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  1. #1
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    Wink DesignShine... WOW!

    I just got me a DesignShine taillight... and it is astounding. I never though I'd see such a thing, but somebody has just bested the venerable DiNotte 400R. I put them side by side outside, the difference is plainly visible.

    I'll post a video shortly, but first I have some work-type work to finish, a very unfortunate circumstance. I'll get to play with my new toy this afternoon.

    I also got the DesignShine front light. But I can't really put it to work until it gets dark.

    More in a few hours... including a waterboarding.

  2. #2
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    In the interest of full disclosure:

    • I am not affiliated with DesignShine or any other company.

    • I paid the front light in full a few weeks ago.

    • I received the back light as a test with a NET 30 invoice.
      If I like it and want to keep it, I'll have to pay for it.


    The price of those lights is as follow:

    • Front light: $204
    • Read light: $185
    • 3-Cell battery: $35
    • 6-Cell battery: $55


    As far as I know, DesignShine (web site) is not a regular-type company. It's more like a guy building those lights in his garage as a labor of love.

    Next: is the labor of love waterproof? You know I have a beef with lights that are as waterproof as a pair of fishnet stockings.

  3. #3
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    The front light (with handlebar clamp) and the rear light.

    Sorry, this is a cell phone pic. You can find better pictures on the DesignShine web site.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DesignShine... WOW!-pic1.jpg  


  4. #4
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    And now for the fun... muhahaha!

    Like I said, the front light is mine, I paid for it. The rear one is not.

    Am I crazy to waterboard my own light? Well, I want to know that the darn thing will work next time I ride in a downpour. If it's not waterproof, f*** it! I don't get to choose when I get caught in bad weather, neither should my light.

    In the picture: two lights and two batteries.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DesignShine... WOW!-pic2.jpg  


  5. #5
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    So far so good, they've been submerged for 25 min, I don't see any bubbles and they are still working.

    And now the cat is drinking water from the bowl!

    Alright, 35 min. I'm calling it a successful test. Perfect!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
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    Silly cat's gonna be blind now.

  7. #7
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    interesting. glad to see a mix of XP-G and XR-E on the front, should make for a good mix of spot and flood. Don't know why he didn't just use 2 XM-Ls though - the optic/ reflector options for the XM-L at that size are far better than for small triples. Hope it makes a good run of it!

    rear light is a bit much for me though

  8. #8
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    Well, yes, the rear light is something Satan himself would use. I ride on the roads in an urban/suburban environment all the time and get buzzed within a few inches of my life by cars going 40-60 mph. I need something that will jolt those stupid drivers out of their cell phone/texting stupor. If it blinds them in the process, so be it.

    The light has 5 intensity modes, BTW. And DesignShine is adamant the brightest mode should not be used at night. Will see...

  9. #9
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    This is the video - side by side comparison of the DiNotte 400R and DesignShine DS-500 taillights.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVisFnaKjso

    Video was taken at 2 pm. Very bright sunny day. In these conditions a normal $25 taillight would be totally invisible. But these are not normal taillights, these cost $200+.

    The video was taken with a cell phone and is unedited. It is not entirely true to reality - the DiNotte 400R is quite a bit more visible to the eye than you would think watching the video. I think it has something to do with the flashing pattern of the 400R and the frame rate of the video. But the DesignShine DS-500 really is that much better.

    Note that both lights come short when viewed from the side. Again, the DS-500 is better at a 90 degree angle, but not as good as I would like.

    A word of caution:

    It does look like the DS-500 is eating the 400R for breakfast, doesn't it? It really is that much better. But the 400R is a phenomenally well built and reliable little light. It is not a gold standard for nothing. The DS-500 still has to prove itself in everyday use. Ask me again in a year if I still think the DS-500 is a better taillight.
    Last edited by Azra; 07-26-2011 at 02:29 PM.

  10. #10
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    This, hopefully, should take care of the video frame rate. Both lights are in steady mode, brightest setting. Both are excellent, but the DS-500 is quite a bit better. There really is no contest there.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DesignShine... WOW!-pic4.jpg  


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    Silly cat's gonna be blind now.
    Ha! Ha! Ha!.....Me's a laughing real hard.......Oh...but I think cats usually close their eyes somewhat when they drink....

    Anyway....Wow!...Just over $200 for a duel triple! That is like a killer deal! I will be watching with baited breath! BEAM PIC's!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    interesting. glad to see a mix of XP-G and XR-E on the front, should make for a good mix of spot and flood. Don't know why he didn't just use 2 XM-Ls though - the optic/ reflector options for the XM-L at that size are far better than for small triples. Hope it makes a good run of it!

    rear light is a bit much for me though
    Just a point of clarification...
    One triple is an XP-G
    while the other is an XP-E

    The XM-L actually didn't exist at the time I was finalizing the design. The XM-L triple is coming, however, in the same way that the XP-G creates a wider beam than the XP-E for the same optics, this will happen again for the XM-L. So the improvement over the XP-G may be minimal with the 20mm triple optics. I agree that the larger single optics and reflectors are a better way to go for the XM-L. One of the design aspects was to be able to actually use the light that escapes out the side of the optics, so the triples fit the bill nicely for that.

    Full disclosure - I'm the "guy in the garage" designer of these lights. My intent for posting was just to clarify some details and answer some questions.

  13. #13
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    Wow, I really wish I had heard of DesignShine before I bought my Magicshine. Yeah, its about 1/2 the price, but the beamshot comparison between the two is astounding! If I ever get into night riding in a serious way, I will be buying one of these lil bastards!!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Just a point of clarification...
    One triple is an XP-G
    while the other is an XP-E

    The XM-L actually didn't exist at the time I was finalizing the design. The XM-L triple is coming, however, in the same way that the XP-G creates a wider beam than the XP-E for the same optics, this will happen again for the XM-L. So the improvement over the XP-G may be minimal with the 20mm triple optics. I agree that the larger single optics and reflectors are a better way to go for the XM-L. One of the design aspects was to be able to actually use the light that escapes out the side of the optics, so the triples fit the bill nicely for that.

    Full disclosure - I'm the "guy in the garage" designer of these lights. My intent for posting was just to clarify some details and answer some questions.
    that makes sense - I've read of other builders mixing XP-E and XP-G, either as 2 triples or in a 7-up, to get a good mix of flood vs. throw. As for the XM-L, I agree, it's easy to forget the time lag between design and production, plus all the effort that goes into sorting out optics. I can't off the top of my head remember what depth 20mm triple optics are, but if these are 20mm triples, then a 20mm XM-L star + LXP-RS optic should drop in easily and would provide an awesome beam pattern (I have a dual XM-L light with a Laura RS (square LXP-RS) and CXP-RS and the beam is amazing). THe housing looks like it should be able to dissipate 2x XM-L@3A and the Lflex from Taskled would work perfectly with a twin LED setup and the 2S Magic Shine batteries you existing lights work with. Oh, and if you're thinking triple XM-L, the 35mm Cute SS optics are supposed to be awesome, though that might need a rethink of the housing (3 XM-L U2 @3A = ~3000lm theoretical though )

    None of that is meant as criticism of your current lights, I think they look awesome and great value (the batteries especially so), just some ideas for future versions.

    Azra - I can see how the rear light would help in city environments, I'd just be careful of roadrage that's all!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    Silly cat's gonna be blind now.
    half my ebay listing have furry little 'helpers' in the photos
    Quote Originally Posted by HamfisT
    I understand that engineering has value in and of itself. But in the end, it's still just a pile of aluminum tubes.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Matt, I REALLY appreciate your ideas and comments on any possible improvements. I'm about to ship my first light for a helmet-mounted off-road-only MTB application. He's said that he intends to write up a review here (MTBR) on his experience, which should be interesting. When I last checked, the single XM-L 20mm optics offerings from Carclo were a couple of mms taller than the triple optics and required a holder, so I couldn't use them with the current design. I'd be curious to see the spec dimensions on the LXP-RS. So who's the supplier of choice for the Ledil optics? Newark?. Thanks again.

  17. #17
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    Oh, and just to clarify one more thing...
    The Magicshine 2-cell packs (8.4V) work fine with the taillight (with a minor programming change to the controller).
    But the 2-cell is really pushing it for the headlight (read not recommended) since the internal drive voltages are so high. Better to go with the 11.1V (3 cell) for the headlight.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Thanks Matt, I REALLY appreciate your ideas and comments on any possible improvements. I'm about to ship my first light for a helmet-mounted off-road-only MTB application. He's said that he intends to write up a review here (MTBR) on his experience, which should be interesting. When I last checked, the single XM-L 20mm optics offerings from Carclo were a couple of mms taller than the triple optics and required a holder, so I couldn't use them with the current design. I'd be curious to see the spec dimensions on the LXP-RS. So who's the supplier of choice for the Ledil optics? Newark?. Thanks again.
    you're very welcome

    Last time I checked, the Laura RS (I'm assuming the LXP RS is the same) was 12mm from base of holder to top of optic. Although they come with a holder (I use them after cutting screw/ solder pad cutouts) they optic itself is easily removed and lots of builders (Troutie for one) on the DIY forum machine a lip on their housing for the bare optic to sit in at the right height. Laura RS are from Newark and you can get LXP RS from Digikey.

    I don't know what driver you're using (boost I'm guessing? Maxflex?) but if you were interested in a twin XM-L helmet light, the Lflex running off a 2S pack would be ideal. Max drive of 3.5A, all the bells and whistles (temp monitoring, battery warnings, different user modes) of the bigger drivers but smaller (20mm) and cheaper ($25). I'll be ordering one soon to make a single XM-L light for a friend so no first hand experience, though I've used b2flex and h6flex drivers to great effect.

    If you want more advice (and better quality too, I'm still new at this), jump on over to the DIY light forum, they're very helpful and friendly.

  19. #19
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    WOW, the beam shots are stunning! So I'm guessing 2 of these on the bars would be overkill?

    Tremendous work Pethelman!

    https://sites.google.com/site/design...ot-comparisons
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 07-27-2011 at 01:23 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chromagftw View Post
    WOW, the beam shots are stunning! So I'm guessing 2 of these on the bars would be overkill?

    Tremendous work Pethelman!

    https://sites.google.com/site/design...ot-comparisons
    Chromagftw, thanks for the link to the beam shots. Very impressive they are. I do have some questions for the builder....Mr. Pethelman, very well done I do say. What degree/brand optics are used? For the battery, why not a 14.8volt? About the driver, can it be programed for 3 or 4 mode operation and how do the modes change ( circular or up/down ) ?

    Any now the big question: Is there any way to buy one with a remote? ( custom order? )

  21. #21
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    I'm going to play the devils advocate why give beams shots comparing it to an old p7 magicshine?
    wouldn't a more realistic comparison be made between maybe a Bikeray4 . That would be more apples to apples.
    I like the look of this light might have to pick one up just to check out
    Last edited by Rakuman; 07-27-2011 at 01:50 PM.
    I always type in bold cuz I'm blind as a bat
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    I'll answer than last one, Catman.

    As shipped, the thing has 5 steady modes, 5 flashing modes, and one button to control all that complexity. Personally, I didn't like it at all. It's too complex and too confusing. But that's me. Somebody else may like it.

    But it's possible to reprogram the thing into something a bit simpler. I found the manual for the maxFlex5A online last night and I reprogrammed my light - probably to Mr. Pethelman horror. Just imagine what damage I can do now... like crank up the current to 2 amp and get 2000 lumens out... muhahaha!

    Anyway, I got my light in duomode - steady hi/low, flashing hi/low. I like it much better now.

    It's not possible to completely customize it - you just get to select from a number of preset modes.
    Last edited by Azra; 07-27-2011 at 02:17 PM.

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    Rakuman - yes, I agree with you, comparing the DesignShine to the old MS is not entirely fair. Comparing it to the BR IV would be more meaningful.

    And that's exactly what I've done last night. I want to ride some more with the DesignShine before I comment further. But based on one short ride, I found this:

    - The DS puts (rated at 1300 lumens) puts out more light than the BR IV (allegedly rated at 1500 lumens).

    - The DS has more throw.

    - The BR IV may have a little bit more flood, but not much.

    Anyway, I want to ride again tonight and then I'll post some more impressions.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    I'll answer than last one, Catman.

    As shipped, the thing has 5 steady modes, 5 flashing modes, and one button to control all that complexity. Personally, I didn't like it at all. It's too complex and too confusing.

    But it's possible to reprogram the thing into something a bit simpler. I found the manual for the maxFlex5A online last night and I reprogrammed my light - probably to Mr. Pethelman horror. Just imagine what damage I can do now... like crank up the current to 2 amp and get 2000 lumens out... muhahaha!

    Anyway, I got my light in duomode - steady hi/low, flashing hi/low. I like it much better now.

    It's not possible to completely customize it - you just get to select from a number of preset modes.
    Azra would you happen to have that linky to the manual? I'd be interested to take a looksie.

    2000 lumens do it!!! You might melt your front knobbies.

    EDITED:

    Thanks Azra: http://www.taskled.com/leds/maxflexuni_v4.00.pdf
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 07-28-2011 at 06:40 AM.

  25. #25
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    Just google maxflexuni_v4.00.pdf

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    Rakuman - yes, I agree with you, comparing the DesignShine to the old MS is not entirely fair. Comparing it to the BR IV would be more meaningful.

    And that's exactly what I've done last night. I want to ride some more with the DesignShine before I comment further. But based on one short ride, I found this:

    - The DS puts (rated at 1300 lumens) puts out more light than the BR IV (allegedly rated at 1500 lumens).

    - The DS has more throw.

    - The BR IV may have a little bit more flood, but not much.

    Anyway, I want to ride again tonight and then I'll post some more impressions.
    Thanks Azra
    If anyone would be able to compare the two it would be you
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    I'll answer than last one, Catman.

    As shipped, the thing has 5 steady modes, 5 flashing modes, and one button to control all that complexity. Personally, I didn't like it at all. It's too complex and too confusing. But that's me. Somebody else may like it.

    But it's possible to reprogram the thing into something a bit simpler. I found the manual for the maxFlex5A online last night and I reprogrammed my light - probably to Mr. Pethelman horror. Just imagine what damage I can do now... like crank up the current to 2 amp and get 2000 lumens out... muhahaha!

    Anyway, I got my light in duomode - steady hi/low, flashing hi/low. I like it much better now.

    It's not possible to completely customize it - you just get to select from a number of preset modes.
    if it's a Maxflex then you can do pretty much whatever you want with it, other than run it at 2A (max drive current is 1.3A). I prefer threemode with L1>L3 or 4>L5. Click from L1 to go to L3/4, click to go to L5, every click then cycles between L3/4 and L5 (med and high essentially) with a press to go back to L1 (low). That way you can go between bright and REALLY bright with a single click, but go back down to low/ dim when you need some trailside light or don't want to blind your mates when you stop.

    I don't know how the 2 triples are wired to each other - I thought in parallel based off the option of a 2S pack, but if 3S is recommended then they'd have to be in series. In which case there's no reason why a higher voltage pack (4S) can't be used. Weight vs. runtime I guess.

    I'm not 100% convinced by the beamshots, although it's always difficult to judge a light when it's not in your hands. The hotspot is enormous, but with a dark ring around it and seriously wide spill. Clearly the light is very bright (as it should be), but I prefer a smoother transition between spot and spill, which is why I'm so nuts over the XM-L + Laura RS combo. Still, beam pattern preference is a very personal thing

  28. #28
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    In response to your questions...
    Carclo optics.
    One thing that I particularly like about these lenses is that there are a lot of options. "Azra" is using the spot-spot combination, which may be the best combination on the road. Certainly good for off road as well (it's what you see in the beam shots), but now that I've tried one, I would probably replace the spot lens on the XPG side with the narrow-frosted lens for off road, which adds a little more width and completely fills out some of the peripheral darkness that you can get with two pure spot lenses. If you have a low to the ground application, like a trike, then dual elliptical lens work fantastically well for that.

    As far as the 14.8V supply... Yes, this works just fine with the Maxflex and the series connection of LEDs in the DS-1300. The only thing you would give up is the lowest power levels for a while with a fully charged pack, which is probably a non-issue. Mostly, the 11.1V was chosen as the best option to run both the headlight and the taillight (both using the Maxflex controller).

    The Maxflex does provide the ability to remotely locate a power switch without any electrical issues (i.e. noise causing false signals), and I can do this as a custom mod. Just requires an extra hole drilled in the back of the case. I've done this for a recumbent with the light way out front and the switch back on the handle of the under-seat steering. The case-mounted switch still remains functional, since it's simply in parallel with the remote switch.

  29. #29
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    So you can hook up a 14.8V battery to the headlight just like that? No reprogramming needed?

    How about the taillight? Also compatible with 14.8V?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    So you can hook up a 14.8V battery to the headlight just like that? No reprogramming needed?

    How about the taillight? Also compatible with 14.8V?
    Yes. 14.8V can be hooked up directly and the light will operate just fine. The only negative is that you can lose a couple of the lower power levels (L1, L2) for the headlight with a fully charged pack (16.8V). HOWEVER, if you want the light to to give you any kind of battery status indication or perform an automatic shutdown prior to the battery pack itself shutting down when it trips it's own low voltage protection (assuming it has this function), then you would need to enter in the appropriate voltage levels into the flash memory on the controller via the menu-driven programming structure that is accessed through the power switch.

    The taillight is a different story, and 11.1V (3 cell) packs is as high as you can go with that one.

  31. #31
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    Triple_Optics_Comparison

    Since we were on the topic of discussing optics...Out of curiosity, I took a couple of additional beam shots comparing triple optics combos.
    For reference, the fence posts are 8 feet apart. Standard MTBR settings. The narrow frosted on the XPG does a pretty decent job of smoothing out the edges, while the XPE spot maintains most of the throw. All shots are with the light on Level 5, 700mA drive.

    Although mentioned earlier, these images are also available at:
    https://sites.google.com/site/design...ot-comparisons

    1st shot
    XPG-Spot, XPE-Spot (notice the darkish band around the main beam)


    2nd shot (definitely smooths things out, minor trade off in throw)
    XPG-Narrow Frosted, XPE Spot


    3rd shot... just for fun
    Both lights at the same time. Alright, that's just ridiculous.
    Last edited by pethelman; 07-29-2011 at 09:17 AM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Yes. 14.8V can be hooked up directly and the light will operate just fine. The only negative is that you can lose a couple of the lower power levels (L1, L2) for the headlight with a fully charged pack (16.8V). HOWEVER, if you want the light to to give you any kind of battery status indication or perform an automatic shutdown prior to the battery pack itself shutting down when it trips it's own low voltage protection (assuming it has this function), then you would need to enter in the appropriate voltage levels into the flash memory on the controller via the menu-driven programming structure that is accessed through the power switch.

    The taillight is a different story, and 11.1V (3 cell) packs is as high as you can go with that one.
    Okay, I see. Maybe a good idea would be to use three 4000mAh , 26650 cells in series...well just an idea. Another couple questions....Does the user have the option of switching optics or is the front pretty much sealed? What is the max current to the LED's set at, 1A? Lastly, is there an anodized ( black ) version?

    So far I really like what I'm hearing. Man, I can really visualize one of these on the Niterider ( over the stem ) mount I have, especially if I can get it with a remote. Right now I have a single triple XPG ( K-lite ) that uses a remote and I am really hooked on remotes. ( Not to mention bike lights in general... )

  33. #33
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    Pethelman, is the "try before you buy" offer for USA customers only?
    I'm in Australia and am very interested in your tail light.
    Cheers - Digger.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Okay, I see. Maybe a good idea would be to use three 4000mAh , 26650 cells in series...well just an idea. Another couple questions....Does the user have the option of switching optics or is the front pretty much sealed? What is the max current to the LED's set at, 1A? Lastly, is there an anodized ( black ) version?

    So far I really like what I'm hearing. Man, I can really visualize one of these on the Niterider ( over the stem ) mount I have, especially if I can get it with a remote. Right now I have a single triple XPG ( K-lite ) that uses a remote and I am really hooked on remotes. ( Not to mention bike lights in general... )
    Boy I really wanted this to be the case (user switchable optics), however the water sealing process does practically require that I seal the lens cover to the case. The lenses themselves are sealed off with O-rings between the edge of the lens and the clear lens cover, so once I'm out of the current stock and start thinking about future units, I may try to pursue a custom die-cut silicon gasket (very thin 0.008") to go between the lens cover and housing, where I'm currently using flowable silicon. I did make one with the silicon only adhered to the lens cover itself, but it literally took me two days to get it right. Very tedious. So the short answer for now, unfortunately, is no, BUT if the end user were willing to take on the fairly easy task of sealing up the lens cover, then riding with the lens cover un-sealed in dry weather only to do an "evaluation" of different lenses would certainly be possible. Then later the favorite combo could be sealed in?

    Do you have a particular remote switch that you like?

    All of the aluminum in the assemblies has been black anodized like you see in Azra pics above. I did have some un-anodized pics on the web-site though.

    700 mA really is as high as I would go (~13.5 watts) or the heat losses in the controller (Maxflex) can start to become excessive.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldAusDigger View Post
    Pethelman, is the "try before you buy" offer for USA customers only?
    I'm in Australia and am very interested in your tail light.
    Cheers - Digger.
    Well, sure. But the shipping would eat you alive if you decided to return them.

    I'm actually about to ship a set out to a guy in Semaphore (Adelaide, South Australia) and it's going to cost around $45 to ship insured from the US. If you were anywhere close by that location, maybe I could put him in touch with you and he could give you a "demo."

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldAusDigger View Post
    Pethelman, is the "try before you buy" offer for USA customers only? I'm in Australia and am very interested in your tail light.
    That offer is pure sales gimmickry, I'm here to tell.

    Since Mr. Pethelman had offered to send me the light on a NET 30 invoice (i.e. free), I thought, "How cool! I get one, play with it a little bit, have some fun, and then ship it back."

    Well, f****! Now I need to find the money somewhere to pay for it. Trust me, once you see that baby, you will not be sending it back.
    Last edited by Azra; 07-28-2011 at 09:07 AM.

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    One last word on the taillight: I agree with DesignShine that level 5 is too much at night. But it's great for the day, especially in inclement weather conditions like a bad summer rainstorm. Or when you are riding into the sun and you are afraid some idiot will hit you from behind because they are blinded by the sun and can't see anything. Well, level 5 will outshine the sun.

    My DiNotte 400R has been sent to the closet, I never thought it would happen. Sniff, sniff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    Well, sure. But the shipping would eat you alive if you decided to return them.

    I'm actually about to ship a set out to a guy in Semaphore (Adelaide, South Australia) and it's going to cost around $45 to ship insured from the US. If you were anywhere close by that location, maybe I could put him in touch with you and he could give you a "demo."
    I'm in Sydney, which is about 1000 miles from Adelaide. I think I've already made my mind up that I want one anyway. The photos and videos are pretty convincing, plus the exchange rate for our dollar is very good right now. The biggest hurdle will be sneaking funds away without my wife knowing
    Do you have limited stock? I mean if it takes a few weeks to get the money together, is it possible I'll miss out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldAusDigger View Post
    I'm in Sydney, which is about 1000 miles from Adelaide. I think I've already made my mind up that I want one anyway. The photos and videos are pretty convincing, plus the exchange rate for our dollar is very good right now. The biggest hurdle will be sneaking funds away without my wife knowing
    Do you have limited stock? I mean if it takes a few weeks to get the money together, is it possible I'll miss out?
    Yes, unfortunately very limited unclaimed stock right now. I'm slowly filling orders off of a reserve list that I've been maintaining for some time now, but I don't doubt that there may be a few reservations that fall through, which would free up some additional stock. I think Azra posted a link to the web site earlier and from there you can check up on the status of the available stock and/or get on the reserve list.

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    More on the DS vs BR IV comparison...

    I was again riding tonight with both lights. It's 85 degrees and humid. While riding both lights stayed relatively cool. But the DS was noticeably less warm to the touch. However, when I stopped, both started getting hot at about the same rate.

    I would conclude that the DS probably has more efficient air cooling.

    After a few minutes the thermal protection on the DS kicked in and it went from Level 5 to Level 2. Very nice. Perhaps a little too conservative, I think thermal protection may have kicked in a bit too soon, but that's not a bad thing since heat is the enemy of longevity.

    The BR IV on the other hand continued to shine in high mode and got steaming hot. I actually burned myself when I touched it. Eventually I shut it down because I really though it's gonna f* up the electronics inside. So, yeah, nice job Bikeray!

    Now, to be honest, my BR IV has been damaged by water so maybe that's why thermal protection does not work. But water got in in the first place because the light has been assembled by monkeys and has a fatal design flaw to boot.

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    Now on to the beam comparison.

    The DS looks like it's putting out more light. In any case everything in front of the light looks much brighter because the beam is better focused.

    The DS has quite a bit more throw than the BR IV. I can't really say how much more without taking measurements. But let's just say it's quite a bit more, but not wow more.

    Now the flood. That one was puzzling me all night long. I was riding on a paved trail and kept switching from one light to the other. In terms of flood only, I couldn't really tell the difference.

    Then I came to a twisty little downhill section following a bike overpass. I did that little twisty section back and forth a few times with one light, then the other. Result: it's clear that the BR IV was better.

    Also, if I aimed both lights at a large empty field, it's immediately clear that the BR IV has quite a bit more flood.

    But I don't ride on empty fields. And I don't ride that much on twisty trails either. For my purposes, and I'm a roadie, the DS with the spot-spot lens is perfect. If you ride off road, you may want a bit more flood.

    The beauty of the DS is that Mr. Pethelman is hand-assembling them one by one and he can customize your light for you.

    Edit: All this was with both lights on my handlebars. I haven't tried mounting the DS or the BR IV on my helmet.
    Last edited by Azra; 07-29-2011 at 03:40 AM.

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    BTW, if you are wondering how come I still have the BR IV, the story is simple: Bikeray refunded my money but never formally asked for the light back so I haven't been in a hurry to ship it since it'll cost me money. The light is useless to me, but in this case it came in handy for a comparison with the DS.

    And you know what really strikes me comparing the two lights: what a crying shame that BR IV is. The DS is a better light, there is no doubt about that. But if the BR IV were waterproof and built a little bit better, would the DS be worth the extra $100? Probably not. But that's a moot point.
    Last edited by Azra; 07-29-2011 at 02:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    BTW, if you are wondering how come I still have the BR IV, the story is simple: Bikeray refunded my money but never formally asked for the light back so I haven't been in a hurry to ship it since it'll cost me money. The light is useless to me, but in this case it came in handy for a comparison with the DS.

    And you know what really strikes me comparing the two lights: what a crying shame that BR IV is. The DS is a better light, there is no doubt about that. But if the BR IV were waterproof and built a little bit better, would the DS be worth the extra $100? Probably not. But that's a moot point.
    Not to dredge up the past issue but it looks as though the Bikeray people wanted you to be happy with the light. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Fast forward to today....In retrospect, if you had returned the light ( before asking for the refund ) and had asked them to give you another in exchange, only one that was modded by Bikeray to be weatherized ( i.e. virtually waterproof ) I bet they would have been more than glad to accommodate your request ( or the request of others ).

    Anyway, you now have a working Ray IV for free ( as I do ). Some grease on the front and sealant on the back and it should be fine OR grease on the front and tape over most of the back and it should be fine. I don't ride in rainy weather anyway and if I do by chance catch a shower hopefully my weatherized light will hold up....Anyway, water under the bridge as the saying goes.

    I'm sure Bikeray ( the factory ) will improve the product if they have not done so already. I'm sure BikerayUSA, as the major vendor for Bikeray, were as displeased as you ( if not more ) about the product's reliability in wet weather. At least they did right by you in refunding the cost of the light. Hopefully I would like to see a new version of the Ray IV, weatherized and with a true three mode output ( High, medium, low ). The current low mode is not bad but a true medium mode is definitely needed to be competitive with the newer lights.

    Currently I have gone back to using my triple XP-G ( K-Lite ). The K-Lite, although not as floody on high as the RAY IV has about the same throw and a better medium mode than the Ray IV. Not to mention the K-Lite is using a remote which I just love. I will continue to use and alternate the lights intermittently depending on terrain or the need of the moment.

    The DesignShine is perking my interest though, particularly if it can be ordered with a remote. Once you go with a remote, it is real hard to give up.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azra View Post
    More on the DS vs BR IV comparison...

    I was again riding tonight with both lights. It's 85 degrees and humid. While riding both lights stayed relatively cool. But the DS was noticeably less warm to the touch. However, when I stopped, both started getting hot at about the same rate.

    I would conclude that the DS probably has more efficient air cooling.

    After a few minutes the thermal protection on the DS kicked in and it went from Level 5 to Level 2. Very nice. Perhaps a little too conservative, I think thermal protection may have kicked in a bit too soon, but that's not a bad thing since heat is the enemy of longevity.

    The BR IV on the other hand continued to shine in high mode and got steaming hot. I actually burned myself when I touched it. Eventually I shut it down because I really though it's gonna f* up the electronics inside. So, yeah, nice job Bikeray!

    Now, to be honest, my BR IV has been damaged by water so maybe that's why thermal protection does not work. But water got in in the first place because the light has been assembled by monkeys and has a fatal design flaw to boot.
    I did take a very conservative approach to heat management. I've seen what heat does to LEDs over time, so I wanted to gives these the best chance possible at a long life. Believe it or not, that little case has nearly 30 square inches of exposed aluminum cooling surface area, which is why it runs relatively cool with a little air flow. The thermal limit was set so that you could come to a stop on the bike for a few minutes without it dropping to the lower power level, but beyond that, it really does need to throttle back to protect the LEDs and electronics. One of the reasons this works so well is that the MaxFlex electronics, which contain the temperature sensor, are extremely well coupled (thermally) to the case via a custom aluminum part and high performance thermal compound. The LEDs are also extremely well coupled to the case via Artic Alumina.

    There is such intense competition in the headlight market, and now with the Chinese cranking out tens of thousands of throw-away lights, there is ZERO chance of a custom USA-made light like this ever competing with the price of the mass-production lights. I do try to make up for it, however, with a level of quality design that should last a very long time.

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    @ pethelman - when will we be able to buy the mtb helmet version?

    I really like the flood/spot combo picture. You only sell the spot/spot version now, correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    There is such intense competition in the headlight market, and now with the Chinese cranking out tens of thousands of throw-away lights, there is ZERO chance of a custom USA-made light like this ever competing with the price of the mass-production lights. I do try to make up for it, however, with a level of quality design that should last a very long time.
    I think these offer exceptional value and if I heard of anyone in the market for a new light, I'd point them your way (and to the Scar Amoeba and Baja Stryker). You'll never be able to compete with the Chinese lights on price and it's unlikely you'll get many sales from people that think $60 for a light is a lot of money. You're really competing with the big brand lights on price, output and features, and on that front you come out very well. Given that you can almost get 2 of these for the same price as a L&M Seca 700....

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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    There is such intense competition in the headlight market, and now with the Chinese cranking out tens of thousands of throw-away lights, there is ZERO chance of a custom USA-made light like this ever competing with the price of the mass-production lights. I do try to make up for it, however, with a level of quality design that should last a very long time.
    I really do not think of the DS-1300 as competing with Chinese lights.

    I compared it to the BR IV because it's the only 1000-1500 lumen light I have at hand and because it was fun. But it's also only academic because the BR IV cannot sustain the kind of "abuse" I put my lights through. Let it be said again, it only lasted a week before it went belly up on me in the first rain.

    No, the real comparison I did was this one: do I want to spend my money on the DiNotte 1200L+ or on the DS-1300? So far I'm very happy with my choice although I'm sure the 1200L+ is also an excellent light.

    As for the DS-500 taillight, it's without competition at any price. I'm still astounded.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    @ pethelman - when will we be able to buy the mtb helmet version?

    I really like the flood/spot combo picture. You only sell the spot/spot version now, correct?
    The light body is already compatible with the existing Cateye helmet mount bracket ($9 part). When I build the battery packs for the helmets, I usually build the connector into the pack itself with no pigtail wire (makes for a clean install). Then you can use the extender cable as an option for off-helmet batteries.

    I can make whatever combination of lenses you desire. In general, I like to keep the pure spot lens on the XPE triple, since it does throw so well, but then for the XPG triple, you could use a narrow frosted lens, or a medium frosted, or even a wide. Personally, I think the medium frosted in combination with the pure spot would make for a super nice, single light solution on the helmet, but I really do need feedback from more riders to determine what works best. IF there turns out to be a tiny corner of the market for a light like this and IF I can manage another run of lights (cost and time-wise) after the current batch, then I have a design mod worked up already that would allow the clear lens cover to be removable (and still waterproof) and the lenses to be user-swappable, just by removing the single hold down screw. For the current design, however, it is sealed to the aluminum body, so you have to decide prior to build, what lens combination you want.
    Helmet mount pics here:
    https://sites.google.com/site/design...ing/image-page

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    I think these offer exceptional value and if I heard of anyone in the market for a new light, I'd point them your way (and to the Scar Amoeba and Baja Stryker). You'll never be able to compete with the Chinese lights on price and it's unlikely you'll get many sales from people that think $60 for a light is a lot of money. You're really competing with the big brand lights on price, output and features, and on that front you come out very well. Given that you can almost get 2 of these for the same price as a L&M Seca 700....
    Azra and Matt...

    Thanks very much for your opinions on the lights! I definitely value your experience on the topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pethelman View Post
    I can make whatever combination of lenses you desire. In general, I like to keep the pure spot lens on the XPE triple, since it does throw so well, but then for the XPG triple, you could use a narrow frosted lens, or a medium frosted, or even a wide. Personally, I think the medium frosted in combination with the pure spot would make for a super nice, single light solution on the helmet, but I really do need feedback from more riders to determine what works best.
    Stephen, its a great offering you have there. I agree with the triple for the XPE and a triple for the XPG with either a narrow or medium frosted lens - especially if bar mounting was the case. I can imagine you are pretty swamped with other commitments right now but it would be great to see the medium frosted and wide frosted comparison.

    The double DS-1300 beam shot does not strike me as overkill by the way. I've always run 2 identical lights on the bars on either side of the stem (coupled with a throw light of some sort on the helmet) and have never been disappointed. Durability and long term reliability aside, i think with 3 DS-1300 --> 2 on the bars and 1 on the lid, matted with the appropriate optics in each, one would have all the bases covered. You might not need it an every application such as tight winding single track but its there for the using when warranted!

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