Author Topic: Another light recommendation.  (Read 1155 times)

Another light recommendation.
« on: December 30, 2019, 05:58:37 pm »
Stick with me on this, I want something specific.

For several years I've been looking for a long range light with a remote either on/off or "dip" switch so that I can turn the light off or down without having to move my hands from the bars.
Main use will be after-dark rides on the tracks around home for which battery life won't be a problem and the FNRsttC when it will be. For the latter, I intend to continue using my trusty pair of Ixon IQ Speeds, maybe upgrading to a "Premium" version. The Ixons give a nice wide oncoming traffic* friendly beam plus they'll last 10+hours on high and 50+ hours on low.
I've tried a Raveman 1600 (I think) that looked good on paper but the beam didn't project far enough, battery life was too short- shorter than advertised in my tests- and the remote switch cycled through all the settings. The run time could be extended with an external battery pack but it plugged in through a USB port; I wouldn't fancy that being up to working through, say, the 2019 Manchester-Blackpool FNRttC.......
I know the Exposure Strada will do something similar to what I want but battery life is too short; several that I've seen on FNRsttC haven't lasted all night. I believe that the Strada can run with an external battery but not in conjunction with the remote switch which seems a strange design flaw.

The best alternative that I can come up with is the Fenix TK32 torch:- https://www.torchdirect.co.uk/fenix-professional-torches/fenix-tk32-2016-edition-led-torch.html
with the AER-03 "tactical" switch:- https://www.torchdirect.co.uk/torch-pressure-switches/fenix-aer-03-tactical-remote-pressure-switch.html

Run-time isn't great but that doesn't matter too much; I can easily change the battery en-route and I'll only be using it for high speeds. For me that means downhills ............
The Exposure and the Raveman lights have built-in batteries so it's not possible to swap them; recharging in a cafe is the only option.

Any thoughts on my choices ?
Any other "bike" lights you can think of that will do what I want ? That I assumes I've explained clearly enough what I'm after  :-\.
Ideally a bike light would use a "bayonet connector" type external battery pack; I have a several of those.

If I do go down the torch route, any recommendations for stable, secure mounts ? The Fenix mount
 ( https://www.torchdirect.co.uk/torch-cycle-mounts/fenix-quick-release-bike-mount.html ) looks very industrial and clumsy but I bet it works. My experience with the TwoFish Lockblock is that it vibrates and moves around too much.


*vehicles/cycles/pedestrians/horses

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2019, 07:28:02 pm »
you don't say how you hold the handlebars (thus it is difficult to know how you would control any such light without moving your hands) but the simplest thing you can do might be  to arrange a lamp (a lamp with a well-shaped beam)  on a mount so that you can change its angle quickly.

The problem with most  torch beams is that 50% of the light is sent above the centre of the beam, which means that (if the centre of the beam is pointed at the horizon), about 50% of the light is utterly wasted, since it is simply illuminating the sky.  Thus the most efficient lighting is probably to use a shaped (dip style) beam but point it at an antisocial angle, being prepared to move it down again if required.  This is likely to illuminate the far field in at least as good a fashion as a typical torch beam, but more efficiently.

I reckon it oughtn't be too much of a challenge to engineer a bracket to do this, but I also reckon no-one has yet put any real effort into it either.  I'm thinking of a spring loaded tilt on the lamp mounting, such that it defaults into the correct 'dip' position, but can be raised if required. For a remote control I'm thinking of something like  an old-style camera shutter remote release, with a clutch on it, meant for long exposures.  If such a control (or similar) is used, it will latch into the 'main beam' position but as soon as the clutch is released it will spring back into 'dip' mode.  The remote control could be mounted anywhere on the handlebars.

Possibly as an alternative, using bike parts, the tilt control could be implemented using the fittings from quick-adjust type shimano down tube cable stops, as commonly seen with early index/STI installations.   A control of this sort would give several settings (cable pull for main beam)  and a 'flick-off' to return to full dip.

Food for thought?

cheers




bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2019, 07:55:49 pm »
Some Moon lights can work with a proprietary remote switch.

https://www.evanscycles.com/moon-remote-switch-for-lx360-560-760-EV266654
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2019, 08:03:32 pm »
I reckon it oughtn't be too much of a challenge to engineer a bracket to do this, but I also reckon no-one has yet put any real effort into it either.  I'm thinking of a spring loaded tilt on the lamp mounting, such that it defaults into the correct 'dip' position, but can be raised if required. For a remote control I'm thinking of something like  an old-style camera shutter remote release, with a clutch on it, meant for long exposures.  If such a control (or similar) is used, it will latch into the 'main beam' position but as soon as the clutch is released it will spring back into 'dip' mode.  The remote control could be mounted anywhere on the handlebars.

I believe some velomobiles use such an adjustable bracket controlled by a friction shifter, to compensate for changes in suspension loading (it being distinctly awkward to access the lamps to adjust the angle manually).  Perhaps a similar scheme using an indexed shifter or remote suspension lockout could provide easy toggling between two frequently-used positions...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2019, 08:12:08 pm »
I use battery lights with shaped beams, with a sharp cutoff like dynamo lights.

I use the standard bracket on drop bars and I adjust the tightness of the bracket on the bars so it's tight enough to hold the light steady but loose enough for me to rotate it to adjust the angle of the beam.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2019, 08:15:53 pm »
Have you looked at the Fenix bike lights? Some of them include a remote switch. Should be better beam shape and mount than a torch.
eg Fenix BC30, uses 18650 batteries.
Annoyingly the newer versions (BC30R and BC35R) have non replaceable batteries, but do have USB charging.
Or the Fenix BT30R uses a separate battery pack, maybe could carry a spare.

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2019, 08:33:53 pm »
you don't say how you hold the handlebars (thus it is difficult to know how you would control any such light without moving your hands) but the simplest thing you can do might be  to arrange a lamp (a lamp with a well-shaped beam)  on a mount so that you can change its angle quickly.

The problem with most  torch beams is that 50% of the light is sent above the centre of the beam, which means that (if the centre of the beam is pointed at the horizon), about 50% of the light is utterly wasted, since it is simply illuminating the sky.  Thus the most efficient lighting is probably to use a shaped (dip style) beam but point it at an antisocial angle, being prepared to move it down again if required.  This is likely to illuminate the far field in at least as good a fashion as a typical torch beam, but more efficiently.

I reckon it oughtn't be too much of a challenge to engineer a bracket to do this, but I also reckon no-one has yet put any real effort into it either.  I'm thinking of a spring loaded tilt on the lamp mounting, such that it defaults into the correct 'dip' position, but can be raised if required. For a remote control I'm thinking of something like  an old-style camera shutter remote release, with a clutch on it, meant for long exposures.  If such a control (or similar) is used, it will latch into the 'main beam' position but as soon as the clutch is released it will spring back into 'dip' mode.  The remote control could be mounted anywhere on the handlebars.

Possibly as an alternative, using bike parts, the tilt control could be implemented using the fittings from quick-adjust type shimano down tube cable stops, as commonly seen with early index/STI installations.   A control of this sort would give several settings (cable pull for main beam)  and a 'flick-off' to return to full dip.

Food for thought?

cheers

No.

Current MO is to point one of the Ixons at the horizon and move it down by hand if there's something coming the other way. It's far from ideal if I'm braking or dodging pot-holes.
Even set like that, an IQ Speed doesn't have the range that I'd like.
I want to strap a switch to the inside of the hoods and use my thumb to dim or turn off the light.
The Raveman enabled me to do this albeit I then had to scroll through the setting to get it back to where it was.
I'm well aware that a symmetrical beam will light up the sky thanks  ::-). On a trail with over-hanging branches, that's not necessarily a bad thing.


Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2019, 08:34:00 pm »
I have a couple of RFR Tour ebike lights which I have rigged up run off usb power banks (although it would be equally easy to have them run off bayonet connections, or any other). They are just about the only ebike lights I have found which work off 5 volts.

I have the 90 and 40 lumen versions, which give about 4 and 10 hours respectively from a 10 Ah power bank. 
The 40 is fine for normal use and the 90 is bright so I imagine they could work well in combination as a normal and a descending light (although that is not how I use them).  They have shaped beams.

I put a switch between the power bank and light. As the lights have no other switch, this turns them on and off. 
The switches I'm using are not waterproof, but it would be easy enough to solder a waterproof one in line instead and fix to your bars.

The lights are not expensive, from bikediscount.de

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2019, 08:43:37 pm »
Years ago I used a Lupine halogen light for my dark lanes and off road commute. It had a handlebar switch for off / on / low / high beam . So I had a look to see what they now offer and found this.

https://www.lupine.de/products/bike-lights/road-bike-lights/sl-af
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2019, 08:48:51 pm »
The Exposure Strada will last through all but the longest nights on all but the brightest settings.  Its beam is very wide though, so not what you want.  The Joystick is their main narrow-beamed light.  It won't last through the night on any bright setting but I suspect most narrow-beamed lights won't do that, as they tend to be helmet lights and therefore out to save weight.  You could run it with a battery pack though?

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 08:52:23 pm »
Food for thought?


No.....
I want to strap a switch to the inside of the hoods and use my thumb to dim or turn off the light....

maybe you missed that, as envisaged, the tilt control is on the end of a cable and you could put it anywhere you like, thus giving you the functionality you need.

Depending on what you start with it is almost trivially simple  to have a second light and a switch so why not just do that if you are happy with carting about twice as much stuff around?

NB some 'fancy lights' (with multiple settings) default back to whatever setting they were on before (or high power) in the event of battery disconnection, which means that they can be switched on and off using a remote switch that simply interrupts the feed from the batteries.

cheers

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2019, 09:06:55 pm »
This caught my eye on a thread elsewhere. I wasn't going to post it due to the price, but as the Lupine  has already had a mention it won't be the first  :o
https://supernova-lights.com/en/m99-mini-pro-b54/

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2019, 10:29:52 pm »
I've looked at this before, as a high beam to supplement an Edelux II, for fast downhills mainly, and came to the conclusion that a Fenix torch plus remote switch was the only sensible option.
The Lupine SL AF did exist then but was written off as too costly; the Supernova M99 Mini is new, but even more pricey.

In the end, I got a Fenix PD32 without the remote switch (relying on the tail clicky), but after a while it ended up in the saddlebag more often than on the handlebars.

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2019, 11:17:28 pm »
I've looked at this before, as a high beam to supplement an Edelux II, for fast downhills mainly, and came to the conclusion that a Fenix torch plus remote switch was the only sensible option.
I like a high beam sometimes, doesn't add much other than removing that feeling of riding down a tunnel.  In addition to a dynamo light I use a Niterider lumina 750 which doesn't have an instant off switch but the mount is a ratchet swivel, I have it where I can flick it with my thumb 90 degrees to point into the hedge.   

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2019, 10:45:36 am »
A high beam adds a bit of useful distance on downhills.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2019, 02:22:44 pm »
And when comedy off-roading.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2019, 02:42:12 pm »
I'm surprised nobody on this thread hasn't recommended a carbide lamp, rather than all these unnecessarily complicated 'modern' electrical devices.

If you want to follow fashion and throw your money into the wind more fool you  but nothing will beat solid engineering and technology that has stood the test of time.

Oh yes, if I had a pound for the number of times I've helped out hapless youngsters at the roadside who have run into trouble with their over-complicated and poorly engineered lamps, lit only by the soft-hissing glow of my trusty carbide lantern.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2019, 03:31:22 pm »
Too true Flatus. My dad used to have a carbide lamp on his bike when he was a youngster and told me how amazingly bright and reliable it was. That was in the 1940s, anything looked bright in the blackout. He also told me about how it could explode – though it is possible some of those explosions were deliberate. If he'd only hung on to it, I'd have it with me now. In the shed, as a memento.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2020, 06:13:36 pm »
Oh yes, if I had a pound for the number of times I've helped out hapless youngsters at the roadside who have run into trouble with their over-complicated and poorly engineered lamps, lit only by the soft-hissing glow of my trusty carbide lantern.
What's tragic is that they'd probably be completely adequate in a civilised country that didn't have road surfaces like the surface of the moon and 70mph death cages buzzing you every other day :(

I have fond memories of using my dad's paraffin lamp on my first camping trips, it made a lovely sound. Think we lost it in a clear out.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2020, 11:32:26 pm »
I've been to many 'civilized' countries that have worse roads than we do.  Some uncivilized ones too.

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2020, 01:26:34 pm »
Oh yes, if I had a pound for the number of times I've helped out hapless youngsters at the roadside who have run into trouble with their over-complicated and poorly engineered lamps, lit only by the soft-hissing glow of my trusty carbide lantern.
What's tragic is that they'd probably be completely adequate in a civilised country that didn't have road surfaces like the surface of the moon and 70mph death cages buzzing you every other day :(

Quite so - they were considered as completely adequate for caving long after they have been replaced by D-cell powered "never-ready" bike lights.

Re: Another light recommendation.
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2020, 03:04:39 pm »
Quite so - they were considered as completely adequate for caving long after they have been replaced by D-cell powered "never-ready" bike lights.
I used to use them for caving. They were (IMO) much better than the miner's cap lamps that were the normal alternative (4 W halogen).
At a guess, you'd get something like 300 lumens using a waist mounted generator and a fantail jet. The main drawback compared to a miner's lamp was that there was no sort of a beam, so you wouldn't see much past around 15 - 20 m.
By the early 1990s, they were pretty much frowned on for environmental reasons (some people, especially users of the small cap lamps, would dump little piles of the waste calcium hydroxide in the caves). Nowadays, I'd be very surprised if there was anyone not using LED lighting, so the carbide will probably be hard to come by.