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Thread: LED vs.HID

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    LED vs.HID

    my lbs is doing a light demo next week- they've got some great pricing on
    lights and I'm trying to figure out which way to go and have narrowed it down to a couple of
    different lights. one is a 400 lumens LED the other is a 900 lumens HID. the primary use
    is going to be for commuting- half of my commute i rail trail (very dark) the other is city
    which do you think is more durable? which is a better value since both are basically the same price?
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    Kinda hard to comment not knowing what the specific lights are.

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    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    what is the price range, I'm sure we are looking at lights from 300-500..

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    the lights are the light and motion Seca 400 and the niterider slickrock 900
    the pricing on the slickrock is $315 and the seca 400 is $325
    is one heavier than the other or more durable or which is the better value
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    The Niterider claims 900 'measured' lumens...which on it's face looks like the better value for the money, even if it's output turns out to be somewhat less than claimed.

    But you can also spend less than a hundred bucks on a magicshine light, touted at 900 lumens, but effectively probably only 4-500.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    I like the brightness of my HID light, but it's all or nothing, and I like to be able to dim my light, so a high powered/multi setting LED light is going to be my next bicycle lighting purchase.

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    here are the specs on the niterider slickrock

    FEATURES
    2 Modes - High/Low
    Next Generation HID Technology
    2:30 HR Charge Time
    920 Lumens
    Increased Bulb Durability
    2:15 - 3:30 HR Run Time
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshaped View Post
    here are the specs on the niterider slickrock
    In this day and age...the Age of Magicshine...paying $300+ for a light is just not cost effective. Buy 3 MS for the same price and use 2 on the bars and one on the helmet. You'll have more flexibility if something should go wrong with one and you'll put out more light in the end.

    Alternatively, you can build a overvolted halogen (you all knew I was going there) that puts out more light than the HID for less money that still has a very reasonable run time. Again, $300 will build 3 heads that will pump out around 4500 lumens or 5 times as much as the HID. The system is heavier than the LED but it is much more powerful.
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    Never owned one, and not sure how long the bulbs last, but the HIDs seem to have very high prices for replacement bulbs.

    The Magicshine appears to be a best buy for LED lights and things such as the battery pack are much more reasonably priced than replacement packs I have priced for the name brand lights.
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    I have a 13W HID, but it's several years old and they dim over time, so it's actually only about as bright as my Magicshine LED.

    Personally, I feel that the Magicshine is as bright as anything I need, and given two lights that both put out enough light, I'd pick the LED every time. HIDs start up slow, if they extinguish for some reason (hard bumps sometimes do it to me, probably because of the switch breaking contact), you have to turn them off then back on again and they take time to ramp up to full brightness.

    At least, that's how mine works; it takes about 30 seconds to ramp up to full brightness. And while I guess some HIDs have multiple power settings, mine doesn't.

    None of them have flash modes.

    LEDs are more efficient, I think. My HID pumps out a lot more heat than my LED anyway, and more heat = less efficiency. Plus it has a much larger battery and no more runtime.

    Given all that, unless you really need more light than an LED can deliver, I don't think there's any reason to go with HID. Even if you do, I'd probably go with multiple LEDs before I went to HID at this point.
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    To the makers of the Magicshine light...please note that I derailed this thread in your direction first.
    SHOW ME THE MONEY!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I have a 13W HID, but it's several years old and they dim over time, so it's actually only about as bright as my Magicshine LED.

    Personally, I feel that the Magicshine is as bright as anything I need, and given two lights that both put out enough light, I'd pick the LED every time. HIDs start up slow, if they extinguish for some reason (hard bumps sometimes do it to me, probably because of the switch breaking contact), you have to turn them off then back on again and they take time to ramp up to full brightness.

    At least, that's how mine works; it takes about 30 seconds to ramp up to full brightness. And while I guess some HIDs have multiple power settings, mine doesn't.

    None of them have flash modes.

    LEDs are more efficient, I think. My HID pumps out a lot more heat than my LED anyway, and more heat = less efficiency. Plus it has a much larger battery and no more runtime.

    Given all that, unless you really need more light than an LED can deliver, I don't think there's any reason to go with HID. Even if you do, I'd probably go with multiple LEDs before I went to HID at this point.
    I have a gift card for the lbs that I was going to purchase this at which is why i am comparing the two.
    i've read alot about the magicshine-the price is great but i'm concerned about quality. i can't help but think why would the ms be $90 when similar lights are 5 times the price.
    the owner of the shop said that the slickrock is a better value and since it's a new generation of HID its tougher and has 2 settings. he does like LED lights though
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    I would still buy something else for $350 (as in other bike equipment for the bike and not another light from your LBS)

    If you wait till Dinotte has a sale you can get their 600L +400L combo for about $379 which is as high of quality as NR and L&M and has better customer service, and cheaper batteries for long-term cost effectiveness.

    http://store.dinottelighting.com/sha...unt2=564796090

    I like NR and have had some of their lights, but Dinotte can't be beat if you want both value and quality. the MS (which I also own) wins the value contest hands down,... its just that the quality aspect has yet to prove out. Packaging of the battery is fine for what it costs, but if you want a high end light, the MS is not it in terms of fit and finish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lshaped View Post
    i've read alot about the magicshine-the price is great but i'm concerned about quality. i can't help but think why would the ms be $90 when similar lights are 5 times the price.
    I think it's simply that the big names CAN charge that much, because there are so many people thinking as you are, that there must be something wrong with the MS.

    Take a look at the Lupine Tesla 4. It uses the same LED as the MS, and looks almost identical, but costs 6x more. There's simply nothing that can possibly justify nearly $500 for a P7 driver (which cost about $20 even in single quantities), a driver circuit (most cost about $5, so even if you figure that they're buying REALLY GOOD ones, say $15), a set of LiIon 18650 cells (even if they're buying Japanese cells, they're still like $10 each, so figure $40) and a charger (maybe $20 if they go all-out). Be generous and allot them another $40 for small-run CNC machining on the case, and a hand-stitched snakeskin battery holder. What are you up to, $95? And that's what it would cost ME to buy high-end components in SINGLE QUANTITY and pay for some assembly time. Honestly I'd be surprised if the Lupine costs them more than about $60 to build, no matter how good components they're buying.

    They're charging $480 because PEOPLE WILL PAY IT, not because they simply can't make a quality product any cheaper. If they were building MP3 players, an iPod would cost $2000.

    It's not hard to believe that a Chinese manufacturer, which is right at the source for all this stuff and has cheap labor for machining and assembly, can put this together for maybe $35, sell it to distribution for $50 or so, and it can be retailed for $85 or so.
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    ....but if you want a high end light, the MS is not it in terms of fit and finish
    I have to agree (I have two MS lights), but they are not that far off from getting it all correct.

    Magishine needs

    1) Better cable configuraton (shorter cables with an extension cord for helmet users)
    2) Better battery bag ( an extra velcro strap for securing battery to headtube or downtube, adding a thin neoprene pad between batteries and bike frame tube and getting rid of the little plastic buckles
    3) A better beam pattern-mine seems like the reflector is bouncing a small amount of light to areas that shouldn't be getting light, like out to the sides way too far.
    4) Get rid of the SOS flashing mode and the seizure inducing flashing mode and replace with one normal flash mode

    These things wouldn't be that hard to do and the price can stand a small price bump if thats what it takes.

    Overall though, the MS is a great value though

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    Quote Originally Posted by love2pedal.com View Post
    I have to agree (I have two MS lights), but they are not that far off from getting it all correct.

    Magishine needs

    1) Better cable configuraton (shorter cables with an extension cord for helmet users)
    2) Better battery bag ( an extra Velcro strap for securing battery to headtube or downtube, adding a thin neoprene pad between batteries and bike frame tube and getting rid of the little plastic buckles
    3) A better beam pattern-mine seems like the reflector is bouncing a small amount of light to areas that shouldn't be getting light, like out to the sides way too far.
    4) Get rid of the SOS flashing mode and the seizure inducing flashing mode and replace with one normal flash mode

    These things wouldn't be that hard to do and the price can stand a small price bump if thats what it takes.

    Overall though, the MS is a great value though
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    I have a NR, Dinotte, and MS currently. The MS hands down the best value for the $. Its bright, the light head is super nice but NOT perfect nor as waterproof as I would like to see, and priced where anyone can get to it.

    IMHO, if someone can confirm that the Dinotte batteries will work with this I would just buy some 2-cell spares from Dinotte and re-wire the head to match the cord on the Dinotte battery. The Battery is really my biggest gripe, that and the stupid flash modes. I was lucky and got one of the 3-mode ones which works good by me.

    This light is going to put a huge crimp in the DIY'ers on CPF and MTBR and once the word really gets out, probably bite into NR/L&M/Lupine/Cygolite market share.

    Seriously, if people know about his light, who in their right mind would buy a ~90 lumen NR P4 Minewt USB for $120 when you can have a ~500 lumen MS for $90?

    Well engineered P7's IMHO just about killed HID's from the bike market. HID's made sense when you only had multi-P4 LED based light engines and wanted a smaller form factor. But with good P7's out there, HIDs are silly: ramp up time + shorter run times + typically larger batteries + more fragile bulb + reduced performance over the life of the bulb = an inferior light to LED based on current technology for either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post

    LEDs are more efficient, I think. My HID pumps out a lot more heat than my LED anyway, and more heat = less efficiency. Plus it has a much larger battery and no more runtime.
    That depends on the quality of the LED. Some are more efficient than others depending on the "bin" that the manufacturer is willing to splurge for.

    HIDs are VERY efficient but they involve tricky electronics to "ignite" the band of plasma that runs through the bulb. If you turn it off, you may have to wait a while before it will turn back on. And of course ... they are not dimmable. And ... if you break a bulb, you're out $100.

    LEDs are also very efficient depending on the bin. They do not "break". Manufacturers tend to charge "per lumen" so in many cases they are more expensive than they should be. Think about it, if the emitter of an LED costs half as much along with the simpler electronics, why are HIDs and LEDs comparatively priced? Hence, the homebrew crowd can put together killer LED rigs for a much lower price. The most expensive part is the battery.

    The safe bet is to buy the LED. It will never need a replaecement bulb. But look around a little. DO check out Dinotte as their packages tend to put out the best lumen for the buck.

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    HIDs are now strictly 1/2-price bargain bin material.

    Which is where I got the one I am using right now.

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    I have an L&M ARC NiMh... I would maybe go LED if I were going to replace lights now, but it takes a reasonably expensive LED to cover the same lighting needs. The reflector design has a lot to do with how a light performs, and the L&M reflector when I was shopping was head and shoulders above what other folks were offering.

    One aspect of their model that I kind of dig (now that I'm looking into what's going on in the marketplace) is that they retain the design of their battery to light interface, and offer newer lights in a package titled xxx-upgrade. i.e. if you buy the L&M, you get a good charger and battery that you can add an additional light head to when the new "latest and greatest" comes around.

    If you have a long commute, the HID is worth it. If you have a lot of turning the light on and off, it's not such a great thing, as HID ballasts are burned out by the on-off cycles: if you are turning it on once for a three hour ride, it's a good deal. If you are turning it on and off for a half hour trip, you are rapidly going to be replacing a very expensive bulb.

    FWIW, I also have a cheapo cateye blinky, as well as a cygolite dualcross 300. The blinky is in case the ARC runs out of batteries, and the cygolite is for running errands where I want to see, and am stopping and starting repeatedly.
    Last edited by superslomo; 11-05-09 at 02:38 PM. Reason: additional thoughts
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo View Post
    I have an L&M ARC NiMh... I would maybe go LED if I were going to replace lights now, but it takes a reasonably expensive LED to cover the same lighting needs. The reflector design has a lot to do with how a light performs, and the L&M reflector when I was shopping was head and shoulders above what other folks were offering.

    One aspect of their model that I kind of dig (now that I'm looking into what's going on in the marketplace) is that they retain the design of their battery to light interface, and offer newer lights in a package titled xxx-upgrade. i.e. if you buy the L&M, you get a good charger and battery that you can add an additional light head to when the new "latest and greatest" comes around.

    If you have a long commute, the HID is worth it. If you have a lot of turning the light on and off, it's not such a great thing, as HID ballasts are burned out by the on-off cycles: if you are turning it on once for a three hour ride, it's a good deal. If you are turning it on and off for a half hour trip, you are rapidly going to be replacing a very expensive bulb.

    FWIW, I also have a cheapo cateye blinky, as well as a cygolite dualcross 300. The blinky is in case the ARC runs out of batteries, and the cygolite is for running errands where I want to see, and am stopping and starting repeatedly.
    I ended up going with the niterider slickrock 900- my commute is 22 miles each way and it lights up the
    trail/backroads where i ride like it's a convention center. i got a really good price on it ($200) and at the demo i noticed that a good LED light that threw the same amount of light was more than twice the price.
    it has a decent 2 year warranty on the bulb and since i won't be turning it on and off i figure it's a good value.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshaped View Post
    I ended up going with the niterider slickrock 900- my commute is 22 miles each way and it lights up the
    trail/backroads where i ride like it's a convention center. i got a really good price on it ($200) and at the demo i noticed that a good LED light that threw the same amount of light was more than twice the price.
    it has a decent 2 year warranty on the bulb and since i won't be turning it on and off i figure it's a good value.
    $200 with a 2yr warranty is fine, and if you had gift cards, then it was probably worth it.

    i'd like to point out the comments about charging $500 for a $100 light are probably right. You charge what hte market will bear.
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  23. #23
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    BTW, now that I've actually seen the ultra-fast flash mode, I actually like it. The slower flash mode was very distracting, the fast flash mode is constant enough to not disorient, but flashing enough to draw attention. IMO the ON OFF ON OFF at 3 hz, with the light on high, was like getting poked in the eye every time it switched on.

    Now all I need to do is to find someone who wants to trade an old lighthead with long cord for a new one.
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    I did a night ride the other evening and came across 3 older riders who had yellow HID helmet lights that were 2-3 years old per them.

    It was kind of sad in that my measly $28 Terralux 2xAA flashlight had a better color, brightness, and equal spill as their light. And I even had a 2nd one on my bars to their single one.

    They told me their light costed over $200 (2 years ago) - and the helmet mount alone was close to $30. My helmet flashlight was stably mounted with a rubber band (to their horror.)

    So my primary light costed less than their helmet mount. Yikes.

    HIDs can't compete anymore, unfortunately.
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