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  1. #1
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    The Ultimate Helmet Lamp: Discussion

    Who makes the "Ultimate Helmet Lamp". By that I mean the Brightest, Longest throwing lamp designed for "Real World" MTB use?

    I'd like to see a good 1800-2000 Lumen helmet lamp with a killer spot beam pattern capable of lighting things up "CLEARLY" at 500-600ft.
    The technology is there but no one is standing up to be the first. Oh sure there are lamps capable of putting out over 2000 lumen the problem is getting the beam focused enough to limit spill and extend range. So far the only way to do that seems to be with reflectors. To do it right the reflector(s) have to be quite big. A duel emitter set-up would perhaps be too big and heavy for helmet use.

    The Xeccon people have the S-12 which uses a rather unique reflector. Used with just a single XM-L or XM-L2 these lamps out-throw everything else I own. Knowing this, somewhere in the back of my mind I can't help thinking, "Wow! what would the S-12 be like with a Luminous SST-90 using a 6-9 amp driver? According to the data sheet, output could range between 1800-2000 lumen! The SST-90's can handle up to 150C and also are lower in resistance. This probably explains why they are capable of handling 9A. On full power we might be talking 35 watts. It would require some nifty designing to help dissipate the heat and a hefty battery but DANG, coupled with a Xeccon S-12 type reflector Would this baby THROW! Might only get 1.5 hrs on high with a good battery but if it can cut the cheese like I think it could I would LOVE to have one.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 11-12-2013 at 03:46 AM. Reason: corrected to S-12

  2. #2
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    I don't know if that's possible yet Cat-man-do. I mean for example look at the Olite SR-95, it uses the SST-90 and has a CD of 129600, giving it huge range of over 700 meters but the head of that flashlight is three and a half inches wide and very deep, much to big for a helmet light, the SST-90 die is just to big, and with a smaller lamp head would become floody. Maybe the SST-50 with its smaller die could be used but you wouldn't get the lumens, however possibly the range . The only light I know of that has stupid range but no spill is the Dereelight,,,located at flashlightconnection.com, or the DEFT-X located at omglumens.com. These lights however have such focused beams I think they would be useless as a helmet light but range they have!!! Cheers!!!

  3. #3
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    It takes about 20 seconds to ride 600 ft at 20 mph. On the terrain I ride I can almost never see the trail 600 feet ahead. I understand the more the better. Perhaps in 10 years we will have this level of light and wonder how we ever did without. But it seems out of reach and not really necessary at this time. Even when I used the spot optic on my Xera I felt the light was too focused and it required too much head movement to aim the light.

  4. #4
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    I agree with derkbob. In most MTB situations around here, throw is overrated. I'm lucky to average 10mph on most rides, so I'm not outrunning my light. We have a lot of limestone, which is very reflective, so an intense spot can wash detail out and end up being a drawback. To me, a wider, more consistent beam matters more than throw. It lights up more of the trail, lets me see more options, and gives me enough time to change lines. I can see more throw being useful on the road, or in places with loonng straight aways - but on singletrack, I think a wider beam would be more beneficial.

    FWIW, I currently running MJ872 clones on bar and helmet. Works great for around here, but I'm interested to see if any of the 2x or 3x XML setups offer any advantage. I'm looking to pick up a MJ880 or Gemini Duo, or one of the 3x XML clones to try out.

  5. #5
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    600 ft? Do you really need to see that far? That's over two football fields. I can't even see things in the daytime at that distance. Most of our trails aren't straight for more than 40 or 50 ft, so I wouldn't even be helpful for that kind of riding.

    I think the real problem is that kind of throw distance needs either super high lumen output, or a very focused beam. The problem with a super focused beam is that it becomes less useful at the 20-30ft distance because of the small size of the hotspot. You can get a super focused beam with aspherics. I have a $5 flashlight that project the die shape in it's most focused setting. If you put a 5000 lumen source behind that, I wonder how far it would go? But if you turn around and shine it in your buddies face accidentally, that might do real damage.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    600 ft? Do you really need to see that far? That's over two football fields. I can't even see things in the daytime at that distance. Most of our trails aren't straight for more than 40 or 50 ft, so I wouldn't even be helpful for that kind of riding.

    I think the real problem is that kind of throw distance needs either super high lumen output, or a very focused beam. The problem with a super focused beam is that it becomes less useful at the 20-30ft distance because of the small size of the hotspot. You can get a super focused beam with aspherics. I have a $5 flashlight that project the die shape in it's most focused setting. If you put a 5000 lumen source behind that, I wonder how far it would go? But if you turn around and shine it in your buddies face accidentally, that might do real damage.
    Yes, most of the time we don't need to see that far. Thankfully the lamps we now have do a pretty good job of letting us see. Still, if more output were available perhaps the beam pattern could be tailored to be more useable.

    I still think the SST-90 could be useable with the right heat sink, optic or reflector. In the mean time I have enough light coming off the helmet but more is always going to be welcome. The problem isn't with the emitters it's with the available optical choices.

  7. #7
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    Do you find that having too strong of a light on the helmet causes depth perception issues.
    I find it "washes out" the rocks and roots.

  8. #8
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    You just can't go wrong with Troutie's SpiderEyes:
    Entry

  9. #9
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    Those spider eyes look pretty sweet.

  10. #10
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    Looks like Troutie may have just built the light for you Cat-man-do!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    Do you find that having too strong of a light on the helmet causes depth perception issues.
    I find it "washes out" the rocks and roots.
    Depends on terrain, trail conditions ( leafy,moist, muddy or dry ) and time of year.
    In summer time dry conditions too strong a lamp on the helmet "can" pose a problem when aimed too close to the bike. This is usually remedied by just using a lower power mode. This is not a problem though in fall / winter when trails ( where I live ) are wet and leafy.

    I've been aware of the Troutie Lights for some time. I'd love to demo the Spider eyes but honestly I can't afford to buy them and then hope that I'm going to be satisfied. Sadly, even if I loved them I wouldn't really be able to afford to buy them.

  12. #12
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    Found something more in your budget Cat-man-do. Doesn't have a lot of info on specs and uses three AAA, but is a focusable light with claimed rang of up to 500 feet. Xtreme Bright Lights Xtreme Bright Lights. Cheers!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    Found something more in your budget Cat-man-do. Doesn't have a lot of info on specs and uses three AAA, but is a focusable light with claimed rang of up to 500 feet. Xtreme Bright Lights Xtreme Bright Lights. Cheers!!
    Actually I own a couple cheap torches that use adjustable aspherical lenses. I was not impressed with how they work. There are also Chinese single emitter bike lamps that use aspherical lenses. I've been tempted to buy one just to see if they really have the ability to gather and use all the light produced by the emitter but my gut tells me I would be wasting my money.

    Just so I'm not misunderstood; the Troutie Spider eyes light is designed to work much differently than the cheap adjustable Chinese torches. The lenses he uses are used more efficiently than what is seen with the cheap torches. I really don't think you can realistically compare the two. ( * If I'm wrong about that I would be more than happy to be corrected... )

  14. #14
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    No,,,,,,,, no correction needed, apples and oranges between the two from what I can see. Just didn't know if you had seen those cheaper aspherical lights.

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