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  1. #26
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    Cat man, if you know how much current the light draws, you can have a good estimate of the burntime on a battery, certainly on low currents it is really precictable!
    Isn't it in the manual??

    The question is, how much light are you producing at a certain current draw, there a lot of brands have strange outputs!

    It is difficult to estimate the amount of light, I hardly see the difference between 120 & 140 lumen on the piko,the one next to the other,yet the manual indicates that the battery life increases from 12 to 18 hours on a 2,5 Ah battery (2 cel), and I noticed the manual tends to underestimate burn time.

    But I compared the piko to a chinese claimed 140 lumen flashlight and I rather ride with the piko at 50 lumen setting than with that torch on full power!

    For me, zombie mode in general means that i need more light, it takes longer to notice the potential dangerous situation, and it takes longer to react. With low light settings i will end up in the pothole, with a bit more light I'll drive around the pothole!
    I wouldn't want to rely on the light of others!

    I could take the piko with the 2,7 Ah battery, and at 120 lumen have around 20 hours of light, front and rear, for 185 gram. It would allow to turn up the light for short periods to search for landmarks or in the more difficult situations, but the moment visibility is a bit less it might become difficult/ dangerous.

    On the other hand, on a clear full moon night you might just need 20-50 lumen to read the map and to be visible.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    Cat man, if you know how much current the light draws, you can have a good estimate of the burntime on a battery, certainly on low currents it is really precictable!
    Isn't it in the manual??

    The question is, how much light are you producing at a certain current draw, there a lot of brands have strange outputs!

    It is difficult to estimate the amount of light, I hardly see the difference between 120 & 140 lumen on the piko,the one next to the other,yet the manual indicates that the battery life increases from 12 to 18 hours on a 2,5 Ah battery (2 cel), and I noticed the manual tends to underestimate burn time.

    But I compared the piko to a chinese claimed 140 lumen flashlight and I rather ride with the piko at 50 lumen setting than with that torch on full power!

    For me, zombie mode in general means that i need more light, it takes longer to notice the potential dangerous situation, and it takes longer to react. With low light settings i will end up in the pothole, with a bit more light I'll drive around the pothole!
    I wouldn't want to rely on the light of others!

    I could take the piko with the 2,7 Ah battery, and at 120 lumen have around 20 hours of light, front and rear, for 185 gram. It would allow to turn up the light for short periods to search for landmarks or in the more difficult situations, but the moment visibility is a bit less it might become difficult/ dangerous.

    On the other hand, on a clear full moon night you might just need 20-50 lumen to read the map and to be visible.
    NI,..yes, if you know the current draw, the voltage drop of the emitter and the battery mAh rating you can figure out run time by doing the math. Still, in the real world things like batteries can lose capacity so it doesn't hurt to do an actual run time test once in while.

    About estimating lumen output: Yes, it is hard to do. It helps if you have other lamps to judge by. As for my Yezi torch, the low mode I found quite usable when traveling at moderate speeds on terrain that is not too rough.

    On a ride like the TI I would think that many people would bail out by the time night falls. If you're lucky you might end up following a small group of people who work together taking turns at taking point and helping each other out ( as in the video ). That would help a whole lot because the person in front can not only warn others of approaching pot holes and ruts but the people following can also notice if the person running point is weaving or dodging which might indicate an obstacle.

    About torches vs. bike lights: A torch that uses a "cool white" emitter seems to work best when using minimal light. The Yezi I have actually has a bluish tint which I tend not to like but at lower light levels it seems to carry distance well and is not too annoying. Still, like you I would rather use my nice Gloworm X2 rather than a torch because the dedicated bike light has a much brighter, wider, longer beam pattern. Regardless, even if you only had the torch as back-up it's nice to know that not only would you be able to see well it would also be able to give you some decent run time.

  3. #28
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    Having done the TI last year, I swore I would change a few things for this coming year.

    First. You NEED a bright light coming down the hundreds of steep hills at night. The dumber you get as the race progresses, the better the light you need. And coming down those hills is not a slow affair. Even if you actually aren't going as fast as you would normally during the day, the effect of being super tired and feeling the desperation of getting to the finish leads to some sketchier than usual riding.

    Second. A decent helmet light is a necessity. I need a brighter light this year to read street/road signs in the middle of the night. Again, the constant bouncing on gravel makes it so difficult to focus on cue cards when you are shelled.

    Third. I'm guessing at 200 lumen. And I need at least 15 hours of battery life. Right now, I am looking at the Ay Up Ultra Lite. Comes with a 6 hr battery (at approx 200 lumen) with another 12 hr back up battery. I would wear as a helmet mount.

    The TI is arguably one of the toughest events going. I know, a very subjective statement, but close to true. A bright light with a decent battery is what I need to improve on for 2013. I'm riding it singlespeed this year.

  4. #29
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    I've done similar races in the past and being able to optimize for long races is one of the reason I started building my own lights many years ago. But, given the selection of lights available today you should be able to do something similar with off the shelf lights. What you really need is a light that either already has the right medium-low setting or a light that lets you program the brightness levels. This is the kind of application where the fact that LED efficiency gets much better at lower power levels really helps you out. This was a much harder problems back in the days of halogen and HID lights.

    My lights use the programmable taskled drivers that let you program brightness levels. You want something you can configure ahead of time, because as you say, you don't want to have do anything complex during the middle of a long race. What's nice about the taskled drivers is you get to pick a current table based on max power and then it has 5 levels in that table. You then tell the driver which of the 5 levels to use for your low setting. With all the various current tables, there's almost always a setting that is the perfect balance between runtime and brightness. Here are a set of tables I created a long time ago for my triple cree xp-g lights and a 4 cell 2.6ah battery pack.

    1000 ma

    L1 / 50ma / 0.42 watts / 82 hours / 78 lumens
    L2 / 140ma / 1.4 watts / 25 hours / 200 lumens
    L3 / 260ma / 2.7 watts / 13 hours / 300 lumens
    L4 / 500ma / 5 watts / 6.5 hours / 600 lumens
    L5 / 1000ma / 10.5 watts / 3.25 hours / 900 lumens

    750 ma

    L1 / 33ma / 0.3 watts / 128 hours / 60 lumens
    L2 / 100ma / 0.9 watts / 42 hours / 125 lumens
    L3 / 215ma / 2 watts / 19 hours / 250 lumens
    L4 / 390ma / 3.6 watts / 10.5 hours / 450 lumens
    L5 / 750ma / 7.5 watts / 5 hours / 800 lumens

    I marked the row I'd use for this race in red. I always use 2 lights because, like you mention, you want to be able to see things you look at and you want a backup. So between 2 lights that gives you a 19 hour runtime with about 500 lumens of total light. You also have enough reserve to use the high settings for short periods when you really need it. It's also why I worked really hard to keep my lights under 75g. Weight on the helmet really matters when you're wearing it for a really long time. I give the lights a couple of good test runs before the race and I don't carry any additional battery packs. That's just to keep things simple and lightweight, and I have 2 complete lights in case something goes wrong.

  5. #30
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    So the dumb question is...how do I get what you have described? Do I have to construct my own? I thank you for the detailed advice.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkcustom View Post
    So the dumb question is...how do I get what you have described? Do I have to construct my own? I thank you for the detailed advice.
    Jk, there are many good lights out there that I think could work real well for the super long endurance events. I would think the Gemini lights would be real nice because they all have programmable settings that allow the user to program the brightness on each mode. Gemini Duo on the bars and Xera on the helmet and you should be good to go. However not to be out done by the new Gloworm lights that have the added plus of a wired remote.

    Gloworms newest model the X1 has the same varied menu as their double XM-L model, the X2 , with great mounting options and is the single XM-L model supposing to have *extended throw ( *new model, remains to be seen ). All of these lamps offer good low settings for extended ride time or brighter modes to be used when needed. Program in the menu you feel would work best for the long race and you are set to go. Having a wired remote in an endurance race would be absolutely fantastic need I say.

    Also you might want to check with Scar about his Amoeba double XP-G2 set-up. Not sure what driver he is using in his builds but might be using taskled drivers. Worth looking into.

    Another lamp worth looking into using wired remotes ( that doesn't get talked about much ) is the K-lite. This lamp and builder hails from Down under and designs his lamps with 24 hr. endurance events in mind. I believe he's using Bflex drivers and those should offer some great options for choosing output levels. Not sure if Kerry is using the XPG/XPE type 2 yet but worth looking into. BTW I own an XP-G version K-lite. I only stopped using it because I considered the Gloworm X2 better because it offered a greater mode menu choice and more defined beam pattern. Whatever, worth looking into the K-lite if you like the idea of small light-weight programmable lamp with remote.

    About the downhills on the TI: Yeah, I can understand the need for a thrower if going real fast. FWIW, I've use one of my 501B XM-L torches on the helmet on occasion and even at 30mph it has enough throw for me to see well into the 150ft. range. Definitely works well as a lite-weight set-up. Carry a couple of spare 18650 cells in the bag and that should get you by as long as you don't over use it.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 11-15-2012 at 04:20 PM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...Now that all that is done I really want to know how long the batteries will last on the next level up. To be continued....
    In keeping with my previous thought, I just had to know. To make things easier I measured the current levels and than did the math. The next level up on a Gloworm X2 is supposed to be 300lm. ( 360ma ) This level is very useful and what I generally ride around with when on moderate terrain. With the two cell it should get about 5 hrs.
    With a 4 cell 5200mAh battery ( using better cells ) it should get close to 12 hrs. at that 300 lumen level depending on the age of the battery, the outside tempature and how well the cells charge. Nice to know if I ever plan on doing an epic.

  8. #33
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    Jk,

    My current setup, a piko with 2,7 Ah battery and a piko 6 would do what you want if you want 2 lights:
    run the small battery constant on the handlebar at 120 lumen for 19,5 hours,
    (or at 140 lumen for 13 hours)
    and use the piko 6 on the helmet in an 120/750/Off mode:
    - off on the easy road stretches or if you're riding in company,
    - 120lumen for map checks or whenever needed (it runs 36 hours at 120 lumen)
    - 750 lumen for difficult downhil stretches, when looking for landmarks,...

    The piko with 2,7 Ah battery is 185 gram, the piko 6 300 gram, the lighthead is 55 gram and I haven't seen any onther manufacturer that has a more compact light or mounting system with some punch!

    Personaly, i would only take the helmet light, with either two 5,6 Ah batteries, or the 5,6 and the 2,7 ah battery, the chance that the light fails is so small that i'm willing to take it, this is german craftmanship after all, and if you hit something so hard that the light is damaged, you 'll be in an ambulance instead of a bikerace after that!

    you can take one bigger battery, lupine has 9 and 12 Ah batteries, but i would go for 2 smaller ones:
    Changing a battery takes no time, But, if you brigthen up to often or to long you'll notice it in time to rectify things with the second battery.
    Secondly, on normal rides you probaly won't need such a heavy battery!

  9. #34
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    Cat-man-do...thanks so much for the advice! I'll look into these.

  10. #35
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    If you are going for asian, i noticed Xeccon is coming out with the geinea, it seems rather smal and they also claim a high output!

    Lumen output might be a bit exagerated if they measure lumens the same way they measured it before, but I noticed that for most asian manufacturers!

    Xeccon has competitive prices

  11. #36
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    Amoeba - made in the USA by an actual mtn biker

    2x Cree XP-G2 w/LFlex light head




    2600mah battery



    5200mah battery would be double that


    Helmet mount





    Not sure if you checked the prices of those Lupine batteries Gretnabikes.com | Lupine Batteries


    My 2600mah battery goes for $45 and the 5200mah battery goes for $80

    It is cool to see some manufacturers finally coming out with some smaller lights. I have been building my Amoeba light now for 5 years. Neat to see the fad finally catching on


    jkcustom - had the winner (Pete Basinger) of last years Iditarod Invitational take one of my lights along for the ride. Have had a quite a few Colorado Trail racers and Continental Divide racers use my light, never have had any complaints.


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  12. #37
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    Scar, 5 years ago, when I noticed your light I was really impressed!

    But the year after that the first piko became commercialy available, even more compakt, crash and waterproof, with an ultralight mount (the combined weight from the piko with the helmet mount with velcro is under 59 gram), the batteries are in a hardcase, now the batteries have a small protective circuit and capacity indicator,..

    Time to get back behind the drawing table ;-)

    The price, the dealer network makes things more expensive, but a lokal dealer might be able to give a discount and still make a nice profit if gretna is not to greedy?

  13. #38
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    Originally posted by Nothing's impossible -
    Time to get back behind the drawing table ;-)
    Wish I had time, too busy trying to fill orders and "light" people up.


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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    and capacity indicator,..

    Time to get back behind the drawing table ;-)
    the Taskled drivers Scar uses are far superior to almost anything available in a big name light on the market right now, even Lupine. Programmable thermal throttling, user configurable multiple battery capacity warnings, multiple power levels, different UIs (of which Threemode is the best UI for bike lights). I'd rather have one of Scar's lights over a Piko any day of the week.

    Perhaps you might want to build some of your own before slamming the efforts of one of the most experienced light builders on here?

  15. #40
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    Sorry.....

    I don't want this thread to turn into a pissing match. I just wanted the OP to know about another option. Not much more to add on my end, I am sure I will hear from him if he is interested.

    Carry on



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  16. #41
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    Scar, I hope you read the first line, I was really impressed with the amoebe when it came out, it was a top DIY prototype, but i have the feeling you stated producing the alpha prototype instead of a finished produkt.
    It is my opinion, but as you are selling lights, other have a different opinion!

    If I would build a light from scratch, there would be a big chance I would end up using an existing rectangular aluminium profile,with the button on top, a cree set with reflectors, an existing driver, a ruberised batterypack, and I would end up with comparable mounts.

    But if I buy A light it is a different story, I rather buy a finished produkt than an alpha prototype!

    I did consider a lot of lights before buying the piko, but I never considered the ameuba!

  17. #42
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    N.I., Not sure you can compare a product produced from an internationally renown company like Lupine with a product produced by a person who is a virtual one-man-show. Kind of like comparing a single grape to a shopping cart full of watermelon.

    I also wouldn't call the Amoeba's " a prototype". Just because the outer casing is not machined per say doesn't mean it's not a finished product. I'm sure a lot of thought went into these builds. Last thing a DIY builder wants is a bunch of product being returned. While I don't own an Amoeba, I have noticed that over the years the product has continued to improve whenever new DIY components and accessories have become available. That includes driver's, mounts, LED's and reflectors. For someone ( like Scar ) who does this kind of a thing as a side-line and does all the work himself ( as far as I know ), that's saying a lot. I'll also add that as long as I've been hanging around on this forum, I've never seen or heard anyone speak out or claim to have a problem with one of the Amoeba's. Not that it's never happened but if the product had not met up with the claims of the builder I think I would of heard something by now.

    Now with all that said, If I was going to buy a light for my helmet right now and I had a choice of say one of the Piko lamps from Lupine or one of Scar's XP-G2 Amoeba's , I'd likely buy the Amoeba unless the Lupine people decided to significantly drop their price.
    I'm not dissing the quality of the Lupines. I'm just making the point that the discerning customer is always going to consider the quality AND the "Bang for the Buck" factor before making a purchase.

  18. #43
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    Cat, how many ameuba's do you own?
    And why did you buy them?

    Or did you rather go for something else?

    I also more like a flood on the helmet, with the current output, they provide flood and throw at once.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    Cat, how many ameuba's do you own?
    And why did you buy them?

    Or did you rather go for something else?

    .
    Question one answered in the post above your last. Question 2 N/A.
    Question three answered by process of elimination. Done.

    I own many lights. I can't own every light that I like no matter how much I might like to. Scar is not the only DIY'er who's work I admire. There are many others. I'd like to have a troutie light...or perhaps a DesignShine light...or that guy that was selling those real nice double triple XP-G set-ups some years ago. So far I've bought 2 light sets from DIY'ers. I can't buy from everybody but I can admire their work.

  20. #45
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    Cat, I think you have a bikelight fetish! Or is there a purpose for owning many lights?

    For me, DIY lights are cool if you actually made them, not something I would buy.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    Cat, I think you have a bikelight fetish! Or is there a purpose for owning many lights?

    For me, DIY lights are cool if you actually made them, not something I would buy.
    I'm a collector of sorts. Collecting and using bike lights is my hobby and goes back many years. While I do spend some money on this it is not as expensive as other hobbies. My Mother ( God rest her soul ) used to collect teddy bears. There were bears in her collection worth thousands of dollars. Her collection filled the shelves of an entire wall in her bed room. My older sister is a collector of various nick-knacky type of stuff. She has so much stuff on her walls and shelves that it is hard to explain. Perhaps it runs in the family.

    Over the years I might have collected bike lights and torches that might total up to not more than $3000. Not really a lot when you consider that some of the stuff is quite dated and no longer usable.

    As hobbies go, collecting bike lights is not that expensive of a hobby. If my hobby were fishing I might go out and buy a $30K fishing boat, not to mention all the gear and maintenance that goes with it which could easily cost a couple thousand a year.

    Unfortunately I don't have lots of money burning a hole in my pocket so I have to be picky with what hobbies I choose. I tried golf once but that got real expensive. Not to mention that golf is probably the most frustrating sport on the face of the planet.

    So anyway, that's it. I buy lights I like either because I just have a fascination with the build or the light has special features or upgrades that I deem "must have". As with all my purchases, quality, usefulness and "bang for the buck" are determining factors.

  22. #47
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    In keeping with the subject matter of the thread ( the Trans Iowa ) I did a quickie road ride tonight in the cold night air. After checking for typical temperature at night during April for Iowa, it turns out the temps in my area are around that same level at night as during the race. When I got back the thermometer read 39F. That was one cold ride. Keeping your hands and feet warm are the big problem. All I can say is that the people who do something like the T.I. better have figured out the "hands and feet " issue because those are the first things to get really cold if the temperature starts to drop.

    Back in day I used to ride mountain bikes even in the winter. The only issue I never really figured out was my feet. I tried everything. Went on line and asked others what they did. Nothing really worked well. After 3 hrs I'm done because by that time my feet are really cold. At road speed it is much worse. After 1.5hr my feet are ICICLES, and that wearing my winter mt. bike shoes.

    Anyway, I went out to see how riding with minimal light was going to work. Once again using my Gloworm X2 ( V2 this time ) on the bars on the lowest level ( LL ) I found I could see somewhat well but I certainly could wish for more. Once I hit the next level up ( 300 lumen ) all my problems were over. I had no problem seeing anything.

    The Yezi torch I tested previously did seem to work very well on the lowest level although like the lowest level on the Gloworm you could wish for more. Thankfully if I go up a level once again I can see well although not as nice as the Gloworm.

    I'm going to search around for a torch with more output choices. If I find a suitable torch that might make a better back up bar torch I'll let you know.

  23. #48
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    Cat man, it's called fetish ;-)

    Buy the way, did I mention I would start with a piko around 300-360 lumen

  24. #49
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    Cold hands and feet idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    In keeping with the subject matter of the thread ( the Trans Iowa ) I did a quickie road ride tonight in the cold night air. After checking for typical temperature at night during April for Iowa, it turns out the temps in my area are around that same level at night as during the race. When I got back the thermometer read 39F. That was one cold ride. Keeping your hands and feet warm are the big problem. All I can say is that the people who do something like the T.I. better have figured out the "hands and feet " issue because those are the first things to get really cold if the temperature starts to drop.

    Back in day I used to ride mountain bikes even in the winter. The only issue I never really figured out was my feet. I tried everything. Went on line and asked others what they did. Nothing really worked well. After 3 hrs I'm done because by that time my feet are really cold. At road speed it is much worse. After 1.5hr my feet are ICICLES, and that wearing my winter mt. bike shoes.
    Transplanting this paragraph in the right thread.

    "And Cat, to prevent cold feet, just use cycling shoe covers like these. Thicker skiing gloves or purpose made cycling ones will help for hands but I suggest best to have another pair of standard ones. No joy riding with hot sweaty hands in thick gloves. The lobster ones cost heaps but I bet they are like a warm log cabin in Anchorage." .

    Leonard
    Leonard - All things Xeccon + Beyond
    mtbRevolution.com

  25. #50
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    And, a decision about TA lights already?

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