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  1. #1
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    Dinotte 400L upgrade (30% boost)

    I just contacted Rob @ Dinotte again regarding a possible upgrade of the white light head engine on their current Dinotte 400L model.

    He kindly informed me that they are offering one for a 30% increase in lumen output (theoretical or actual, I'm not entirely sure). Price for this is US$70 plus shipping. It involves swapping out the drive circuits and optic internals with the aluminum light head housing being left untouched. The additional change in LED efficiency does not affect run times either apparently.

    I just thought I'd share this with current owners of the D-400 front light who might not fancy shelling out for an entire new light head or light head system (batteries, charger etc.) I am seriously considering this as it would bring theoretical output to 520 lumens from 400 lumens - in the ball park of the 1st generation Lupine Piko.

    This may or may not be significantly noticeable to the naked eye however and I might end up not like the new beam pattern or beam color. In any case, all my Dinotte light heads, batteries and chargers have been going great since their purchase well over a year back despite harsh weather conditions. A boost in lumens for my current existing helmet light will be a welcome addition.

    Your thoughts and/or comments are appreciated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dinotte 400L upgrade (30% boost)-img_1093.jpg  

    Last edited by Chromagftw; 08-10-2011 at 09:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    Good info....
    I can tell you though, having played around a LOT with variable lumen output, that if you had the two lights side by side (upgraded vs. non-upgraded) AND if there was no change to the optics, you would definitely be able to notice a slight difference. Minor, but noticeable. The MUCH bigger factor is the optics. IF the new lenses were spreading the beam angle even by only a few degrees wider, this would require more lumens to match the perceived intensity of the original, but then you would have a bigger area of illumination, which could be as much of an upgrade as anything else.
    Just IMO

  3. #3
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    I've had a 400L for a few years now and love that light. I do wish for more brightness though. However, I'm not sure if an extra 120 lumens is worth $70 to me. Maybe for $40-50 would be ok.
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  4. #4
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    Very Interesting. I wonder if this offer is going to be extended to the 600L or 200L owners.
    I will most definitely send an e-mail off when I get home tonight.

  5. #5
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    Hi

    Thanks for posting this. I was aware of the light upgrade a few months back but got a bit of a vague response with regards the level of improvement so didn't do anything for this winter (down under).

    I would be keen to hear from others who have done the upgrade. Any early adopters?

    Regards
    Andrew

  6. #6
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    I also understand that they have a quick release mount for the 400 now but it requires an upgrade in the case.

    J.

  7. #7
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    Appreciate all the replies folks.

    I've gone ahead and decided to do the upgrade. I have two 400L light engines as they were on special when i bought them. I will upgrade 1 of them and keep the other as is (still new and unused) for a beam shot and battery usage comparison.

    I am waiting on an email still with some specific questions that i need answered and will post back here thereafter.


    EDITED

    Rob @ Dinotte answered my email within a few hours. Thanks for that!

    Here is some additional info:

    1. does this 30% figure apply uniformly to the low, medium, high settings & strobe?
    yes, the upgrade is across the board.

    2. will i still be able to switch out and use the extra lenses that came with the original 400L light system?
    You will receive new lenses to do the same.

    3. does the new reflector for the upgrade project a wide or spot beam pattern?
    the new lenses start with a standard beam like you have, and you can go one level wider - and one level more narrow.
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 08-16-2011 at 11:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chromagftw View Post
    Appreciate all the replies folks.

    I've gone ahead and decided to do the upgrade. I have two 400L light engines as they were on special when i bought them. I will upgrade 1 of them and keep the other as is (still new and unused) for a beam shot and battery usage comparison.

    I am waiting on an email still with some specific questions that i need answered and will post back here thereafter.


    EDITED

    Rob @ Dinotte answered my email within a few hours. Thanks for that!

    Here is some additional info:

    1. does this 30% figure apply uniformly to the low, medium, high settings & strobe?
    yes, the upgrade is across the board.

    2. will i still be able to switch out and use the extra lenses that came with the original 400L light system?
    You will receive new lenses to do the same.

    3. does the new reflector for the upgrade project a wide or spot beam pattern?
    the new lenses start with a standard beam like you have, and you can go one level wider - and one level more narrow.
    Did you ever get beam pattern pics of the old and new Chromag?
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    Did you ever get beam pattern pics of the old and new Chromag?
    Unfortunately I don't mate and I regret not having done so...

    I sent in my 2nd light engine the next day to have it upgraded to the dual XPG once I saw how it faired compared to the 1st. I was impressed enough.

    The 30% boost is very noticeable to the naked eye. Coupled with the dual clear lens setup (it comes fitted with 1 clear and 1 frosted), the effect is even more pronounced. Its not a super cheap upgrade at 70 bucks but on that same note, the charger, battery, helmet mount are really top notch and have all proven their worth.

    I did all this in a time frame prior to any mention of the Gemini Xera 2 and way before the Gloworm X2 was launched. So really depending on what you are running on your bars lumen/beam pattern wise this might or might not be worth your while. Personally I have no regrets and would recommend the upgrade.

    My current setup for trail use is for 400L Plus on high (helmet) and BD dual Stryk (bars) on medium. The upgraded 400+ high beam is by no way, shape or form lost in the Double Stryk on medium. I hope this helps out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chromagftw View Post
    ...I did all this in a time frame prior to any mention of the Gemini Xera 2 and way before the Gloworm X2 was launched. So really depending on what you are running on your bars lumen/beam pattern wise this might or might not be worth your while. Personally I have no regrets and would recommend the upgrade.

    My current setup for trail use is for 400L Plus on high (helmet) and BD dual Stryk (bars) on medium. The upgraded 400+ high beam is by no way, shape or form lost in the Double Stryk on medium. I hope this helps out.
    So how do you like the Double Stryker? On high is it giving you the distance throw you expected? Glad to hear you like the upgraded 400L

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    So how do you like the Double Stryker? On high is it giving you the distance throw you expected? Glad to hear you like the upgraded 400L
    Hey Cat, the Double Stryk does have a very nice extended range that is focussed primarily towards the center. This is entirely due to the narrow reflector on 1 side. What is often overlooked is the peripheral spill offered by the wide reflector on the other side. The combined effect of both lenses together is really what makes it a great light. This beam pattern is uniform at all 3 light level settings and that consistency among other things make it a terrific piece of kit.

    The 400L Plus is an awesome little light in every respect. I wasn't too fond of it with the lens combo it arrived with (1 clear, 1 frosted) but with 2 clear lenses I find the light much better suited for what a helmet light for biking is supposed to do. I can run the light engine on the highest setting constantly with a 4400mAh battery (the larger of the 2 Dinotte offers) and get about 5 hrs run time. The dual clear lens is just 1 large hot spot as far as beam pattern goes and is vastly different to what is depicted of the regular 400L (not 400L Plus beam shot found in the 2012 MTBR light shoot out. If i were to rate cooling efficiency a factor that this light head offers, hands down it gets a 10/10. Granted, the 400L Plus might not be hitting the high triple digits lumen wise but for what it does, it does so very very well.

    Attached to our helmets with battery in back pack, we recently took these on a 4 hour jungle trek hike, fitted with a single clear and a single frosted lens setup (a batter combo for winding twisty routes) running on medium power. Even at walking speeds the light engines never once became hot to the touch. Merely warm.
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 12-24-2011 at 05:45 AM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the info Chromag. I'm going to send mine in. I have two sets of reflectors/lenses/optics (not sure what the term is) for mine so that I can run dual of any of the flood/spot patterns.
    Sounds like the old reflectors/lenses/optics won't fit though? Do they send you enough to run dual clears/dual frosted etc?
    And what is a "standard beam like you have", I got the impression in an email from Rob that the upgrade allows a tighter beam than the old allowed. Is that right? Narrower than dual clears on the old setup?
    Thanks again for the info, I never would've known about this otherwise.
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    Thanks for the info Chromag. I'm going to send mine in. I have two sets of reflectors/lenses/optics (not sure what the term is) for mine so that I can run dual of any of the flood/spot patterns.
    Sounds like the old reflectors/lenses/optics won't fit though? Do they send you enough to run dual clears/dual frosted etc?
    And what is a "standard beam like you have", I got the impression in an email from Rob that the upgrade allows a tighter beam than the old allowed. Is that right? Narrower than dual clears on the old setup?
    Thanks again for the info, I never would've known about this otherwise.
    You're very welcome.

    The upgraded light head will include 2 clear lenses AND 2 frosted lenses. The old ones will no longer fit. Also included is a quick release install bracket system (they do machine drill very small mounting holes in the back of the light head for this application) I wasn't aware of this the 1st time around and no mention was made anywhere. On my 2nd light head I sent in, I included a written note NOT to do this alteration but it was ignored. So just a heads up to also phone Dinotte if you don't want this.

    The upgraded light head arrives with 1 clear and 1 frosted lens already installed. It is a significantly tighter and more intense beam pattern than the old 400L but it wasn't until I ran dual clear lenses that I realised how much light the frosted lens was taking away intensity wise, I found the peripheral spill actually better running dual clear lenses. Definitely play around with the lenses though - see what works for you depending on usage (hiking versus biking) and trail conditions (twisty winding versus smooth flowy) Just a note: care must be taken not to over tighten the phillips head screws on the light head's front plate when switching out lenses. Due to their small size it is easy to strip the screws.

  14. #14
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    Sent both of my 400Ls in, one will be plusified and the other goes toward an XML-3. $255 with shipping. Not a bad deal, something to do with older lights that would otherwise become outdated. One of my 400Ls was always obviously dimmer than the other which Dinotte said at the time was due to improved LEDs, although that was between the 2009 and 2010 years.

    Quick question though, does the 400L upgrade make it identical to the new 400L? As in the specs will be identical to those Francis tested this year? They said ALL internals are replaced, we can assume that means they're using the nice batch of LEDs?
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    Sent both of my 400Ls in, one will be plusified and the other goes toward an XML-3. $255 with shipping. Not a bad deal, something to do with older lights that would otherwise become outdated. One of my 400Ls was always obviously dimmer than the other which Dinotte said at the time was due to improved LEDs, although that was between the 2009 and 2010 years.

    Quick question though, does the 400L upgrade make it identical to the new 400L? As in the specs will be identical to those Francis tested this year? They said ALL internals are replaced, we can assume that means they're using the nice batch of LEDs?
    Very good choice mate. At that price point you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal based on quality and reliability. Dinotte is not too generous when it comes to trade in value of their older light heads towards something else in their product line. The way I see it, they could have simply opted not to offer this option. Coupled with their reasonable domestic shipping charges and turn around time though, I have no genuine reason to complain.

    Yes, the upgraded 400L = new 400L Plus. They are one of the same thing now with replaced XPG emitters, new internal circuitry and lens optics.

    The specs and beam shot pics Francois listed in ths year's 2012 MTBR shootout are NOT for the upgraded 400L/new 400L Plus, they are of the older regular 400L. I've received confirmation from him already after writing him to enquire about this. Having seen the field pics he posted, I knew instantly they couldn't be of the upgraded/new light engine so I contacted him. I was correct.
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 12-31-2011 at 11:37 PM.

  16. #16
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    Got mine plusified, it was $50 with a second lighthead traded in as well for an XML3. The 400L is now equal in output to my older MS 808. The 400L may be a bit brighter, but I think it's just because the light is more white/blue than the yellowish MJ808.
    Just a heads up for comparison purposes if anyone is on the fence. I know from much experience using the old 400L and the MJ808 side by side that the 808 was always significantly brighter, so there was obviously a substantial gain.
    The XML3 is great btw. Amazing flood and throw, a perfect bar light.
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    I also understand that they have a quick release mount for the 400 now but it requires an upgrade in the case.

    J.
    Do you have any more info on this quick release for the 400L?
    Looked all over their site but could not find any info.

    Thanks.

  18. #18
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    I just had them update my 400L and 400R to quick release. It's a metal spring tab that engages a plastic tang that you mount using their standard bike mount hardware. My understanding is that if you have an older light, you may need to pay to update the case otherwise they can retrofit to the case directly. When all is said and done, the lights are the same mounting scheme used for the 300R.

    It's a great upgrade and makes it easy to take the lights off the bike - which was the main objection to the lights in the first place.

    I heard about it when I called to ask them about lights in general and wound up talking to Rob. He explained it all to me. Another example of the excellent customer service that Dinotte offers.

    J.

  19. #19
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    Sounds like BS to me that they don't provide you with this QR mounting when you pay to have an old 400L plusified.
    WTF Dinotte...
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    Sounds like BS to me that they don't provide you with this QR mounting when you pay to have an old 400L plusified.
    WTF Dinotte...
    Why don't you call them up before you rip them? There are several ways to upgrade your 400L, decide what you want and what you want to pay for.

    J.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Why don't you call them up before you rip them? There are several ways to upgrade your 400L, decide what you want and what you want to pay for.

    J.
    Because I just got mine back from being plusified, in some four emails they never mentioned this as an option. Dinotte used to be fairly generous with supplying extra mounts etc. I'd think they'd have mentioned it as an option, or modified it and included the upgraded mount automatically.
    I'm on my fifth Dinotte now (an XML 3), I'm not ripping them as a quality company, just saying: wtf? How is anyone supposed to know about this stuff?
    They don't advertise any of the upgrade or trade in options on their site.
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  22. #22
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    maybe they made a mistake. happens sometimes. Call them and give them a chance to fix it.

    IMO, they tend to be too generous with their stuff. It's nice but unnecessary.

    J.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    ....I'm not ripping them as a quality company, just saying: wtf? How is anyone supposed to know about this stuff?
    They don't advertise any of the upgrade or trade in options on their site.
    You tell um' stum-mum...That's the thing about DiNotte. They don't release new information publicly through the expected channels. When I e-mailed them to ask about refits they acted like they have been doing this S--- all along! F-me!... and I'm just now finding out about it?! You would think that since they advertise on MTBR that some one there would release the new information to people using the forums.

    I bet you sooner or later some one will post up and claim that DiNotte refit their old 600L with newer LED's ( making it an 800L+ ). When they do I will likely pitch a fit since I've been waiting for that option for the last 2 yrs.

  24. #24
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    Stumblemumble, the additional retrofit quick release bracket upgrade was never mentioned to me either but it ought to have been part of the upgrade. Based on my correspondences, only what I stated at the beginning of this thread was was to be included. I'm convinced Rob @ Dinotte will fix the issue for you.

    When I sent in my 1st light head, I was shocked to see 4 screw holes at the back along with the mounting hardware in a separate zip lock pouch after it was returned upgraded. Being that I intended the plusified 400L solely for helmet mounting it pissed the crap out of me that such authorization was assumed.

    Shortly after, I sent in my 2nd light engine to be plusified and wrote an email, in addition to filling out upgrade PDF form stating "NO DRILLING OF BRACKET MOUNT HOLES - option not wanted or needed." It was either overlooked or ignored. The light head came back same as the 1st.

    The bracket mount retrofit in no way affects functional performance and it can be argued that I essentially got something extra for nothing. Regardless, I always prefer full transparency from the get go and as Cat pointed out such info should have been made public knowledge given the media channels available in this day and age.

    Dinotte and Rob have always taken care of me when I encountered a few small issues and have done their best to accommodate so in that regard I'm leaving it at that. I think their products are tremendous, especially considering the price point they are being offered at. When I first started out night riding many moons back, I never really factored in long term durability and reliability as 1 of my top priorities to look for in a product. I'd like to believe I'm a little smarter now and thus far Dinotte has delivered - light engines, batteries and chargers.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    I just had them update my 400L and 400R to quick release. It's a metal spring tab that engages a plastic tang that you mount using their standard bike mount hardware. My understanding is that if you have an older light, you may need to pay to update the case otherwise they can retrofit to the case directly. When all is said and done, the lights are the same mounting scheme used for the 300R.

    It's a great upgrade and makes it easy to take the lights off the bike - which was the main objection to the lights in the first place.

    I heard about it when I called to ask them about lights in general and wound up talking to Rob. He explained it all to me. Another example of the excellent customer service that Dinotte offers.

    J.
    Thank for the info. I was hoping for the older 800L type of bar mount.

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