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Ebay lights

Old 10-03-15, 12:56 PM
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sleazyrider46
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Ebay lights

Lots of cheap headlights offered on Ebay claiming very high lumens. One claims 7000 lumens for about 25 dollars. Many more from three to six thousand for less. Anybody buy one of these units? Gotta be poor quality with the lumen output wildly overstated. If they are half way decent does that make the name brand units way overpriced?
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Old 10-04-15, 05:43 AM
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I bought a tail light with 9 LEDs and laser lane markers for $10. It lasted two rides.

Luckily, I was able to fix it. Poor design or qc caused the battery connection to break. I re-soldered it using a piece of jumper wire between the battery and board.

Besides that, the rechargeable battery looks to be very low quality.

Other than that, it's a great light. Super bright. For ten bucks, it's worth the risk. But I wouldn't want to go much higher than that.
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Old 10-06-15, 12:04 PM
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Try deal extreme. My $32.00 light has lasted 2 +years. Claimed 1200 lumen light, maybe 900 or so, works great.
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Old 10-06-15, 08:40 PM
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I have gone through probably 8 or 9 DX lights that were less than $20 each. Some break right away and others last up to a year. But at the end of it all I spent more on the cheap lights than the $100 I just spent on a nice Lezyne light. If you have the money, the better lights seem to be a better deal in my opinion. And yes the better lights certainly are overpriced for what you get, but still a better value overall. The better lights have constant brightness, reliable switches, better power management (efficiency) and just always turn on and work when you want them to. I have had way too many night rides delayed trying to get the DX light to come on by loosening and re-tightening the end cap trying to find the sweet spot and fiddling with the clickie to keep it from switching brightness levels on its own. I just want to ride with reliable stuff.
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Old 10-06-15, 09:19 PM
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I assume you're referring to cree/magicshine clones. I bought 3 of those headlights, all with batteries.

These are extremely bright lights, and the lights themselves are reliable. The batteries? Not so much. 2 of 3 work perfectly. The third stopped working, so I ripped off the protective tape and really all that's required is to re-solder one of two connections. Since I don't have a soldering iron (hadn't anticipated this repair after all), I just taped the wire back on with scotch tape.

It's working for now, but I'll obviously have to invest in a soldering iron to get it working perfectly again.

These lights and batteries are not covered by warranty as far as I can tell. You're stuck with whatever protection ebay and/or paypal offer, which may be a few months' of coverage or perhaps as little as a month.

Having said that, I paid a small fraction of the going price of $20-$25 per set (light/battery/charger). I probably paid $25 total for all three sets total.

I also bought a couple of flashlights. The on/off switches don't work perfectly. But the lights themselves seem to be reliable. I can assure you that drivers will notice these flashlights. I was 20 feet away from an intersection about to come to a stop. A car was doing a "california roll" through the stop light, UNTIL I looked in their direction, thus pointing the flashlight in their direction. The car came to a screeching halt, waiting for me to pass first.

I hedge my bets and always use both a helmet and handlebar mounted light just in case.

Last edited by calimtb; 10-06-15 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 10-06-15, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
If you have the money, the better lights seem to be a better deal in my opinion. And yes the better lights certainly are overpriced for what you get, but still a better value overall. The better lights have constant brightness, reliable switches, better power management (efficiency) and just always turn on and work when you want them to.
By definition, better lights are better.

You should always try to get better lights.
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Old 10-07-15, 12:01 PM
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I've not had too much trouble with them. Regardless of what they say they put out, figure about 600 lumens actual output for the cheapies these days. That's not bad for a < $30 light.

I have a Magicshine that's probably 5 or 6 years old at this point, a MS clone that's about 3, and a 2 emitter light from last year. None of them has given me any trouble, used daily all winter.

The batteries tend to start tapering off when they're about a year or two old for me, the 3 hour runtime goes to 2, then I start using them as backup batteries to keep in my bag, running them through a single 50 minute commute once in a while to keep them alive

This summer I bought a Cygolite Metro 550 for a front daytime strobe, and I thought I'd maybe use it as my primary nighttime strobe come winter, but it's already not making me happy. Seems like it's ALWAYS low on battery, I guess I'm not used to a light with only a 90 minute runtime, that means I have to charge every day and it takes 6 hours to charge. I think it's going to be my daytime strobe and nighttime backup for the eBay light that will continue to be my primary.
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Old 10-07-15, 03:48 PM
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I have a MS clone with a defusing lens. I like it and definitely recommend it. That being said, I agree with the others here that the batteries are not so great (however, mine are on year four).
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Old 10-08-15, 09:51 AM
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I finally gave up and sat down last night to figure out what was wrong with my Designshine taillight - it kept shutting off when the battery should have been charged. I put the battery on the Tenergy and it turns out the GeoManGear pack is shot. It was theoretically a very nice pack with good quality Panasonic cells in it. I grabbed a generic eBay pack that's a year or two older than that and tested, it works fine and ran my light on the way to work this morning.

I've got an 8 cell pack that I might switch to for the winter. It can run my headlight and my taillight for a week on a charge. Getting sick of charging my "name brand" (Cygolite) Metro every day.
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Old 10-13-15, 11:26 AM
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I don't ride at night so I don't need a major beam, just a high-intensity blinky.

Got the headlight version of this from the 'bay and rode with it for the first time today:

Cycling Bicycle Bike 3 LED Front Tail Warning USB Light 4 Modes White Lamp | eBay

Seems to be exaclty what I need and for well under ten bucks; let's just see how long it lasts...
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Old 10-13-15, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sleazyrider46 View Post
......... If they are half way decent does that make the name brand units way overpriced?
If the half way decent light goes out half way down the mountain, does that make you only half dead?
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Old 10-14-15, 06:09 PM
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V73
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Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
If the half way decent light goes out half way down the mountain, does that make you only half dead?
See, this is why you have a RAIL (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Lights, don't remember where on bikeforums I read that but I didn't come up with it).

I have a cheap "3600 Lumen" Magicshine clone that works absolutely fine and came with helmet mount accessories. Looking at the box, the brand is "SecurityIng." However, just about any cheap magicshine clone with 3 Cree XML T6 LED's will work fine. The batteries on these lights are generic/interchangeable and new ones can be had for about $5. Usually they're just 4 18650 cells hooked up together and shrink wrapped.

And as backup, I have another (forget the brand name) medium power light, and a Bell Radian as my last resort headlight and main strobe.
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Old 10-14-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by V73 View Post
See, this is why you have a RAIL (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Lights, don't remember where on bikeforums I read that but I didn't come up with it).

I have a cheap "3600 Lumen" Magicshine clone that works absolutely fine and came with helmet mount accessories. Looking at the box, the brand is "SecurityIng." However, just about any cheap magicshine clone with 3 Cree XML T6 LED's will work fine. The batteries on these lights are generic/interchangeable and new ones can be had for about $5. Usually they're just 4 18650 cells hooked up together and shrink wrapped.

And as backup, I have another (forget the brand name) medium power light, and a Bell Radian as my last resort headlight and main strobe.
You ain't lived until your lights go out at 30 mph on a bumpy mountainous descent. Tons of stuff in the system are more susceptible to failure than the LEDs.
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Old 10-14-15, 06:45 PM
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The lights themselves are very nice.

It's just the battery packs which are unreliable. The batteries probably are of good quality too. However, the 4 pack is connected via narrow thin metal strips, and the two wires out to the light itself are connected to these metal strips with a tiny amount of solder.

On my battery pack, the solder broke on one of the wires. I simply taped the soldered wire back in place and the light works once again. Hardly a long term fix but it works for now.

I don't know what the actual magicshine battery packs look like, but there is likely an upgrade in construction?
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Old 10-14-15, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by calimtb View Post
The lights themselves are very nice.

It's just the battery packs which are unreliable.

I don't know what the actual magicshine battery packs look like, but there is likely an upgrade in construction?
Quite possibly but I don't know if the off-brand uses the same connector. A quick search of eBay should provide that info.

Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
You ain't lived until your lights go out at 30 mph on a bumpy mountainous descent. Tons of stuff in the system are more susceptible to failure than the LEDs.
Sure, which is why you have multiple redundant separate light systems. Though, I personally would avoid going down bumpy mountainous descents at speed in the dark. Okay, maybe once or twice for kicks, but definitely not more than that.
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Old 10-14-15, 06:56 PM
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eBay lights are probably sufficient for casual riding but I would not trust them especially the connections-that is where the failures occur.
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Old 10-14-15, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by calimtb View Post
TIt's just the battery packs which are unreliable. The batteries probably are of good quality too.
Could one reason be that the seller had stored the batteries for too long so they had already lost capacity when being sold?
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Old 10-14-15, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
Could one reason be that the seller had stored the batteries for too long so they had already lost capacity when being sold?
The two battery packs without the soldering issue run for hours and hours before a recharge.

I haven't tried the "fixed" battery out yet. I would only trust that when going for a walk at night, not for rides.

The demand for these batteries and lights is pretty high, esp. at the going rate of $20 to $25. I doubt they stay in the warehouse for very long.
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Old 10-14-15, 08:12 PM
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Hmm, it appears as if actual magicshine battery packs are just as poorly built as their clones:

Magicshine battery failure- Mtbr.com


There is a distinct possibility that owners of the clones are more likely to complain about quality, because of the stereotype of "cheap chinese goods," whereas they're more reluctant to slam an established brand like magic shine.

This happens with bicycle frames apparently. If someone buys a workswell frame that's identical to a cervelo frame, there will be tons of trolls chiming in with "asplosion" comments left and right. Then, they all disappear after the bike is actually built and being ridden and enjoyed without any issues.
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Old 10-15-15, 06:35 AM
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I have switched from the Cygolite Metro 550 back to my cheap Chinese Magicshine clone (3rd year in service for that light). It's still got by far the best beam out of any light I've owned. It's a spotty smooth reflector light with the Action LED Lights diffuser on the front.

The Cygolite is OK but if I run it on high (required on the bad roads I am riding in the winter), I have to charge it every day and it takes hours and hours on a USB charger to charge. And its beam is still not as bright or as well shaped as the eBay clone.

Batteries can be a problem, but even the cheapest junk batteries that came with a $30 clone light have lasted well for me, with decent runtimes. In fact the only pack that's ever completely failed me, just last week, was the GeoManGear pack that I've been using since whenever it was that he had those made, probably 3 or 4 years ago? He famously had them made with quality cells, I guess Panasonics or something. Anyway it died, I can charge it but it dies after only 30 minutes instead of 3 hours. I need to put all of my packs on the Tenergy charger on a full charge/discharge/charge cycle and see what their actual capacity is (this takes a day per pack) and probably weed out the weak packs.
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