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  1. #1
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    Smile Seca 700 Ultra weights, pics, riding video and remarks *now w/ more beamshots*

    [SIZE="5"]► October 18th update: added some beamshots below the original ones.[/SIZE]



    Retail package




    Retail package opened up




    Helmet mount, 21 grams




    Light head with 40-inch cord, 148 grams




    9-cell Lithium-Ion battery pack with strap and strap guide, 568 grams. The Seca 700 Race comes with a smaller, lighter 6-cell battery; this is the Seca 700 Ultra.




    System installed on my commuting bike, which is my primary intended use. Look out, cars!




    Close-up shot of the rubber handlebar strap. Incidentally, the light head can swivel 360 on the mount.




    Beamshot on the trail, using a tree trunk to stabilize my lil' flex-leg tripod.


    I adjusted the exposure to make the brightness level look as true-to-life as I could. However, if you have a serious interest in this light, or other production lights, see if you can borrow one, or ride with someone who has one, and then let your own eyes be the judge

    [SIZE="7"]Update:[/SIZE] here are some additional photos that may help answer the question of "how far does it throw?". I tried the camera settings used in MTBR's light shootout (6-second exposure, ISO 100, aperture 4.0, daylight color balance) but they come out WAY brighter than what you'd see with your naked eyes, so I once again reduced the exposure time enough to be realistic.

    So here we go:


    click here for a 1024 x 768 version



    click here for a 1024 x 768 version



    click here for a 1024 x 768 version



    click here for 1024 x 768, ~800kb and you may like using the ZOOM feature on your browser to get a good look at the distance

    ^ and lastly, an animated .GIF showing the Seca with & without the Dereelight DBS V2 with the Q5 pill @ 1.2 amps in the textured reflector. As you might expect, the smooth reflector extends the throw considerably further yet, but the hotspot gets pretty small with the smooth reflector. It's a nice flashlight


    the throw monster, Dereelight's DBS V2 with the 1S pill



    Video For those of you with time and bandwidth to watch a YouTube video, here's a 7-minute version, and a shorter 2-minute version that's available in High Quality mode. Keep in mind that I had to ride one-handed while holding a digicam, so the bars (and thus the Seca's light) get kicked around a lot. Also, the digicam tends to exaggerate the falloff of the light intensity, making the light look like more of a spotlight than it appears to the human eye. [SIZE="1"]For this ride, I used a low-powered helmet light just as a safety precaution, so if you see a little circle of light bouncing around, that's what's causing that.[/SIZE]


    Random mumbling about beam patterns and stuff The Seca beam pattern is somewhat more focused than my DiNotte 600L (narrow optic), giving the Seca more throw. When aimed at the pavement, the Seca's light is also quite evenly laid down; there's not a disproportionately-bright area right in front of the bike to swamp my distance vision. For my road commuter bike, that's helpful because I can identify road hazards sooner, particularly at high speed, but I will still be employing my Dereelight DBS as my "driving light" that can really punch down the highway 400+ feet. For off-roading, I lean towards more flood for a bar-mounted light, so I think the DiNotte 600L on the bars plus the Seca 700 on the helmet would be a good combo.


    Nitpicks
    • On my first commute home with the Seca 700, I found that the switching button can be a bit of a "hair trigger." When trying to switch to LOW, I'd sometimes end up in HIGH again. But I seem to be getting the hang of it If you read about this "Posi-Click" button and are expecting it to have an actual postive click to it, you're going to be disappointed.
    • The 40-inch length of the light's built-in cable is sort of a nuisance.
    • I'm not sure about the longevity of the plastic lens against scratching, and I wonder how many lumens never make it through the plastic.
    • A remote switch option would've been awesome.
    • Personally, I don't like mounting lights with rubber anything, whether it's bands or O-rings.
    • It's fairly expensive.
    • I've had the light jarred down to point at my front wheel a couple times, when I hit really nasty washboard ruts on my road bike (no suspension, obviously).
    • I lent the Seca to a buddy, and he reports what I've also heard elsewhere: the Seca slips on its helmet mount. If anyone has some, uhhh, light to shed on this problem, please post with your observations and solutions. Since the Seca can swivel on the mount, I'm going to try rotating it 180 and mounting it directly to the top of the helmet without using the provided mount.



    Other thoughts
    • The tint of the Luxeon Rebel LEDs seems to be adequately matched to Cree's WC color bin, if you're trying to match up color with another light.
    • I've read the propoganda about how this light has a gem-shaped beam, a sharp cutoff, etc etc, and frankly, I don't see either of those in reality, or they don't look like I'm expecting. Is it a big deal? You decide that one for yourself. What I do agree with, is L&M's claim that the illumination is laid down fairly evenly, and that's what I was after.
    • I forgot to mention this, but in "Cruise Mode," the light doesn't change intensity abruptly when you switch modes. It eases from one mode to the next, all smooth and stuff. I only use Race Mode, where the "shifts" are abrupt. High, Low, back to High.
    • I wish the Seca would start up in Race mode by default (HIGH and LOW only) without having to hold the button down 2 seconds.
    • Yes, the Seca will jam your wireless computer/HRM/etc when it's running in lower-output modes.
    • The Seca's wraparound lens is visible from the side, and even from the rider's 7 o'clock area. As a commuter, I consider that a plus.
    • On my hardtail, I find that I can dimly read the optical gear displays on my Shimano shift pods by the diffused light from the edges of the Seca's lens cover.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 11-03-2008 at 10:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    thanks for the impressions...it looks very nice

  3. #3
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    Any chance of some closeups of the leds?
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  4. #4
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    Nice review! I like the looks of the Seca. My observations: You would think for the money that these things cost that they would have offered wires with extensions ( rather than one giant long wire )... I am very surprised though to see just how large the battery is. Do they have a smaller battery option?....I mean that thing is [SIZE="6"]LARGE ![/SIZE]... 568gms....um.....> 1lb. = brick =

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit
    Any chance of some closeups of the leds?
    Sure thing, here's one:




    Do they have a smaller battery option?
    Yeah, that's the "Ultra" battery with 9 cells, but they have the Seca 700 Race with a smaller 6-cell battery. Runtimes on HIGH are supposed to be 5 hours and 3.5 hours respectively for the 9-cell and 6-cell batteries.

    I saw an interesting claim on a blog: they said the Seca 400 will put out 700 lumens if it's hooked up to the 6-cell or 9-cell batteries (it comes with a small, light 3-cell battery). I'd be curious to hear if that's really true or not. Anyone got a Seca 400 and one of L&M's bigger batteries to test with?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Sure thing, here's one:
    Ooooh, rebels.
    Cheers for that.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  7. #7
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    That last beam shot showing the housing is weird. It looks like you can see a ring of light around the housing from behind it. Is that true or am I seeing things?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Nice review! I like the looks of the Seca. My observations: You would think for the money that these things cost that they would have offered wires with extensions ( rather than one giant long wire )... I am very surprised though to see just how large the battery is. Do they have a smaller battery option?....I mean that thing is [SIZE="6"]LARGE ![/SIZE]... 568gms....um.....> 1lb. = brick =
    I thought that about Light and Motion when I bought an Arc Li-on. It makes sense if you think about it. Less "problem areas". There's only one place it'll come apart instead of 2 or 3. I was glad to see that it had not changed when I opened my Secca. I'm also glad they kept the switch on the light head. That is where they belong. It's a pita to have to pull the battery out of your pocket or hydration pack if you want to turn it off when you use it on your helmet.

  9. #9
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    Great job documenting the who package. I just got the light myself, but have yet to use it. Next monday will be the test...

  10. #10
    Spanish biker
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    Great review, thank you very much

    Greetings - Saludos

    msxtr
    Warning!!! my english is very very bad, sorry.

    Easy DIY led light1
    Easy DIY led light2

    The Beast!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusHQ
    That last beam shot showing the housing is weird. It looks like you can see a ring of light around the housing from behind it. Is that true or am I seeing things?
    It is true. I think the plastic lens cover is internally channeling the light to the edge of the plastic, sort of a "fiber optic" type of effect. So you're seeing the rear edge of the plastic lens cover there.

  12. #12
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    MechBgon wrote:..I saw an interesting claim on a blog: they said the Seca 400 will put out 700 lumens if it's hooked up to the 6-cell or 9-cell batteries (it comes with a small, light 3-cell battery). I'd be curious to hear if that's really true or not. Anyone got a Seca 400 and one of L&M's bigger batteries to test with?
    If that's true that would be most strange. Since LED lights are current controlled I think it most unlikely. However some drivers are equiped with voltage sensing circuits which is designed to limit current when the battery voltage drops below a pre-set limit. Sometimes these limits are adjustable by an onboard pot or external circuit. It would be odd to use this to limit current with a fully charged battery but I suppose it is possible. I'd like to hear more about how they discovered this if it is true...

  13. #13
    BBW
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    thanks for the review mechBgon!!!
    But I can't open the video

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBW
    thanks for the review mechBgon!!!
    But I can't open the video
    I might've goofed up on the YouTube URL. Try this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqAiHlpYAGM

    By the way, all of you should get your Adobe Flash Player updated to version 10. It fixes security problems that the bad guys are actively exploiting. You'll find your update here: http://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/downloads.html This applies to users of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

    As a Windows security guy, I'll also put in a plug for the free Secunia Personal Software Inspector utility, which helps you find and eliminate vulnerabilities so the bad guys can't use them to attack your computer. http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/ Highly recommended from a 3-time Microsoft MVP (namely myself ).

  15. #15
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    My 2 cents

    The beam shot does not do the beam justice. I've ridden w/ the Seca and really appreciated the strong center spot that the unit offers. I have had to other lights (Dinotte 600 and Cygolite Tridenx) and really do like the Seca's use of light and how it is channeled. Their claim of a strong spot, a tight cut-off on the top end and good side/low spill are definitly what I experienced.

    You can use your older L&M batteries... so the post about different batteries making the Seca 400 brighter isn't correct... the units are different (and more than just the red ano on the cooling fins). Since I already have a L&M battery, I'm looking forward to having a back-up for the next 24hr race.

  16. #16
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    Great review and a nice video, that's a long ride to do with just one hand.
    Looks like a good light but I would have to do something about the light escaping from the back.

  17. #17
    nimble biker
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    thanks for the review of the light. It helps me in selecting either Dinotte 600L or the Seca 700 Ultra.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the straight scoop about the 400, Fender Roads. My quick beamshots weren't in places that make it easy to tell a lot about the beam pattern, sorry about that.

    yetibetty, tbh I never conciously noticed the light escaping from the back while riding, nor the "pilot light" LED on top of the mode button either. That was a 3.2-second exposure and I was behind the bike a little, so it may not be nearly as bad as it looks Oh, and

    that's a long ride to do with just one hand.
    I edited out a lot of it, including worming my way through two downhill switchbacks with just the front brake. Challenging! Man, I want a helmet cam SO bad...


    Those of you with a Seca on the bars: have you had it shift position when you hit rough terrain? A couple times now, I've hit really bad pavement at full speed with my road-commuting bike, and had the light head jarred down so it was pointing almost straight down at my front tire. My planned remedy is to use some tubular cement to glue a section of rubber grip onto my road bar, so it's rubber on rubber.

  19. #19
    nimble biker
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    how far does the Seca light throw? can you tell us a rough estimate of the distance?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard
    how far does the Seca light throw? can you tell us a rough estimate of the distance?
    That is a difficult question to answer accurately! "Throw" implies that from distance X, you can see what you're trying to see, which varies depending on what sort of riding you do.

    For me as a highway commuter, I'd mainly be measuring the effective throw based on how far away I can see road hazards, such as deep loose gravel spilling out of someone's driveway, a roadkilled animal, a piece of lumber on the road, etc. But that might be irrelevant to someone whose definition of throw is how far they can trace ahead on the singletrack for downed trees. What's your riding environment & usage going to be?

    For a sort of universal benchmark, tomorrow night I'll measure how far away I can discern tree trunks in the woods, at least.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 10-18-2008 at 12:11 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Those of you with a Seca on the bars: have you had it shift position when you hit rough terrain? A couple times now, I've hit really bad pavement at full speed with my road-commuting bike, and had the light head jarred down so it was pointing almost straight down at my front tire. My planned remedy is to use some tubular cement to glue a section of rubber grip onto my road bar, so it's rubber on rubber.
    I thought that would be an issue too. It turned out not to be. Do you have it tight, or really tight? I use the first hole on the band around the bars, and it won't budge.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker1973
    I thought that would be an issue too. It turned out not to be. Do you have it tight, or really tight? I use the first hole on the band around the bars, and it won't budge.
    Yeah, there's no way I could get to the next-tighter hole. I found a pretty tacky old MTB grip and anchored a section of it around my road handlebar with two king-sized zipties, and I think Mr. Seca is going to stay put, now that he's wrapped around that

    I'm going to eat a snack and go for another off-road ride, and I'll try to get a beamshot where the trail has a really long line of sight, to help answer the "how far does it throw?" question from Picard. Updates to the original thread in a couple hours

  23. #23
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    Original post updated with additional beamshots and some range measurements

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    Wow. You should be conducting the next Lights Shootout. Nice photo work. Really really nice photo work.

    Now I'm more interested in the Dereelight than the Seca. Looks like that would be a good replacement for my ARC alongside the 600L.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cino
    Wow. You should be conducting the next Lights Shootout. Nice photo work. Really really nice photo work.

    Now I'm more interested in the Dereelight than the Seca. Looks like that would be a good replacement for my ARC alongside the 600L.
    Thanks for the props

    The Dereelight is the reigning champ of single-emitter thrower flashlights when equipped with its stock smooth reflector. But I found that with the optional textured (OP) reflector, its overall beam pattern makes it a darn good light to ride on the highway with. In road use, the DiNotte 600L ends up swamping the foreground with too much of its output, so your eyes adapt to that bright area right in front of you, and can't easily see beyond it into the distance. For off-road use, I just aim the 600L approximately level, and its floody beam makes it quite insensitive to where the bike's bars are aimed, which is great for off-roading. It's sort of a love/hate relationship My 600L is the "narrow" optic, if anyone's wondering.

    By contrast, the DBS's beam pattern with the OP reflector puts a large proportion of the output into the hotspot, so the spill beam landing in the foreground doesn't overwhelm my distance vision 200-400 feet down the roadway where the hotspot is spreading out to cover an entire lane. Given a choice between riding on the highway with the 600L or the DBS, I take the DBS for that role... the better beam pattern easily compensates for the reduction in raw lumens. Runtime is about 1.7 hours, enough to make one leg of my commute with a bit of time to spare. The Seca and the DBS work well together out on the highway, so now I use them in combination as bike-mounted lights, with a helmet light (Olight M20 R2) for steerable discretionary lighting.

    I haven't tried the DBS as a helmet light yet, but the weight would probably be more than most people would tolerate. Then again, at ~250 grams with battery, it's not much more weight than a MiNewt X2 single with battery pack.... Anyway, if you get one, get the 1S pill for max output, the optional OP reflector is advised for on-bike use, and plan on sticking a Post-It Note onto your battery to eliminate rattle
    Last edited by mechBgon; 10-19-2008 at 03:45 PM.

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