Thursday, January 05, 2006

Light Update

I'm tired and it's late, so this will be brief. But I do have a teaser for you! The rain gods were smiling on me tonight, so I was able to take pictures of the lights shining on a deserted stretch of road. The camera was set to an F-stop of 16, with the shutter held open for 30 seconds.

Now the teaser. Have you ever seen a tail light that you could ride by? Now you have. I give you, the 'nets first look at the light cast by the DiNotte tail light.

The reflectors are 50 feet apart, and the first one is 50 feet from the light. If a car hits you while you are using one of these bad boys, the driver has to be blind.

I did set up my data acquisition system for logging the burn times, so I hope to have graphs from that soon too.


Schorschi said...

Gee, that's brutal.

This makes me wonder though: What's the risk of blinding trailing drivers with this light?

It would be interesting to find out from drivers if they find the light annoying and/or distracting.


James Sharp said...

The drivers that I have spoken with think it's bright, but not annoying. Remember, it's bright for a bike light, but not as bright as some of the other lights drivers have to deal with. Have you seen the LED tail lights on some long-haul trucks? Frankly, anything that helps me compete going through town is great, and anything that drivers can see from VERY far away is fantastic.

The bigger issue is drafting cyclists. They are close enough to have it ruin their night vision, and it can be disorienting in flasher mode.

Jon Sharp said...

You could really throw people off mounting that on your handlebars and using it as your primary (front) light. :) "Which way is he going?!"

I agree with James, compared to the light cars put out (front, or back) this is still pretty wimpy.

James Sharp said...

I'm tempted to put a spot lens in it just to see what it'd be like. If I do -- and it won't be part of the review obviously -- I'll post pics.

Schorschi said...

I looked at your older article of when the DiNotte lights came in. In it you mention the helmet head-light that "is small, light, has enough light and features red LED's (the normal variety, not high power ones) on the back of it."

So, this light shines to the front and back from the same unit? Given the image from DiNotte's homepage that shows the battery pack placed behind the helmet light, I wonder where you can put the battery pack to not obstruct the light beam going to the front and back.

Also, where and how do you fasten the dedicated tail-light? On the helmet as well? Does DiNotte provide any accessory to attach the rear-light to the bike itself, like the seat-post or a rear rack even?

Generally, I hate the idea of having to attach an external battery pack to any kind of bike light. So, this light from England called Indium caught my attention a few months ago. It's a 2.5-inch-in-diameter aluminum disc with 6 embedded LEDs with an integrated Li-Ion battery that you can charge via the USB port on your computer. It runs for 8 hours on half and 4 hours on full power. Charge time is 4 hours. Very nice self-contained design. I thought this would be ideal as a rear helmet light, although, since it's not a dedicated bike light and doesn't come with any attachment accessories, I wouldn't know how to best attach it to the helmet.

Anyway, just rambling.


James Sharp said...


The DiNotte helmet light has a longer cord so the user is able to store the battery in a jersey pocket or hydration pack. You can attach the battery pack to the back of the helmet, rather than on top, and that wouldn't get in the way of rear light.

I'd rather store the batter off of the helmet (as nice as no wires is) because I prefer the lack of additional weight that the helmet light provides.

That Indium seems to have a rather large diamter (2.5 inches).