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Old 10-03-07, 02:09 PM   #1
tomculb
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LEDs, Halogen, watts, lumens, etc

Any thoughts would be appreciated . . .

I have a Light & Motion Solo Logic, which on high beam (13W) throws adequate light (both in terms of brilliance and beam pattern). I encounter almost as many deer as cars, and most of the deer are dumber than most (but not all) of the drivers, so a wide beam is desirable.

My complaint is that the bulbs for my light last only about 60 hours (I'm on the 3rd one), and my battery is dying after only about 175 charges.

The Cygolite DualCross claims to be the equivalent of a 20W halogen. Do I believe that? Will it be as wide a beam?

Some manufacturers describe their lights in terms of lumens, some watts, and I know the two aren't the same. Is the number of lumens a good measure of the light it produces? L&M says their halogens produce 30 lumens per watt, or 390 lumens with my present light on highest (13W) power. That is a lot more than any comparably priced LED I've seen that talks in terms of lumens (NiteRider's Minewtx2 claims 160, I think). That also makes me think that Cygolite either has an outstanding R&D department or an aggresive marketing department, and I suspect I know which one it is.

In any event, I'm interested in any answers or thoughts on a bright, long runtime light for $200 +/-.

Thanks
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Old 10-03-07, 02:36 PM   #2
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lumens = light produced, lux = light that actually reaches your target (therefore difficult at best to standardize). That distinction makes me leery of trusting 'raw' lumen estimates, esp. when there are 3W halo lamps w/ carefully designed reflectors and lenses that people claim to be more than sufficient for traffic relative to a generic high power output but unfocussed light source.

Sorry to inflict my own confusion onto you but there it is.
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Old 10-03-07, 03:12 PM   #3
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I bought my HID for $197 with an online coupon. It runs for 4 hours.
I've had it since July and it's very bright. It's the 6 degree spot version.

Link:
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=1395

Here's a youtube video comparing it to other lights:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIn3OWG6YK0

Here's a directory of beamshots of it versus other lights:
http://pod.ath.cx/hid/

Now, some will tell you that the new generation of LED lights are getting competitive
with HID and this is true. However, currently the candlepower is either just under or
at HID light quality and the prices are exponentially more than what I paid for my HID.

The Niterider Trinewt is 486 lumens and I've seen it discounted to around $360.

The Cygolite TridenX is also competitive with HID for between $350-400 depending on who you ask.
Nobody seems to know the lumen output of this system but the advertising purports to be on par
with HID. Your mileage may vary.

The Dinotte 600L 600 lumen LED system is also $400 and runs for 3.5 hours.

You see? Right now the LED lighting systems are coming on the $350-400 range to
be competitive with HID which is now dropping in price.

All of the above systems are really the first generation of the "bright led systems".
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Old 10-03-07, 03:42 PM   #4
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OH man 12deg FLOOD? My spot is 10deg...My flood is 36deg.
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Old 10-03-07, 04:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tomculb View Post
Any thoughts would be appreciated . . .

I have a Light & Motion Solo Logic, which on high beam (13W) throws adequate light (both in terms of brilliance and beam pattern). I encounter almost as many deer as cars, and most of the deer are dumber than most (but not all) of the drivers, so a wide beam is desirable.

My complaint is that the bulbs for my light last only about 60 hours (I'm on the 3rd one), and my battery is dying after only about 175 charges.

The Cygolite DualCross claims to be the equivalent of a 20W halogen. Do I believe that? Will it be as wide a beam?

Some manufacturers describe their lights in terms of lumens, some watts, and I know the two aren't the same. Is the number of lumens a good measure of the light it produces? L&M says their halogens produce 30 lumens per watt, or 390 lumens with my present light on highest (13W) power. That is a lot more than any comparably priced LED I've seen that talks in terms of lumens (NiteRider's Minewtx2 claims 160, I think). That also makes me think that Cygolite either has an outstanding R&D department or an aggresive marketing department, and I suspect I know which one it is.

In any event, I'm interested in any answers or thoughts on a bright, long runtime light for $200 +/-.

Thanks
It sounds like their bulbs are being overvolted too much. I looked on their website and couldn't find any information. I'm wondering if they are using a low voltage lamp so that they can decrease the wattage and they are just burning out too fast at high load. Is the Solo an MR11 or an MR16? Either way, you could try bulbs from Battery Space. A lot cheaper!

The battery issue may be due to the charger. Do you have their charger or another one? NiMH are a little delicate (Li-ion are even worse) when it comes to charging. You really have to control for temperature during the charge cycle or you can ruin the battery quickly. During charge, the battery should be no more than hot bath water warm...and even that is pushing a little hard. If it's hot coffee warm, it's too hot!

The measure of the light output isn't really correct in either watts or lumens. Watts will tell you how much current you draw so that you can calculate the battery run time and lumens will tell you the total output of light at a certain distance from the bulb but the rub is how far away is that distance and at what angle is it measured. However, without that distance and angle information, the number is almost meaningless for comparison. We can basically assume that the measurements are the same but...

You also need to know if the lumens is for a bare bulb or with a reflector. For the MR bulbs, you can probably trust the lumen output numbers to be what's put on a surface a certain (unspecified) distance from the bulb. These lamps come from projectors and their lumen output was regulated by an ASTM standard. I'm not sure how LEDs are measured. Probably using the same formula as the MR incandescents which may or may not be correct.

The Solo lumens per watt is on a par with what I've seen for an overvolted 20W 12V lamp at 14.4V (20% overvolt). I'm wondering if they are overvolting a 6V bulb. That may be why you blow them so often.

To confuse you further, there is a measure called color rendition. It's measure of how well the light render's colors compared to natural sunlight. It's partly a function of bulb temperature but it's a bit more complicated then that. Halogens...and other incandescent bulbs...render color that looks like real sunlight. Their spectrum is very broad and give you that wonderful glow. LED and HID both have horrible color rendition. Their spectrum is narrow and you get a light that makes everything look rather washed out. Some people don't have a problem with it but others do. I'm in the latter camp. I can't pick out detail with the LED (I have a couple of them) as well and don't really like them. To me they are kind of like skiing on a snowy overcast day...everything just looks flat.

I obviously like halogens - mostly for their simplicity and flexibility. You can't overvolt LED so you can't increase output. I don't think you can overvolt HID. But you can substantially increase the light output of any halogen by running the voltage up. You even gain some efficiency by doing so...not a lot but some. Your run times aren't as fantastic as LED but I'm of the mind that you only want to have a little more battery power than you need. If you have a whole lot more, you run the risk of forgetting to charge when you should and you end up riding in the dark Additionally, if I need more run time, I can add some more packs.

I'd stick with the Light and Motion you have. You don't need to use their battery if you don't want to. All you need is a good battery pack and some new connectors...unless they have some electronics in the battery case. But then you just have to connect to those electronics.

Hope this long windedness helps.
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Old 10-06-07, 04:13 PM   #6
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To confuse you further, there is a measure called color rendition. It's measure of how well the light render's colors compared to natural sunlight. It's partly a function of bulb temperature but it's a bit more complicated then that. Halogens...and other incandescent bulbs...render color that looks like real sunlight. Their spectrum is very broad and give you that wonderful glow. LED and HID both have horrible color rendition. Their spectrum is narrow and you get a light that makes everything look rather washed out. Some people don't have a problem with it but others do. I'm in the latter camp. I can't pick out detail with the LED (I have a couple of them) as well and don't really like them. To me they are kind of like skiing on a snowy overcast day...everything just looks flat.

I obviously like halogens - mostly for their simplicity and flexibility. You can't overvolt LED so you can't increase output. I don't think you can overvolt HID. But you can substantially increase the light output of any halogen by running the voltage up. You even gain some efficiency by doing so...not a lot but some. Your run times aren't as fantastic as LED but I'm of the mind that you only want to have a little more battery power than you need. If you have a whole lot more, you run the risk of forgetting to charge when you should and you end up riding in the dark Additionally, if I need more run time, I can add some more packs.
I too have a problem with the way things appear when lit up with an LED.

Do you have an opinion on the Niterider Trail Rat Select 15 Watt Headlight? They're on sale for $100.
I ride very lightly traveled rural roads and gravel paths that have no vehicular travel (except for a stray game warden of two.) Would this light hold up to moderate vibration like you get on a gravel road? A 2 hour run time would work for me.
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Old 10-06-07, 04:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tomculb View Post
Any thoughts would be appreciated . . .

I have a Light & Motion Solo Logic, which on high beam (13W) throws adequate light (both in terms of brilliance and beam pattern). I encounter almost as many deer as cars, and most of the deer are dumber than most (but not all) of the drivers, so a wide beam is desirable.

My complaint is that the bulbs for my light last only about 60 hours (I'm on the 3rd one), and my battery is dying after only about 175 charges.

The Cygolite DualCross claims to be the equivalent of a 20W halogen. Do I believe that? Will it be as wide a beam?

Some manufacturers describe their lights in terms of lumens, some watts, and I know the two aren't the same. Is the number of lumens a good measure of the light it produces? L&M says their halogens produce 30 lumens per watt, or 390 lumens with my present light on highest (13W) power. That is a lot more than any comparably priced LED I've seen that talks in terms of lumens (NiteRider's Minewtx2 claims 160, I think). That also makes me think that Cygolite either has an outstanding R&D department or an aggresive marketing department, and I suspect I know which one it is.

In any event, I'm interested in any answers or thoughts on a bright, long runtime light for $200 +/-.

Thanks
Getting information out of Cygolite on the lumens and battery runtime specs is like pulling teeth. You get zero information other then the marketing repeats. You don't have to take my word for it, just email them like I did and you'll know what I mean. I wanted to know the lumens, how hot the unit runs on full power, battery Ah, and degree of spot/flood. I mean I'm not asking them the exact materials, CNC specs, dealers, plans, etc on how to build it gezz.. I can understand rival lighting companies or upstarts wanting to compete for info but they normally want the specifics then stuff every customer should know. They wrote back saying that information is specific to R&D purposes and they can not give that info out. WTFF!? Put yourself in my shoes if you got that from a car dealership buying a car and not knowing MPG, engine info, specs., etc.. still the light weight is light and I give them that and from all reports bright.

I really hope someone with a Dual Cross really gets all that info asked above out just to piss of Cygolite but also in retun still sells thier product.
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Old 10-06-07, 04:53 PM   #8
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Getting information out of Cygolite on the lumens and battery runtime specs is like pulling teeth. You get zero information other then the marketing repeats. You don't have to take my word for it, just email them like I did and you'll know what I mean. I wanted to know the lumens, how hot the unit runs on full power, battery Ah, and degree of spot/flood. I mean I'm not asking them the exact materials, CNC specs, dealers, plans, etc on how to build it gezz.. I can understand rival lighting companies or upstarts wanting to compete for info but they normally want the specifics then stuff every customer should know. They wrote back saying that information is specific to R&D purposes and they can not give that info out. WTFF!? Put yourself in my shoes if you got that from a car dealership buying a car and not knowing MPG, engine info, specs., etc.. still the light weight is light and I give them that and from all reports bright.

I really hope someone with a Dual Cross really gets all that info asked above out just to piss of Cygolite but also in retun still sells thier product.
Yeah, so I mean, what gives eh? I email Cygolite a few times asking for some simple specs of their Cygolite DualCross Pro, so tell me how is it? They ignored me. What gives huh? WGh?

All I wanted to know was what lumens should I expect.

Anyways, I owned a Cygolite DualCross Li-Ion. And guess what? I placed my Fenix L2D CE upto it, and the Fenix was brighter! The DualCross Li-Ion is rated at around 20 Halogen Watts, and the DualCross Pro is rated at 30 Halogen Watts, so what's this? A 50% boost? So I guess the DualCross Pro is only around 200 lumens.

Niterider comes out and says it, our Minewt X2 Dual is 300 lumens (or somewhere thereabouts, maybe 275 lumens?). I would rather bank on the NiteRider, but I have heard some bad things, that and their X2 Dual only goes for 1h 45 minutes.
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Old 10-06-07, 05:18 PM   #9
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Grun,

Never owned a Cygolite. I was itching back then to own a DualCross for the weight and light but when the company did not respond and I got feedback from you of the Fenix light brighter then the Dual Cross my thoughts already are they Dual Cross seems to be banking on people not knowing anything about lights (who am I to say I know lots about light?) or willing to question them on the lights and blindly buy it just because it's new.

However I have read that some people (memory could be foggy on this but I think it was MTBR or Candlepowerforums ) have taken out the Dual Cross LED and put the newest Cree Q5 or Seoul P4 LED in the Dual Cross and it was blinding bright. the LED's only cost them something like $12-17/shipped.

Another option the original poster can go with is to use a home built setup. Just go ghetto on the looks till you're good at building and improve the looks. I would not ride in the rain unless it's sealed. Here is something I found that looks very easy to build using a Bucktoot (PDF file make sure you have an Acrobat reader) LED driver. There is a simple diagram there to wire 6 LED's. It should give about 20W's of light I think.
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Old 10-07-07, 08:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I

1. It sounds like their bulbs are being overvolted too much.

2. The measure of the light output isn't really correct in either watts or lumens. Watts will tell you how much current you draw so that you can calculate the battery run time and lumens will tell you the total output of light at a certain distance from the bulb but the rub is how far away is that distance and at what angle is it measured. However, without that distance and angle information, the number is almost meaningless for comparison.

3. We can basically assume that the measurements are the same but...

4. I'm not sure how LEDs are measured. Probably using the same formula as the MR incandescents which may or may not be correct.

You can't overvolt LED so you can't increase output.
No serious argument with anything Cyco is saying, but I can amplify a few of his excellent points.

Overvoltage can kill halogens or any incandescent lamp due to excessive filament temperature, but halogens are also sensitive to undervoltage. The high performance comes from filament temps greater than in conventional incandescent bulbs, high enough that the tungsten is being sublimed from the filament at a high rate, with failure in only a few minutes to hours. The halogen gas atmosphere inside the bulb has a process that reduces that sublimation enough to get the hundreds of hours runnign time we see in, say, car headlights.

Measuring light system performance is complex. What's relevant to the cyclist is how much am I illuminating the objects I need to see, considering where they are. That's a light output and a light distribution issue. The amount of light falling on an object of a given size or of unit area is illumination, what "lux" measures. We really need a graph or standardized photo of how illumination varies within the light system distribution pattern, then ask how much light (lumens) is needed to provide that distribution. Then based on the selection of a light source (halogen lamp, HID lamp, LED lamp) provide an electrical system that will operate for the necessary time interval. I'm getting into the system engineering here, but I think it's useful as perspective.

LEDs are anythign but omnidirectional, and the actual distribution patterns are only nominally defined, not tightly controlled by their suppliers. Unlike some of the MR bulbs that come with integral reflectors. The equations may provide a relative indication (I don't know, I haven't seen them or how their derived), but they will not be identical in any correct sense.

Finally, no you can't overvolt an LED because the LED "fixes" the voltage at which it runs once its warmed up. But, light output is controlled by current as is heating. The input energy that is not converted into light is converted to heat. The lifetime of the LED is not infinite and it cuts in half for every 10 deg C increase in operating temp. It is definitely possible to build a hot-rod LED lamp with a short light-source lifetime.

The irony is that in order to increase the drive current, you effectively turn up the driving voltage, but it's a change that's internal to the regulatro electronics.

I hope this isn't too techy, but its hard to turn an engineer off once you get him started - poor system design!!

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Old 10-07-07, 08:09 AM   #11
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Now, some will tell you that the new generation of LED lights are getting competitive
with HID and this is true. However, currently the candlepower is either just under or
at HID light quality and the prices are exponentially more than what I paid for my HID.
What about the Cateye Tripleshot? I have two - one for my wife and one on my bike. I paid right at $200 each on ebay. I love 'em. The two outer LED's are wide beam and the center is a spot. It really lights up the trail. They have been totally reliable and unfinicky.

Bob
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Old 10-07-07, 04:24 PM   #12
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I too have a problem with the way things appear when lit up with an LED.

Do you have an opinion on the Niterider Trail Rat Select 15 Watt Headlight? They're on sale for $100.
I ride very lightly traveled rural roads and gravel paths that have no vehicular travel (except for a stray game warden of two.) Would this light hold up to moderate vibration like you get on a gravel road? A 2 hour run time would work for me.
I have 15 year old Niterider heads that are similar to the Trail Rat. I don't use their batteries...never did... but I've heard that some people have problems with them. Their best feature is that they are very simple and easy to modify. Mine are now running 12V lamps instead of the 6V and the replacement lamps are cheap at Battery Space. I'd buy them again if I didn't already have 4 or 5 extra lamps
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