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What is the deal with the new light systems vs. the old school ones?

1362 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  roadiegonebad
I have been out of the night riding scene for a LONG time. I was into it in the mid-90s and did some 24 hour races. I have a Vistalite set (2x10w 1x15w). It is dececent, just bulky/heavy, has upgraded halogen bulbs. Run time is about 3 hour total if you don't run the 15 all the time. What is the deal with the new smaller, LED set-ups? What is the primary difference between them and what I currently have?

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Hi TiGeo, quick answer:
LEDs are at least 3-4 times as power efficient as halogen bulbs. That says it all ;-)
Some other goodies:
LEDs are smaller than halogen bulbs.
LED optics can be built much stronger than halogens (= pretty much indestructible).
Light emitted by LEDs can have a varying color temp, halogens are usually quite low, which means they look dimmer/yellower unless you overvolt them.
LEDs have a longer lifetime (>10000 hrs), compared to halogens.
LEDs (the diodes) are suprisingly cheap, usually they are responsible for a small fraction of the cost of a LED lighting system.
LEDs can be dimmed almost infinitely, and they get more efficient. Halogens can be dimmed but efficiency gets worse.
These are the most important things I could think of.
Of course there are some other things that come to my mind when comparing an older lighting system with today's technology, mostly battery technology: LiIon is getting used extensively, it is a bit pricey compared to older techs (such as NiCd, or especially lead-acid), but much, much smaller cells are capable of holding the same amount of energy.
If you want to try out what's changed in the past 10 years or so then buy a Magicshine (<$100) and a single-LED torch (~$20 from DX), and compare it to your existing system. It will be brighter, much, much smaller (with less weight) and will run for longer than your halogens.
Or borrow a dual-P7 light from someone (Niterider 1200, Darkstar), or perhaps the Lupine Betty XPG to make you want to have more ;-)))
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I think that pretty much summed it up..thanks!
I had (still have) that exact Vistalite (2x10w,1x15w) set with the Nicad batteries. There is no way to compare the new LEDs compared to that system! The term, "Night and Day" isn't even close. I got 2 Magicshine sets from Geoman, and while I only have 3 (it maybe 4) nightrides in with them this past Fall, I wouldn't go back to the old set!

And I haven't even used both at the same time. My buddy was using 1 since he doesn't have lights yet.

LED is just a stop gap till this 'carbide' technology takes off.

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What he said...

3-4x more efficient means you can carry 1/3-1/4 the battery, so less weight and less cost.

My Magicshine is 1/3 the weigh of my NightRider Digital Pro 12e, and kicks out more light for twice as long.

The NR went for $500 back in the day, although I got mine for $50 on craigslist with a dead battery, and blew another $50 rebuilding the battery myself. The MS goes for $90 or so landed IIRC.
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