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Old 01-04-12, 09:17 AM   #1
Spld cyclist 
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Lumens from old Planet Bike Alias 10W halogen?

I have one of the Planet Bike Alias 10W systems from several years ago. I'm generally happy with it, but more light is always better. Some of the newer LED systems claim a scary number of lumens, but I'm not sure what would be an upgrade from what I have now. Does anyone know the lumen output of my light?

I do like the somewhat floody light I get from my Planet Bike. I know there is some disagreement out there whether this is a good thing or not....

Jim
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Old 01-04-12, 10:14 AM   #2
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A 10W quartz halogen might provide ~200-300 lumens.
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Old 01-04-12, 11:01 AM   #3
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I have one of the Planet Bike Alias 10W systems from several years ago. I'm generally happy with it, but more light is always better. Some of the newer LED systems claim a scary number of lumens, but I'm not sure what would be an upgrade from what I have now. Does anyone know the lumen output of my light?

I do like the somewhat floody light I get from my Planet Bike. I know there is some disagreement out there whether this is a good thing or not....

Jim
About 200 lumens at nominal voltage. Overvolt it by 20% and the output almost doubles.

Lumen output on lots of LEDs are inflated. They can put out the rated lumens but they usually put out something less...sometimes way less.
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Old 01-04-12, 11:45 AM   #4
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About 200 lumens at nominal voltage. Overvolt it by 20% and the output almost doubles.

Lumen output on lots of LEDs are inflated. They can put out the rated lumens but they usually put out something less...sometimes way less.
Interesting. Will overvoltaging by 20% significantly reduce the bulb life? I was thinking about making a new battery pack anyway, and that's just one extra cell (going from 5 nominal 1.2 volt cells to six).
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Old 01-04-12, 02:05 PM   #5
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Interesting. Will overvoltaging by 20% significantly reduce the bulb life? I was thinking about making a new battery pack anyway, and that's just one extra cell (going from 5 nominal 1.2 volt cells to six).
Yes, overvolting does reduce bulb life but halogen bulbs are cheap.
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Old 01-04-12, 09:28 PM   #6
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Interesting. Will overvoltaging by 20% significantly reduce the bulb life? I was thinking about making a new battery pack anyway, and that's just one extra cell (going from 5 nominal 1.2 volt cells to six).
Bulb life will be reduced by 90% as in you'll be getting 10% of the expected bulb life.

Battery life will also be reduced by 50% so you'll need to build a battery pack with twice the capacity if you take that route.


So to keep the same approximate run time you'll need to add SEVEN more cells - not just one.


Personally I think there are more intelligent options.

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Old 01-05-12, 09:26 AM   #7
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Bulb life will be reduced by 90% as in you'll be getting 10% of the expected bulb life.

Battery life will also be reduced by 50% so you'll need to build a battery pack with twice the capacity if you take that route.


So to keep the same approximate run time you'll need to add SEVEN more cells - not just one.


Personally I think there are more intelligent options.
Bulb life is reduced but battery life isn't. Overvolting draws only slightly more amperage than nominal voltage. I use RC car batteries to power halogens and a 4.2 ahr battery gets around 2 to 2.5 hr per charge. Considering that the 4.2 ahr batteries that I use with LED struggles to get to 1.5 hours with less light, I'm still not convinced that LED is all that fabulous.

A MR (multireflection) halogen is rated for about 5000 hrs. Ten percent of the expected life is still 500 hrs. To put that in perspective, that's around 20 days (24 hours) of use before I'd expect the light to blow out. In a more realistic measure of around 2 hours per day of use, that roughly 250 round trip commutes...assuming an average of 1 hour each way. I'd expect several years of commuting before burning out a bulb.
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Old 01-05-12, 09:50 AM   #8
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Are the $3 or 4 garden-variety halogen bulbs acceptable for cycling, assuming you get one with a 10 or 12-degree beam? I haven't spent a lot of time looking, but the color temp of those bulbs tend to be 2800 - 3000K, so they probably won't be as white as the original Planet Bike bulb that I'm still using. Does that really matter?
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Old 01-05-12, 11:43 AM   #9
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It just occurred to me that I could do a high beam/low beam thing by wiring a switch to put the 6th battery into or out of the circuit. Hmm....

On the other hand, this would cause an imbalance in the amount of discharge between the 5 batteries always connected and the 6th battery that is intermittantly connected. I don't know if that's really a problem. Maybe keep all 6 batteries and wire a resistor that can be switched in or out?

Last edited by Spld cyclist; 01-05-12 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Further thoughts.
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Old 01-05-12, 04:58 PM   #10
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The principle advantage of LEDs are their high "luminous efficacy". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficacy This means they'll put out a lot more light for a given amount of power. Halogens are good, HID are better, but either will require more and heavier (and more costly) batteries to give the same light output and burn time that you can get with good LEDs. Check the following for reviews with quantitative measurment of output and burn times: http://reviews.mtbr.com/2011-bike-lights-shootout
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Old 01-05-12, 05:49 PM   #11
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The principle advantage of LEDs are their high "luminous efficacy". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficacy This means they'll put out a lot more light for a given amount of power. Halogens are good, HID are better, but either will require more and heavier (and more costly) batteries to give the same light output and burn time that you can get with good LEDs. Check the following for reviews with quantitative measurment of output and burn times: http://reviews.mtbr.com/2011-bike-lights-shootout
There is a "yes, but..." in there. At nominal voltage, a halogen has a pretty low luminous efficacy rating (lumens/watt). A '10W' MR-11 halogen at 12V gets 19 lm/watt. A 10W MR16 gets in the range of 40 l/W. A warm white LED with driver gets 27-54 lm/W and a cool white LED with driver gets 60-92 lm/W. (For other comparisons, go here.)

The "but..." part: If you are willing to sacrifice bulb life and run the halogen 20% over nominal voltage, i.e. much hotter, the efficacy rating goes up to 28 lm/W for the MR-11 and 59 lm/W for the MR-16. If you use a 20W MR-16, the efficacy jumps from 42 lm/W to 62 lm/W. The lumen output for a 20W MR-16 at 14.4 V is a staggering 1500 lm. In the past, I used 2 NiMH batteries per light to get that kind of voltage but I was getting 2+ hours of burn time. I'm currently using Magicshine lamps and I still have to carry the same number of batteries for around 2 hours of burn time. The batteries are lighter because I'm using Li-ion now but I've not been all that impressed with the burn time of Magicshine LED. The claimed light output of the Magicshine is also, shall we say, optimistic. Their 1000 lumens is really closer to 400 which is just about the same as a 12V 10W MR-11 run at 14.4V. The Magicshine (and other LEDs) tend to be more flood light than spot. You can get 7degree halogens if you look around hard enough with a 12 degree spot being more common. I estimate the Magicshine to be around 30 degrees.
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Old 01-13-12, 12:28 PM   #12
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Are the $3 or 4 garden-variety halogen bulbs acceptable for cycling, assuming you get one with a 10 or 12-degree beam? I haven't spent a lot of time looking, but the color temp of those bulbs tend to be 2800 - 3000K, so they probably won't be as white as the original Planet Bike bulb that I'm still using. Does that really matter?
The original 10 watt bulb for that lamp was a Spectra Blue halogen bulb and was described as being 25% brighter than other 10w equivalents. It also listed for $25.

That and the fact that run times for this bulb/battery pack combo were LESS than the same power pack with a 15W bulb indicates that the bulb was already being over volted.
As far as I know that bulb was eventually replaced with the 15W version , probably because bulbs were being changed under warranty too frequently because of the over voltage issue.

But it's your bike and you can do whatever you think you can live with.

Last edited by Burton; 01-13-12 at 12:35 PM.
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