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Old 10-20-08, 12:45 PM   #1
sharkey00
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The Finalists: Ultra Fire, Fenix, P7

I am getting some kind of a bike light with a removable rechargeable battery. The question now is which one. My main problem is being unable to actually see an use these lights so I was hoping for some input from those that have used these lights as to which light would be best.

I am looking for something for short night rides (up to 1 hour round trip) in primarily suburban, well lit areas. I have gotten by with a cheapo LED for a while but have had a pothole or 2 sneak up on me so am looking for more light.

My main concern about the ultrafire is whether it puts out enough light.

The Fenix l2d seems like a solid choice but at 60 dollars I would be distinctly less pleased to find out it does not suit my needs. Also, if I go for 2 (which seems to be a prevailing setup around here) it is $120. Still cheap but no longer laughable like the ultrafire.

The p7 is a new consideration. Does anyone have an answer for its medium burn time and lumen output at medium? I know the question has been asked but I have not seen an answer. Basically the question is how does the P7 light output and runtime on medium compare to the fenix l2d on high? If I can get the same or more output for twice as long with the p7 on medium it seems like a no brainer.....

Also, any combinations of the above. Ex p7 + ultrafire to bring cost down. P7 + fenix for runtime/reliability and readily available AA setup. Fenix+ Ultrafire for beam pattern... ect.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 10-20-08, 01:36 PM   #2
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Med Burn time for my MTE P7 8mode was 7hours, High burn time was 75 minutes then dimmed

Med Mode


High Mode
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Old 10-20-08, 03:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sharkey00 View Post
The p7 is a new consideration. Does anyone have an answer for its medium burn time and lumen output at medium? I know the question has been asked but I have not seen an answer. Basically the question is how does the P7 light output and runtime on medium compare to the fenix l2d on high? If I can get the same or more output for twice as long with the p7 on medium it seems like a no brainer.....
The P7 on medium is brighter than the Fenix on high, while lasting several times longer and costing significantly less.
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Old 10-20-08, 04:34 PM   #4
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My P7 on medium is roughly equal to L2D on turbo, and then P7 high is much brighter than both.
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Old 10-20-08, 04:36 PM   #5
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As well, in a day or two I can tell you how 2 P7s compare to a P7 + an L2D.
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Old 10-20-08, 06:44 PM   #6
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As well, in a day or two I can tell you how 2 P7s compare to a P7 + an L2D.
Where on the web can you buy the P7s??

TIA
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Old 10-20-08, 06:50 PM   #7
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Where on the web can you buy the P7s??

TIA
http://www.dealextreme.com/search.dx/search.p7
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Old 10-20-08, 09:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by uke View Post
The P7 on medium is brighter than the Fenix on high, while lasting several times longer and costing significantly less.
And a cheap Q5 thrower on medium should easily outthrow a P7 on high while lasting several times longer, costing significantly less, and letting the rider see waayyyy down the road That might be a good combo, sharkey00, a P7 with a wide "fog light" beam plus an inexpensive thrower for a "driving light." You can adjust brightness levels to bias the throw/flood mixture to your liking, they both take the same batteries, and they're not likely to both run dead at once Another option is to helmet-mount the thrower, which can be really useful (especially if you have deer overrunning your commuting route like I do).

I know when I'm out on the highway, it's nice to have long-range lighting. Last night I had my DBS on my helmet, I aimed it up the road, and it illuminated a reflective road sign so far away, I decided to measure. It turned out to be 1.3 miles to the sign in question (pic below). And that's with the lower-throw textured reflector, not the smooth long-throw reflector


for road riding, throw is your friend

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-21-08 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:27 PM   #9
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I run 2 Fenix L2D lights on my road bike for early AM starts on 100+ miles rides where we ride about 2 hours in the dark. I also have a $20 Ultrafire Q5 on my commuter/comfort bike for 2 mile rides to/from work through well-lit neighborhoods. Road bike is about 18MPH sustained, commuter is only 12MPH and doesn't require nearly as much light.

Regarding the Fenix, I would say in Turbo mode it will be plenty bright for you. Running 2 on high mode, I still have cars occasionally flash their brights at me, and that is with the lights pointed down slightly. I used to think they put their brights on to see what in the world was this thing with a little tiny but bright light coming down the road, but after this last weekend, I now think they are trying to tell me my lights are too bright and maybe I need to aim them down some more, but then you loose some of the throw.

For runtime, I have tried Duracell 2650mAh and Sanyo 2700mAh batteries, and can only get 1hr 30min runtime out of the Fenix lights on turbo. Others on this forum claim 2hr runtime, but I just can't get that with my two L2D's. I can get around 3 hours on high, but have only ran them that long one time. So runtime on Turbo should be plenty for you.

One word of caution with the Fenix lights on high. First, to get to high mode you turn the light on in low mode, then click to Med and then click one more time to high mode. The Turbo mode works by turning the head assembly, and turbo mode is also the first setting when you push the tail-click. The problem I am having with the Fenix lights in high mode is that when I hit a good bump, they sometimes default back down to the first setting, which is low mode. In Turbo mode I never have a problem with the light readjusting to a different brightness level, as any large bump would just reset it back to the first mode, which is turbo.

I like to run in high mode instead of turbo, since I need over 1:30 of runtime, and this resetting bit is getting to be a pain in the rear. After my long ride last Friday, and having to adjust my lights at least ten times, I have decided that instead of running two Fenix lights on high, I will just run one Fenix at a time in Turbo mode, and when the one goes out, then I'll start up the other one. Heck, I may even sell one Fenix all together and get $50 back and I'll just bring spare batteries.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:49 PM   #10
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The battle between the Fenix vs P7 series is just really the battery / time.

An standard Fenix requires 2x AA
• Constant brightness: 109 Lumens
• 3.3-hour Runtime

A standard P7 requires 1x 18650 also 1hr on high (900 lumens) and same distance as the Fenix

i rather carry 3 x 18650, and have more light, than low light for 3 hr

the P7 on its low setting, can last twice as long, and still throw more light
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Old 10-20-08, 11:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by GTALuigi View Post
The battle between the Fenix vs P7 series is just really the battery / time.

An standard Fenix requires 2x AA
• Constant brightness: 109 Lumens
• 3.3-hour Runtime

A standard P7 requires 1x 18650 also 1hr on high (900 lumens) and same distance as the Fenix

i rather carry 3 x 18650, and have more light, than low light for 3 hr

the P7 on its low setting, can last twice as long, and still throw more light
To clarify the debate, I think mechBgon established in this thread that the P7s -- especially the cheapies that are 1 x 18650 -- aren't throwing 900 lumens. More like 450-500 lumens (which is still bright):

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I want to try a P7 light too but one thing that would be an issue, is the short runtime. The DiNotte 600L will do 3.5 hours at full power on one battery pack, then eases you down to LOW to get you home. Some of my round-trip commutes actually do get that long! What's the runtime on your P7 on HIGH, and is it holding full output through the whole run, or is it drifting down as it goes (as is the case with many 18650 lights)? Anyone here got a 2 x 18650 version to report on?

I also think your 700-lumen estimate might be a little optomistic LumaPower's high-end P7 light, the DX-1, is rated for only 600 lumens max, and that's driven at 2.4 amps from 2 x 18650, with a runtime of about 90 minutes (reference). The cheapie 1 x 18650 P7 lights appear to run about 1.8-2.0 amps (reference). So maybe 450-500 lumens max would be a more realistic guess? Because at 700 lumens sustained, I guestimate you'd suck an 18650 dry in 30 minutes.

Bottom line: at 600 lumens, a P7 flashlight pulls 10 watts. If you have one 18650 containing (3.5Vavg x 2.4aH) = 8.4 watt-hours, you can run at 600 lumens for 0.84 hours. If you're getting more runtime than that... you're not running 600 lumens.

That said, I'm all for large quantities of lumens at affordable prices!

Last edited by Blue Roads; 10-20-08 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 12:11 AM   #12
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To clarify the debate, I think mechBgon established in this thread that the P7s -- especially the cheapies that are 1 x 18650 -- aren't throwing 900 lumens. More like 450-500 lumens (which is still bright):
There is also the question of how much of the light is actually reaching the target. I saw a well-done review recently that included beamshots of a dual-P7 flashlight setup. What would that be, 1000 lumens? However, it appears to be underperforming compared to a system rated for ~700 lumens.


full review is at http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2440 , use your favorite translator

This is an example of why not to get too caught up in lumen ratings as an absolute measure of what's better or brighter. Beam pattern is a major factor. I realize we're talking low-budget here, not Seca 700s or Lupine Wilma 5s, so if the OP wants some options for cheap, one P7 flooder and one Q5 thrower, both powered by 18650 batteries, would be a low-risk proposition giving the strengths of both beam patterns (flood + throw) & runtime characteristics, without the complications of two battery types & chargers.

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Old 10-21-08, 05:52 AM   #13
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I only see one light in that pic for the P7?
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Old 10-21-08, 06:07 AM   #14
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Also, re:battery life. It kind of limits its use as a flashlight but tonight I'm modding mine to run off an external 6 x 18650 battery pack Good run times should be no problem.
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Old 10-21-08, 06:11 AM   #15
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The battle between the Fenix vs P7 series is just really the battery / time.

An standard Fenix requires 2x AA
Constant brightness: 109 Lumens
3.3-hour Runtime
Umm... the Fenix documentation says 180 lumens/2hrs (the current LD20 model, on Turbo).

The only major issue I have with the Fenix is the conical beam. Many of those 180 lumens go wasted because they're pointed up in the air, instead of forward or down. It's the same with other general flaslight designs (such as the P7). I've had oncoming traffic flash their lights to me even with a single Fenix. Anything with significantly more lumens, and I would really want to have a better shaped beam.

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Old 10-21-08, 01:40 PM   #16
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I only see one light in that pic for the P7?
The other P7 in that pic is at helmet level. Look at the bike's handlebar... notice that it's illuminated from behind & above in the dual-P7 shot.

Quote:
The only major issue I have with the Fenix is the conical beam. Many of those 180 lumens go wasted because they're pointed up in the air, instead of forward or down. It's the same with other general flaslight designs (such as the P7). I've had oncoming traffic flash their lights to me even with a single Fenix. Anything with significantly more lumens, and I would really want to have a better shaped beam.
It would be interesting to try putting a mirrored cutoff across part of the reflector, such as a strip of Mylar mirrored tape, to not only reduce the lift on the beam pattern, but also redirect that light back into the reflector to find its way out elsewhere. If I can find suitable material, I'll give it a try and report on the result The Fenix lights would not be very good candidates for that experiment, since their heads are bonded shut, but I have other lights to work with.

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-21-08 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 01:57 PM   #17
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Ah gotcha, at least the throw doesn't look as shameful as I thought it might.
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Old 10-21-08, 03:29 PM   #18
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Right now I am going to start with 1 fenix. I will then likely supplement with a p7 depending on how the fenix goes.

The reasons for going with the Fenix are:
-Durability/build quality- It will always be useful as a secondary reliable light. Hopefully will hold up to riding in the rain....
AA power source- 2 reasons for this preference. First, I already have 45 AA rechargeable batteries and a charger so no extra stuff to buy. AA are readily available. In a pinch you can find some AAs even in remote areas. Good luck finding a 18650.
-Redundancy- I will likely end up with 2 lights. Having 2 of different makes and styles reduces my chance of having both fail at the same time.

Trigger is not pulled yet but it probably will be soon. And if anyone knows of any key distinctions between the LD20, LD2T, L2D Q5 so on so forth please feel free to share
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Old 10-21-08, 03:57 PM   #19
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And if anyone knows of any key distinctions between the LD20, LD2T, L2D Q5 so on so forth please feel free to share
The LD20 is the revised L2D Q5. Light-wise, they'd be very similar or identical. The LD20 has an anti-roll body shape and a new tailcap shape. The L2T uses a lower-efficiency emitter in the same reflector, so it won't be as bright, and has fewer modes. The E20 is another 2AA model that combines a lower-efficiency emitter with a focus-adjustable head. Rain or snow won't be a problem.

If you're ordering from 4sevens.com, use the cpf8 discount code for an 8% discount on orders over $20.


If you later decide to helmet-mount your Fenix, one easy way is with some large O-rings, or even rubber bands.


side-mount and top-mount both work pretty well on my helmet

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-21-08 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:09 PM   #20
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This thread reminds me of my time in head-fi.org. The more time spent there, the more things you find to spend money on. Mech's recommendation for a cheap Q5 thrower has me wanting one of those now! Maybe I could mount about a half dozen of these suckers on my helmet.

While we are at it, which is better Mech, a Fenix L2D Q5 or this Smartfire?
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Last edited by daredevil; 10-21-08 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:21 PM   #21
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This thread reminds me of my time in head-fi.org. The more time spent there, the more things you find to spend money on. Mech's recommendation for a cheap Q5 thrower has me wanting one of those now! Maybe I could mount about a half dozen of these suckers on my helmet.

While we are at it, which is better Mech, a Fenix L2D Q5 or this Smartfire?
As usual, it would be a list of pros and cons. Fenix is lighter and more compact, great regulation guaranteed, has a mix of spill light and hotspot, and arrives in a few days, instead of a few weeks The SmartFire should have vastly more throw, almost twice the runtime on max output, and costs under $30, but the transition from spill to spot appears somewhat abrupt, plus you'd have to get 18650 batteries and charger.

I already have the king of all LED throwers (Dereelight DBS V2 with the 1S pill), but if I needed added throw for $30 I'd consider that SmartFire as a boost to your smaller 2AA lights. Aimed out 200 feet or more onto pavement, that tight little hotspot expands in a hurry

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-21-08 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:41 PM   #22
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The LD20 is the revised L2D Q5. Light-wise, they'd be very similar or identical. The LD20 has an anti-roll body shape and a new tailcap shape. The L2T uses a lower-efficiency emitter in the same reflector, so it won't be as bright, and has fewer modes. The E20 is another 2AA model that combines a lower-efficiency emitter with a focus-adjustable head. Rain or snow won't be a problem.

If you're ordering from 4sevens.com, use the cpf8 discount code for an 8% discount on orders over $20.


If you later decide to helmet-mount your Fenix, one easy way is with some large O-rings, or even rubber bands.

side-mount and top-mount both work pretty well on my helmet
I just checked out the stats on the LD20 vs the L2d. It looks like the LD20 has some minor, but potentially important, differences to its L2d predecessor.

On turbo the L2D says it is good for 2.4 hours. The LD20 says 2 hours. Most reports seem to indicate 2.4 hours is optimistic at best and most runtimes are just under 2 hours for the L2D. Perhaps they just have a more realistic assessment of the LD20....

All other modes put out a few less lumens per mode with all being reported minus 1 (6 modes only 5 reported).

I am going to go for the LD20 (assuming they made some worthwhile improvements on it).

Thanks for the code mechBgon. I was not going to order from there but I will now.
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Old 10-21-08, 09:27 PM   #23
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There is also the question of how much of the light is actually reaching the target. I saw a well-done review recently that included beamshots of a dual-P7 flashlight setup. What would that be, 1000 lumens? However, it appears to be underperforming compared to a system rated for ~700 lumens.


full review is at http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2440 , use your favorite translator
Darn! I just bought a Planet Bike Alias HID and have used it once. Now I click on your link and scroll down to the Lupine Tesla 4 output pic -- it's pretty sweet. That Hope Vision 4 LED is nice, too.

Didn't do enough homework as I might have picked up the Tesla or Hope instead, though I do like the wireless spec of the PB Alias HID. When running errands, it's nice to simply pop it off and take it with me.

Nice Seca P7 gif, good demo. Thanks.

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Old 10-22-08, 12:42 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
The other P7 in that pic is at helmet level. Look at the bike's handlebar... notice that it's illuminated from behind & above in the dual-P7 shot.



It would be interesting to try putting a mirrored cutoff across part of the reflector, such as a strip of Mylar mirrored tape, to not only reduce the lift on the beam pattern, but also redirect that light back into the reflector to find its way out elsewhere. If I can find suitable material, I'll give it a try and report on the result The Fenix lights would not be very good candidates for that experiment, since their heads are bonded shut, but I have other lights to work with.
how about some 3M high intensity reflective tape? double layer of them. (since I have leftovers)

I'm experimenting with a cutoff design for the P7 lights, any idea what kind of cutoff design would be good?
currently I'm trying out a trapezoid shape.
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Old 10-22-08, 01:31 AM   #25
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how about some 3M high intensity reflective tape? double layer of them. (since I have leftovers)

I'm experimenting with a cutoff design for the P7 lights, any idea what kind of cutoff design would be good?
currently I'm trying out a trapezoid shape.
I tried using some aluminum foil on the inside surface of the lens of my LumaPower MRV to see what happened. I also tried some retro-reflective tape, although I doubt that reflecting the cut-off light directly back to the emitter is as good as reflecting it onto the reflector.



A flat cutoff seems like it would be OK. Before-and-after photos don't show the rest of the beam getting brighter, unfortunately. Where I would find this useful, would be an area where I'm mixing with pedestrians and other cyclists at close range, such as an MUP (which I avoid).

Quote:
Darn! I just bought a Planet Bike Alias HID and have used it once. Now I click on your link and scroll down to the Lupine Tesla 4 output pic -- it's pretty sweet. That Hope Vision 4 LED is nice, too.

Didn't do enough homework as I might have picked up the Tesla or Hope instead, though I do like the wireless spec of the PB Alias HID. When running errands, it's nice to simply pop it off and take it with me.
I think it's an immutable law. Right after you buy something, you discover a better one has *just* come out.

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-22-08 at 01:34 AM.
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