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  1. #1
    MTB'er in Training
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    Newbie ~ Lighting Questions

    1) What is the difference between: LED, Halogen, HID systems?

    2) Most cost effective way to begin without having to "make your own" (I am not very handy)


    What do you personally run on your bike and why?
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  2. #2
    56-year-old teenager
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    1) Halogen is one small step up from generic incandescent light bulb technology. It's a standard light bulb that burns a little hotter. They are the least efficient of current bike light systems, which means a heavier battery and/or shorter burn time. Their biggest advantage is price.

    LEDs are the up-and-coming technology. Efficiency is getting better, the systems are lightweight, but they're not yet as bright as the best HID systems. Prices vary from cheap to exotic, depending on the features and light power output. They can be plenty bright and plenty efficient for many purposes.

    HIDs are arc lights and as such require expensive electronic control systems. They are the brightest and reasonably efficient, but cost a small fortune.

    2) Buy a DiNotte Ultra 5 (NiMH version) from www.geomangear.com - that's what I have on my commute bike. Great gear, great price, great service (and no, he didn't pay me to say that). The low end DiNotte lights use standard NiMH rechargeable AA batteries. You can use standard AAs in a pinch, but the rechargeables last longer.

  3. #3
    MTB'er in Training
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    Thanks for the tips!!

    I will be doing only trail riding with my lights (I don't like riding pavement...just a personal choice)

    I really don't think springing for an HID system is in my future...I would rather take $300+ and put in the bank towards a FS bike...

    So I guess looking for some LED systems is the way to go huh?
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  4. #4
    My Rusty Knee
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanicFan77
    1) What is the difference between: LED, Halogen, HID systems?

    2) Most cost effective way to begin without having to "make your own" (I am not very handy)


    What do you personally run on your bike and why?
    LOL>>>I JUST READ YOU DIDN@TY WANT TO DIY AFTER TYPING ALL THIS HEHE.

    I'll leave iot up for you to read if interested hehe. LED is the way ahead anyway. Not many lights use the best leds that have come out this year. look for lighstw ith the cree XR-E or seoul P4 leds. check out the newer dinotte lights.

    Stu


    Hi

    Fisr a brief description of each

    Halogen - Old skool hehe. You prbably already know its a wire filament that gets heated. Its the least complicated. The bulb is wired to the battery via a switch. Halogen can be efficient, but up at the brightnesses to get really good efficiency and brightness the bulbs don't last very long. Even when over driven trhey arn't as efficient as HID and the newest LEDs. probably the cheapest to make. These can be dimmed but get less efficient when dimmed. the light colour changes too, less white and more yellow orange.

    HID - This is a bulb, but doesn't use a filament. Instead it is an arc generated inside a glass bubble. HIDs ahve ruled the roost interms of brightness and efficiency for a couple of years. HID needs some relativly com,plcated electronics and is not DIY friendly. HIDs aren't easily dimmed and can only be dimmed s far as the arc goes out. most lights don't dim.

    LED - This is a solid state light source using semicondctors and phosphors. This last year LED tech has come on very nicely. LED lights can now be made to be more efficient as as bright or brighter than HID. LEDs can be dimmed very easily....and unlike halogen get more efficient when dimmed. LEDs last ages too if they are looked after (the design needs adequate heatsinking and don't over drive them).

    I own HID and LED. I used HID for a copuple of years as it was the best at the time....but LED is best now (in my opinion).

    For a DIY LED light you will need to

    Make a housing (there a few really nice examples and how tos in this section)
    Some LEDs, probably 3 or 4 for a nice bar light, 2 or 3 for a helmet light (the best at the moment include the CREE XR-E and the Seoul ZPower P4)
    You will need a an LED driver circuit. such as the 3021/3023 Buck puck and the Taskled controllers. these have quite a wide battery volt input range....but the battery voltage must be high enough for the number of leds used. each led needs about 3.7V, so if 3 were in series that 10 and a bit volts. the controller input voltage will need to be 1-2 V higher than that to work properly....a battery of 14-15V should work fine. higher is ok if thats what you have aslong as it doesn't exceed the max accepted by the controller. more volts improves run time for a given amp hpur capacity. more amp hours gives more capacity too.

    Its nice to have a dimmable controller as it saves your battery when you don't need full power...fixing a punny or taking a leak in a bush etc hehe

    A battery, I use 14.8V 2.2Ah litium Ions. Nimh are used quite commonly too.

    some optics or reflectors for the LEDs. These are usually diesgned for a specific LED type. Optics are plastic molded "lenses". Reflectors are as you would probably expect a parabola mirror job...like torches have. you can get spot and flood optics/reflectors. For a bar light I like it quite floody and for helmet more of a spot beam.

    and some effort.


    LEDs are about 8 dollars each.

    A controller can be anything up to 30 dollars I suppose. I now use the taskled nflex....which is $28

    Refectors can be had for about $5 each, more if you want . I guess optic are about the same price.

    a battery and charger can be had for about $50-60 i suppose, for what I use anyway. good for a couple or 3 hours at full power. Some people use packs of AA rechargeables.

    housing...what ever you can come up with...as I said there are example n here. look out for titles like "another 3 x cree light" . There is a nice CNCed one that was posted recently.

    hope that makes some sense. feel free to ask questions and for advice. ther a few keen light builders on here. I;d list names to waytch for...but i might offend anyone I forgot lol.

    Stu
    What exactly is a rigid hard tail?

  5. #5
    bumble
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    Count my vote for LED Lights. One of the main drawbacks with HIDs is the delicate bulb, and the high cost of replaceing the bulb (~$100).
    LED bulbs are pretty indestructible, and they last long enough you will never have to worry about replaceing it.
    I have just completed a fairly extensive testing of lights for myself, which culminated in the Cygolite Dualcross vs. Dinotte Ultra 5 test you see lower in this forum. The end result is that the Dinotte Ultra 5 is on my bike and on my helmet. Please read as much as you can. I can tell you that for almost any trail riding you should have one light on the bar and one on the helmet. I personally, after running this setup, would not go any other way.

  6. #6
    MTB'er in Training
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    I see the Ultra 5 on the website listed above...not a bad price at all...

    Is there a seperate helmet mount? I don't remember seeing any mention to that...
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  7. #7
    bumble
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    Ther eis a helmet mount, yes. It is a very good one. If you look at my review

    Review: Dinotte Ultra 5 vs. Dualcross Li-Ion

    you will see some detailed pictures of setting up and using the helmet mount.

  8. #8
    56-year-old teenager
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    Yep, the Ultra 5 package includes a helmet mount. I haven't used one, I'm a light-on-the-bars kind of commuter.

  9. #9
    MTB'er in Training
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    Cool...I am very interested in the Ultra...without a doubt!
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  10. #10
    GeoMan
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58
    1) Buy a DiNotte Ultra 5 (NiMH version) from www.geomangear.com - that's what I have on my commute bike. Great gear, great price, great service (and no, he didn't pay me to say that). The low end DiNotte lights use standard NiMH rechargeable AA batteries. You can use standard AAs in a pinch, but the rechargeables last longer.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence, chucko58. We try hard!
    GeoMan
    We Ride!
    www.geomangear.com

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