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Old 09-28-07, 07:13 PM   #1
GlowBoy
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Bright front blinkies: which is brightest, NOT whether or not it is of value!

OK, I'm going to ask again which is the brightest (most conspicuous) front light. NOT (as the discussion evolved to in this thread) whether my blinkie will be overshadowed by my ~1200 lumen high beam. NOT whether front blinkies are a good idea in general. Although I am enjoying those discussions, I am still hoping to get an answer to my original question as to which of the below will have the greatest conspicuity benefit. So I have removed that question from the original thread and moved it to this one. Here goes:

In addition to my homebrew system (3W Luxeon low beam and 35W high beam, both MR16 in Optronics housings, plus front amber and rear red LED side marker "running lights") providing steady light, I use self-contained blinkies in front and back to handle the blinking aspect.

For the front blinky, I've tried the Lightman amber strobe (underwhelming) and the Cateye EL-410. I want something brighter. Hopefully much brighter. I don't ride on shoulderless rural roads so additional rear conspicuity would be a waste. In the suburban to moderately urban environment where I ride, it is front conspicuity that matters. I just bought a PB (1W Luxeon) Super Spot, thinking it has a blink mode, but it doesn't. Am going to return it.

This light could be either amber or white, but no other colors are acceptable. Amber might be preferable, both in terms of daytime conspicuity and (to a very slight degree) perhaps legality, but I'll take white if I can get it. I don't care whether the unit is self-contained or ties into my existing light system, but it if is self contained it MUST (a) be capable of driven from rechargeable batteries, and (b) be capable of at least 10 hours runtime in blink mode so I don't have to charge the batteries more than once a week. Also, I'd like to keep the spending in the $50-60 range or less.

Here are what I see as my options:
  • It was just suggested in another thread that I try the clear lens that came with my Lightman. Will definitely look into that.
  • Amber Xenon flasher from All-electronics, tied into the main system. Is this thing brighter than the Lightman? Sure is bigger and clunkier. Also interested in suggestions on how to mount it. Not much space to spare on the handlebar.
  • Planet Bike Blaze. Has a half-watt LED, maybe not as bright as a 1W Luxeon but should be quite a bit better than the EL-410. Seems to be one of the brightest under-$50 self-contained units with blink mode out there. Anyone know if this thing will run off NiMHs okay? NiteRider is spreading FUD on this issue by claiming their UltraFazer series are the only ones that can run off NiMHs.
  • CatEye EL320. 1000 claimed CP, seems like the only light they offer with a blink mode that is in the same league with the 1W models. Perhaps similar to the PB Blaze? Would be very interested in a comparison.
  • The only 1W Luxeon I've found with a blink mode is the NiteRider UltraFazer Max for $60. I'd just go right out and plunk down the 60 bucks for this baby today if the reviews were glowing. But they are not.
  • Fenix L2D strapped to the handlebars. Strapping a headlight to a handlebar has always seemed klutzy to me, but a 135 Lumen strobe would be awesome. OTOH, frequent battery changes could become annoying. Anyone know what the battery life is in strobe mode?
  • Princeton Tec Eos Bike (1W Luxeon). I've used an Eos with the optional strap as my helmet light for 3 years now. Works great and the blink mode really gets me noticed. Maybe I should go with this, as it's tried-and-true for me, but I haven't tried the handlebar mount. Anyone used it?
  • PowerFlare sounds insanely bright, but how to mount it to the handlebars? And anyway, unless I get the insanely expensive rechargeable version, I have to use CR123 batteries, a total deal killer for me.
  • DiNotte's new amber Daytime Headlight sounds like the ultimate solution, but $170 is a bit more than I'd like to spend right now.
Besides the specific questions I posed above, I have an overall question: which of these solutions (other than the DiNotte) will give me the greatest conspicuity? I realize these solutions are apples and oranges and that it's hard to compare, but that's exactly why I'm asking. Not just which one puts out the most lumens, but which one will get me noticed most (and earliest) by motorists?

Last edited by GlowBoy; 09-28-07 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:17 PM   #2
kleng
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Cygolite Dual Cross 300 in flashing mode
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Old 09-28-07, 11:15 PM   #3
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I have used 3 lights as front strobes. All are too bright for full night time use, but they are:
1). PrincetonTec Switchback 3 in strobe mode - great blinking pattern (2 short, 1 long), very bright, wide angle
2). Huntlight FT-01 with Cree XR-E - 100hz strobe at 140 lumens, can be seen 1km away in daylight
3). LED Logic Striker-VG with SSC P4 - 100hz strobe at 200 lumens, collimator for max. throw

For nighttime, I use a helmet mounted Planetbike light with a slower strobe and 4 5mm leds and a wide beam pattern, in addition to one of more of the lights above.

I have tried the PT3 and the Striker-VG together. Cars refused to shut off high beams when I was coming towards them with that combo.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:59 PM   #4
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Your flashing amber light (or pair of them, one left and one right) may be more visible than you think even if it is not nearly as bright as your headlight.

While driving home this evening I compared the headlights vs much less bright non-flashing turn signals of oncoming cars. The non-flashing amber turn signal lights were barely noticeable on a surprising number of such cars. Yet I am quite certain almost all of them are quite visible when flashing at a constant rate. (Edit: These bulbs have two filaments and do increase in brightness when turning, but still much less light than the white headlights).

The ability to detect a small, regularly fluctuating signal near or mixed with a large signal has many other examples. For example, in recent years astronomers are detecting the presence of planets orbiting stars located light-years away by detecting the tiny fluctuation in the star's light as the planet passes between the star and earth.

Last edited by Giro; 09-30-07 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 10-01-07, 01:44 PM   #5
IronMac
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I emailed Planet Bike and they say that the Blaze can be used with rechargeables but the amount of run-time on an individual charge that you get with rechargeables will probably be less than with regular batteries.
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Old 10-01-07, 05:47 PM   #6
Sir Bikesalot
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Someone mentioned this option in your other thread, the Dinotte 600L in blink mode. Bright enough to see with, plus the blink mode might get you the runtime you want.
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Old 10-02-07, 07:12 AM   #7
flipped4bikes
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How about the PB Alias SC set to flash mode? That's 15w of halogen goodness...
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Old 10-03-07, 03:10 PM   #8
GlowBoy
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm thinking the DiNotte is overkill, as is the PB alias (plus its external battery pack is a problem -- I'm already carrying two other battery packs). I'm probably going to go with either the PT Eos Bike, or a Whelen TIR3 (mentioned in the other thread) wired into my 12V system.

And Giro, I think your observation about pulsing lights is spot on, and borne out by this morning's observations which I posted to the other thread.
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