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  1. #1
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    Dinotte - OK in rain?

    I was all but ready to order both the tailight and standard headlight AA Dinotte lights, when I suddenly wondered - is it OK to get them wet? I want to be able to use my lights in the rain. I very much want to get Dinotte since they are made here in the US (and because they look to be very capable), but having lights that hold up in wet weather is a must, and I don't want to order more than one headlight or taillight. The light engines look to be wented, and that worries me. So does the fact that the battery holder looks like it's some type of fabric that could get and stay soaked. I'm not going to be deliberately dunking my lights, but I also don't want to worry about them when it's wet.

    So, straight up, are these lights capable of lasting in wet weather?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
    So, straight up, are these lights capable of lasting in wet weather?
    There may not be a straight up answer to that question. I got a Dinotte Ultra5 (last year's model) a few months ago, and have used it a lot since then. It's a well-made light, with a few drawbacks. The LED is an old LuxeonV, which has poor efficiency in comparison to the newer K2s, Rebels, Crees, and Seouls, so it's hotter and has shorter runtime than it would with any of the newer ones. If you are buying a new one, though, I think they are now using the K2s with much better efficiency (still not as good as Crees or Seouls). The light head itself is at least rainproof, if not dunk-proof - it looks dunk-proof, but I don't want to find out otherwise. It has a solid CNC-machined aluminum body, with good rubbery gaskets on the front, sealing between the plastic optic and the aluminum, and on the back, sealing between the plastic backplate and the aluminum. The rear switch is also covered by the gasket, so it's completely sealed. The "vents" you see are actually just holes drilled through the solid top, not into the inside of the body, which provide more surface area so that the aluminum is a better heatsink.

    The AA battery pack is another matter, unless they've changed that with the new models. It's just a cheap plastic AA holder you can get anywhere, with a 9V battery-style connector, and it's in a cheap nylon pouch with a velcro strap to wrap around the stem or a frame tube. It's far from anything-proof, but I've ridden in the rain (at night, with the light on) with no problems. The steel springs and contacts in the battery holder are rusting already, but since you can get a replacement for $2 at Radio Shack, it's not a big deal. Although electronics dislike getting wet, batteries and their connectors are usually fine if they can dry out quickly and not stay wet. It's a poor solution, but it's not dangerous or harmful if you clean and dry the batteries and holder after riding in the rain.

    Overall, I'm not very impressed with mine. It does provide a lot of light, but it's focused with a 20 degree optic so the beam is not so useful for road riding, wasting a lot of light to the top and bottom and not projecting very far ahead. The front of the plastic optic is exposed to the elements, which will result in light-diffusing scratches over time, which I suppose is not such a big deal considering that the beam is already pretty diffuse. The battery life is terrible; about 2 hours on high and 4 on low, and it's not well regulated - the light just slowly dims as the battery gets drained. I think battery life should be much better with the new, more efficient LEDs now, though. The cheap and vulnerable battery pack rounds out my slight disappointment - for $200, and considering the light unit is so well-built and probably waterproof, I'd expect a nice rubber cover or something. Still, it's far better than my old Cateye HL-EL520 that it replaces - tons and tons more light, and I just have to carry a spare battery pack on longer rides.

    Alex

  3. #3
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    I'm only using the Dinotte Tailight but I just put my battery holder in small balloon to help shield it from water, you could also use "cling wrap" and then put it in the battery case.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    I went out last night with all my DiNotte lights blazing. A storm came up and me, bike, lights, etc.... totally drenched. I wiped off at home and everything is working fine. You might want to contact DiNotte, though, to get better insight. You could ask some of the technical questions posed above as well. Personally, I'm really delighted with mine and the taillight has changed drivers' behavior stunningly! They really do give me a wide berth and the other night a car *followed* me for about 1.5 miles on a back country road until they were sure they could pass. This never happened before. Ever. all good.
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  5. #5
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    It better be waterproof for that price! But I agree: if it doesn't specifically say "waterproof" on their website, then send them an email to find out for sure.
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  6. #6
    tsl
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    I ride in all conditions and have never given a thought to my DiNottes. They're there, they work, they don't fog up, what more can I ask? (They also get warm enough to melt snow that accumulates on the lens.)

    Dampness gets into the AA battery holders, but since I take the battery packs out to charge the batteries overnight, there's no problem there either.
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  7. #7
    urban biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post

    Dampness gets into the AA battery holders, but since I take the battery packs out to charge the batteries overnight, there's no problem there either.
    I think you're going to get that with any light system. But keep in mind that riding in rain isn't like submerging the battery in a pool of water, so the battery pouch will keep out most, if not all of the water.
    Once you get home from a serious downpour, it's a good habit it pull everything apart and let it air out.

  8. #8
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. I'm still on the fence about this. I know I constantly mention this, and I hyper-analyze my buying decisions, but is there anyone else making good LED lights here in the US? Preferably with AA batteries, which I prefer to use (along with AAAs) because I can charge them with solar energy with my Brunton Solarport 4.4. I have an "Ultralast" charger with R123A batteries that I received as a gift at work that also works with the Solarport, but the performance of that system seems to be just OK, and many of us have had problems with dead batteries. I'm partial to LEDs and to US-made products, and so far Dinotte seems to be the best choice.

    But I'm also big on efficiency, and in some aspects the new Rebel Edition flashlights from Fenix are very tempting. Batteries would be much more manageable. I know they could handle the weather, and it would be an elegant solution - just the light to worry about, without any cables and seperate battery packs, so removal (and therefore security) would probably be much simpler - just take off the flashlight, instead of light engine + battery pack + cable. However the more uneven lighting (with the "hotspot" in thre middle) would be a concern and I could see myself being dissapointed for that reason and wishing I had bought something else. I want these lights to last a long, long time - to make the best choices now and then use them up.

    I wonder if Dinotte's new "Extreme lighting solutions" line is designed to get rid of their existing parts, to make way for new models with the more efficient LEDs? I'm still a relative newbie when it comes to bike lights, but this line seems like overkill to me. I've been getting by with my Fenix L1D CE, a 90-lumen light in turbo mode, so it seems that a 200-lumen light would be enough.
    Last edited by kmcrawford111; 09-28-07 at 08:09 AM.

  9. #9
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
    is there anyone else making good LED lights here in the US?
    Is Canada close enough? I'm working on my first batch of LED light bars, but it'll be a few weeks.
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  10. #10
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    I would definitely consider it. Do you have any more information posted anywhere?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
    I would definitely consider it. Do you have any more information posted anywhere?
    Yep, I kinda hijacked this thread, you'll find lots of info on what I'm planning there.
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  12. #12
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    Well, I asked the company, and here is their response:

    Hi Kevin - we sell our lights all over the world and have no issues. The
    nylon resists water quite well, but if the NimH batteries get a little, wet,
    it's not a big deal, the light still works. We sell our lights in the worst
    of conditions and they're fine.
    Thanks
    Rob
    I'm off to order the standard AA headlight. I may get the taillight later. jeff-o, thanks for the information. I will keep a look out for more on your project.
    Last edited by kmcrawford111; 10-01-07 at 12:02 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
    Well, I asked the company, and here is their response:

    I'm off to order the standard AA headlight. I may get the taillight later. jeff-o, thanks for the information. I will keep a look out for more on your project.
    No problem! I'm sure the Dinotte light will work well for you. Regarding the tail light, I've got one round of tests to do yet, then I'll order the PCBs from the board house. I'll build the 12" 90 LED and the 5" 30 LED lights first. The 30 LED blinkie will be available in red and amber, for use as a front or side light (yes, I've been reading the forums very carefully recently!)
    Last edited by jeff-o; 10-01-07 at 12:27 PM. Reason: grammar
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  14. #14
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    I have the 200L running off of 2500mAH NImH batteries from batteryspace.com. I got 4.4 hours in "low" which is still 100 lumens in 40-50 degree weather. One should get 40% increased run time with 3000mAH disposable Lithium Ion batteries.
    I think the light is great and use a plastic bag to keep the batts completely dry, just in case.
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