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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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PLEASE NOTE A LOT OF THIS INFORMATION IS OUTDATED! I'VE LEFT HERE TO SHOW WHERE WE STARTED FROM. CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.

Hey guys, so I know you guys LOVE technical details, so I thought I’d put together a sort of brief of some stuff I’ve been working on. I hinted at this in my introduction thread (HERE). Feel free to ask me any questions!

What is Outbound Lighting?
This is the first foray into the bike lighting market, taking the latest in automotive LED technology, sources, materials, and design methods to produce one of the best all-around bike lights, period. This is not a claim that is being made as marketing fluff. I personally designed these lights using my many years of experience as an automotive optical/illumination design engineer. I design automotive lighting for a living and was frustrated with the lack of a good trail light that could be REALLY good, knowing how automotive lights are designed. Big lumens put into tiny lenses, nothing but spot and flood optics, poor thermal transfer, the list goes on and on of the typical bike light. There are several VERY good options available in Europe from companies such as B&M and Supernova, but those are focused on the road and for E-Bikes. Therefore I set out to develop my own bike light using what I know, and it has morphed into Outbound Lighting.

What is Focal Series?

This is the first product from Outbound. Using OSRAM Black Flat automotive grade chips, a downward firing multi-segmented reflector, automotive grade optically clear silicone lens and a magnesium die cast body to wrap everything into a highly efficient, well-engineered, robust bike light that I hope will redefine what you come to expect from a bike light for the trail.

Focal-Assembly.jpg Focal-Top.jpg

Optical Design (Trail & Road)
Design of this bike light came after using several higher end lights, as well as dozens of cheaper lights from Amazon and other retailers. The common theme for almost every trail oriented light was a spot beam pattern, and a few that had an elliptical or a rectangular beam pattern. This is a great compromise in theory, and it gets the job done. However in knowing how automotive lights are designed to give the wide field of view, as well as even illumination on the ground, along with an intense main beam, I knew there was a lot of untapped potential for the trail.

The design of the optics came from hundreds of hours in OPTIS simulating almost every combination I could think of, as well as many different LED sources. In the end settled on a multi-segmented reflector that creates an even, wide and smooth intense beam pattern across the field of view of the rider, as well as creating a “light carpet” on the trail that allows for even illumination from the bike tire all the way out to your main focal point on the trail. This lets you attack both the high speed and the tight and twisty sections of a trail without having to readjust your eyes, or mount up multiple lights. What you end up with is a rather unique looking beam pattern that may look somewhat odd when lit up close against a wall, but mount it onto your bike and dive into the trails deep at night, and it will redefine what you will expect from a light. The road series optical beam pattern is similar to the trail in terms of width and the “light carpet”, however it has a cutoff, as well as a more focused hotspot (almost triple the candela) that allows to see further down the road whether bombing a steep downhill at 50+mph, or just hoping to pick up that odd critter or pothole that has somehow wandered into your path!

TrailIntensity.jpg RoadIntensity.jpg

This is a shot of the trail ground illumination plot. Think of this as a birds eye view looking down, and seeing the light intensity directly on the pavement, or the trail. The green is representing 60 lux of illumination, which is more than enough that the human eye perceives it as “very bright” when in darkness. Notice how this green is extremely even from the center point of the bike, all the way out to 70’, and then falls off more from there. So as you can imagine, this is a light that is going to not only let you see further down the trail nicely, but also what’s on the trail in front of you without having to aim your light down, sacrificing the light you use to see straight on! As well as the very wide width that it entails.

TrailGround.jpg

If interested, I can dive into a lot more technical detail of exactly how this beam pattern was designed, the optics, the math behind it, and more. These are details that most companies would call proprietary, or “competitive secrets”, but in reality it is most likely because they picked out some optics from a catalog, or hired an optical company to do the work for them and cannot explain it like we can. Since we are designing every part, every optic, and every electrical circuit here in St. Louis, MO, we are happy to share details and specifications as questions arise.

Thermal Design
One item that comes up often in this forum, that I do like seeing, is that thermal is discussed! As many of you know, thermal control is very important for not only LED life, but also the optical output, color temperature and overall reliability. This is also why I had opted for a downward firing reflector as opposed to a typical TIR or reflector bowl, since it would allow for more a more optimal thermal pathway from the LED chip to the incoming airflow.

The main LED board (copper core board) is separate from the control board, and it is monitored using a thermistor that is located near the chip. We don’t expect that when the light is in use that it will reach a thermal step-down, but of course need to plan for the worst if we want to have a reliable product. Many thermal simulations were run to decide on the final design. Early prototype shots that are shown later on are using an older design that has since been optimized further after receiving the machined prototypes. The beam pattern has even been designed such that it forces the user to partially aim the light “down” just slightly, so that incoming air is hitting the back of the LED heat sink directly. Combine this design decision, with large die cut thermal interface material (not just globs of paste) that are sandwiched together by the magnesium die casting, and you end up with a very well designed, thermally optimized heat sink that is not only thermally efficient, but also very lightweight due to the magnesium material choice.

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When using the included large thick silicone strap for mounting on the handlebar, you will notice that the mount itself has an integrated air scoop that helps force more cooling air into areas of the heat sink that otherwise would be hard for air to reach in a conventional manner. Again this scoop was thermally optimized for overall height, fins, and more to help achieve the final design.

Electrical Design
This is the one portion of the design that I outsourced to an extremely experienced freelance electrical engineer in Kansas City who mostly designed high power driver circuits for RC cars and other battery operated devices. So developing an efficient driver was no issue for him! Initial prototype testing is showing 93-95% efficiency from the battery, through the wires, through the connectors, into the board, through the driver, and to the chip. We are using integrated software to control the LED, monitor the temperature, adjust brightness of the status lights, as well as an “adaptive” mode that will use some human physiology to help extend your battery life while maintaining that same perceived brightness.

Another key point in the electrical design includes using an automotive grade LED. Right now working around an OSRAM Black Flat, however we may also opt for a LUXEON Altilon SMD. Both are the same chips that you find in every single OEM LED headlight on the road. You will never find a CREE LED being used as an optical source for headlighting except for aftermarket products. There is a reason for that. Not only thermal stability, but also the extremely small emitter size allows for extremely high luminance, which helps with the optical design, and helps keep optics smaller. More on this topic goes hand in hand with optical design, so I’ll save the nitty gritty details for later!
Designing for reliability was a set goal from the start. I had several lights fail on me when I was benchmarking many cheap lights. Some were due to thermal overload, and some were due to fatigue on the wire connections since they were poorly soldered down. This is why we opted to not have ANY soldered wire joints in the design. Power comes in and is put into an automotive grade wire-to-board connector, then transferred to the control board through another thick board connector. All components are solid state and chosen for reliability, not cost.

Robust & Lightweight Design
Of course when designing a light for the trails, robust and lightweight design is absolutely needed. Thin wall magnesium die casting allows for a very lightweight head given the size, as well as still being strong enough to withstand a hit or a drop from the bike as the main corners of impact were thickened as needed. Optical grade silicone is used for the lens. This is a rather new material that is making its way into some automotive headlights (namely Mercedes Benz Matrix LED lights), it is clearer than PC or PMMA, while offering superior scratch resistance, as well as being able to mold in a gasket that helps make the entire light waterproof. Part consolidation helps reduce points of failure. The incoming power wire is thick, and includes an overmolded grommet that provides both strain relief, as well as waterproofing the light.

Mounting of the light comes from a very thick silicone strap that uses two types of silicone. The main strap itself is a tough and rugged silicone as well as stretchy enough to pull tight on the bar. The bar “pad” that sits on the mount itself is a softer silicone that acts as a grip on the bar. The small ridges and soft material means that the strap holds onto the bar tightly, without marring those expensive carbon bars! I’ve already had several hard crashes on my own personal bike that resulted in losing several cheaper lights I bought, but my own strap design stayed absolutely solid!

GoPro mount adapter will be included on every light head. More future mounting options will be available as more people give me some ideas on how they want to have their lamps mounted! So ideas are always welcome!

Specifications (NOT final)
Lumens: 1200-1500 range (final lumen numbers to depend on chip selected and power settings)
Runtime: 3.5 hours on HIGH at minimum
Battery Pack: 4-cell lithium ion, LG Cells, 7.4V at 5200 mAh
Weight: 315g (approximate), light head: 95g
Dimensions: 62mm x 48mm x 56mm
Price: TBD
Light head WILL be purchasable separately. WILL use a common battery connector (DC5521)

Current State (September 4[SUP]th[/SUP], 2017)

Currently we have paid for the tooling to get these parts started after getting prototypes that worked out well. We will have a rough self-contained alpha prototype that I’ll be able to take onto the trails hopefully by the end of this week. Currently the prototype shots shown are showing an earlier build, as well as slightly different beam pattern design. It is very hard (and very expensive) to prototype reflectors, so the beam pattern is not perfect.

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We are shooting for a release date on November 5[SUP]th[/SUP] (daylights savings day!) and will be working with local bike groups and events to get some more people interested in night riding. As many of you know, it’s just an absolute thrill to hit a trail hard at night. Feels like a completely different world! I honestly hope these lights will help bring more people into the night riding community, and help extend their riding seasons even longer. I am extremely passionate about lighting, and about biking, and so this isn’t just imported product that’s being rebranded as my own, this is a light that is being developed from the ground up to hit the goals I feel that have been missing from bike lighting.

I strongly welcome any questions, opinions, and more! I want this to be the best light, period!
 

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Well, your offering looks very interesting. I didn't have a chance to read it all, but will come back later.

I think your best way of promoting your light would be to get in touch with Francois of the mtbr management team and send him a light for evaluation. Every year starting in the fall he puts together a massive night light review that's better than anything the magazines do. He will do an unbiased review of your light and give it a fair judgement. Last year he gave his award for best light to a company that no one here had ever heard of.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow! This sounds fantastic, but I'm scared to hear the price. Would love to see some trail beamshots!

-Garry
Right now our plan is potentially around the $225 price point with the battery pack included, and $135 with the light head separately. Though we haven't nailed down the pricing on the OSRAM or the Lumileds chips, so that might fluctuate a little bit. This is NOT going to be a $400-500+ light, that would be just be asinine, and I feel turn a lot of people away from the joy of night riding. I designed this light to be easy to assemble (will be assembled in the USA) and with as few of components as possible to keep the price low.

Will there potentially be some high dollar "halo" light that is just a ton of lumens to get attention at bike shows or events? Probably. :) Because those are just fun engineering exercises, that do in fact cost a lot of money to make.

As for beam shots. This is the only one I have right now that I took several weeks ago. This is at around 400-500 lumens, in a pitch black warehouse as I had to power the LED directly from a power supply. So not exactly representative of a trail per say, but can get an idea of the even illumination and wide FOV it will provide. This doesn't have the silicone lens in place that will provide some more width in the corners as well. As I mentioned, hopefully will have a unit that I can take on my local trail to get some beam shots, and hopefully some video. I've picked up a nicer DSLR that I just need to figure out how to attach to my bike, or myself so that we can get a much more true sense of the light pattern rather than the typical overblown or underexposed GoPro video.

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*EDIT* I want to note that the button will NOT be backlit, there was no control board in place when I took that picture, so that button is just getting illuminated from some stray light. The status lights will be illuminated, but will be programmed to be very dim when in use, brightening when there is a status change, or the battery levels drop to alert the user. Otherwise it will be a very low-lit unit so that your eyes are not picking up a bright foreground object.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, your offering looks very interesting. I didn't have a chance to read it all, but will come back later.

I think your best way of promoting your light would be to get in touch with Francois of the mtbr management team and send him a light for evaluation. Every year starting in the fall he puts together a massive night light review that's better than anything the magazines do. He will do an unbiased review of your light and give it a fair judgement. Last year he gave his award for best light to a company that no one here had ever heard of.
I agree. I had reached out to the MTBR staff a month ago or so explaining what I am doing, and wondering what the deadline was to get into the shootout, but I have not heard anything back yet.

I do slightly disagree with some of the testing merits (namely the lux testing) but it's great to have all the lights lined up at once. I'd LOVE to see MTBR adopt the same testing strategy that Action LED Lights uses (https://www.action-led-lights.com/pages/bike-light-beam-patterns) as I think that is a fantastic measure of beam performance and light. As many of you know, big lumens doesn't always mean big performance, and the MTBR test seems to lean more on the lumen number than a legitimate lux number, as well as very hard to get a true sense of the actual beam pattern in pictures. But they at least do go and ride to get an idea of what performs best in the real world and don't just pick the biggest lumen number, so that is why I am trying to find out what I need to do to get my lamp in there.

Action LED does a great job objectively measuring the beam performance of many lights. Only improvement I'd love to see is to have all the measurements normalized in terms of lux output, so easier to jump between graphs and compare different lights.
 

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First, welcome to MTBR lighting and night riding forums. Your lamp design ideas looks quite interesting. I like the look ( as it does seem to be somewhat the same form factor as some German Euro-lights ) but the most important thing when it comes to this kind of lamp is the actual beam pattern it produces.

Over the last year I've been really interested in lamps that provide a "upper cut-off beam pattern" primarily for road use. Of course as you already know designing a lamp that can produced the desired effect is not an easy thing to do ...BUT...more people are starting to get it right and I find that a most pleasant prospect.

In keeping with the idea of creating a new and innovating product designed primarily to mimic a beam pattern from a car I personally have a number of priorities when considering using such products. First, I like the beam pattern transition from near to far to be as smooth as possible with as little dead space, spots or artifacts in the beam pattern as possible.( less light up close but more at distance ). It also needs to be fairly wide so we can spot those deer that graze on the side of the road way before we get to them. Last but not least, brightness is an issue but so is beam tint. Real important not to use an LED array that might be too bluish. Bright white ( for road use ) works really well for road use, NW for MTB'ing. Lastly, the optical array needs to supply a defined cut-off. Personally I find if this cut-off is nice and sharp it helps the user aim the light properly. Then again nothing wrong with a smoother transition at the upper cut-off as long as the user can still figure a way to aim the lamp properly.

I look forward to seeing the reviews on your lamp when you get it finished. You have some intriguing ideas. Just keep in mind you have some good competition but if you create a lamp that can cover the needs of mountain bikers and road users...that indeed will be some feat if you can pull it off. Just keep in mind the needs of MTB'ers are not the same as road users. What I tend to like on a road bike is not the same as what I like on a MTB. On a mountain bike you almost have to have two lamps because at times the bike goes in one direction while you need to look and see in another. A single bar lamp is simply not going to be the best option when mountain biking. That is why almost all MTB'ers use a bar and helmet lamp.

Road use is completely different but only because at most times the needs and environment of the cyclist on the road is different. As you already know, a lamp using a single optic or mirror array can produce the desired beam pattern for road use. However, as nice as that beam pattern may be it may not be able to produce the needed "high beam" effect that cars get when they hit their high beams to see farther into the distance. Road cyclists need this feature too. So far I've not seen anyone pull this off just using a single optic array and the ones who are using two optics ( built into one lamp ) have not been real successful ( IMO ).

At the moment I use both a lamp designed for road ( cut-off beam pattern ) and a separate MTB type lamp on my road bike to provide the occasional needed high beam function. I rarely need to use the high beams but when I do it comes in REAL handy. Now if your lamp can remove the need for an extra lamp that would indeed be something to see.

One last parting comment; If your lamp can do what you say it can it would be really important if that lamp included some type of remote feature. Lamps that feature remote control are really popular and give the user many more mounting options as well as making sudden light-mode changes much more easier and safer to accomplish.

Anyway...keep up the good work. I like new ideas
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In keeping with the idea of creating a new and innovating product designed primarily to mimic a beam pattern from a car I personally have a number of priorities when considering using such products. First, I like the beam pattern transition from near to far to be as smooth as possible with as little dead space, spots or artifacts in the beam pattern as possible.( less light up close but more at distance ). It also needs to be fairly wide so we can spot those deer that graze on the side of the road way before we get to them. Last but not least, brightness is an issue but so is beam tint. Real important not to use an LED array that might be too bluish. Bright white ( for road use ) works really well for road use, NW for MTB'ing. Lastly, the optical array needs to supply a defined cut-off. Personally I find if this cut-off is nice and sharp it helps the user aim the light properly. Then again nothing wrong with a smoother transition at the upper cut-off as long as the user can still figure a way to aim the lamp properly.
Sounds like you have my optic defined just right. :D The width pushes -40 to +40 of intentional designed light. Typical higher end lights like the NiteRider have a maximum beam width of around -30 to +30. The smooth blend from near to far is absolutely spot on. It's easy to figure out the transition amount with a little math and some spreadsheet work.

Candela = Lux × (meters)^2

Do the work to find out the distance from the lamp mounting height to the ground plane, then back track the consistent lux you want to maintain (in this case, I chose 60 lux) and what you get is basically a logarithmic gain in candela (light intensity) that helps make that even transition from directly in front of you, where you don't need that much light to make 60 lux on the ground, to 20-30-40 meters out where you need a LOT more light intensity to illuminate the ground at a consistent 60 lux. This is why the beam patterns I designed have a fairly rapid falloff when you are just looking at a color plot, or shining against a wall. However light that up on a pathway, a trail, or a roadway, and it all clicks. :eekster:

Candela Plot.JPG

Agree on the color temperature. Most modern automotive LED's are using a more natural white color because of that reason, and because they have to conform to SAE standards for color temperature. You tend to find the blueish tints being used in cheaper lights, or lights with poor thermal capacity that causes a color shift.

I look forward to seeing the reviews on your lamp when you get it finished. You have some intriguing ideas. Just keep in mind you have some good competition but if you create a lamp that can cover the needs of mountain bikers and road users...that indeed will be some feat if you can pull it off. Just keep in mind the needs of MTB'ers are not the same as road users. What I tend to like on a road bike is not the same as what I like on a MTB. On a mountain bike you almost have to have two lamps because at times the bike goes in one direction while you need to look and see in another. A single bar lamp is simply not going to be the best option when mountain biking. That is why almost all MTB'ers use a bar and helmet lamp.
I do hope that I didn't lead people on thinking that the road and the MTB optic are in the same lamp. They are separate units that are using two different optical reflectors. This is why I am intending on offering both units for purchase on their own at a much lower price without the battery pack in case users want to have a MTB specific light for their trail bike, and a road specific light for their dedicated road bike. I know that some users might use the same bike for both, but that might be a future product where we can make both work (and I know we can).

I fully look forward to hearing the opinions of this lighting community once we have a beta prototype and start delivering the first production units. Any improvements will be quickly implemented if the light is a success, part of the positive of having it all designed here, including the software, electrical, mechanical, and optical design work.

As for the bar mount vs helmet mount. I personally do not like helmet mount lights when I am doing my own trail riding, but I come from a rally racing background where sliding the car sideways through a fast corner with the light pods on the hood is natural to me. So I've always prioritized a wide even beam pattern over a peaky spot or floody flood type lamp. I chose the beam angles from my own personal trail riding experience that ranges from fast flowing wide open fields to some real narrow tricky rock gardens. It's of my personal opinion that the consensus of needing a helmet and a bar light is born from dealing with primitive optics for years and years. I know I'm personally building this light so that I will never even have to think about using a helmet light. BUT I am not going to discount developing my own helmet light as I've got some ideas on ways to improve those. :)

Road use is completely different but only because at most times the needs and environment of the cyclist on the road is different. As you already know, a lamp using a single optic or mirror array can produce the desired beam pattern for road use. However, as nice as that beam pattern may be it may not be able to produce the needed "high beam" effect that cars get when they hit their high beams to see farther into the distance. Road cyclists need this feature too. So far I've not seen anyone pull this off just using a single optic array and the ones who are using two optics ( built into one lamp ) have not been real successful ( IMO ).

At the moment I use both a lamp designed for road ( cut-off beam pattern ) and a separate MTB type lamp on my road bike to provide the occasional needed high beam function. I rarely need to use the high beams but when I do it comes in REAL handy. Now if your lamp can remove the need for an extra lamp that would indeed be something to see.
High beam is indeed a tricky thing to do. I have ideas for a future light for road use that can do this, but this current lamp will be essentially a "low beam only". However the peak lux of this low beam at 10' is over 1700 lux with a 1500 lumen source, in a 12* wide hotspot. Which is just about as bright as a high end newer LED headlight hotspot. Essentially what I am getting at, is that the distance that you will be able to see on the road, as well as not blinding oncoming traffic when aimed properly, is going to be further than almost anything that's been produced. I look forward to trying it out on the road in person myself. I've done a few night rides on my road bike, but I tend to shy away from doing that as I am not totally comfortable with local drivers on my own, otherwise I have some local downtown night rides with groups of people.

Anyway...keep up the good work. I like new ideas
:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: Looking forward to sharing more soon!
 

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...I do hope that I didn't lead people on thinking that the road and the MTB optic are in the same lamp. They are separate units that are using two different optical reflectors. This is why I am intending on offering both units for purchase on their own at a much lower price without the battery pack in case users want to have a MTB specific light for their trail bike, and a road specific light for their dedicated road bike. I know that some users might use the same bike for both, but that might be a future product where we can make both work (and I know we can).

I fully look forward to hearing the opinions of this lighting community once we have a beta prototype and start delivering the first production units. Any improvements will be quickly implemented if the light is a success, part of the positive of having it all designed here, including the software, electrical, mechanical, and optical design work.
Actually, I did think you were talking about an all in one MTB/Road set-up but I guess that helps explain the two different types of beam patterns you were showing. My personal opinion is that you should primarily focus on the road version. Good MTB set-ups abound and most people don't have a problem finding optical set-ups that suit their MTB needs.

When it comes to providing a high beam set-up for the road there really is no reason to have to get fancy. A simple single or duel spot optic can do the trick quite nicely. I wouldn't think it too hard to design a lamp with the main mirror optic supplying the low beam and then perhaps including a couple simple single LED spots in the upper part of the light to provide the high beam throw when it is needed. This said it would be nice if this high beam section had a separate "tilt' feature that could allow the user to aim the high spot beam for maximum effect. Once again, a remote that would allow the user to activate a high beam when needed would be excellent.

Regardless of everything I just said about what I'd like to see in the future, right now I would be super happy with a road lamp that provided the beam pattern I mentioned before but yet bright enough that perhaps ( when in it's brightest mode ) an extra lamp for high beam might not even be needed. My current road low beam lamp has a maximum output of near 500 lumen. This actually works very well for me 90% of the time but when I hit a long down hill and my speed picks up I kick in the extra lamp if no oncoming cars are coming. Since the extra lamp has a remote It's super easy to turn it on or off with one quick push ( Gemini Duo with duel spots and wireless remote ) My current road lamp is the Raveman CR-500. As a single optic lamp It supplies a very nice wide even beam pattern with sharp cutoff. These will be one of your biggest competitors because they are upgrading their lamps and so they will likely be better than the current selection that they presently sell.

In the future I look to be reviewing one or two of the newer Raveman lamps whenever they are released. This said I don't show product favoritism unless it is well earned. Competition is always welcome....Make it better and they will come.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When it comes to providing a high beam set-up for the road there really is no reason to have to get fancy. A simple single or duel spot optic can do the trick quite nicely. I wouldn't think it too hard to design a lamp with the main mirror optic supplying the low beam and then perhaps including a couple simple single LED spots in the upper part of the light to provide the high beam throw when it is needed. This said it would be nice if this high beam section had a separate "tilt' feature that could allow the user to aim the high spot beam for maximum effect. Once again, a remote that would allow the user to activate a high beam when needed would be excellent.
There actually is some really trick optics being used in automotive stuff for compact high-beam like optical parts. One hint is to look at the newest Cadillac esclade headlights. The trouble with it is the high tooling costs. They require optical grade polishing (SPI-A1), but we have been locating some more high quality suppliers who are getting the job done despite stringent requirements. Then a matter of chip selection and packaging.

It's definitely in the future planning though! I'd absolutely love to have a "do everything" kind of light, the real undeniable challenge will be to make it outperform everything and not end up being $500. The economies of scale make it harder. Hence why we are starting out with more standalone lights to get established, let people know what good optical systems can be like when they experience them in person, and then build from there.

If really interested in finding out more about automotive optical design, or more generally whats called Illumination Engineering as opposed to optical engineering (since that focuses on telescopes, camera systems, and not illumination) then I'd suggest trying to find these books. Basically a collection of whitepapers published by various companies every 2 years.

isal.jpg

What is really cool is that a lot of new automotive lighting systems are trending towards making ultra-efficient optics due to the wave of electrical cars coming. Figuring out how to get the most out of a limited number of lumens, yet still provide enough lighting for a car to hit the highway at 80+mph. While also reducing system sizes due to styling requirements. All of this stuff can trickle down to bicycling as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We are starting to put stuff together for a kickstarter we are planning on running in a few weeks. The product will move forward irregardless as we have some local shops who are willing to stock it and help us promote. Though we want to reward the early adopters with a discounted light to help get it in the hands of people quickly so we can get some reviews out there!

https://www.facebook.com/OutboundLighting/videos/360380247715720/

Will be 100% waterproof. Will have to determine the depth rating, but should have zero worries about removing it when hosing your bike off, or to put it under a faucet to clean the mud off of it!
 

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What is Focal Series?
This is the first product from Outbound. Using OSRAM Black Flat automotive grade chips, a downward firing multi-segmented reflector, automotive grade optically clear silicone lens and a magnesium die cast body to wrap everything into a highly efficient, well-engineered, robust bike light that I hope will redefine what you come to expect from a bike light for the trail.

I strongly welcome any questions, opinions, and more! I want this to be the best light, period!
Very interesting project, very different than all others we can usualy see. This I would call inovative!

There are many questions appears in my mind:
- how/where do you place leds against reflector? How many leds?
- isn't magnesium worse than aluminium in heat transfer?
- how do you get so high electrical efficiency?
- what connector do you use? I doubt you normaly use DC5521 connector,very likely planned only for separate light head?

there are many more, but enough for now. Thanks.
 

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Very interesting project, very different than all others we can usualy see. This I would call inovative!
+1 on this.

I understand to some degree the difficulty in creating the reflector shape and the cost of tooling to build those reflectors. I've always been intrigued by shaped beams since seeing the Phillips Saferide. I've cut commercial parabolics at varying dimensions and rigged them on my "test bench" to see the resulting beam shape. None were good enough to pursue building a housing around. I even machined some aluminum parabolas on my CNC and polished them with what I had on hand. Again none were promising enough to try to build into a light. Short of having some optical design software (or even any real knowledge of optical design) I decided to quit wasting time on those experiments.

Ever since my bad experience with NR halogen lights pushed me to start building my own LED lights, I've never considered buying a "commercial" light. If this Outbound product comes to fruition, I may have to reconsider that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Very interesting project, very different than all others we can usualy see. This I would call inovative!

There are many questions appears in my mind:
- how/where do you place leds against reflector? How many leds?
- isn't magnesium worse than aluminium in heat transfer?
- how do you get so high electrical efficiency?
- what connector do you use? I doubt you normaly use DC5521 connector,very likely planned only for separate light head?

there are many more, but enough for now. Thanks.
1. The LED's are sitting around a focal length of 7-8mm. The OSRAM and the Lumileds LED's are what is considered "5 die", so 5 tiny little LED's put into one package. The size of the chips are around 1mm on each side, the tiny emitter size combined with the large lumen amounts means a VERY high luminance value, or the brightness of a chip. This is why they are used in automotive lighting and not chips like the CREE XML2 or any X-lamp series. This is a picture of one of the raytraces from the side. Don't infer anything from the direction and stuff of the rays, this is from an older revision of the reflector that I had prototyped and realized I wanted to make more changes.

Raytrace Side.jpg

2. You are correct that from a pure numbers standpoint, die cast magnesium is 'worse' than die cast aluminum (about 25% reduction in thermal conductivity). However when you can engineer a heat sink to optimize the fin height, fin thickness, and more importantly are in an environment that allows for high convection, such as sitting on a bike handebar, then you can make a magnesium heat sink work as well as an aluminum one, but without the weight penalty. This is why a lot of OEM automotive lighting is moving towards magnesium heat sinks with either ducted air tubes, or fans inside the headlights.

I had run simulations while developing the product to go between aluminum and magnesium, mostly as a sanity check. But when switching just material properties in a simulation, the aluminum ends up only being 1% better as far as the reduction in temperature at the LED junction. However the weight increase would be almost 50% since you can't do the thin features in aluminum that you can get away with in magnesium. This is why the board, the thermal interface, and the heat sink design matters far more than the heat sink material. We are planning on using copper core, or potentially ceramic core. Ceramic is a fairly new tech being introduced in headlighting, the cost is higher, but since the actual MPCB size is fairly small, we might be able to make it work within our cost structure.

(P.S. this picture is a simulation run at 17W of thermal heat generation, at 8mph wind speed at 68*F initial ambient. Overbuilt with future chips in mind that won't be available until the automotive OEM's get the huge MOQ's going that it can trickle down to the lesser numbers that we can obtain, few years out for that. We won't be running anywhere close to that thermal load)
Thermal Aluminum.JPG

3. Asked my electrical engineer your question: "We are using a high quality DC/DC switching boost controller designed for efficiency at it's core (MP3431GL-Z). This coupled to an ultra efficient LED lets the battery generate more light and less heat. It might surprise some people that it is a voltage controlled chip, not current.... we are controlling the current by controlling the voltage. Gives us very tight control of the actual current in the micro."

It helps that he's been doing this stuff for years, but more on the motor side in high power RC electronics. :)

4. Right now we are indeed planning around a DC5521. I want the ability to use older battery packs one may already have laying around. Almost half of our cost is in the batteries themselves. So if I can offer a cheaper light to get more people interested by saying they can use their old battery packs then I think it's worthwhile. We won't lose or gain more money either way, and I think just helps make the price of entry a lot more enticing ($135 vs $225) to get more people experiencing the power of a good lamp.


Hope this answers some of your questions!
 

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Yes, thank you. Things are more clear now. I didn't think of using 5 die led. This would be somewhat similar to 5 Cree XP-E just on same base. Obviously we are quite limited with our knowledge and you have experience in automotive world which is different on what we are used on.

So it is OSLON KW HLL531.TE or KW H5L531.TE ? Anyway both have same size of 5.5mm2 radiating surface but bit different forward currents. With typical Vf 15.1V you need to step up (boost) the voltage from 5-8.4V range. This would need high current flow if I understand things correctly. That's why I'm skeptic about DC5521 connector. Will try to find datasheet about MP3431GL-Z chip.
 

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Yes, thank you. Things are more clear now. I didn't think of using 5 die led. This would be somewhat similar to 5 Cree XP-E just on same base. Obviously we are quite limited with our knowledge and you have experience in automotive world which is different on what we are used on.

So it is OSLON KW HLL531.TE or KW H5L531.TE ? Anyway both have same size of 5.5mm2 radiating surface but bit different forward currents. With typical Vf 15.1V you need to step up (boost) the voltage from 5-8.4V range. This would need high current flow if I understand things correctly. That's why I'm skeptic about DC5521 connector. Will try to find datasheet about MP3431GL-Z chip.
The Altilon or the Black Flat would be more in line with the new CREE FX series that is being made in response to those. The XP-E is "smaller" than the typical CREE, but with the domed primary optic, it is trying to create a bit more even illumination suited more for architectural lighting rather than an "open die" where the relative intensity curve is suited more for directional illumination. The extremely high brightness is key for highly optimized optics. This is why lasers were pursued for a bit a few years ago for high-beam lighting (BMW and Audi both touted laser lights for their cars for a bit) because the intense laser point creates a very high luminance. However in the last year or two the luminance of LED chips quickly are catching up to laser to the point laser lighting is almost done away with. Neat novelty for a bit, but the extra cost and compliance measures just wasn't worth the small performance improvement.

We started testing with the HKL531.TE, and may still go with that just pushing it a bit harder, however if my SMT supplier can get their hands on the Altilon SMD in the 5-die configuration for a good price we may go with that just because the lumileds are something I am a bit more experienced with. I use the ZE S chip in a lot of applications for the work I do in my other job, and know they are just powerhouses. The lumiled stuff can take a thermal beating well beyond their ratings and just keep trucking. It also is nice the Lumileds rates their stuff at a "normal" operating range rather than cold like OSRAM does.

KW HKL531.TE | OSLON Black Flat | OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

http://www.lumileds.com/uploads/657/DS175-pdf

Downside is that unless you buy 50,000 of them at once, it's veryyyyy pricey. Was able to secure a supplier for the OSRAM chips however. Both are extremely similar in performance, so it's really going to come down to availability.

As for the DC5521, most of them are rated for 220V and 6.5A. So with the chips pulling around 13-14V and at most 1.2A we don't really have many concerns about the connector itself. Despite the increased performance, these will be running less total wattage than a typical high power light. That's one of the exciting things about this. Even if we run at 1300-1500 lumens, it will have the same light intensity, but more width and even illumination than something like a NiteRider Pro 1800 lumen, except twice the battery life because of the efficiency we are introducing. Especially if users try out the adaptive mode that very slowly reduces the light output as your eye gets used the surrounding light so that you can eek out another 40-50 minutes out of the battery pack instead of just running a solid "high" all the time.
 

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I couldn't get datasheet for MP3431GL-Z chip unless I register as a company at Monolithic Power System. Can you provide it on private at least?

For Lumiled 5x I've found Vf 15.7V @ 1.2A (85°C) so close to 19W while Osram 4x has Vf 12.2V @ 1.2A (25°C) thus only 15W. We need to add some power for driver and loses in wireing. This would lead to 3-4A from battery on highest power if we simplify calculation and take up to 24W as its worst then 6-8V from battery gets 4A down to 3A if driver is regulated.

Don't know what connectors you can get, but I'm shure those Chinese ones has quite big resistance. Did not measure it, but on Zanflare B3 light I've meassured 0.38V drop from battery to the driver at its higest power @5A and about 0.20V @3A. That's why I'm concerned about those connectors.
 

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I don't think 60 lux is enough. I use B&M dyno lights with cutoff beams, similar to the beams you're proposing. They went from 60 (Cyo) to 80 (Cyo premium), now 100lux(IQ-X). Thats for road riding, you probably want more on the trail.
 

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I couldn't get datasheet for MP3431GL-Z chip unless I register as a company at Monolithic Power System. Can you provide it on private at least?

For Lumiled 5x I've found Vf 15.7V @ 1.2A (85°C) so close to 19W while Osram 4x has Vf 12.2V @ 1.2A (25°C) thus only 15W. We need to add some power for driver and loses in wireing. This would lead to 3-4A from battery on highest power if we simplify calculation and take up to 24W as its worst then 6-8V from battery gets 4A down to 3A if driver is regulated.

Don't know what connectors you can get, but I'm shure those Chinese ones has quite big resistance. Did not measure it, but on Zanflare B3 light I've meassured 0.38V drop from battery to the driver at its higest power @5A and about 0.20V @3A. That's why I'm concerned about those connectors.
PS. I couldn't found anything about Cree FX series, only annoucement about new NX technology and XLamp XD16 which can't find either.
 

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I don't think 60 lux is enough. I use B&M dyno lights with cutoff beams, similar to the beams you're proposing. They went from 60 (Cyo) to 80 (Cyo premium), now 100lux(IQ-X). Thats for road riding, you probably want more on the trail.
Correct. What I was describing was 60 lux on the ground at various distances for consistent bright lighting. They rate their lights as peak lux at 10m looking straight forward typically. For the same measurement the trail version will have 80+ according to simulations, and the road version will have 140-150+ lux because it's a bit more concentrated beam due to the cutoff.

For comparison. The Niterider pro 1400 measures a peak of 65 lux at 10m. The Ion700 measures 60 lux (much narrower hotspot concentration than the niterider, so similar peak lux, but half the lumens). But have to remember that peak lux isn't everything. Some of the chinese lights have peak lux of 200, but the beam is so narrow that even on the road it's hard to use. So have to balance power and width.
 
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