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  1. #1
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    1 Watt Luxeon LED - PB Super Spot

    I bought a Planet Bike Super Spot 1 watt luxeon white LED headlight, to see if it would be an improvement over the dual Planet Bike Beamer setup, that I am currently using.

    I found the light to be much brighter than the dual Beamers. I was disappointed in the lens however.

    The beam pattern is good in the center, but is too banded outside the center. I took the lens off to compare, and found that the light outside the center was much better without the banding, but the center became a series of bullseye bands of light.



    I would like to see the lens changed to remove the vertical lines. the center is fine, but the vertical banding is distracting and confusing to the eye when trying to assess the approaching terrain.

    old_dude
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for the pics!! Beam shots of Luxeon based lights seem to be few and far between! I'm not familiar with the Planet Bike Beamer system - what wattage/voltage/globe type are they? Hopefully the lens might be a common size, you may be able to find a more suitable setup? Good luck! Be sure to report after a few more trail-tests!

    Cheers, Dave.
    Last edited by Low_Rider; 02-19-2004 at 10:02 PM.

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    I'm no expert on LED, but intrigued by the advances they're making...

    Quote Originally Posted by old_dude
    I bought a Planet Bike Super Spot 1 watt luxeon white LED headlight, to see if it would be an improvement over the dual Planet Bike Beamer setup, that I am currently using.

    I found the light to be much brighter than the dual Beamers. I was disappointed in the lens however.

    The beam pattern is good in the center, but is too banded outside the center. I took the lens off to compare, and found that the light outside the center was much better without the banding, but the center became a series of bullseye bands of light.



    I would like to see the lens changed to remove the vertical lines. the center is fine, but the vertical banding is distracting and confusing to the eye when trying to assess the approaching terrain.

    old_dude
    ...as I am into distance riding and moving to a warm climate. I'd like to be able to do long distance training rides into the dark hours, when the summer heat makes it unbearable to do mid day. With these lights, you don't have to carry big or spare batteries.

    As far as the beam pattern goes, I do know that LEDs without some help, do not "beam" per se, but rather radiate their light. It could be that the distortion you're seeing in the outer part of the beam is a trade off of the lens design, which is probably engineered to cast the light well in the spot (center) portion of the beam, but be visible to others at distances in the outer portion, even if off axis to the spot beam, much like Fresnel lenses are. I think the pic you showed demonstrates a pretty good beam, is it of the stock setup, or with your other lens? Also, it would be better if you could take a pic of it beaming on a trail, say 20' in front of you, with some bushes to either side, to give a more detailed perspective of what it's capable of. Your pic shows about a 3' wide spot, but on a wall that appears to be no more than 6-8' in front of you. I'm thinking any light outside this spot is not really intended by Planet Bike to be part of the beam, and at 20' that spot would grow to at least twice that size or more. You can't expect a whole lot from one LED lamp. If you post a pic of yours at a more real world trail distance, I'll ask Planet Bike how their four LED helmet lamp's spot compares to yours, thanks.
    Last edited by Gnarlygig; 02-20-2004 at 06:28 AM.

  4. #4
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    This is what the trails look like around here now...

    > I think the pic you showed demonstrates a pretty good beam, is it of the stock setup, or > with your other lens?

    Huh? What other lens? I think you may have misunderstood. That is the beam pattern off-the-shelf. At one point, I took the lens off altogether, to see the beam pattern without the lens. I did not take a picture of that.

    > Also, it would be better if you could take a pic of it beaming on a trail, say 20' in front of >you, with some bushes to either side, to give a more detailed perspective of what it's >capable of.

    The trails are not usable at this time. Check the attached picture. It's not me or anyone I know, but the trails are about the same. Except our trails are in forest.

    >Your pic shows about a 3' wide spot, but on a wall that appears to be no more than 6-8' >in front of you. I'm thinking any light outside this spot is not really intended by Planet >Bike to be part of the beam, and at 20' that spot would grow to at least twice that size or >more.

    Yes, that is all true, but when riding you have to see the other things off to side and ahead of you, like that skunk coming out of the bushes, and any terrain features in the same areas, where you may chose to dodge to avoid that nasty bit that you can see clearly, straight ahead.

    >You can't expect a whole lot from one LED lamp. If you post a pic of yours at a more real >world trail distance, I'll ask Planet Bike how their four LED helmet lamp's spot compares >to yours, thanks.

    I now use two Planet Bike Beamers hung from the handlebars. The light from those is more diffuse and much more acceptable for riding. I point those a bit downwards. Their beam pattern is hot in the center and the light level gradually drops off to the sides, with no distinct banding. The Tikka Plus 4 LED headlamp that I use with the Beamers is also free of banding.

    The single LED Super Spot puts out more than 2.5 times the light of all the 10 LEDs in my current lighting system, combined. I have ten 10,000 mcd super bright white LCDs in my current lighting system. That is 100,000 MCD total. That light intensity can be measured over a 15-20 degree angle for each single LED. The Super Spot's single 1 watt luxeon white LED puts out 250,000 mcd. This can be measured over a 110 degree angle.

    Clearly there is much more raw light to work with, and over a inherent broader angle.

    So, yes I do expect some reasonable light from this unit, and it produces. Even when I take the lens right off, the Super Spot produces much more light than my current lighting system.

    What I don't like is how it focuses the light outside the center of the beam, into light bands.
    I think that is not necessary and actually reduces the quality of the beam pattern for riding.

    The center bright spot is produced by the parabolic reflector and the center magnifying glass feature of the lens. The bands outside this center spot do not contribute to the bright center. Removing them would make the light more uniform outside the center hot spot and in my opinion more suitable for riding.

    The banding may be OK for the road, since roads are more or less featureless, but offroad there is more detail in the forest and in the terrain, and the banding overlays the forest detail. This adds to the confusion and makes the mind work harder to make things out. You have to look longer at things to actually see what is there. You don't have time to do that, unless you slow down. IMHO, not good. I feel it would be better to have uniform light at a lower level, than bands of dark and brighter light confusing the eye.

    Too bad they don't offer optional lenses. I would trash this one for sure.

    I may see if I can figure out a way to make my own custom lens by ripping one off from a cheap flashlight and making it fit.

    IMHO the 1 watt luxeon LED is a very good alternative to the lower level LEDs and to traditional power hungry systems with battery chargers. However, I feel that Planet Bike missed the mark with their lens design. IMO, the center bright area is good, but the banding outside that spot sucks big time. It reminds me of the Road Toad, which is terrible for banding.

    I would like to see it bright in the middle with a gradual falloff of light intensity moving away from the center. Even the distinct band, between the center bright spot and the area outside that spot, is undesirable IMO. I would prefer a gradual transition.

    I have seen 1 watt luxeon headlamps. I wonder what the beam pattern is like on those. I could see using one of those together with the Super Spot. That way you can turn your head and direct the light at what you need to see off to the sides, while the Super Spot lights the trail directly ahead. Looking ahead would double the light.

    http://www.shoplifestyleonline.com/fl511.html
    http://www.nuwai.com.tw/1_watt_led.htm
    http://www.glowbug.com/product.php?sku=211
    http://www.flashlightsite.com/ledflashlights.html

    This is the way I am thinking at the moment. I will likely relegate the Beamers to walking flashlights, and just use the Petzl Tikka Plus headlamps around the house during power failures, or for kayaking at night.

    I think my lighting system for this season will use a Planet Bike Super Spot and a 1 watt luxeon helmet mounted headlamp.

    ---------------------------------
    added with edit
    ---------------------------------
    I have been doing some additional research.

    The 1 watt luxeon headlamps, that I might use for helmet mount, use only 3AA batteries and have too short battery life. They are also too expensive. I may just stick with my Tikka Plus or I might investigate constructing a helmet light using parts from a luxeon star flashlight.

    In fact, I may just return the Super Spot and use a luxeon star flashlight with a handlebar mount. The beam pattern is just too wrong, the case is too fragile, and it is not very weather resistent. The idea is good but the execution is not so good.

    I think I'll head over to MEC and see if they have any good luxeon star flashlights.

    I wonder if I could take an existing crappy halogen headlamp and switch the internals to the luxeon.
    ---------------------------------

    old_dude
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    Last edited by old_dude; 02-20-2004 at 08:24 PM. Reason: new info

  5. #5
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    Moonlight on wheels or is that an alien?

    Dave,

    The Beamer is a three super white LED headlight. 3 X 10,000 mcd output. The light output is not very high. There is enough light to see by, when riding, since I use two of them(60,000 mcd), with a Tikka Plus helmet mount 4 super bright LED headlamp. 4 X 10,000 mcd. That gives me 100,000 mcd total. This setup works well for XC at conservative speed, and for up to 15 mph on the road. I would not use this setup for freeride.

    These lights create something like the light of the full moon, multiplied by a very small number, localized to the area ahead of the bike. It is a very pale and uniform light.

    The colour of the LED light is also a bit different. It is a sort of violet white. People have joked that it look like an alien. Confused deer that might otherwise have run off, have stopped to stare.

    The advantage of the Beamers is their 100 hours battery life on 2 alkaline AA cells, plus the fact that the light fades slowly over many hours. You don't find that the light just suddenly dies on you in a matter of minutes. You have lots of time to change batteries when you get around to it.

    I hang the two Beamers upside down from the handlebars to protect them better. They are compact, shed water well, and are fairly light in weight, so I leave them on the bike all the time. Almost all their weight is in the batteries.

    http://www.planetbike.com/frontlights.html#

    Check near the bottom of the page.

    old_dude


    Quote Originally Posted by Low_Rider
    Thanks for the pics!! Beam shots of Luxeon based lights seem to be few and far between! I'm not familiar with the Planet Bike Beamer system - what wattage/voltage/globe type are they? Hopefully the lens might be a common size, you may be able to find a more suitable setup? Good luck! Be sure to report after a few more trail-tests!

    Cheers, Dave.

  6. #6
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    PB Super Spot compared to 1 watt luxeon flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Low_Rider
    Thanks for the pics!! Beam shots of Luxeon based lights seem to be few and far between! I'm not familiar with the Planet Bike Beamer system - what wattage/voltage/globe type are they? Hopefully the lens might be a common size, you may be able to find a more suitable setup? Good luck! Be sure to report after a few more trail-tests!

    Cheers, Dave.
    Here is another example of the Super Spot beam pattern, this time compared side-by-side with a 1 watt luxeon star flashlight. I think the flashlight is way better. PB need to do something about improving the reflector and lens of the Super Spot.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~g_rosco/i...m_patterns.jpg

    old_dude

  7. #7
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    you interested in the higher powered luxeon based lights?

    how about some luxeon 3 and luxeon 5w action?

    go here: www.candlepowerforums.com


    GREAT place, great people. LOTS of great links, info, BEAMSHOTS, etc.

    there is a guy Elektrolumens that is building high power luxeon based lights. it is amazing what you can do with a luxeon by overdriving and using good heatsinking.

    Bob

  8. #8
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    Good report, and humorous, esp the part about the "trails".

    Sorry, but I didn't know you were in such wintery conditions, the length of your post seems to indicate that. I'm in Seattle so we have whimpy winters compared to you. I like MEC as well, I've ordered bike shorts, an Arcteryx backpack, and an Integral Designs bivy from them, all of which I love using, and their customer service is exceptional. Next time I go up to ride in BC I'm going to set aside some time to stop in their Vancouver store.

    Sounds like the lens on that light is mostly designed for road riding, and the banding may be for being seen by cars while making turns and such. You really know alot about the latest LED technology, something I need to research more myself. I live close to the Flagship REI store here, but their bike dept no longer has the neat dark booth for sampling lights, it seems to be hit and miss as you're doing with most of them.

    BTW, have you tried this model of Planet Bike lights, I'm looking mostly for a good helmet lamp for now. if I really get into it, I can add handlebar stuff later.



    I've looked at the Tikka and others that are similar in REI and climbing stores, but they seemed too dim, do you know what the brightest helmet LED lamp is?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarlygig

    I've looked at the Tikka and others that are similar in REI and climbing stores, but they seemed too dim, do you know what the brightest helmet LED lamp is?
    Still waiting to hear from these guys

    http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/multisporters.htm

    on availability and price.

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    Idea! Thanks Axe, I checked out their site and emailed them...

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe
    Still waiting to hear from these guys

    http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/multisporters.htm

    on availability and price.
    ...for details on the Endurenz DIY kits. Looks like a cool company, let us know what their response is, I'm sure you'll hear from them first.

  11. #11
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    Similar to a Tikka Plus...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarlygig

    BTW, have you tried this model of Planet Bike lights, I'm looking mostly for a good helmet lamp for now. if I really get into it, I can add handlebar stuff later.

    I've looked at the Tikka and others that are similar in REI and climbing stores, but they seemed too dim, do you know what the brightest helmet LED lamp is?
    The Tikka is a 3 LED headlamp. I have the Tikka Plus with 4 LEDs, I guess the extra LED accounts for the "Plus".

    The Planet Bike unit looks like it would provide much the same light as the Tikka Plus, perhaps more focused?

    I don't know too much about non-LED lights. They do not interest me in the least. I will not buy any of those, due to short battery life. Reminds me of a flashbulb. Blinding light for a very short time. Not interested. I'll take acceptable light for a very extended time thanks.

    This is not a gee wiz tech thing. I am also uninterested in 3 and 5 watt luxeon LEDs. They also have too short battery life. The 1 watt luxeon star seems to me to be the best compromise between light intensity and battery life, when enough batteries are used.

    The problem with the 1 watt luxeon is that too many manufacturers want to put very expensive lithium batteries in them, that still only last less than ten hours. Others try to drive them with 2 or 3 AA batteries that still do not provide enough battery life.

    Even if you get 30 hours battery life with 4 AA batteries unregulated, like the Super Spot, that is still too short for alkaline batteries. I have four bikes in my family. With the Super Spot, I would be replacing 16 or more AA batteries a month. No thanks. At this point I am looking for NiMh rechargeable batteries, but the luxeon has to be regulated to use those. Otherwise, the high current output will fry the LED.

    There does not seem to be anyone making a 1 watt luxeon lighting system suitable for off-road biking.

    I have started another thread titled, "Would you buy this?" It has my description of the lighting system, that I would like to buy for all our family bikes. Nobody makes anything like it.

    If someone will start manufacturing and selling something like that, I have an order for the first four.

    You may be interested in this:

    http://goldengadgets.com/product_in...products_id=116

    My biking buddy just ordered three of them. His delivered cost in Canada is $13 CDN per unit. When they arrive, we will compare the light output and battery life with the Tikka Plus.

    old_dude
    Last edited by old_dude; 02-25-2004 at 04:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    Super Spot is a commuter light...says Planet Bike

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarlygig

    Sounds like the lens on that light is mostly designed for road riding, and the banding may be for being seen by cars while making turns and such.
    Well, you more or less hit the nail on the head. I sent a note to Planet Bike, and the product guy informed me that the Super Spot is a commuter light. It is not intended for off-road use. It is intened for road use only.

    I also explained what I wanted in a Luxeon lighting system, for off-road, and he responded, that they have no intentions of making anything like that any time soon.

    I will wait to see the result of the poll I put up. If there is no significant support for the lightning system design, that I show with the poll, and if no one else sells one, I will probably end up making my own.

    There seems to be real competition about who can build the brightest lighting system. I have heard comments like "burning bark off trees". Will it come to that before the focus changes to battery life?

    I have to wonder, at what point do you get enough light from a lighting system? When do you say that I have enough light to ride safely and confidently? Is the light output really the weakest part of current lighting systems, or, is it battery life? Should the engineers and marketing people continue to focus on competing over light output, or should they focus more on battery life?

    My personal view is that current light systems provide more than adequate light, and what is needed now is competition over battery life.

    When I find that I can safely ride XC single track at night, with only a 10 Super Bright LED lighting system, I have to wonder. A dual 1 watt Luxeon Star lighting system would put out way more than twice the light of my current system. I expect that it should be more than adequate for XC at any speed, over any XC terrain.

    I could well be in a minority position, with this view. If I do not see any meanigful movement in this direction, I guess I will be on my own, and will have to build it myself. There are enough people posting Luxeon designs on the WEB, and there are enough WEB sites selling the parts.

    old_dude
    Last edited by old_dude; 02-26-2004 at 08:54 PM.

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    you can use nimh with a luxeon without a regulator--but you have to resistor it back to control the current. also, you wouldnt want to use a set of nimh right off the charger.

    i agree with your assessments. i rode an unknown trail at night with only a 7 led light, and though not the brightest light, it was still pretty good. heck, my bro in law was riding with a princeton tec aurora 3led headlamp, and did fine. it was a BLAST!
    i firmly believe that a well driven pair of luxeons are all that my friends and i would need to safely trailride at night.

    i will probably be building a system that uses 2 luxeon 1w and rechargeables.
    not sure yet as to the optics/bats yet. i may direct drive them (with a limiting resistor) or use a micropuck (350ma driver) or a driver called Badboy 400. i should be able to build the system for $50. though the direct drive setup would be simpler and less expensive, it would require the use of 3 cells, which makes charging 2 sets a little tricky--since my charger only handles 4 at a time. also, i would have to custom make/modify a bat carriers.

    i dont feel i need extreme long runtimes, since i will be using nimh rechargeables. heck, a micropuck and 2aa nimh will probably run a single 1w for well over 3 hours straight. i know my BB400 runs for over 2.5 hrs on 2 nimh aa, before falling out of regulation.

    using the aa bats makes the system very light and compact.
    however, i will probably use a connector, which will allow me to use any 2-cell setup--even alkies in a pinch. 2d cell alkies will run a 1w w/ micropuck for 24 HOURS straight with a nearly flat discharge curve. even hi cap d-cells should run it a VERY long time, and be very economical.

    FYI: i have a wonderful vanson smart charger, which will charge 1-4 bats at a time (aaa, aa, c or d), or even 9v. you can use an inverter and your car bat to charge them if you are camping.

    anyway--good luck on your quest.

    Bob

  14. #14
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    Resistor drains batteries faster than regulator...

    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob
    you can use nimh with a luxeon without a regulator--but you have to resistor it back to control the current. also, you wouldnt want to use a set of nimh right off the charger.

    Bob
    My understanding is that a resistor setup will drain the batteries faster than a regulator.
    You draw more energy from the battery, but waste some of it making heat in the resistor, instead of delivering it to the Luxeon.

    If you don't care about battery life, why not get a 15 watt halogen setup?

    I would, if battery life did not matter to me.

    Are you concerned about battery weight?

    old_dude

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    Have you looked at the Night Lightning systems out of...

    Quote Originally Posted by old_dude
    The Tikka is a 3 LED headlamp. I have the Tikka Plus with 4 LEDs, I guess the extra LED accounts for the "Plus".

    The Planet Bike unit looks like it would provide much the same light as the Tikka Plus, perhaps more focused?

    I don't know too much about non-LED lights. They do not interest me in the least. I will not buy any of those, due to short battery life. Reminds me of a flashbulb. Blinding light for a very short time. Not interested. I'll take acceptable light for a very extended time thanks.

    This is not a gee wiz tech thing. I am also uninterested in 3 and 5 watt luxeon LEDs. They also have too short battery life. The 1 watt luxeon star seems to me to be the best compromise between light intensity and battery life, when enough batteries are used.

    The problem with the 1 watt luxeon is that too many manufacturers want to put very expensive lithium batteries in them, that still only last less than ten hours. Others try to drive them with 2 or 3 AA batteries that still do not provide enough battery life.

    Even if you get 30 hours battery life with 4 AA batteries unregulated, like the Super Spot, that is still too short for alkaline batteries. I have four bikes in my family. With the Super Spot, I would be replacing 16 or more AA batteries a month. No thanks. At this point I am looking for NiMh rechargeable batteries, but the luxeon has to be regulated to use those. Otherwise, the high current output will fry the LED.

    There does not seem to be anyone making a 1 watt luxeon lighting system suitable for off-road biking.

    I have started another thread titled, "Would you buy this?" It has my description of the lighting system, that I would like to buy for all our family bikes. Nobody makes anything like it.

    If someone will start manufacturing and selling something like that, I have an order for the first four.

    You may be interested in this:

    http://goldengadgets.com/product_in...products_id=116

    My biking buddy just ordered three of them. His delivered cost in Canada is $13 CDN per unit. When they arrive, we will compare the light output and battery life with the Tikka Plus.

    old_dude
    ...New Zealand?http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/multisporters.htm

    They may not have quite as low of prices as you've been paying, but when you add NiMH to the equation, and a charger adequate to power it up, they're really not bad price wise, especially their DIY kits that are about 25% below their built systems. Yes they do have 3 watt LEDs, but you can order them with the dimmer for long term use, and still have bright light on demand for technical sections.

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    Being one of those that likes to ride with the minimum amount or light that is sufficient for the trails, I've found that something akin to a 10W halogen is about the minimum for a technical trail. I commute known trails with a 4~5W, and I find that is just enough if I know where all the roots, logs & rocks are. On the screened bike-paths, <1W is sufficient, infact a full moon is often enough. In the winter, on snow, 4~5W is sufficient, but in the rain or on wet ground that soaks up all the light you direct at it, even 10Ws can bee hard to see. And I don't know about how "old" the Dude is, but my 'old dude' eyes do not have the night vision they use to. One of our older riders (~60) used to be fine with a 10W light, now he finds 20Ws to be marginally acceptable.

    Considering that the cost of a Luxeon + current control module is more than a MR-11 halogen bulb, building something like you describe is a pretty hard sell for the manufacturers since most trail riders want 'more light'. Also, from a pure efficiency point of view, you do not get any more lux out of a 1W luxeon than a 1W halogen/Xenon bulb, so why go to the extra expense? The biggest advantage of the LEDs is thier efficient dimmability. You can build a 10W Luxeon light (like NightLighting), and dim it to 1W (or less) and get the battery life that you want, without the cost being much more, and the light quality will be the same as the sinlge 1W luxeon - something not possible with halogens.

    I have a home made dimmable 10W luxeon (2x5W), and one made from NightLighting parts (3x3W). Although I'm still playning with optimizing the optics, I think a dimmable ~10W LED would be compedative on the market and meet Old Dude's requirements.

    Nightlighting's product is the best I've seen so far. They are good to deal with, and thier new dimmer will do what you want.

    The other problem is physiological - most people ride in groups at night, and if one person has an HID, then everyone's eyes adjust to that amount of light, and your 10W light looks that much dimmer. We usually let the HID'ers ride up at the front.

    Cheers,

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by old_dude
    My understanding is that a resistor setup will drain the batteries faster than a regulator.
    You draw more energy from the battery, but waste some of it making heat in the resistor, instead of delivering it to the Luxeon.

    If you don't care about battery life, why not get a 15 watt halogen setup?

    I would, if battery life did not matter to me.

    Are you concerned about battery weight?

    old_dude

    true, with a resistor, some of the energy is wasted as heat.
    however, a regulator circuit, even a pretty efficient zetex circuit, will usually ony be around 85-90% efficient. there is still a 10-15% energy loss in driving the circuit. nothing is for free. a resistor will not drain the bats faster than a regulator.

    my only reasons for using a regulator circuit would be:
    1. to use a constant current driver, which would keep light output flat, instead of the slow dimming you get without regulation and
    2. to allow the use of 2 cells instead of 3, since the luxeons run best when provided with 3.5+v, and 2 cells only provide 2.4-3v. (this is overly simplistic thinking, because led's are current devices, not voltage. but of course we need appropriate voltage to push current--and the bats need to have the ability to provide that current)

    yet, there is a choice in regulators: you can also get a simple voltage step-up (as well as the aforementioned current regulator). the voltage step-up will provide proper voltage (and current) to the led, but output will fall as the bats drain. it is also less expensive, and you will get longer runtimes, but some of that runtime may be at less than ideal brightness.
    you have to use care using this type of driver with rechargeables. this regulator will often drain the bats to 0.8v (0.4v each!). when you drain rechargeables to this point, they may "reverse" and kill the cell. (nimh or nicad)

    the constant current driver will fall out of regulation at ~1.6v (0.8v/cell), thereby protecting rechargeables. (you will still get light at this point, but it gives a good indicator to shut it down to protect the cells)

    overall, you can get great performance with 3 or 4 (1.2-1.5v) cells and resistors. it will be simpler, less expensive, but a bit bulkier.

    i may still get a nice halogen setup, but i prefer the luxeons due to their robustness, simplicity and very long runtimes. properly driven, i doubt that you would ever have to replace a luxeon.
    you also have the option of different optics (fraen, nx01/nx05, mcflood). the beams of the high/low domes are radically different with the different optics as well.

    i dont need extremely long bat life, because our rides rarely last more than 2 hours, but i like having a nice cushion.

    as far a bat weight: overall, im not very concerned, but i figure if i can go light, why not? with the luxeon, you can get away with smaller bats (generally), so there is no need for a heavy lead-acid, or whatever. and since i already have nimh bats and charging system, it only makes sense to use them.
    i think it will be nice to have the option of only 2 nimh aa bats, which should be nearly weightless in a jersy pocket, ar a pair of D cells--which would be heavier, but have incredibly long runtimes.

    anyway, good luck, and keep us posted as to your results/findings!

    Bob

    old_dude? you cant be that old...im mid 30's...
    Last edited by pedalinbob; 02-27-2004 at 10:28 AM.

  18. #18
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    Nya..What's up doc...(bites on a carrot)...

    I looked at the NightLighting WEB site, and was interested, but they did not give any info on pricing or on battery life for their new 3 x 3w luxeon unit. Looks expensive.

    I can ride single track at night, cautiously, with a single Planet Bike Beamer, that has only three Ultra Bright LEDs @ 10,000 mcd each.

    My age >50. I ate my carrots.

    I use two Beamers and a Tikka Plus with four of the same LEDs.

    I get buy OK with this setup, at moderate speed, but would like more light, to go a bit faster, safely. I would have no problem with dual 1 watt luxeons.

    I have found this bit:

    http://www.ledsupply.com/kit004.html

    Now, I just need need rechargeable 12V battery pack, optics, and housings.

    What is the voltage of a Halogen water bottle battery pack?

    old_dude

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    yeah, with a 12v setup and 2 luxeons, you should get long runtime, and an easy to charge bat.

    i think the halogen bat packs are usually 12v, i think capacity varies.

    i know some of them are 6v--i have seen some of the replacement niterider 6v (i think) bulbs at REI.

    havent tried the powerpuck: i didnt realize it would drive 2 stars in series--i thought they would have to be driven in parallel.

    i have used the micropucks--if you look around, you can sometimes find them for $10 each. you may be able to find a deal on the powerpucks as well.

    just an fyi: those micropucks have worked flawlessly for me. GREAT product.

    oh, and your current setup--a total of ten 5mm led's--should be well overshadowed by 2 well-driven 1w stars...your assessment is dead on. they should not only put out much more light, but throw much better as well.

    not sure which dome type that led supply sells, or what bin. (bin being the color tint, forward voltage and luminous flux). a "Q3_" or better should be wonderful.
    you can find binning info on the luxeon website.

    while you can use a reflector (it takes careful placement of the led to ged good results), you might do just fine with a collimator.

    the high dome luxeon combined with the nx05 optic will give a squarish spot with a nice bright corona/spill.
    high dome with fraen low profile gives a large powerful squarish spot, with a weak spill. (the spill is quite useful indoors). fantastic when you need throw.
    the low dome/nx05 combo will give a fat flood/mild hotspot with gradual and smooth dropoff at the periphery.
    low dome with nx01 (hard to find optic) gives a fat spot or narrow flood.

    be aware that the high domes usually have a better color due to different manufacturing methods.

    sorry for the long reply, but i love led's!

    Bob

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob
    yeah, with a 12v setup and 2 luxeons, you should get long runtime, and an easy to charge bat.

    i think the halogen bat packs are usually 12v, i think capacity varies.

    i know some of them are 6v--i have seen some of the replacement niterider 6v (i think) bulbs at REI.

    havent tried the powerpuck: i didnt realize it would drive 2 stars in series--i thought they would have to be driven in parallel.

    i have used the micropucks--if you look around, you can sometimes find them for $10 each. you may be able to find a deal on the powerpucks as well.

    just an fyi: those micropucks have worked flawlessly for me. GREAT product.


    Bob - question for you.

    5W pack (I am looking at direct order at Luxeon site) can drive one 5W or 4 1W Luxeons - 1W are 2 pairs of 2 sequentially hooked up.

    Will it work well in your experience with one Luxeon III hooked up sequential with one 1W Luxeon?

    P.S. I guess I will need a separate regulator. LIII wants 750mA, so the 5W puck is perfect, but the 1W wants constant 300mA at 3V, and I do not see how you can hook it up simultaneously to the same puck.

    Looks like an interesting project for me. Will mill the housing for LIII with collimator, for helmet, then make 1W flood uncollimated to attach to the stem - will probably tap a hole in the middle of the stem clamp (should be OK).

    12V Battery pack with recharageble batteries and car charger ~ $50. LIII + puck = $30, L1 + puck = $20. Rest I will fabricate. 80 lumens. Helmet - 20 deg collimated, hendle bar - flood. Total weight around half a kilo I guess. Will see - hope Luxeon do not drag on delivery - ordered parts.
    Last edited by Axe; 02-27-2004 at 05:45 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Axe]Bob - question for you.

    5W pack (I am looking at direct order at Luxeon site) can drive one 5W or 4 1W Luxeons - 1W are 2 pairs of 2 sequentially hooked up.

    Will it work well in your experience with one Luxeon III hooked up sequential with one 1W Luxeon?

    P.S. I guess I will need a separate regulator. LIII wants 750mA, so the 5W puck is perfect, but the 1W wants constant 300mA at 3V, and I do not see how you can hook it up simultaneously to the same puck.

    Looks like an interesting project for me. Will mill the housing for LIII with collimator, for helmet, then make 1W flood uncollimated to attach to the stem - will probably tap a hole in the middle of the stem clamp (should be OK).

    12V Battery pack with recharageble batteries and car charger ~ $50. LIII + puck = $30, L1 + puck = $20. Rest I will fabricate. 80 lumens. Helmet - 20 deg collimated, hendle bar - flood. Total weight around half a kilo I guess. Will see - hope Luxeon do not drag on delivery - ordered parts. [/QUOTE

    i havent tried driving more than one luxeon with a single driver.
    i doknow that the luxIII is really a 1w luxeon with a beefed up die, which allows it to handle more current. you can drive a lux3 at 1w currents (~350ma).

    not sure if you could use a single 5w regulator and drive a 5w and a 1w--with the 1w resistored to limit current. would be a neat way to do it. i have a feeling that the sense circuit would get goofed by the resistor--but you could contact the regulator manufacturer to find out. or, go here www.candlepowerforums.com and ask. there are a LOT of great people there.

    i am tempted by the 5w as well. my only concern is that there are few optic choices--but i hear that fraen makes some nice ones. the 5w throws a WALL of light--120 lumens.

    i have an early production 5w cyan that (driven at spec) lights up the entire back of my house...from 75 feet away--with no reflector or collimator.

    take care,
    Bob

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    Good info...

    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob
    yeah, with a 12v setup and 2 luxeons, you should get long runtime, and an easy to charge bat.

    i think the halogen bat packs are usually 12v, i think capacity varies.

    i know some of them are 6v--i have seen some of the replacement niterider 6v (i think) bulbs at REI.

    havent tried the powerpuck: i didnt realize it would drive 2 stars in series--i thought they would have to be driven in parallel.

    the high dome luxeon combined with the nx05 optic will give a squarish spot with a nice bright corona/spill.

    the low dome/nx05 combo will give a fat flood/mild hotspot with gradual and smooth dropoff at the periphery.


    Bob
    Bob,

    Thanks for the info. I was looking at the 12v battery pack, until I found out that most seem to be sealed lead acid batteries. The weight is a real problem for me. We are talking three pounds here.

    With the Beamers, that I currently use, the weight is insignificant, so I leave them on the bike all the time. I want something like that.

    NiMH batteries seem more workable for weight.

    What would you recommend in the way of a driver/regulator, battery size, and battery count, to drive two Luxeons with a single NiMH battery pack, and achieve at least 30 to 40 hours run time? What would you recommend for a battery charger?


    I was hoping that 8 AA NiMH batteries, with a driver/regulator, would do the trick, since the Super Spot uses 4 unregulated AA alkaline batteries to achieve a clamied 30 hour run time.

    If I can get 30 hours using 8 AA NiMH batteries, then I would be content with that. It would mean once a month charging.

    It sounds like a high dome nx05 used in combination with a low dome nx05, would produce good smooth area flood lighting and still throw some light ahead with the square hot spot.

    old_dude

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_dude
    Bob,

    Thanks for the info. I was looking at the 12v battery pack, until I found out that most seem to be sealed lead acid batteries. The weight is a real problem for me. We are talking three pounds here.

    With the Beamers, that I currently use, the weight is insignificant, so I leave them on the bike all the time. I want something like that.

    NiMH batteries seem more workable for weight.

    What would you recommend in the way of a driver/regulator, battery size, and battery count, to drive two Luxeons with a single NiMH battery pack, and achieve at least 30 to 40 hours run time? What would you recommend for a battery charger?


    I was hoping that 8 AA NiMH batteries, with a driver/regulator, would do the trick, since the Super Spot uses 4 unregulated AA alkaline batteries to achieve a clamied 30 hour run time.

    If I can get 30 hours using 8 AA NiMH batteries, then I would be content with that. It would mean once a month charging.

    It sounds like a high dome nx05 used in combination with a low dome nx05, would produce good smooth area flood lighting and still throw some light ahead with the square hot spot.

    old_dude
    that is a toughie!

    hmmm. though 8 aa cells would work, i would think that the highest capacity bats ( d-cells) would be best. a little bulky, but still pretty light comparet to an SLA bat.
    you will only need 2 cells to properly feed the driver.

    perhaps a pair of high capacity D cells, and a micropuck or 2.
    you culd ask LED supply if a single micropuck will drive 2 luxeons in parallel. if so, that will save you $10-$15. FYI: elektrolumens was selling micropucks for $10 each--but has been out of stock recently)

    so, you could go: two 9000mah nimh d-cells, to one or two micropucks, to two 1w luxeons: one low dome with an nx05 and one high dome with nx05. (by the way, making collimator holders can be a mild pain, and i dont know where to buy them. i hand-made mine with 3/4" pvc pipe. ).

    the big wildcard is your need for 30-40 hrs runtime. though the Beamers claim very long runtimes, i wold be a little skeptical of those claims.
    unless underdriven, it would be impossible to get (at 350ma ) 30+ hrs out of a 2500mah cell. the math doesnt work.
    they can claim 30 hrs of light, but at the end, the light might be only enough to see your toes in a dark room.
    i much prefer to judge a light's performance to 50% output. usually below 50%, the bats need to be changed.

    here is a runtime plot for two d-cell alkalines, micropuck and 1w luxeon in a GI anglehead flashlight. it runs nearly flat for over 24 hrs STRAIGHT. realize that with intermittent use, the bats will rebound, and you may get even longer runtimes.


    http://ftp2.itexas.net/Rbost/anglelux.jpg

    again, the wildcard would be the runtime of 9000 mah nimh cells. i cannot remember the exact formula for estimating runtimes, but i just posted a request for the info on candlepowerforums. i will post the answer asap. (and, we have to calculate the losses from the regulator--i dont recall the micropuck efficiency data.)

    at a guess, based upon the above runtime graph with 18000mah alkies (nimh are 1/2 that) the runtime shoud be around 12 hrs straight--nowhere near your requirements.
    things get a little tricky with nimh, because they liberate energy so freely, that you will often get runtimes much longer than the numbers show.

    an example is my badboy 400 with 2 aa cells: on 2500 mah alkies it ran for ~75 minutes before falling out of regulation. on 2100mah nimh it ran for well over 150 minutes before falling out of regulation. the bats arent even broken in yet. they will not realize full potential until they have been conditioned for a few charge/discharge cycles. that can mean an extre 20% capacity.

    to further complicate things, you could use more than 2 cells with a "Downboy" converter, which might extend bat life. i have just posted this question to the folks at candlepowerforums.

    i am curious as well, since i am about to build a similar system.

    later,
    Bob

  24. #24
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    here is a response from candlepowerforums, from paulr:

    "Yes, a downboy should be more efficient than a boost converter. But look, assuming 100% efficiency (unattainable), two 9000 mah cells at 1.25 volts is 22.5 watt-hours, so at 2 watts that would be 11.25 hours. For 30 hours of runtime you need either more batteries or less power to the leds."


    i guess i couldnt help much on the ultra long runtime, but even 10+ hrs at full brightness is pretty good. you might be able to get a full week of riding between charges. of course, you could have an exta pair of bats charged and ready to go, so you wont have to actually wait for charging.

    oh, i looked at the cost of 9000mah d-cells...pretty expensive. definitely bumps the cost up a bit. but, you can charge them MANY times.

    good luck, and let me know how you do!

    Bob

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