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  1. #1
    BSB
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    Serfas USL-TL60 tail light

    I just saw this:

    http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=900

    They claim 60 lumens. High, low, and two flashing modes. USB rechargeable. $60.

    Anybody seen one, or have more info about it?

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    I have one ordered. I'll let you know when it arrives.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Its physically smaller than the TL 200 model but from a distance not all that noticably brighter. In a dark room it will throw a pretty even beam against a wall 6 feet away, but its definately no competition for a 2 or 3W tail-light. It does throw a much brighter beam than the TL 200 so I was surprised that it wasn't any more visible from 25 feet away.

    I was thinking it might be a good helmet light but the beam isn't broad enough that I'd feel confident doing that without some serious testing.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Its physically smaller than the TL 200 model but from a distance not all that noticably brighter. In a dark room it will throw a pretty even beam against a wall 6 feet away, but its definately no competition for a 2 or 3W tail-light. It does throw a much brighter beam than the TL 200 so I was surprised that it wasn't any more visible from 25 feet away.

    I was thinking it might be a good helmet light but the beam isn't broad enough that I'd feel confident doing that without some serious testing.
    They don't specify it as such, but I think that the Serfas Shield (the -60) is a 2w light. However, it suffers from the same design flaw of most other lights- too focused of a beam.

    The TL-200 may not be as powerful or have the intensity of the Shield's steady beam, but I think it's actually better as a blinky. It has 2 0.5w emitters, but one is a 'spot' and the other a 'flood', so it's a bit more forgiving if it isn't properly aimed. I just looked at the product vids for the Shield and the TL-200 on the Serfas site (really wish all manufactures would make a video presentation like these for their tail lights), and it appears that TL-200 is a bit more noticeable than the Shield.

  5. #5
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    They don't specify it as such, but I think that the Serfas Shield (the -60) is a 2w light. However, it suffers from the same design flaw of most other lights- too focused of a beam.

    The TL-200 may not be as powerful or have the intensity of the Shield's steady beam, but I think it's actually better as a blinky. It has 2 0.5w emitters, but one is a 'spot' and the other a 'flood', so it's a bit more forgiving if it isn't properly aimed. I just looked at the product vids for the Shield and the TL-200 on the Serfas site (really wish all manufactures would make a video presentation like these for their tail lights), and it appears that TL-200 is a bit more noticeable than the Shield.
    Here's a couple dumb personal observations:
    The TL 200 has one lens equipped with a Fresnel type spreader which is SUPPOSED to make it more of a flood. Covering first one lens and then the other - I couldn't see ANY difference between the beam coverages projected on a wall. Not at a distance of 2 feet and not at a distance of 10 feet. I also expected that they would attempt to spread the beam horizontally but no - the horizontal orientation of the Fresnel lens pattern indicates they want to spread it vertically. The logic escapes me.
    I also couldn't see any apreciable difference in visibility when viewing the light from different angles. BOTH beams are pretty narrow and appear equally narrow - in spite of the 'flood' designation of one lens. Big FAIL on the 'flood'.

    It was a tossup getting two TL 200s or one TL60 (the price is about double) but I'm interested in taking this one apart (TL60) to see if the battery is replacable or if this should be considered disposable once the battery no longer takes a charge.

    Not sure what the wattage is but you could be right. I have a 3 watt red LED here and its definately brighter, but that TL60 is surprisingly good.
    Another dumb comment - the LED is red, but the light output is so focused it causes sensory overload when looked at directly even from a distance of 20 feet and looks more yellow than red. The reflected light is definately red on surfaces it hits and that might be the best way to use this - pointed to light up the road at night.
    Last edited by Burton; 11-02-12 at 09:10 PM.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    And the answer is: The TL60 uses a single Lipo battery soldered to two leads connected to the PCB. 3.7V 700mAhs to be exact. Easily replacable for someone IF they have micro soldering equipment, can buy lithium batteries at a reasonable cost (mailing of these via USPS is currently an issue), and figure its worth the effort three years down the road. (About what I figure you'll get out of the battery - tops.

    Most people would consider it 'disposable'. The TL 200, on the other hand, takes easily replacable AAA cells and will run off rechargables.

    EDIT: After running with this light a bit I actually like it a lot. The drawback I personally see is the non-user replacable battery. If anyone wanted to use this as a main rear running light, it would be on high flash or high solid which would seriously limit the length of time you could actually spend riding. Considering that 50% of the thickness is battery, I'd personally prefer a slightly larger unit that would take rechargable AAs or a unit with two Lipos and twice the run time. A battery like that retails for only $5.50.
    Last edited by Burton; 11-06-12 at 01:05 PM.

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    Thank you for your investigation and input Burton and yours as well no1mad.
    I too have viewed the videos on the Serfas site and compared the 200 and 60. Using the video time bar at bottom of video it seemed to me that the 60 was more visible for a few seconds longer than the 200. But that may be my imagination, cause when you compare most of the tail light videos, even the ones designed for seat stay (Thunderbolt) which is a long narrow light they all look like the same light when the car passes to me...
    At any rate I should have one here in a couple days. Hope it is worth it. The Cygolite Hot Shot looks pretty good as well plus it is less expensive. I might just "have" to get one of those as well and do a comparison myself

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Just when you think you have everything figured out .......

    When I disassembled that unit, I noted that there were two indicator LEDs - one RED, one GREEN. OK - where I come from green is normally a positive indicator (systems is OK/ switch is on/battery is full etc) and red usually indicates a problem or malfunction.

    When plugged in to charge - the RED LED would flash. Eventually it stopped and just stayed solid red. Figured I had a dud.

    No documentation in the box but there was a downloadable document on the Serfas website entitled OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS. Here it is in its entirety:

    CHARGING INDICATORS
    Solid - Fully Charged
    Blinking - Charging/needs charge
    CHARGE TIME 3-6 hours depending on power source
    So after rolling my eyes - I did write a polite email in to the site asking if they could clarify the function of the GREEN LED. A week later, they got back to me. The GREEN LED will flash when the unit needs charging. Why do I find that counterintuitive???

    So I don't have a dud - only the guy that designed the user interface is a dud!

    Posted for your information in case any other TL-60 owners find included info a little sparse.

    EDIT: I'm thinking I should also have asked them why Serfas referes to this as "Our brightest taillight ever produced" when it actually appears to be a rebranded light from Moon-Sport, who have offices in Hong Kong and distribute this in Europe under the name MoonShield.

    Some 'manufacturers' are apparently, like some bike 'manufacturers' - just glorified distributers.
    Last edited by Burton; 11-15-12 at 07:18 PM.

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    Here is a pic of the box my tl 60 came in. It doesn't state what color the lights are but it does show which light lights up when charging or needs charged.
    serfas tail light.jpg

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Piece View Post
    Here is a pic of the box my tl 60 came in. It doesn't state what color the lights are but it does show which light lights up when charging or needs charged.
    serfas tail light.jpg
    Thanks for the post! I had, of course, tossed the package after looking over the info and thought everything was self explanatory. Its literally impossible to tell what color the LEDs are till they light up or unless you take the cover off the unit - so I was probably a little uncertain due to their choice of colors.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So my Serfas TL 60 didn't make it home tonight. No way this has seen 2 hours use on high so either the battery is lame or it still needs a few more full charges to reach full capacity. Annoying to say the least - but confirmed why I prefer lights with user replacable batteries.

    Total time was a return trip to visit a friend yesterday who lives about 10 blocks away, and a 25km return trip downtown to the shop today. Not enough for anyone who does any serious biking. Fortunately I had those automotive units as backups. Yeah - a run time of 30 hours and twice the output makes a few extra grams a lot easier to live with.

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    Sorry to here that! I have been using my for the last several weeks, only use it on low blink- because low blink is way to bright to begin with. I am a daily commuter it is dark when I leave in morning and dark when I return. Each trip only last about 30 minutes (7miles/ 11km) so I use the the light for 1 hour a day. The recharge light has never came on, but I do recharge on the 4th day. On weekends I have went on 2+ hour rides and it was still working. Maybe you got a lemon or the one I received is a gem?

  13. #13
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Piece View Post
    Sorry to here that! I have been using my for the last several weeks, only use it on low blink- because low blink is way to bright to begin with. I am a daily commuter it is dark when I leave in morning and dark when I return. Each trip only last about 30 minutes (7miles/ 11km) so I use the the light for 1 hour a day. The recharge light has never came on, but I do recharge on the 4th day. On weekends I have went on 2+ hour rides and it was still working. Maybe you got a lemon or the one I received is a gem?
    If you're not using it on high then you'll definately get longer run times. Another thing that annoyed me was that the warning light never came on. Anyway - I just charged it up and the light went solid (to indicate a full charge) way too soon. Should take 3 hours for a full charge and it only took 2. So I'm gonna run it down, time it, and do another recharge. If the numbers say its a dud - I'll go for a refund (sigh).

    EDIT: The other item that could be playing a part in this is the temperature. It was -5C today and the battery didn't have any woolies on. If that plays a significant part this'll have to be a summertime only light.
    Last edited by Burton; 11-28-12 at 07:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Mmm hm! agent pombero's Avatar
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    I'm interested in possibly checking this light out to diversify the Hotshots I'm using. Or, maybe I should just pony up for the Dinotte 400R...Anything out there brighter than the 400R? I know the DesignShine is brighter than the 400R but I'd prefer to purchase something under an established company.

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    Senior Member nevermore1701's Avatar
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    i have the thunderbolt and i think its a great light. plenty bright and 2 blinking modes

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    OK - looks like the light is fine - maybe is just not crazy about cold weather. Discharge on high inside at room temperature was 2 hours and 15 minutes - close enough to the 2.4 hrs projected in the specs. The 'please charge me' green LED flashed for the last 20 minutes before the light simply died. However, next to the output of the main light - its almost impossible to see and also shuts down when the light is turned off.

    There's absolutely no room inside this thing for a larger battery so short of wiring it for an external battery pack - short term performance on high is all there is. Its a nice light, but at this point I'm thinking 2x Serfas TL-200 and rechargable AAAs is probably a more versatile option.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
    I'm interested in possibly checking this light out to diversify the Hotshots I'm using. Or, maybe I should just pony up for the Dinotte 400R...Anything out there brighter than the 400R? I know the DesignShine is brighter than the 400R but I'd prefer to purchase something under an established company.
    Dinotte gets rave reviews and has a 5-hour run-time on high. If that was easily available here in Canada I wouldn't have considered anything else myself. I did contact the guy that makes DesignShine last year. I didn't want just one -I was willing to buy a half dozen.

    This is a part time thing for him and he had nothing left for sale but took my name for an upcoming batch. That was over a year ago. Methinks he's spending too much time promoting his design and .... not enough time actually making them.

    So this Serfas unit is nice, but aside from the Dinotte - I think I'd rather have 2 Serfas TL 200 and user swapable rechargable AAA batteries over one TL 60.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Dinotte gets rave reviews and has a 5-hour run-time on high. If that was easily available here in Canada I wouldn't have considered anything else myself. I did contact the guy that makes DesignShine last year. I didn't want just one -I was willing to buy a half dozen.

    This is a part time thing for him and he had nothing left for sale but took my name for an upcoming batch. That was over a year ago. Methinks he's spending too much time promoting his design and .... not enough time actually making them.

    So this Serfas unit is nice, but aside from the Dinotte - I think I'd rather have 2 Serfas TL 200 and user swapable rechargable AAA batteries over one TL 60.
    If you still have his contact info, perhaps suggest to him to consider submitting a proposal to the television show 'Shark Tank'

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    If you still have his contact info, perhaps suggest to him to consider submitting a proposal to the television show 'Shark Tank'
    That went over my head for a minute - had to look it up! The Canadian CBC equivalent is called 'Dragon's Den'. I had suggested he consider licensing the design out - but your suggestion is more specific. Good idea! - might drop him a line!

  20. #20
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So a few months down the road - here's the story. Two TL 200's on the seat stays have replaced the TL 60. The overall visibility is better, overall brightness is higer, runtime is measured in days instead of hours, and cold and wet weather performance have been great so far.

    So although initially I went for the brightest output - the sleepers won out just because of dependability and ease of use. And the cost of two was the same as one TL 60. None are as bright as my 3W jobbies, but this is more than enough for anything I can think of.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Does the TL 200 come with a seat stay bracket? If not, do you know if it would be compatible with one from PDW?

    I briefly entertained the idea of running lights on my seat stays, but with seat post mounts. I can shim using old inner tube on the left no problem, but to do so on the right side would stretch my rear shift cable a wee bit and afraid the cable rubbing against the mount will lead to failure.

  22. #22
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Does the TL 200 come with a seat stay bracket? If not, do you know if it would be compatible with one from PDW?

    I briefly entertained the idea of running lights on my seat stays, but with seat post mounts. I can shim using old inner tube on the left no problem, but to do so on the right side would stretch my rear shift cable a wee bit and afraid the cable rubbing against the mount will lead to failure.
    Hi no1mad - I guess the answer is -not exactly. But it was pretty simple to do the deed. The same elastic mount that was intended for the seatpost sill also accomodate something as small as a seat stay. I tried that for a while and then simplified things further by permanently mounting the mount and QR with a P-clip on the seat stay. The light still snaps right out of the QR, but now the mount itself has no QR.

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