At the end of last week I took delivery of another piece of the puzzle for my 24 Hour Solo race in July. I have spent countless hours over the last few months researching available lighting systems trying to consider burn time, weight, size, reliability, technology, lumens, shelf life, recharge speed, reputation, customer service, footprint, etc.

The solution I went with is a new product called the 500L from Dinotte Lighting which employs a new LED light engine and other such techno-babble (which the average person won't really care about).

Dinotte Lighting is a well known company, they are respected for their quality products and a focus on remaining on the cutting edge of lighting solutions. The only question I wanted answered was "How well does it work when you are ripping down a technical mountain bike trail in the pitch black?". A couple of nights ago I was pleased to learn it works exceptionally well!

500Lfront3307

The 500L is so radically different from anything I have used in the past. The batteries (I got three) are amazingly small, as you can see in this image. The light engine at 200grams is also smaller than I had imagined (in this image it is attached to the handlebar mount). Mounted on my helmet, where I prefer to mount for technical riding, the light thrown is a nice crisp white light with a good balance between a focused center beam and a diffused flood. The effect came across as an even light surrounding me from the front of the light all the way out to it's furthest reaches. Everything from my nose forward, in a 180 degree pattern, was illuminated cleanly and evenly. In fact the beam is so evenly blended that on the extremes of my peripheral the halo of darkness was initially a bit strange being so dark as compared to the little slice of quasi-daylight in front of me.

500Lside3309

Don't get me wrong, the 500L isn't a football stadium light. It's bright but it's not a solar flare. I have read that it's rated anywhere from 500-600 Lumens. I don't know what 300 Lumens are supposed to look like or if this light is twice as bright as a 300 Lumen light. What I do know is this... It's bright, it's lightweight and I'm happy to rip up the trail in the middle of the night. Perfect.

8 comments:

Jay said...

Shaun,

In reading the specs, the 500L is rated at 450 lumens. A 14 watt / 60 watt equivalent compact fluorescent light bulb is 800 lumen.

For a LED light 450 lumens is a lot.

Jay

Shaun Taylor said...

Hey Jay, interestingly, Dinotte mentions up to 600 Lumen in the received documentation and 600 Lumen was also mentioned in an email exchange I had with Dinotte. It is a lot for an LED but it's my understanding that the new Cree LED's are now capable.

If that sort of thing interests you there is some fascinating reading over on Cree's site (check out the Lumens per watt):

http://www.cree.com/products/xlamp7090_xre.asp

Shaun Taylor said...

I should also probably mention the 500L has a focus pattern that is more intense than a light bulb which is more generally spread in nature. The 500L tends to throw the light further down the trail because of it's focused optics. So the 500L may seem (at least visually) to be brighter than its comparative Lumens when considering a light bulb. Don't know if that made sense?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the site. From what I can glean, the new LEDs are just a tad bit more efficient than a CF, but are much more durable and can be focus more locally. A CF is 55 lumens per watt and the LED you have is 70 lumens per watt. So if we go on the high side of the lumens they list, it would be 8.5 watts.

Nice.

Shaun Taylor said...

There is another pretty cool forum site that I can't recall at the moment, I think it is candlelightpower or something like that. It is a bunch of hobbyists/aficionados who are trying to push the envelope in homemade LED lighting. They are doing things with flashlights and headlights that are pretty cool.

Dawn said...

I don't care what the specs are, all I know is that little light would sure be handy here in smallsville where there are but only a few street lights to brighten the way for an evening runner. Good thing we're having longer days now...perhaps I'll actually see the potholes BEFORE I run into them. (And I'm not joking, I've twisted my ankle more than once.) Makes me lonesome for the trails of Red Deer :(
Cheers!

Shaun Taylor said...

You know there are some pretty cool little lights available now that you can wear on a headband (included) they weigh next to nothing and have a really long battery life.

Mountain Equipment Coop is a pretty good store to wander around in. I think something like this would do the trick for you:

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442621005&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302697057&bmUID=1178652668434

Shaun Taylor said...

Bah!

http://www.mec.ca/Products/
product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3
Eprd_id=845524442621005&FOLDER%
3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302697057
&bmUID=1178652668434

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