Tuesday, November 2, 2010

4 Dollar Headlamp!

I was at the dollar store today and saw something I knew my kids already had, a cheap head-mounted LED light. Ever since I saw my kids' I had been wanting to try strapping one to my helmet, and today was the glorious day.

$2. How could I resist? Another $2 got me two sets of AAA batteries for it. It came with elastic straps for placing it on your head that actually worked pretty well. My helmet wouldn't sit properly wearing the light that way. I wanted to attach it to my helmet anyway, so I took the straps off.

I was left with this cute little Star Wars lookin' thing:

The black dot is a push button that lets me choose 1, 3, or 7 LED operation. For something so cheap, it is reasonably bright, certainly comparable with most of the "be seen" lights in the $20 range, plus the hinged design allows me to adjust its vertical angle.

Its base was a nice size and had a foam pad on it, intended for your forehead. I considered velcro, but thought that it may work itself loose. I love zip-tying things, but didn't want those plastic edges inside my helmet (although I doubt they would have bothered me). I was also hoping to keep this the cheapest light ever. The straps that came with were elastic and soft, so I just pulled a Gilligan and lashed it to my helmet with the shorter of the two.

It is actually attached very firmly and I don't think I left any way for it to unravel. Inside the helmet, just some soft cloth:

I've always wanted a helmet mounted light that would shine where I looked. $4 and 15 minutes went into getting this one! Now the question is whether this Dollar Store Crap will stop working right away or not. My kids' lights have lasted really well, so I have high hopes.

To anybody who ever doubted my total coolness, I say, "LOOK AT ME NOW"! I've got Dollar Store Crap strapped to my head and I'm happy about it. Case closed. I am infinitely awesome.

Keep burning brightly, everybody.



Apertome said...

I have a similar headlamp that I received as a Christmas gift. The one I have is nicer -- it's made by Princeton Tec and I think goes for around $20, but it's proven itself invaluable on and off the bike. It's pretty much just as bright as my handlebar light that was $80-90 a few years ago. When I use both together, I'm in pretty good shape, in many situations. They can still get drowned out in traffic though.

All that said, my wife just ordered me a new light that's going to blow my existing setup out of the water. Can't wait!

RANTWICK said...

That's cool Apertome. I am sort of underlit compared to some... rarely have I ever required anything more than a wimpy-ish "be seen" light. I've always kind of envied those people (like you soon) who have those higher end light setups though.

Doohickie said...

This video is you, RANTWICK. (Play it when the kids aren't around.)

That headlight is AWESOME.


RANTWICK said...

Doohickie - Pron says, "no, YOU and THAT VIDEO are A W E S O M E !"

Thanks, I enjoyed that.

Rat Trap Press said...

Nice find. I will soon be headed to the local Dollar store.

cafiend said...

The measure of a light's usefulness is not just how bright it looks when you look at it, but how well it projects a beam. I waited to get an LED light until that aspect of them improved.

My Black Diamond Cosmo helmet light sends a fairly decent beam. Planet Bike Beamer 3 and 5 handlebar lights with fresh batteries do a pretty good job as well. That being said, the whole array disappears when I run the generator light. All my lights use LEDs, so it gives a good comparison among them.

On rural roads and a forested bike path I often bring the only source of light. While the lack of competing light lets weaker lights show up better, my own speed, especially on an unpaved trail with numerous rail crossings, makes me appreciate farther-reaching, brighter light.

A projecting beam also helps get the point across to oncoming drivers who fail to dim because I'm "just a bicycle."

christopheru said...

Is that a MEC mini light thing on the back of your helmet? That is all I have on the back of my cross bike, well, that and a huge pile of reflective tape, and a high vis EMS jacket...

They work well, and cost about 4 bucks tops.

RANTWICK said...

Yep, that's a MEC Turbo Turtle. I like'em too. I use some white ones on the front of the bike as well.

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