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Old 05-20-2015, 01:57 AM   #1
flinders_72 OP
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Torch v LED driving lights

May be a stupid question but what would be the issues with using one of the newer powerful LED torches as a spot driving light? I understand battery life is one and it'd need to be fixed solidly and within easy reach to turn off for oncoming traffic.

I live in a regional area of Australia with a LOT of nocturnal wildlife, mainly rabbits and kangaroos and have been researching lighting options to be able to see them sooner. The roads here are pretty much straight and flat and oncoming traffic is sparse. I don't ride a lot at night but I do sometimes and like the idea of also being able to take the torch off the bike for other use.

With LED torches now getting to 5000+ lumens is it a realistic alternative for that odd occasion of night riding?
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Old 05-20-2015, 02:58 AM   #2
PeterW
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Legality ?

It has to switch off when high beam switches off, and it has to be separately switched.

Other than that, it should work. Well, one other problem, even a LED torch putting out 5000lm isn't going to last long on batteries and odds are it'll be designed around 3.7v not 12v.

So, it can be done, but making it work will be challenging. There are pretty decent LED spots which just bolt on, a switch and a relay gets you good driving lights and legal nowdays for < $50.

Pete
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:06 AM   #3
worwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flinders_72 View Post
With LED torches now getting to 5000+ lumens is it a realistic alternative for that odd occasion of night riding?

Not saying this does not exist, as I have not been looking at 'torchs'. But LEDs are running somewhere near 100lm per watt. So you are talking about a 50 watt torch. That is a lot of heat and would need a large heat sink or fan. And the battery wouldn't last too long, or it would be pretty large. Or the info you are looking at is stretching the facts.
Do you have a link to one of these?
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:09 AM   #4
flinders_72 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
Legality ?

It has to switch off when high beam switches off, and it has to be separately switched.

Other than that, it should work. Well, one other problem, even a LED torch putting out 5000lm isn't going to last long on batteries and odds are it'll be designed around 3.7v not 12v.

So, it can be done, but making it work will be challenging. There are pretty decent LED spots which just bolt on, a switch and a relay gets you good driving lights and legal nowdays for < $50.

Pete
My trip into town is 30km one way and that will be where it's used and probably not much else, which is why I thought about having it usable outside the bike, ie, a torch. There's hardly ever any traffic until I reach town but if there is I'll see it long before the lights become a problem as it's pretty much dead flat and wheat farming out this way. However, the hassle may not be worth it and you're right, spotties are getting cheaper by the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
Not saying this does not exist, as I have not been looking at 'torchs'. But LEDs are running somewhere near 100lm per watt. So you are talking about a 50 watt torch. That is a lot of heat and would need a large heat sink or fan. And the battery wouldn't last too long, or it would be pretty large. Or the info you are looking at is stretching the facts.
Do you have a link to one of these?
Here's a couple:

http://www.reactual.com/outdoor-equi...ed-lights.html

This one would be very impractical for a bike:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgEuHxfGk5M
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:12 AM   #5
popeface
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This may be way off, as I haven't looked this up in a while, but I was looking up LED vs HID vs Halogen driving/spot lamps for cars a while ago. IIRC, the LEDs were best as far as power consumption, but not that great at actually getting light at any distance, while the Halogens were the worst for efficiency, but could throw the light a long distance. I can't remember how the HIDs performed... I know they put out a lot of light for the power, but I can't remember if the reach was comparable.

Anyway, just thought I'd bring that up if you're considering putting extra lights on the bike. I don't know what kind of power output you're planning on having, but you could probably pick up something like a Hella 500FF driving lamp for relatively cheap... I think a package of two (with relay and basic wiring) is under $100 here. Half-decent LED lights tend to run a fair bit more expensive. As long as your electrical system can handle the load, you should be fine with halogens... You could probably swap some of your other lights to LEDs if you want to save a couple watts.

Just a suggestion, but I think getting dedicated lights is a good idea. I like HIDs (have them in my car), and I like LEDs for general lighting, but I've still got a couple massive halogen driving lights that work great for throwing light down the road. Personally, I can't justify the cost of a dedicated LED driving light over a halogen, but YMMV.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:32 PM   #6
flinders_72 OP
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I converted my Triumph Sprint to HID high beam (and swapped the two low beams for the one high beam and vice versa, with appropriate low beam cut off - I didn't see the sense in having two lights for riding on well lit roads and just one extra for riding where there's no light) and the change was enormous, although they were 6000k so a bit blue-ish and IMO they don't light as well as lesser k. If I were to convert to HID again I'd go for 4000 to 5000k instead.

As for the torch, around here a lot of sheds are being broken into lately and a nice powerful torch would help if I hear a noise as my shed is 150m away from the house. The ThruNite that I was considering runs off 10 - 17v and I was thinking of making some kind of system where I could run it from the bike.

I'll probably end up getting the powerful torch and putting dedicated spots on the bike, although I'll still be working on the removable torch idea to make it a worthwhile project. I'm one of these guys that likes to make things that end up costing me more than buying one already made.

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Old Yesterday, 08:50 AM   #7
portablevcb
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You mean like these?

Cheap LED flashlights. Wired to 12V with voltage reducer. I put these on just as marker lights, but, they light up the sides of the road nicely too. Yes, switched cause they will blind oncoming drivers at night. Oh, and they were $20 for three of them. Yes, I can cheap. They have lasted for over 10k miles now.

http://home.comcast.net/~vbice/pwpim...26_resized.jpg
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Old Yesterday, 04:26 PM   #8
JR356
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A single or pair of LED's would be the better option for all the reasons described above.

The Hella FF50's are good halogen lights,I have used a set in the past and are relatively inexpensive for the set.
However,with a decent set of LED's you will never have to worry about bulb life.

JR356
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Old Yesterday, 05:12 PM   #9
mouthfulloflake
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very nice!



Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb View Post
You mean like these?

Cheap LED flashlights. Wired to 12V with voltage reducer. I put these on just as marker lights, but, they light up the sides of the road nicely too. Yes, switched cause they will blind oncoming drivers at night. Oh, and they were $20 for three of them. Yes, I can cheap. They have lasted for over 10k miles now.

http://home.comcast.net/~vbice/pwpim...26_resized.jpg
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Old Yesterday, 08:11 PM   #10
flinders_72 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb View Post
You mean like these?

Cheap LED flashlights. Wired to 12V with voltage reducer. I put these on just as marker lights, but, they light up the sides of the road nicely too. Yes, switched cause they will blind oncoming drivers at night. Oh, and they were $20 for three of them. Yes, I can cheap. They have lasted for over 10k miles now.

http://home.comcast.net/~vbice/pwpim...26_resized.jpg
Similar but easily removable to be used as a torch and they need to shine a long way down the road, preferably 300m+, as a spot. Of course if it would flood 300m+ down the road that would be even better. I'd like them powerful enough to fry any bunnies that get in the way so I can skin and eat them on the side of the road if I get hungry. Well, not really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JR356 View Post
A single or pair of LED's would be the better option for all the reasons described above.

The Hella FF50's are good halogen lights,I have used a set in the past and are relatively inexpensive for the set.
However,with a decent set of LED's you will never have to worry about bulb life.

JR356
That's probably the ones popeface meant because I looked up Hella 500FF and they were huge. Edit: The Hella FF50's are around $A180 on ebay delivered here for the pair.

When I sold the Sprint I took out the HID's (legality) and still have them. I also replaced the projector lights because the two low beam reflectors had shed most of their reflective coating (pre-HID) but the high beam was fine so I tried the HID in the ex-Sprint high beam last night using my 12V power pack and it was perfect, if not a little larger than a torch. I'll see what I can do with that for the bike and if I can make it practical I'll use it and buy a torch for home, although I still believe a removable torch for the bike is a good idea for someone in my situation that rides on open, unlit roads once a week or less and could use a powerful torch for home.

Thanks guys.

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