Lights - 5 LED or 1 Watt LED

TeamLidl
TeamLidl Posts: 2
edited October 2008 in Commuting chat
Quick question, does anyone know which would be best in terms of visibility for commuting. 5 bright white LED ( eg cateye el220) or a 1 watt LED (eg cateye el510)?
«1

Comments

  • I'm going to bump this up to the top because I'd love to know the difference as well. I will need some decent lights for my bike soon and I haven't got a clue.
    _______________________

    FCN : 4
  • jimwin
    jimwin Posts: 208
    Good staring points are from the audax pages...

    http://www.aukweb.net/lights/ledpage.htm

    which has a link to...

    http://members.misty.com/don/ledx.html
  • I think that a 5 five leds is better to be seen (and to light up what is very near you, with a broad ), and a 1W led front light is better to light up your path (with a quite narrow beam). So why don't use both ? (redundancy in bike lights is never a drawback).
  • I had the twin electron LEDs (8 in each I think) for a couple of years until they packed up. Whilst they are very bright and give good visibilty to pncoming traffic they have no laterral spread. this did make me feel slightly vunerable, they also had no flashing mode.

    So I am also in the market for a good front light, cateye are off my list since i do not trust their brackets, I had three commit suicide on me whilst going over cattle grids - so I will also watch this thread with interest.
  • Jon8a
    Jon8a Posts: 235
    AS above really, I have a 3w torch which has a good narrow beam that "goes" a long way.

    I have a 3LED torch that has a good spread making it visible.

    I would say that 3w is greater than 5 LED for a commuting light as it will still be seen but allow you to see.
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    My old cateye front has just committed suicide as well - into millions of pieces.....

    Just ordered 2 x EL510's from Edinburgh Co-op at half price to go along side an old BLT 6w Halogen unit (with a variable beam)
  • just sent for a pair off their 200l.will be back telling you about them :? or :D
  • RufusA
    RufusA Posts: 500
    I used to ride with just a 5 LED Smart light in mainly well lit roads.

    However after an unfortunate incident with a tree planter the council left in the middle of 100yd stretch of unlit road at night I now have a bright 5W Dinotte 200L and use the 5 LED as a blinky.

    The 200L IMHO is JUST adequate to see clearly in an unlit road when cycling at any speed.

    A 1W you may get away with on a road with partial street lights BUT oncoming traffic can dazzle you and severly reduce the apparent effectiveness of a low powered light. If you can't afford a bike specific bright light, a 200+ lumens fenix torch and suitable mount cost the same as a reasonable 1W LED bike light AFAIK.

    So unless you are cycling under streetlights the whole time invest in two lights, a bright spot light to see by, and a blinky to be seen by with plenty of side spill for cars at junctions.

    FWIW I have issues with the battery connector on the AA version of the Dinotte 200L, so cannot personally recommend it as a good commuting light.

    YMMV - Rufus.
  • Does anyone use, or have owned the Mars 3.0 set? I want some for my commute to work, and mornings and evenings will be getting darker soon, so want something now. Also, anyone tried the Reelight magnetic lights? Any good for night vision or just 'to be seen' type lights?

    Thanks in advance :)
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • The reelights hardly throw out any light, they are firmly in the be seen catagory, but being mounted low, they can be hard to be seen with...

    I'd stick them in the don't get nabbed by the rozzers catagory.
  • Thanks :) I stayed out a bit late last night and had to limp home with only a rear light, it was interesting when I got to the lower lit sections. It was only just gone half7 and it'll be darker than that soon!

    At £30 for the Reelight ones, I reckon i'll just get one set and see how we go.

    Any other suggestions other than the Mars ones?
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • PS, sorry for highjacking the thread :oops:
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    I've got a Mars 3.0 rear - it's fine - not as bright as a Smart superflash (although I don't know), but it's very waterproof - construction is good. The bracket wiggles a bit up and down as it's not rigid, so will help with road shock, and they have a lifetime g-tee. I'm running on rechargeables, so probably not as bright as it could be.

    Comparable to a Cateye LD600 though.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    fossyant wrote:
    I've got a Mars 3.0 rear - it's fine - not as bright as a Smart superflash (although I don't know), but it's very waterproof - construction is good. The bracket wiggles a bit up and down as it's not rigid, so will help with road shock, and they have a lifetime g-tee. I'm running on rechargeables, so probably not as bright as it could be.

    Comparable to a Cateye LD600 though.
    LED's work better on rechargeables, if you use something like 1100mah NiMH, like these. They deliver more juice more consistently than alkalines, which steadily reduce in output.
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    Okay, can I ask a dissenting question here? Is there not a point at which increasing brightness will stop being a benefit and instead become a disadvantage? I suspect probably not for back lights (though I'm not sure why they'd need to be super-bright - for that tricky twilight period maybe?) but we all know how unpleasant it is to be dazzled by headlights - aren't powerful bike lights also in danger of doing this?

    In the dark, even a low-powered light is very visible. Does massive brightness really help, or is it a psychological crutch which could lead to the same type of risk compensation associated with helmet use?
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    biondino wrote:

    In the dark, even a low-powered light is very visible. Does massive brightness really help, or is it a psychological crutch which could lead to the same type of risk compensation associated with helmet use?
    you couldn't resist, could you! :lol:

    I think high power lights are a good thing, just they need to be aimed so they won't dazzle. After all, we all accept that cars will have 90w to 130w of bright headlights, but they must be aimed properly. I think a bright light is necessary to make one's presence obvious, more so in brightly lit city streets where there are lots of distractions, and in my experience they have a good effect on drivers (so that's anecdotal and doesn't count!!!!)
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    Yes, I agree with all that, but I have some low-power lights (these cateye ones, £23 the pair) and they seem plenty bright to me, as well as being long-lasting, visible from the side, and requiring 2 batteries. Why are these not good?
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    They are good. Good covers a wide spectrum. Personal preference I guess.
  • micken
    micken Posts: 275
    A Raleigh RSP Front light got top spot in this month's Cycling+ mag as a good (commuter) option for £15.00.

    It's been out of stock on the Raleigh site, which is now down for maintenance anyway.

    I've just ordered the same product but badged as Electron for £11.99 from .....

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=14398

    ..... worth a try at the price?

    It will always do as backup.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,767
    micken wrote:
    A Raleigh RSP Front light got top spot in this month's Cycling+ mag as a good (commuter) option for £15.00.

    It's been out of stock on the Raleigh site, which is now down for maintenance anyway.

    I've just ordered the same product but badged as Electron for £11.99 from .....

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=14398

    ..... worth a try at the price?

    It will always do as backup.

    That looks like a nice little light, at not a bad price, can anyone who has one confirm what type of batteries it takes please??

    And does anyone who have one think it would be possible, or even a good idea, to mount it on top of a helmet?

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • RufusA
    RufusA Posts: 500
    The Electron Micro 5 WP takes 4xAAA batteries:

    ehp216more.jpg

    What's not immediately clear to me is whether the transparent ring on the light illuminates, when switched on. If not, then I'd be concerned about lack of side illumination from this light!

    FWIW I have a Smart Polaris 5 LED light which looks like it has a similar focused emmitor to the Electron, but runs off 2xAA and has a more compact body.

    This provides good "to be seen" light and will illuminate reflective signs for some distance. BUT this light is no good for riding on anything but well lit roads as it simply doesn't provide enough illumination to ride with any speed / confidence in the dark.

    HTH - Rufus.[/img]
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,767
    Thanks Rufus,

    AAA is good news, but as you say, sidelighting may not be ideal.........

    That's a bugger, i pretty much had my heart set on getting my gf one of those.

    I've already got a Smart 3 LED, so I think I'm going to buy a Smart 1LED as well, and she can use both of them, one on constant and one on flashing, she has the Ayup on the front, so just need to find a suitable partner for that.

    Anyone have any recommendations for rechargeable triple AAA batteries?

    I've seen 12 in Maplin for 9.99, 900mah each, or direct photo have 4 uniross ones with a little usb charger for 5.99, these are 1000 mah.

    Cheers

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • You won't get much more than 1000mAh in a AAA case, there simply isn't the space. I can't say that there's much between brands.
  • micken
    micken Posts: 275
    Tried out both Electron Micro 5 WP and Revolution Vision Hi Power LED Front Light 1W single LED. Both of these are sold under different brand names but one benefit is that they use the same bracket, which seems fairly robust and you can buy the bracket as a spare from Edinburgh cycles (see comment about Fenix belo).

    I've not tried both in the total dark yet, just twilight, but compared beam patter in a dark garage pointed at an Altura Nightvision jacket..

    Basic points are:

    Electron Micro 5 WP - Broader beam of light, slightly brighter overall but less beam distance with more diffuse pattern. When you turn it on the ring around the edge lights up and can be seen from the side. It also throws some light back onto the rider so if you're wearing a jacket like the Nightvision the reflective bits show up, useful if you don't have streetlights and car headlights directed at you at the time.

    Revolution Vision Hi Power LED - Narrower beam with a definite center spot and more diffuse edge, slightly longer beam distance than above but not measured at the moment. No sideways throw so not visible from side and doesn't light your reflective gear up.

    I would be happy with these in street lighting and quiet, dark areas at not much speed. Dark roads or off road at speed and I'd want to go to something like a Fenix and I'd be interested in sorting a bracket out for the above mounts for this.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,767
    Thanks for that Micken,

    I've also noticed this one now:
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=14397
    14397.jpg

    Which is only £11.95 from parkers.

    Trying to work out how easy it would be to lash it to the top of a helmet, my thinking being if it is a reasonable beam, then if you turn to look at someone thinking about pulling out of a side road, the spotlight will be on them as it were.

    Don't know if this is better than just a handlebar mounted one that flashes away or not....

    It's difficult.

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    Daniel B wrote:
    Thanks Rufus,

    AAA is good news, but as you say, sidelighting may not be ideal.........

    That's a bugger, i pretty much had my heart set on getting my gf one of those.

    I've already got a Smart 3 LED, so I think I'm going to buy a Smart 1LED as well, and she can use both of them, one on constant and one on flashing, she has the Ayup on the front, so just need to find a suitable partner for that.

    Anyone have any recommendations for rechargeable triple AAA batteries?

    I've seen 12 in Maplin for 9.99, 900mah each, or direct photo have 4 uniross ones with a little usb charger for 5.99, these are 1000 mah.

    Cheers

    Dan
    Vapextech are a great source for batteries, they have 4 x AAA 1100mah batteries for £4.40 delivered, they usually arrive next day. For low consumption rear lights I suggest the hybrid versions "Instant", these are 850mah but retain their charge for much longer (maybe a year) so they are good for applications that are not used often or consume little when they are. They are £4.25 for 4 or 8 for £7.75.

    On chargers, you should use a smart charger, cheap chargers will cook the batteries, they work on a timer and soon your batteries will suffer. Smart chargers use various modes to detect the cell status and only charge as required, and the better ones regulate each cell individually. On the same page as the batteries, the Vapextech LCD world ultra fast charger is a very good one for £14.55. Charging 4 cells will take about 4 hours (faster chargers are available, but again they are hazardous to the health of your batteries).
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,767
    Thanks Alfablue for a very helpful and thought out post :D

    That website looks awesome, I was planning to use my old charger, but I reckon for the cost it makes more sense to get a charger to look after them properly.

    I shall do further investigations,

    thanks again

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,767
    So I ordered a couple of lights last night, and this morning decided to order the charger, and 4 each of the 850 and 1100 batteries.

    Order process all seemed to be fine, but then when I clicked on 'Done' I get a 'Page can not be found' error :?

    So I don't know now whether my order has been processed, no e-mail confirmation has come through, but then I don't know if they do send them anyway??

    Wanted to call them, but no number given, so I filled out the enquiry form with all my details, and my concerns, and clicked send to get 'Unable to send to this mail recipient' :roll:

    Bugger, not a good start, I'll just have to sit tight and see what happens, and maybe try the e-mail contact again later on.

    Guess they may be having a glitch on their system, but a telephone number, or a mail address you can mail directly would be rather more useful.

    Alfablue, don't suppose you have a mail address or telephone number for them do you?

    Cheers

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • jedster
    jedster Posts: 1,717
    The reelights hardly throw out any light, they are firmly in the be seen catagory, but being mounted low, they can be hard to be seen with...

    I have these on my central london bike. I use them with LED flashers on my helmet which partially compensates for the low position of the reelights.

    They are definitely "be seen" lights and give no help in seeing your way. Because that bike only moves between the station and my office under street lights I dont need a seeing light. I like the combination because it means that I dont have to faff with batteries or removing lights when I lock my bike.

    I have mine slightly angled up so that they point at drivers eyeline about 30m away.

    J
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    Hi Daniel

    The details are:
    E-mail us at sales@vapextech.co.uk with any questions you might have.

    Phone on: 01474 850552 (10.00 - 16.00 Mon - Fri)
    .

    I would guess that the order has not gone through if you have no acknowledgement. I have always found the site worked okay, but I guess there may be a temporary glitch. The charger I would recommend is the "Vapextech LCD,WORLD (110v/240v) ,ULTRA FAST 1 HOUR CHARGER " for £14.55