Sheng Li Banklight LD-101


This lamp is different from other dynamo lamps in that it works via a built-in battery. The 3 NiMH cells deliver power to the LED, and at the same time they can be charged from dynamo or USB.

So you could consider it a battery lamp too, this is the first one where the distinction is not meaningful :) Or rather, the distinction would need to be made clearer, such as: What happens when the battery is dead/flat? Will the LED still light then when the dynamo gives power? I haven't tested this yet.

Beam shape: From the wallshot you can see the beam isn't a wide beam at the start, and for use as a torch: non-circular beams are not pleasant to use, and the colouring from the lens+reflector (the yellow blotches) is also not pleasant for this purpose. Here is what it looks like in use at night as a bicycle lamp:

The beamshape is not great, but not all that bad. A reasonably wide beam from ca. 15m to 35m. It starts with a dot, then it gets wider quickly. The beamshape of the H-diver or Saferide 40 are superior. One thing I don't particularly like is that this lamp puts out a quite a lot of light above the horizon. I could see it on wallshots, but when I put the lamp away somewhere in the garden and look at it, while my eyes are far above the horizon, it's quite annoying from short distances, also to the sides. This is because the lamp lets the LED shine directly forwards (so this is a point source, which is bad, see my criticism of taillamps). So it will be briefly blinding to other cyclists you encounter on 2 way bike paths. I may test this in more detail on unlit roads to see how bad it is there, and how bad it is there at long distances.

That it is a battery with dynamo charging and USB charging and powering capability, together with being a bike headlamp makes it a cool device... But I'd like to see the same thing without the headlamp, so to have a box in between the battery and headlamp, to be able to power a standard LED headlamp like the H-diver (though that does have to be damaged a bit to open it up for direct access to the LED). Perhaps that's not too useful with the current version as the LED is said to be powered at 1.5W which is a bit low even for dynamo driven headlamps...

Perhaps I will modify it, by removing the connection to the LED and just power an H-diver with it (2013-10: I have done this as a test, works well...). But first I will try the device in original condition, of course.

I tried to charge my EX1 camera with it, worked well it seems, as it showed 'full' from the charging cord going to green, but the battery indicator of that is not very precise (just 3 bars). However then I tried my Tab2-7 and it suddenly jumped to full. So something weird was going on. I've never had this happen. When using the Tab2 a bit it went to 99% battery, then I connected it to my normal charging cord and the indicator stayed at 99% for a long time while I was charging it. So the Tab2 wasn't actually at 99% but far lower. I will try to find out what caused this issue, whether due to the LD-101 or the Tab2. It seems the Banklight works well with my other devices such as charging a Galaxy Y phone and RX100 camera, and the Tab2-7 seems sensitive to odd-power supplies. With odd I mean something that probably has pulsed output or something else that's not steady, and which fools the circuit in the Tab2 into making a wrong estimate in how much charge there is in the battery. I tried a few more times with the Tab2-7 to see if the above behaviour was an exception, but no, it just doesn't get charged with the Bank light...

I had a little trouble with some of the pins of the special connector getting loose in the housing.

You can push them back in, and the PCB on the inside has spring connectors so nothing gets broken from the pins' movement.

Other than that it works well, but it seems to me using 18650 Li-Ion would have been a much better choice than the low-energy density NiMH cells.

So the device has some virtues, but the beamshape and relatively low power output of the light are not impressive. It can also only charge devices with 0.5A which is OK for a lot of devices though, and I suppose for a fairly limited capacity powerbank such as it is now with NiMH batteries, this is good enough.

The mounting bracket is interesting but the lamp is too far from the handlebar this way, which means flex in the bracket and that is also not good enough to keep the lamp fixed on bumpy roads where it can get loose.


The concept is certainly interesting, but it seems to me more a product to keep in mind for what it will evolve into, than a good lamp/powerbank combination to use at this moment...

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