Blog Comments

    So, do you have a video of that truck being driven down the street? Bet it would scare the crap out of dog walkers.

    I hear what you are saying, thank you. I'm sure I will have to get use to it. Thanks again!

    - Roger
    Updated 04-01-2012 at 03:45 PM by Roger Huston
    Yes, the rear light in the video was setup with the elliptical lens properly oriented for horizontal light-body orientation. It's hard to tell in the video, since the intensity kind of blows out the camera, and at night, you're right, the lens orientation probably isn't too terribly important. In the daytime, however, having that elliptical properly oriented does buy you a significantly wider angle of coverage.

    There's a lot of competition on the market in terms of bright MTB headlights, but I think on the whole, these are pretty unique.

    I like how the double pulse looks on the red, but let me ask you how was the light mounted on the truck vert. or Horiz. and if Horiz was it set up with the lenses for horizonal ?

    After watching the video and seeing just how bright the red light is I really dont think it will make a difference if it is set-up for vert or horiz. All I care about is making sure that cars see the lights both front and back. I know that some of the people I ride with will love your lights. I am also goint to show some of our local Mountian bike people your light. Our local mountian bike club has a few night rides, and I know that many bitch about there lights not being bright enough at times. Well I am going to make the lights I am getting the show case lights for this area.
    I don' think there would be any possible way for the Cateye mount to accidentally come apart since it has a positive spring-loaded release mechanism... but yes, you could certainly tap the back of the housing similar to what you can see in the Pictures Forum (post #8).

    Just make absolutely certain that you're not drilling into the electronics cavity. I also have some anodized angle brackets with the same set-screw locking scheme that you could potentially use for a permanent mount. Let me know if you'd like to see some pics.
    Stephen, I remember seeing that one of your customers drilled and tapped the DS-500 to mount it to an under seat bag. I might consider something along the same line on my rack, with it being vertically mounted. I can take my soldering iron and melt a hole into the bottom of my bag on the rack for the battery. The DS-500 I would like to mount permanently. I had a black burn 4.0 mounted in back but this past week I hit a pothole and it flipped off somewhere. Not being able to see if the light might come off from rough roads, I would like to figure out a way to mount if permanently.
    Yeah, I hear what you're saying. Not having the extra LED on the tail really stemmed out of the case that you made (running both lights on the same battery) as well as the fact that in most cases you won't actually be looking at the tail for that information. PLUS it helps me out quite a bit in the assembly department.

    I think that you'll find with the new method of interrupting the flash pattern that it'll be quite easy to see at night while you're riding. You get so much RED sprayed out on the road directly down around the rear wheel, that you pretty much can't avoid catching just a little of it in your peripheral vision. Or it might only take a subtle glance back in the rear view mirror to see it. The amount of reflected RED light that you get back off of road signs and lane markers is really quite impressive.

    As far as checking when you're done with the ride. Yes, if you got off and didn't see the active warning pattern, then you'd need to turn off and back on momentarily to re-activate another 5-cycle medium warning.

    I haven't talked about it a whole lot, just because its easy to get bogged down a bit by the infinite combinations, but obviously the run times are all completely dependent on the power level and mode being driven. One of the new features of the controller is that we can now set the "hysteresis" level for the voltage detection. Basically, this just means that once the threshold has been tripped, it won't reset until the input voltage goes back above the threshold level by the amount of programmed hysteresis (0.4V in this case). This is a very good thing when running both lights off of the same battery in flashing modes. Otherwise, you can get all kinds of weird, false flashing indications on the status LED because you're going into and out-of one of the warning thresholds due to the fluctuating load on the battery.

    All that to say, you have to make sure when you're checking the battery status that you do it for the mode that you're interested in, WITHOUT first commanding to a higher mode, which could potentially trip the detection. So lets say your interested in looking at the status for your next ride, which is going to be at night, but you've just finished up a daytime ride using the EMS mode. Let's say you get off the bike and notice that the taillight EMS mode is showing the interrupted pattern indicating 20% remaining (this is still a lot of time by the way). You can't just switch it to a lower power mode and get a new reading (because of the hysteresis). FIRST you need to switch it to the lower power mode, THEN turn the light off and back on to see where you stand in the lower power mode. If you did this and found that you were still in the 20% range, you might consider charging (although you could still run for hours in the double pulse mode at 20%). If you found that you were in the 50%-20% range in the lower mode, then you'd be good to go.

    More than anything, I think using the light over time and becoming accustomed to the kind of run times you can get in certain modes relative to the warning indicators will be most helpful... I hope.
    Hello Stephen,

    Thank you for your explanation, it is very helpful. I was wondering if the L5 lightning flash is so bright that it would blind someone and that is why you recommended the other double flash mode. I hadn't considered it was because of the warning indicators. Of course, if someone runs the the taillight and headlight off the same unit, then they could just use the indicator on the headlight. For me, I'm not sure I will see the taillight low battery indicator while I'm riding (daylight - no way; night - maybe, if it is dark and I can see it reflecting off of something around me)
    For me, since the tail light does not have an LED indicator, I will probably just charge the rear battery every time I need to charge the headlight. I'm running both at the same time anyways and they should probably drain close to equal and at the flash patterns I will use in the daytime (most of my riding now that daylight savings is here).

    After thinking about it, I wish the tail light had an indicator light, because I would just check it when I got off the bike at the end of my ride. Oh, the red light is steady flashing, I'm less than 20%, time to take it in and charge it. I usually ride for an hour or two, maybe 3 at a time. With front and back flashers on during the day, well I may get what 10 or more rides over a couple of weeks before I would have to recharge my lights. Sure, if I was going on a long ride at night, well, I would make sure they were fully charged, like everyone does.

    My point is, if I ride a night for 2 to 3 hours, well I know I’m going have to take the lights in and charge them as they were running in steady mode and at times on high. I have a feel for that as I am sure most people do who ride with them. As for the daytime in flasher mode, I just need something I can look at after a ride that lets me know if I need to charge the lights or if I can leave them be. Would I have to turn off my lights, then to turn them back on to know if I was between 50% and 20%? That is where the rear LED for me, would come into play. I would know where I stood simply by checking both LED lights as I got off the bike.

    - Roger
    Updated 03-30-2012 at 09:18 PM by Roger Huston
    Hey Roger,
    I'd have to recommend no on that one, for a couple of reasons.

    The PRIMARY reason for saying no, however, is because of the low-battery warning scheme while in flash mode. The taillight doesn't have a separate battery status indicator LED, but instead relays this info to you via the main LEDs. When kicking around ideas for the best way to do this in a flashing environment, George (Maxflex designer) and I agreed that "suspending" the flash mode with a temporary steady burn was the best way to handle this.

    For any given flash mode there's a defined LOW level and HIGH level. So in the case of the "Lightening" mode, it's L3 and L5, respectively. The kicker is that when the Medium (50% remaining) or Low (20% remaining) battery threshold is reached, the light will suspend flash mode and transition to solid burn for 3 seconds at the respective HIGH level for the current flash pattern, i.e. level 5 in this case. So you'd essentially inadvertently "kill" anyone behind you if this happened at night. During the middle of that 3 second steady burn interval, you'll see a single "blip" down to the low level (L3 in this case), to indicate that you're at the MEDIUM (50% battery level), then the flash pattern resumes for another 10 seconds before repeating the warning.

    At the 50% level, the warning is momentary. In other words, it will only repeat 5 times and then time-out, so-as not to be too nagging. Not a big deal obviously for the taillight, but a nice feature if using on a helmet mounted headlight. When you hit the 20% level, however, the steady-interrupt warning feature (now with a double blip down instead of a single) will continue every 10 seconds till the battery is depleted.

    So I'd have to say, use it with caution, only with a relatively full battery. Good thing is, if this happened at night while you were riding, you'd definitely see it and be able to switch it to another mode.

    I'd also have to say that the double pulse pattern is so good for the taillight at night that you probably won't feel the need to use the "Lightening" mode. I'll be interested to hear some more user feedback on this as the lights make out onto the road.

    Great job on the Updated Light Flashing modes. Question the L3 to L5 Lightning strike mode - you say is good for use on the Headlight, could that also be use on the Taillight at night since it is only a L3 light? I know you have the double flash L2 to L3 for taillight, just wanted your thoughts on Lightning for Taillight?

    Looking forward to getting them, I just took the old lights off. Can't wait to get them mounted and in use once I get them mounted I will share pics of them. One change I have already made to my trike is the back wheel, I am now running a Sram S80 Rim.
    Yours shipped out today. Let me know if you don't get the tracking no. from USPS. Yes, early on I didn't have a good hardware solution for the rack adapter. However, I've since acquired some nice black oxide 5mm hex bolts (same size as what's typically used on water bottle cages). Anyway, they match the anodized coating on the adapter perfectly. Now on the back side, there wasn't an option for a metric black flange lock nut, so the one's that I provide are zinc coated. So, if they show, you might still be able to use some paint there. Not sure why the pic isn't showing up? I'll email it to you.

    The pic didn't show up, I trust you knowing that I now have my plan for mounting the lights. I am looking forward to when you finish and send my lights. I seen in a pic of the rack mounting kit that the nuts and bolts for it are silver. Me being conscious about colors matching, I went out the other day and picked up a small can of flat black spray paint. This way I can give them a shot of flat black color to match the rack and the bike.
    Hey Doug,
    Yes, it can. See pic here...
    Hi! Stephen I can only imagine what it is like trying to build the lights. I have a question about the Cateye H-27 spacer. I was wondering if the spacer can be mounts right to the light? Once I mount the lights to my trike more than likely I will leave them mounted, and only disconnect the battries for recharging. The rack mount I will mount upside down so it will get the light up higher, I want the rear light as high as I can get it for making me more visible to cars since I am laying down and at tire level to cars.
    Doug Eccles
    been following your build! great job
    Thanks very much for the info. Looking forward to play with it.

    You'll be surprised... if you use the level 3 flash pattern (Dinotte 400R Equivalent), you could get around 20hrs. Using it during low light conditions, you'll want to run steady level 3, or the double pulse pattern, although you might not be able to access the double pulse if you're starting out with a fully charged battery. The battery needs to get down to around 12.2V (down from 12.6 fully charged) before you'll be able to produce level 2 output. This is one of the reasons the battery lasts so long. It's running at the absolute sweet spot of efficiency for the controller, and practically direct-driving the light at the lower levels. Hoping to have at least the basic mode/operation chart posted today.
    Thank Stephen for all the good work and updates on the build up, like Nikolai said the detail and workmanship that you put into the light where awesome. Mine should be here tomorrow and can't wait to mount it on the bike. Also i will be using it on Sunday on a 170 mile ride here in Fl, I know the battery will not last the brutal 9 to 10 hour ride but it will be great using it as the sun comes up and maybe later during the day.

    Hey Nikolai,
    Yours will actually be going out tomorrow (Thurs) along with several others, so look for tracking info then!
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