A hub dynamo is a small electrical generator built into the hub of a bicycle wheel that is usually used to power lights. Most modern hub dynamos are regulated to 3 watts at 6 volts, although some will drive up to 6 watts at 12 volts.
The market was largely pioneered by Sturmey-Archer with their Dynohub of the 1930s-1970s. This competed effectively with contemporaneous bottle dynamos and bottom-bracket generators, but the Dynohub was heavy with its steel housing and was discontinued in the 1980s. Sturmey-Archer have recently released a new X-FDD which combines a hub dynamo with a 70mm drum brake in a lightweight aluminium alloy housing.
The Schmidt Original Nabendynamo (SON) can power two 6-volt lamps in series at speeds above about 12mph, and Schmidt manufactures lamps designed to facilitate this. These lamps have optics based on the Bisy FL road lights. The efficiency of the SON is quoted by the manufacturers at 65% (so just over 5W of the rider's output is diverted to produce 3W of electrical power) but this applies at only 15 km/h (10mph). At higher speeds the efficiency falls. Automotive alternators, in contrast, achieve efficiencies over 90% by using electromagnets to adjust the field current. Bicycle dynamos instead use permanent magnets to eliminate the need for a battery to excite the field and initiate electrical generation.
Shimano offer a variety of hub dynamos under the "Nexus" brand, such as the DH-3N70/DH-3N71, advertised as having significantly less drag than the Nexus NX-30. Some of the Shimano units come with an automatic light-sensitive switch.Template:Facts
SRAM manufacture the i-Light hub dynamo. The D7 series is available for both rim and disc brakes while the D3 series features several of rim brake varieties. In a 2006 review by the German Stiftung Warentest, the efficiency at 15 km/h of a D1 series i-Light hub dynamo was 66%, 10% better than a SON-28.
SR Suntour offer the DH-CT-630 hub dynamo series with integrated overvoltage protection.
- Vintage Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 3, No. 4 (2005) - "Testing the Efficiency of Generator Hubs"cs:Nábojový alternátor