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In January 2011 I heard that Philips would introduce taillamps that were to be sold from June. On the main pag I wrote:
Philips will introduce (from emails, 12 & 18 Jan. 2011):
- taillamps, which should be for sale around June 2011 (apparently delayed). This means there should finally be some serious competition for B&M in that area! (btw., most taillamps I've seen are pretty poor in my view, the worst problem being too bright, not diffuse enough especially all those with a point source of light).
- a range of MTB lamps.
That'll be interesting...
When I didn't hear anything I presumed they would be introduced on Eurobike, and indeed they were:
Philips SafeRide Fahrradrücklicht / RearLight LumiRing:
ifdesign: Philips SafeRide Fahrradrücklicht
Type id: Dynamo version: SR RD LR, battery version that can blink (non-StVZO): SR RB LR BB, battery version that cannot blink (StVZO approved): SR RB LR BNB
Battery powered version (also works with NiMH AAAs):
Tested from: 2011-11-28
Preliminary impressions: Less annoying than the Toplight line plus while being at least as visibile.
Looking at the pattern and intensity of the emitted light is very interesting: it's smooth (although you wouldn't say that from shining it onto a wall, more on that later), not too bright, and in the straight-to-the-rear position, which is the position that's important for long range visibility, it seems brighter than the Toplight Line plus. This was in an indoor test at ca. 6m, long distance visibility test results can be found on the page with taillamp comparisons.
The lightpattern: The Lumiring seems to do what I thought earlier this year taillamps should do: Illuminate a fairly large area for close range visibility, and have a beam of almost collimated light straight to the rear for long distance visbility. That the lamp emits a beam of almost collimated light can be seen from the spot on the wall that stays almost the same shape/size/intensity from a certain distance and further.
The close range visibility coming from the ring of light is also quite different from the B&M Toplight Line plus. You get the feeling there is a real object there, and not just some lights that are positioned somewhere in the air. This is hard to explain, I want to make a movie of it, perhaps that will show this (I already tried but it didn't give a good result). Perhaps this feeling of 'something real' being there will help motorists going around the cyclist? The only taillamp that feels similar is the Spanninga Plateo xds after covering up its direct light from the LED.
The visibility from the side is good from various heights, as these 2 pictures from different viewing angles show:
Those 2 spots of light come straight from the LEDs. The precise spot you see them in depends on your own viewing height as these pictures show, and they are quite bright. The spots of light appear to be placed at different positions on the outer ring because that light comes direct from the LEDs (the 'points of light' that shine in all directions) some way back in the housing, and you see these LEDs appearing as a lightsource on the edge.
My experiences confim most of what I expected in advance about this taillamp, from the description Philips gave about how it works, see Taillamps: Theoretical.
I read some criticism about this lamp regarding the connectors (here (in German)) with them being centered, and it can perhaps be problematic to install the cables with 2.8mm plugs with a fender close to the taillamp (note that you can't just bend 2.8mm plugs, they break off quite quickly). This is true but looking closer it's no worse than in other taillamps in which the connectors are positioned on the left hand side (seen from the rear). E.g the Toplight line plus, Basta Riff, have the rightmost connector just as far from the centre, and with the H-track it's even more towards the middle. For a future near-perfect taillamp, I would like to see the connectors for the 2.8 mm plugs as far to the left hand side as the width of the lamp allows, and also close together so that you don't need to pull the cable strands apart.
Regarding the battery version I heard about an issue of corrosion: If this is not corrosion caused by the batteries (non recharcheable batteries are dangerous if you let them in a device for a long time, I would not use them, but instead use Sanyo Eneloops which work fine in this taillamp), then perhaps it's a good idea to use acid-free vaseline or something similar to make sure water can't get in if the seals are not quite good enough. I have no details about this issue but it could be due to not quite clicking the baseplate back in completely shut, which can happen as it's not that stiff so will deform and the lamp can appear to be fully closed when it's not quite closed.
I got a detailed report with pictures some time later later, and the flexible backplate seems to be a problem as I suspected, but in that case in combination with the the rear mounting plate onto which the taillamp is mounted, which was not completely flat... See here for more information and pictures.
Size comparison with the H-track and Line plus:
See the camera settings page for more on the setup and settings to make pictures of the beams of taillamps.
Out of a corner (showing how much light is cast upwards, forwards and to the sides) [ F3.9 & F1.8 ]:
Wallshot (showing the beam pattern):
The Lumiring doesn't look very bright on this beamshot, but as I mentioned above, it puts the light where it's needed. So it is more effective and I think it's better than the Line plus...
Visibility from various angles (0°, 45°, 90°, 135°) [ 0.5m, zoom x3, F3.5, ISO80, 1/250s & 1/60s ]:
See Theory for taillamps.
This is my favourite taillamp: Very well visible while not being too bright. Compared to the Toplight Line plus: Side visibility is better, medium to short distance visibility is better because of the larger illuminating area, long distance visibility (>100 m) is comparable.
The only real bad point of this taillamp is its price...
It could be made brighter without getting annoying, the lamp uses so little power that this seems a good option for a next version.
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Last modified: Wed Feb 19 11:39:34 CET 2014