So I like to play with LED's, not as much as Kevin and some of the others, but somewhat. One day I was searching around for LED stuff and found that there is a place in china that sells "Bike Lites" with Cree XML T6's in them. They are marketed as "1800" Lumens, and have a headband and handlebar mount. Since they are relatively inexpensive ($30 + shipping) I thought I'd give one of them a try. The tough thing about them is that there are a LOT of Ebay sellers, and online sellers of similar items ranging from about $30 to over $70. I purchased mine from the link below. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CREE-XML-T6-LED ... 4533wt_986
It arrived today, so I figured I'd give my first impressions of it, without having taken it underground yet. I might get the chance at MadRats, but will at least get the chance to have a bunch of other cavers play with it.
Lets see, the shipping took a little over a week, it comes from China. First impression was that the packaging was terrible, plain brown box with electronics stuffed into it. Taking out the light revealed a pretty cheap headband... with a really bad light connection. Essentially the light has two prongs on it, and an O ring gets wrapped around a post on the headband. It holds the light, but this isn't expedition caving worthy gear. I'm not sure I really care about that because I'll use screws to mount it to my helmet, but it's something to think about.
The battery pack was next, a small nylon case with what appears to be 4 shrink wrapped batteries inside. There is some kind of velcro strap thing that I guess is to mount it to a bike, I haven't yet figured out how to put it on my helmet. (Although that is somewhat trivia) Batteries lead out to a wire with what appears to be stolen from a piece of stereo equipment. I know this will need to be replaced or otherwise secured, mud, dirt, water will all get in here. I'll put some time into that at another time.
At this point I was questioning my sanity... then I opened the light and was pleasantly surprised. The light housing is made of metal! Nicely machined, threads are clean and good, and there are gaskets between all the pieces. I think this piece is well made. The reflector and LED do produce a pretty hefty center bright spot, so if that bothers you... this is not the light for you. There was some talk on one of the forums about an aftermarket reflector or diffuser, but I don't have those. It is BRIGHT... and the spot is really a spot with pretty harsh falloff.
So, I should probably get back to work now, but I'll maybe take some photos of the stuff, and see what I can do about making this more cave worthy, and less headache inducing. Still.. for $30 I wasn't too displeased, still not sure it's an expedition worthy caving lamp.. but I'll give it a try and see what it can do. If nothing else, it'll work on my bike when I ride in to work in the mornings. It's bright enough it might scare off (or attract) bears. I think if I see a bear I'll try to quick put the light into strobe mode, so when the bear charges me it will seem like an old time movie.