LED Lights For Outdoor Use Vs Halogens, Cordless Spots Etc

As you see, my recent reviews have covered several different types of LED torch. The design of these is getting better all the time. The cheapest ones tend to use standard LED epoxy packages with no reflector or a simple flat reflector made of aluminised plastic, sometimes there will be a small lamp with a big magnifying lens over it, other times a multiple number of relatively low power LEDs are used to get a higher output. Better quality comes with a high power flat emitter with a proper reflector and all the of the best torches do this. Due to having a hobby until recently that required high brightness lights to be able to spot people and landscape in dark conditions (i.e. no streetlights) at long range, I have had an interest for sometime in very high brightness portable lights, ones that can be carried on the front of my bike in particular. The furtherest I went with this was a Narva 180 mm 55W car spotlight on the front and a 12V gel cell battery on the rear with obviously wiring in between. This was a lot of fun but I decided for various reasons to give this hobby away and sold everything except the Narva which I still have. Still it was more practical than various cordless spotlights on the market which can have a battery life of 10 or 15 minutes per charge when continuously operated or are impossibly huge and heavy etc. At the same time I was also experimenting with MR16s which can now be got in LED models, the latest I had was a 3×1 watt CREE unit from Jaycar with 270 lumens output which is still around somewhere. LEDs main advantage is much more efficiency, now about 5x but practically the same as fluorescent so there is as yet no advantage in commercial lighting, it is more beneficial in applications where fluorescent is impractical. So what would be needed to get a 55W output from an LED? It would probably have to have a 10 W output and perhaps 15W input power so having only a quarter of the power draw of the 55W halogen bulb would probably lead to 10x the battery charge life, therefore a much more useful battery life of 2-3 hours or a smaller battery. Result being a smaller unit perhaps one that can run off NiMH D cells instead, 6 volts or whatever.

The fact at the moment though is that a 10W output emitter would be fairly expensive presently, once the prices come down it will be more worthwhile. I did some research with the Jaycar online catalogue to prepare this article and found they have some torches with claimed outputs up to 176 lumens although no telling how usable that is. So there are a range of torches out there other than Energizer that are putting out good strong light outputs although how they compare in practice really remains to be seen. What I would actually like to see is some really bright lights to fit on the front of a bike, at the moment you have a choice of either a light powered off AAs that is all in one, or a much higher power one with a separate battery. Whereas it should be possible to make one that uses Cs or Ds in the body, granted it will be a bigger unit but the power increase will be extremely useful. The main uses I am now interested in for LED lighting are for cycling, and camping. The latter being served well by the Energizer FL452 4 D folding LED lantern as previously reviewed for use in a tent type of situation. On the bike I have my Cateye headlamp, however I feel with considerable justification that a much brighter headlamp could be produced under $100 and that has obvious benefits for visibility (both ways) at night time. As noted before I played with MR16 LED lights, but no one makes these as something that is all in one or can mount straight onto handlebars. The fittings I had had to be bolted onto the bike with a separate battery pack. Whilst such lights have their uses they are very expensive high end models, all I want is something like 100 lumens in a narrow beam running off perhaps 4 Cs.