Dinotte 200L-AA 2 Year Update

8 03 2010

Dinotte 200L-AA on my Tikit

It’s been over 2 years since I got two of these Dinotte 200L-AA LED bike lights so I thought I’d provide an update on how they are working.  Just so I don’t have to repeat myself see my 4 month review for more details about these lights.

What I like:

  • lights are in perfect condition and have given me no troubles.
  • construction is robust and wiring seems quite tough.
  • I have used them on pretty much all my bikes at one time or the other.
  • I really like how versatile the mounting system is while being so simple.
  • they are more than bright enough for use in the city to be seen by.
  • one is enough to see by on dark pathway at slow to moderate speeds.
  • at higher speeds you need two aimed at different spots in front of you for good visibility up close and down the road.
  • buttons are easy to use with gloves on.
  • lights are waterproof.
  • colour of button lets you know when batteries are getting low.
  • I’ve gone through two sets of rechargeable batteries.
  • I’m really glad I got the AA version so I’m not stuck with proprietary batteries.
  • run time is good for commuting and errand use.
  • for brevets or longer night rides you’ll be carrying several sets of batteries.
  • you can pre-load batteries into spare cradles for super fast battery swaps.
  • helmet mount is versatile.
  • excellent customer service.

Top view...

What I don’t like:

  • optics aren’t focused so a lot of light is going up away from road into the trees and driver’s eyes.
  • I have to cover lights with my hand when passing pedestrians or other bikers as there is so much light aimed up into their eyes that would be more useful on the road.
  • batteries tend to vibrate loose so I end up taping them into their cradle which makes replacing batteries a bit of a pain.
  • you have to remember to detach the power cord from the batteries when not using them as the light seems to drain the batteries after a couple days plugged in even if they aren’t being used.
  • helmet mount works well, but with the short power cord and battery pack on helmet it’s a lot of weight which isn’t fun for too long.
  • short power cord and cold temps = short battery life.  If you ride in winter get the longer power cord and insulate your batteries.

Helmet mounted...

The future:

  • I’ll keep using these lights as they have proven to be reliable, rugged and effective.
  • If they fail I bet it will be damage to the power cord from excessive bending and I bet Dinotte will fix that for a modest repair fee.
  • I’ll probably be posting a 5yr update about these lights!
  • I hope Dinotte incorporates some focused optics in their lights.  When they do I’ll buy a couple new ones and probably be even happier!

Dinotte 200L-AA website.


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10 responses

8 03 2010
Larry Hager

Hi VIc
I use the Dinotte lights too. I have the same problem with the batteries coming out the holder. A quick fix I use is to take an old bike tube, cut a 1/2 inch band out of it and use the band and slip it over the bateries and holder! Holds them in tight and fast to replace. old tire tubes make great rubber bands of varying widths for lots of uses, like a handle bar brake holder so your whell won’t roll when leaning up against a tree or wall. :)
Larry in Leduc

8 03 2010
thelazyrando

Great suggestion Larry – I’ll give that a shot.

8 03 2010
Stephen Dubberley

Vic, I’ve had my single 200-L AA for two years as well, and keep the batteries snug in the holder using one of those heavy gauge rubber bands used to bind heads of broccoli.
Stephen

8 03 2010
Steve Fuller

I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, other than the hit on the proprietary batteries. I’ve had my 200L with the lithium battery packs for almost 4 years now. My battery packs are were replaced 2 years ago as part of a deal Dinotte was offering. I get 8-10 hours of use on high with the large battery packs, and longer use on lower settings. With one helmet mounted and one bar mounted, I typically run them both on medium and have enough light to feel safe. Yeah I can’t stop in a store and put regular AA in, but I can’t say that I’ve missed that.

The long cable is definitely a plus when using the helmet mount. I keep the battery in my camelback or jersey to keep the weight off my head.

8 03 2010
Vik

I’m not suggesting that the larger proprietary batteries have no use, but for most people 2hrs of run time will get the job done with set of batteries you can share with other electronics you own.

Dinotte is going strong, but all of my previous bike light proprietary battery experiences ended with an expensive battery going DOA and either a big cost to replace or the manufacturer had moved on to a new model that was not compatible. With AA rechargeables you’ll always have a low cost option since the market is quite competitive.

9 03 2010
alang

there just isn’t enough room for all these ‘alan’s’. from henceforth know me by ‘alang’ :)

SO, i started in on researching good bright light(s) for my rides a few months ago. I looked around, and then stumbled on DIY led lights. i was really inspired by the projects i was seeing, not to mention, how much less it costs to build your own. so, i am giving it a go. it will be less than $40 per light, 175-185lm, and work for 4-5hrs. since i am mostly on the road, i am aiming to get the lights out of peoples faces and on the road by mounting low, ‘hooding’ the housing and using a 5degree spot optic. for off-road, i will build up a 300-400lm flood that i will only turn on for when i really need it.
it’s so cheap that i have a plan for a helmet light as well, and will build a light for everyone of my rides – some dyno-powered.
i know that DIY isn’t for everyone, but I have had a TON of fun doing this, will save loads of bread with little compromise, and learned a ton about materials/tools. so i guess DIY is for ME. :)
I have barely started the flickr set detailing my build, but there are a couple photos with much more to come this weekend (hopefully).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40010668@N06/sets/72157623384052251/
this set will be on the heavy side, but i look forward to refining my designs to be ligh-tweight.

14 03 2010
Chandra

I love these lights. I have one mounted on my helmet, but rather to the side, which also doubles as a means to warn drivers coming at me from the side streets. As you have noted, these lights are “bullet proof”.

Pics of my helmet setup are here: http://greencomotion.blogspot.com/2009/08/were-you-ever-in-atf.html

Peace :)

18 03 2010
Doug

I was looking for a new light that I could easily move from one bike to another. Your initial write-up convinced me to buy one of these. My list of likes and dislikes would agree with yours. It’s been a really good light for commuting. I have one I mount on my bar combined with a helmet mounted Princeton Tec Eos.

16 10 2010
CETMA Light Upgrade « The Lazy Randonneur

[...] worked great.  There is room for two Dinotte 200L-AA lights or just about any other bike headlight that attaches to a handle bar.  The mount is very secure [...]

5 04 2011
wayne

I agree with the battery mounting option. Compared to the light it looks cheap.
We all like our bikes to look nice and I was never happy with the stock battery holder flapping around.

I purchased a small battery case and stem mount from http://www.ayup-lights.com.
It’s made from neoprene and is much much better. Cost $11 plus postage so it’s a cheap upgrade.
They have put a bit of thought into the battery mount and it shows.

You can see a demo of it here…http://www.ayup-lights.com/technical/handlebar-mount/

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