oct 2012, 2:13 pm   #17
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Quote:
You might squeeze a bit more juice out of the dynohub
Another way is to tune out the inductive reactance with a series capacitor. Obviously this only works over a limited range of speed. But with a modern microcontroller...
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Old 4th Oct 2012, 4:33 pm   #18
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Default Re: Ever Ready Torch

Very tempted to commit a sin of this industry/interest and aquire one of these. sort out the cosmetic side of it, then polish the reflector and modify the housing to accept an LED light fitting....
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Old 4th Oct 2012, 5:41 pm   #19
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It seems pretty commonplace on the non-TV sections of the Forum. I still get a shock occasionally.

It's as if the old TV people are trying to keep the old technology going, and the rest are either busily 'improving' or 'modernizing' old junk, or laughing about how stupid and dangerous it was in the first place.
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Old 4th Oct 2012, 10:43 pm   #20
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... I also recall they were made in black as well as grey...
They were also made in red - for the Royal Mail.
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