Helmet Lights and Others
Updated 11-20-2007

Helmet Lights

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While this method uses LED modified Maglite Minimag AA flashlights, it will work with any small flashlight. To make these size lights economical, I use AA rechargable NiMH batteries. ( Update: New on the market are the new NiMH hybrid rechargeables. These have various branded names as Hybrid, Eneloop, or labeled “Ultra Low Discharge”. These do hold a useful charge for months and are definitely preferred if the lights are stored and not used daily.) A good AA/AAA charger is necessary to properly charge MiNH rechargeable batteries, such as the Maha MH-C401FS charger, or the more versatile model MH-C9000 charger. These photos show the method of attachment. It probably will work only on certain helmets that have the ventilation slots aligned forward. On my Bell Metro helmet, the side slots align perfectly straight forward.

If the helmet vent holes do not align properly for “dual” side mounts, then maybe a top mount can be used for a single light. This method uses a shaped block of polyethylene foam to support the light. These photos show the details.

Handlebar Mount of Minimags Lights

This method of mounting also uses a block polyethylene foam to mount the two LED converted Minimag AA lights. It is mounted the same method as the 20 watt larger light. (Note: the red elastic holds the lights in the grooves while pulling the larger elastic over the lights. Without the red band, there is the danger of slipping and dropping the lights.) Of course there is no need for two lights, except that I already had two of them. This combination is included in the brightness comparisons.

Relatively Cheap Off-the-Shelf Alternatives

Of the new LED flashlights on the market now (2005), many are overpriced, too heavy or just not bright enough. One that seems acceptable is sold only by Lowes Home Improvement stores for $16. (The light is made by a subsidiary of Lowes) The flashlight uses the 1 watt Luxeon bulb with a excellent Fraen optics. This gives a very well defined beam. The light is whiter than the Cateye. It uses 3 AAA batteries and gives a stronger light than the Planet 1 watt bike light. The 'Task Force” light will only last about 1-1 1/2 hours to 50% output compared to the advertised 30 hr duration for the 'Planet' light. (With a 1 watt Luxeon bulb, I also suspect the 30 hr duration for the 'Planet' is exaggerated.) Using AAA rechargeable batteries this light could prove economically usefull.

It mounts nicely with a polyethylene foam block and elastic band. It is stronger than the Cateye 5 led. It is compared in the brightness tests with other lights I have. This light serves as an effective backup light, always carried in your bag along with your tools. It can be mounted on the bike helmet in the same manner as the "AA" MiniMag lights. Never keep rechargeable batteries in a backup light, always use alkaline which will properly hold their charge. It is o-ring sealed, so it is waterproof for rain and shallow immersion. The rear switch is a clicky type that is o-ring sealed when not being depressed. This light is shown in the brightness comparisons.

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