Planet Bike Super Spot 1-Watt LED Bicycle Light
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- Ultra-bright bicycle light with 1-watt LED bulb
- Several times brighter than standard LED bulb
- Includes easy-to-use Quick Cam bracket mount
- Runs for up to 30 hours on 4 AA batteries (included)
- Weather-resistant construction; limited lifetime warranty
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|Package Height||2.2 x 4.7 x 8 inches|
|Shipping Weight||0.5 pounds|
Whether you're a 24-hour racer or a super commuter, the Super Spot bike light from Planet Bike gives you the power to light up the night. Planet Bike's brightest LED headlight, the Super Spot is equipped with a 1-watt LED bulb that helps you see clearly at night while alerting drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians to your presence. The weather-resistant construction, meanwhile, lets you ride in wet conditions without fearing any problems. And unlike many bike lights, the Super Spot's battery carriage works as efficiently with rechargeables as with traditional AA batteries. The Super Spot, which comes with QuickCam bracket mounts that let you adjust or remove the light without tools, runs for up to 30 hours on four AA batteries (included). It's also backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
About Planet Bike
In November of 1996, Planet Bike was founded in Madison, Wisconsin. In many ways, Planet Bike began as a social experiment that dedicated itself to doing business in a different way. Instead of being just another company that develops and sells products with profit as its end goal, Planet Bike wanted to help bring about positive change for people, their communities, and the environment.
Despite being a simple machine, the people at Planet Bike have always believed that the bicycle has great potential to help improve the world and the lives of the people in it. From the start, they have embraced an alternative corporate purpose which seeks to help get more people on bicycles by making communities friendlier places for the self-propelled. By donating 25% of company profits to causes that promote and facilitate bicycle usage, Planet Bike hopes to make an impact.
Social experiments aside, Planet Bike was born from the heart of a cyclist with a goal of making innovative, high quality, and practical bicycle accessories. Simply put, they strive to design and develop the best bicycle products in the world. In the company's short ten year history, they have made important product innovations within the bicycle industry. Advancements include the 4-line computer which is now a standard in the industry and the world's first self-contained HID light. Not bad for a company that ten years ago started as a one man operation. Today, while still a small company, Planet Bike continues to evolve and improve their product line with the goal of always striving to build accessories that make it easier for people to ride their bikes. Since 1996, Planet Bike's financial support of the grassroots bicycle movement has totaled $500,000. By 2010, they have made a goal to donate $1 million to organizations that are dedicated to making America a friendlier place for cyclists.
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You may feel it to be a bit weak in fully dark road but it is very good on any partially lighted road--I guess that's all you can ask for a 4AA light. The white light feels brighter than cars to the oncoming traffic or pedestrian, so you would be very safe with it. The best part is the design--super easy install and, of course, one button to detach (like other brand). And it is one button to release the batteries for change.
This is a terrific value for a 1W LED bike light, especially one which uses a Luxeon 1W emitter. I'm surprised they didn't advertise the fact that it's a Luxeon emitter all over the packaging.
The beam itself is quite bright, but not well focused (see Cons). It's good enough for biking slowly at night, but don't go too fast! It's not THAT bright. You may want to mount two of them at this price.
It uses standard AA batteries. I find this a HUGE plus since I can use standard rechargable AA NIMH batteries. The way the batteries eject from the back is pretty neat as well.
It has a VERY long run time - certainly much longer than I ever intend to ride. At 1W power consumption, the batteries will last about 8 hours at full brightness. The stated 30 hour run time is misleading, however. It's an unavoidable physical fact because four AA batteries only have about 10 watt-hours of energy, and you lose a few W*h due to the regulator. The remainder of the 30 hours you will get a very dim light, enough to be seen but nowhere near enough to see with.
The mount is secure, but it's still a snap to remove the light. I love using this as a hand held flashlight as well.
The focus is not very tight, BUT it's adjustable! Disassemble the light and you will see that you can rotate the heatsink/LED module. I backed mine out about two turns and now the focus is MUCH better.
It uses a simple but inefficient resistor to regulate the current. I was hoping for a more sophisticated switching current regulator, but then the price probably would have been two or three times as much. Still, the resistor does an acceptable job since it doesn't have to drop too much voltage.
The plastic is somewhat flimsy. I don't think it could survive a fall from the bike at high speed, but then again, the mount is very secure so there's no reason you should be dropping it onto the pavement.
The switch is very firm. You really have to press it to turn it on. I find this a bit annoying.
This is such a low price that I decided to risk it and swap in a 4W Seoul Semiconductor LED emitter. It's relatively simple to unsolder the 1W emitter and the SSC 4W emitter just drops right in (with some fresh thermal compound of course). However I found out that the heatsink is tied to ground while the back plate of the Seoul is positive, so I had to swap the positive and negative leads on the LED circuit board to avoid a short. I then replaced the 5.6 ohm resistor with a 2.0 ohm resistor to increase the current. It's now MUCH brighter and it's a PERFECT light. A comparable light would have cost three times more than this!
In an effort to extract maximum brightness, I tried reducing the resistance to 1.67 ohms by soldering a 10 ohm resistor in parallel to the 2.0 ohm resistor. Using freshly charged NIMH's, the LED current increased from 0.7A to 0.9A and voltage went from 3.2V to 3.5V. Watt-wise, this means an increase from 2.2W to 3.2W. This is still within the electrical limits of the SSC P4 LED, but the LED was now overheating! The color of the beam started turning blue, which happens when the yellow phosphors get too hot. At this point I shut it off and removed the 10 ohm resistor to prevent further damage. It looks like you'll need to upgrade the heatsinking of the Super Spot if you want to extract the full power and brightness from an SSC P4 LED.
One other thing I have noticed is that Planet Bike has discontinued the Super Spot, so buy them while they last!
MORE POWER, SCOTTY!
I finally got around to attacking the heat problem with the Super Spot. The problem is that the stock heatsink is simply too small to keep the Seoul LED cool at higher power. I made the heatsink "larger" by epoxying several pieces of 12 gauge copper wire into the grooves of the heatsink. The wires are bent back so they fit right behind the reflector. I used Circuitworks conductive Silver Epoxy, but Arctic Silver or Arctic Alumina Epoxy would also have been a good choice. Here's a picture I took of the back side of the reflector, showing the copper wires glued into the heatsink: [...]
Testing at 800mA with the LED/reflector unit outside the case at room temperature results in a heatsink temperature of 145F using my Type K bead thermometer placed right next to the LED. Prior to the heatsink modification, this would have resulted in a 195F temperature, so the LED is running 50F cooler! Lower temperatures increase LED longevity and also improve LED efficiency and brightness.
I also pulled out the passive current limiting resistor and swapped in a switching regulator from dealextreme. This has the quadruple benefit of improving run-time/efficiency, keeping the brightness constant despite a dropping battery voltage, and reducing overall (waste) heat.
I have two of these now mounted on my bike and it outshines 10W halogen lights and even rivals multi-hundred dollar HID lights. WOW!
Most recent customer reviews
Pros: Decent quality construction.Read more