Old Halogen lights vs modern LED brightness- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Old Halogen lights vs modern LED brightness

    I've done a few night races/rides with an older Niterider Classic Dual Beam on my bars and a 10w Niterider halogen on my helmet. These lights have seemed adequate for me on the twisty singletrack of the upper midwest. I was wondering how much brighter the newer LED stuff is and if it's worth updating. The obvious reasons for updating would be size and weight (especially of the battery) but what about comparative brightness? What is the approx lumens of my current set-up so I have an idea of what I need to shop for to get a minimum of the same brightness?

    Thanks,
    J.

  2. #2
    ballbuster
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    Some are brighter, some are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolver1529
    I've done a few night races/rides with an older Niterider Classic Dual Beam on my bars and a 10w Niterider halogen on my helmet. These lights have seemed adequate for me on the twisty singletrack of the upper midwest. I was wondering how much brighter the newer LED stuff is and if it's worth updating. The obvious reasons for updating would be size and weight (especially of the battery) but what about comparative brightness? What is the approx lumens of my current set-up so I have an idea of what I need to shop for to get a minimum of the same brightness?

    Thanks,
    J.
    Depends on the light. Some LED systems are weaksauce and expensive (NR MiNewt), some are cheap and powerful (Magicshine)... some are expensive and suntan skin searing powerful.

    Now, the real difference in LED vs Halogen technology is that you can kick out the same light as a halogen with an LED, but do it using 20% of the energy. That means you can carry with you a much smaller battery (and the battery is probably the most expensive part of the system) saving lots of weight and cost.

    I have a NR Digital Pro 12e light. Probably similar in lumen output to your NR classic light. I would guess its around 400-500 lumen output on high... both lamps on. A Magicshine is about that much light, but 1/3 the total system weight, runs at least twice as long, not to mention $90 or so landed at your door.

    I say if you already own the NR system, the reason to upgrade is not for more light, but for much lighter weight. Heck, you can probably sell the NR system for close to what you can buy the MS system. You might wanna sell the NR system while it still has some market value.

    I got a MS system, and ran it on my helmet with the NR on my bars. The NR system felt hugely bulky and downright silly compared to the MS. I think of all the effort I put into maintaining the NR system... rebuilding batteries, building a smart charger, etc. THe MS is so much more simple, cheap, lightweight and effective. I got a second MS system for the bars.

  3. #3
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    I'll second everything that pimpbot said. The battery that your hauling around for that duel beam probably weighs over a pound. More than likely is also NiMh. If that's the case and it is more than a couple years old, my guess is the battery has probably lost some of it's capacity to store a charge. Almost all newer LED lights use Li-ion batteries. They are WAY more lighter and last longer the the old NiMh.

    As to what lights you might want to buy next?? Well, that depends on how much money you want to spend. There are lots of options. The cheapest is the duel MagicShine ( 1 helmet, 1 bars ) that pimpbot suggested. For less than $200 you would get a system that would easily beat out your old Niteriders and be not only longer running but lighter. Another option worth looking into is checking out some of the DIY'ers here on MTB'er. Some of these people make their own lights and sell them. I'm sure that someone sells a duel XP-G ( about 600 lumens ) for around $200.

  4. #4
    namagomi
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    A LOT brighter on average. The LED emitter is more efficient than a halogen light setup. Maybe even a bit more durable.

  5. #5
    Rolling
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    I think the tech progression is amazing.

    Halogen is about 20 lumens per watt.

    HID was a big one, 50-80 lumens per watt-100 lumens per watt on a good day. Similar to fluorescent.

    LEDS have progressed and now they exceed the HID--at least in the lab. CREE just set a record of over 200 lumens per watt recently. However, I think the magicshine hits around 60 lumens per watt with the way they use it.

    More lumens per watt equal more light for less weight, especially since at the same time, Li-Ion batteries are progressing at a fast pace also. And the bonus is that since it's semiconductor based, the price will keep falling.

    The thing to balance is dollars per watt, and lumens per watt. You can do lumens per dollar but you might wind up with a candle or a match.

    But if you are happy with what you have, then why bother.

  6. #6
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    actually, lumen per dollar, HID is still king.
    80-95 lumen per watt, and decent reflector.

    some high power LED's are in the 50-60
    reflectors could be down to 45%
    and with temperature rise, LED's loose lumen,
    the lab measurements, with the best bins, are for advertisement.
    on top of it the color spectrum is low, aka CRI.
    HID also has UV, what lights up those reflectors.

    LED's is here to stay and improve,
    but for the quick lumen fix, a trailtech 35W hid, still kicks lumens,...
    of course, everybody wants, the new tech, and it does have reason, but comes with a price tag. and if you want say 5000 or 10000 lumen, it's not that easy with led's.

    remember those yellowish old halogens,...
    well, the new fad, off-road is getting super yellow bulbs, higher watts,
    why,... well they work,... cuts through dust, fog, and most important , what's hard to put a perceptive value on,... depth perception . so what color are shooting glasses ?

    now I do think blue is also important factor between photopic and scotopic lumens.
    it all be good , down the road, all those litle gaps in the spectrum need to catch up;
    and still need a load of light, and battery juice to boot.

    once finally there, they ban those bright thinggies , since they don't have a bulb cover.
    take a look at you headlamp,... or fog light,...they have a little shield, not to decrease the light output, what they do, but , not to blind others. even a 5w cree, will blind drivers,
    since the spot is thousands of times brighter.
    granted off-road, who cares,.. but then again, how many times you been blinded, by oncoming, off-road riders ? there is one guy with a low/high beam light, on the right track,
    and lower K's in the spectrum is good too, once you have enough juice that is.
    ----
    DIY battery + light working on it

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