Tuesday, November 23

First Flight of the P7

Maserati, Seen in the Doctor Parking Next to the Entrance to Baylor Grapevine Medical Center on Monday. Doctor Visit 3 of 3 for the Day
Don't Those Doctors Understand? - "Alfa Romeo, es mas macho."

Veggies Need Not be Starchy!
I’ve used Cateye headlights a lot, but it is time to move on. I’ll keep them for occasional use in ways that their shortcomings do not cause problems. To replace them, I have acquired a “2W Planet Bike Blaze” and a P7-C. The P7 actually came on Monday, though I couldn't have used it, instead spending the day discovering how my medical adventures have affected local doctors, and allowing my local restaurant to prove that dinner side dishes need not be starchy. Anyway, this morning I used the P7 and it is a great light as long as one is prepared to live with its idiosyncrasies. While I haven't done too much fact checking, I've heard that the P7 uses the brightest available single LED to make its light. It certainly IS bright whether that claim is true or not.

Bike With Lights Turned Off
Apertome reported on the light and on a battery recall involving it here, and here. I must admit that the battery/light interface is certainly rather strange. Unlike any light I’ve ever seen, the on/off button is lit when the battery is hooked up – and stays lit. The situation is compounded by instructions that are worse than worthless.

The light itself, however, is brilliant, albeit with a fairly wide beam. No matter – it’s got so much light that it is brighter than any of my other lights, including the fatally flawed Cateye HL530 with fresh batteries. On the high setting, the maker claims 3 hours of light. On my new commute, that’d be about a recharge once a week. On the v2 commute, it’d be a recharge every other day. The light is also very solidly built and doesn’t depend on an unreinforced plastic mounting bracket the way the Cateyes do.

P7 in "High" Mode. Note that Street Color Sets the Brightness on Each of These Three Photos

In addition to the “high” mode, the P7 also has a “low” setting and a “flash” setting. I don’t think I’ll use the "flash," instead I'll ride with high when there's no oncoming traffic and drop it down a notch when all I need is to be seen.

So far, the P7 does what it needs to do – light up the way forward.

Should you consider a P7? Well, it definitely isn’t a light for everyone. For starters, it probably isn’t available in your local bike shop, or even on Amazon ("unavailable"). I got mine off eBay and Apertome got his online. For a second reason, as noted by Apertome, the batteries and battery/light interface is suspect. This might or might not get better in the future. It also throws a broader beam than is optimal for a headlight - I worry about blinding oncoming motorists, which is why I'll operate it as I would an automotive high/low beam combo. ON THE OTHER HAND, the light is half the price of any equivalent lighting power and gives you the lighting of a generator light without the weight, drag, cost, and complexity. Simply charge this puppy up – and GO. Perhaps, tomorrow, I'll find out how it does in the rain...

P7 in "Low" Mode is About the Same as the Planet Bike 2W Blaze on "High"


Oldfool said...

Man I'm glad I no long have to brave the night. The only other thing I'm more afraid of is SWMBO, flying in thunderstorms, lightning and the monster that lives under my bed.
I like to play with lights though.

RANTWICK said...

Yikes. I've got candlepower envy.

limom said...

I was thinking about that Magicshine, but now with the battery thingy, I'll wait.
Maybe go with the Cateyeball for now.

Anonymous said...

I've had mine for just around a year and, though I did have to replace the light head (bad soldering), have had no battery issues at all.

Chandra said...

I would love to see some photos taken at night, if possible. Thanks, Steve!

Peace :)

Apertome said...

Your comments on the light seem right on, from th experience I have so far. I think the mounting with O rings is a little cheesy but I haven't had any issues yet (knock on wood). More than anything ... that sucker is BRIGHT!!

Steve A said...

The P7 holds no monopoly on cheesy mounts. At least I can replace an O ring, unlike the failure-prone mounting brackets on the Cateye HL 530.

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