Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ay Up LED Light Review

Well thanks to Farqui and some fine research I managed to identify almost every conceivable LED light option to replace my L&M Solo helmet light. My research had indicated that right now an LED manufacturer called 'Cree' were producing just about the brightest highest output LED know to man. In fact I was lucky enough to be shown a Cree development board with their latest dazzler LED fitted. It was so bright (LED, no lens) it was impossible to look at it directly even from across the office! Interestingly, I only found two manufacturers claiming to be using them and AyUp had a particularly interesting product at a cracking price (direct Internet sales again!) Its well worth checking out the Au Up site. Its well produced and there is plenty of info concerning the lights and some very good night shots of the lights in action.

Well you already know I love direct Internet sales and can't resist a bargain. I decided to jump in feet first and ordered just enough bits to kit myself out with a helmet light capable of a constant 3 hours at full power. Its worth noting that AyUp have proposed a number of kits for both road and MTB use. However, if this is not what you want its very easy to spec your own set....that's exactly what I did. I paid a total of £98.00 incl freight from Aus! 5 days later, the product arrived and these are my initial thoughts and beam test comments:

  • Wow, very, very small.........you will see from the picture that each lens is no bigger then a 20 pence piece. When you first see the product its a little disconcerting. It looks more like an 'Action Man' Mtb set! However, these lights are actually very thoughtfully designed and each lens barrel is made from Aluminium with a fully sealed lens. Ay Up claim these units will work frozen and under water to 1 metre......me thinks that Mr AyUp has a decent engineering background.

  • Wow, very light weight. LED light unit and battery 150 grams. This enables you to fix all to your head without noticing the difference (no battery cables to backpack required). I know this will be an upside. Last year, after a long ride using my L&M Solo with the battery stashed in my ruck sack, I forgot about the light on my head, removed my ruck sack and nearly gave myself whip lash as I dumped my sack on the floor!

  • The bike and helmet fittings are all very simple but effective. Consideration has been made to provide a replaceable breakaway fixing and a spare is provided. The charger is small and functional. I guess the accessories don't look as bullet proof as L&M kit but worse case just replace them, they are so cheep...battery£13.00...charger £12.00.

  • It appears that AyUp are continuously updating the product range. I purchased the simplest battery solution....a plug and go (I always run on max power). No switching or power options. However around Xmas they plan to launch a new battery pack with 5 beam power option including flash strobe. Something for everyone

Tested the light beam and output compared to L&M Solo Halogen and L&M HID. Very surprised at the results:

Firstly, I was expecting the lights to out perform my L&M Halogen Solo not least because I new the light colour (much whiter) would be more revealing. However, its so difficult to compare Halogen and HID watts with LED Lumen's. The AyUp site has some user comments indicating that the lights are a real challenge to HID. I was sceptical and anticipated that my L&M 13W HID would be the clear front runner probably still around 2 or 3 times brighter then the Ay Up LED. One things for sure, there is not that much difference!

  • Halogen is dead! The little Ay Up beast is whiter, has a crisper beam and is far more penetrating then I expected. Partly due to light colour and a more focused lens the Ay Up is just in a different class! Not bad when you consider the L&M Solo retails for around £180 in the UK, nearly twice the price. I really can't see that Halogen has a future.

  • The Ay Up LED does Halo but in a very usable way. The centre of the beam is very focused and the halo is created by a reduced intensity secondary beam. Oh, I specified 'intermediate' beam pattern for the lens. It's available in Wide, Intermediate and Narrow. I can't see much use for a wide because the intermediate beam is quite broad and I imagine the narrow is like a laser beam.

  • HID watch out! I am shocked to say that the light intensity of the Ay Up LED's compared to HID (13 Watt) whilst not the same is still very impressive. I had to keep switching between the two before it became apparent that the HID is brighter but more significantly provides a very clean broad, deeply penetrating light with an overall wider light dispersion. However, the Ay Up really packs a punch given its size, weight and cost. I just couldn't quite believe how well it performed against the HID. The other noticeable difference is that the Ay Up is simply feather weight by comparison.

  • HID and Ay Up together provide a very impressive solution. I've no doubt that I'll be stopping even more oncoming traffic with these two on full chat!

  • If you are thinking of buying a new light set for the first time then a twin Ay Up MTB Kit for £170.00 is one hell of a proposition. Perhaps LED will replace HID sooner then I imagined.

I will report back once I have had some riding hours with the Ay Up. Perhaps I should not get too enthusiastic until the goods have been fully tested. For those of you riding with me on the 9th Dec....I look forward to your thoughts!


Farqui said...

Fantastic news, I can't wait to see these teeny lickle lights. So it seems that size isn't important after all :p

The price/performance ratio is really starting to turn.

Dan Howell said...

Unbelievable for the money. I'd be interested in seeing them side-by-side with my Lupine HID, for example, but I think it's easy to say when you put the price into the equation, they must beat HID hands-down?

dozer said...

R2 what is the voltage and capacity of the battery (ie amp hours?) Just wondering i some of my colleagues could use with their curent Halogen systems?

Farqui said...

"Bodge it and scarp-er" strikes again. Outside of Yorkshire this system is as "cheap as chips" (trying to yorks-ize here) and outstanding value.

Come of peeps, it's time to replace those ol'Davey lamps :p

Rob#2 said...

The voltage in 7.2v and the 3 hour Li-ion battery is 1250mAh

Rob#2 said...

Hi Dan,

Not sure how just one lamp will compare with your Lupine but like I said my view is that two lamps will give a single HID a decent challange.

My 'tech' chums at work tell me that Cree LED's are releasing an even more powerful LED very soon...with as much as 50% more light output! Interestingly, the Ay Up web site implies that existing customers will be offered an 'at cost' upgrade path...not sure how that will work but it sounds interesting

Farqui said...

Brumster's Lupine is by far the most powerful, clear and wide HID I've seen and I doubt current LED's will get close to it. However, if LED's are boosted then it could well topple the German maestro.

nicki said...

Picked up a Dinotte Ultra 5 for $135 last time I was in the states, although they also ship direct to Europe from their online site. They have gotten very good reviews at MTBR and I'm not disappointed. It's a very compact yet powerful light and I took the basic version with 4AA rechargeable batteries. The mounting is via a simple o-ring, but the light doesn't budge unless you want it to. Very lightweight and includes a helmet mount also. A great match for my Nerve XC3 and just like the Canyon the Dinotte get's my vote for value for money.

Farqui said...

MTBR review and manufacturer response here.

alen mcmilan said...

Thank you for sharing this article. knew something new about LED up light.I also know the company of "Cree" Its really very nice lights providing company. But that some products are very expensive.
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