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budget lighting options

Old 08-11-12, 12:23 PM
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RickyTylerson
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budget lighting options

I wanted to mount a light on my nitto rack but I lack the funds for a dynamo system, so I decided to go this route.


cost me $6

who else has some successful budget lighting solutions?
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Old 08-11-12, 12:49 PM
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There's a really good older thread about this, focusing mostly on using high-power flashlights as headlamps:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...nder-50-thread
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Old 08-11-12, 01:56 PM
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Whoopsie. Didn't see that one. Thanks!
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Old 08-13-12, 06:24 PM
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i use LED light strips on a coulple of my rides. powered by 8x1.5v=12v
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Old 08-14-12, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by trx1 View Post
i use LED light strips on a coulple of my rides. powered by 8x1.5v=12v
Given that alkalines drop in voltage as they become used up, you might be better off with 10 x 1.2 NiMh which as well as being higher in capacity for this discharge rate and cheaper to use, would also maintain the full 12 volts as they discharge.
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Old 08-15-12, 02:33 AM
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Not all budget flashlights are created equal! Seriously. And there are hundreds, no thousands of no name flashlights out there to choose from. Many of the brand names end in "Fire" :-) I only buy flashlights that are touted as "quality" by reviewers and owners at http://budgetlightforum.com. I've been very happy with all of my Junkfire flashlights :-)
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Old 08-15-12, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RickyTylerson View Post
I wanted to mount a light on my nitto rack but I lack the funds for a dynamo system, so I decided to go this route.


cost me $6

who else has some successful budget lighting solutions?
$6 is very budget but there are systems out there now that are throwing insane amounts of light in the $30 to $50 range. I have one of these. Unlike some of the earlier "1000 lumen" lights, this one is pushing that 1600 lm number damned hard. At that price you are getting car intensity for finder light prices.
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Old 08-15-12, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
$6 is very budget but there are systems out there now that are throwing insane amounts of light in the $30 to $50 range. I have one of these. Unlike some of the earlier "1000 lumen" lights, this one is pushing that 1600 lm number damned hard. At that price you are getting car intensity for finder light prices.
Can you re-do the link to what you use? I'm curious, and the link seems to be broken...
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Old 08-15-12, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Face Palm View Post
Can you re-do the link to what you use? I'm curious, and the link seems to be broken...
The link is fixed now. Amazon has others as well for less. I just happen to have the one I linked to. I have another one on order but I can't say yet if it's the same. Search for Cree XML T6 bicycle light.

The one I currently have has a very narrow beam when compared to the first generation MagicShine. I actually prefer a narrow beam to a wide one, especially for a helmet mounted lamp. I don't have any beam shots yet but I have used the light a couple of times now and it is staggeringly bright.
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Old 08-15-12, 01:36 PM
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I have a couple of 200 lumen flashlights that I bought locally for $35-40, and I add them to a 200 lumen lithium ion Cygolite that I bought earlier in the year. Lights up the road nicely. The Coast PX-25 has a very nice beam pattern, though only one power setting. I also have a Nebo Redline, which has multiple power settings and a flashing mode. I've seen it locally for as little as $29 at Batteries Plus.

I've not tried any of the no name flashlights referred to earlier as "Junkfires". Everytime I get ready to order one, I am put off by some bad experiences with no name lights that had internal contacts fail after a week.

Last edited by Yo Spiff; 08-15-12 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 08-16-12, 12:19 PM
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Hard to "value" decisions a about bicycling equipment. On one hand, some people think that as long as an accessory works - its "good enough."

On the other hand - depending on where you are going and where and when a device might fail unexpectedly - then a person discovers what "value" means to them.

I guess a good budget system could be any two cheap led flashlights, one mounted on your helmet - and two blinky style tail lights, one kept in a pocket with its own set of batteries...... depending on "value" - you can do it all for less the $50 .......
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Old 08-16-12, 02:17 PM
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I bought one of these.. us based seller - under 50.00 with battery - helmet and bar mounts - a great deal. The battery is the only weak link.. you will get 3 hours of burn time in high mode. I like this one because it only has 3 modes.. high - low and strobe. easier to cycle though if needed.

http://www.amazon.com/Cree-Xm-l-1200...s=Cree+Xm-l+T6
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Old 08-16-12, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The link is fixed now. Amazon has others as well for less. I just happen to have the one I linked to. I have another one on order but I can't say yet if it's the same. Search for Cree XML T6 bicycle light.

The one I currently have has a very narrow beam when compared to the first generation MagicShine. I actually prefer a narrow beam to a wide one, especially for a helmet mounted lamp. I don't have any beam shots yet but I have used the light a couple of times now and it is staggeringly bright.
add one of these to the new xml lights and makes the light much more useable.. some xml throw a tight beam and this really helps spread it out..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wide-Angle-L...item415e27aa23
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Old 08-16-12, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
add one of these to the new xml lights and makes the light much more useable.. some xml throw a tight beam and this really helps spread it out..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wide-Angle-L...item415e27aa23
Personally, I prefer the narrow beam of the Cree light over the wider beam of something like the first generation Magicshine or the beam spreader you linked to.
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Old 08-16-12, 03:29 PM
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A DIY guy, I fabricated.

Soldered up 5 D cell battery holders in series then used rechargeable batteries
wired to a 6v head [halogen Union lamp reflector] and a 6v/0.6w taillight ..

Having a Big Brit Saddlebag, the battery strip went across the support dowel in the bag.
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Old 08-16-12, 05:54 PM
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The folks at the budget light forem seen to like this guy. The outputs are more realistic.
You can't get 1600 lumens out of a Cree xm-l T-6 LED. At 3 amps it might do 1000. Oops number 3,657. I left this out. http://www.intl-outdoor.com/bike-lig...age=2&sort=20a

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Old 08-16-12, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
The folks at the budget light forem seen to like this guy. The outputs are more realistic.
You can't get 1600 lumens out of a Cree xm-l T-6 LED. At 3 amps it might do 1000.
I never trust the output numbers on LEDs but the light I linked to is far brighter than any of the first or second generation Magicshines which are way better than any $6 flashlight. It rivals overvolted halogens in intensity. Part of that may be the narrower beam.
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Old 08-25-12, 01:45 AM
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The magic shine style lights with the smooth reflector will be the strongest spot light. If you get one with an orange peel texture it will still be a spot light but it will be a wider less intense spot. Then comes the wide angle lenses wich is going to be a wide angle flood. You could also try the wide angle lens with the two different style reflectors to get a different effect.
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Old 08-25-12, 12:08 PM
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I thought about buying a flashlight mount for my mini led Maglite but eventually decided against it because ordinary flashlights don't shine light from the sides. Which is an additional safety feature you only get with lights made specifically for bicycles. I went with a Bell Dawn Patrol from Amazon for $10. For me this thing is plenty bright, bright enough to see the road 10 to 15 feet ahead of me and its super cheap.
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Old 08-27-12, 10:54 AM
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This looks interesting for under $70:

http://www.amazon.com/Headlight-Bicy...ds=CREE+XML+T6

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Old 08-27-12, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by seanspotatobiz View Post
Given that alkalines drop in voltage as they become used up
All batteries do this, though it's possible to add circuitry that masks it to some degree (usually at some additional cost in money, weight, size and/or reliability.)

you might be better off with 10 x 1.2 NiMh which as well as being higher in capacity for this discharge rate and cheaper to use, would also maintain the full 12 volts as they discharge.
10 NiMH cells would start at about 14.1 volts or so. Which is probably just fine -- a car's battery may be called a "12 volt battery" but it's about 13 volts fully charged, and the charging system in the car usually bumps that up to about 13.8 volts, so anything designed for 12 volts is usually good to at least 14 volts.

Another option would be a 3 or 4 cell LiPo pack -- probably smaller and more convenient than all the NiMH cells, but you do require a different charger for them and they do require additional care that not everybody is familiar with. (As for if it should be 3 or 4 cells, well, 3 cells go do 12.6 volts down to 11.1 volts (when you should stop using it) and 4 cells starts at 16.8 volts down to 14.4 volts. Which would be better depends on your application, but most things that say "12 volts" would probably be best with 3 cells. 3 LiPo cells gives almost exactly the same voltages as 9 NiMH cells.

All this said, I really dig the mount the original poster made for his flashlight -- looks good!

Last edited by dougmc; 08-27-12 at 11:26 AM.
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