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  1. #1
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Headlights I no longer use,

    or my path to enlightenment. After seeing another "which light should I buy thread" I thought about all the lights people have used and discarded over the years, and how that might make a good thread. I started without any lights, figuring I didn't need any lights since I only rode during the day and didn't go very far anyway. As I got to be able to ride farther and faster, I started riding later too and realized a light would be a good idea. My GF had a road toad and rear blinky she wasn't using, and put them on after she suggested I start with these. It was a huge improvement, and I liked being able to see the ground about 2 feet in front of me when I had to go over curbs. That joy lasted a few weeks, and that light is no longer used after it got replaced by the 1,500 candlepower version of the Cateye EL530. This at least had the ability to make you see stars when you looked directly into the beam, but still didn't really provide much usable light to ride by. I gave that light to a friend, and told him not to expect too much after he gets used to being able to see a slight bit better with it. A Fenix L2D (the forerunner to the LD20, and the light to have for a while) later joined the Cateye on the handlebars, and I finally was able to see what I'd been missing all along. The Fenix led me to get rechargeable batteries, and I never got that good at keeping 6AAs charged using a 4 place battery charger. I must have been really good the next Christmas, because I got a Terralux Lightstar 220 and a first generation Magcishine then. The Terralux is my helmet light, the Magicshine is on the handlebars and I still use the L2D at times.

    That's how I got to my current level of lights, how'd you get to yours?
    Last edited by no motor?; 06-09-11 at 02:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    Planet Bike Beamer 5: not much light.
    Planet Bike Alias HID: lots of light, run time much shorter than claimed, returned it.
    2 x Fenix L2D: less light than Alias HID but better run time.
    2 x ShiningBeam L-Mini II: more light and better run time than the L2D.
    2 x ShiningBeam S-Mini: more light and about same run time as the L-Mini II. IIRC, brighter than the Alias HID.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I go so far back - I rode with a guy that had an oil lantern on his front fender. It was just a joke but its true -Moonlight Ramble 1968...... (supposedly that style was also used on miner's helmets)

    Oh - wait a second - I had a 6volt "sealed beam" special - a four inch diameter lens wired to a big metal can that held a 6V dry cell off of two clamps on the cross bar. (top tube) It was 4.99 from Western Auto and I only made two bucks a week on my paper route! (circa 1964) (and no the battery carrier was not waterproof)

    Then there was a Union generator, and then of course a Sanyo generator - and various Union Halogen headlights. (circa 1980-1983)

    I'll skip over a lot - I revisited night riding with a dual EL350 Cateye setup. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I aimed one beam out about 30 feet and the other out about 15 feet for "fill." Yes, I could almost see light spots on the ground - even in the city some of the time! (circa 2003)

    Then more efficient LED lights came on the seen. I got an early Dinotte dual-head setup used, maybe 169 lumen. (Feb 2009)

    Then it was Stella 160, follow by an LD 20 and Quark AA2. Along with these I bought various Energizer head band lights.

    The I jumped on the MS bandwagon. And finally bought the "mother of all AA" flashlights - a Fenix TK41.............. all total around $900 with some change for batteries.

    But on the other hand, I could outfit four bikes front and rear in needed.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  4. #4
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    A thread I can relate too, don't know where to start, lol.

    First light was a Cateye EL 135. Thought two was enough. Used it on MUP as an emergency light. Not good enough so added a Powerbeam on helmet. Then I took on commuting. Those mention light was making me very stealth and almost became road kill. Major upgrade was in order. Came to BF and learn this thing called DX P7. Bought three of them and used for two month. Switch drove me nuts. Bought a SST 50 Rocket from Shiningbeam. Cool bright light so I bought two of their X thrower. These were hungry for electron juice. Put the SST 50 flashlight aside and join the MS900 club. Good floody light but a bit too floody and not enough throw. Gemini Titan came along and I bought one of those. Found a good combo using the Titan with two SST 50 thrower. Waited until Bikeray IV came out.

    As for Helmet light: I tried the old P7 but not enough throw. Used the SST 50 rocket then switch to the SST 50 X Thrower. Shiningbeam then came out with the XPG R5 Rocket. Used that unt MS came out with the XML.

    Current setup as commuting lights:
    1 x Bikeray IV
    2 x Mg X Thrower SST 50
    1 x MS MJ808E XML

    Most of my old light went to my backup commuter or to my SO bike who is loving it as my SO who gets them for free. My old P7, SST50 and xpg R5 are used as household flashlight along with the 30 18650 cell I got. Last time we had a power outage, I had two flashlight I'm every room. Neighbor thought I had the most silent running generator they ever heard.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  5. #5
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Cateye EL400 - could barely tell there was a light. OK as a very very basic be seen front light.
    Nashbar Brilliant 2 - I actually quite liked this at the time. These days I'd think it quite underpowered but I rode at night with it for a year.
    Planet Bike SuperSpot - utterly useless. I bought it new, put it on the bike, rode about 500 feet, turned around and came back and put the Nashbar light back on. Never used it again. It cost almost twice as much as the Nashbar light. Two Nashbar lights would have been a much better investment.
    20W DIY halogen with a SLA battery - OK brightness but man was it heavy, and the beam was yellow
    13W Trailtech HID - very bright, slow starting, lasted about 2 years before starting to dim due to frost on the glass. Gave it away to someone on this board, don't know if it's in use now.
    Magicshine. Still in use. The wiring on the early models breaks easily but the replacements I've gotten recently seem much more sturdy.
    MTE P7 flashlight - backup to the Magicshine.
    UltraFire WF-501B - my latest purchase, mainly using as a flashlight but I may switch to it as a primary light later.
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 06-10-11 at 06:29 AM.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
    Junior Member vampares's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    13W Trailtech HID - very bright, slow starting, lasted about 2 years before starting to dim due to frost on the glass. Gave it away to someone on this board, don't know if it's in use now.
    Did your HID go out after about 30 minutes? I have the 12.7 volt water bottle battery.

    I just bought one of these lights and it has gone off twice now. I'm a bit ticked because I really like the floodlighting effect.

    anyways, previously...

    1. 20 watt halogen 6V nickel dangle pack
    2. 10 watt halogen " "
    3. performance 4x AA LED
    4. mag light strapped to one arm of my handle bars

  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Did your HID go out after about 30 minutes? I have the 12.7 volt water bottle battery.
    No, mine ran for hours at a time. Well, technically the most I ever ran it at a time is a bit over an hour, but I ran it probably 3 hours between charges. I had I think a 14.4 volt NiMH water bottle battery, but that fried the ballast in the HID in 30 minutes (since it puts out > 16 volts when freshly charged) so I built a switching voltage regulator for it, and after that had no problems.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  8. #8
    Beer and nachos today!
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    Wink

    I started out with a 2xC Cateye halogen light, which made a cute little yellow spot on the road. After that I got an MEC Shark 4xAAA, 1W LED light (no longer made, I think); at the time I liked it so much I got a second one. I eventually added my 3xAAA Petzl Tikka XP headlamp with a whopping 35 lumens to the mix. I doubt that setup produced more than 120 lumens all told And if you think 6xAA is a challenge to keep charged, try eleven AAA's with a charger that only took 2xAAA at a time... I didn't exactly think that one through

    Now I use a homebrew triple XPG unit that makes about 900 lumens out the front (thanks, chelboed!), and I'm thinking of trying a generator and B&M IQ Cyo.
    Last edited by illdoittomorrow; 06-10-11 at 11:59 PM. Reason: smiley fail

  9. #9
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    First headlamp was an incandescent driven by bottle dynamo. It was great for a 10 year old with eyes that could see in the dark. Moving on to school I went ninja with pedal reflectors and nothing else. Then

    2.4V Halogen
    Princeton Tec Xenon front w/ 3 LED's for low
    Lume Lighting HID
    2x Fenix L2D WOW!
    Exposure Light MaxxD
    Supernova E3 Pro

  10. #10
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Started with Planet Bike led headlights. Very dim but still have them.
    First "real" light was a Dinotte 200L. It gathers dust because it is too much trouble to dink around with 4 AA's in a battery holder that sits in a pouch, attached by velcro, attached by a cable, with a snap connector, and batteries that jiggle loose, and a cable connector that wallows out and becomes loose, - you get the point.
    I now use a Shiningbeam flashlight that uses one 18650. Snaps onto a simple holder on the handlebars. Doubles as a kicka$$ flashlight.
    Taillight is a $10 superbright red led light from DealExtreme that also uses 18650's.
    Everyone tells me how insanely bright my lights are.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Actually...I totally hear you on the Dinotte 200L being rather time consuming with the batteries, connector, etc.

    However, for me -
    1. It was the first bike light I had that put out enough light that I was happy with it
    2. I still use it because of it's size - it's great to bring along as a "backup light", or a "friend light" (you know - you want to go out riding with your friend in the evening, but they don't have a light). It's also worked fairly well for mountain biking where because of it's size, construction, and ability to bring additional AA batteries I don't have to worry about crashing and breaking an expensive light.
    3. It's annoying to wrap the battery pack with rubber bands, but once you do it's been very reliable over bumps, etc.
    4. The light that actually collects dust for me is my Dinotte 400L - for the single reason that it requires a screwdriver to take on and off the bike, and that keeps me from using it for almost anything because I can't slap it on someone else's bike, and I have several bikes of my own so it's not easy to casually move it around between my own bikes.

  12. #12
    Mirror slap survivor
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    First light was a cheap Cateye halogen powered by AAs----fairly useless
    Next I bought a Niterider dual light 15 watt setup powered by the NiCad "Lightstick". It was nice except it had a tendency to TURN ITSELF ON. Nothing like coming home to a sizzling hot light head to make one upgrade!
    Then I bought the first generation DiNotte 5W light---140 lumens.
    Traded that in to DiNotte for the DiNotte 200L, which is still the light I use on my Bridgestone XO-2. It's so easy to take off when I park the bike, but it's more than enough light for me.
    Main light is the DiNotte 600L. I don't think I'll ever need more light than that. It's like the Eye of Sauron!

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    made up a 5 D cell battery holding strip, in series, so I had 6v of NiCads..

    wired up head and taillights to that ,, was good for a couple hours of light,
    enough to get home. 12 miles on a largely rural road

  14. #14
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Actually...I totally hear you on the Dinotte 200L being rather time consuming with the batteries, connector, etc.

    However, for me -
    1. It was the first bike light I had that put out enough light that I was happy with it
    2. I still use it because of it's size - it's great to bring along as a "backup light", or a "friend light" (you know - you want to go out riding with your friend in the evening, but they don't have a light). It's also worked fairly well for mountain biking where because of it's size, construction, and ability to bring additional AA batteries I don't have to worry about crashing and breaking an expensive light.
    3. It's annoying to wrap the battery pack with rubber bands, but once you do it's been very reliable over bumps, etc.
    4. The light that actually collects dust for me is my Dinotte 400L - for the single reason that it requires a screwdriver to take on and off the bike, and that keeps me from using it for almost anything because I can't slap it on someone else's bike, and I have several bikes of my own so it's not easy to casually move it around between my own bikes.
    Once in a while I do still use the 200L. I like it's compactness, and it runs off of AA's, and it makes a good helmet light. It looks really cool mounted on the bike. It just takes more operations to get, and keep, it up and running. That's why a flashight gets used more often.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  15. #15
    Junior Member vampares's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    No, mine ran for hours at a time. Well, technically the most I ever ran it at a time is a bit over an hour, but I ran it probably 3 hours between charges. I had I think a 14.4 volt NiMH water bottle battery, but that fried the ballast in the HID in 30 minutes (since it puts out > 16 volts when freshly charged) so I built a switching voltage regulator for it, and after that had no problems.
    hmm. Mine seems to overheat in roughly thirty minutes. After about 2 minutes cool down I can switch it back on again. The 30 watt MR-16's description states that it needs 5-10 mph to avoid over heating. I'm usually doing 15+ and it goes out.

    My battery is Lithium Phosphate. Could be the problem.

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Newbies

    My first light was a bottle generator light mounted on a Western Automotive 3 speed bike from 1965. I think I had the generator up until about 1990 The light was smashed long ago when a paper for the last delivery of the morning (why I needed the light) got trapped behind the front wheel of my bike and flipped me.

    Around 1980, I started commuting to college by bicycle because of the outrageous parking fees - $0.25 per day I rigged up the 1965 bottle generator but never liked the drag and the bulbs had a tendency to pop on downhills and would shut off at stops.

    I then found a dry cell 6V waterproof lantern that threw out a whale of a beam. I bungeed it to a front rack on my bike and used that but it bounced a lot which tended to disconnect/reconnect the battery and popped bulbs too.

    Then I discovered lead acid. And halogen bulbs. I found I could put a halogen bulb in an old Union lamp and hook it up to a lead acid brick and have reliable light all the way home (about an hour). By that time (1982), battery powered rear lights were starting to take off so I could run a rear light separately.

    Then I discovered NiCd RC batteries. 7.2 V and they made the 6V halogen run brighter. Unfortunately they also ran hotter and melted the Union light. About that time, Turbocat was starting to sell DIY systems for converting Cateye HL500s to brighter systems by overvolting a 6V bulb. I got a look at the system once and decided that I could do the same without buying their system and cobbled together 3 bar lights and a helmet light.

    Sure the HPR51 bulbs popped with a fearful regularity on power up. And they ran really hot - only the Cateye lamps could stand up to the heat and cheap Radio Shack copies melted. But as long as you carried extra bulbs, the whole system worked and was brighter than just about anything else around. I even had a Cateye rep at a Moonlight ride comment on them. He didn't even know about Turbocat at that point.

    The 7.2V RC car battery was the backbone for my systems from then on. I obtained a Niterider headlamp using MR-11 bulbs which were about 3 times as bright as the HPR51 and much whiter. I ran 3 to 4 of them as my lights for 10+ years.

    Then I learned about MR-16 bulbs and what 14.4V could do to a 12 V bulb. Thus the Retinal Burners . Heavy. Energy hogs. Shortish runtimes. But...Damn!



    I now use LED...lightness has trump brilliance ...but I put the LEDs now at about the same level as the overvolted MR11 lamps. Bright but not on the level of the Retinal Burners.
    Stuart Black
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  17. #17
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    hmm. Mine seems to overheat in roughly thirty minutes. After about 2 minutes cool down I can switch it back on again. The 30 watt MR-16's description states that it needs 5-10 mph to avoid over heating. I'm usually doing 15+ and it goes out.

    My battery is Lithium Phosphate. Could be the problem.
    Mine was a 13 watt TrailTech, not the 30 watt.

    I can't imagine ever going back to HID having used LED. HID was only a viable thing before LED got good enough. There's nothing HID does that LED can't do, except cost more, overheat, burn more power and start up slowly.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Mine was a 13 watt TrailTech, not the 30 watt.

    I can't imagine ever going back to HID having used LED. HID was only a viable thing before LED got good enough. There's nothing HID does that LED can't do, except cost more, overheat, burn more power and start up slowly.
    You and vampares are talking two different technologies. Sounds like he's talking about an MR-16 35 watt halogen. And his issue sounds like it's battery related. Lithium chemistries don't like fast deep current draws.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  19. #19
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
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    '70s: Generator with headlight and taillight.
    '90s: Vistalite 5-LED "white" flasher followed by Vistalite 2 10W Halogens powered by 6V SLA, which could never keep up with them.
    '00s: Viewpoint "Digital" headlight - LED with 4 NiMH. It didn't survive the cold MN winters, which was my fault as I think the specs said it wouldn't. :-)
    Current: Dinotte 200L lithium

    A major problem I've had with the latter two is that the "low battery detector" feature detects the drop in voltage brought on by colder fall/winter temperatures, moreso with the NiMH than with the lithium.

  20. #20
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    My first front light was an early Cateye rechargeable, battery integrated in light body, with a incandescent bulb. Ca 1995.

    Upgraded to a Sigma Mirage halogen. Huge difference, also battery pack in bottle holder. This was maybe in 1998-1999.

    I wanted more light and considered the Mirage X extra lighthead. I happened to run across a sale on Vistalite 5+10 Nightstick, bought that instead. Lightwise not a huge improvement from the Mirage, and burn time was disappointing. I upgraded the Vistalite halogens to 10+15 (I think) and added a DIY battery built into an old pump frame. OK light, but still not much of a runtime.

    I used a couple of early AA/AAA LED lights from Basta-Axa before ordering a Fenix L2D. For the first time I was more or less happy with the amount of light. I still had battery issues, probably due to old rechargeable NiMHs more than anything else.

    Currently I have a Supernova E3 powered by a Shimano hub dynamo in my winter bike, considering a hub dynamo for my utility summer bike as well. I'll use the L2D with the lighter CX bike.

    For rear lights, I've had a 5 LED Vistalite for several years (it's still in my winter bike) and more recently a re-branded PB Superflash.

    --J
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  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    IMG_2118.jpgThis one's still unopened. (wife's good intentions for my son's bike)
    2012 Roam 0
    2009 Gary Fisher Tassajara
    Donated to my sons:
    2007 Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc
    2008 Specialized F8
    Hangin on a hook in my garage:
    ~1982 Peugeot Record Du Monde

  22. #22
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Unfortunately they also ran hotter and melted the Union light
    I like that -I would have done that.........
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  23. #23
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I just got a Solarforce M8 - which makes my TK41 obsolete - incredible throw on a 18650.......... very deep reflector.........

    If someone made this light with a rectangular reflector - it would dominate the cycling light industry.......
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  24. #24
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    Your seems to be a long story for a light,fortunately or unfortunately I didn't suffered that much.I had a light in my bike from the day I bought it and its in fine condition till now,I haven't changed it cause it provide great light.May be I can inform you next time when I change it.

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