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  1. #1
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    L&M ARC vs Dinotte 600L wb

    Last Saturday I met BBW and we did a small comparison of our lights: he brought the ARC'o mighty, and I had the Dinotte 600L wide beam special. I have never seen the ARC in person so I was anxious to see what is it that all the people are so fond of. Well...

    I have to say in advance that I have a cheap handheld camera, and these pictures are not meant to be "official" in any way. Even though I found the "Night scenery" setting which said it would use an 8 sec exposure time, the camera decided on its own that it would not. This meant that the exposure times vary, if you download the pictures you can see the EXIF info. So these pictures are not directly comparable, but they still show well the difference of the two lights, and represent fairly well what we've seen....

    First the road beam shots. I was standing 5 steps behind the bikes to get a nice overview of the pattern. What you should see on these beamshots is that the ARC has a decent hotspot which punches ahead so you can hardly outrun it, whereas the 600L's light just vanishes somewhere in the darkness. What was surprising for me is that the 600L beam is _wider_ than the ARC, but it doesn't do much good, because the light is just spilled, and the 3 leds don't have sufficient power to allow for such a wide light spill. As you see the ARC's pattern is also very wide, and controlled perfectly. This is an excellent beam pattern to use on the road. The ARC wins here easily (but this is not surprising since the 600Lwb doesn't have a real hotspot).





    And now the more shocking part. This is a very unfair comparison because the ARC was shot with an 8 sec exposure, and the 600L with a 4 sec. So in reality the bright intensity is not that much different. But.... have a look at the bench on the right side. The pictures _do_ reflect reality in that with the ARC's beam the bench is very much visible, even the fireplace is there.... and the 600L just doesn't have the power for such a lightspill, you can see the bench, but at speed you'd definitely need a decent light on the helmet for proper peripheric view....






    I'm sorry LED guys, but you have to do better than that. The ARC is a miracle: it makes you feel that you don't need a second light to complement it. Until someone can reproduce this in a LED light, there is no reason to buy anything else than the ARC - it's that good. I just cannot agree with Lupine when they say "RIP HID"...
    My only hope is that in the future LEDs will simply have so much light that it won't matter anymore how that light is put in front of you (we can clearly see this with the Betty...). But for the price, you simply can't beat the ARC at the moment... at least that's how I see it.

    Btw. does anyone know anything about Light & Motion's plans to produce the LED version of the ARC? I'd be interested...
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    Last edited by radirpok; 11-12-2007 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks, Radirpok. I think these sorts of explanations bring a lot of attention to the positive and negative aspects of each light and bring these to the manufacturer's attention.

    Keep in mind that Light & Motion's background is in video and still photography with extensive use of reflectors. Underwater lighting is also a facet of thier background. Their ability to use reflectors was/is hard to compete with. Some will discount it but usually it's those who have not owned an ARC. Nite Rider sells a hundred times more HIDs but their latest and greatest HID doesn't even come close to the ARC. I know- I have seen their latest HIDs over and over on the trails. So you are comparing one of the very best HIDs to a LED that has not been around very long. Yes, the beam of the ARC is amazing- no doubt about that. When Locoman was looking for a light, he also also found that the ARC overall beam and ride experience was hard to beat. I think you have to step up to a Lupine Betty to do that at this point. Seven LEDs just kick out enough light to go very wide.

    However, I think LED manufacturers are really coming on strong. My faith is highest now in the Lupines, given their willingness and ability to upgrade and the evenness of the beam patterns. However, only a few manufacturers will figure out how to really distribute light both far and wide enough at the same time. This will not happen unless they use some real intelligence in designing optics or reflectors. I'm placing my bets on Lupine and Nite Rider as far as beam pattern though I have decided I will probably never buy a Nite Rider due to their quality problems for years so Lupine it is.

    Like I said before, I like the Dinottes but I think they are very resistant to a wider beam pattern because it simply cannot project enough light forward at the same time. They do not even recommend the wide beam as a one-light setup and insist that he narrow beam is enough "for most riders". I'm not in that "most riders" category and never will be.

    And regarding L&M's LED efforts- we will all see their first bright LED at the 2008 Interbike. If they can replicate the ARC pattern with even more brightness, it will blow most of their competition out of the water. Let's wait and see. Personally, I think Lupine will be very close to a Wilma/Betty upgrade by then as well. This is just a guess but Lupine has been very user-oriented and take pride in being the leader in that highest-end light category. Next year's IB will be incredible for us light geeks.

  3. #3
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    Awesome job Radirpok! The description is accurate. I think that the 600L has a lot of light but the downside of the wide version is that the light just vanish, fade away; it's hard to describe in words.. It's like there is a lot of light but it doesn't tell you that much??
    I would like to see a real trail pic of the regular (spot) version of the 600L to compare to the wide beam.
    Awesome light anyway!
    Cheers
    B

  4. #4
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    I've got a standard 600L that I use on my helmet and it "seems" to put out more light then your photos indicate. Only thing I've really compared it to was a NiteRider Moab setup and it seemed to put out a bit more light.

  5. #5
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    Great job Radirpok Indeed a very accurate description of these lights and how they perform. Iīve found your experience with the DL600 and the ARC in many ways similar to mine, only I had the Wilma instead.

    Your notes about the bench being visible shows exactly what I meant by "exploding photons" going everywhere in the range of ARCīs beam: itīs noticeable in your pic that it becomes highly visible due to the light reflecting in it, even though the ammount of light in that part of the beam is not that strong. Thatīs really what we see when using the ARC. I get the same effect with my carīs HID, the light just goes everywhere and reflective stickers, road signs, just about anything slightly reflective comes alive, even when not directly into the beam.

    My new Wilma also pumps out an awesome quantity of light, white bright light, in one of the smoothest beams Iīve ever used and seen, but this huge light also seem to fade in the distance as compared to the HIDīs. I can see LEDs improving in quantity (lumen output) to the point it wonīt make a difference, as Flyer suggests. But maybe this difference has more to do with the nature, perhaps I should say quality, of the light source. HIDs arenīt dead for sure! Besides, for the cost...

    But LEDs are way more reliable, and reliability is important in this case. Iīve never had a single problem runnnig my ARC and I am very confident in its performance. Iīd trust an Edison as well, it shares Lupine quality and built and itīs 930 lumens - HID. Thatīs a lot of light. But you never know. I acknowledge a LED is, by nature, less likely to fail than a HID lamp and ballast. In that sense, I feel safer riding my Wilma than my ARC. For me LEDs are here, but HIDs are not over yet. Maybe as a strategy for some companies like Lupine, decided to channel all available energy and resource in improving the LED techology, but not for the consumer.

    The amazing and funny part in all this is: we bikers are dealing with high-end, really advanced light stuff. Not long ago we were riding with super-heavy, had-light-suddenly-itīs-dark-again, 2-hour-max-rides lightsets, and now weīre discussing 1.000 lumen, LEDs and gas-charged lamps and mega-compact, ultra-lighweight batteries. Thatīs just so cool!

  6. #6
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    ARC and 600L Narrow Beam

    Thanks Radirpok. I just tried out my own ARC with my new 600L (narrow beam) for the first time tonight on the road. I had posted a review here, but on second thought I figured I that I should make it a separate thread since this thread is about the wide beam 600L.
    Last edited by Cino; 11-13-2007 at 04:43 AM.

  7. #7
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    I just made the switch from niterider HID to L&M ARC. I haven't been able to ride yet, but it was the time the person that answered the phone at L&M took to help me that helped sell the light. He also said that they were a year, maybe two years away on a high end LED. There's something in the works I think, they just need to make it better than the ARC. The Lupines just cost way too much in my opinion (in America).

  8. #8
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    They plan to have it out by next Interbike. L&M makes far better and more reliable HIDs than NR and always have. You will really like it.

    Since their Stella is $299, I'll guess that their new LED will be around $499 but obviously, it's just a guess. Once they come out with the new LED next year, they will can the ARC once the LED sales start to replace the HID sales. It will be two years at the most. I think once they start getting a lot of orders or even pre-orders for the new LED, the ARC will be discontinued and go to spare-part support only.

    They came out with the Stella just to cover the market for LED commuting lights. They are working on the beam pattern for the new LED and taking their time (a good thing) but next year's IB is the target. I heard they did not want to just bring a bright LED to market without being near the top as their ARC has been. I'm very curious about it too but I'll stick with the Lupines. Lupine will also have some other news at next year's Interbike. The race is on and for the first time, I'm as excited about lights as I am about bikes and forks and wheels

  9. #9
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    "The race is on and for the first time, I'm as excited about lights as I am about bikes and forks and wheels" - Me too Flyer! Me too!

    Today I had lunch with a friend of my associate and he works for Mercedes-Benz in product development. We were talking about cars, airplanes, the stuff, then "lights" popped up as main topic. I went back to the car and showed him my ARC and my Wilma. He was impressed with both, being so small and powerful, and heīs used to some really upfront stuff of all sorts (yeah he drives all those fancy cars from all top makers). He said that Mercedes already has a LED headlight in the plans for one of their high-end cars, but itīs not THERE yet and may not be anytime soon ("not anytime soon" having a rather short timing in the auto industry, of course).

    Whatīs keeping them from using LEDs is (as expected) not cost, or cost related. Itīs the fast-evolving technology (what way to go? what LED to use?) and also some physical obstacles. Car owners, specially in the upper scale of market, donīt go around thinking of "upgrading LEDs and lenses" like we bike light geeks do I didnīt quite get what he meant by "physical obstacles" but it had to to with the advantages of HID over LEDs. He said that HIDs are almost perfect as light sources in all manners, and not only for cars.

    I told him my feelings and theories in regards to the difference in the nature of light and he confirmed that HIDs are much more efficient than LEDs, not in amperage or voltage matters but in quality of light. Indeed, gas charged lamps provide a far better "light" than any other kind. He said that sooner or later, the auto industry will catch up with LEDs (itīs already underway in many aspects) but that may come to answer the "technologycal battle", not only for pure lighting matters. Such as once HIDs were considered a hot selling point, now it seems LEDs are going the same way for cars.

    We made considerations about other technical aspects, such as portability, ease of use and maintenance, etc. All those seem much easier to handle in a car than on a bike, of course. But itīs interesting nonetheless. Makes me wonder if indeed HIDs will find their way to the graves, and only LEDs and halogens will reign. One thing I know: HIDs may have reached their apex in development, while LEDs are only starting their way up that ladder. Weīre sure to see even more amazing stuff in the coming years!

  10. #10
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    Very cool stuff and you have some interesting contacts you can run things by. I can see LEDs being a problem to design around since things are changing so fast. There is even talk of a single LED producing 1000 Lumens . Car headlights in the high-end category are still all HID, and for good reason. The HID lights using reflectors punch out light like nothing else. I see Lexus is also looking into LED headlights in their high-end models but there is so much development that needs to occur. Talk about heat dissipation also being a problem. They are looking into replacing all bulb lights in their high-end cars with LEDs- even gauges. I think HID car headlights will stay for a while though- quite a while. It's only bike lights where I think they will phase out in the next year or two. That doesn't mean people will stop using them though. HIDs being sold now will last for the next 3-4 years but the success of LEDs will force eveyone to jump on board or be left behind in the marketshare game. There may be a couple of holdouts that will still cater to the HID fans out there. Poor Turbocat- that is one of those companies that got almost forgotten in this race. Sometimes I wonder how they survive- there must be a really strong niche halogen market.

  11. #11
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    So does anyone know the range of lumens put out by typical car headlights?

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    He told me itīs in the 1.300-1.500 range, for the low beam. Depends on bulb, reflector design, optics, etc. High beam... I forgot to ask. But I can (will) check that out. Itīs very good light though, car optics is very advanced stuff.

    He also told me some new MB models have completely adjustable headlights, as in they tilt up and down and sideways a few degrees to follow the contour of the terrain ahead, matching that to the speed and steering of the car. It must be a dream. Not to mention some of these cars also have infrared monitors to help with nght vision (now THAT would be cool! )

    Typical car bulbs are ~35W HID and ~70W halogen. Some "fake-HID" (brighter and whiter halogens) are in the 100W range but thatīs way too bright, thus not allowed in some countries (here in Brazil, for instance).

    (Someone please correct me if Iīm wrong about these numbers)

    But well... the Betty alone puts 1.400 Weīre doing mighty fine...

    P.S.: Sorry for going a bit off topic here

  13. #13
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    That sounds about right. BMWs/Audis/Mercs/etc that have true HID lights put out around 1,500 Lumens. The side-to-side tilt feature is awesome but the up-down tilt feature is annoying for drivers in front because it essentially "flashes" them each time the car hits a bump and the headlight points up and then down.

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    Speaking of which...

    Headlight spotted last night TNSS at Rowlett Creek, Garland, TX.
    It was just unbelievable: a car HID on a helmet, paired with a proper ballast (you see the cooling fans attached) and a 6lbs lead-acid battery. I have to say the light it produced was astonishing, and never mind the weight, a few lbses here and there, who cares?... ;-)
    Forget LEDs, HID is the future! :-P
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    That sounds about right. BMWs/Audis/Mercs/etc that have true HID lights put out around 1,500 Lumens. The side-to-side tilt feature is awesome but the up-down tilt feature is annoying for drivers in front because it essentially "flashes" them each time the car hits a bump and the headlight points up and then down.
    Those were his exact words, Flyer!!! He also mentioned that drivers in the opposing lanes often think youīre "high-beaming" them but itīs the smart light at works.

  16. #16
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    Innovative indeed. That is just nuts

    I think my Betty will be in my hands by this weekend.

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    Looks like one of those War of The Worldsī tripods (sans the tripod) walking around vaporising people with a beam With that much of light he can x-ray an injuried rider on site - no need to go to a hospital for that.

    Flyer, Iīm looking forward to read your impressions about the Betty. Hope you get it soon, and donīt forget the pics!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    That sounds about right. BMWs/Audis/Mercs/etc that have true HID lights put out around 1,500 Lumens. The side-to-side tilt feature is awesome but the up-down tilt feature is annoying for drivers in front because it essentially "flashes" them each time the car hits a bump and the headlight points up and then down.
    Good thing I'm behind the wheel of a BMW. That feature doesn't seem to bother me at all.

    And I LOVE the adaptive side-to-side feature.

    BTW, I have HIDs on two of my cars. And, like bike lights, they are not the same. Those on my BMW are superior to those on my Chevy.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    Good thing I'm behind the wheel of a BMW. That feature doesn't seem to bother me at all.

    And I LOVE the adaptive side-to-side feature.

    BTW, I have HIDs on two of my cars. And, like bike lights, they are not the same. Those on my BMW are superior to those on my Chevy.
    Thatīs because they not only use supperior reflectors and optics, and latest-generation HID bulbs too, but mostly because they are DESIGNED and BUILT AROUND a HID, from scratch, rather than a halogen retrofited with one Which is more common, even with some cars that come with OEM HID headlights, by the way.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex SP
    Thatīs because they not only use supperior reflectors and optics, and latest-generation HID bulbs too, but mostly because they are DESIGNED and BUILT AROUND a HID, from scratch, rather than a halogen retrofited with one Which is more common, even with some cars that come with OEM HID headlights, by the way.
    Makes sense to me.

    I may be mistaken, but I think my car ('08 535xi) uses LEDs for turn signals & brake lights.

  21. #21
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    Three of us will be receiving the Betty. All have previously owned the ARC. In my opinion, no other LED comes close to the Betty so I am really looking forward to how it compares to my favorite HID, cost aside. Squeaky has a "proper" camera and I will have a new Canon 800IS (slightly wider angle lens than most digital point-and-shoots) so between my interim shots and Squeaky's better shots, we should have some very detailed feedback eventually. Just keep in mind that Squeaky is on meds and has not ridden for weeks so his ramblings may be erratic and hard to understand

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Three of us will be receiving the Betty. All have previously owned the ARC. In my opinion, no other LED comes close to the Betty so I am really looking forward to how it compares to my favorite HID, cost aside. Squeaky has a "proper" camera and I will have a new Canon 800IS (slightly wider angle lens than most digital point-and-shoots) so between my interim shots and Squeaky's better shots, we should have some very detailed feedback eventually. Just keep in mind that Squeaky is on meds and has not ridden for weeks so his ramblings may be erratic and hard to understand
    Squeaky has been off meds since postop day 4 (at least the good kinds of meds).

    Squeaky has been riding the spin bike faithfully.

    Squeaky is pissed at the fact that this has been the warmest & dryest November in recent memory and he is stuck riding the spin bike in the basement without the benefit of good meds.

  23. #23
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    Squeaky can put his new Betty on the spin bike and see if speed improves in the dark basement! (just donīt forget the fan )

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    The side-to-side tilt feature is awesome.
    Citroen had tracking lights on their SMs 40 years ago. Also put it on their DS models.
    Just a bit of history.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex SP
    Squeaky can put his new Betty on the spin bike and see if speed improves in the dark basement! (just donīt forget the fan )
    E=mc2

    Betty is so powerful that I don't dare use it indoors for fear of warping my basement's space-time continuum.

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