Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My New Helmet Light




LED headlights are getting better all the time. This little guy is a one Watt Luxeon LED with very good power regulation. Regulation means that the light gets the most from a set of batteries and keeps the light at a given brightness instead of dimming as the batteries weaken. The Princeton Tec EOS has three brightness settings and a flash mode. I actually find the flash mode to be too slow to be useful on the bike and it flashes at full power but these are minor nits. I'd also prefer if the light used AA instead of AAA cells. So I guess there are two things I don't like about this light.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives. The light is small and is supposed to be waterproof to one meter. (I don't ride under water so I haven't tested that feature!) It's easy to operate and the batteries are easy to change. The light pattern seems to be just right for my riding. I use this light on my helmet but it also comes with a handlebar mount. I run the light at the lowest power setting most of the time and that's fine for reading my bike computer or cue sheets. The middle setting is better for general riding, spotting road signs and potholes and things like that. At the highest setting, you get the brightest beam but of course that eats through the batteries quicker.

I'm pretty sure the circuit in this light was designed by Willie Hunt, a real guru in bike lighting circles. And yes, I'm enough of a nerd that I actually keep track of things like that. Anyhow, the Princeton Tec EOS is my latest favorite bike toy.

The link at the top of this post will take you to Amazon and they have a good deal on this light now. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that if you buy the light via the link, I get a little kick-back from Amazon. This internet stuff is wild. In the old days I'd just tell my buddies about stuff and that would be it. Now there are actually micro-revenue streams. But I really do like this light and I'm not writing about it because of the kick-back. I'm writing about it because it is a cool light (in a bike-nerdy sort of way!)

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent

10 comments:

Cellarrat said...

Here's my fav new light...

http://www.backcountry.com/store/BLD0721/Black-Diamond-Zenix-IQ-Headlamp.html

Works very well get about 8 hrs on the brightest setting... I have a blackburn x3 and its almost to much light. Both togather are way awsome. However won't be able to use the x3 on the gdr because of the need to plug it in =)

Brian in Seattle said...

Hey Kent,
I got one too! I posted about it on 12/30. This blog stuff is fun.
I linked to you on mine.
I'll come see you at the new gig soon.

Brian

Al Maviva said...

Hey Kent. I am going to attempt 3/4ths of the local brevet series, and I'm also looking for something that is a bit better for my bike commuting than the blackburn LED light I use now. I'm a bit leery of the heavy battery packs (expensive, they wear out, you can screw them up with poor recharging discipline, they break water bottle holders, etc), and need something with more than 2-3 hours of burn time if I'm going to pull of the 400k. I'm thinking about asking Harris Cyclery to build me a nice rugged Mavic Open Pro around a Shimano 3 watt dynamo hub, which is said to be near Ultegra quality, but at a third of the price of the Schmidt generator hubs. I know there is a stoplight issue with generator hubs, but I really like the battery-less, self-sustaining nature of them, and I think you can get a decent halogen lamp at 3 watts output. Any opinions on this approach?

Alex said...

Not sure if those are available in the UK but they look really sweet.

I have been using a Nite-Hawk 1w LED light from Canada and found it good but a little narrow. It runs on 4 AAs for 5hrs on full and has a bar and helmet mount.

www.solidlights.co.uk make a 6w dynamo hub light with regulator and stand-light circuits! Not cheap but for extended trips it would be good.

Alex

Kent Peterson said...

Hey Al,

Generator hubs and 3 Watt halogen lights are a nice way to go. We've built up a lot of them at Sammamish Valley Cycle. The SON hubs are nicer than the Shimanos but the Shimanos are fine. My friend Alex has both and has no real complaints with either one. Most people like the more focused E6 or Bisy lights over the Lumotecs but the Lumoptec has a bit broader beam and some people prefer that.

No matter what you have, you will want some kind of additional, battery powered light. The one thing a generator light won't help you with is changing a flat tire in the dark. That's where someting like the EOS really shines (so to speak!)

Kent

Alex said...

The Solidlights 1203D has a standlight built in but head lamps are the thing for repairs and general round-the-camp faffing :)

Once I get the house purchase out the way (could be years!) a SON hub and Solidlights set-up will make it onto my bike.

Alex

Anonymous said...

I've got a wireless turning and breaking ligh designed specially for bikes. If you are interested on the ciruict just mail me. compuvtt@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Any plans to upgrade the Luxeon in that thing with a Cree XR-E LED? :D I'll have the same headlamp come Christmas, and that's what I'm going to do.

Shane said...

Works very well get about 8 hrs on the brightest setting... I have a blackburn x3 and its almost to much light.

cheap helmet said...

Not sure if those are available in the UK but they look really sweet.