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  1. #1
    cab horn
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    Where does most of the cost come from in LED systems?

    I'm talking about the more expensive options in LED >$100. The LED itself? The batteries? The electronics?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    I'd say the batteries and the gee-whiz factor. Prices for lights are going down and down all the time.

  3. #3
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I'm talking about the more expensive options in LED >$100. The LED itself? The batteries? The electronics?
    I would say depending on units, it could be the sum of the parts, and the overhead for the companies R&D, marketing, sales distribution, service and warranty...etc. Like most other specialized products, there is a premium to be paid for leading edge.

    Looking at Cutter Electronics to build a DIY 3 array LED of the same class as say a Dinotte 600L, it would cost at least $174 for the 3 emitter Cree MR11 Kit (includes LED driver), and a slick machined housing. This does not include batteries, or charger. The batteries would be around ~$65 for 2 x 4000mAh units and a smart charger.

    So we are roughly up to $234 with out shipping and assembly for the parts. I think the $389 I paid for a canned solution 600L is a small price to pay for all the other overhead.

    This is just one example, and certainly it could be done cheaper or more expensive.


    Next season I may just have to look at building one for fun!
    Last edited by ViperZ; 11-16-07 at 05:26 AM.
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  4. #4
    Asshat skingry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    Looking at Cutter Electronics to build a DIY 3 array LED of the same class as say a Dinotte 600L, it would cost at least $174 for the 3 emitter Cree MR11 Kit (includes LED driver), and a slick machined housing.
    Breaking down your $174 figure:

    ~$15 US for a triple lens (Cutter or LED Spot)
    ~$18 US for three emitters (Deal Extreme)
    ~$32 US for the driver (Task LED)

    --Total minus the housing ~$65 US... so it's safe to say the majority of the cost involved is the housing (Electronics - $65, Batteries - $65, Housing $100+ if you are buying it pre-made).

    Still the 100+ for a housing is a bit steep. This is probably due to them not being made in quantity by whoever is charging that much... considering you can get a 'Cree x3 X-550' flashlight on ebay for that much... that's a flashlight, with the electronics (emitters/lenses and driver), a machined aluminum body, two Lion rechargeable batteries, a charger, and shipping.
    Last edited by skingry; 11-16-07 at 06:47 AM.
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  5. #5
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    The machined aluminum body and lithium batteries contribute to most of the cost, followed by assembly, then the driver, then the emitters, then everything else.
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  6. #6
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skingry View Post
    Breaking down your $174 figure:

    ~$15 US for a triple lens (Cutter or LED Spot)
    ~$18 US for three emitters (Deal Extreme)
    ~$32 US for the driver (Task LED)

    --Total minus the housing ~$65 US... so it's safe to say the majority of the cost involved is the housing (Electronics - $65, Batteries - $65, Housing $100+ if you are buying it pre-made).

    Still the 100+ for a housing is a bit steep. This is probably due to them not being made in quantity by whoever is charging that much... considering you can get a 'Cree x3 X-550' flashlight on ebay for that much... that's a flashlight, with the electronics (emitters/lenses and driver), a machined aluminum body, two Lion rechargeable batteries, a charger, and shipping.

    Are those emitter arrays you quoted of the same Output level as the Cree MR11 or Dinotte 600L, and do they have the same quality controllers and drivers?
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  7. #7
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator + Reflector 2x18650 Module Set (3.6V-9V) $28.27
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9358

    You'll need to fabricate a cap with switch for the back where it would screw on a Cree flashlight battery case.

    Unsolder the springs and replace with wire to an external battery pack.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    R&D. Early adopter tax.

  9. #9
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou View Post

    3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator + Reflector 2x18650 Module Set (3.6V-9V) $28.27
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9358

    You'll need to fabricate a cap with switch for the back where it would screw on a Cree flashlight battery case.

    Unsolder the springs and replace with wire to an external battery pack.
    Do you have specs (output and efficiency's) for that?

    Looks like a good project.
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  10. #10
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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  11. #11
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    Do you have specs (output and efficiency's) for that?

    Looks like a good project.
    Just the info on the site. It just showed up a few days ago. No review as yet as it takes a week of so shipping time. Should be the same as this flashlight but not 100% sure.
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5971

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    What exactly is the problem that you have with it?

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    Asshat skingry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    Are those emitter arrays you quoted of the same Output level as the Cree MR11 or Dinotte 600L, and do they have the same quality controllers and drivers?
    The emitters are U-binned SSC P4's (5.82 each) Linky.
    Last edited by skingry; 11-16-07 at 03:01 PM.
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  14. #14
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I'm talking about the more expensive options in LED >$100. The LED itself? The batteries? The electronics?
    If it's a custom made lens, the tooling for the lens production. If it's a custom housing the tooling for the housing production too.
    And enough profit built in so that a retailer will make enough from your product to want to sell it. Without that there will be no bike shop sales, or big mail order company sales etc. And labor to assemble the product depending on where they are made.

    Those are probably the highest things. The custom made circuit board would be another if that light has one. But the fixed costs like mortage or rent and utilities can vary so much it's hard to guess about one particular light. The cost of living from country to country and even from town to town can really change things.
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  15. #15
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Well this is part of the cost too.
    You make a "OMG P4 71 lums per watt" triple cree state of the art light head and by the time it gets designed, produced and shipped people say "Meh, I want my R2s cause they have 40% more light". So it doesn't sell.

    However you look at it, this is a triple led machined head and driver for 28$. Yeah you will pay a few dollars more for a nicer driver and better LEDs.
    A cateye el530 is very nicely made, if underpowered, and sells for about 40$, so presumably combining the two a nice triple can be make for well under 70$ even with the best drivers (I think if cateye called taskled and asked for 10,000 boards they wouldn't be charged 30$ each).

    The homebrew LED light scene is busy because we can put together good lights for cheaper than the retail options. Once Cree stop the improvements and they same light can be sold year after year at your LBS hopefully prices will half, and we can all go find new hobbies.
    Last edited by znomit; 11-17-07 at 03:26 PM. Reason: speeeelin

  16. #16
    GN BIKN
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    Overhead and profit. IMO most of the commercial LED systems are ridiculously overpriced considering the cost of the parts.

    But this is only more true than with halogens by a matter of degree. My $140 homebrew system blows the lenses off any $300 halogen system I know of. Only HIDs beat it, and not all of them do.
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  17. #17
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou View Post

    3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator + Reflector 2x18650 Module Set (3.6V-9V) $28.27
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9358

    You'll need to fabricate a cap with switch for the back where it would screw on a Cree flashlight battery case.

    Unsolder the springs and replace with wire to an external battery pack.
    What's the lumens on that?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  18. #18
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    What exactly is the problem that you have with it?
    Not to sound pompous, but it's est 300lumen output, it's not the caliber of something I would use in a build.

    I have a lot to learn before I attempt one, however I can't see me, personally, saving a lot of money over a canned solution. Just like the parts I quoted, it would still cost a lot regardless. For me it would be more for the fun and pride of building a current state of the art unit, using the latest equipment tech available.
    Last edited by ViperZ; 11-17-07 at 06:53 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    Not to sound pompous, but it's est 300lumen output, it's not the caliber of something I would use in a build.

    I have a lot to learn before I attempt one, however I can't see me, personally, saving a lot of money over a canned solution. Just like the parts I quoted, it would still cost a lot regardless. For me it would be more for the fun and pride of building a current state of the art unit, using the latest equipment tech available.
    That a ready solution flashlight you linked to; nothing to do with a build kit. It is a canned solution, and a cheap one.

  20. #20
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    That a ready solution flashlight you linked to; nothing to do with a build kit. It is a canned solution, and a cheap one.
    That's is my point, it's using the 3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator linked above for $28.27, I suspect it's not in the same league as the Wilma or 600L. Thus it's not for me.....

    You asked "What exactly is the problem that you have with it?"
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    That's is my point, it's using the 3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator linked above for $28.27, I suspect it's not in the same league as the Wilma or 600L. Thus it's not for me.....

    You asked "What exactly is the problem that you have with it?"
    I mean what in the link that you posted along with your comment makes you say that? It seems to have decent reviews considering the cost.

  22. #22
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    I mean what in the link that you posted along with your comment makes you say that? It seems to have decent reviews considering the cost.
    Somewhere in the link it states the expected lumens is about 300.... Thats not enough for me at this point.

    If I build something it's going to have to eclipse my current systems, as such will not be cheap (currently), I think.
    Last edited by ViperZ; 11-17-07 at 04:07 PM.
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  23. #23
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    About 10lm per dollar.... sounds pretty good.
    No its not in the same league as a dinotte or wilma (less than 2lm per dollar).

  24. #24
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    About 10lm per dollar.... sounds pretty good.
    No its not in the same league as a dinotte or wilma (less than 2lm per dollar).
    Case, battery, charger, straps, mounting, build time, having something tried and true....
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  25. #25
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    That's is my point, it's using the 3-LED Cree 3-Mode Regulator linked above for $28.27, I suspect it's not in the same league as the Wilma or 600L. Thus it's not for me.....

    You asked "What exactly is the problem that you have with it?"
    It says it's $44.97 here. That is still considerably less than the retail of ~ $170 for the 200L. Obviously won't be anywhere near the 600L. But 300L > 200L...

    Couldn't you just stack 2 x 300L flashlights = 600L?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperZ View Post
    Case, battery, charger, straps, mounting, build time, having something tried and true....
    I wasn't impressed with the mounting system that came with the 200L. My battery pack slides all over the top tube with the included 2x velcro straps. The small one and the big one are equally bad. I've accidentally hit the battery pouch once and spilled it all over the road with my new while getting out to sprint How hard would've it have been to have something that would securely attach the AA case to your bike?

    Batteries and charger - didn't really matter much to me. I picked up a 2500mah AA Energizer nimh's complete with charget at walmart for $27. (Since I got the "weekend" sale version of the light which did not include charger/battery).

    For $45, that dealextreme flashlight looks like a steal.
    Last edited by operator; 11-17-07 at 04:32 PM.
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