Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets - Newb needs light help......
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02-12-08, 12:55 AM
OK, I really admire all of the DIY lighting that I have seen, and I think some of the high end setups are nice. My dilema is this. I have searched the forums here as well as cpf, dx, and some of the others and I have come to a conclusion as to what it is that I am looking for. I need lights for my bike. I think a red blinkie for the back will be fine, but what about for the front? I in no way shape form or fashion will be able to spend more money on a front headlight than my whole bike. I am buying a $300 bike and dont want to put a $399 light on it. Catch my drift? I have read a lot about the Fenix lights. when I went to check them out on the website, I noticed that what they really were, basically were flashlights. Well I have a Surefire 6P Original that I really like for the light that it puts out. Would this be suitable for what I need. I will mainly ride on a bike trail and probably only around dusk/dawn and during the day, so I dont really see a need for a train headlight right now, I dont think. But you guys are the pro's, I'm still new to the whole thing. Please chime in if I can use my Surefire and mount it to my bike somehow, or please suggest a reasonable alternative, and by reasonable I mean I am not wanting to spend more than 50 or 60 bucks on a flashlight to mount to my bike. I do like the thought of being able to use the light when off of my bike as well, so lets keep it in the form of a mountable flashlight. I really appreciate all of the advice I have received on this forum. Thanks a bunch.
The surefire would work fine. One caveat (although I'm not a surefire person): IIRC Surefires tend to all run off of the very expensive non-rechargeable Lithium cells. For both your wallet and the environment's sake, it is probably wiser to use a light that runs off of rechargeable batteries. There is one maker of voltage-suppressed (3.6->3.0 V) Li-ion rechargeables for the Surefire, but that's an uncommmon item that you'd have to order online.
If you get a different light, be sure to get a smart battery charger since overcharging batteries kills them. Charging speed isn't all that crucial, and reports have it that the super-rapid chargers (ones that charge a fully-discharged battery in 15 min) reduce battery life.
In terms of mounting, do a search on EMT hangers or something like that around here to find clamps to mount to the bike. I have a vague memory about how bicyclelighting.com had a link to some clamp manufacturer too.
02-12-08, 01:51 AM
Another negative with using the surefire...you'll be burning through lamps really quick if you use the standard p60 lamp, and at $20 a bulb that's gonna add up to the cost of a Fenix quickly. You could buy the p60L lamp assembly for $39 to upgrade your surefire to an 85 lumen led light, but if you're gonna spend that much you might as well buy a 200 lumen Fenix for $60. The fact that you already have a 6P implies you're willing to spend good money for a flashlight (it currently sells for $59 on the Surefire webpage) unless somebody gave it to you or you acquired it free/cheap some other way. The slippery slope of flashaholism strikes again! :)
I remember reading about at least one user here who uses a number of 3W LED flashlights from Dealextreme. They put out less light, but cost less than the Fenix lights. With the lower cost I've heard there are sometimes problems with quality control and such. Shipping also takes a long time since the items ship directly from China. I think I'd rather just spend a little more at Fenix-Store and know I'm going to get a quality light with fast shipping.
But after re-reading your post, it seems like you're going to be doing most of your riding during the day, and maybe you are just looking for a "just in case I'm out too long and it gets dark before I get home" light. In that case the Surefire would be great, since it's lightweight and runs off lithium primaries which have a long shelf life. If you're looking at using it maybe 10 minutes at a time as a "got stuck out in the dark" light the Surefire could work. If you're a commuter or specifically plan on riding at night, spending a little more up front will save money in the long run.
02-12-08, 03:23 AM
LOL, yes Jeff, I acquired the Surefire as a gift, and to be honest, I am not completely sure if it was an LED or a regular halogen light? I really don't know, but I will in a couple of hours when I get home from work.
So what flashlight type light would be the best to buy to do the drop in type mods too and that wouldn't be that expensive?
Have you considered a dynamo lighting kit? There cheap and modern sets are much better than the old vintage ones from years ago. Drag is equivalent to a dry chain or the difference between slick pavement tires and off road tires on pavement. In other words after about 10 minutes you forget the drag is even there. With the dynamo locked in the off position there is no drag at all. The only downside are the type of bulbs used in them. Cheap sets come with bulbs made like flashlight bulbs. There bright but only last a few hours. Lights with halogen bulbs last a hundred or so hours and consequently cost considerably more. New dynamo LED lights last about 50,000 hours and will most likely still be functioning long after your not! They also cost considerably more unless you DIY your own. I've been running a dynamo lighting system for a couple of years now. Never needing to worry about batteries gives you a great sense of freedom!
If the amount of light the Surefire puts out is sufficient for you, then this would be a good bet (and cheap):
if you want more power, this is a big favorite on these boards:
grab one of these to mount it
and you'll need to get some decent rechargeable aa's to run the light. Various big-box stores sell good deals on batts & lights for a reasonable cost.
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