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Old 11-18-09, 10:48 AM   #1
SlimAgainSoon
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Shopping for a taillight

My Ultrafire red taillight has disappeared.

Theft or, uh, self-liberation while on a ride, I don't know.

So I'm shopping for a replacement for a steady (not-blinking) red light out back (I already have a PB Superflash on my seat and on my helmet).

Recommendations?
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Old 11-18-09, 12:36 PM   #2
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http://vetta.com/product_show.asp?ptype=whole&id=60

4-AA's and 20 LED's. The only thing brighter is a Dinotte.
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Old 11-18-09, 02:47 PM   #3
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Interesting. I've never seen one of those Vettas before.
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Old 11-18-09, 10:42 PM   #4
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The PB Superflash is a great light. Nothing wrong with it at all.

But now that I've tried it, I have to hand the blinkie champion light to the new Mars 4.0. Comparison:
- $19.99 Mars vs $25 PBSF
- Brighter (at a mild hit to the battery life)
- Side light emitters
- The MARS 4.0 is as small, light, comes with mounting hardware, and no-tool (coin) open like the PBSF

But if you've got a PBSF, there's no reason for you to upgrade to the Mars 4.0; I think it's better, but not so much better that you should replcae a great light.

(PS - Do NOT get the MARS 3.0. It has 5 small screws that require a micro screwdriver just to open the case. As a blinkie, it's great, but it loses big time on this aspect.)
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Old 11-18-09, 11:59 PM   #5
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I see on the website, that "New for 2010", the Mars 3.0 includes a "tool free case".
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Old 11-19-09, 12:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
http://vetta.com/product_show.asp?ptype=whole&id=60

4-AA's and 20 LED's. The only thing brighter is a Dinotte.
Vetta on Left PBSF on Right




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Old 11-19-09, 09:51 PM   #7
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http://vetta.com/product_show.asp?ptype=whole&id=604-AA's and 20 LED's. The only thing brighter is a Dinotte.
The Ultrafire 501 and the Dinotte 140 are about equal, the Ultrafire a narrower beam with throw, the Dinotte wider and floody. Each is brighter than this Vetta.

The Vetta is significantly brighter than the Planet Bike Superflash and at Vetta's closeout price of about $25 it is quite a good deal (though the Ultrafire 501 is still a bit less).

I think Vetta came oh-so-close to an excellent midpriced tail light:
  1. It is quite a large illuminated area, easier to see at a distance.
  2. Reasonably visible from the side (better that the Ultrafire unless pointed down on the street).
  3. Long run time on standard AA batteries. Some object to the size of the pack, but you have to choose 2: bright, long run time, or small pack of standard batteries.
  4. Reasonably waterproof, I'm told.
Unfortuately Vetta missed being excellent by:
  1. Flash rate only about 1.2 Hz AND the flash is at the LOW light setting (maybe the were trying for a run time record). Flashing should be the most attention getting setting so it should be the high light setting and in the 2-4 Hz range per some research on flash rates for highway light visibility.
  2. No reverse polarity protection per a post here on BikeForums. Put the batteries in backwards (easier than it should be because the raised black + and - are not that large and do not show up well against the rest of the same black plastic) and the electronics are destroyed. Edit: The BF thread is "warning for vetta tsl-c owners".

I get good use of my Vetta's by:
  1. Running them on steady high light setting and use another light in flashing mode (Ultrafire with flashing dropin, PB Superflash, or Dinotte 140).
  2. Put white label tape with a large + and - to identify the correct way batteries must go in.

Last edited by Giro; 11-19-09 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 11-20-09, 10:08 AM   #8
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Didn't I read that there may be a tail light coming out based on the Magic Shine type LED? Is Geoman working on this? I'll hold off buying a tail light if it's imminent...

That would be great!
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Old 11-20-09, 01:26 PM   #9
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Vetta on Left PBSF on Right




Bet you were glad for those super bright lights, what with all the heavy traffic whooshing past you.
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Old 11-20-09, 01:33 PM   #10
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Bet you were glad for those super bright lights, what with all the heavy traffic whooshing past you.
We do ride with traffic:
http://s256.photobucket.com/albums/h...view=slideshow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNL16...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgPlc...eature=related
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Old 11-20-09, 03:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
My Ultrafire red taillight has disappeared.

Theft or, uh, self-liberation while on a ride, I don't know.
Any idea what failed on that great mount you had? Did the light just disappear from the clampy thing or did the mount itself go on walkabout? Taking a second look at it, I am guessing some ruff road might have popped the clamp open. I am in the middle of finally rigging something similar for my WF and wondering about the point of failure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
4-AA's and 20 LED's. The only thing brighter is a Dinotte.
Methinks the WF is brighter than the Vetta, but it may be a wash. The Vetta has a better flash pattern and probably a longer runtime, though.
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Old 11-20-09, 04:14 PM   #12
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Didn't I read that there may be a tail light coming out based on the Magic Shine type LED? Is Geoman working on this? I'll hold off buying a tail light if it's imminent...

That would be great!
Yes. Not sure when.
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Old 11-20-09, 05:22 PM   #13
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[*]No reverse polarity protection per a post here on BikeForums. Put the batteries in backwards (easier than it should be because the raised black + and - are not that large and do not show up well against the rest of the same black plastic) and the electronics are destroyed. Edit: The BF thread is "warning for vetta tsl-c owners".

I get good use of my Vetta's by:
  1. Running them on steady high light setting and use another light in flashing mode (Ultrafire with flashing dropin, PB Superflash, or Dinotte 140).
  2. Put white label tape with a large + and - to identify the correct way batteries must go in.
With the Vetta, the simple thing to do is check function after installing batteries - no light=operator error.

BTW, Vetta quickly replaced my destroyed taillight (but not my 4 eneloops or melted fender - but then I didn't ask).

I bought a Dinotte 140 taillight since then. It is as much a step up in output over the Vetta, as the Vetta was a step up from the PBSF.

My Dinotte had an artifact in the beam - one-third of it was dark, and I suspected an optic defect. Since it cost so much, I asked Dinotte about the artifact, and they sent me another as a replacement, stating that "some had a misaligned led". When I got the replacement, it was significantly dimmer than my original Dinotte, with a smaller angle. Comparative image below of ceiling bounce shot, lights at equal distance.

What I get out of all this is that all LED light makers (DX, SB, even Dinotte) have variation in their products, so luck seems to play a significant role in the quality of the product you receive.
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Old 11-21-09, 07:51 AM   #14
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"Any idea what failed on that great mount you had?"

The clamp would hold the flashlight fine. Here's what happened, I'm pretty sure.

I had wrapped some innertube around the Ultrafire to make it easier to aim the beam (with the Ultrafire alone in the clamp, it angled down a little bit, but I wanted it up level, facing drivers).

The innertube loosened up, after some bumpy miles, and slipped off ... which meant the snug fit on the light was no longer ... and there you go.

The clamp on the mount was still locked in place when I got to work. It is not hard to release, but it is secure -- it isn't going to pop off on its own.

In the future, I am gluing a thin piece of foam into the mount itself, rather than wrap the flashlight with something.

Too bad I lost the light ... good news I can get a replacement for $10 and free shipping.

I don't know why these lights are so cheap. It seemed well made and held up fine, even after a few ham-handed drops in my garage.
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Old 11-21-09, 08:46 AM   #15
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Deja Vu!

I finished working out a way to mount mine to the bottom of my bag using half a TwoFish (does that make it a OneFish?). The bag is a wedge instead of clamshell style so the light ended up poorly aimed. I taped a piece of rubber shim that comes with seatpost mounts to the light to angle it. And yea, if it scoots from a bump that could make it loose in the OneFish strap and able to go on its own walkabout. I'll have to revisit that.

Good to know, thanks!

EDIT: You know that silly lanyard that comes with the WF? Look for a way to use it as a safety harness. It isnt sturdy (to say the least) but it might hold a light trying to escape long enough for you to notice it banging the frame or tire or whatever.

Last edited by Plutonix; 11-21-09 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 11-21-09, 01:44 PM   #16
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The lanyard — yes, that is an excellent idea.

I can easily loop in the clamp before locking it down on the flashlight.

Be a good backup.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-21-09, 02:13 PM   #17
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I don't know why these lights are so cheap. It seemed well made and held up fine, even after a few ham-handed drops in my garage.
Chinese slave labor? I agree that the 18650 lights seem very sturdy. I'd be more upset over about loosing the AW cell in the light than the light itself. The Ultrafire seems very well built, I also have a Trustfire TR-801 that seems very sturdy and solid. OTOH all but one of the 14500 based lights I've toyed with were far less reliable and die from drops on carpet, it seems.

I use the TR-801 ("250 Lumens") on my helmet and it is too brite, Heresy, I know but HI is too bright and Mid is too dim. Something less robust should allow better runtimes but I cant find a decent 18650 light in the stated 180-200 Lumen range. I might try something more floody to see if that helps.
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Old 11-21-09, 03:42 PM   #18
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I used to use a P-7 (it may be an Ultrafire, too, but I'm not sure) on my helmet. Very floody and, though bright, did not seem to fry any retinas because it did not have a piercing focus.

Last week I moved the P-7 to my handlebars and put a lighter Fenix L2D on the helmet. I run that in Turbo blink. That can be very annoying, so I'm mindful where I point it.

Pretty good combination.

Yes, I lost the battery! Bummer.

I wonder what person who found the flashlight must think. Red-beam flashlights are rare — I've never seen one sold in a retail store — and most people have never seen or heard of an 18650 battery.

Must have thought it fell of a truck operated by the CIA.
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Old 11-22-09, 02:11 PM   #19
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I finally opted for a DiNotte 400R, and it definitely gets more respect from motorists than my PBSF did. It maybe out the price range of many cyclists, but seeing the difference in motorist attitude with each upgrade in luminosity, to me it is worth the price.
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Old 11-22-09, 05:38 PM   #20
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The lanyard — yes, that is an excellent idea. I can easily loop in the clamp before locking it down on the flashlight. ...
I use the Ultrafire lanyard and also my cell phone lanyard in exactly this way.

One other tip on the Ultrafire lanyard I got from CandlePowerForums is to round/chamfer the edges of the hole the lanyard goes through. The hole's edges are relatively sharp and can cut through the lanyard if it is under tension. I used the tip of a slightly larger drill and a very small diameter file to round the edges.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:26 PM   #21
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+1 on the PBSF. When people complain that my taillight annoys them I know it's doing it's job. Just point it down a tad.
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Old 11-24-09, 06:45 PM   #22
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http://www.blt-lights.com/product/re...trawazoodx.php
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Old 11-25-09, 12:56 AM   #23
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another +1 on the pbsf. Performancebike.com has it on sale for $20, i just picked one up today.
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Old 11-25-09, 02:35 AM   #24
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I prefer the niterider cherrybomb over the PBSF. Its lens spreads light out horizontally so it appears brighter than the PBSF for most angles.
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