Trailer Hitch Bike Rack

440 After fair amount of homework, went with the Softride “Element” 4-bike rack… pricing is consistently $210’ish and I went with my local REI for solid local support. Was torn between this Element and the $70 more big brother “Dura” model… which adds “anti-sway cradels” (i.e. seat tube rubber wraps) + built in lockup cable + hitch bolt lock + beefier + 5 lbs… I’m thinking I’ll be good at rigging my own anti sway (via old inner tubes & bungees), the rest really didn’t appeal to me and (I presume since we chose the low end 4 cyl. Kia Sportage for it’s gas mileage) I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that I have to use the 1-1/4” hitch extender – so the less weight/torque the better. Notable feature of the Softride line is its parallelogram bars that keep the bikes perpendicular to the ground when you lean the rack away to open your lift gate… Yakima/Thule hasn’t copied that yet… and the only other means for simple tail gate access out there are $600 plus “swing away” style that really look clunky to me. If this sounds useless to you, fine but I feel like it’s “last inch” convenience like that which helps things slump over the swear words threshold when you just want to get something out quickly and get going. There are a couple higher end models to be aware of if you’ve got cash to burn: a lighter aluminum one and a hydraulic Assist model that helps raise back into locked position… cool but my sweet spot is lower end. The Softride’s are a great price against the field… one can easily hit $300, $400 , $600 for no great reason… I’ve read a lot about these on Amazon etc and am thoroughly prepped to be careful/creative with rubber straps that seem to be highly prone to tearing … but the metal parts and basic functionality are reported solid across the board.

Roof Cargo Box

yeah, i know, really poor iphone photo :(Installed this last night… found in local Pep Boys inventory… blasted them with a $20 coupon that expired that day 🙂 so was out the door at $210 + tax.

This PepBoys SKU is barely a rebrand of the SportRack “Voyager XL”… the manual inside is OEM, headered with “90274 Voyager XL” and “A90275 Aero XL”… one forum I read said this bugger gets down around $100 sometimes during PepBoys promos… something to keep an eye on. Dimensions: 35 pounds (doesn’t feel like it), 18 cubic feet (this is the max end of the range from what I could see), 62 x 39.5 x 19 inches. We have a “mountain buggy” stroller & kiddie trailer that are in the 31” width, 45” length, 15” height (when flat) range so this opens the possibility of tossing up there if we want to suffer the inconvenience – more likely for a longer trip with a nice long usage window between load and unload. Caveat: The lid “spring lift” hinges are mostly plastic. They feel pretty fragile. I expect to break them eventually (vacation stress induced daddy hulk-out moment ).  I feel this is the primary sacrifice vs more expensive, beefier models. I look at it as a convenience for as long as it lasts and the box should still be functional after that, simply requiring manual prop open.

Note: SportRack is a Thule acquisition circa 2005.

This same basic model goes for a big range of prices under different names:

  • over $500 as the A90275 Aero XL on Amazon for no good reason.
  • Or only $280 as the SR7018 Vista XL.
  • Walmart carries it as Aero XL for $300 and $250, take your pick haha.

quick release kitIt was very straightforward to install… a few casual minutes, very doable by one person as long as you can lift it up there. The u-bolts are simple and practical… I am however hoping this $30 quick release kit will let me pop it on/off a little faster so we can garage the SUV w/o hassle… will report back on that. [Update 2013-08-02] Ok I can now recommend the quick release kit. It’s not what I would call nirvana but it’s definitely more convenient than the stock brackets. They’re just as sturdy as stock bracket when tightened down, no concern of slippage. If you look at the picture to the right, with the metal plates numbered 1,2,3 from top to bottom – ones roof rack cross bars fit between plates 2 & 3. The “quick” part of this is that one bolt always remains connected to plate 3 and one bolt is free, creating an opening for the cross bar insertion and subsequent removal. Simply because one bolt stays connected, the hardware is always attached to the cargo box and more ready to go, unlike the stock u-bolts which must be completely separated from their nuts to remove the cargo box from the roof. Hopefully that makes sense enough to satisfy your purchase anxiety. It’s pretty obvious what has to happen when you get it in front of you.

Lastly, the one other tempting unit I saw out there in this bargain range is the X-Cargo Sport 20 currently for $180 at Sears. It wasn’t stocked locally for me at the time, and Sears’ shopping cart indicated $90 to do the oversized shipping. This unit is worthy of consideration based on size and price. 20 cubic feet is the biggest I’ve seen. 67.5 x 36.25 x 20.25 inches, same 35 lbs. Follow-up after 3 months usage – We’ve been very satisfied with the size and performance. No recognizable wind resistance driving impacts. The rather prominent Pep Boys decal on the back face peels right off if that doesn’t fit your vanity profile 🙂

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (P6800)


(My previous go to device, the Samsung Q1 Ultra.  She served us well. 🙂 Have we come a long way in 5 short years???

Highlights:

  • 7.89mm (0.31 inch) thick – just amazing to hold
  • 345 grams (0.76 lb) – makes for a great eReader… the brushed Alu back is nicely grippy after your hand has warmed it up for few secs (our Kindle 3G is 247g, 8.5mm and eInk is definitely cool for reading but it’s not color, smaller screen, lower res, not touch and isn’t app-tastic. Kindle Fire is 413 g, 11.4mm.)
  • Super AMOLED Plus screen, 1280 x 800 res – very pleasing as everyone points out. But to be totally frank, I ride outdoors a lot, and these are really no better in direct sunlight than anything else LCD based… indoors or even in a casted shadow, the screen is very nice.
  • 1.4GHz – everything runs nice and peppy on Android 3.2
  • 3G – HSPA+
  • microSD – surprisingly, the 8.9, 10.1 sibling tabs do not support an SD card. The original 5” Note and Tab 2 10.1 & 7.0 do, however.
  • full HD video MPEG4, H.264 play very smooth… I’ve tried just a few, one MKV wouldn’t play audio, another would.
  • 5100mAh battery

Some rather obscure downsides I’ve noticed so far:

  • When USB connected to a PC gtab 7.7 does NOT mount as a mass storage device; It mounts as an MTP device. For one, we don’t get a Windows drive letter. Drag and drop from Windows Explorer is basically the same… but various sync tools only work with mass storage. This post indicates that Honeycomb’s mixing of filesystems in the system folder structure is what renders mass storage infeasible (to PC’s).
  • The microSD card natively mounts to /mnt/sdcard/extStorages/SdCard … there doesn’t appear to be an Android standard established so (some) apps don’t know where to find it.

[Update: 2012-12-18] Upgrading to Samsung OEM Ice Cream Sandwich Android v4.0

Recommended (and not) Accessories:
The Tablet 🙂
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I got mine for $645.50 from Amazon Market Vendor “Transformersandgsmphones” … it shipped very fast and was a brand new unit. Caveat: From what I understand, units purchased through grey market like this will be difficult if not impossible to submit for any warranty claim.
AmazonBasics Stylus
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  • $11 from Amazon
  • Highly reviewed
  • Soft tip seems bulbous at first but in actual tablet usage turns out to be very appropriate. Still, I think I would really like the pressure sensitive line thickness capability of the Note models’ smart pen.
SanDisk 64GB microSD card
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  • class 6 but speedy enough
  • it actually works
  • 7.7 formats it as fat32/vfat by default… there are some tools for getting it mounted as NTFS, IFF you think you need >4GB files… I found the tools not working right away and think I’ll be fine on fat32.
  • Got mine for $119 @ Amazon but that price is dropping almost daily! hold out as long as you can!
RAM-Mounts Cradle
(RAM-HOL-TAB-SMU)
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  • I love RAM-Mounts and this is the absolute *PERFECT* fit for the GTab 7.7 in scenarios like bicycle handlebars.
  • The middle sized cup is a very satisfying fit for the GTab 7.7.
  • It will work great with a rubber case or naked. The grip spring is very strong. I bounced along a VERY bumpy 8 hour bike ride recently and there is no way the tablet is coming loose.
  • $28 from GPSCity
  • For bike handlebars I recommend pairing the cradle with this RAM kit comprised of a “strap rail base”, medium arm and diamond plate.
  • DSC_5916-50%-1530x1701
Sea to Summit Waterproof TPU Case
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  • Make sure you get the LARGE version… it’s a nice fit for the tab 7.7
  • I’m using it in tandem with the RAM-Mount cradle above and it does fit. The extra material at the top is kind of crammed in there and there’s a bit of bowing in the plastic surface.. but the touch screen works fine.
  • Honestly, depending on how often you plan on needing that sort of thing you might just get by with a new heavy Ziploc bag each ride… hi-ho landfill! 🙂
  • I went ahead and got some Desiccant packs while I was at it just in case… you may have some in an old shoe box or something
  • $20 @ Amazon
Samsung OEM “Book Cover” Case
OEM Samsung Book Cover Case for Galaxy Tab 7.7 EFC-1E3NBEOEM Samsung Book Cover Case for Galaxy Tab 7.7 EFC-1E3NBE
  • A bit pricey around $40 street and often out of stock
  • I definitely like how this fits into day-to-day usage
  • it’s thin, light, hard shell, unbreakable kind of plastic
  • tab snaps into stiffer corners so it won’t fall out
  • there is some corner drop protection… not extensive rubber pads, but some extra shock absorption plastic there on the corners.
  • there is rubber on two edges so theoretically you could stand it up in landscape mode but I have found that the angle where it will stand up without sliding back down flat is not really conducive to real usage… one would have to rig something behind it to block it from sliding.
“OTG” USB Host Adapter
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  • OTG = On The Go… apparently it’s a standard that allows for swapping the master-slave role … not sure why that helps since we’d want the tab to be the host in all scenarios I can think of… flash drive, hard drive, keyboard, etc.
  • $6.70 @ Amazon
  • See USB Mass Storage Watcher in the apps section below.
  • No surprise, the tab couldn’t power a 2.5” USB HDD.
USB Charge Adapter (aka “Filter Plug”)
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  • This little bugger takes some explaining… the nutshell is that some of these devices like the gtab are checking for a special USB pin configuration to take a charge from a USB connection.
  • This is an example thread to get some more background… including self hacked cables.
  • The other thing to be aware of is that the stock AC charger pumps 2.1Amps… so if you go with another source (e.g. external batt), then you want to shoot for that higher amperage to ensure the fastest charging… see “External Battery” section below,several units are addressing this requirement now.
  • Got mine on Amazon for $5.90 + $5.50 shipping (gip)
  • They go for super cheap on eBay and DealExtreme
External Battery
PowerTraveler PowerMonkey eXtreme
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  • I wound up getting a yellow model for $180… it’s smaller than I thought it would be (which is great). Very light and portable. I like the overall package even if it is a little too pricey. I honestly haven’t used it much at all since my whole paradigm shifted once we left Germany and moved to Seattle. Hopefully this will all swing back into normalcy once we get moved into our new money pit and can hit the trails in a camper with the kiddos.
  • review
  • $190
  • 9000Mah
  • 2.1A USB with a pigtail
  • 242 grams
  • AUTO-OFF
  • completely WATERPROOF
  • comes with a CASE, lots of tips & outlet adapters
  • does NOT come with the required USB adapter for the gtabs; see USB charge adapter above. PowerTraveler does sell their own version of this adapter.

Alternatives:

Bluetooth Keyboards
Think Outside/Sierra Stowaway AND AmazonBasics model
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  • Foldup styles:
    • Long since discontinued, the Think Outside is slick, fragile, but very slick… the key feel is great and the outside snaps shut into a cool shiny, chrome case… they’re experiencing a funny price spike circa Q1 2012, going for $250 on Amazon is crazy… this thing probably retailed for $100… I got mine for $65 on eBay a couple years back… there is another Stowaway model – iGo Ultra Slim that only folds once and seems practical as well.
    • Nomad Mobile has a good rendition of another common style single fold … these go for cheaper elsewhere.
  • Non-foldable:
    • The Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is the gold standard really… razor thin, aluminum, awesome feel to the keys.
      • one catch, no friggin delete key… there’s a backspace but no “forward” delete, you have to hit FN-Backspace to get forward delete.
      • also, no true numpad but that’s sort of what you want in a portable anyway.
    • I noticed Amazon has a nice knockoff of the Apple style now.
      • It has a delete key and there’s a customer image that shows it’s actually a tad shorter than the Apple.
    • Logitech has a polished looking tablet keyboard option with integrated case/stand now too:

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Media / Charging Dock

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  • Has HDMI but it’s annoyingly the mini version invariably requiring more hanging adapter bulk 🙁
  • Also has headphone audio out if you need it.
  • The usual plastic quality build, basically works but feels kind of wobbly when you insert.
  • I’d give this a mild recommendation… didn’t see anything else as a worthy challenger at the time.
Zephyr HxM – Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

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  • You can also go with a Nike+ wireless protocol, Polar makes a Nike+.
  • or there’s the more open ANT+ protocol, for which Garmin has a couple ANT+ monitors and are the cheapest… ANT+ sounds reliable but,
  • I went with Bluetooth to avoid the need for an ANT+ dongle… some phones are starting to include this radio natively.
  • Bluetooth options are slim, the Zephyr seemed to review better than the Polar Bluetooth.
  • Amazon wasn’t stocked so I ordered from Endomondo for $75 bones (ouchy)
  • Pairing worked as instructed, showed up right away in the Endomondo sports tracking app and reported numbers similar to my arm band blood pressure monitor.
  1. Make sure it’s fully charged, plugged to the strap, the strap pads have to be pretty wet & you have to put it on
  2. Do normal Android bluetooth pairing; code: 1234
  3. Then go into the Endomondo app > Settings > Accessory Settings > Connect To Sensors > Scan
Mujjo Capacitive Gloves
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  • Couldn’t resist springing for these while I was at the Endomondo store – $35 … kinda pricey
  • They work… Angry Birds is playable, I wouldn’t want to type with them though… I got the Male M/L size… I would say my hands are medium and there’s just a bit of extra length to the fingers… with normal gloves I wouldn’t care but it obviously matters for touch screen precision… if you have small hands, consider the women’s size… they are very stretchy material.
Not Recommended
Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones with Microphone
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  • $60 @ Amazon
  • too expensive in my opinion
  • the headphone sound is “OK”
  • the microphone sound quality is pretty bad
  • they’re really tight on my ears with my fat head and the design just makes them that way with no relief … I basically hate these and wish I never got them at this point… anybody want a deal on a completely unused pair?
  • all the buttons you’d want… volume and pause/play, fwd/rev and probably a call hang-up
Case Logic LNEO-7 7-Inch Sleeve
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  • Update 2012-07-4: I wound up going with the OEM Samsung “Book Cover” case and haven’t looked back. See those comments above.
  • It’s “OK”… fits pretty well…just a little snug around the corners but not bad
  • no room for much of anything in the cramped pouch… the USB cable and a pigtail would be about max.
  • Can’t lose for $14.50 @ Amazon
Armor Suit – Screen Protector
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  • This one looked good to me because it has a liquid approach to ironing out the bubbles … update 2012-07-04: the spray bottle solution was a good trick, I still got dust in there but that’s hard to avoid.
  • I paid $17 + shipping @ Amazon and it’s already down to $10… feeling a bit gipped 🙂
  • After I got the Samsung Book Cover case (see above), I ditched the screen protector, feeling that it took away from the display a bit and the case is plenty of scratch protection during transit which was my personal biggest concern… this is definitely personal preference area.
Wish List
Keyboard Stands & Charging Docks
Incase Origami Workstation for Apple Wireless Keyboard

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  • Haven’t found anything perfect yet… everything is missing something… at the moment, a makeshift cardboard stand with the charge/usb cables is working better than I expected.
  • Samsung’s keyboard dock – doesn’t have HDMI port
  • Also just considering a case/stand for my Apple Bluetooth keyboard – Incase Origami Workstation: demos ok, not great
 
 
Recommended Apps:
 
App Name
Notes
root.zip (free)
(gtab 7.7 specific)
rooting instructions
BusyBox (free) Loads grep, awk and ash (shell)
SuperUser (free) Everything cool requires it
Android Terminal Emulator by Jack Palevich (free)
  • Make ash (from BusyBox) the default shell: /system/xbin/ash –
  • Make this the initial command to be su by default: su –c /system/xbin/ash
Root Explorer ($$) Has a nice and easy “mount as R/W” button.
ES File Explorer (free) Does everything in one shot… nice icons, *fast* SMB client (Windows File Sharing), FTP client, built in text editor, image viewer, even movie player
NtfsSd (gtab 7.7 specific)
  • Found in this xda-dev thread; mounts your NTFS formatted external sdcard in the native path (/mnt/sdcard/extStorages/SdCard) which is a bit of trick… main advantage for me is that external SDCard shows show up in Explorer when USB connected to PC; other NTFS mounting approaches (e.g. Drive Mount) were not showing SDCard on PC.
  • Symbolic links don’t work to fat32/exFat/vfat hence why NtfsSd is doing an interesting trick of some sort.
  • There is a native linux command for mapping external filesystems (i.e. a FAT drive) to internal paths but it doesn’t hold up across reboots which becomes more of a pain than you’d initially think.
    • mkdir /mnt/sdcard/extStorages/SdCard/Music
    • mount -o bind /mnt/sdcard/extStorages/SdCard/Music /mnt/sdcard/Music
USB Mass Storage Watcher OTG (free) (by Skidmrk) Mounted my 2.5” USB NTFS HDD via the OTG USB pigtail just fine (the HDD required external power).
OsmAnd (free, but buy it) This really makes my day… Open Street Maps (OSM) with the Open Cycle Maps (OCM) layer is the bees knees… this App readily downloads the map tiles for whatever is currently displayed, with whatever zoom levels you choose and then you’re ready to go off-road/offline… couldn’t be easier… it even does offline routing!!
Evernote Skitch and all the integration on a mobile device is pretty killer.
Tasker, Locale Execute Plug-In I came across this as a way to re-run mount commands after each reboot (see “mount –o bind” notes above).
doubleTwist (free) + AirSync ($$) It basically works but I punted… The issues I have are probably mostly related to the still settling Android SDCard ecosystem.
Music WithMe (free) Currently trying this as my iTunes sync’er after doubleTwist (DT) would only see internal storage Music folder… Tasker + Execute + bind mount (above) probably would’ve bridged that gap but Music WithMe (MWM) has a simple music storage path setting, looks promising. MWM seems to report its sync status more robustly than DT. MWM integrates through FaceBook so you get into sharing what you’re listening to and what friends are listening to. I’ll check that out if the basics pan out.

Logitech S715i Portable iPod Speakers Review

My primary usage scenarios is small group biking… want something that can carry some punchy bass to nearby riders over typical road/wind noise w/o being clunky or adding too much weight (we have to hop on/off a lot of trains/stairs, etc)…

Highlights Reviews / Links
image image P1030099-800x600  P1030100-800x600Battery NiMH 180AAHC3TMX 3.6V 1800mAh-800x600
  • Retail: $150, Street: $132
  • Released Aug 2010
  • 8 speakers! = 2 x 3” neodymium mid drivers, 2 x 1.5” neodymium tweeters, 4 x 2” passive bass
  • Rechargeable proprietary NiMh battery (highly marketed @ 8 hours)… too bad they’re not rocking a Li-ion slab… but supposedly these batts are user serviceable through a screw panel so we’ll see.
  • 3.5 lbs (perfect)
  • Standard 3.5mm AUX input (required for me)
  • Remote (worthless for me)
  • A/C wall brick
  • Travel sack

My review:

  • just gave them a test run tonight 22 Sep 2010
  • they bang pretty nice off the back bike rack
  • compared to the logitech 28mm (eBay = $30, no longer available) they are better enough to be worth $150 to me
  • iPhone compatible
  • feel solid, not as bulky as i expected
  • Battery = NiMH 180AAHC3TMX 3.6V 1800mAh (see photo)
Batteries!!  I’ve already started maxing out the battery life during our rides… we saw around 6 hours last ride… that’s not 8 hours 🙂 … to be fair, once I turned down the volume, then the light went back green for another hour or so… but who wants low volume!?!? So now I’m looking to hack in some Lithium rechargables like what I’ve started to experience with these CREE LED’s I’ve already received one of these buggers to the right ($20 bux, 6 days Air Mail from Hong Kong to Germany! you gotta love the Chinese economy! 🙂 I plan on cannibalizing the battery box and springy cable for feeding the speakers :)  we shall see To answer Peirre’s question in the comments: The direct battery feed is 3.6v (based on an packaged bundle of 3 x 1.2v AA NiCads in series)… but the DC charging input port is rated at 12v so there’s hurdle to get over there… I feel like we could use a fancy more expensive battery pack (like the Tekkeon’s) to drive the 12v input in a physically clean but likely power wasteful approach… I’m more inclined to fiddle around tapping the existing battery feed first and see how far I get that way. [Update: 2012 May 05] To finish off this thread, the headlamp at the right was cheap yet very capable as a lighting solution. It was a shame to cannibalize it for the battery pack experiment. And unfortunately, while the pack and cable were physically promising, the arrangement was based on a remote switch at the light head which was not a simple circuit loop that could be shorted to be always on. It was a real bear getting the little wires soldered back to the light head after this disappointment. Fear not. What has worked out quite practically is using a simple 18650 plastic case with wires soldered to pennies on either end to form a simple battery case with power leads. The case also provides an easy place for a spare backup battery… Or one could probably run them in parallel but I haven’t bothered. I removed the stock NiCad battery leads and spliced them to the makeshift 18650 battery pack so that it could be easily connected and removed. The makeshift battery case is too big to fit anywhere inside the original battery cavity but the built in speaker stand lends itself to use as a strap mounting point. Actually, eBay seems to have some nice single 18650 battery cases with leads ready to go. Untitled-5
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Lastly, a buddy got the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speakers and I definitely consider them another notch or two up this ladder.
Highlights:

  • $300 – this is the only downside really
  • The internal battery pack is made of no less than 3 good ol’ 18650’s! Yay! finally somebody gets it!
    • They’re rated pretty low (less than 2000mAh if memory serves)… so beyond the already good base 10 hour rating, presumably there’s some good room for improvement with solid upgrade cells, like the latest Redilast 3100mAh’s.
    • From what we could tell after getting the battery cage open (there are screws under a label), the cells appear to be bare, i.e. no protective cap chip. There’s a pretty dense logic board right after the cells so presumably it’s all well buffered from spikes.
    • I emailed the owner and he indicated $14 a piece for the naked 3100’s in qty 5 or greater.
  • Bluetooth is pretty handy with today’s devices… there’s also a standard 3.5mm AUX port.
  • A bit more sound punch for sure… very clear…
  • nice tight, well built, rectangular package that lends itself to bungee’ing to a rear bike rack, etc.
  • also, the cover can be easily removed which leaves some raised Allen screws convenient for mounting.

CREE LED Based Bicycle Lights and Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries

References:

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My first time up at bat was a CREE Q5 bike light: 5 mode, rated at 345 lumens = $17.50 w/shipping
Mini review: just charged up the batteries and tried the new Q5 345Lm torch… it’s pretty flippin nice for <$25!… very intense center spotlight, but also a lot of wide spread to light up a full trail in the dark… looks like a winner!

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[Update 09 Mar 2011]
CREE T6 seems to be latest/greatest , 750Lm T6 = ~$30 w/shipping
CREE R5 *might* be a slightly better bang/buck bargain, 600Lm R5 = ~$20 w/shipping

** careful, there appears to be a regularly advertised bogus 800Lm R5 that is actually a Q5 (which might still be pretty good 🙂 many of the auctions of these mention Q5 in the package contents image
image According to Torchy’s 18650 battery tests, at 1A load, *everything* drops off well before 3000mAH.

  • SenyBor, Panasonic, Sanyo & Samsung rated the best… unfortunately they’re much less prevalent on eBay and are more like $10+ per battery rather than ~$5 like all the UltraFire fodder out there
  • Apparently UltraFire’s *never* perform up to their advertised rating… bummer, UltraFire’s cheap & prevalent 3000 & 4000mAh were particularly lousy
  • Another top end brand is “AW”, Protected “true” 2600mAh = ~$17 per (ouch)

Before I knew this, I got a simple charger combo with 3600mAh UltraFire’s 18650 x 2 = $19 w/shipping, so far so good

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Another big battery test rundown… RediLast appear to be top notch… $17 per 2900mAh cell (ouchy) + $6 USPS Priority shipping … I ordered 4 of these… we shall see…
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Another 18650 Shootout:… The UltraFire 3000 Protected (Red/Silver) does uncharacteristically well on his test???
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Untitled-4 I picked up a couple of these 360 degree Handlebar mounts for $5.25 ea w/shipping… found some more for $2.43 w/ship… they’re worth every penny

Mini review: The ones like this with 360 rotating feature are harder to find, very necessary for aiming the light from my “long horn” beach cruiser style handlebars.  This item feels real good in actual usage, definitely recommended… made of a very flexible rubbery plastic, soft enough that I added a washer to both ends of the tightening bolt so that the bolt heads didn’t just cut right through… the good thing is, after several trips in ~5C German weather, I can tell that this material will never shatter like so many others.

Notes: