February 10th, 2006 03:31 PM
Several months later...Trailtech review
I purchased the Trail Tech HID helmet light from Battery Space (www.batteryspace.com) around mid autumn. Immediately on receipt I found several issues with the system that would be inconveniences while using this light as a helmet mounted light for bicycling. I will try to describe the issues I had with the light and how I was able to work around them or modify the light to fit my needs better.
The first issue I encountered was the mounting of the light itself. Provided with the light is a mounting surface attached to the light body with a curved bottom and a piece of heavy duty hook and loop fastener attached. Also provided is a matching piece of the same hook and loop material to adhere to the surface you want to mount the light. This is fine, if the surface you are mounting to is smooth and curved, such as a motorcycle type helmet that this product is originally designed for. In a bicycle application however our helmets are often riddled with vent holes and in my particular case there was a vent right where the ideal position of the light would be. I was able to find a piece of lexan that I improvised as a sort of shell over the helmet. I started by covering the top of the helmet with masking tape to prevent damage to it. I then used a heat gun to soften the lexan on top of the helmet and shape it to match the curves of the helmet. I trimmed it to allow airflow through as many vents as possible and drilled holes to allow attachment with zip ties. I affixed the hook and loop piece to this helmet mount in the appropriate spot and my mount was complete.
The second issue encountered was the location of the power switch for the light. As supplied, the switch is low on the cable and out of my reach when connected to a battery in my hydration pack. I was able to cut the cable in three places, one on each side of the switch and one closer to the light body and reposition the switch so it sits closer to my chest when I run the power cord down the shoulder strap of my pack. This allows me to have easier access to the switch and also to be able to see the built-in LED when it starts flashing to warn of low battery voltage. I recommend soldering all connections, it provides more strength and overall a more reliable electrical connection. Be sure when moving the switch to keep the input/output sides where they belong and your polarity correct. If this were a simple on/off toggle it would not be as important but in this case there is also a voltage regulator incorporated into the device.
The final issue I had was with the supplied charger. This isnít really a product complaint it works as expected but is just a basic trickle charger. I would recommend springing for the upgraded smart charger. With the smart charger itís easier to keep your battery fresh without worries of overcharging. You can just connect it and forget it. The charger will fully charge your battery and then maintain that voltage.
In summary, this is an excellent product for the price, just be aware that you may want to tweak some things as I have to make it better suited to your specific use.