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  1. #1
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    Two lights on the helmet - craziest idea ever?

    I've bought a Dinotte 600L wide lens light, hoping for "extreme" light output.
    The 600Lwb alone on the bars is absolutely rubbish. However... it is much, much better on the helmet (believe it or not). Actually I had to realize that I wasn't missing peripheral view for the first time in my life with a bike light. It lights up the area where I'm looking at up to about 20 meters, which is - well, lets face it - not _that_ much in the forward direction. It is very nice indeed for technical riding at low speeds (let's say <25kmh), but I can easily imagine outrunning it on fast descents, not even mentioning road speeds. What this light desperately needs is a fourth led punching ahead into the dark.
    For a moment I've considered sending it back to Dinotte and getting a Lupine Wilma instead (which is just that - one led and at about 250 lumens more), but paying almost twice the money for not quite twice the light is just not going to happen. And otherwise the Dinotte package is really nice.
    Then I figured out that Dinotte's own 200L light is just what I need - a single led punching a spot into the dark ahead. And then came the idea - I did not miss any light on the bars at all, and I definitely missed the spot from the helmet - so be it, why not have the 600L and the 200L together, side by side?
    Now I know this sounds crazy, but lets just think about it. Is it possible? What are the drawbacks? Having a 85g lighthead on the right side and a 200g lighthead on the left is a bit unusual - and adds up to almost 300g, which means a lot of weight on my head.
    However, there are some advantages of having two separate lightheads instead of just one. Like, for instance, being able to point them in slightly different directions, eg. the wide beam could point a bit down in front of me, while the spot could be aimed higher, near the horizon. But, is the 200 lumens spot going to be sufficient to complement the lightspill of the 600L? Are there any technical issues?
    I've played with the idea of another 600L, but then I'd be in Lupine territory again (moneywise), and 400g on my head - oh god, no (>1000 lumens would be nice though).

    So, is it a bad idea? Is it a good idea? I do have the additional 150 bucks to finance this experiment, but it would be nice to hear some sober minds, telling me honestly if I'm crazy or not. Has anyone done anything like that before? Was it any good? Should I send back the wide lens 600L in exchange for a spot, hoping that it still has enough light spill? Any other ideas solving this problem? Like 200L on the helmet and 600L on the bars? (No, that's too conventional for me.)
    Shall I just shut up and ride? Good idea.

  2. #2
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    The weight up there would be a deal-breaker for me. Add to that two batteries, two cables and all of the sudden spending the dough for a high-zoot system that does what you want it to starts looking like a better value.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by quaffimodo
    The weight up there would be a deal-breaker for me. Add to that two batteries, two cables and all of the sudden spending the dough for a high-zoot system that does what you want it to starts looking like a better value.
    It's not _that_ bad - Dinotte have a Y-cable, so there is only one cable and one battery to deal with. And the runtime with both lights on high would (should) still exceed 2.5 hours.
    I guess I will find something that weighs 100g and attach it to my helmet along with the 600L to check whether weight is an issue for me... ;-]

  4. #4
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    Hmm, that's too bad that the Dinotte 600L in a wide beam is really that bad. I had hopes that it would be a pretty decent light for the bars. How much are you investing if you get the 200L now. Is it $600+ for the 200L and the 600L together? If so you could have gotten a Wilma 6 for close to that amount and have one lighthead to mount that would give you what you want and be much lighter in weight than the 2 Dinotte lights and less awkward to mount. If the 600L wide beam is that disappointing I would consider trading it for the standard beam as I hear good things about that. If you had two 600L's the obvious choice would be to run a wide beam on the bars and get a standard beam for the helmet and not both on the helmet. I think if you had them to test you would most likely end up doing it that way. If you ever hit some fog while out riding you realize that a bar mounted light comes in handy real quick.

  5. #5
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    There's a guy that lives and rides in Vancouver (The North Shore) that runs to Edison's with a y-cable off a single 13.8ah battery in his back pack. He tells me that he wouldn't think off running it any other way, unless of coarse he had two Betties...

    So no I don't think it's a bad idea at all. Nothing sucs worse then not being able to pin it because of light short comings. I think you should maybe go with a little more then the 200L as the second light, but just my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Todd for the info.

    I think I can just go to REI (it seems they have it in stock) and purchase a 200L to try it out, then return it for a refund.
    Does it work like that? I'm new to the US, so I'm not sure how these things work here.
    I bought a camera and on the package there was a note that if the box is opened then it can be returned for a 15% restocking fee. Which is fine if they really take it back and refund the money. In this way I could try out the 600L+200L combination. So can it work?

  7. #7
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by radirpok
    I've bought a Dinotte 600L wide lens light, hoping for "extreme" light output.
    The 600Lwb alone on the bars is absolutely rubbish. However... it is much, much better on the helmet (believe it or not). Actually I had to realize that I wasn't missing peripheral view for the first time in my life with a bike light. It lights up the area where I'm looking at up to about 20 meters, which is - well, lets face it - not _that_ much in the forward direction. It is very nice indeed for technical riding at low speeds (let's say <25kmh), but I can easily imagine outrunning it on fast descents, not even mentioning road speeds. What this light desperately needs is a fourth led punching ahead into the dark.
    For a moment I've considered sending it back to Dinotte and getting a Lupine Wilma instead (which is just that - one led and at about 250 lumens more), but paying almost twice the money for not quite twice the light is just not going to happen. And otherwise the Dinotte package is really nice.
    Then I figured out that Dinotte's own 200L light is just what I need - a single led punching a spot into the dark ahead. And then came the idea - I did not miss any light on the bars at all, and I definitely missed the spot from the helmet - so be it, why not have the 600L and the 200L together, side by side?
    Now I know this sounds crazy, but lets just think about it. Is it possible? What are the drawbacks? Having a 85g lighthead on the right side and a 200g lighthead on the left is a bit unusual - and adds up to almost 300g, which means a lot of weight on my head.
    However, there are some advantages of having two separate lightheads instead of just one. Like, for instance, being able to point them in slightly different directions, eg. the wide beam could point a bit down in front of me, while the spot could be aimed higher, near the horizon. But, is the 200 lumens spot going to be sufficient to complement the lightspill of the 600L? Are there any technical issues?
    I've played with the idea of another 600L, but then I'd be in Lupine territory again (moneywise), and 400g on my head - oh god, no (>1000 lumens would be nice though).

    So, is it a bad idea? Is it a good idea? I do have the additional 150 bucks to finance this experiment, but it would be nice to hear some sober minds, telling me honestly if I'm crazy or not. Has anyone done anything like that before? Was it any good? Should I send back the wide lens 600L in exchange for a spot, hoping that it still has enough light spill? Any other ideas solving this problem? Like 200L on the helmet and 600L on the bars? (No, that's too conventional for me.)
    Shall I just shut up and ride? Good idea.
    What about the 600 on the bars and the 200 on your head? I'm just getting back into riding at night, but in the "dark" days of 10-15 watt halogens, I liked a wide beam on the bars and a spot on the head. I am looking at new lights now, and I assume the same will be true of the newer lights. I think what you found (and Dinotte stressed this to me in an email) is that their wide beam is NOT good as an only light. The fact that it does not penetrate very far means (IMO) it may as well stay on the bars lighting up whats immediately in front of me. Also, an advantage of having a bar mount is that it casts more shadows and you can see the irregularities in the trail better. This leaves the spot on your head to point down the trail where you want it.

    I am interested to hear how this works out for you. In the end you can always try the double headlamp thing and if you don't like it move the 600 to the bar. If I've found one thing to be true as I have been lurking in this forum and talking to people about their preferences, people's tastes vary.

  8. #8
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    Ahhh the "dark days", yeah when we were happy with 200-300lumen lights (because at 20 lumens a watt on average for MR11 setups, that's what it basically amounts to) and if we didn't like the bulb it was 5 mins to change it with at most a screw driver involved. Now we gotta rewire the LEDs or send them back to the manufacturer to change the lense... now that's progress eh?
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight
    Ahhh the "dark days", yeah when we were happy with 200-300lumen lights (because at 20 lumens a watt on average for MR11 setups, that's what it basically amounts to) and if we didn't like the bulb it was 5 mins to change it with at most a screw driver involved. Now we gotta rewire the LEDs or send them back to the manufacturer to change the lense... now that's progress eh?
    Yes the "dark days" (about 8 years ago) when I was in the dark after riding at full power for much over an hour or had to ride at low power to have a chance of completing the ride.

    All I know is that for what I paid for my 15w / 10w combo 8 years ago with 15 lbs of batteries that lasted for about hour at full blast I can get something just as bright, better quality (IMO) light, about 1/3 of the weight in batteries, that lasts 3 times as long.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    What about the 600 on the bars and the 200 on your head? I'm just getting back into riding at night, but in the "dark" days of 10-15 watt halogens, I liked a wide beam on the bars and a spot on the head.
    You see, the problem is that the 600L beam is just not wide enough for the bar. Have a look at the attachment (I hope it goes through). Maybe it's because it is too close to the ground, and the beam projects a prolonged oval shape instead of being more circular (which is how it looks when it is on the helmet). Maybe it's because it still doesn't point to where I want to look. Maybe it's because I don't have a second light with me to try out the combination.

    I'm still undecided. And I've heard that some chaps back home will build a DIY 3-led light (which is 600L category), that I could also buy, and will cost about the third of the 600L's price. As a matter of fact it's in the same price range as the 200L. Unfortunately the two battery systems are not compatible (7.2v vs >10v), so if I go DIY then there are two chargers and two systems to deal with, but more light (maybe too much?). Aargh. Decisions, decisions!
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  11. #11
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    What batteries were you using? Sounds like SLA's. I've gone to NiMH myself and that alone has cut my battery weight by almost two thirds while keeping my full power runtime around 2 hours, and in fact my light setup is now even brighter than I used to ride with.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  12. #12
    TCW
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    Heck, I started out with overvolted 20 watt MR16 halogen set-ups so I'm still not impressed with the LED/HID offerings when price is factored. I look forward to the day high-powered LED set-ups can be purchased at reasonable prices.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight
    What batteries were you using? Sounds like SLA's. I've gone to NiMH myself and that alone has cut my battery weight by almost two thirds while keeping my full power runtime around 2 hours, and in fact my light setup is now even brighter than I used to ride with.
    They were NiMH. I'm sure they were not the best out there even at the time, but they were what you got for the money I was spending ($150 per light/battery combo, each light came with 2 NiMH nightstick batteries). I am comparing this to what I can get now for $150.

    Strange thing is, when they were new I only got an hour and a half TOPS using 2 of these batteries powering one 15w light. They have been sitting in a box unused for over 4 years and everyone has told me they would be shot. Last week I charged them up, and took two of them on a ride with the 15w light assuming I'd need my petzel to get me back. I ran the light for the last 1/2 hour in the dark and they did fine. I took the other two batteries with me last night and tried using just one. It lasted about 35 minutes. Longer than I would have expected given the neglect they suffered.

  14. #14
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    Not at all

    The more lights, the better. I have two on my helmet and one on the bars. There is - of course - a weight penalty, but that's a small price to pay for the brightness and security of having a back-up system.

    One of my two helment lights is a conventional LED system and the other is a funky-looking but funnctional strip of 24 small LEDs made by Fox Fury. The Fox Fury model that I have doesn't throw a lot of light, but the beam pattern is very, very wide so it compliments the relatively narrow beams of my more conventional lights. Its power source is 4 AA batteries, which I see as a huge advantage due to the ease of carrying spares. Burn time per set of batteries is about 7 hours.

    In any case, the bottom line is: your idea is - in my mind - very rational.

  15. #15
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    I can understand that the 600L is a very spotty beam BUT I don't understand why you would say the it doesn't have enough light. To me, that sounds like it is defective. 20 meters? My flashlight works much better than that.

    Quick question, is it bright enough that you would have no problem staring into the business end? If it is something is definitely wrong. A buddy of mine turned my LED light to high and then turned it on (I didn't have time to stop him). He immediately freaked out and almost dropped the light. He was seeing dark grey spots for hours. My light only puts out about 250 lumens.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumbee1
    I can understand that the 600L is a very spotty beam BUT I don't understand why you would say the it doesn't have enough light. To me, that sounds like it is defective. 20 meters? My flashlight works much better than that.

    Quick question, is it bright enough that you would have no problem staring into the business end? If it is something is definitely wrong. A buddy of mine turned my LED light to high and then turned it on (I didn't have time to stop him). He immediately freaked out and almost dropped the light. He was seeing dark grey spots for hours. My light only puts out about 250 lumens.
    Just a quick note: what I have is the 600L _wide_ beam, so it is not a fault that it doesn't have a throw.
    On the other hand, even the cheapest backlights can damage your vision if you stare directly into the leds - so this doesn't say anything about the real usefulness of a light IMHO.

  17. #17
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    I've decided to jump in the special weekend offer of Dinotte (I wanted a taillight anyway) so now I have the 200L besides the 600L.
    I didn't have time to play with it too much yet, but here are the first impressions:
    - the 200L has a tiny, although bright spot. I would say it is about as bright as my 10w halogen but doesn't have the light spill of that, unfortunately I don't have the halogen light with me, so I'll have to wait three more weeks to do a direct comparison.
    - I now think that the 600Lwb does have a decent light spill, at least compared to the 200L anyway... :-]
    I tried the classical configuration (600L on the bars, 200L on the helmet) and boy, what a difference this tiny little spot makes! I'd rather have another 600L, but even with this configuration I feel much, much better now.

    However, I will try out the other configurations as well, 200L on the bars, and both on the helmet. This latter will be interesting, since the light came with a rather short wire so I have to mount the battery magazine on my head. Which would mean at least a pound worth of light. 300g (200L +batteries) was strange, but not as bad as it sounds.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd@gretnabikes
    There's a guy that lives and rides in Vancouver (The North Shore) that runs to Edison's with a y-cable off a single 13.8ah battery in his back pack. He tells me that he wouldn't think off running it any other way, unless of coarse he had two Betties...

    So no I don't think it's a bad idea at all. Nothing sucs worse then not being able to pin it because of light short comings. I think you should maybe go with a little more then the 200L as the second light, but just my opinion.

    I believe Todd is talking about me.

    Myself and all my riding friends that have more than one ligth run them all on our helmet. I would say is a crazy idea to run 2 lights with XC helmets but most of us that run 2 ligths here in Vancouver use a full face helmet and even after mounting 2 lights we have no isues with weight or the Full Face helmet itself moving due to its weight.

    Running 2 Edisons with a Y cable is not recomended as the power shuts to low in about 70 minutes. These days I run a Betty and an Edison with 2 separate batteries.

  19. #19
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    I guess this will be my last post in the topic.
    Went for a short ride yesterday in the evening. First I had the 600L on the helmet, and the 200L on the bars. This proved to be a bad combo: I just couldn't make use of the 200L on the bars, probably because the 600L overshined it. It was like the 600L on the helmet alone, but worse, because instead of the good quality, even light the pattern was full of dark and shiny artifacts, and it seemed like flickering (I know, this sounds strange, but that's really what it was like).
    Then I swapped the two lights, and everything was just in place. The 600L on the bars provided the basis of the light (remember, it is bright, although not really wide), and where this basic light started to vanish into darkness the 200L provided the necessary boost to extend it another 5 meters or so.
    Strangely I found this quite useful on the road, the light was now sufficient to achieve real road speed without having to worry about overrunning the beam.
    All in all, I still would not recommend this setup to the serious offroader, and the reason for that is I still felt that I could use a stronger light on the helmet to match the 600L in shininess. The 200L is a nice commuter light, but I really wouldn't recommend going offroad with it (especially not as a single lighting source). However the dual 600L setup could just be the ultimate combo in bicycle lighting ;-]

    Oh yes, I didn't try both lights on the helmet (maybe I will sometime, just for the fun of it). The bar+helmet combo was convincing enough. And I'd really miss the proper shadows on the ground...

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