Dinotte 200L and Fenix P2D review
I really appreciate all the previous Fenix and Dinotte reports, they were helpful in deciding what light to get. So here's a really long review of the two lights. Bottom line: I like the Dinotte as a bar light, and the Fenix makes a good helmet light to go with it. A helmet light is really helpful.
I'll post some pictures here, later.
I have a Dinotte 200L and just got a Fenix L2D Premium 100 for a helmet light. I like the combination of a 200L on the bars, and a L2D on the helmet. Both these lights have regulated power, so they stay consistently bright, then drop to a low power mode when almost out. It's easy and cheap to carry spare AAs for both of them, too.
This is 200 lumens of light on high beam. It uses 4 AA NiMH rechargeables. It comes with a second battery holder, so you can bring a spare set along. The rubber o-ring is fast and works great as a mount. There's a notch in the bottom of the light, so it sit on the bar securely, and can be adjusted while riding. The batteries fit in a tiny nylon pouch. I have it velcroed to the side of my stem. If you accidentally try to attach the battery to the cable backwards, the light circuitry is protected, and won't be hurt. I've had a battery pop loose twice, turning off the light, the second time with one rubber band wrapped around the middle of the battery holder. So now I wrap two rubber bands, one at the top, one at the bottom.
See the runtime tests at the bottom of this report.
The Dinotte's beam is a wide hot spot, that smoothly fades out at the edges. There's some dim light spill out to a wide angle, but most of the light is in the hot spot. It's wide enough to light up a whole lane. The light comes back on at the same power level as when it was turned off. Double press to turn it on, then each press cycles to the 3 different power settings. Hold it for 2 seconds to turn it off. To get to the flash modes,the button has to be held down for 6 seconds.
It also makes a good daytime running light. I used the two flashes per second mode.
I was able to ride at about 18-20 mph with the Dinotte by itself. With streetlights, I tend to point it down a bit more, to see the road right in front of me better. On a dark country road, my eyes adapt to the dark, and the light really lights up the whole road. The spill light is bright enough to see the edge of the road right near the bike, too. There's a tradeoff between a brighter light near the bike, or seeing a farther distance. I would be moving the light slightly to see farther down the road, but then more of the light beam is up in the air, not reflecting off the road.
I had a cheap $10.00 led light that had a very narrow beam. It helped as a headlight, to see onto side streets when turning onto a side street, or lighting up off the road, looking for dogs or deer. But it was awkward, and the light fades as the batteries go down.
So I got a Fenix L2D Premium 100 (Luxeon) flashlight. This uses 2 AA batteries, and is rated 175 lumens on "turbo" for 2.4 hours and 100 lumens on high for 4 hours. I debated about getting the 1 AA battery model, but it doesn't go to 175 lumens, and has shorter run times. It would be about 35-40 grams lighter. This one is 115 grams with batteries. I'll discuss the Fenix below.
The Fenix - Dinotte combination works great for solo rides. The beam on the Fenix is narrower than the Dinotte, with comparable brightness. So I can point the Dinotte down a bit, lighting up the road very well, and the Fenix can fill in farther down the road. I really like being able to point the beam. I can light up curves in the road, look off the road as needed, or follow a spot on the road that might be a rock as it gets near. I had cars slow down coming toward me out in the country too. It probably helps a lot to have the two lights, so they can judge the distance to me better. I try to aim the Fenix off to the side when cars pass. I can also point it right in front of my front tire if the oncoming headlights are messing with my night vision. I was going 25 mph downhill with this combination of lights.
Fenix L2D Premium 100 (Luxeon version)
This is a nice flashlight. It has a bright hotspot, that smoothly fades to the quite bright spill light ring. It can run on turbo mode (175 lumens) continuously. ( Older models could get too hot to stay in turbo mode). I can see why other BF riders have put two on their bars. The beam is acceptable as a single light, but a bit narrow. Two would work well, the best way would be to have one of the two on a helmet.
I have it attached to my helmet with a few rubber bands and a wedge of foam for now, which worked well, but was sort of a pain to assemble. The reflector has a slight orange peel dimpling in it, which probably helps to smooth out the light beam. It's kind of amazing how small the LED itself is, less than 1/16 inch wide. The beam is extremely bright if I accidentally look directly at it, I see spots for a minute or two afterwards. So be careful if you are group riding with it on a helmet. Even the spill light angle is too bright to look at.
Fenix modes of operation:
Screwing the front bezel on all the way puts it in turbo mode. Clicking the button turns it on, then a half press switches to flash mode. This is just about completely useless, since it flashes at 8-10 flastes a second, like a disco strobe. I can't stand it for more than a few seconds.
Unscrewing the bezel a half turn puts it in lower powers mode. When turned on, it starts at the 11 lumen extra low power mode, then a half click goes 50 lumens, then 100 lumens, then a very slow SOS blink mode. The 11 lumen mode is actually quite useful off the bike. It would be a good reading or walking around light, and can run more than 50 hours at that level. After the light is turned off, it always starts back at 11 lumens again, which is slightly annoying.
I'll probably always run it at turbo on the helmet. That mode always starts in turbo when turned on, too.
Hot spots and spill light
The central hot spot on the Dinotte is almost twice as wide as the Fenix. It fades off at the edges nicely. I think the Fenix's central hot spot is slightly brighter than the Dinotte--more of it's light is concentrated into smaller area. It fades off evenly, too, but seems to have a more noticeable spot light effect.
The Fenix spill light is a lot brighter than the spill from the Dinotte. I can tilt my head down, and read the bike computer with it. But I had to get used to the tunnel effect, since the spill cuts off sharply at the edge, and it's within my line of sight. The lack of bright spill light on the Dinotte is actually good, there's no edge cutoff to the light at all, and it's dim spill is still useful.
Dinotte and Fenix together.
With both lights on their highest power, I can easily cruise 20 mph either in the city, with streetlights and traffic, or on dark country roads. I've been up to 25 mph so far. With wet roads, the light doesn't reflect as well. I was riding a wet road with potholes at 18 mph, and had to dodge a few a the last moment, but it was workable. An unknown road with a bad surface would take a lot of concentration to go at 18-20 mph.
20 mph is about 30 feet per second. I estimated I could see 3-4 seconds ahead, which matches up with my measured view distance of about 100-120 feet. Larger objects would show at a farther distance, of course.
The Dinotte is a blue-white light, and the Fenix is a bit yellow-green. I actually like the two colors together, I can figure out where the Fenix is pointing.
I've tested the Dinotte with my old set of 2500 mAh batteries. They might not be able to hold a full charge anymore, I'm not sure.
On high, Dinotte says 2 hours runtime. I got about 2:05 (2 hours, 5 minutes) from the old set of 2500 mAh batteries. I just bought a set of Duracell 2650s and expected to get about 2:15. I got over 3 hours on the first test. I recharged and tested again getting 3:08 to the blink warning, 3:12 to the drop to low power. When the batteries are almost done, the Dinotte flashes 3 times as a warning, and the power button turns red instead of blue. It still ran on high for a few more minutes, then drops to medium power for a couple minutes, then to low. I'm not sure how long it could continue on low, but I can only ride at about 8-10 mph on the low beam anyway. ( The Dinotte needs some air flow to run on high beam, so I had a fan running when doing the tests. Otherwise, it blinks the power button red and blue to warn you, eventually it would power down.)
The Fenix gets quite warm to the touch on turbo mode (175 lumens), but not excessively hot. I tested it with the old 2500 mAh batteries, and it only ran 2:10. It just drops to low power without a warning. I'll be testing the Fenix with the new 2650s and (did) expect it to run similar to the Dinotte, maybe 3 hours. EDIT--see the new test posted below: 2 hours 35 minutes.
Wow! I got carried away with this review!