Most of my posts about the performance and reliability of Craig's List equivalent Chinese products as well as some MagicShine and MJ clones are more than a little skeptical, and on ocassion I've been asked if I've even used any of this stuff.
Well actually I have, and my opinion is based on my own personal experience, some of the feedback I've gotten from customers at the shop, and some of the online reviews I've read.
But every once in a while its good to due a reality check cause things can change and one of the customers is running a MJ-818 rear light. His comment was: "It'll BLIND you!" Didn't have a chance to check because he runs it off the electrical outlet on his BionX battery, which wasn't in the bike at the time.
So thinking that maybe things had changed for the better - I ordered 2 from Action LEDs before Christmas.
Got them in the other day and they LOOKED pretty OK. Lines are clean - things looked well sealed - the magnetic switch ring operated smoothly.
So I powered one up. Or maybe tried to. Got the main central LED to come on - that's as far as it got, even after fiddling with it for a few minutes and charging the light angle and orientation the switch would only operate in that one setting.
As per the instructions, there are supposed to be three modes:
• All LED blink
• Centre LED blinks 5 times - outer LED blink 5 times - the cycle repeats
• All LED on
OK so there were two - lets try the other one. Ooooooops! On this one the outer ring would light up and I did get a slow blink, a rapid blink, some kind of blitz mode followed by a pause, and a solid mode - but at no time would the inner LED on that second one light up.
And obviously some of the patterns didn't match what was described in the instructions.
OK so just to be sure - I connected both lights together with one of the included Y- connectors and plugged things in again. Nothing changed. Both lit up and operated exactly as before.
And there's supposed to be 3 watts of power in there somewhere? I'm underwhelmed.
I have a Serfas TL 60 here that's only supposed to have a 2W output and the combined output from both of these on solid (equivalent to one light with inner and outer rings lit) is minuscule compared to the Serfas. Maybe they really meant 0.3W and forgot the decimal
I photographed the Serfas / MJ comparison in a single frame with both lights projected at the ceiling at the same time. When I have a chance I'll upload it.
I actually do have 3W red LEDs here and they're bigger and heavier than these MJ units, but the output dwarfs the MJs and they don't even get warm doing it. I could feel those 818s heating up in my hands after just a few minutes.
That leaves me with two out of two defective products. Should I be impressed? I might return them or might just trash them. As I've commented on several occasions, shipping charges can sometimes make products not worth returning. But this was an Amazon purchase so they'll definately be hearing from me.
Which of course leaves me to wonder again about the apparent popularity of some of this junk. Have some people never used a decent product? Or are many of the rave reviews just an effort by lots of individuals who have a vested interest in promoting sales of this stuff - maybe because they're running a sideline and having them drop-shipped from China through an eBay front? I'm clueless!
I'll keep things updated on how the warranty or return claim goes, but don't think I have to explain why there isn't a bike store in Montreal that I'm aware of that carries this stuff.