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  1. #1
    Scoop
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    LED Technology and the Dinotte 500L

    After some resistance over the price, I recently purchased the new Dinotte 500L. Before I start let me say I'm cheap and rarely buy into the cutting edge of technology. There are risks, such as premium pricing to support development costs and possible issues with product reliability, so it is better to wait a bit before embracing something new. But this time I needed a new light to replace my ailing Cygolite, which started working erratically in its second winter season. I commute yearround now and I'm doing a 24 hour mountain bike race this summer, so I had to buy something and I wanted a bright light to cover both uses (I also recently purchased a 3W Black Diamond headlamp for night skiing, so was intrigued by the new power of LED technology). I've had it out on a handful of test rides now and here are some initial reactions:

    - It's clear to me LED technology has surpassed halogen and HID lights. The new Dinotte setup, while expensive now, offers a bright light with great coverage, versatile lighting adjustability, light batteries and decent runtimes. If it also proves durable, then a light like this is to me much more desirable than a HID. Some HIDs may be brighter but the overall cost coupled with bulb replacement costs is a showstopper. There are mighty good halogen options out there for half this price, but the light power, quality and battey runtimes all offset against going halogen.

    - Unlike my old light, this product throws a broad beam that lights up what is in front of me and throws light out diagonally, lighting up the distance of turns. I'm impressed with the beam pattern for use both on and off road. In fact, I think I can use this light alone for night trail riding - even the race - but am doing some more testing on this front. (I do plan to attach the 3W spotlight mentioned above to my helmet for use in clutch situations, but I don't think I need anything more).

    - The light is well-designed for commuting. I really like the flashing mode because it will deliver flashing bursts of light for dusk/dawn riding. The light also has three power settings, so you can set it to the conditions. Full power is more than enough for any road riding and may not be necessary in many conditions.

    - The light comes with everything one needs for both road and off-road use. Mounts for bars and helmet and 2 batteries, which is enough to get through a team 24 hour race without visiting a charging station. The batteries are also light enough that one can carry them both while commuting, so there's a backup power source at all times. Or conversely one battery can be charged while the other is in use if you are forgetful like me.
    It's not just a place, it's a state of mind

  2. #2
    eternalvoyage
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    Thanks for the review. I would be interested in hearing any other experiences or observations.

    ***
    LEDs do seem like the way to go. There are so many options, it can be hard to sort them all out. The LED bike lights at princetontec.com look good to me.

    There are probably some other good LED lights out there that I haven't even seen yet. If anyone knows of others that look good, I'd be interested in hearing about them, and checking out the websites and specs.

  3. #3
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    Hiles, here's a great recent review of LED light options http://www.gearreview.com/2007_led_lights.php
    Last edited by DucVDuc; 04-19-07 at 06:51 PM.

  4. #4
    Cat None SDRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DucVDuc
    Hiles, here's a great recent review of LED light options http://www.gearreview.com/2007_led_lights.php
    Nice review! I might look at this light next winter for my commuting needs. I have a Dinotte 3W light that I used this winter as my sole source of light on my commutes (I work a 9-5 job so my commutes during the winter months are at dusk/just after sundown). Still, I had a cut sidewall this year because I couldn't pick out road hazzards at all one evening on my ride home and that cost me $50 for a replacement tire (leave me alone on this one...I like commuting on my lightweight road bike, and I never get flats during daylight hours ).
    Last edited by SDRider; 04-19-07 at 10:33 PM.

  5. #5
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by DucVDuc
    a great recent review of LED light options http://www.gearreview.com/2007_led_lights.php
    That was a great review -- just read it. Thanks for the posting.

  6. #6
    3 seconds ColorChange's Avatar
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    I have the Dinotte 3W helmet light and it's great as a helmet light. But, I don't think any LED's are up to my ARC yet. Why didn't they show the ARC (or other top notch HID) for comparison?

  7. #7
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    $500 for an LED light is still way too rich for my blood. I'll take a $150 HID that throws out more light, thankyouverymuch!
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  8. #8
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Overall cost plus replacement cost is a showstopper for HID, but $500 for an LED light isn't?

    I've got a TrailTech HID that I love. New, with LiIon lightweight battery and smart charger is $200. Replacement bulbs are $85. I'm going on 2 years and it's just as bright as it was when new, so I don't know what the $ per year is going to work out to.

    The LED in the Dinotte isn't going to last forever either. High intensity LEDs have a limited lifespan (OK, ALL LEDs have a limited lifespan, but the low intensity ones are in tens of years)

    It's great to know that LEDs are coming that can really do the job. I'd RATHER have an LED than an HID, but until someone's putting one out that's as bright as an HID and no more expensive, I'll stick with my HID.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NeezyDeezy's Avatar
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    My halogen is brighter, heavier, and less than 1/5 the cost.

  10. #10
    3 seconds ColorChange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rajit
    Your ARC has been surpassed by an LED light: http://gretnabikes.com/default.asp

    Rajit
    I think the 830 wilma is probably only slighlty better (if at all) but at 2x the cost ... HID still wins IMO. If the price was close, then you'd be talking.

  11. #11
    Cyclist acidinmylegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rajit
    This review is somewhat obsolete now due to the recent arrival of the 830 lumen Lupine Wilma series.

    Rajit
    Sad to say, but you are right in regards to the Wilma. Of course, at the time (a mere few months ago) neither I, nor the US distributor had the new Wilma. I still don't. He sells out of them too fast to send me one! Maybe now that daylight is more prevalent I'll get a review sample .

    To my knowledge, none of the other lights have changed. In fact, the only difference is the output of the Wilma. Oh, well, time and technology marches on.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    HID still wins for me, because I just ain't paying that kind of cash for a headlight, and the HID is already so bright that I've gotten complaints from drivers when I had the thing pointed at the ground. If the light I have had a setting for twice as bright, I wouldn't use it. I can replace this HID for < $200. I'll be happy to go LED when the price gets down into that range AND my HID dies.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  13. #13
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    The Lupine Wilma is obsolete.

    http://www.lumiledsfuture.com/produc....cfm?lineId=19

    The Rebel in cool white is rated at up to 145 lumens at 3.9v/1w from an emitter that is less than 3mm x 5mm.

    You could mount 6 of these in an area of 1 cubic centimeter (less area than a single K2 emmiter), producing 870 lumens (seems like a lot of heat to manage - gonna have to mount a liquid CO2 cartridge / regulator unit next to the battery).

    Rebel emitters cost $2.50 eack in bulk, so that 870 lumens would cost $15.

    Lupine's next generation light will probably use these, and they'll manage to add another $600 onto the price.

    It does look like the end of HID is now in sight.

    That little dot next to the end of a AAA battery is the Rebel emitter. I'll need smaller fingers and bigger eyes to solder that...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    Rebel emitters cost $2.50 eack in bulk, so that 870 lumens would cost $15.

    Lupine's next generation light will probably use these, and they'll manage to add another $600 onto the price.

    It does look like the end of HID is now in sight.
    Yeah, as soon as some company that's not selling to the boutique market comes out with one priced reasonably. That is, maybe parts plus 100%? That would put a decently constructed model in the $100 range in retail. I'm assuming here that the body will have to be aluminum for heat dissipation, so the unit costs maybe $20 to build, package and put into distribution, then the various markups take it to $100 (I don't think that would be an unusual markup).

    There simply isn't any reason any LED light should cost $500. Even the highest power emitter is still just a few bucks in quantity, and apart from that it's pretty basic standard electronics and an aluminum case.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
    Yeah, as soon as some company that's not selling to the boutique market comes out with one priced reasonably. That is, maybe parts plus 100%? That would put a decently constructed model in the $100 range in retail. I'm assuming here that the body will have to be aluminum for heat dissipation, so the unit costs maybe $20 to build, package and put into distribution, then the various markups take it to $100 (I don't think that would be an unusual markup).

    There simply isn't any reason any LED light should cost $500. Even the highest power emitter is still just a few bucks in quantity, and apart from that it's pretty basic standard electronics and an aluminum case.
    Don't forget the cost of the battery and charger. Batteries can be quite expensive.

  16. #16
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rajit
    Your ARC has been surpassed by an LED light: http://gretnabikes.com/default.asp

    Rajit
    I'm all for LED lights but I need to see comparison shots before I change over from my L+M HID to LED. Remember any light company can say what they want about lumens output,candle power or even comparable to 40 watt halogen lights.
    Sick BubbleGum

  17. #17
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    The Lupine Wilma is obsolete.
    No the Wilma is leading the pack. It's obsolete when you can buy something all finished for less, or that is brighter and has all the same features as the Wilma. The list of benefits goes way beyond how bright it is.
    That's just the begining of the list.


    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
    There simply isn't any reason any LED light should cost $500. Even the highest power emitter is still just a few bucks in quantity, and apart from that it's pretty basic standard electronics and an aluminum case.
    You need to read the manual for a Wilma. You need to talk to a manufacturing engineer who knows how to manufacture things like custom made housings and custom molded battery and charger cases. Custom circuit boards, custom plastic lenses and make the beam pattern work. Just read about the Wilma lenses.
    You need to talk to someone who understands business, so they can tell you how a world wide sales distribution works. Is your labor for free? Do you have medical insurance? Did you include mark up for the distributors in other countries? What about a retailer, are they going to sell something with no profit for the retail shop? Don't go into bussiness selling lights.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gojohnnygo.
    I'm all for LED lights but I need to see comparison shots before I change over from my L+M HID to LED. Remember any light company can say what they want about lumens output,candle power or even comparable to 40 watt halogen lights
    The beam comparison photos for the Wilma compared to HID were posted on the forum some time ago.
    Lupine does not exagerate they don't have to. The beam photos show this. So does owning a Lupine light. They are probably the best bike lights made in the world. They are lighter, brighter, have better batteries, chargers, etc.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  18. #18
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    The beam comparison photos for the Wilma compared to HID were posted on the forum some time ago.
    Lupine does not exagerate they don't have to. The beam photos show this. So does owning a Lupine light. They are probably the best bike lights made in the world. They are lighter, brighter, have better batteries, chargers, etc.
    Do you know what thread that is. I have not seen them and would like to.
    Sick BubbleGum

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gojohnnygo.
    Do you know what thread that is. I have not seen them and would like to.
    It might be the "light selection guide". It might be another thread "Lupine Wilma" or something like that.
    It was almost the same as my 900 lumen Lupine HID. The beam shape might even be better for riding.
    I'll try and find it.

    Edit post: I found this in the Lupine Forum, it's exactly what you want.

    http://www.lupine-lights.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=1155
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 04-22-07 at 08:59 AM.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  20. #20
    MTB addict xkwox's Avatar
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    The cateye EL 530 is bright as hell for a single led. I have it. It is 1500 Candle power
    I reside in Southeast, PA. I am always looking for riding buddies, If interested let me know!


    I am pro nature, I also toke with nature.

  21. #21
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    Don't forget the cost of the battery and charger. Batteries can be quite expensive.
    I'm assuming that eventually someone will put out a high-output LED headlight that takes 4 to 6 standard AA NiMH cells. But even if not, heck, the Trailtech HID comes with a 4000 mAH LiIon pack with a smart charger for $190, complete. LEDs should be cheaper than that.

    Really, as far as I can tell, the real advantage of LED over HID is durability over long periods of time. HID is actually more efficient in lumens per watt than high output LEDs, but LEDs are going to last longer. Also LED doesn't need quite the circuitry that HID does.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    While it's true that HIDs used to be more efficient than LEDs, that is no longer the case.

    A Seoul P4 (U bin) will give you 200+ lumen output at 3.7 Watts.

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Tommy C
    While it's true that HIDs used to be more efficient than LEDs, that is no longer the case.

    A Seoul P4 (U bin) will give you 200+ lumen output at 3.7 Watts.
    Does not seem that way by your example. ???? There may be others. ??????

    If my math is correct 200 lumens divided by 3.7 watts is .......................54.05 lumens per watt.

    My 900 lumen HID is 16 watts. that works out to .................................56.25 lumens per watt.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
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    Well, I think it's really something like 190 to 230 lumen, depending on how things go in the "bin lottery".

    Plus when you run them at lower power it approaches 100 lumen/watt (at 1 watt).

    That's something I love about LEDs: They are more efficient when you run them at lower power. They are very dimmable, can be made to flash, run basically forever, and don't cost $80 to replace because a bulb burns out/shatters.

    As soon as the more mainstream light companies pick up on the Cree XR-Es and the Seoul P4s, I don't think there will be any reason to go HID.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o
    $500 for an LED light is still way too rich for my blood. I'll take a $150 HID that throws out more light, thankyouverymuch!
    You're the dood with the smashing behind on the bike right? I think you're the guy with the bright wide taillight. Anyways, CREE LED's and Seoul LED's are already in fighting competition with HID's right now in power. Current CREE XRE LEDs are 80lm @ 350mAh (lowest power setting and as bright as the claimed 80lm for the Ultra 3W Dinotte on high) and 176lm @ 1000mAh. These LED's are aquireable at as low as $7 USD/LED right now. As always the battery will always eat you 50% of the cost but still you can have a kick butt light for ~$100 USD that puts out more light then the 500L. 176lm x 4 LEDs = 704lm (3LED = 528lm). The Seoul LED's are slightly brighter then the CREE XRE's but Seoul has forecasted plans by Q4/07 to have a 216lm LED @ 1000mAh (if I remember the power specs) by the end of the year. So that would put out about ~95-100lm @ 350mAh roughly on the lowest power setting. Get ready to wash out that Beamers (BMW) lights at the next traffic lights.

    Yah I agree $500 is too rich for my blood. One of my old highschool mates is into LED's and just bought some K2's and a CREE for his motorbike but I plan on working with him for a bike version. He's a programmer so the LED thing is just on the side but I really hope to have the lights in prototype testing in a couple months.

    This is the best looking DIY. Very nice looking and low profile as well for the helmet and bar mount. http://myfwyc.org/bikeled/DIY_LED_Bi...ing_Guide.html
    Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 04-22-07 at 10:24 PM.
    Zero_Enigma

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