OGC Optik7 Flashing LED Warning



M

Mike Beauchamp

Guest
I bought this 7 LED Flashing Light and mounted it on the back of my bike in
November 2004. A few days later, I rode home from school and it was wet on
the ground. When I got home, I noticed that the light had shut itself off! I
turned it back on again into the first (of 3 modes) and watched it cycle
itself into the other 2 modes over several minutes and eventually shut
itself off again.

So I took the unit apart to see what was happening. If you notice the
design, there isnt' a separate sealed switch.. instead there is simply a
regular micro switch that is placed inside at the bottom of the unit, which
can be depressed by pressing against the outer casing and bending it
inwards. As an experiment, I turned the unit on and spit on it. Sure enough,
the spit shorted the switch and turned the unit off.

I took off the front flasher (5 LED light made by the same company, but
different design) that uses a regular sealed switch at the back. I put both
into the sink and filled it up with water. Immediately, the Optik7 cycled
through the modes and then shut itself off. The front flasher however, kept
blinking completely submersed in water.

I have contacted Christian Pelletier ([email protected]) from OGC, who said he
would replace it with a 5 LED version. However, I wanted to post this online
incase anyone else is using one of these lights. The fact that they are
meant to be mounted on the seatpost, and get directly sprayed by water from
the rear tire exactly where the badly sealed switch is seems to pose a
safety threat in my opinion. Especially since any contact with water and the
light switches itself into the "off" position. Also, since it is located
behind you, you don't know that it has turned itself off until it is too
late.

DEFINITELY a flawed design in my opinion that wasn't tested properly before
being released. Which is a shame for an important safety product.

I've checked the light I have, and there is no flaws with the manufacturing.
The seal is there and in place, and it was closed properly. The next time it
rained, I even went out to test it again and it was off within 10 minutes
(yes, the batteries are fully charged). Again, when I opened the case, a
slight amount of water had gotten into the case at the bottom right where
the micro switch is.

I put up a little webpage with some pictures of the light and a copy of this
text...

http://beauchamp.relyon.ca/optik7/

Mike
 
I hate to hear of the problems with your light.

This will not _fix_ the problem but might help you to live with it.

Take a plastic sandwitch bag (or some Saran wrap)and wrap a single
layer of it around the light.

Lewis.

*****************
 
R

Rich Clark

Guest
"Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> I put up a little webpage with some pictures of the light and a copy of
> this text...


Interesting. The unit appears identical to the Planet Bike BRT 7 I've had
for about 3 years. Never had any trouble with it; I wear it clipped to the
retention strap on the back of my helmet.

RichC
 
M

Mike Beauchamp

Guest
Hey Lewis,
In my rant I included the fact that OCG said they'd replace it with a 5 LED
version. So no need to wrap sandwich bags around it...

Mike



<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>I hate to hear of the problems with your light.
>
> This will not _fix_ the problem but might help you to live with it.
>
> Take a plastic sandwitch bag (or some Saran wrap)and wrap a single
> layer of it around the light.
>
> Lewis.
>
> *****************
>
 
M

Mike Beauchamp

Guest

> Interesting. The unit appears identical to the Planet Bike BRT 7 I've had
> for about 3 years. Never had any trouble with it; I wear it clipped to the
> retention strap on the back of my helmet.


Yeah, cheap-ass stuff like this I'd imagine is manufactured overseas and
then sold under countless company names. You probably haven't had a problem
with it because water isnt' being sprayed directly up into the bottom (where
the switch is) like it is when I have it mounted on the seatpost.

As for the helmet thing, I'm just wondering if that is even an ideal
position. The fact that it is higher in the air is definitely good, but as
you know, LED's have a very small viewing angle (around 12 degrees or so).
So having the light properly level very important to being seen. If you have
your light on your head and it is shining like 6 degrees up (or down), then
cars will probably not see it.

Mike
 
R

Rich Clark

Guest
"Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> As for the helmet thing, I'm just wondering if that is even an ideal
> position. The fact that it is higher in the air is definitely good, but as
> you know, LED's have a very small viewing angle (around 12 degrees or so).
> So having the light properly level very important to being seen. If you
> have your light on your head and it is shining like 6 degrees up (or
> down), then cars will probably not see it.


I wouldn't wear it there if it were my only blinkie. It's ancillary to the
one on the back of my rack and the one on my seatpost. But I did have
someone follow me in a car to check whether it was effective, and she said
it was very eye-catching.

RichC
 
D

dgk

Guest
On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 23:43:30 -0500, "Mike Beauchamp"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>
>> Interesting. The unit appears identical to the Planet Bike BRT 7 I've had
>> for about 3 years. Never had any trouble with it; I wear it clipped to the
>> retention strap on the back of my helmet.

>
>Yeah, cheap-ass stuff like this I'd imagine is manufactured overseas and
>then sold under countless company names. You probably haven't had a problem
>with it because water isnt' being sprayed directly up into the bottom (where
>the switch is) like it is when I have it mounted on the seatpost.
>
>As for the helmet thing, I'm just wondering if that is even an ideal
>position. The fact that it is higher in the air is definitely good, but as
>you know, LED's have a very small viewing angle (around 12 degrees or so).
>So having the light properly level very important to being seen. If you have
>your light on your head and it is shining like 6 degrees up (or down), then
>cars will probably not see it.
>
>Mike
>


Do both, one on the helmet and one on the frame. This way if one goes
out (through getting wet or otherwise) you still have another.

My bike looks like an ambulance at night.
 
M

Mike Beauchamp

Guest
> I wouldn't wear it there if it were my only blinkie. It's ancillary to the
> one on the back of my rack and the one on my seatpost. But I did have
> someone follow me in a car to check whether it was effective, and she said
> it was very eye-catching.


Awesome rich, I wasn't doubting you or anything.. but I've seen people with
the best intentions of trying to be safe do some really stupid things. I'm
sure you see stuff like that all the time.. reflectors and lights pointed in
stupid directions, etc.

Mike
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Mike Beauchamp wrote:

> Yeah, cheap-ass stuff like this I'd imagine is manufactured overseas and
> then sold under countless company names. You probably haven't had a problem
> with it because water isnt' being sprayed directly up into the bottom (where
> the switch is) like it is when I have it mounted on the seatpost.


These el-cheapo LED flashers are sold everywhere. Their lifespan is
often measured in days, not years, before they fall apart, or fail in
other ways.
 
R

Ron Hardin

Guest
Two rules you're violating

1. Never use a single tail-light. You won't know when it goes out,
and it _will_ go out someday, no matter what kind it is.

2. Always use some steady light along with a flashing light, so that
the flashing light is perceived as having a coherent position in space.
It needn't be a bright steady light, but use something steady.

Except at twilight, I prefer two steady lights displaced horizontally,
their message being clearest then.

At twilight, I add a white strobe between them; they're not yet bright
enough to attract normal attention, but the bike is dark enough not
to be seen in tree shadows. Day-glow materials also do well at
twilight (there being lots of relative UV in the sky, on which they
work).
--
Ron Hardin
[email protected]

On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
Ron Hardin wrote:

> Two rules you're violating
>
> 1. Never use a single tail-light. You won't know when it goes out,
> and it _will_ go out someday, no matter what kind it is.


While I often have two taillights, I wouldn't call this a "rule." IMO,
a taillight and a reflector or two offer sufficient redundancy.

>
> 2. Always use some steady light along with a flashing light, so that
> the flashing light is perceived as having a coherent position in space.
> It needn't be a bright steady light, but use something steady.


The tracking of a flashing light can be a problem, but only if the "off"
portion of the cycle is very long relative to the "on" portion. Most
LED lights have a fast enough "twinkle" cycle that there is no problem
tracking their position.

Redundancy is good, but one needn't be paranoid about this. I mentioned
the other day a study of visibility treatments of cyclists and
pedestrians. A bike with only CPSC reflectors (no lights) was detected
by drivers at 844 feet. When a simple, low-power leg lamp was added,
the bike was detected at 1,300 feet! Even at a closing speed of 40 mph,
this gives the driver over 20 seconds to react.

Start counting 20 seconds now. You'll see there's no great need for fear.

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
 
R

Ron Hardin

Guest
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> > 2. Always use some steady light along with a flashing light, so that
> > the flashing light is perceived as having a coherent position in space.
> > It needn't be a bright steady light, but use something steady.

>
> The tracking of a flashing light can be a problem, but only if the "off"
> portion of the cycle is very long relative to the "on" portion. Most
> LED lights have a fast enough "twinkle" cycle that there is no problem
> tracking their position.
>
> Redundancy is good, but one needn't be paranoid about this. I mentioned
> the other day a study of visibility treatments of cyclists and
> pedestrians. A bike with only CPSC reflectors (no lights) was detected
> by drivers at 844 feet. When a simple, low-power leg lamp was added,
> the bike was detected at 1,300 feet! Even at a closing speed of 40 mph,
> this gives the driver over 20 seconds to react.
>
> Start counting 20 seconds now. You'll see there's no great need for fear.


The condition you have to work for is the one where there are other competing lights,
and the idea is to impress on the driver that he has to do something unusual to
avoid you, like give you lane clearance.

A bike alone on a dark road is okay but not the worst case. In a busy area he's
not seeing you any 20 seconds ahead.
--
Ron Hardin
[email protected]

On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
 
Mike Beauchamp wrote:
> I bought this 7 LED Flashing Light and mounted it on the back of my

bike in
> November 2004. A few days later, I rode home from school and it was

wet on
> the ground. When I got home, I noticed that the light had shut itself

off! I
> turned it back on again into the first (of 3 modes) and watched it

cycle
> itself into the other 2 modes over several minutes and eventually

shut
> itself off again.
>
> So I took the unit apart to see what was happening. If you notice the


> design, there isnt' a separate sealed switch.. instead there is

simply a
> regular micro switch that is placed inside at the bottom of the unit,

which
> can be depressed by pressing against the outer casing and bending it
> inwards. As an experiment, I turned the unit on and spit on it. Sure

enough,
> the spit shorted the switch and turned the unit off.
>
> I took off the front flasher (5 LED light made by the same company,

but
> different design) that uses a regular sealed switch at the back. I

put both
> into the sink and filled it up with water. Immediately, the Optik7

cycled
> through the modes and then shut itself off. The front flasher

however, kept
> blinking completely submersed in water.
>
> I have contacted Christian Pelletier ([email protected]) from OGC, who

said he
> would replace it with a 5 LED version. However, I wanted to post this

online
> incase anyone else is using one of these lights. The fact that they

are
> meant to be mounted on the seatpost, and get directly sprayed by

water from
> the rear tire exactly where the badly sealed switch is seems to pose

a
> safety threat in my opinion. Especially since any contact with water

and the
> light switches itself into the "off" position. Also, since it is

located
> behind you, you don't know that it has turned itself off until it is

too
> late.
>
> DEFINITELY a flawed design in my opinion that wasn't tested properly

before
> being released. Which is a shame for an important safety product.
>
> I've checked the light I have, and there is no flaws with the

manufacturing.
> The seal is there and in place, and it was closed properly. The next

time it
> rained, I even went out to test it again and it was off within 10

minutes
> (yes, the batteries are fully charged). Again, when I opened the

case, a
> slight amount of water had gotten into the case at the bottom right

where
> the micro switch is.
>
> I put up a little webpage with some pictures of the light and a copy

of this
> text...
>
> http://beauchamp.relyon.ca/optik7/
>
> Mike


Mike thank you for the post & web page, Happy Hollidays, John
 
Mike
I wouldn't call it a "rant". A really good & useful post. The kind of
stuff I read rbt for. BTW I stick w/ the Cateye that has a useful
reflector even when it's not turned on.
So far as I'm concerned, it has everything for it. It's bright, small,
dependable, light, really lasts a long time on batts., cheap. What
more could one ask for? I've almost never ridden in the rain w / it.
It's 'agin Ma rayligion to ride in the rain in California. My guess is
that it would be fine.
Thanks again, John
 
M

maxo

Guest
On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 10:58:05 -0500, Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Redundancy is good, but one needn't be paranoid about this.


Agreed. I currently ride in the city with one of the super mini CatEye
lights (looks like a red disc with a cord), reflectors on my rims,
reflective tape on my rear fender, and usually my Gill jacket with "safety
orange" back and reflective piping. I've never felt like motorists can't
see me. I've even had them thank me for taking time to be visible.

I've also been hit by a car from the rear wearing the same jacket and
running one of those Zefal tail lights with 5 LEDs, fresh batteries, and a
full 180 degree view, offering a sheer carnival of blinkage. The motorist
was laquered like a fine Japanese curio...no amount of blinkiness can
prevent that. :/

I do most of my night time riding in an old victorian neighborhood close
to my downtown. The traffic is leisurely and the lighting is good so YMMV. ;)

The main problem with the LED lights I've found is people not replacing
the batteries a timely manner--they'll get dimmer and dimmer and you won't
notice. I make sure to lean my bike again something every few nights,
leave the flasher on, and step back a few meters to see if I'm low on
juice.

So redundancy is good, but I'm really more concerned about the 90% of
evening cyclists I see around here w/o lights or reflectors rather than
myself. I'd like to see the cops pull them over and give them a choice of
a $20 ticket or purchasing a basic quality Cateye flasher on the spot for
$10.
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Ron Hardin wrote:

> The condition you have to work for is the one where there are other competing lights,
> and the idea is to impress on the driver that he has to do something unusual to
> avoid you, like give you lane clearance.


I found that the flash flag is good for this (day or night).

> A bike alone on a dark road is okay but not the worst case. In a busy area he's
> not seeing you any 20 seconds ahead.


You have to laugh when you read the packages for some of these lights,
where they claim that its visible 1/2 mile or a mile away. Sure it is,
on a straight road, on a clear night, with no competing lights, when the
light is properly mounted at the correct height.

While driving, I don't see bicycles with the el-cheapo flashers until
I'm very close to them. I give a silent "right-on" when I see a cyclist
who's equipped with good "being seen" lights.
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
maxo wrote:

> On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 10:58:05 -0500, Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>
>>Redundancy is good, but one needn't be paranoid about this.

>
>
> Agreed. I currently ride in the city with one of the super mini CatEye
> lights (looks like a red disc with a cord), reflectors on my rims,
> reflective tape on my rear fender, and usually my Gill jacket with "safety
> orange" back and reflective piping. I've never felt like motorists can't
> see me. I've even had them thank me for taking time to be visible.


One good thing about the CatEye TL-LD1000 is that it's two separate
circuits, each driving five LEDs, so if one flakes out, the other would
still likely work (assuming that the batteries are okay).
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
Steven M. Scharf wrote:

>
> While driving, I don't see bicycles with the el-cheapo flashers until
> I'm very close to them.


Really? How close do you have to get?

As I said elsewhere, I've never been surprised by the presence of a
legally lit cyclist. Never. I've always had _plenty_ of time to adjust
my driving to safely deal with them.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
maxo wrote:

>
> The main problem with the LED lights I've found is people not replacing
> the batteries a timely manner--they'll get dimmer and dimmer and you won't
> notice. I make sure to lean my bike again something every few nights,
> leave the flasher on, and step back a few meters to see if I'm low on
> juice.


I agree, this is a good idea. It's something I do from time to time too.

>
> So redundancy is good, but I'm really more concerned about the 90% of
> evening cyclists I see around here w/o lights or reflectors rather than
> myself. I'd like to see the cops pull them over and give them a choice of
> a $20 ticket or purchasing a basic quality Cateye flasher on the spot for
> $10.


Also agreed. IMO, a cop should never drive by an unlit cyclist without
stopping him.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
Steven M. Scharf wrote:


>> On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 10:58:05 -0500, Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Redundancy is good, but one needn't be paranoid about this.

>
> One good thing about the CatEye TL-LD1000 is that it's two separate
> circuits, each driving five LEDs, so if one flakes out, the other would
> still likely work (assuming that the batteries are okay).


But it has one set of batteries, right? IOW, it has no reduncancy
against what's absolutely the most common mode of light failure!


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]