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  1. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellerbro View Post
    I'm wondering if there's any difficulty operating the DS1300 switch with gloved hands (spring or winter gloves) since the switch looks pretty small?
    Yes, it's definitely not AS easy to operate with gloves, but still very doable. I actually recently used it on the helmet on a night hike and was wearing some pretty thick gloves. There's enough of a recess in the case that I could "feel" it through the gloves. It helps that it's a micro-switch, so not much pressure is required to make it "click." This thing runs so long on high (3hr 45min), that you may only need to click it once to turn it on, and then press-and-hold it once to turn it off when you're done.

  2. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...I'm thinking about adapting an XM-L torch and using it on SOS mode. **It won't be red but it will draw attention. Since a five mode torch has memory I can easily turn it off/on with just a click ( mounted near or under the seat. Once the sun starts setting my twin SF's are well enough to be seen from a distance.

    (** I do plan on using some automotive red lens tape to adapt one of my spare torch lenses. It will dampen the output a tad but I bet it will still be bright and in the 500 lumen range. Since a torch can't be adjusted for intensity while in flash modes this set up is planned only for full daylight use in a dangerous or rural ( 40+mph speed limit ) setting. )
    I'm not sure about where you are, but in Washington state, having any color other than a red light to the rear is illegal with certain, specific exceptions (turn signals can be amber, back up lights should be white; also exceptions for police/EMS vehicles). Bicycles can have a flashing rear red tail light. Any other color, including the pink that shows when you put automotive red tape over a very bright white light, is illegal.

    Using a non-red rear light may draw the attention of drivers - which is what you want. But, it could also earn you a ticket.

  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Hopper View Post
    I'm not sure about where you are, but in Washington state, having any color other than a red light to the rear is illegal with certain, specific exceptions (turn signals can be amber, back up lights should be white; also exceptions for police/EMS vehicles). Bicycles can have a flashing rear red tail light. Any other color, including the pink that shows when you put automotive red tape over a very bright white light, is illegal.

    Using a non-red rear light may draw the attention of drivers - which is what you want. But, it could also earn you a ticket.
    Yes, I've considered all that. Some laws were designed to be challenged and this is one of them. If I ever was to get a citation for such a thing, I would proudly march into court and state the following argument to the judge: Years ago it was illegal to have T.V's in the front seat area of a car. Then there are cyclist that ride at night with no lights or reflectors. Now for some reason all this is completely ignored by all....times change as the technology changes. Bikes use white led flashers all the time, usually in the front...however, many riders ride against traffic and are rarely ( if at all ) stopped by police. School buses in my state are equipped with 360 degree white strobes that are on at all times. This was done for safety reasons. Now if a strobe light is used to protect children on a school bus shouldn't a cyclist be given the same respect seeing they have no metal around them to protect them in an accident. I figure good for the goslings, good for the goose when his neck is sticking out begging to be picked off.

    If a cop wants to pull me over on a rural high speed road and give me a ticket for using a bright flashing white light during daylight for safety, I'll take my chances with what the judge has to say on the issue. Now with all this said, I'll deal with the issue if I start getting fines. Since I won't be doing this on a regular basis anyway I'll take my chances.

    Update: I just ordered an XP-C RED 5-mode drop-in tonight so all this might be a moot argument if I feel the SOS mode is bright enough to draw attention during the day.

  4. #129
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    Really like this lights - just a few questions

    Hello,

    Just found this thread and so far I really like what I see, but I do have a few questions.

    Tail-light: I love the DS500, however I am wondering if the flashing mode can be programmed more than just brightness levels?

    Two things.

    1. Flashing lights only at night can be difficult to judge distance, which is why I ride with a full on light and a flasher. However, if this light could be programmed to be a combo say both lights flash from half-on to fully-on or have one light flash while the other is fully on - then you have the best of both worlds in one light.

    2. Random flash interval. It does not have to be much, just something that is inconsistent. From a physiological perspective a person cannot help but to see that light, even from the corner of their eye, they will be drawn to it. Regular blinking patterns, people can learn to ignore, but there is something about a slightly irregular pattern that makes it nearly impossible for people to ignore.

    I have hard a lot of talk board and all the programming modes, but I don't think it has either of these. I know the vis-180 has the half-on flash mode and I have seen other taillights that have a random pattern, so I know it is possible, just maybe not on this light. However, if they are possible, it would be great.

    Headlight: Is this thing programmable? I would like to use it for road-primarily, but I would like to use it off-road too. For road-riding being able to set it up like the exposure Strada would be optimal. Have your regular riding mode and a dimmed mode for traffic and a thumb switch like the strada to quickly switch between the two. However, I would personally like to go one step beyond the Strada. I would like to be able to choose my full power mode 3,4,5 and have the switch always dim the light to 2,3. This way in heavy commute traffic I can ride at a 3 without offending anyone, then switch it to 5 for my decent down Claremont or Southpark where I have hit 50+ at night. The switch would give me a quick way to turn down from high power mode with one click while keeping my attention fully on the road.

    Beam Patterns: I have seen several forum posts elsewhere where people like the flood on their helmet and spot on the bars. I can't stand that. On my bars I want a good flood light and a consistent light intensity from the top of the spot down to my front tire, even further if possible. If I see a rock or some other thing in the road, I don't want to lose it. I also like the beam to have enough flood to be able to see far enough off to the sides to be able to pick-up a dog or a cat or a little kid running into my path. Those of you that ride at night know what I am talking about, the farther out to the side you can see some animal coming out from under a car or running across a lawn, the better off you will be. Animals do funny things in lights and if they get right in front of you, they will stop. So my question is, can I get my wish and be able to have a courtesy switch that would take my 5,4,3 level beam down to a 3 or a 2?

    On my helmet I want a spot and very little flood. Flood on the helmet is fine for off-road, but not on-road. Too much flood means when I turn my head, I can hit drivers with a beam I don't want too. It is too noisy. With a spot, I can hit the car's windshield that is turning in to me and no one else. I live very close to Oakland, and though I hate to say it, you can really tell the difference in driver's awareness in certain areas. The helmet light has saved my life a couple of times and stopped a car from left turning right into me. So for me, I like to look around when I with a good spot, I only light up what I am looking at. However, I am curious, I see people wanting the flood on their helmet and spot in front, why is that?

    So for these lights, I see that pethelman will configure them to your liking which I really LIKE. I just hope that some of my extra wishes that I see in other lights can be put into this light because I would by them today if they could be so configured. And they would really make these lights the most flexible on the market.

    - Roger

  5. #130
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    A lot of good feedback here Roger, thanks...

    To address some of your questions:
    Concerning nightime use of the taillight. Yes, steady mode is best, turned down to at least level 3 or lower. Until I get George to give up his firmware... I'll have to stick with the flashing function as is. Seriously though, for daytime operation (which is where this light earns its keep) the current flash pattern is very good. It can easily force someone to look up from their cell phone or whatever else they may be doing from a LONG way off. At night, you have to really be careful to keep it at level 3 or lower, preferably in solid mode for good depth perception. Combine it with a low power flasher and you have the near perfect solution.

    Being a roadie myself for most of the year, I really tried to make this light satisfy the needs of the serious night road cyclist (I ride almost exclusively at night now). With some valuable feedback from some of the users here, I tweaked the lens combination to yield a good combination of throw and width. You won't be able to "out-ride" the the light, even on high speed descents, yet you'll still have full illumination of both lanes of a two lane road all the way to your front wheel with a very even distribution of light. Because of the clear lens cover, you actually get light all around and even a little behind your front wheel, so there really aren't any "blind" spots.

    As an unexpected bonus (and I had no idea how nice this was till I tried it) you have about +/- 10 degrees of left/right aimability. So, if you don't have a helmet light, and you're coming up to a high-speed 90 degree turn, you can just nudge the light hard over to the stop in the direction you're turning well before you get there (I'm talking 150 ft before you get there), and have full illumination of the turn. The beam is wide enough that you still have plenty of straight forward illumination, but you now have the center of the beam right at the apex of the turn. The mount essentially has some built in friction that allows you to position it left or right on-the-fly without effecting the elevation adjustment. So after you make the turn, just nudge it back to straight. Easily accomplished with just your thumb while riding on the bars.

    Headlight operation modes. Thanks to Azra, I came to see the "light" so to speak on the more simple mode of operation for road use. It's pretty much as you're hoping it would be. You have three settings, LOW/MED/HIGH. HIGH is always the maximum drive, but MED and LOW can be programmed to correspond to level 1,2,3,or 4. What works really well is the THREEmode operation, where a single click takes you from LOW to MED. Then, once you're at MED, subsequent clicking toggles back and forth between HIGH and MED. A slightly longer press-and-hold takes you back to LOW. So it really is just like being in your car. If you like having 1300 lumens on the road, then by all means use it, but if a car approaches, you just do a quick single click and you're down to MED, which is around 640 lumens (if you use level 3 for medium). In practice I've found L3 to be suitable for road use without causing any blinding problem for oncoming cars (haven't gotten bright-lighted yet). There are a couple of other modes at the user's disposal (one even more simple LOW/HIGH only, another tri-mode where you cycle through all three levels, and one mode where you have access to every power level). The power adjustment modes work the same whether you're flashing or not.

    I have a couple of nice upgrades to the next round of lights, one of which is 150 more lumens on the XP-E triple, which is the "thrower" half of the light. Also, the lens cover will be user-removable and you'll be able to play around with different lenses for different applications. Although, I haven't tried it yet, a dual XP-E triple with spot lenses would make a heck of a spotlight for helmet use if someone was so inclined. Even with the spot beam, you'll still get the same "spill" light out the sides of the lens cover, which would be doubly nice on the helmet at night.

    I'm shooting for availability of the next round of lights in Mid-December time frame.
    Last edited by pethelman; 11-10-2011 at 09:11 AM.

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    ...I have a couple of nice upgrades to the next round of lights, one of which is 150 more lumens on the XP-E triple, which is the "thrower" half of the light. Also, the lens cover will be user-removable and you'll be able to play around with different lenses for different applications. Although, I haven't tried it yet, a dual XP-E triple with spot lenses would make a heck of a spotlight for helmet use if someone was so inclined. Even with the spot beam, you'll still get the same "spill" light out the sides of the lens cover, which would be doubly nice on the helmet at night.

    I'm shooting for availability of the next round of lights in Mid-December time frame.
    Oh how I do love to hear you go on about your lights. You certainly do know a thing or two about bike lights. You also seem to know what we folks in Forumville dream about when we think about "The perfect light system".

    I'm glad to hear about your plan for user replaceable lenses. Need I even say, more throw is always a welcome commodity. Although you didn't mention it, I hope somewhere along the line that you figure a way to offer a remote option. I just love the remote on my triple XPG, K-Lite. The button assembly is very small and nothing like the bulky plastic stuff you see on the MS lights. I don't know where Kerry gets his remotes but they are compact and really nice. It really is a big PLUS to be able to keep both hands on the bars when making a mode switch, especially at higher speeds. To tell the truth I'm surprised that you haven't made one for yourself yet. Once you go remote it is so hard to go back to " one-hand-steering-mode-changes"....

  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Oh how I do love to hear you go on about your lights. You certainly do know a thing or two about bike lights. You also seem to know what we folks in Forumville dream about when we think about "The perfect light system".

    I'm glad to hear about your plan for user replaceable lenses. Need I even say, more throw is always a welcome commodity. Although you didn't mention it, I hope somewhere along the line that you figure a way to offer a remote option. I just love the remote on my triple XPG, K-Lite. The button assembly is very small and nothing like the bulky plastic stuff you see on the MS lights. I don't know where Kerry gets his remotes but they are compact and really nice. It really is a big PLUS to be able to keep both hands on the bars when making a mode switch, especially at higher speeds. To tell the truth I'm surprised that you haven't made one for yourself yet. Once you go remote it is so hard to go back to " one-hand-steering-mode-changes"....
    Hey Cat,
    Yes, actually I have done a remote, bar-mounted solution for a recumbent rider with under-seat stearing. It's a bit more custom work, but totally doable. The switch on the case remains and operates in parallel with the remote switch. I fabricate a small 1/8th inch thick aluminum plate which holds the micro-switch and can be innocuously zip-tied to your handlebars to be in a convenient under-thumb location. The length of the remote wire would be customized for the particular application... like in the recumbent case, it was 84 inches long. For most of my night road riding, I find that the beam and output on level three is very adequate and not too bright for on-coming cars, so I'm rarely touching the switch. If you were using a light that had 3hr 45 min run time on high and 9+ hours on level 3 (medium), I'm just curious what scenarios you're finding that would require mode change while riding, except possibly to dim for approaching riders? Thanks for your thoughts!
    Last edited by pethelman; 11-10-2011 at 09:19 AM.

  8. #133
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    I wouldn't ever need a remote for the road riding I do (commuting really) as the single XM-L@1.5A is enough for me. However, for off-road riding it's amazing to have a remote for the bar light - med for climbs, high for the flats/DH - and not having to take your hand off the bar to change levels is a huge boon. For the riding around here, taking your hand off the bar at the wrong moment will have you in the rocks!

  9. #134
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    hello mattthemuppet and pethelman,

    I tend to use my rides as a workout instead of commuting. My issue is when I am coming down a large hill, large enough that I have to keep both hands on the breaks (for those of you who know the East Bay near SF that's Moser, Claremount, Marin, Centennial, South Park, etc) it is difficult at best to reach up and dim the lights if a car suddenly appears coming up hill or out of driveway or side street. At least with a helmet light, you can angle it away, but a bar light on max for those 30+ mile an hour downhills, not so easy to adjust a light under full brakes or in tight turns.

    Why a remote switch? For all those times when removing either hand from the bars is not an option.

    - Roger

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    To address some of your questions:
    Until I get George to give up his firmware... I'll have to stick with the flashing function as is.
    George who? Let me call him

    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Seriously though, for daytime operation (which is where this light earns its keep) the current flash pattern is very good. It can easily force someone to look up from their cell phone or whatever else they may be doing from a LONG way off. At night, you have to really be careful to keep it at level 3 or lower, preferably in solid mode for good depth perception. Combine it with a low power flasher and you have the near perfect solution.
    Yep, I need to combine it with another light to get a near perfect solution. But I can dream for a perfect solution where a light can do both, can't I. I agree, daylight will be fine and I will keep it in steady mode for night-time. Just need a good flasher. Maybe that Exposure light will work for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Headlight operation modes. Thanks to Azra, I came to see the "light" so to speak on the more simple mode of operation for road use. It's pretty much as you're hoping it would be. You have three settings, LOW/MED/HIGH. HIGH is always the maximum drive, but MED and LOW can be programmed to correspond to level 1,2,3,or 4. What works really well is the THREEmode operation, where a single click takes you from LOW to MED. Then, once you're at MED, subsequent clicking toggles back and forth between HIGH and MED. A slightly longer press-and-hold takes you back to LOW. So it really is just like being in your car. If you like having 1300 lumens on the road, then by all means use it, but if a car approaches, you just do a quick single click and you're down to MED, which is around 640 lumens (if you use level 3 for medium). In practice I've found L3 to be suitable for road use without causing any blinding problem for oncoming cars (haven't gotten bright-lighted yet). There are a couple of other modes at the user's disposal (one even more simple LOW/HIGH only, another tri-mode where you cycle through all three levels, and one mode where you have access to every power level). The power adjustment modes work the same whether you're flashing or not.
    Seems like that will work for me. Just thinking it may be nice to go from a steady medium to a high flash mode for emergencies, especially when I am traveling anywhere near the Oakland border. But then again, I can yell very loud when needed and yelling STOP at someone usually does the trick too.

    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    I have a couple of nice upgrades to the next round of lights, one of which is 150 more lumens on the XP-E triple, which is the "thrower" half of the light. Also, the lens cover will be user-removable and you'll be able to play around with different lenses for different applications. Although, I haven't tried it yet, a dual XP-E triple with spot lenses would make a heck of a spotlight for helmet use if someone was so inclined. Even with the spot beam, you'll still get the same "spill" light out the sides of the lens cover, which would be doubly nice on the helmet at night.

    I'm shooting for availability of the next round of lights in Mid-December time frame.
    Keep me on that list. I may need to order a tail-light before that time, but I am certainly interested in your headlight units too. I would like to see more helmet mounted shots before deciding to go that route. I think it would be cool if you made a single light to be use alongside the dual version for those people wanting a more specialized use.

    - Roger

  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Huston View Post
    hello mattthemuppet and pethelman,

    I tend to use my rides as a workout instead of commuting. My issue is when I am coming down a large hill, large enough that I have to keep both hands on the breaks (for those of you who know the East Bay near SF that's Moser, Claremount, Marin, Centennial, South Park, etc) it is difficult at best to reach up and dim the lights if a car suddenly appears coming up hill or out of driveway or side street. At least with a helmet light, you can angle it away, but a bar light on max for those 30+ mile an hour downhills, not so easy to adjust a light under full brakes or in tight turns.

    Why a remote switch? For all those times when removing either hand from the bars is not an option.

    - Roger
    yeah, I can see that My commute is on a flat cycle path so it's not as challenging, but the mtbing I do is analogous to the situation you describe - when you just can't take your hand off the handlebar.

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post

    I have a couple of nice upgrades to the next round of lights, one of which is 150 more lumens on the XP-E triple, which is the "thrower" half of the light. Also, the lens cover will be user-removable and you'll be able to play around with different lenses for different applications. Although, I haven't tried it yet, a dual XP-E triple with spot lenses would make a heck of a spotlight for helmet use if someone was so inclined. Even with the spot beam, you'll still get the same "spill" light out the sides of the lens cover, which would be doubly nice on the helmet at night.

    I'm shooting for availability of the next round of lights in Mid-December time frame.
    I am so tempted to get one of these lights, but with the upgrades you mention, Now I want to wait a little longer.

  13. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritOnTour View Post
    I am so tempted to get one of these lights, but with the upgrades you mention, Now I want to wait a little longer.
    Hey Brit...
    It's an easy choice now. All of the first run lights have been sold. Francois has the last set for the shootout, and when he's done with those, I think I may have to keep them myself just for posterity (and to do some comparison shots with the new headlight).

    Another upgrade, although not really major, is that the new lights will be a few grams lighter. Turns out after really putting them through the temperature evaluation, that I had a little wiggle room to trim some mass and still maintain a conservative thermal design.

    One of the big new things that (as an engineer) I'm really excited about is the new battery pack PCB. This one will incorporate on-board balance taps (which you can see over on the right hand side of the PCB)! I'm not sure how many have this, but it's a nice safety feature and helps prolong the life of the pack. In the case of the DS packs, I essentially have 3 "banks" of cells in series and this PCB will keep each "bank" at exactly the same voltage. Costs just a tad more, but totally worth it in my opinion. No scrimping on the cells here either... only the good stuff, Samsung.

    You can keep up with the new build over at the blog on the new website:
    Design Shine Lighting Forums - Recent Blogs Posts - Blogs
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DesignShine... WOW!-3s-balance-.jpg  

    Last edited by pethelman; 11-11-2011 at 06:55 PM.

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    So this includes the tail-light too? We should hold-off on everything until mid-December?

    - Roger

    P.S. I saw some pictures on your site that looked like custom mount work. Where a customer sent you a mount and you made it work with your light. I wonder if you have mounted your light to a Night Rider mount. I really like my double lights to be mounted center line, over the stem.

    Unfortunately my new bike has Shimano instead of Campy, older where the brake lines come out of the breaks and interfere with the light. Took them forever to follow Campy and they did it the model year after I got my bike. But still, got the bike for like 50% off as it was last years model.

    Still this means that I will have wire shadows in my lights and anything I can do to minimize it, even a little will help.

    - Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Huston View Post
    So this includes the tail-light too? We should hold-off on everything until mid-December?

    - Roger

    P.S. I saw some pictures on your site that looked like custom mount work. Where a customer sent you a mount and you made it work with your light. I wonder if you have mounted your light to a Night Rider mount. I really like my double lights to be mounted center line, over the stem.

    Unfortunately my new bike has Shimano instead of Campy, older where the brake lines come out of the breaks and interfere with the light. Took them forever to follow Campy and they did it the model year after I got my bike. But still, got the bike for like 50% off as it was last years model.

    Still this means that I will have wire shadows in my lights and anything I can do to minimize it, even a little will help.

    - Roger
    You've got a lot of options with this mount. I normally use an extender bar for the headlight that's about 1/2" shorter than the taillight bar, but if you use the taillight bar on the headlight, you might be able to get past some of the wires? You may not have seen some of the images here:
    https://sites.google.com/site/design...ting/build-log

    In particular, look at the entries for June 23 and May 19. You can mount low, in-line with the bars, using the extender. Or you can mount high with or without the extender bar. When you see the image looking down on the light from above, there are two angles of adjustability: the mount itself, and the light body on the bar. If you want to get the light out in front of the stem, you can angle the mount bar to the right, then turn the angle the light body to the left to get it back pointing straight again. But to answer your other question, yes, I can definitely entertain custom mounting options. The bottom of the light has a nice deep threaded hole (6/32 thread) and a flat surface, so it's fairly adaptable.

    The other good thing about this light with respect to your problem is that because there are 6 different point sources of light, even if you are behind one of the cables, there is NO hard shadow. The main distraction would be the reflected light off the cable coming back at you.

    I'm really scrambling trying to have the new batch of lights ready before Christmas
    So far "Murphy" has stayed away, but I've been in engineering long enough to know that he's never TOO far away

  16. #141
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    Helmet mount specs

    Just wanted to put out a feeler to the forum on the idea of a helmet-specific DS-1300.

    While I'm building lights, I could easily put together a double-triple XP-E with the new higher-output R4 bin (aka "throw monster"). This wouldn't be just an ultra narrow penetrating beam, but a very usable spot light with complete trail coverage, easily out to 200ft. Light head with mount would be sub 130 gram range. Color temp in the neutral range. 4 hour runtime on high. On-the-fly vertical adjustment. Visual indication of the battery status would be provided by the front LEDs, so you wouldn't have to take off the helmet to know where you stood in the battery life cycle.

    I'm just wondering if there is a pent-up need for something like this? Or if that much power on the lid is just overkill?

    Would look pretty much like the picture here, although this shows the smaller battery with a 2hr runtime on high.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DesignShine... WOW!-headlight_helmet_mount_new.jpg  


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    Hello,

    I might be interested in such a light. Is it too much power? Depends on the handlebar light. In my opinion they should be evenly matched so your eyes don't have to adjust to the darkness. For example, if the light is too weak, it gets lost in the headlight and when you look to the side, the low light conditions means your eyes have to adjust to match the light and on the trail that time can be dangerous. Same is true for a too strong light, you move your head to the side, now you have the weak light in your direction of travel and in your peripheral vision. Good luck in that situation.

    For me, I have HID lights now, I run in a stacked configuration. I turn my handlebar lights down so the whole spot is visible on the road and trail in order to get the most light on the road in front of me. It also helps keep it out of driver's eyes. Then for my head mounted light, I put the bottom of the spot on that light on the top of the spot on my handlebar light (natural position). This doubles the sweet spot for me and give me max distance.

    With your LED lights I am not sure how this will change. I like your medium frosted DS-1300 with almost no center spot effect.

    As for the headlight, I think you could make a new light, half the size of the DS-1300 with only 1 lens and have a great light. The picture looks a bit bulky to me, especially with the battery mounted on the helmet, I prefer a longer cord and mounted in by back-pack.

    So, yes, I am interested, but I would prefer a smaller helmet light and if the batter was on the helmet, perhaps something along the lines of the Exposure Diablo.

    - Roger

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    Hello,

    Would it be possible for you to put one together and show some beam pics and videos like you do for your other stuff? I would be curious to see how much spot this would be. Personally, I would like you to show it with the DS-1300 on the bars, both on at the same time and move the head mounted light around so I could see how much extra light it produced and how well it matched the DS-1300. I would also like to see them turned on at each of the 5 light levels, both on the same matched setting. For example, both on 3 for road riding, what would that look like?

    Thank you and I am looking forward to your new lights!

    - Roger

  19. #144
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    Thanks for the feedback Roger. I had thought about a single-triple, but for the approach that I wanted to take with the transparent lens retainer, it just wasn't very feasible. Several other considerations that factored in were that the single-triple has to be driven VERY hard to produce enough light for my taste. I preferred the more conservative approach by using more LEDs and less drive current. And in that respect, I've crammed about as many lumens as you can into the smallest volume possible while still retaining enough mass to run at full power for several minutes with no air flow. I've found that I can run the light on full power on the helmet with barely more than a walking pace without heat buildup becoming a problem.

    Of course, the major benefit of using two separate banks of LEDs is the ability to use different optics on both and make a good single bar-light solution.

    I'll plan on building at least 1 double-triple XPE and seeing how well it plays with the wider beam version on the bars.

  20. #145
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    p-man, I love the idea of a Double/triple XP-E R4 narrow! I don't think I would use something like that on the helmet though...a little too much weight for my taste. If I did buy one I would likely want a triple XP-G R-5 combo with a XP-E R4 with an array of optics so I could figure which set-up I like the best and then mount that sucker on a center bar mount.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. These lights of yours cause me to bring out the drool bucket.

  21. #146
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    some feedback from my point of view, as a mtber only:

    1) I'd try and limit yourself to a 2 cell pack. My helmet light has a 3 cell pack and it's right at the limit of comfort for me, especially on rocky trails. I've ridden a few times with my commuter light (single LED) and its 2 cell pack on my helmet and the difference is noticeable. I'm pretty tolerant of weight on my helmet, so if I'm not 100% happy with a 3 cell, I'd guess that alot more people would be unhappy with it. One of the guys I ride with won't even strap his Minewt battery on his helmet, although that does weigh closer to a 3 cell than a 2 cell (due to the driver, hard plastic shell etc)

    2) These XP-E R4s aren't HEWs are they? I guessing not (those are R5s), but worth avoiding if they are, for a thrower at least.

    3) I'd still recommend going for a single LED/triple board for a helmet light. Gonzo output is less necessary IMO and being unable to mix'n'match optics will be more than outweighed by the reduction in weight of the light head. I do like my twin LED helmet light (built in the XP-G days) but if I were doing it again I'd think long and hard about doing a single instead. With those R4s it'll still be ~900+lm theoretical too.

    4) I know that you have a lot of experience using triples and are probably very comfortable with them, but the XM-L is more efficient and there is a far wider range of optics/ reflectors to tailor the beam to an individuals preference. Cheaper too.

    5) I would ditch that lens cover with the clear sides - that'd bug the hell out of me if someone on a ride had a light like that, given that it would be impossible to avoid blinding someone with it at a stop on the trail. It's hard enough to avoid shining lights in peoples eyes when the light goes straight out of the front

    6) is there a way to get the light to sit lower on the helmet? That would both avoid tree branch clipping problems and the high CoG that makes helmet lights more noticeable.

  22. #147
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    Hey Matt,
    Thanks as always for your insight!

    Let me see if I can address some of your comments here.

    >>I'd try and limit yourself to a 2 cell pack.

    I agree, the 3-cell is just OK, but probably too much for some if mounted on the helmet. The light connects directly to and will work fine with the very minimalistic Magicshine 2-cell pack (picture attached), but in that case, you'd want to stay on level 4 or below, treating level 5 as a short-use "boost" mode.


    >> These XP-E R4s aren't HEWs are they? I guessing not (those are R5s), but worth avoiding if they are, for a thrower at least.

    I am evaluating the XP-E High Efficiency White (HEW) in combination with the XP-G to see what kind of blended beam I can achieve. Since the die size hasn't increased for the XP-E HEW, the spot optics work almost as well as with the non-HEW versions. The main difference being the lack of the dark band around the primary spot and just every so slightly less throw. However, I'm betting that the increased output will make up for the difference in throw compared to the old XP-E Q4 bin that I was using... which, I thought, still had very nice throw.

    >>I'd still recommend going for a single LED/triple board for a helmet light.

    I'm with you on that one. Coming mainly from the road-bike world, the idea of this light was primarily envisioned for bar-mounted road use, but turns out to be really good bar-light on the trail as well. However, it's still quite usable on the helmet in a lot of situations. Recumbent road riding is a good option, since often the bar mount is impractical, and in that riding position, you can position the light on top of the helmet for good balance. In those situations where you don't want to have anything sticking up above the top of the helmet to avoid catching branches, the light has to be moved way to the front of the helmet. This of course makes low weight an even bigger priority, and in that respect, the NiteFlux guys have everybody beat. Not sure I want to try and compete with that... or even should, since there are so many "flashlight" helmet lights out there.

    >>... XM-L is more efficient and there is a far wider range of optics/ reflectors to tailor the beam to an individuals preference. Cheaper too.

    Believe it or not, the LED's themselves are a very small portion of the total cost of the light. It really is amazing how much it takes to produce a good housing, and then it happens again in the labor and in the assembly/testing process. So the cost for me was totally not an issue. The efficiency boost is almost not a factor as well, since to get the same usable output from 2 XM-L as compared to 6 XP-E/G, the XM-L have to be driven very hard, compared to the 6-LED scenario, where I can drive them in the peak of the efficiency curve. In the end, the form-factor being very compact and low-profile was most important to me.

    >>I would ditch that lens cover with the clear sides - that'd bug the hell out of me if someone on a ride had a light like that, given that it would be impossible to avoid blinding someone with it at a stop on the trail.

    I definitely see your point. However the light coming out the side of the lens cover is nowhere near the focused blinding level. It's just a nice diffuse point source of light that can be seen from any direction. You can look directly at it from the side even in the dark without any problem. However, I do have some very thin metalized reflective material with adhesive backing that I cut to size to go over the sides for anyone that wants to block that portion of the light. From every other perspective, however, the clear lens cover is what makes this light unique. On the trail, with the light mounted on the bar, the diffuse light coming out the bottom and sides of the cover, make a very nice ambient environment. You can completely see everything on the ground directly around and even underneath the bike. On the road, the clear cover makes very usable side lighting at night, which is particularly good on the taillight.

    >>is there a way to get the light to sit lower on the helmet? That would both avoid tree branch clipping problems and the high CoG that makes helmet lights more noticeable.

    I'm using the standard Cateye helmet mounting system, which is quite flexible. You can move it as far forward on the helmet as your vents will allow, to get it "lower." However, if I were using it off-road and knew that low-hanging branches weren't going to be an issue, I'd actually move it closer to the top of the helmet. The rotational inertia (yes I am a geek) is much higher with it on the front, plus if your leaning over slightly in your normal riding position, the out-front position puts more strain on the neck. With it on the top of the helmet, and battery in the jersey pocket, I barely notice it. The Cateye mount is nice because it has small de-tents in the aiming adjustment where you can reach up and click it up or down a notch or two for trimming the aim. When you're stopped and talking to buddies on the trail, you can just ratchet the light nearly straight up and out of everyone's eyes.

    Keep those comments coming! Love hearing others opinions.
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  23. #148
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    you're welcome, glad I can offer some insight

    Of'roadbent built a simple sled light with one of Quazzles L333 XP-E HEW boards and he thought it sucked. Compared to a standard XP-E Q4(5?) L333 and XM-L+Regina it neither threw as far as the XP-E nor was as bright as the XM-L (which I think even out threw it). There are some good beamshots on the DIY forum beamshot thread which illustrate it better. He told me that if it was his light (he built it for a friend) he would have swapped it out for either of the other 2 options. Not my own experience, obviously, but he's built enough different lights to know what he's talking about.

    I do believe you about the relative cost of the LEDs vs. everything else. The parts are the easy bit, it's the housing that's the hardest part. I can see where you're coming from re. the efficiency argument, but I'd counter that, for a light weight helmet light, you wouldn't be running the XM-Ls (or the XP-Es) at full bore anyway - I run the 2 XM-Ls in my helmet light at 1.5A as that's the most the b2flex will spit out, but around 1.5-2A would be the sweet spot for 2 XM-L. 2 XM-L @1.5A is still A LOT of light and the throw is as much as I could ever want (not sure about 60mph descents on the road, as I don't do that). Plus the added optics options would make a big difference. Something to think about anyway, perhaps as a test rig in the future..

    Neat to see the Cateye helmet mount in use. I'm just about to get my hands on my first one (not for lack of trying) so I'm quite excited to try it out. Sadly it wont work for my helmet light as I built it before I knew about the Cateye spacers, but I can use it for my commuter light. I agree that having the light right on top of the helmet and the battery in the jersey pocket (if your jersey has pockets..) is the best option if there aren't branches around, but I find that with the light head on the front (92g) and battery on the back vents (~150g?) it does balance out pretty well, although a 2S (~100g) pack would be sweeter. More polar moment of inertia for sure, but the helmet at least stays put!

  24. #149
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    Thanks VERY much for the tip on the HEW. I've looked at some of the beam shots, and it's hard to make a definitive call. I'll definitely drop back to the R3 or below if I don't like the throw that it generates.

    I think you'll like the Cateye mount a lot. Very minimal weight and low profile. I especially like that you can torque down on the bolt that it rotates about and change the friction level. This way you can get even finer aiming ability, if you find yourself needing to aim between two of the detents. That would be my only gripe that the spacing between each detent could be a little finer.

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    Hello,

    Just checked out your new build blog. Cool stuff. BTW, it would be handy if you could post the weights of your products on your website in the list. I think people may think that the unit is much heavier than the 130g you have listed above. I know I did.

    As for helmet lights, I would think your main competition in the States would be with the new Dinotte XML-3 as this light is a little smaller and at the same price point as the DS-1300 (Sub $300), and close in output. The review just posted on it yesterday or today. It looks much smaller than the DS-1300 unit, but since the weight is 102g, so maybe not. For me, I will probably get the DS-1300 and DS-500 combo and once I try them out, will decide what I want on my head. I have an old HID light that works fine for now for that and I can put the battery in my back pocket.

    As soon as you get closer to shipping, let me know so I can place my order.

    - Roger

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