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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Fenix P3DQ5 as bike headlight?

    So Daylight Savings Time has really snuck up on me and I'm looking around for a quick headlight solution for my commuter until I build a DIY rig as I've seen posted around on sites like this one and MTBR. I'm thinking this might be a good excuse to buy a really nice flashlight to use for a temporary headlight (<$100). Specifically, I'm looking at the Fenix P3DQ5 as seen here.

    My commute is 8.5-10 miles riding at 16-24mph. Think this will do the trick for the time being? I'm thinking I'll probably have to use the 215 lumen turbo mode though I'm hoping to get away with the 120 lumen mode for the longer battery life. Fenix also sells a pretty universal looking bike mount that I'd get as well.

    I'm a complete n00b when it comes to bike headlights () but I love to play with DIY projects! TIA for your advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Holy lack of interest, Batman! Oh well... I was able to search out some good threads by searching "Fenix" so I got lots of info that way though. Found some very useful external links, too. Time to read, read, read....and then BUY!

  3. #3
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Get the Fenix. Just make sure to have a charging system.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. My Fenix lights are the best, most cost efficient thing I own for the bike.

    I went for the AA model.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Why the AA over the CR123? Convenience of battery supply? I don't currently use any rechargeable batt's so I'm open to the 123's. But, this might be a slippery slope into using rechargeables more than I currently do in which case the AA's might make more sense. Either way, I'll carry a spare set of non-rechargeables for back up of course.

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    If you're planning on riding any decent amount, you'd be silly not to use rechargeables. FWIW though, Li-ion rechargeables are available for CR123s. There are two kinds: (1) the standard 3.6 /cell kind, which people have reported works with the Fenix on turbo and high modes only, and (2) a 3.0 V version that uses some sort of built-in voltage regulator to drop the 3.6 V to 3.0. That kind works for all modes.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
    Boycott Wal-Mart, union-buster.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    I do certainly plan to use Lithium rechargeables. It's just a matter of AA vs. 123 at this point. Is a single 100-120 lumen Fenix enough to commute @ ~20mph on unlit 2-lane country roads? What about 180-200 lumen? I'm leaning towards the 123 batteries b/c of the smaller form factor and the better run-times/lumens as evidenced in the Fenix lights. My commute is ~30min one-way.

    Why on earth would the 3.6V not work on the low and med. modes for the Fenix? Doesn't make sense to me...

  7. #7
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    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9060 200 Lumens, get batteries and charger also,

    200 Lumens according to http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=3049 same light just more money

  8. #8
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    I got the AA model because I already had a AA charger set up and AA's are so readily available. We always have some around the house if I ever needed em.

    I use two of the L2D models. One on the helmet, one on the bike. They give me all the light I need at any speed. Even one on turbo would do the job at 20 mph. I love these lights, man.
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  9. #9
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshandlauri View Post
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9060 200 Lumens, get batteries and charger also,

    200 Lumens according to http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=3049 same light just more money
    burn time - 30 minutes.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I would get the p3d - q5 with 2 aw rcr123's batteries.. Make sure to buy the aw brand from fenix store, some other brand will not fit properly.
    here is a burn time chart for high & turbo mode

    high: http://lights.chevrofreak.com/runtim...20-%20high.png
    turbo: http://lights.chevrofreak.com/runtim...%20-%20max.png

    You can deduct about 10% burn time for the q5 models..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    UGH... Been trying to place my order with Fenix all day but they don't answer the phone. They aren't calling me back when I leave a message either. I'm using a discount code but the discount doesn't show up when I go to check out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    burn time - 30 minutes.
    Good thing my communte is 28 minutes, huh.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    CR123 have a very short run time compared to AA Ni-Mh. I get about 2.5 hous with my LD2 on turbo using Sanyo 2700 AAs. There is absolutely no advantage to CR123s, only disadvantages such as exploding batteries and shorter runtime.

  14. #14
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshandlauri View Post
    Good thing my communte is 28 minutes, huh.
    I'm not knocking it man. I'm sure it works fine for your purposes. I just thought I might point out that it is a major difference between the Fenix the OP mentioned and what you suggested.
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  15. #15
    Got another new bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    I'm not knocking it man. I'm sure it works fine for your purposes. I just thought I might point out that it is a major difference between the Fenix the OP mentioned and what you suggested.
    Its all good, Had I known a 30 minute run time, I probally wouldn't have bought it.

    Thanks
    Josh

  16. #16
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    CR123 have a very short run time compared to AA Ni-Mh. I get about 2.5 hous with my LD2 on turbo using Sanyo 2700 AAs. There is absolutely no advantage to CR123s, only disadvantages such as exploding batteries and shorter runtime.
    I don't think you're comparing apples to apples. You can't simply compare "turbo" to "turbo" without considering the #'s that comprise "turbo" for each. In one example, 2x AA's in a L2DQ5 will last for 10.5 hrs @ 53 Lumen where 2x 123 batteries in a P3DQ5 will last 13 hrs @ 53 Lumen as quoted by Fenix. Of course this comparison is still not perfect because I'm comparing two different flashlights - a perfect comparison would be comparing the two batteries' performance in the same flashlight but I'm not sure if that's possible.

    So I guess my point is that the apparent advantages of 123 batteries are longer burn times for the same brightness levels of AA's, higher brightness potential, and smaller form factor/lighter weight. Disadvantages would be $$ and that they're not common in most households though they are a common photo batt.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrell View Post
    I don't think you're comparing apples to apples. You can't simply compare "turbo" to "turbo" without considering the #'s that comprise "turbo" for each. In one example, 2x AA's in a L2DQ5 will last for 10.5 hrs @ 53 Lumen where 2x 123 batteries in a P3DQ5 will last 13 hrs @ 53 Lumen as quoted by Fenix. Of course this comparison is still not perfect because I'm comparing two different flashlights - a perfect comparison would be comparing the two batteries' performance in the same flashlight but I'm not sure if that's possible.

    So I guess my point is that the apparent advantages of 123 batteries are longer burn times for the same brightness levels of AA's, higher brightness potential, and smaller form factor/lighter weight. Disadvantages would be $$ and that they're not common in most households though they are a common photo batt.
    There are two prtoblems with your logic; the first being that 53 lumens isn't enough for the purposes of the bike commuter. The second is that you are comparing primary C123 cells (non-rechargeable)to rechargeable AA cells. Rechargeable CR123 cells have a much lower run time compared to primary C123 cells. Using primary cells in a Fenix for bicycle use is expensive and mighty wasteful.

    It seems for some reason you have your heart set on using CR123 cells. Do a search and see some of the comments of users. Then look at what AA users say.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    I'm not saying that 53 lumen is enough to commute on pitch dark roads by, I was just using that as an example for some kind of "constant" for comparison. And of course I'm going for rechargeables.

    Also, I didn't think I was comparing rechargeable to non-rechargeable...I was just using what Fenix has listed on their site for each.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrell View Post
    I'm not saying that 53 lumen is enough to commute on pitch dark roads by, I was just using that as an example for some kind of "constant" for comparison. And of course I'm going for rechargeables.

    Also, I didn't think I was comparing rechargeable to non-rechargeable...I was just using what Fenix has listed on their site for each.
    Do a little research at this site and the issue might become clearer for you. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...isplay.php?f=9

  20. #20
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    I'm not so much sold on one battery type over the other, I'm more concerned with the brightness levels and duration. It appeared to me that the 123 battery-powered flashy's yielded better brightness and decent duration times (for my use). I do see that there is some safety concern with the 123 batteries though. I guess what it all boils down to is how many lumen I will need for my purposes. Maybe you can lend me some advice there?

    My commute is ~30 minutes (10 miles) on pitch-dark 2-lane country roads (paved) and I generally ride at ~20mph. I haven't ridden in the dark yet since I don't have a suitable light but that's gonna change soon here.

  21. #21
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If you use the AW rcr123's rechargeables from fenix store, the safety issue is gone.. They have added a vent hole to these batteries which was a primary concern with other 123 batteries.. I have been using the fenix lights as a helmet and handlebar light for well over a year with no issues..

    The fenix store has a package deal for batteries and charger..

    you can get 1:20 in turbo mode with the aw-rcr123's. It goes to over 3 hours in high mode..

    http://lights.chevrofreak.com/runtim...%20-%20max.png
    http://lights.chevrofreak.com/runtim...20-%20high.png
    Last edited by socalrider; 03-11-08 at 09:36 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Is there a safety concern with CR123 primaries as well or only the rechargeables? I've only seen ppl take issue with the rechargeables...

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrell View Post
    I'm not so much sold on one battery type over the other, I'm more concerned with the brightness levels and duration. It appeared to me that the 123 battery-powered flashy's yielded better brightness and decent duration times (for my use). I do see that there is some safety concern with the 123 batteries though. I guess what it all boils down to is how many lumen I will need for my purposes. Maybe you can lend me some advice there?

    My commute is ~30 minutes (10 miles) on pitch-dark 2-lane country roads (paved) and I generally ride at ~20mph. I haven't ridden in the dark yet since I don't have a suitable light but that's gonna change soon here.
    You won't be able to tell a difference between 180 and 215 lumens. I use a LD2 on my helmet and one on my bars in the pitch dark. It's more than enough on country roads with no light. The places where you actually need more light is in the city where there is a lot of ambient light that floods out your bike light.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Alright, get your reading pants on because here comes a long-winded post...

    After seeing some good comparison shots, I think 180 lumen will be adequate for my needs so the advantage of 215 lumen with the P3DQ5 is moot. Therefore it all comes down to run-time and battery type. L2DQ5 wins the run-time battle but the battery fight is a tough one to call.

    NiMh AA batteries have advantages such as safe and easy charging (assuming you have a good charger) while it is important to check the voltage of Lithium-Ion batteries before and after charging to ensure safety. It is also recommended that you keep an eye on charging lithiums in case drama ensues. I want to be able to plug my batteries in to charge and go to sleep so they're ready for me when I wake up in the morning without fear that theyll catch fire or something. NiMh wins in that regard.

    One down-side to NiMh though is that they have memory effect and have significant power loss after 300 cycles or so when Lithium-Ion can handle 1000 cycles w/ no problem. In addition, NiMh will self-discharge pretty quickly if not used where Lithium Ion will self-discharge very slowly. In my case, I dont plan to leave the batteries to self-discharge for days at a time and the 300 cycles should last me a couple years. This argument is a win for Lithium-Ion but not a strong one in my case.

    So, after reading and contemplating and comparing and researching and wringing my hands, Im leaning toward the L2DQ5 using NiMh AAs instead of the P3DQ5 using Lithium-Ion RCR123As. When it comes down to it, the cost difference between an L2DQ5 and a P3DQ5 setup (light, mount, batteries, and charger) is negligible so its really about what kind of batteries I want to use and how long I want the batteries to last. In my case, Im thinking that NiMh AAs will do the trick though I believe Lithiums are the batteries of the future. Theyre just not developed enough yet I think.

    I have read that the key to NiMh battery longevity is to have a good charger and from what I've read, the La Crosse BC-900 is a good one. I'll probably get that (comes with some free batt's) from Thomas Distributing. Another side-benefit of the L2D is that I would be able to use the charger for the AAs and AAAs in my blinkies and other future AA or AAA-requiring purchases.

    Here's what I'm looking at cost-wise for my L2DQ5 set-up:
    L2DQ5 from Fenix - $57.50 shipped (CPF8 8% off coupon code)
    LockBlock from Fenix - $6.43 shipped (CPF8 8% off coupon code)
    La Crosse BC-900 plus Batt's from Thomas - $43.68 shipped
    Total: $107.61

    Link to some great flashlight comparison shots: http://ledmania.ceskyblog.cz/souhrn-...i/fotky-venku/
    La Crosse Charger on Thomas Dist.: http://www.thomas-distributing.com/l...ry_charger.php

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrell View Post
    Alright, get your reading pants on because here comes a long-winded post...

    After seeing some good comparison shots, I think 180 lumen will be adequate for my needs so the advantage of 215 lumen with the P3DQ5 is moot. Therefore it all comes down to run-time and battery type. L2DQ5 wins the run-time battle but the battery fight is a tough one to call.

    NiMh AA batteries have advantages such as safe and easy charging (assuming you have a good charger) while it is important to check the voltage of Lithium-Ion batteries before and after charging to ensure safety. It is also recommended that you keep an eye on charging lithiums in case drama ensues. I want to be able to plug my batteries in to charge and go to sleep so they're ready for me when I wake up in the morning without fear that theyll catch fire or something. NiMh wins in that regard.

    One down-side to NiMh though is that they have memory effect and have significant power loss after 300 cycles or so when Lithium-Ion can handle 1000 cycles w/ no problem. In addition, NiMh will self-discharge pretty quickly if not used where Lithium Ion will self-discharge very slowly. In my case, I dont plan to leave the batteries to self-discharge for days at a time and the 300 cycles should last me a couple years. This argument is a win for Lithium-Ion but not a strong one in my case.

    So, after reading and contemplating and comparing and researching and wringing my hands, Im leaning toward the L2DQ5 using NiMh AAs instead of the P3DQ5 using Lithium-Ion RCR123As. When it comes down to it, the cost difference between an L2DQ5 and a P3DQ5 setup (light, mount, batteries, and charger) is negligible so its really about what kind of batteries I want to use and how long I want the batteries to last. In my case, Im thinking that NiMh AAs will do the trick though I believe Lithiums are the batteries of the future. Theyre just not developed enough yet I think.

    I have read that the key to NiMh battery longevity is to have a good charger and from what I've read, the La Crosse BC-900 is a good one. I'll probably get that (comes with some free batt's) from Thomas Distributing. Another side-benefit of the L2D is that I would be able to use the charger for the AAs and AAAs in my blinkies and other future AA or AAA-requiring purchases.

    Here's what I'm looking at cost-wise for my L2DQ5 set-up:
    L2DQ5 from Fenix - $57.50 shipped (CPF8 8% off coupon code)
    LockBlock from Fenix - $6.43 shipped (CPF8 8% off coupon code)
    La Crosse BC-900 plus Batt's from Thomas - $43.68 shipped
    Total: $107.61

    Link to some great flashlight comparison shots: http://ledmania.ceskyblog.cz/souhrn-...i/fotky-venku/
    La Crosse Charger on Thomas Dist.: http://www.thomas-distributing.com/l...ry_charger.php
    Much of your information regarding batteruies is dead wrong. Ni-Mh will last for many more cycles than Li-ion. Plus AA Ni-Mh are dead cheap. You are really over thinking this.

    See the above site I gave you a link to and the following site for more info. Also check out the Maha C-9000 charger, it offers some nice features the LaCrosse doesn't have. http://www.batteryuniversity.com/

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