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Thread: User Feedback Thread

  1. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Miami, Florida - United States of America
    04/23/2012 UPDATE

    Still enjoying riding at night with these lights and having great success using the following setup:

    DS-500 (Rear Light) on Mode 5 - L2/L3 Double Pulse

    DS-1300 (Front Light) on Mode 4 - L3/L5 Lightening Strike

    I finally reached below 50% capacity on my 5200 mAH battery from the "factory" original initial charge! One odd thing, per the Manual (dated 04/03/2012) I should have experienced the following when the Independent Status LED on the DS-1300 was SOLID RED:

    "Flash pattern suspended momentarily with steady burn at the current high power level for 3 seconds, with a single pulse to the current low level after 1.5 seconds."

    But I did not, the flash pattern continued the same without hiccup. Did I find an undocumented feature? Not sure but currently I am fully re-charging the 5200 mAH pack.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    04/23/2012 UPDATE

    Still enjoying riding at night with these lights and having great success using the following setup:

    DS-500 (Rear Light) on Mode 5 - L2/L3 Double Pulse

    DS-1300 (Front Light) on Mode 4 - L3/L5 Lightening Strike

    I finally reached below 50% capacity on my 5200 mAH battery from the "factory" original initial charge! One odd thing, per the Manual (dated 04/03/2012) I should have experienced the following when the Independent Status LED on the DS-1300 was SOLID RED:

    "Flash pattern suspended momentarily with steady burn at the current high power level for 3 seconds, with a single pulse to the current low level after 1.5 seconds."

    But I did not, the flash pattern continued the same without hiccup. Did I find an undocumented feature? Not sure but currently I am fully re-charging the 5200 mAH pack.
    Hey Nikloai,
    No, nothing unusual there. When I ship the the DS-1300, the way I have it configured, it will ONLY display the battery status via the case-mounted RED LED. To get the full story (and I'm still not sure I explained it very well), you need to check out this BLOG entry.

    The long story short is that if you want to enable the main LEDs to show you the battery status (for example, for a helmet mount application), then you have to go through the menu programming and:
    1) Restore the "default" state of the firmware
    2) Re-set the temperature trip limit to 60 deg C (up from the default of 50, which is what is used for the taillight).

    Now the headlight will act just like the taillight with regard to flashing out the battery status with the main LEDs. The caveat is that after performing the factory reset function, the headlight will be in "multi-mode" (i.e. all 5 power levels available in steady mode). As soon as you switch it back to "three-mode" (the preferred headlight run-mode), then you'll lose the main LED status indication. No matter the particular mode or state of the firmware, however, the case-mounted LED on the headlight will always indicate battery status as documented.

    This quirk is the result of a single line of code that was left out of menu #5 and the above procedure is really more of a "work-around," so that helmet users can at least have the option of seeing the battery status indicated by the appropriate flashing of the main LEDs.

    Charge the battery whenever you like, no need to wait till it's discharged. I tried to set the 50% indication to be fairly accurate on a "timeline" basis for any given run mode. In other words, if the light would run in flash mode 1 for 10 hours, then when the status LED first turns on and stays solid, indicating 50% capacity remaining, you would expect roughly 5 hours of run time remaining. As soon as you change power levels, however, you essentially switch to a different "timeline" so a lot of the battery status usefulness will come as you get familiar with how the various power levels behave.

    Also be aware that it is totally normal to feel a little warmth in the PCB inside (under the skin) of the battery pack as it's nearing the end of charge and even for a while after it's removed from the charger due to the self-balancing function of the PCB. This may diminish with time as the cells may become more precisely balanced.

  3. #23

    DS on the Trek Y-Foil, User Feedback

    Here are some excerpts from a recent DS-500 customer regarding the setup on his classic Trek Y-Foil

    "I mounted your taillight on my bike less than 5 minutes. It took the place of my Dinotte 140-R. The 5400 mah battery fits fine in the saddle bag and the short cord length is perfect. The matte black finish of your taillight makes it look so unobtrusive on my bike. But wait until I turn it on! Funny how the 140-R had made my prior Planet Bike Superflash seem like a toy, and now your taillight makes the Dinotte 140-R seem the same. I can’t thank you enough for all the time, effort, research, and thinking that it must have taken to get your product out to market. Your taillight is the new King of the Hill.

    Congratulations on addressing a long-unmet need of daytime bicyclists for a taillight that absolutely, positively guarantees that they will be seen by motorists. I really like your eye-catching EMS-flashing sequence. God only knows how many lives you will have saved with your brilliant taillight. I’m anxious to go on my 77-mile training ride this Saturday to show off your terrific invention. I’ll send you some photos of your light mounted on my Trek Y-foil after I set it up Friday morning for a short test ride. I only hope the Hercules Police don’t pull me over for impersonating an ambulance!

    I’m happy to hear that you have a couple of headlights left that aren’t spoken for yet. Please do reserve one for me. I can hardly wait for that one now to replace my MagicShine headlight. Christmas has come early this year!"
    Click image for larger version. 

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    [UPDATE - with headlight - May 3, 2012]
    "Hi Stephen,

    I received your headlight and battery yesterday and installed it to go on a 20 –mile test ride this afternoon after work during daylight. It looks and works like a champ! Not only did cars behind me give me a wide berth when passing, but cars a block ahead would stop before intersections to wait for me to pass. I think they were just curious to see what was that uber-bright yellow UFO that was slowly floating towards them. I saw a number of oncoming drivers in the opposite lane open their widows to get a better glimpse of the flashing yellow strobe on my bike and some even gave me a thumbs-up and a smile. I can only guess they were also bicyclists who were pleased to see a new safety accessory to add to their own bikes. I also passed a couple of bicyclists who then sped up to pass me because I think they wanted to get out from behind the bright taillight. Now I’ll have to train extra hard during this last month before the AIDS LifeCycle Ride on June 3-9 so that I can ride fast enough to not be in front of any one cyclist for too long. Your lights are giving me added incentive to train harder.

    I’ll send you some photos of the lights’ installation on my Trek Y-foil. It looks so slick and aerodynamic that it looks like OEM parts for the bike. Thanks for doing a terrific job with these lights. I’ll tell everyone who asks that I got these from you and that I am absolutely thrilled about my purchase. Now, get ready for a slew of orders from a whole host of “early-adopters” who just have to have one of your amazing lights!"

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  4. #24
    Hello everyone, last week I received my DS-1300 (from the second build). I thought I'd give everyone my impressions from receipt to first ride. Opening the box, the packing was top notch, the light and batteries were individually bubble-wrapped and plenty of packing material kept the other accessories from moving around. Nice job.

    As for the quality of the light, I can sum it up in one word: Professional. Construction is spot on, no corners cut. As Stephen has described in his journals, he has taken meticulous care to assemble the light and it shows. The machining is clean, no rough spots. No gaps at any interface. No misaligned seams. Perfect wire exit, the grommet is not crushed or compromised. It is very clear to me that Stephen cares about the work he does.

    I will use the light primary for night time mountain bike rides so I bought both a helmet mount as well as handlebar mount. As you all know, Stephen uses Cate-eye mounts and accessories and let me tell you, they are strong and adaptable. The helmet mount attached easily and was adjustable enough to throw the light at the right angle down the trail.

    So eager I was to check out the light that I went out for a night ride the same day the package arrived (thanks to fully charged batteries). I've been riding for decades and mountain biking for as long as the term existed. I've ridden at night in 24 hour events and fun rides. The trails typical for my area are tight, twisty singletrack with short steep climbs. I've been riding halogen lights for their reliability and simplicity. I never took the leap into HIDs. Stephen's light would be my first modern light, so it'll come as no surprise to you that when I first turned on the light, closed the garage door and rode onto the neighborhood street, I was utterly amazed at the quality or light! Stephen's design is perfect for my needs. A narrow, focused spot with a wide halo is exactly the pattern I need for the trails. In the past I've always ridden a wide beam on my bars with a narrow spot only helmet. On the trail this helps provide some depth of view and clarity while allowing me to see around the corners. Having only the light on my helmet means I have to adjust my field of view, but there is so much light, I didn't have to slow down at all for lack of view of the trail. It was as if I was riding during the day! The side spill is also a great feature as it allowed my peripheral vision to catch features on the side of the trail. I used level 4 for most of the trail and only used 5 for the heck of it. Level 4 was bright enough.

    I can't say enough good things about this light and Stephen. The DS-1330 is a high quality, professionally designed and constructed light with excellent beam quality and light output. Stephen provides industry-leading customer service and personal attention to details. Thanks Stephen!


  5. #25
    Thanks very much for the review Frank! I'm really glad to hear that the side spill lighting is useful on the trail. I haven't had much of a chance to go off-road with the headlight, but just in my "neighborhood" testing, it seemed like it could be very helpful to have some awareness of your periphery to prevent that "riding in a tunnel" syndrome. Seemed like it might allow you to "relax" a little more and not have strain to pick out details off to the side.

  6. #26

    DS-1300 + DS-500 Review

    Here's another good review from email exchange, reprinted here with permission. Picture was obviously prior to mounting the headlight.


    You may cash the check I sent you. I have no intention of returning these lights; they’re worth every penny.

    Your lights are very well designed and very well constructed, but it’s not the engineering that makes these lights so awesome. These lights are a new gold standard in conspicuity. With these lights, drivers can see me for over a mile in broad daylight, giving them plenty of time to account for me when they approach from behind or ahead. I’ve had over 100miles in on them now, and it’s clear that drivers give me a much wider berth than before when passing from behind, and are willing to wait much longer for me to pass before pulling out at intersections. Your tail-light has no equal in brightness. In fact, I prefer not to run it at its brightest setting when I’m group riding because it’s too bright to ride behind even in broad daylight. Because of the color, flash pattern and beam pattern, your headlight has no equal for conspicuity. While brighter headlights exist, none can match yours when it comes to being noticed, especially during the day, dawn, and dusk.

    Thanks to your lights, I feel significantly safer on the road under all riding conditions.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #27

    More DS-500 Customer Feedback (May 3, 2012)

    Another good email exchange with a recent DS-500 owner:

    I got it, thank you very much. I can tell you already that there will be no trial here, the build quality and performance far exceeded my expectations. You aren’t getting it back. I took it for a spin last night after work using your recommended night time mode at the Rosebowl and I can tell that this is already making me a safer rider. As a city rider, and as you know, the biggest threat is people in cars who aren’t paying attention. After last night Cars will either not pass, or when they do move WAAAY over into either the opposing lane, or the second lane. At a point, when I was going through the modes, I for a second almost thought that it was too bright!

    You have a winner here, and the fact that it’s made in the USA by an American just makes it that much better. I am not going to lie, i was a little apprehensive about shelling out that kind of money to a one man shop in Alabama for a product i had never seen first hand. But you, and it are the real deal. When my cheap 1000 lumen headlamp eventually fails, I will be giving you another call. Thank you for making such a needed and great product, also thank you for such great customer service.

  8. #28

    DS-1300 Customer Feedback (May 12, 2012)

    Another good email exchange reprinted here from a DS-1300 customer.

    "Hi Stephen,

    I successfully got the package on Friday evening and already installed
    the light on the bike. There was a shipping delay because of the
    holidays and the weekend, otherwise I guess I might have received it
    even before.

    Tonight I'm going to test ride the light when doing the commute back
    from work, so then I'll be able to tell you about my first

    P.S. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the light was much
    smaller and lighter than I initially anticipated (even with the rulers
    on the photos it seems bigger than it really is). That's cool!

    Thank you again and I'll follow you up with my real road test results soon,


    I was just able to do the first test drive of my new DesignShine light
    during my return commute from work.
    It became completely dark and we had a rain just before - exactly the
    conditions I wanted to test the new light in (my biggest complaint
    about all of my previous lights was lack of help when riding on wet
    roads, especially on not too well lit city streets (the lights from
    above worsen ability to see well in the dark) - I've hit a fair share
    of potholes on my night commutes (about 50% of my total riding time).

    My previous light was Sigma Pro LED which, at ~$180 is not that cheap
    and is not considered exactly weak. I don't recall its lumen rate
    (they officially rate it at 90 lux which is, obviously, not the same
    measurement parameter). So far, it was barely sufficient when running
    on its highest setting when riding on wet roads. I was greatly
    relieved to find out that the DS light is significantly more bright
    even at the level 3. Just for fun, I switched it to L5 (it was late
    enough and I was going by almost deserted bike path so I didn't have
    to blind anyone. Well, there were a couple of non-lighted oncoming
    bikers riding out of the corner when I didn't have time to dim the
    light. I remember them saying something in my direction but I didn't
    recognize what exactly since I rode past them pretty fast. But to me
    that was the obvious sign that this light does get noticed! By the
    way, after a 30-minute ride the casing was not even warm. Maybe the
    fact that I was riding against a head wind was cooling it so much

    It's definitely nice to feel safe riding at 20-25 mph even on wet and
    twisting paths. I could see the reflective signs from about half a
    mile probably and I can even read the fine print on the information
    boards now

    Thus, it looks like it's one of those cool bike parts giving the most
    value for the price. I've had various problems with all of my Sigma
    lights in the past but I suspect I should no longer run into those
    issues again and I'm looking forward to using this light for years to

    Thanks again and kudos for making a nice product at a really good price,


  9. #29

    DS-500 feedback from London, 5/14/2012

    Some good DS-500 feedback from a customer in London.

    "Hi Stephen

    The light is great thanks.

    In London I've had many people ask about the light on my 1 hour cycle into work in the morning. I definitely have the best back light in town!

    I have passed your website onto about 5 people that have asked about the light while I've been out of the bike.

    The first day I used it during daylight on EMS setting a London cab driver drove along side me and said "is that's dazzling!"

    Enjoy the light. Glad I got the bigger battery as I cycle 2 hour return commute each day

    How are you going with your next batch?



  10. #30

    DS-500 Review with distance MAP

    Thanks very much to Nick for taking the time to put together the following review. I especially like the Google Map graphic.

    "I was hoping to put more time on the lights this week, but, things didn't come together.

    I _did_ get to try a couple things. First test, bright sunny day, about 6 PM, I placed the taillight on a high part of my deck in EMS mode, then I drove out to the next street to the east, did a uturn and drove back. I hadn't started looking for the light yet because I figured I wouldn't have line of sight, then I saw a bright red flash in my peripheral vision out the side window, I looked over and I could easily see the light. I didn't even have to look for it, it was obvious, to the point I wanted to get back home and turn it off!

    Rough diagram of setup, green dot represents my deck railing, black line indicates direction tail light was aimed, red line indicates roughly where I first noticed the light out of the corner of my eye, yellow arrow is direction of vehicle travel. Unless blocked, light was plainly visible and eye catching the whole drive back, even when quite far off axis. On axis I have to believe it would be attention getting well over a mile while driving into the setting sun.
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    I put the lights on the bike tonight and did a super quick 2 mile loop. Headlight was more than good on level 3 even with the yellow filter on, I wouldn't run the filter at night normally, but I had it on anyway since I had been playing earlier. I would have liked a bit more side spill for making a tight u-turn, but I need to try that again without the filter, and perhaps with a different lens setup.

    I suppose I have mixed feelings about the taillight at the moment. I was running it on mode 5, L2/L3 double pulse on the ride tonight, riding on a semi rural 45MPH two lane with about a 1/3 of a mile to go until a stop, when a car came up behind me and despite my efforts to be all the way to the shoulder and coast, would not pass. I eventually came to a stop short of the stop sign, and they slowly crept by. I'll have to ride more to see if that's unusual, but I thought it was interesting. They didn't make any comment or other reaction, but I suppose I'll take the lack of passing and/or getting yelled at in exchange for being noticed. I have the light running level at the moment, I'll try tweaking it downwards, maybe they'll move on

    I'm going on a weekly daytime ride with a few friends tomorrow, one is considering starting a 40mi round trip commute a few times a week, a large part of which is on somewhat unsafe roads, plenty of shoulder, but 55-60MPH and a bit of curve most of the time. Turns out he was already considering better lighting for daytime visibility and called me for my opinion last Sunday. I didn't mention the Designshine setup yet, as he was looking at blinkies in the sub $30 range, but after talking a bit he wasn't opposed to spending considerably more for something that was actually powerful. I mentioned that I had tried the $80 light and motion vis180, thought it was insufficient for daytime use, and that I had returned it. At any rate, are you planning a build 4? I can't quite tell from the blog. I think he'd be really happy with the DS-500, just not sure what delivery time he'd be looking at. I plan on a little demo for him tomorrow.

    Great lights! Thanks Stephen!"

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