I guess my response to that is "I'm not an electrical engineer." I have no desire to set our garage or my Camelbak on fire dinking around with crap I have zero understanding of. I'll pay a little extra to let the experts be experts.
Originally Posted by il2mb
My husband is a pretty talented MechE and agrees 100% with my opinion on this.
DIY is better if you know what you're doing, but you can still do very well to take apart an off the shelf light, figuring out how it works, and making slight modifications.
Many chinese lights are designed sufficiently, and the components are made well enough, but assembled poorly. Taking apart a light can easily fix that. It also allows other easy fixes to be made, like putting an insulator over the star, lubing the threads and installing thicker o-rings.
It also uncovers poorly designed lights, like those with floating pills. Lights that may not feel like it gets hot while testing at home, but you'll know you shouldn't rely on them on long rides.
If you have sufficient electrical skills, I believe the biggest benefit would come in building your own battery pack with high quality high capacity cells.
So true! I got the confidence to start building my own lights from tearing into two of my NR halogen lights that had problems. After seeing how simple (and cheesy) they were, I knew I could do as well or better.
Originally Posted by leaftye
I'm an electrical engineer and think you are both pretty smart to not do DIY.
Originally Posted by lonefrontranger
bringing this back to life because i had an ironic experience tonight. Ive been contemplating getting a small q5 torch that runs on cr123's as a backup to always keep around in case a light dies or i happen to be out later than expected and didnt bring one. Last night i pulled the trigger on one
Today was kinda crappy and around 5 i head out in the rain for a couple hours. Since i didnt plan on staying out much past dark, i didnt take any of my magicshines, didnt take my geminis, i grabbed the crappy 40 dollar xm-l ebay light i got a while back and only tried a couple times. Ended up being out a little later than normal since i found some fresh new trails to explore. As i got back on the road and headed the 5 miles or so to home, i had almost made it the whole way when the whole light conked out. No warning, no low battery, nothing. Luckily i was 3 blocks away. If it was an hour before and i was in the woods it would suck. I look forward to having a little 3" 2-300 lumen torch and mount tucked away for such emergencies in the future, no matter what lights im riding
The mistake you made was that you took the lamp that was not the "tried and true" and then used it as your soul source of light. Every lamp or torch you buy needs to be tested for reliability and run time. To do that you take it out with other "proven" lights so if it fails you have a back up.
Originally Posted by manbeer
Always carry a back-up. I highly recommend a small AA powered torch and using the *low-self discharge version AA cells. These torches are still quite small and the AA
( *LSD ) cells have decent capacity and hold their charge well. I've used small torches before that used the CR-123 type batteries. The smaller cells generally speaking have a much lower capacity and as such will have much shorter run times ( which leads to unexpected depletion ). If the torch you bought is outputting 200 lumen and using one rechargeable ( 800mAh ) CR-123 cell expect maybe 20 minutes run time tops. On the other hand an XP-E or G torch set up for 110 lumen using an 2000mAh AA cell will run much longer. Back up torches need to use lower output levels so that in a pinch you have enough run time to get you out of the woods.
You now have had your first wake up call. Learn from it. If you start a ride late in the day make sure you have a reliable light source and a trusted back-up. This is no different than going for a ride and not being prepared to change a flat because you didn't have a spare tube or pump.
If I was in the OP shoes, I'd carry a backup to the backup. Its a far drive just to ride your bike. I'd have a bight bar mount, helmet mount and a backup on the bars just in case, something self inclosed like a Nightrider minewt 600 or a slim lezyne like this Lezyne Power Drive LED Headlight from BikeBling.com
I have clocked hundreds of hours night riding and never carry a flashlight. I always ride with two lights and haven't had an issue. Current setup is MS 808s..they work great. I wouldn't ride with a single light however regardless of make.
Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!
2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT
This reminds me of my first night ever back in 97. I was using the Niterider Sport (5 watt bulb run on 5 D cells.) An hour into the ride, my batteries were spent, but I tried to keep up with the group and ran into a tree at full speed. I survived, but the next week I upgraded my light and started carrying a backup. It's amazing how far lights have some since then.