Looking for advice on LED bike lights

Varroa

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Hi Everybody, I am in the process of switching over from all halogen bike lights to all LED bike lights and I wanted everybodies input on which light I should be looking at. First off, I am looking for a helmet light, I already have a handlebar light (Dinotte 5 Watt). The Dinotte provides the a good amount of flood to light up the area infront of me. What I am looking for is a helmet light with a LONG throw to let me see what is coming. I can decide between the PT Switchback 1 (3 watt LED) or the Nitehawk K2 (K2 emitter). Both have good runtimes and look to be build very well. I tried the Nighthawk emitters before (the 1 watt version) and found the spot to be too small. The newer Nitehawk k2 is suppose to have a larger spot (but still small) with a very long throw. From reading the reviews on the web they both get good reviews.

Anybody tried either of these lights yet? Let me know what you think, thanks.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442619909&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692895&bmUID=1177422583790

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442621343&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692895&bmUID=1177422612009
 

Calina

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Hi Shawn,


From everything I've read about Dinotte, they are very good lights but you could build something better and certainly cheaper .

Have a look at this thread, I am sure you'll find something interesting.
 

BentHeadTX

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I use a Fenix L1D CE as a helmet light and it works well. As far as throw, it is decent for the 70 lumens it produces.

If I was going to get another helmet (flash) light, I would look at the Lumapower M3 Transformer with "turbo head" (larger head and reflector) and their upcoming higher output modules with SSC P4 U LEDs. Since I prefer 1AA NiMH, it would look a little odd with the larger head and D mini reflector but it might be what you are looking for. It can also run higher output with 2AA or the single CR123A lithium body.

I'll keep watch for those higher output/higher current Lumapower modules and turbo heads, it might be the thing for a helmet light.
 

yellow

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I would say: Multiemitter Cree/SSCm homemade. You cant get better and cheapter than that.

Else, as a bike light from a respected manufacturer: Lupine Wilma, new SSC model. Nothing comparable here
(except for the better homemade multiemitter)


As a headlamp I tend to disagree with You. Not too bright (not even on par with the bar mounte one) and NO thrower.
You will blind Yourself every time anything gets a bit nearer to You, may it be some kind of obstacle, plant, brush on the side of the way when looking around, ...
 

Varroa

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Thanks everybody for the advice. I have built homemade lights in the past and my current halogen system is homemade but I would rather go with a off the shelf light at this time (I am short on time these days).

I wasn't aware that somebody had started a bike light thread. Last year I was the one that asked CPF to add a bike-light section to the forums but I was shot down :(
 

Varroa

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yellow said:
As a headlamp I tend to disagree with You. Not too bright (not even on par with the bar mounte one) and NO thrower.
You will blind Yourself every time anything gets a bit nearer to You, may it be some kind of obstacle, plant, brush on the side of the way when looking around, ...

Thanks for the advice. I have been riding at night for 10+ years now in both competitions and recreation and this is my personal preference. I have tried your idea and I find that without the long throw you don't have the reaction time needed for high speeds. Just my $0.02 worth however.
 

AndyTiedye

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Varroa said:
I wasn't aware that somebody had started a bike light thread. Last year I was the one that asked CPF to add a bike-light section to the forums but I was shot down :(

I started maintaining a list of bike light threads shortly after that.
When I add a thread to the list, I post a message to the thread with
a link to the list, so you can get from any bike light thread to the list
and from there to any other bike light thread.

I came here looking for a better bike light. I am currently building up
a couple of ktronic's tri-Cree bike light heads.
 

Varroa

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Wow, those lights are nice, how much did hte parts set you back? (am I post-jacking my own thread :sssh:?)

AndyTiedye said:
I started maintaining a list of bike light threads shortly after that.
When I add a thread to the list, I post a message to the thread with
a link to the list, so you can get from any bike light thread to the list
and from there to any other bike light thread.

I came here looking for a better bike light. I am currently building up
a couple of ktronic's tri-Cree bike light heads.
 

Varroa

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Well, I found a deal on a Cateye Doubleshot (2x 3watt LED) and drop the coin to pick one up. Hopefully two 3 watt LEDs give me enough throw for what I am looking for. On a side note, anybody ever try and upgrade the LEDs in one of the doubleshots to something like a CREE? I have a feeling it would be electrically no problem but the refectors might make it not worth it, what does everybody think?
 

datiLED

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Varroa said:
Well, I found a deal on a Cateye Doubleshot (2x 3watt LED) and drop the coin to pick one up. Hopefully two 3 watt LEDs give me enough throw for what I am looking for. On a side note, anybody ever try and upgrade the LEDs in one of the doubleshots to something like a CREE? I have a feeling it would be electrically no problem but the refectors might make it not worth it, what does everybody think?

If you are going to do an upgrade on something like that, I would recommend using a pair of the Seoul Semiconductor P4's that PhotonFanatic is selling. He has some really nice white USWOH emitters that work amazingly well as an 3 W led replacement.
 

Zero_Enigma

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Dinotte contacted a friend of mine about the spotlights. They now have a 6 degree 5W spot that is brighter then the 5W flood. They quoted $155 USD for the li-ion model but they said the run times are about the same with the 4xAA attachment if you pithc the 6 degree spot 5W version. I could not find the info on thier website but my friend got the email from Rob at Dinotte.

Zero_Enigma
 

RustyKnee

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Varroa said:
Well, I found a deal on a Cateye Doubleshot (2x 3watt LED) and drop the coin to pick one up. Hopefully two 3 watt LEDs give me enough throw for what I am looking for. On a side note, anybody ever try and upgrade the LEDs in one of the doubleshots to something like a CREE? I have a feeling it would be electrically no problem but the refectors might make it not worth it, what does everybody think?

The double shot is ok...its quite a narrow beam so good for helmet use. I managed to use it in conjunction with a HID fine, you could see down the trail quite nicely even with the power of the HID. The HID is a fair bit brighter.

I have replaced the lux3 is mine with K2s which brightyened it up a tad. Hoping to mod it to have Seoul P4s. With the standrad controller is should be significantly brighter with a slightly better run time....in theory.

When I do I will try and take some pics of the process and post a thread.

I am not saying its overly dim...it is bright enough when used with a bar light (It doesn't have much flood...not a bad thing...better that a helmet light throws more). I am just greedy....my night vision is not the best :).

Stu
 

Calina

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I'm not sure if the double shot uses a reflector but I know it uses an optic (opticube). If the optic is the only device used to shape the beam maybe a Cree mod would give better results than a Seoul mod since the beam of the Cree LED is not as wide (90 degrees IIRC) and poject more light to the front.

Just a thought.
 

RustyKnee

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Calina said:
I'm not sure if the double shot uses a reflector but I know it uses an optic (opticube). If the optic is the only device used to shape the beam maybe a Cree mod would give better results than a Seoul mod since the beam of the Cree LED is not as wide (90 degrees IIRC) and poject more light to the front.

Just a thought.

Good point, comparing lux 3 against the seoul the radiation pattern is a bit fatter for the seoul.

[Edit]The Cree looks alot narrower than the original lux 3, the Seoul is probably less wide than the Cree is narrow...if that makes sense :) [/EDIT]

Yeah its just an optic. I did think about the Cree, mechanically at least. The Cree is bigger, the Seoul is pretty much the same size as the lux 3. I had to do some dremelling for the K2, with a bit of luck the Seould won't need much at all, if any. I will try the seoul first for that reason. as it easy to revert back.

Stu
 
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Varroa

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I just ordered some Seoul Stars as well and I will see if it is a easy fit when I get my doubleshot.

RustyKnee said:
Good point, comparing lux 3 against the seoul the radiation pattern is a bit fatter for the seoul.

[Edit]The Cree looks alot narrower than the original lux 3, the Seoul is probably less wide than the Cree is narrow...if that makes sense :) [/EDIT]

Yeah its just an optic. I did think about the Cree, mechanically at least. The Cree is bigger, the Seoul is pretty much the same size as the lux 3. I had to do some dremelling for the K2, with a bit of luck the Seould won't need much at all, if any. I will try the seoul first for that reason. as it easy to revert back.

Stu
 

RustyKnee

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hi Varroa

I am reasonably sure a star won't fit. you will need to get the emmiter off or swap to emmiters on your order.

edit its not my fault if your spangly new lights don't work post operation hehe

i'll try to pop the front off mine so you know what the guts look like tonight

stu
 
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Bikecop

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Varroa said:
Well, I found a deal on a Cateye Doubleshot (2x 3watt LED) and drop the coin to pick one up. Hopefully two 3 watt LEDs give me enough throw for what I am looking for. On a side note, anybody ever try and upgrade the LEDs in one of the doubleshots to something like a CREE? I have a feeling it would be electrically no problem but the refectors might make it not worth it, what does everybody think?

If the double shot uses optics, you might consider the Edison opto KCL-8 LED as a replacement. I used one in my blackburn X3 to replace the T-bin luxIII, and it made a very noticeable improvement. The height of the edison is also about the same as the luxeon, so reflectors and optics for the lux work well with the edison. The Edison LED has a noticeable yellow ring when used with a reflector, but it isn't noticeable through an optic.

You can buy the Edison from Ydna in the dealer section.
 
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Varroa

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Thanks for the heads up!



RustyKnee said:
hi Varroa

I am reasonably sure a star won't fit. you will need to get the emmiter off or swap to emmiters on your order.

edit its not my fault if your spangly new lights don't work post operation hehe

i'll try to pop the front off mine so you know what the guts look like tonight

stu
 

RustyKnee

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Varroa said:
Thanks for the heads up!
no probs

I am pretty sure the seoul will fit fine. might need raising a fraction of mm from the light back...about 0.8 mm . juxt so the bubble is properly in the optc. its .8mm shorter than the lux 3 looking at the datasheet. guessing a bit of sheet ally or something underthe emitter slug.

bikecop i'll take a look at the datasheet of the led u suggested.

EDIT Just Checked the data sheets. The Edison is near as damn it the same height as the seoul. the seoul is 0.02mm shorter...a bugs **** different. the ratiation patterns don't look a million miles apart either....so I guess it comes down to what you can get your hands on.

Stu
 
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