Posts covering ride reports, motorcycle gear reviews, game and movie reviews, and thoughts on life and my job.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Tenergy Brand Batteries
Before I begin on these items, I must preface my below opinion with the fact that I do NOT have any tools to test the actual specs of these batteries but rather can only speak on the way they "appear" to work as opposed to other batteries I have to compare them to.
I bought these batteries from a great company but sometimes you get what you pay for no matter where you buy from. While they work ok, they do NOT come close to batteries that claim less performance. I use AA, AAA, and 18650s. The 18650 claims 2,700 mah. I don't have any other 18650s to compare to at this time but I can say that run times in my Tiablo A9 are very irregular. Sometimes I get upwards of an hour and 30 minutes and other times I'll get closer to 45 minutes before my light starts to flicker. Its not very confidence inspiring when the odd time comes along that I don't have a back up light with me.
The AAs claim 2600 mah and the AAAs claim 1,000 mah. However, I use a set of Sanyo 2,700 mahAAs that completely demolish the Tenergy batteries in run time regardless of what device I use them in. Furthermore, I also use SanyoEneloops in both AA (2,2oomah) and AAA (800 mah) that outlast the Tenergys but not by as large a margin. Its very obvious that either Tenergy far over rates their batteries or Sanyo is well under rating theirs.
Some would argue that the Tenergy batteries are a better deal based upon initial price but I disagree. While the Sanyo batteries are indeed pricier, I prefer to feel I have a set of batteries that will last awhile in the devices I choose to use them in. An added advantage of the Eneloop batteries is that they hold their charge for FAR longer than a standard NiMh battery. If I let my standard rechargeables sit around for 3 months they are usually toast very quickly when I put them to work. I can let my Eneloops sit by the wayside for up to 9 months (longest I've personally let them sit before use) and they still last a good long while.
I can't speak for the life of the batteries as I've not run any of mine past the usable limit as of yet. I have been using my batteries for close to three years now so they are doing alright in that respect. I would hate to sit down and figure out how many standard alkalines I would have went through in that amount of time.
In closing, I still have to vote for rechargeables over alkaline so long as you aren't using them in something very voltage sensitive. I have to say that so far I've found that they are bad for those small home thermometers and the various remotes I've tried them in. They work better in higher draw devices that will work through various voltage ranges.
If you are looking for a budget priced AA or AAA rechargeable, I suppose the Tenergy brand will get the job done but do yourself a favor and spend the extra dough to get something of higher quality such as the Sanyo branded items. You'll appreciate it in the long run.
I previously wrote a list of some things I would be reviewing soon. However, over time, some of those items have proven to be unworthy of much to say. I'll make a quick couple of touch and go reviews and this will also let you know what to expect soon.
Brief list of a few things coming up in the future...
Tiablo A8 flashlight with 18650 rechargeables (Awesome - Full review to come)
Tiablo A1 mini-light using alkaline and Ni-Mh rechargeables (Good - Full review to come)
Lumapower M1-T flashlight using CR123A cells and 18650 rechargeables (Good - mini review to come)
Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx (with Garmin Topo software) - (Good with one major issues. Review to come)
Tenergy brand rechargeable AA and AAA Ni-Mh cells (Bad - Small review to come)
Tenergy brand rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion cells (OK - Small review to come)
Stallion Leather nylon open top holster for use with the M1-T flashlight (Ok - No fault of manufacturer - Review to come)
Amondotech N30 hand held HID spotlight (Awesome - Full review to come)
In addition, I'll be doing a review of the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack. My girlfriend bought it for me for Christmas and even though I haven't figured out the best way to pack it and use it just yet, I feel I've used it long enough to form an opinion of it.
I will also be doing a review of our new Honda Element as well as a review of various camping gear. The camping gear reviews will likely be a bit later though as I want to use the items I review a bit this spring before I make an actual post on them.
I likely do a couple of mini-reviews on some of the books I've been reading lately. There are far better and more intelligent people for reviewing books than me out there in the inter-webs so I'll let them do the in depth commentation on the books but I can at least let you the reader know what I thought about them.
Wow... Life and the infinite number of directions it can go.
Well, life never seems to take the path we expect it to. That being said, after a massive change of my own direction, I'm hoping to get my life rebuilt and move on to bigger and better things.
I have a new person in my life who is great and willing to help me with this blog. Since I've basically been given an "assignment" by the Doctor to get the creative side of my brain working, I'll be putting some time into this again.
I've got to get my notes put together on the stuff I've been working on previously and I need to get new photos and new notes on the rest of it. Then I can get to work getting this review site back up and running again the way it should be.
Hang in there and maybe you'll learn something interesting and/or new.
Got an email asking what the lights were in the upcoming review.
Basically the Amondotech HID and the Tiablo A1 will get their own independent reviews as they are in their own class of light. The Tiablo A8 and the Lumapower M1 will get a joint review where they will also be compared to the Inova T4 that I did a review on some months back.
Just for reference, here are the lights all together minus the Inova.
If the rain holds out this evening I am planning to get some outdoor beam shots as well as some video for the reviews. Should liven them up a bit and make them a more enjoyable read.
This is a VERY short review of the Maxpedition brand universal flashlight and sheath. Maxpedition makes high quality nylon items for storage and carry. I was worried about spending $20.00 on a piece of kit that I'd never seen in person but I bit the bullet and purchased this from Battery Junction along with several flashlights which will be reviewed in time.
The 1708 sheath is nice in that it can be configured through the use of various velcro straps to fit several different pieces of gear. In my case, I use it to keep my Tiablo A8 (review forthcoming) on my duty belt at work or on my side when out walking, hiking, or just out for a night on the town. It can be arranged to carry in the standard up/down method or turned sideways and following the line of the belt depending upon what you plan to carry in it.
Adjustment to fit your device is an easy enough affair. I simply put the flashlight into place and then proceeded to pull the adjustment straps and velcro them into place so as to put the required pressure onto the shaft of the light to hold it as needed. Once I had it adjusted to fit, it was then easy to either slide onto a standard belt or when I'm wearing it to work, the loosening of three velcro straps on the back side allows me to place it onto my duty belt without removing all of the other stuff on said belt. This is very nice for other correctional or police officers that hate taking everything off their belt in order to put something new on. Being nylon it obviously wouldn't look right with a leather belt but seeing as many departments are going nylon now for everyday duty use, this shouldn't be a problem.
Another nice feature is that the top flap can be adjusted for length depending upon the size of what is placed inside or can be completely removed to make easier and faster access. I have mine left on so that I don't have to worry about the light getting pulled out or falling out in a scuffle. It would also be bad to lose a $129.00 flashlight if you take a tumble in the woods while hiking.
Colors come in Black, Khaki, or Green. I chose black as its required for my duty belt and looks the best when just using it for EDC.
In summary, Maxpedition has impressed me enough that I now plan to order both a full sized laptop/multi-use bag and another "holster" to carry my Garmin GPS (review forthcoming) from them. Quality appears to be very high and functionality is thus far fantastic. As time goes on I'll revisit this review and update with information on how it is holding up. For the time being, I have nothing but praise and highly suggest that if you need a flashlight holster that you look into purchasing this one.
After building a new lightbox for photographing small items up to the size of a motorcycle helmet, I'm glad to be back to reviewing some of my newest items.
Brief list of a few things coming up in the future...
Tiablo A8 flashlight with 18650 rechargeables
Tiablo A1 mini-light using alkaline and Ni-Mh rechargeables
Lumapower M1-T flashlight using CR123A cells and 18650 rechargeables
Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx (with Garmin Topo software)
Tenergy brand rechargeable AA and AAA Ni-Mh cells
Tenergy brand rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion cells
Maxpedition brand multi-use sheath (being used as a holster for the Tiablo A8)
Stallion Leather nylon open top holster for use with the M1-T flashlight
Amondotech N30 hand held HID spotlight
I think thats everything but I may do a couple other items or integrate a couple of the above items into the same review. I'll likely include video to go along with the pictures of a couple of the items as well.
Thanks for checking in and hope to have the new reviews posted up soon.
Inova Microlight vs. Photon Freedom Micro (with video)
Several months ago I purchased an Inova Microlight and was VERY happy with it. Its worked great both at work and at home. With three function modes I felt that it did everything I would need as well as provide plenty of light. If I had one complaint it was that the "keychain" attachment point was poorly designed and hard to use.
This light came with me on a camping trip and amazed two people when we used it at night after letting our eyes adjust to the darkness. It was nearly a full moon but the light being thrown by it was still VERY impressive. Many at work were impressed enough with it to purchase one for themselves so that says something for it.
So, I'm totally happy and content with the Inova right?
COME ON!! Us flashlight nuts are NEVER content. ALWAYS looking for the next best thing. We're long the single mother in the bar. Constantly on the prowl for the next one that will make us happier than the last.
Enter the Photon Freedom Micro. I read about this on www.candlepowerforums.com and had to check it out. I was making a purchase of batteries and other assorted items from www.batteryjunction.com and they had a great price on said Photon so I went ahead and added it to the order.
First thoughts upon arrival? WOW, this thing is SMALL! It came with a small keychain attachment that allowed you to clip it to a key ring. While it is smaller and more "useable" than the Inova's, it looked a bit weak to me so I took it off. It also came with a clip to attach it to the bill of a hat or anything else of that thickness. I stashed it for a later date and ended up using the attachement that hangs from a string. Makes it handy in that I can just hang it around my neck like a necklace and its right there anytime I need it. This piece can be seen in this comparison shot of the Inova and the Photon.
As you can see, even in the necklace holder it is still smaller than the Inova. Some people would consider this a bad thing as it may be easier to lose but I guess if its attached to your neck, well, its not likely to go anywhere without your knowledge.
The light is easily popped out of this carrier if you need to use it handheld and free of the restraints of the holder. You simply grab the light back by the string attachment point and lever it outwards and it slips out of said carrier.
I do have to mention that both of these lights are really really small. I can't knock Inova by saying that its light is too big by any means. The Inova is also much easier to turn on. Maybe a bad thing, maybe a good thing depending on where you carry this light and how you store it. One thing that should be noted in this picture is that the picture of the Photon makes it look bigger than it is. Compare the two quarters and you'll see that I inadvertantly zoomed in more on it than the Inova.
As for light output, the Photon is most definatly superior to the Inova. One thing the Photon has over the Inova OTHER than sheer brightness is that the Photon has a multi-variable dimming feature where as the Inova just has bright, dim, and strobe. The Photon can either be click on and off, or it can be clicked on (bright) and then the button held which will then start dimming the light in a smooth transition down to its dimmest setting where it will flash once to let you know that you hit this point. This is also where the strobe features come in but we'll come back to that. Another nice point about the Photon. If you are somewhere that you don't want the light to come on bright at all, just hit the button and hold it without releasing and when it comes on, it will be on its dimmest setting. You can then continue holding to bring it up in brightness to your desired level.
Its hard to compare brightness levels via photographs but you can easily compare the level of dimming. Below are two photos. The picture on the left is the two lights on their brightest setting. While the Photon is clearly brighter, by quite a bit, in person it is hard to see in the picture. The picture on the left is of them both on their lowest setting and its clear to see that the Photon wins out on this.
Last thing that needs to be discussed is the strobe features. Inova wins in simplicity by simply making it One click is high, two clicks brings you to low, three clicks activates strobe. Photon is a bit more complicated but has more options. Turn the light on and release the button. Then, hold the button down to dim. Light will "flash" at lowest setting. Continue holding. Light will strobe bright. Release and you'll have a strobe that flashes every 5 to 6 seconds. Hold down again. Light will flash a bit faster. Release and its about every second (similar to Inovas strobe). Hold down again. Light will begin rapidly strobing. Somewhat disorienting and reminds me of the Gladius flashlight, just much dimmer. Hold down again and the next strobe function is morse code for S-O-S. Will you really NEED all these strobe modes? Who knows. I guess it depends on what you intend to use the light for. I could see the strobe modes as being a good thing for hikers that push on after dark or may need help after the sun goes down. This light is VERY visible if being looked directly at from a LONG way off. I am limited on distances in this area but I know that several blocks away it REALLY stands out, especially on strobe mode.
The quality of the below videos is not very good and I apologize for that. However, it is good enough to compare the functions of the two lights. I did not include the 5 second strobe just as its gapped too far apart to bother with.
In all honesty there is really no reason not to pick either light. I just happen to always want the brightest light I can get and to me, the Photon wins here. Some may feel differently and depending on their use, they could be right. When it comes down to it, you can't lose with either one of these great lights. Of course, one of these days, something better will come along and I'll be here comparing it with these so stay tuned.
I purchased the Inova T4 light roughly a year ago to use at my job in a correctional facility. However, since purchasing this light I've found it useful in multiple ways. I've carried the light at work, at my job as a reserve police officer, while riding my motorcycle, and while hiking. To be totally honest, I wear this light on my belt anytime I feel that I may be out after dark.
Even on nights when I just go out to eat and watch a movie I carry it. Yes, its come in handy on several of those nights. It came in particularly handy one night not but a few weeks ago when I hit a deer on a dark highway during a trip home from the movies.
All this being said, how does it work?
I must first say that some would argue that NO flashlight is worth the price of this one. I argue that worth is a relative thing. There are lights that are pricier and that are cheaper but in the end, I'm happy so its worth it to me. The fact that the light is rechargeable, has a long run time on a single charge (I've found it to run for just short of two and a half hours), is incredibly bright for a small light, and has a long life LED bulb makes it a fantastic piece of kit to me.
The only real problem I have with this light is that when hiking, the light needs to be aimed out in front of you more as the focused beam from the TIROS optics lens gives a bit of the old "follow the bouncing ball" effect.
The new for 2007 T4 apparently comes with a brighter (5.5 watt vs. 4 watt) LED as well as a reflector and I would LOVE to get my hands on that version. I have to say though that its a minor issue and I still use it with little issue now that I'm used to it.
As I said before, the charger is small and takes up little room on my wall in a spare room.
Recharges are fast but depend on how long the light was used between said charges. An indicator LED shows whether it is charging or full. Blue indicates that its charging. Green indicates that it is fully charged. If the light does not come on or flashes, the flashlight needs to be jiggled to make a better connection between the two contacts and their counterparts on the charger base.
I understand that some have a lot of problems with this particular issue but its only happened to me once that I can recall.
The T4 is advertised as having a 300' effective range but I can attest that the actual throw on a dark night with adjusted eyes is much further than this. As with many small lights, in an urban setting with eyes adjusted to street lights and the like, the throw appears to be much less.
The light will take quite a bit of abuse. I've dropped mine a few times from pretty high distances onto concrete with no ill effect other than to leave a few small dings and scratches in the aluminum housing.
Inova claims the light to NOT be water/rain resistant due to the electrical connections of the rechare points. However, I can state that I've been stuck in some torrential downpours while on duty on the street and have yet to have a problem. I do keep o-rings at the back cap (for battery compartment) and around the lens lubed with silicone lube to help keep water out.
Weight could be an issue. There are definatly lower weight lights out there. I for one find the weight "comforting" in both a possible defensive use as well as making the light just plain feel substantial. Its not enough to be an issue with me when hiking but for a hard core packing enthusiast, well, you may want to look elsewhere when pinching weight down as low as possible.
I think this pretty much sums the light up. I'd like to be a bit more specific and well spoken in this review (the light deserves it after all) but I'm a little rusty. Hopefully my reviews will improve in a short while. LoL
I hope this review will help you to choose this wonderful little light the next time you are doing some shopping. I honestly don't believe you will be disappointed.
I went on a ride a couple of weeks ago to get some pictures to finish up my Garmin 2610 review. Unfortunatly, during said ride, my exhaust mount strap broke off and went under my rear tire. It cut a nasty gash in it (emptied completely of air within roughly 9 to 10 minutes) and nearly left me stranded. Luckily I was close to my parents home at the time.
I was running Scorpion Titanium Flame exhaust and I'm currently in contact with them to see what they can do about the strap. The worst part of it though was it just ruined a brand new Avon tire with less than 1,400 miles on it that I just put on a month ago.
I hope to get the review up anyway (minus some pictures that I wanted from the bike) and I will also keep you all updated as to what I find out from Scorpion about the situation.
I may be over-reacting a bit but I can't help but feel this could have been worse than it was. I was going around a curve when it came off and let me tell you, I could feel it. The tire "skipped" sideways as I went over it. Rather scary at the time.
If anyone out there has had this happened to them, please contact me.
Had a busy two days. Cold as well seeing as I've been riding AND the install took place out in the cold wind. Brrr... It was however very much worth it.
As you can see from the pics below, I have my UFO Undertail installed. Purchased from http://www.18889chrome.com which was super easy and friendly on the phone. They had it to me quick as well. I ordered on Friday, had it on Wednesday.
I'm not real happy with the LED tail lights but I'll either order a custom set from a www.hayabusa.org member or go to red colored incandescent bulbs. The LEDs are nice but just not bright enough in my opinion during the day.
The undertail REALLY cleaned up the tail section and gave the rear end quite a different look. Once I get my double bubble on I'll have to post pictures of the bike stock and now just for comparison. Install was NOT fun but only took about 3 hours.
On to the clear signals up front. I've wanted these for awhile because it blends with the silver paint much better than the ugly amber signal lenses. I held off because all of the aftermarket lenses fit less than snug and leave a gap between the fairing and the edge of lens. Seeing as 2005 and up Hayabusas have clear lenses, I simply ordered a set from Big 4 Cycle in Evansville, Indiana. Install was easy and fit was perfect.
Last thing that I did was replace the high beam with a Sylvania Silverstar. It still looks yellow compared to the HID in the low beam but is brighter and whiter than the stock halogen.
Overall I have to say I'm really happy with the modifications I did the past two days. Still more to go but I'm at least a month out yet from those.
Stay tuned, keep your fingers crossed for an early spring, and be careful out there.
Quality appears to be top-notch. Weather unfortunatly is NOT conducive to going outside and doing this install. Seeing as I've never done an install like this it makes me nervous having to cut plastics.
I'll get pictures posted after all is said and done. Hopeing for next Monday/Tuesday. Excited about the "after" appearance. Should REALLY clean up the back of the bike.
I ordered my UFO undertail from http://www.18889chrome.com on Friday. Very easy to work with over the phone. Should be here Monday or Tuesday. I'll be working both days but if the weather is decent (warm) I'll go out and get the thing put on. I'm expecting it to take two to three hours.
Just a short update. Since the last write up I actually got out and did some riding, both day and night. Had several people I know check it out from in front of me and oncoming. Only one person said the light was "too much". The other stated that it simply made me "stand out" which is a good think on a motorcycle.
I also took it down a long expanse of Hwy 37. This is a "super 2" and long and capable of handling a quick pace. I kept it in check because of deer but ran it up to about 75 or 80. With the brights off I could actually see further. While the light off in the distance wasn't super bright it was more than adequate to see everything and lo and behold... off int he distance and well to the side stood three deer. Not so sure I would have seen them without the new light even with the bright on because my bright light is so focused on a small point.
Well, here are a few more pictures of the light. Some from the seat coming soon. Hoping to find another Busa for good comparo pics.
I finally got my HID light kit and got it installed. Unfortunatly I've only got two pictures thus far and those were taken with an el cheapo camera but I'll put them up anyway. I'll get better ones on my days off Monday and Tuesday.
So, big question is....? Was it worth it? I can answer that with a resounding yes. The light output is fantastic. Believe it or not the standard Halogen was brigher in ONE spot. The HID however puts out more light in every direction. If I could deal with a little less light brightness in the distance I could honestly run at a very quick pace and never turn my brights on.
I live on a very twisty road with deer a constant threat and with the new light I could see better to the sides and better off in the distance with a light that had MUCH more contrast. I was waiting for someone to flash brights at me but I went on into town and onto the highway for a bit to test that and noone ever did. I'm sure its brighter but apparently not so much as to blind someone. The crisper light and bright white color should help me stand out a bit in traffic during the day as well, hopefully cutting down the numbers of "but I didn't see him" incidents.
The HID lighting did something else I should have expected but didn't. It helps bring out the line between the road and the grass much more. If you've ever been riding when the grass is dead and roads are dry then you know that occasionally with a halogen the line between road and grass isn't so evident. Can't say that with this light. Colors are much more vivid and that particular line is something I really noticed last night.
Now, I hope to get out and really enjoy the ride more soon and really try this thing out but it was 27 degrees last night so I decided it best to cut the ride short. Monday or Tuesday I plan to roll her out and get some good pictures with MY camera so that you guys can see the quality. I'm also going to try to track down someone from the Hayabusa board that is nearby so that I can get some comparo pictures.
I bought this particular kit for a steal from www.xenonking.com through a group buy. While I won't get as good a price I'm considering doing a conversion on my car now on the low beams. I personally can never get enough light short of blinding those coming at me.
If you are looking to upgrade your lighting you should really give www.xenonking.com a try and see what they can do for you. OR, if you don't want to go through the hassle of changing out the stock lighting then look at the various HID driving lights that you could add to your bike. I know my father is considering doing this with his ST1100.