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  1. #1
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    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light

    I've been playing around with various LEDs and optics trying to decide if I'm going to build something smaller and lighter than my current 35mm lights for helmet use. I took a bunch of photos and lux readings. The light and camera are 68 inches away from the poster boards.

    Current Light
    XPG R5 Triple / 1 amp / Ledil Cute-XP-SS 35mm Optic / 3120 Lux



    XPG R5 Triple / 1 amp / Carclo 20mm Narrow Triple / 1490 Lux



    XPE R3 Triple / 1 amp / Carclo 20mm Narrow Triple / 2190 Lux



    XPG R5 Single / 1 amp / Ledil 20mm LXP-RS / 2140 Lux



    XPG R5 Single / 1.5 amp / Ledil 20mm LXP-RS / 2820 Lux



    and just for grins because it was handy and the camera was setup
    Welch Allyn NGX 14W HID with 13 degree MR11 - 4680 Lux




    I was hoping the 20mm triples would work out well because of the small size. But I'm actually pretty disappointed in them compared to the other optics. I really care more about weight than I do physical size and I think I can build a much lighter weight light with any of these optics than my current light (79 grams) because I'm putting the electronics in the battery pack instead of the light head. At the moment I'm trying to decide between sticking with 35mm triple XPG setup or a dual XPG setup using LXP optics. I kinda like the idea of the dual XPG setup using LXP optics. Then I'll have a lot of flexibility with combinations of the various LXP beam angles.

  2. #2
    Light freak
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    Quite the collection of tints you got there

  3. #3
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    Nice work .

    any chance you could do the XPE R3 with the LXP-RS optic and add it to the pics please

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb
    Nice work .

    any chance you could do the XPE R3 with the LXP-RS optic and add it to the pics please
    My guess is about 3500 lux.
    Last edited by Itess; 03-30-2010 at 12:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Lets RIDE!
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    Interesting that you are getting essentially the same lux reading at 1A from the 20mm triple XP-E and the 20mm single XP-G. And how poorly the 20mm XP-G does. Shows how inefficient the smaller optics are I guess.

    I'm working on some dual XP-G helmet lights right now, using the 16mm Tina optics.....I hope I'm not too disappointed.

    JZ
    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

  6. #6
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    I have some older 35mm XRE Q5 triples that knock the socks of my new 20mm XPG triple.

    All seems fine on paper but as you've shown here, the 20mm optics are not up to speed.
    If i were you, I'd stick to the 35mm until they have sorted this out.

    Hopefully someone can come along and prove us wrong soon!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt_brodie
    I have some older 35mm XRE Q5 triples that knock the socks of my new 20mm XPG triple.

    All seems fine on paper but as you've shown here, the 20mm optics are not up to speed.
    If i were you, I'd stick to the 35mm until they have sorted this out.

    Hopefully someone can come along and prove us wrong soon!
    I just now discovered this thread and YES...my Dinotte triple SSC P-4's looks to beat my 20mm XP-G triple. The XP-G's have more output but a lot of that output is lost in the periphery spill. As a result, the throw is lack-luster to say the least and makes mid-mode almost unusable unless you have a really good helmet lamp.

    Mine looks almost exactly like the second photo..I might have to see if I can get me one of those Ledil LXP-RS optics and see if that makes it better.

  8. #8
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    Maybe its just me, but I kind of like the XPG triple Carclo 20mm setup. Obviously, the lux reading at the center is not as high, but it gives a nice consistent beam all the way out. I dislike optics that are really bright in the center and then fade quickly outside the hotspot. It seems my eyes adjust to the bright center spot and then when you look away from that, it looks too dim. I hope that makes sense!

    I am working on the new lightweight helmet light using one of the 20mm triple optics and a maxflex, so we will see if this works out for me!

    Mark

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Maybe its just me, but I kind of like the XPG triple Carclo 20mm setup. Obviously, the lux reading at the center is not as high, but it gives a nice consistent beam all the way out. I dislike optics that are really bright in the center and then fade quickly outside the hotspot. It seems my eyes adjust to the bright center spot and then when you look away from that, it looks too dim. I hope that makes sense!

    I am working on the new lightweight helmet light using one of the 20mm triple optics and a maxflex, so we will see if this works out for me!

    Mark
    Yes, I agree with you. I like the smooth even light as compared to a hot center spot. Have you compared a triple XPG setup with both 35 and 20mm optics in person? I find the evenness of the beam to be the same, the 35mm is just a lot brighter. Unfortunately, the beamshot pictures don't really represent the differences very well because the image was saturated with the 35mm.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny
    Maybe its just me, but I kind of like the XPG triple Carclo 20mm setup. Obviously, the lux reading at the center is not as high, but it gives a nice consistent beam all the way out. I dislike optics that are really bright in the center and then fade quickly outside the hotspot. It seems my eyes adjust to the bright center spot and then when you look away from that, it looks too dim. I hope that makes sense!

    I am working on the new lightweight helmet light using one of the 20mm triple optics and a maxflex, so we will see if this works out for me!

    Mark
    Yeah, definitely seems to be a matter of personal preference. I like the wide beam of the Carclo (narrow) optic on high but on the lower levels the beam is so spread out that my eyes keep begging for more. The wide beam though can be real handy when doing tight turns ( as long as the light is bright enough ). I'm just not used to the idea of having to use the higher output levels when I'm just puttering along.

    The other night while riding I compared my xpg triple on mid-level to one of my P-7 torches on mid-level. The P-7 torch did surprising well, only slightly dimmer but with a touch more throw. Not as wide as the triple but that is not a problem as I see it. The way I look at it, the triple on mid-level ( ~ 450lm ) should have blown the P-7 mid-level ( ~225lm ) out of the water. That just didn't happen.

    Can't wait to try this out with a different optic. Hopefully that will solve my problem or at least give me some more choices. The next ride I do I will be comparing the 20mm XPG
    triple on mid-level to my single XP-G torch with frosted lens. Both have a very wide and even beam pattern. If the single ( on high ) beats the triple (mid-level ) I am not going to be a happy camper...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    ...Mine looks almost exactly like the second photo..I might have to see if I can get me one of those Ledil LXP-RS optics and see if that makes it better.
    Oh bugger... ....looks like I missed the fact that the LXP-RS optics are for singles. Is there a Ledil triple version for the 20mm triple XP-G's or am I stuck with the Carclo. Da*n it...looks like I might have liked the triple XP-E more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Oh bugger... ....looks like I missed the fact that the LXP-RS optics are for singles. Is there a Ledil triple version for the 20mm triple XP-G's or am I stuck with the Carclo. Da*n it...looks like I might have liked the triple XP-E more.
    I'm only aware of the Carclo 20mm triple optics. The 35mm triples I use are Ledil.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb

    any chance you could do the XPE R3 with the LXP-RS optic and add it to the pics please
    Unfortunately, I only have XPEs on 20mm triple mcpcbs. I can connect wires to just one LED on the triple board, but the other LEDs are in the way and keep the optic from sitting over just one of the LEDs.

    I didn't order any XPEs on singles. The thinking was that LXP-RS on an XPG is as narrow as I'd want. So if I were building a light using LXP optics there wouldn't be much advantage to using any XPEs.

  14. #14
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    I've just made myself a lightweight helmet light using 2 single xpg's and the Lisa2-Clip16 RS optics, due to the size I've had to put the driver (running @ 1 amp) and switch in the battery pack, haven't been out for a ride yet but really impressed with it in the garden, the optics are 13 degrees and appear to be designed for the xpg.

    The lights are only stuck on with Blue (or white) Tack at the moment as was trying out different mounting positions, will probably leave them as in the pic and cable tie them on although that will mean drilling a couple of holes in the visor.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-cimg4334.jpg  


  15. #15
    more carbon=more awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyt127
    I've just made myself a lightweight helmet light using 2 single xpg's and the Lisa2-Clip16 RS optics, due to the size I've had to put the driver (running @ 1 amp) and switch in the battery pack, haven't been out for a ride yet but really impressed with it in the garden, the optics are 13 degrees and appear to be designed for the xpg.

    The lights are only stuck on with Blue (or white) Tack at the moment as was trying out different mounting positions, will probably leave them as in the pic and cable tie them on although that will mean drilling a couple of holes in the visor.

    Dude, that looks a nice set-up. Wanna put up some more photos showing the switching and so-on?

    b.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyt127
    I've just made myself a lightweight helmet light using 2 single xpg's and the Lisa2-Clip16 RS optics, due to the size I've had to put the driver (running @ 1 amp) and switch in the battery pack, haven't been out for a ride yet but really impressed with it in the garden, the optics are 13 degrees and appear to be designed for the xpg.

    The lights are only stuck on with Blue (or white) Tack at the moment as was trying out different mounting positions, will probably leave them as in the pic and cable tie them on although that will mean drilling a couple of holes in the visor.
    That's awesome do you have any more pics?

  17. #17
    recognize the slowness
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    maybe some build pics...housing info etc.
    "mountain biking and flyfishing, what more do you want?" - Yeah, I said it

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the comments guys, here are a couple more pics for you.

    The housings are small aluminium containers I found on ebay, they are just over 10mm inside diameter so the xpg and optic fitted in a treat with out any machining, just a hole at the end for the cable to come out, a bit of Arctic Aluminium and some silicone and that was the light part done.

    The battery box is from Maplin and the cells are from a laptop, currently these are not protected but I'm looking to change them for protected cells. The driver is in there as well also an ebay purchase, I've been using these for well over a year now and are really good check out teap0t42, ebay shop: Black Cat Technology he doesn't appear to have any listed at the moment though. The switch is a push to lock from RS and then I added a charge socket so I wasn't charging through the driver. I'm getting about 3 hours runtime and I think the cells are 2400mha.

    Went out for a ride with it last week and seemed ok, to be honest I could have done with a bit more distance but for the size they were excellent, I've been wondering if I'd used xpe's instead of xpg's if that may have improved things.

    To mount them, I drilled a couple of holes in my visor and cable tied them on, this worked really well, I did look at other mounting options like plumbing pipe clips but the mounts were coming up bigger than the lights, I was really looking to get them as close to the helmet as possible so they wouldn't get in the way of branches and stuff or if I bin it wasn't going to land on my light!

    They do run quite hot if left stationary but out on the ride in our British evening climate they were just warm to touch.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-02.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-03.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-05.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-08.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-11.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-led-lights-07.jpg  


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyt127
    Thanks for the comments guys, here are a couple more pics for you.

    The housings are small aluminium containers I found on ebay, they are just over 10mm inside diameter so the xpg and optic fitted in a treat with out any machining, just a hole at the end for the cable to come out, a bit of Arctic Aluminium and some silicone and that was the light part done....
    Andy, nicely done. I am curious what the beam pattern from a 10mm optic would look like. You mentioned that the throw wasn't a far as you might have wanted. Is there anyway you can show us some beam pics?

    FWIW...the beam pattern from my XP-G R-5 torch ( with drop-in ) has a perfect beam pattern for helmet use. The reflector is about 23-24mm in diameter. Two of these would make a sweet helmet light. One does well by itself and throws about 160 ft. but the beam is narrow and lights up only a small area. Two should add more throw, widen the hot spot a bit and provide more spill.

    Did you do any comparisons with other optics before going with the ones you used?
    .

  20. #20
    help with the zip please
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    Teapot is where I got the drivers for my Cheap housing build, thanks for the heads up Troutie. I got sent the wrong goods first time and then the replacements took almost a month to get here. Honest mistake first time around and the postage date on the second pack was within a day of me telling him there was a problem so that delay was between UK post and Aussie Post. He was very helpful and responsive both before the buy and also trying to sort out the deliver problems. Couldn't recommend him enough. All this while he was having some "family problems" (he has posted that on his site) hence the reason his listings are almost non existent at the moment. Really simle drivers that seem to work well.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyt127
    Thanks for the comments guys, here are a couple more pics for you.

    The housings are small aluminium containers I found on ebay, they are just over 10mm inside diameter so the xpg and optic fitted in a treat with out any machining, just a hole at the end for the cable to come out, a bit of Arctic Aluminium and some silicone and that was the light part done.

    The battery box is from Maplin and the cells are from a laptop, currently these are not protected but I'm looking to change them for protected cells. The driver is in there as well also an ebay purchase, I've been using these for well over a year now and are really good check out teap0t42, ebay shop: Black Cat Technology he doesn't appear to have any listed at the moment though. The switch is a push to lock from RS and then I added a charge socket so I wasn't charging through the driver. I'm getting about 3 hours runtime and I think the cells are 2400mha.

    Went out for a ride with it last week and seemed ok, to be honest I could have done with a bit more distance but for the size they were excellent, I've been wondering if I'd used xpe's instead of xpg's if that may have improved things.

    To mount them, I drilled a couple of holes in my visor and cable tied them on, this worked really well, I did look at other mounting options like plumbing pipe clips but the mounts were coming up bigger than the lights, I was really looking to get them as close to the helmet as possible so they wouldn't get in the way of branches and stuff or if I bin it wasn't going to land on my light!

    They do run quite hot if left stationary but out on the ride in our British evening climate they were just warm to touch.

    That's insanely cool! What did you enter to search for those housings? Ar they wired with the strain relief already?


    KEWL!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Did you do any comparisons with other optics before going with the ones you used?
    I just went for the narrowest beam I could find in a 10mm optic, if anyone knows of a tighter 10mm optic I'd be keen to try it out.

    I'll try a couple of beam shots tonight, I found the tripod the other day!

    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed
    That's insanely cool! What did you enter to search for those housings? Ar they wired with the strain relief already?
    Yeah sorry, forgot to include that, here's the link for the housings, they are keyring containers. the strain relief grommets are from Maplin, they're for 3.5mm cable and I just drilled a hole in the end of the housing to fit it.

    Cheers
    Andy

  23. #23
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    Here are a couple of beam shots, the first one is from the helmet light, 2x XPG and Lisa2-Clip16 RS optics, the second shot just for comparison is a 7up xpg and Khatod PL121106 (6 degree) optic, both lights were running at 1000mah.

    The fence at the back is 50 foot away.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-2up.jpg  

    LED and Optics for Lightweight Helmet Light-7up.jpg  


  24. #24
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    That's funny...I've got one of those housings in my bag!

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