When I got back from the UK just after Christmas I set about installing the new Eclipse-8 battery monitor on the Capo. You may remember from a previous post that I fitted a 5mm LED battery monitor from Sparkbright a few month ago and loved it (previous post here). In December Andrew very kindly sent me an Eclipse-8 as a sample so I could evaluate it – thanks again Andrew!
What’s the difference between them? Well firstly, it’s only available as an 8mm or 10mm unit, no 5mm version as yet. Secondly – and this is the kicker – it’s also auto-dimming, changing it’s brightness depending on the prevailing light conditions, without using a separate photo-sensor to do it. Here’s a Sparkbright video of it in action.
So does it work? Short answer – yes, VERY well! I installed it in the same place I’d had the 5mm unit, just drilling the hole a little bigger to accommodate it. The Eclipse-8 has the circuit board attached directly to the LED, so only two wires and no circuit board in the loom to find a home for. The board is very compact and once the LED is inserted into the mounting clip, it is hardly visible. The length of wire supplied was ample to attach to the battery and earth points I chose in the bikes wiring.
The Caponord was bolted back together and fired up, the LED quickly changing from orange to green as the rec/reg did its thing and the voltage rose in the loom. In the strong daylight of the barn the LED glowed brightly, but put a hand over it and it very quickly dropped its output in response. All well and good, but would it be effective when put to use in the real world?
Well I’ve covered about 700 miles through January and early February in all weathers and lighting conditions and the Eclipse-8 has certainly lived up to my expectations. For example, here along the Adriatic, the A14 Autostrada weaves its way along the cost through numerous dimly lit tunnels. Jumping from bright sunlight to twilight and back gives the unit a good workout and each and every time it switches very rapidly – I’m guessing in a few milliseconds, but certainly fast. At night-time the unit operates primarily at it lowest output and is never distracting, sometimes increasing in brightness as I pass under a sequence of street lamps just to let me know it’s still doing its thing!
So are there any downsides? Yes, but not as a result of anything done by Sparkbright. 8mm LED clips it seems are only available in convex and not concave style. Great for increasing the angle of visibility ( not important from the saddle) but also increasing the susceptibility of the LED to being ‘washed-out’ by direct sunlight and becoming difficult to see. As it is, there is a simple partial fix. Drop the LED further down the clip and glue it in place. I dropped the LED so its top was flush with the clip – a couple of millimetres I guess and this has made a world of difference. Now only the most direct sunlight affects readability and I can live with that!
Bottom line, the Eclipse-8 is a simple all-weather battery monitor for day/night use on a motorcycle – no more, no less. And it is doing the job perfectly.
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