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Old 10-18-08, 06:56 PM   #1
UberIM
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52 year old eyes

I will be 52 this month. Have been an avid commuter for almost 20 years.

The first real sign of aging has been the decline of my night vision; especially when it is raining ( I wear glasses and the splatter on my lenses refracts the light) and the wet road seems to engulf my 15W Planet Bike rechargeable light.

Has anyone else noticed this? Has anyone noticed that sometimes it is hard to decide which forum to post in?!?!?! Should this be in the 50+ forum?

I have been reading this electronics forum and am intrigued by the dealextreme flashlights.

How does one compare Watts with lumens? a 700 L light is the equivalent to __ Watt light?

I commute on backcountry roads with no road lamps. It is 1/2 hour each way (7 miles one way-if anyone is reading other fora they will notice that I ride faster than the police do who ride at 12 MPH :-)). This time of the year I commute in pitch blackness both ways and need a light to have at least an hour of run time on high. I guess I am looking for more lighting than even my 15W provides (in inclement,rainy weather especailly).

Do I need 700L 900 Lumen two of each? Don't want to spend a boat load of money.

Thanks,
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Old 10-18-08, 08:12 PM   #2
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Feels like one of my Planet Bike lights (10w) is always running out of juice. It's why I got the second one. I think I am going to get a LEd flashlight at Walmart
(they have one that's over 100 lumens) and see how that goes. I think a 100 lumens in addition to what you have would prob do it. But then I haven't tried it
yet...
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Old 10-19-08, 08:11 AM   #3
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Have you seen an opthamolgist? Any sudden decline in vision should be addressed ASAP by a physician. 52 is way too early to start going blind!




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Originally Posted by UberIM View Post
I will be 52 this month. Have been an avid commuter for almost 20 years.

The first real sign of aging has been the decline of my night vision; especially when it is raining ( I wear glasses and the splatter on my lenses refracts the light) and the wet road seems to engulf my 15W Planet Bike rechargeable light.

Thanks,
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Old 10-19-08, 08:22 AM   #4
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I have been reading this electronics forum and am intrigued by the dealextreme flashlights.

How does one compare Watts with lumens? a 700 L light is the equivalent to __ Watt light?
I don't know the answer to your question but I can tell you that most 200 lumen flashlights will blow away your PB 15W. Especially if you get a pair, one for the helmet and one on the bar and they will still be cheaper than what you gave for the PB.

Research the DealExtreme or Fenix flashlights for a cheap lighting solution.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:49 AM   #5
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Have you seen an opthamolgist? Any sudden decline in vision should be addressed ASAP by a physician. 52 is way too early to start going blind!
Thanks for the suggestion and advice and concern. I may have overstated it: I am going through what is considered normal aging of vision (have seen the ophthalmologist for a routine refraction and we discussed my issue and I had a full dilated exam)-just like other aspects of being over 50-not always remembering names, prostate probs, and yes night vision diminishes as we age. Plus, my reaction time has lengthened and my concern about injury has increased (a bike spill at this age means more likelihood of injury and a lengthened recovery time). I just need to invest in better lighting. What worked even a couple of years ago doesn't work as well anymore. I guess I am smarter and a tad less physically able (though still keep up with the youngins at work and mostly at play).......

I will invest in some of those flashlight thingys but am not sure which one to get and which charger, battery combo-I feel like I need to be an electrical engineer to order correctly.

Thanks again everyone
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Old 10-19-08, 11:35 AM   #6
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Expect an even bigger drop in visibility from a white LED light in the wet. I'm not saying you won't find a LED light that ends up better than the halogen, but it will need to be much brighter to start with to be a little brighter in the wet stuff. Wet pavement just really kills the narrow bluish spectrum that LED headlights put out.

I've wondered how Dinotte's orange daytime light would perform in the rain.

How many lumens, watts or whatever of LED you need to equal or best a 15 watt halogen under different conditions, I have no idea.

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Old 10-19-08, 05:57 PM   #7
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I have experience with LED bike lights as well as HID and halogen lights and I would recommend going with LED. I haven't used any of the LED flashlights that are recommended around here, but they seem a very good option for a low cost. The LED lights I own have many dimming options so I have experimented with this under different circumstances. I have found that for road riding 400+ lumens is a good amount to aim for. I have tested my LED bike lights anywhere from a very low 12 lumens up to over 2,000 lumens at various setting in between. I wanted very bright lights for myself b/c i do a lot of trail riding, but For the most part on the road I run at around 500 lumens which seem to be plenty bright for any situation. Cars will notice you and you will be able to see the road in detail at 400 lumens and above.

I don't know what you are willing to spend, but for cycling specific lights I would suggest looking into the Dinotte 400L, Cygolite TridenX, Light & Motion Seca 400 LED, Nitrider trinewt, or any bike light that puts out 400 lumens or above. The Dinotte is nice b/c they include a 2nd battery. There are some some good threads on here in regards to going with the flashlight route so you should read up on those to get a better handle on them.

In response to late's post, I have one of those walmart LED flashlights that you may be referring to. It is a Coleman and it uses 2 aa batteries and claims 115 lumens. It is very useful for a small flashlight, but it is too weak to be of much use as a bike light in my opinion even as a supplement to the lights you already own.
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Old 10-19-08, 08:13 PM   #8
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I used to have a lot more difficulty driving in the rain than I do now. The water was on the windshield instead of my glasses lenses but the effect was the same. Getting an anti-glare coating on my lenses improved my night vision dramatically, especially in the rain.

As far as cycling, the optometric technician whose brother happened to be a professional cyclist, recommended yellow lenses for maximum night brightness. I used to use a clear lense and the yellow is much better. Give it a try. I have optical inserts so that having different color lenses is inexpensive. You could accomplish the same thing, at least I think you can, by wearing yellow safety glasses over your regular glasses.
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Old 10-20-08, 04:29 AM   #9
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None of your questions are easy. One of the things to remember is that the ultimate comparison of two light systems is your eye, under your usage conditions.

Engineering terms about lighting are actually precise, but they aren't always used precisely. It hurts clarity again when the terms are similar to plain English, and non-engineers naturally assume they understand the term the way a lighting expert does. It just makes things harder to understand.

"Lumen" is a measure of total light output in the visible range. "Watts" is strictly a measure of power, defined as the rate of energy flow. Power is significant in lights in relation to the optical energy that comes out of a light, both visible and non-visible, and in terms of the electrical energy that is put into the light source (bulb, HID, LED, et cetera) to generate the light.

What helps you see is the intensity of light delivered to the area of interest, ahead of the bike. A certain amount of lumens can be delivered to a very narrow area, creating a very intense illumination, and effective within that narrow beam at a long distance. But if the light coverage is not wide enough, you might not see kids or animals entering your path soon enough to respond. So the light distribution is important. Flashlights aren't all designed for good (from a cycling point of view) light distribution. Headlights fixed on your bike need brightness, range, lateral coverage, and vertical coverage. It's not always enough to see a pedestrian 100 feet away and not be able to see the presence of a pothole 20 feet away.

Another issue is preventing glare. Many bike lights are using the same LEDs that are now used for automotive headlights (yes, some cars have gone this way). These can be uncomfortably bright if you're too close to one, and it can cause car drivers problems. One may say, well that's the driver's problem, but fact is, automotive light design has very stringent requirements for the purpose of preventing glare. One can argue about how effective it is, but it's very real.

There's also the need to place light where you want it when you want it. This is what the head-mounted light is for. This should be a pencil beam, but I find the image of a moving point of light distracting all by itself.

It's not a simple problem. Your (mine, too, BTW) eye issues are just another complex layer on top of all this purely technical stuff.

I don't have a good solution. So far I don't commute, it's 25 miles one way, and my night riding is usually in the city where there are other lights that help with illumination.

Road Fan
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Old 10-20-08, 06:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
None of your questions are easy. One of the things to remember is that the ultimate comparison of two light systems is your eye, under your usage conditions.

Engineering terms about lighting are actually precise, but they aren't always used precisely. It hurts clarity again when the terms are similar to plain English, and non-engineers naturally assume they understand the term the way a lighting expert does. It just makes things harder to understand.

"Lumen" is a measure of total light output in the visible range. "Watts" is strictly a measure of power, defined as the rate of energy flow. Power is significant in lights in relation to the optical energy that comes out of a light, both visible and non-visible, and in terms of the electrical energy that is put into the light source (bulb, HID, LED, et cetera) to generate the light.

What helps you see is the intensity of light delivered to the area of interest, ahead of the bike. A certain amount of lumens can be delivered to a very narrow area, creating a very intense illumination, and effective within that narrow beam at a long distance. But if the light coverage is not wide enough, you might not see kids or animals entering your path soon enough to respond. So the light distribution is important. Flashlights aren't all designed for good (from a cycling point of view) light distribution. Headlights fixed on your bike need brightness, range, lateral coverage, and vertical coverage. It's not always enough to see a pedestrian 100 feet away and not be able to see the presence of a pothole 20 feet away.

Another issue is preventing glare. Many bike lights are using the same LEDs that are now used for automotive headlights (yes, some cars have gone this way). These can be uncomfortably bright if you're too close to one, and it can cause car drivers problems. One may say, well that's the driver's problem, but fact is, automotive light design has very stringent requirements for the purpose of preventing glare. One can argue about how effective it is, but it's very real.

There's also the need to place light where you want it when you want it. This is what the head-mounted light is for. This should be a pencil beam, but I find the image of a moving point of light distracting all by itself.

It's not a simple problem. Your (mine, too, BTW) eye issues are just another complex layer on top of all this purely technical stuff.

I don't have a good solution. So far I don't commute, it's 25 miles one way, and my night riding is usually in the city where there are other lights that help with illumination.

Road Fan
Thanks for your thoughtful response. What you say makes sense and others input helps.
I may try the yellow lenses-I use rose colored glasses for skiing and they help in the flat light of our New England afternoons on the slopes.

I guess the obvious applies for me: MORE LIGHTING. 15W lights used to cut it. Now they don't when I am cranking along or riding in the rain (the real problem). I will try one of those Deal extreme flashlights and if that helps may get one for my helmet. Or just lay down the big bucks for a Dinotte or something similar. Luckily I have the disposable income to be able to spend on stuff. What I find amusing is that the money I save in gas goes directly to gear. Yes, no oil is spilled while riding but I would like to be more economical (hard to be safe and ride all year round in Maine and not spend some money on bike stuff and clothing-though there is overlap between ski clothing and cycling attire).

Thanks again
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Old 10-20-08, 03:45 PM   #11
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I would say the answer is more light, but not in the wrong directions.
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Old 10-21-08, 06:49 PM   #12
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Here is a link http://www.nordicgroup.us/s78/wattslumens.html to a table that gives an idea of the lumens to watts for some bulbs. As Roadfan said there isn't really a direct lumens to watts conversion but making some assumptions gives you an approximation.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:48 AM   #13
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UberIM:

I regret to say that I'm over 50 as well. IMO its difficult to have too much light as we get older. I was running a handlebar mounted HID and 20W halogen overvolted at 13.2 for my helmet and liked it. I tried a 35watter and loved it!

I ride a suburban area with widely varying ambient lighting conditions. In pitch dark, the HID is all I need until it rains. As I ride through areas with lots of ambient lighting the HID gets a bit washed out and I'm less comfortable in seeing/anticipating stuff. When it rains or the street gets wet from heavy dew all bets are off and I absolutely prefer the greater lighting. Note that I have not had the opportunity to ride with the 35w set up in rainy conditions. Depending on my route my speeds vary from a low of 15 to the high 30's.

The helmet light is effective in getting side traffic to notice me and allows me to see while making turns. Once I tried the handlebar/helmet combo I never went back. As the years go by I keep gravitating toward brighter and brighter lights.

On another note, the best bang fo the buck on a handlebar mounted system is still an overvolted halogen set up. Also, most folks have noted that halogen lights provide better depth perception. An easy and affordable halogen system may be purchased at batteryspace.

On the head weight becomes an issue and I would be looking at LED's. Fenix makes nice flashlights and there are some creative, albeit, odd looking methods of attaching them to your helmet. Dinotte makes some good, lightweight helmet mountable systems that you may want to check out.
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Old 10-22-08, 10:24 AM   #14
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I used to use a 15w Halogen, overvolted by a L-ion lap-top battery pack. This worked out pretty well but HEAVY and inefficient. I really didn't like the way Halogen sucks back the amps in the first couple of minutes of use; to get up to oven-temperature. Heat issues kept me from helmet mounting!

I recently got a DX Trustfire 801 Q5 - 230 Lumen flashlight with the L-ion batts and charger and couldn't be happier. This one little flashlight on my helmet works at least as well as the Halogen. This particular light has really good spill - better than the Halogen, but doesn't throw quite as far. I'm thinking of combining it with another Q5 with 'thower optics'....this will be far superior to the Halogen!

On the topic of eyes, my eye doctor told me recently that the majority of men in their 40's (like me) will experience a decline in eye-sight. I use yellow tinted glasses at night with good results too.

In conclusion, the latest LED's rock in terms of size/weight, price AND performance. A claimed 230 Lumens with ideal optics seems adequate to me but 400+ should be fantastic

FYI- Light/Batts/Charger arrived at my door (small-town Ontario) from DX ten days after ordering and came to around $40 total.

TM

Last edited by thermopickerol; 10-22-08 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 10-22-08, 10:35 AM   #15
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....should add that my night-time commute goes 10k along a poor river-road with no street lamps and I don't have to slow down. The DX Trustfire 801 Q5 is 'that' good. 2.5 hours ++ per battery seems great too.

TM
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