First, some history, the lamp on the left is Lupine Edison - one of the last bicycle HID lamps manufactured. In mid-2008 it was too weak and too expensive in production and in addition too sensitive to vibrations during ride. As if that was not enough of the catalogs 900 lumens at 16W it gave only about 500 lumens of light.
Launch of the SSC P7 LEDs turned out to be "a godsend" for the Lupine, after minor modifications the same case could be fitted with the led and a reflector - the power drops to 12W, but not declared 900 lumens of light output. At the same time the production costs and level of complexity of the lamp falls drastically. But this is branded lamp, so the price is appropriate - 350 euro, which is still for number of people price barrier - but I must admit that to Lupine, Tesla presents quite nicely ;).
Like all simple and brilliant ideas it was soon copied on the Far East - although not exactly because Chinese relied on a components that they have available on the site. Orange peel type reflector and screw cap come straight from the torch –the only thing that they have to done was housing, handlebar mount, and the driver. They skip remote control button, advanced charger and other gadgets, as a result the price reached $ 80 (57 EURO), which is not even 20% price of the original...
A little bit about the magic of numbers..
On the picture beside is Seoul Semiconductor P7 SSC LED - actually it contains 4 emitters known from Cree XR-E leds stuffed into one casing and connected in parallel. As it usually happens SSC technical specifications are written so that everything is tallied (at least on the paper). For sale are available 3 bins:
Bin B - 570.0~700.0 lumens
Bin C - 700.0~800.0 lumens
Bin D - 800.0~900.0 lumens
In the specification is even the E 900.0 ~ 1100.0 lumens - but have not yet met a dealer so impertinent that claimed that his LEDs are from the this bin:). The results should be correct for the supply current 2.8 A that is about 10 watts. In the fact, when you insert such led on a big heatsink you can get about 700 lumens for such current. P7 LEDs are quite resistant to the overheating and work in the extreme conditions, which was eagerly exploited by magicshine's designers to cut costs a bit more ;).
Some marketing data.
Model : Magicshine MJ-808 Updated version
Led : SSC P7
Light output : 900 lumens
LED Life : 50 000 hours :p
Burn time at maximal mode : 180 minutes
4 color battery indicator
Price : 89$
It’s nice to have a local distributor In your city, you have everything in stock, and you can even complaint what should be in the package :). Thanks to that we skip most popular and well known sets sku.30864 and sku.25149 instead of getting Updated Version with European plug and different charger (it is most similar set to sku.44459). The reason was quite simple - poor charger and even poorer battery pack, thats why US distributor have so many problems with them.
Lamp, battery pack, charger, helmet mount, two o-rings for mounting on handlebar (standard / os).
Probably more than one user does not resist the temptation and turn on the light to see how it shines in this position -I do not recommend this without dark glasses. The lamp has the power:).
Looking from the side you can clearly see „Chinese quality” - moulds from which the mount and o-ring were made definitely were not ideal, the same goes with fitting of the mount with the head, they does not fit to well… The most puzzling thing for me is this little rubber seal that you can see between the mount and the head, suggesting that the cable is sealed but it does not really seal anything because at this point the head is not fitted with the mount. The lamp is declared water resistant not waterproof - so washing it under the tap is not recommended ;-).
What you can find inside?
SSC P7 LED as I mentioned several times before, it is mounted on cast drop-in with a hole just under the center of the led, what will surely deteriorate led cooling. The fact that the drop-in is casted shows people who knows something about metal works what is the scale of magicshine production.
Data from the driver have been removed so we don’t get any info from its manufacturer's datasheet. I have to desolder the coil in order to take the pictures - normally it covers everything.
The results of the new driver is very satisfactory, the performance raised from 76 to 86%, extending the burn time – for some of the updated versions it reaches 3,5h (25 minutes more than typical result for the previous version).
V-In I-in P-In V-led I-led P-led Eff.
High 7,81V 1,271A 9,93W 3,231V 2,653A 8,57W 86%
Low 8,09V 0,563A 4,55W 3,014V 1,346A 4,06W 89%
Some of you may want some more information about older versions so hire you have :)
Dealextreme sku.25149 (2,52A on high)
Kaidomain sku.S007910 (2,35A on high)
The new driver is great, but a new battery indicator is a real roulette - depending on the piece it can operate more or less correctly, or for half of the burn time it will indicate that you have only 25% battery left. Fortunately, the new battery pack apart solid casing and frame mount is equipped with voltage indicator - although this also falsifies a bit (about 0.2 V), but knowing the voltage range for the package 2s2p => 8,4-6,3V you can easily find out how much energy had left. Typical capacity of the battery pack is 4,09-4,23Ah (under 1A load) and its enough for more than 3 hours on high and 6,5 hours on low.
Inside the case is the same battery pack as before in addition we get small velcro strap for cable mount.
If you are owner of the older version it looks like that (if the heat-shrink cover was transparent ;-)). No wonder that in wet condition these fail a lot.
This above is actually quite good, instead of declared 1,8A it gives 1,5A but it’s much better than standard version (also declared as 1,8A) that gives 0,6-0,65A and charging takes almost 12 hours...
How it light ?
It lights good, as for the the price of even extremely good - compared to other companies lamps for 100 $ the difference is massive 200-300% in the light output.
At first some heat stress testing - on the left right after turn on, on the right after 6 minutes when it was almost impossible to take bare hand. You can see color and light output change - oh and the overheating protection works, after some time the lamp changes the mode to low until it cool down.
Competition ? What competition :-P On EU market for 100$ we have Sigma Powerled Black Pro (SSC P4 1,1A - about 200 lumens).
Magic vs Polish homegrown - Bocialarka 3.0 Cree XP-G (350 lumens)
The same set as above, but outdoor shots – the difference in light output is clear:
You can pick at the quality of manufacturing of several elements, poorly sealed head and falsifying indicators. But generally, if you want a product made perfectly (or almost perfectly) you will have to get over that 500 $ on Lupine or Exposure. However, if you turn a blind eye to these minor shortcomings and compare the price with the light output the magicshine is unbeatable. And if you are worried that it may fail - you can always buy 2 of these ;).