Lumens and Runtime- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lumens and Runtime

    I've been comparing lights and noticed that the brighter lights are often misleading and not such a great deal. The niterider micro 550 is actually brighter than the 750 after only 20 minutes on high and it only gets worse the longer you run the lights. I wish they tested the lights on medium as well. The light output probably doesn't drop off so quickly. I'm not bashing niterider. I own 2 niteriders and plan to buy another.

    We Test Lights | NiteRider Tests and Teviews

  2. #2
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    You have discovered one of the things that light manufacturers know about buyers. Buyers usually don't look much beyond the first few datapoints in an ad or spec sheet and buy the product that has the biggest numbers not understanding that the big number can not be maintained for long.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  3. #3
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    manufacturers are forced to post the BIG number

    if they posted the real numbers it can still be an awesome light, but BORING in the marketing dept where sales are baited and made

    in general any two lights together, at 500+ lumens each, is enough for me to set PR's on any trail I ride. I have two >1200 lumen lights that I run at 600-750 lumens and they last my whole ride, do not step down, and don't leave me wishing for more light. but 600-700 lumens is a boring number
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  4. #4
    RAKC Industries
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    Part of that only applies to small self contained lights like those. Just like a flashlight, it slowly dims as the battery drains.

    This is where bigger self contained lights and especially lights with battery packs come into play. They will maintain their max output for the majority of their run time, then finally start getting dimmer slowly for the last 10-20% of the battery life.

    Some designs can actually maintain their output till the battery literally dies (protection engages)

    This is why lights with battery packs or bigger self contained lights are becoming popular. Because the little self contained ones just have too short of a useable output run time. Its not a single brand, any little light that has a similar design, will be the same way. Why I refer to them as glorified flashlights.

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  5. #5
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    quote RAKC
    "any little light that has a similar design, will be the same way"

    not all of them. I have single 18650 light that works better than
    most lights, piggyback or not. yes I have to swap 18650 out if I want
    to run longer than 2.5 hours...but 800 lumens of 85 cri for 2.5 on a single
    18650 is not bad at all

    niterider added the 'low tech' line because they need to make more loot, and the cheap light market sells a lotta product. plus not all of us can afford >50 bucks for a light
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  6. #6
    Gloworm Lights
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    Just to build on that, it's actually more to do with the electronic circuit used rather than the type of light. It just so happens that torches and self contained lights more often than not use what we call a linear circuit as it is less expensive to produce and requires less space.

    A linear circuit basically provides power directly from the battery to the LEDs. At any one time the LEDs demand a certain voltage and the battery provides a certain voltage. If the LED demands are less than the battery provides the excess is lost through heat in the electronics, this also affects potential runtime of the unit as valuable power is being lost. Now the LED can only draw what the battery can provide. If the the LED is at maximum power and the battery capcity is diminishing (therefore voltage dropping) then the LED will dim as the battery voltage drops.

    The other type of circuit is a regulated circuit. It does what the name suggests. It regulates the circuits to ensure the demanded LED voltage is provided by the by the battery. This still requires some forethought, as battery power will need to be either increased (boosted) or drecreased (bucked) to match the LED demand. Circuits can be designed to specifically do one or the other OR both. Depending on components these types of circuits can be very efficient meaning losses through heat in the circuit are minimal.

    As an example, our XS light uses a boost/buck circuit and is never less than 93% efficient. Ou battery provides 7.4v and our LEDs demand everything from about 6v through to about 10v.

    The advantages of the more efficient regulated circuit is that the battery power is used more effectivley for maximum runtime, however it comes at the cost of expense and space.

    I know thats pretty in depth and it's not something you will find on a manufacturers website, however I feel knowledge is power (pun intended) and hopoefully this will help you with your choices.

    Cheers

    Bruce
    Gloworm Lights - 'Create Your Escape'
    High End LED Light Designer - New Zealand

  7. #7
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    Yeah it seems like at this point with LED lights the only real improvements come with the battery. There really isn't much difference between 500-1000 lumen lights without a bigger/better battery.

  8. #8
    Gloworm Lights
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    Hey Tim_Ky

    The Gloworm CX Urban (self-contained) has been measured at 950 lumens (although advertised at 900) and it provides a beam that is actually brighter at the centre than our CX Trail (1300 Lumen). It lasts for about 2hr at this power before dimming down. I'm not sure of your budget or size demands but this could fit your needs?

    Cheers

    Bruce
    Gloworm Lights - 'Create Your Escape'
    High End LED Light Designer - New Zealand

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim_Ky View Post
    Yeah it seems like at this point with LED lights the only real improvements come with the battery. There really isn't much difference between 500-1000 lumen lights without a bigger/better battery.
    LOTS more improvements to be made with optical design. LED chips are leveling out in terms of lumens per watt, but the real key is in how tiny can they make them. All new chips are touting their luminance, or how bright they are. Another way to look at it is the lumen density. How many lumens can be packed into a certain area. The smaller and brighter an LED chip is, the easier it is to accurately control the lighting parameters and where light will go. The more control you have, the easier it is to make a light feel more powerful to the human eye.

    This is why you don't find CREE chips on automotive headlights, CREE is great for big power in big chips, but you don't get much control with it. Their new NX line might make it onto some cars, but they don't seem too worried about getting automotive certifications for quality control and such.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Bruce.

    I'm kinda geeking out on the this light technology. I'll check out XS light.

    Tim

  11. #11
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    As a general rule of thumb, it takes 4x the lumens for a light to appear twice as bright to the human eye.

    -Garry

  12. #12
    Light freak
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    As a general rule of thumb, it takes 4x the lumens for a light to appear twice as bright to the human eye.

    -Garry
    this !


    ****

  13. #13
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    I time-tested both my NR 2800 PRO, and my NR 2200 PRO on high... and both lasted as long as advertised. Both though are also programmed to step down towards the end of the battery life. Both also provided dang near a complete HOUR of mid-level light with the red light blinking on the lighting head units. Ive been MORE than happy with these 2 lights as my setup. The thing about lights, is buy one with "more than you need" then only run it on 3/4's when actually out on a ride. These two NR's are like the SUN at night... I rarely put them on full-max during a ride, even in the middle of the night in the deep woods of Oklahoma.
    You in Oklahoma City? If yes, come ride with us.

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