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Old 11-01-12, 01:18 PM   #51
dougmc
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DealExtreme sells these lights too for $5 here, or $4 if you buy 10 or more and pay their $1.70/order bulk rate fee. They even come with batteries!

I've found them to be every bit as good as the PBSF and they also have the same weaknesses -- i.e. the back isn't held on very well and needs to be held on with something more -- tape, zip tie, rubber band, etc.
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Old 11-01-12, 02:01 PM   #52
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and they also have the same weaknesses -- i.e. the back isn't held on very well and needs to be held on with something more -- tape, zip tie, rubber band, etc.
Interesting. I'd say those are the exact same lights. The OD of the gasket in the photos also doesn't match up with the outside surface of the light very well, just like on the ones I ordered.

Have you had any issues with water intrusion? I'm a little more worried about that than about them popping open by themselves, though I can easily imagine both occurring; but the solutions differ.

I haven't tried by wondered what would happen if one doubled up the gaskets (aside from cutting the number of usable lights one has in half)?
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Old 11-01-12, 03:18 PM   #53
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I try, really hard, to buy domestically produced, and/or used, quality products that are repairable and durable and well designed. This is increasingly difficult to do in some categories. Let's take bike lights--taillights to be more specific. Do you have any specific recommendations for how to source a high quality, made in USA taillight? I'm really curious. How about an LED flashlight? I have used a Streamlight ProTac 2AA for a bike head light, and although the website and product literature claimed made in USA, when I dug further they started to equivocate and backed away from those claims. It is a great light, and I would happily pay more if it were made in the USA but it is hard and in some cases impossible to register that preference if the product in question does not exist.
I'm generally a do it yourself person and will try to make something over buying it - if I can. In the case of LED products, though I understand many people are savvy and have figured out how to assemble their own, this is not something I am going to learn right now. So I'm kind of stuck buying something. We don't own a car so bikes are our primary means of transport. Getting the lighting right is pretty important.

Thoughts appreciated.
It really depends what you're expecting by 'made in the USA'. The leading LED manufacturers are: Nichia (South Korea); Samsung LED (South Korea); Osram Opto Semiconductors (Germany); LG Innotek (South Korea); Seoul Semiconductor (South Korea); Cree Semiconductors (USA).Manufactured products are built from a combination of parts or materials, at least some of which are imported. China's largest imports are raw materials.


Some products are designed, engineered and assembled in the USA or Canada but still use parts imported from other countries. Bicycle tires for example, can be sourced from France, Germany, the Philippines, Taiwan or mainland China.


What really makes the difference in all this is the standards and level of quality control in place and the resulting manufacturers warranties.


I did note that in spite of your reservations about that flashlight, it does meet specific standards, has a lifetime warranty, and has a North American network for sales and service.


I've been interested in this myself for a number of reasons - largely because I've been dismally disappointed in the quality and performance both of whats being marketed as bicycle specific lighting by retailers here as well as the junk thats being directly marketed over the Internet from mainland China.


There's no easy answer. At one point I asked, if these bike lights were so great, why they weren't being adopted by the off-road motorcycle and automobile market. Short answer? Because they're neither reliable enough nor bright enough to do the job. Nor is the heat sinking adequate for continuous operation.


So I asked why off-road motorcycle and automotive lighting wasn't more popular with cyclists. Short answer? Because cyclists apparently don't use lights enough to be seriously concerned about durability or heat issues.


So there are a number of companies that cater to the off-road market that produce small sophisticated designed or made in the USA lighting with lifetime warranties that perform well on bicycles, but currently the mounting interfaces aren't what I consider ideal and up to this point the manufacturers don't consider the market large enough to take a serious interest in. Trail Tech and Vision X are just two examples and borrow some parts from each other.


Which is where if enough of the 100,000 member base on these forums spoke up - that could change. I've been playing with various light and mounting combinations over the past year and expect to post details later this month. Most of the time has just been simplifying mounting interfaces and looking for optimal beam combinations. I don't expect everyone to be interested in I've come up with, and personally I don't care since I'm not going to be selling anything. However, some of the USA suppliers do run tooling shops and will do small production runs of bicycle specific mounts so they feel there's enough interest.


The rest will be up to you guys. I'll start posting photos next week now that the bicycling season is winding down.




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Old 11-01-12, 05:42 PM   #54
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It really depends what you're expecting by 'made in the USA'. The leading LED manufacturers are: Nichia (South Korea); Samsung LED (South Korea); Osram Opto Semiconductors (Germany); LG Innotek (South Korea); Seoul Semiconductor (South Korea); Cree Semiconductors (USA).Manufactured products are built from a combination of parts or materials, at least some of which are imported. China's largest imports are raw materials.
But to further muddy the waters, some Cree LEDs are made in China as well....
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Old 11-01-12, 09:49 PM   #55
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Have you had any issues with water intrusion? I'm a little more worried about that than about them popping open by themselves, though I can easily imagine both occurring; but the solutions differ.
Mine have not been in anything more than drizzle yet, though my gaskets do seem to match up adequately.

If you wanted, you could easily solve the gasket problem by simply taking glossy clear tape and surrounding the entire light following the gasket -- that would make sure that 1) the back doesn't come off (as this design is prone to) and 2) would solve any problems with water intrusion.

Granted, it would complicate changing the battery, adding another minute to the process and requiring new tape afterwards, but it would neatly solve those possible problems. And with a batter that probably lasts around 100 hours like the PBSF, you won't have to do it often.
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Old 11-02-12, 10:29 AM   #56
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thanks, dougmc.

I'd considered tape, but hadn't realized the anticipated battery life would be that long. I think I'll plan on doing that then.

I complained to the seller, who admitted they 'had problems' and asked for pictures. We'll see where it goes.
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Old 11-02-12, 11:25 AM   #57
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And with a batter that probably lasts around 100 hours like the PBSF, you won't have to do it often.
I am curious about runtimes.

this guy says 14.5hrs with Eneloops on solid mode
http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2011/12/0...me-comparison/

this guy says 52 hrs on the blinky setting (I'm thinking he used alkalines but not sure)
http://bicycles.blogoverflow.com/201...-light-review/
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Old 11-02-12, 12:11 PM   #58
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I am curious about runtimes.

this guy says 14.5hrs with Eneloops on solid mode
http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2011/12/0...me-comparison/

this guy says 52 hrs on the blinky setting (I'm thinking he used alkalines but not sure)
http://bicycles.blogoverflow.com/201...-light-review/
They're probably right if they measured it.

I've tested the PBSF myself and it did in fact last 100 hours as they say it will in flash mode with standard alkaline batteries. Have not similarly tested the knockoff we're talking about.

But even if 50 hours is the real figure, that not bad and taping up the thing after changing the battery isn't a big deal. I don't really use solid mode myself so I haven't tested it, but 14 hours isn't too bad.
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Old 11-02-12, 12:26 PM   #59
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Yep, I agree with all of that.
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Old 11-02-12, 02:52 PM   #60
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I am curious about runtimes.

this guy says 14.5hrs with Eneloops on solid mode
http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2011/12/0...me-comparison/

this guy says 52 hrs on the blinky setting (I'm thinking he used alkalines but not sure)
http://bicycles.blogoverflow.com/201...-light-review/
I change the batteries in my PB SF much sooner than that, because the light gets dim long before the light technically stops working. I use Eneloops.
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Old 11-04-12, 12:24 PM   #61
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But to further muddy the waters, some Cree LEDs are made in China as well....
LOL Those are some pretty muddy waters! Currently over 50% of the labor force for Cree is based in China and they have plans on expanding.
However - they are a reputable company producing products to international standards with distribution and support networks around the globe. Which IMO is a little different from some questionable sellers who are turning the Internet into an equivalent of Craigslist.

It is a little disturbing though, to note all the pollution problems that have hit China since the western world decided to use them as a manufacturing industrial zone. Makes me wonder if this is about cheap labor and more about a cheap way to meet targets set by the Kyoto Protocol - by passing the problem to someone else.

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Old 11-06-12, 06:38 AM   #62
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DealExtreme sells these lights too for $5 here, or $4 if you buy 10 or more and pay their $1.70/order bulk rate fee. They even come with batteries!

I've found them to be every bit as good as the PBSF and they also have the same weaknesses -- i.e. the back isn't held on very well and needs to be held on with something more -- tape, zip tie, rubber band, etc.
Thanks cehowardGS and dougmc. It's good to know about the DX alternative. I made an offer of 3 for $12. There's not much wiggle room before I just go with DX, plus get a cheap set of batteries that'll probably last a few rides.

UPDATE: I was turned down for 3 for $12. He countered with 3 for $15. I came back with an offer for 4 for $16 and brought up that dealextreme had it for $5 with batteries.

UPDATE 2: He's sticking with $5 each, so I turned him down without another offer. I'm making the same offer with this seller.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cycling-Bike...-/170773361734

UPDATE 3: The seller from UPDATE 2 countered with $4.50 each for 3. I guess that's okay, at least if he ships as quickly as the first guy.

FINAL UPDATE: The items from the seller in UPDATE 2, hongbaby2013, arrived today. I ordered on the 8th, they shipped on the 9th, and arrived on the 16th. This is my fastest order from China yet.

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Old 11-07-12, 09:37 AM   #63
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I offered $4.50 to the first seller howard linked and they took it.


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UPDATE: I was turned down for 3 for $12. He countered with 3 for $15. I came back with an offer for 4 for $16 and brought up that dealextreme had it for $5 with batteries.

UPDATE 2: He's sticking with $5 each, so I turned him down without another offer. I'm making the same offer with this seller.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cycling-Bike...-/170773361734
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Old 11-07-12, 11:44 AM   #64
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To all of you who are ordering these I would be curious to know if the lights you receive close well once you install batteries? Does the gasket make contact with both halves of the shell?

I can imagine that some do, but the quality control for these seems to be absent. Knowing that you're going to need (may need) some alternative way of keeping the rain out of these seems an important consideration, even at $4.50/ea.
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Old 11-08-12, 06:49 AM   #65
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^^^

The price is so low because these are probably quality assurance rejects. I'll wrap the edges with electrical tape for the rain.
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Old 11-08-12, 02:26 PM   #66
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The price is so low because these are probably quality assurance rejects. I'll wrap the edges with electrical tape for the rain.
The price is so probably low because they copied the original as cheaply as possible and quality control is minimal (or, more to the point, the standards for being acceptable are lower.)

Your plan is good, but I'd suggest glossy clear tape instead -- that way it won't block any of the light.
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Old 11-08-12, 03:10 PM   #67
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I've bought a few of the "clones" from DealExtreme and compared them to an actual PBSF I already had. I don't believe they are clones or knockoffs. As near as I can tell they are the same thing, just without the PlanetBike branding. The only other difference I have found is the PB light comes with a second, smaller bracket to mount the light on a seatstay. The cheaper unit only has a larger diameter seatpost bracket.
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Old 11-08-12, 05:16 PM   #68
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DAMN!!! I'm definitely getting two of these, and probably a soma deco back rack to mount both on like a car.
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Old 11-08-12, 06:06 PM   #69
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I've bought a few of the "clones" from DealExtreme and compared them to an actual PBSF I already had. I don't believe they are clones or knockoffs. As near as I can tell they are the same thing, just without the PlanetBike branding.
The PCB inside is different. At least it was with mine -- maybe PB changed theirs at some point? Functionally it's the same, but on the inside slightly different.

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The only other difference I have found is the PB light comes with a second, smaller bracket to mount the light on a seatstay. The cheaper unit only has a larger diameter seatpost bracket.
I wasn't sure if the real PBSF came with that -- I haven't bought one in a while. But you're right, the knockoff doesn't include it. Which was unfortunate, as that's where I wanted to mount them.

(But I found a handful of the brackets at a swap meet, so it was all good.)
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Old 11-08-12, 07:05 PM   #70
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The PCB inside is different. At least it was with mine -- maybe PB changed theirs at some point? Functionally it's the same, but on the inside slightly different.
Yeah, I think either they changed it, or only got the bodies as cast offs and had to recreate their own internals. I don't think it's a clone because molds are kind of hard and expensive to make. If these aren't QA cast offs, it might even be products of bad or old molds. Doing it this way should be a whole lot cheaper than recreating a mold to make a clone since they're essentially selling parts that would otherwise be discarded.
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Old 11-08-12, 10:30 PM   #71
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Probably come from the same factory and the same production line as the PBSF. Its made in China also and the Chinese rarely abide by our patent laws if ever so andwho knows if PB has a patent so they will make it and put your name on it like another poster wrote above. Once the patent expires its a free for all just like on the Temper Pedic mattresses so now you see the clones being sold at Costco and who knows where else.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:03 PM   #72
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The Chinese Government reported in 2011 that the annual turnover of counterfeit goods sold on the Internet within the country was $125 Million

Source: Feargus O’sullivan, “The persistence of fake designer goods,” National, November 28, 2011.
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Old 11-09-12, 05:44 AM   #73
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The Chinese Government reported in 2011 that the annual turnover of counterfeit goods sold on the Internet within the country was $125 Million

Source: Feargus O’sullivan, “The persistence of fake designer goods,” National, November 28, 2011.
I doubt it's that low
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Old 11-09-12, 01:41 PM   #74
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The seller took them all back, and paid the return postage too.

I could have made most of them work, I think, with clear tape. But I think it is also important to provide feedback that communicates this product is not up to snuff.

Thanks for all your insights.
And I'm still/again in the market for a score of decent taillights, so any nuanced feedback on the various (cheap) versions out there is appreciated.
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Old 11-09-12, 03:02 PM   #75
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I am curious about runtimes.

this guy says 14.5hrs with Eneloops on solid mode
http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2011/12/0...me-comparison/

this guy says 52 hrs on the blinky setting (I'm thinking he used alkalines but not sure)
http://bicycles.blogoverflow.com/201...-light-review/
My PBSF clone lasted 140 hours on blinky mode before getting noticably dimmer. It will run for another 2 days in dim mode. I used GP Recyko rechargeable nimhs.
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