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Check out “the most advanced dynamo light ever created”

Igaro says its new C1 offers more light than any other dynamo hub system, is hugely configurable, and allows you to charge USB devices too

British company Igaro has released what it says is “the world’s most advanced dynamo hub light by a country mile”, offering you loads of options for customisation via a companion app along with the ability to charge USB devices.

The Igaro C1 is designed to work with STVZO-certified dynamo hubs, including those from ShimanoSchmidt SON, and SP. The light does not work with rim-based dynamos.

2023 Igaro C1 dynamo hub light - 3

“The C1 automates using speed, charge level and light ambience and is configured over Bluetooth,” says Igaro. “There are no switches and there’s no need to unplug USB devices.”

> Read our review of the Igaro S1 Pro dynamo hub USB charger 

You generate the power through your dynamo hub and decide where to put it; storage, lights or USB. Control over power routing is configured for different scenarios using the Igaro C1 app (you’ll need a phone running Android 6.0 or newer) and then automated.

For example, on a night ride, you could have the USB off, and due to high speed the storage level could be high, so you might have the lights on a high brightness.

On the other hand, in daylight, you might have the lights off, and due to low speed the storage level could be low, so you might have the USB on using a low-power mode.

You can configure the system to react to motion and ambient light – there’s a sensor under the rear cover. You can set the various light thresholds at which it will respond. This means, for example, that you can set the C1 to become automatically brighter as dusk turns to night.

The C1 comes from two Cree XD16 Extreme Density LEDs (5000k, 170lm), and you can control the speed at which the system switches from low to main LED emitter. The LED emitters can also be combined, and when doing so power is shared. This reduces intensity but increases efficiency. The C1 has a configurable automatic shutdown feature too.

Igaro says that it uses huge internal super-capacitors that store excess power and provide flicker-free light output and stable USB power when you’re riding slowly or stationary. These are said to offer 5000 times the lifespan of lithium batteries and work well in sub-zero temperatures.

> Best bike lights 2024 — see and be seen with our selection of beams for your bike

The shaped beam reflector is designed to meet German STVZO regulations to avoid dazzling other road users, although the C1 is still going through the certification process. Igaro says that it won’t limit the C1’s features or performance outside of overridable software configuration (as already featured in the app) to make it compliant.

The reflector is asymmetric and can’t be flipped, so the Igaro C1 is available in two different versions, one with a mount at the top and the other with a mount at the bottom.

2023 Igaro C1 dynamo hub light - 3

It uses a single-piece CNCed aluminium shell that’s waterproofed by multiple seals and has an IP69 rating. This means it’s dust-tight and can stand up to powerful high-temperature water jets – or, more to the point, it’ll keep rain out. This rating excludes the USB ports, although these do have a cover to protect them.

Igaro says, “The rain shield provides excellent protection from the elements. However, you should take care to keep the USB ports dry should the bicycle be placed on its side when raining.”

The front glass is toughened, the internal electronics are vibration-proof, and you get a five-year international warranty. The C1 measures 67mm x 42.5mm x 50.8mm and weighs 150g.

The price? You’re looking at £350. Igaro says that an R1 companion rear light will arrive soon.

www.igaro.com

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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32 comments

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Aidy | 5 months ago
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I'm a fairly long term dynamo user (about 10 years), and I agree with "needs a button". Ideally would have mode control, but I've learned to live without it - I do miss it sometimes, though.

I get the arguments of using sensors and setting it up so everything's automatic, but it doesn't cover all bases.

Off the top of my head:

 * Sometimes I like to turn it off, even if it's dark. On particularly hard climbs, at the end of the day, I find there's a bit of a psychological benefit to knowing you're not having the additional drag in the system. On good roads with streetlighting/ample moonlight, I might save the watts, too.

 * It can be foggy, but still bright - I might turn lights on to be seen better. Also for some busy roads, having lights on feels safer.

 * Some events do bike checks and want to see lights working. 

 * If riding in a group, it's useful to be able to lower power if you're not at the front so you're not casting a massive shadow for the riders in front of you

 * It's sometimes useful to be able to increase brightness temporarily to see road signs / things on the side of the road / etc. (in practise, I just use a battery light for this now)

 * Useful to have different light profiles for different terrain, particularly for gravel riding where you might be on and off road.

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igarocom replied to Aidy | 3 months ago
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There are overrides, you can quickly override the automatic sensor to dark/dim/light and also toggle all outputs on/off from the main screen. Some of your situations are handled automatically, like fog - we specifically chose a rear sensor that is IR filtered so it's not skewed by the suns IR power over artifical lighting.

Riding in the dark is either dangerous and/or illegal (on maintained roads) so we can't comment on it.

We don't want to encourage using the App for overrides and may have a bluetooth handlebar control for doing it. To date every C1 user has found the automatic control to be excellent so ongoing feedback around this will impact whether we invest into it.

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leipreachan | 6 months ago
1 like

With all due respect to developers of this light, I'd choose something a little bit "less advance" with just two mechanical switches. On/off and Low beam / full beam. That's all

Also quite unfortunately, the app is not available for iOS users and "they hope to release it" in March.. or April. Or will it be in July? What's happen with the app if company is bankrupt in 5 years and there will be iOS 22 by that moment (with new security boundaries, not implemented in the app)? Will the app still work? Do I need to keep an old iPhone to configure the light after that? Is there a plan to release a destop utility for the light?

 

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igarocom replied to leipreachan | 6 months ago
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Technically speaking the App for iOS is already ready, but we're waiting for Apple's next iOS release where they are being forced by EU legislation (by March) to allow for side loading. The majority of Apple users don't know that the costs of distributing a 'free' App on Apple are prohibitive in terms of requiring Apple hardware and a yearly enterprise fee. The closed eco-system is bad for everyone but Apple - and companies need to take a stand against such behaviour.

It is good to be concerned about longevity. We're commited to open-source both the App and Firmware if at any point we can't maintain it.

Appreciate that you'd prefer manual switches, but you can't do 1/10th of what the Igaro C1 does in that case. You may wish to look at all the functionality exposed by the App (see the manual page) and ask how switches would do it.

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mark1a replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
3 likes

igarocom wrote:

Technically speaking the App for iOS is already ready, but we're waiting for Apple's next iOS release where they are being forced by EU legislation (by March) to allow for side loading. The majority of Apple users don't know that the costs of distributing a 'free' App on Apple are prohibitive in terms of requiring Apple hardware and a yearly enterprise fee. The closed eco-system is bad for everyone but Apple - and companies need to take a stand against such behaviour.

Apple are only going to enable sideloading in regions affected by the EU DMA, so basically the EU27 and EEA. Sideloading will still be blocked everywhere else, so realistically you're going to have to go in the App Store to reach iOS users in US, Canada, Aus/NZ, UK, etc. 

I wouldn't have considered the distribution costs to be prohibitive IMO, isn't it $299 a year and 30% of revenue (30% of 0.00 for a free app)? Regarding hardware, I've done cross-platform iOS/Android stuff using Xamarin before (other frameworks are available) and although I use Macs myself, colleagues used Windows on the same project. Worst case you'd need a Mac mini and an iOS device for debug testing and to handle the App Store, not hugely expensive. 

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leipreachan replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
3 likes

> Appreciate that you'd prefer manual switches, but you can't do 1/10th of what the Igaro C1 does in that case

that's exactly what I'm talking about. I appreaciate the abundance of options in the product, I really do. My point is that having a mechanical switch to override electronic "buttons" wins in a long term.

Also.. "The closed eco-system is bad for everyone but Apple" but at the same moment your product is a proprietary product with closed source code, am I right? Why not to opensource the code right now so anyone with enough knowledge would be able to use the device?

Meanwhile, I have to wait till March and see if users in the UK (like myself) will be able to use the app.

It may be a great product but I can't even test it!

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igarocom replied to leipreachan | 6 months ago
1 like

We found in real-world riding on test in Africa we didn't yearn for manual switches. The Igaro C1 isn't simply on/off, it solves the conundrum once and for all over how much power goes into lights and/or USB to prevent them fighting for power, and adds huge super-capacitors so users don't need a power-bank to get optimal extraction from the dynamo hub. This automation is new and switches are the old!

Running through your example of an on/off switch, what is "on", is it 10%, 50% or 100%? Is it flashing mode? Should USB shutdown completely or go into a lower current mode? Do you want the same behaviour when its daytime as you do for dusk and night? Is "On"; low, main, combined, low with main combined or main with low combined? How about when the bicycle is stationary, should the switch do something different? There are simply too many permutations for switches to handle.

We do have the option of connecting to multiple Bluetooth devices, specifically 'remote camera shutter' type devices where the buttons act as notifications, but it doesn't resolve the configuration issue unless we introduce 'configuration saved as profiles'. It's food for thought, we'll be adding features if we can be convinced there's a need for them.

Regarding the closed-source query, the Igaro C1 hardware is complex and driven by software which has to carefully controlled and tested. It would otherwise be easy to brick and/or destroy the device. We're also not going to allow our competitors to leap a decade into our knowledge space by analysing the software to work out how the hardware works. No apologies on that one!

Cost is not the issue for an iOS app and prohibitive was the wrong word to use. We just don't want to aid a monopolist. Apart from the rear light this is currently a high priority to resolve as many are asking for it and there is a good chance we'll be going ahead with it earlier than March.

 

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ChasP replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
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You may not have missed the switches in Africa and I'm all for letting it optimise charging on it's own but what about dip/main beam? If it's automatic how do you flash the car coming towards you with it's main beam on? I currently use B and M lights and charging, I realise the charging isn't the most efficient nowadays but love the beam pattern if only it had a main beam for occasional use...

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leipreachan replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
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Again, I want to apologise in advance if my comments are not very clear.
I'm certain the Igaro C1 is a great product and I'd love to try one (and, probably, have it in a future).

My comments is nothing but my point of view at this moment, without even trying the product.

> Running through your example of an on/off switch, what is "on", is it 10%, 50% or 100%? Is it flashing mode? Should USB shutdown completely or go into a lower current mode? Do you want the same behaviour when its daytime as you do for dusk and night?

Personally I'd love to have a manual override mode. "Disable smart stuff and do dumb stuff" mode will satisfy a lot of users, especially if that means the final price is reduced by 50-70-100 gbp. There are people who like electronic shifting and people who like manual shifting.

> users don't need a power-bank to get optimal extraction from the dynamo hub.

I personally always carry a power bank - because with it I can charge my phone in a tent or inside my tailfin.

> This automation is new and switches are the old!

The old solution has been tested for decades by tens of thousands of people, the new automation has not. I'm not saying your solution is worse, absolutely not. Just this argument is invalid.

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leipreachan replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
0 likes

I'm sorry, I just noticed that the manual mentions "The Igaro R1 a companion rear light will arrive in the near future."

Is it possible to connect the existing rear lights to the unit?

How easy is to disconnect the rear light from the main unit? (unfortunately the picture on the website is very bright and not so many details of the connector is visible) Is it possible to do without any tools or with a simple cycling multitool?

Is there a video showing the automation of front light in different scenarios?
- a lightened city
- less lightened city
- pitch black
- under canopy, day time
- under canopy, dusk
- under canopy, heavy clouds
- forest trails
- full beam reaction time to an oncoming traffic
- full beam pattern in a road descend with corners

after all, 400 gbp is a huge investment for a new light, considering I already have Edelux and sinewave convertor.

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igarocom replied to leipreachan | 6 months ago
1 like

You'll find answers to the rear light question on the C1 FAQ page. The manual page also shows the leads better - they are standard JST connectors which plug in easy, no tools required. The rear light will be cheap, it's just an LED with housing (all the electronics are inside the C1).

We don't have much footage at the moment, every time we've arranged a night over the past month it's been raining with mist - no good for the camera!

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igarocom replied to leipreachan | 3 months ago
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"the app is not available for iOS users and "they hope to release it" in March.. or April. Or will it be in July?"

We released it on March 26th.

Not April. Not July.  3

 

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Twowheelsaregreat | 6 months ago
1 like

It is a lot of money. More than any other dynamo light. But it is unique. There is no dynamo light with integrated charging regulator on the market that has a road friendly cut-off beam. It's not stvzo certified yet but if/when it is that'll surely add value. Note to Igaro, best do that soon as the Germans will be keen on buying it then.

I was holding the Supernova M99 DY Pro up as the ultimate road friendly dynamo light but that has low speed flicker which is very poor for a £320 dynamo light.

Klite and the Sinewave Beacon are both expensive. Klite package inc. front light, charger and switch comes in at around £480 but is incrediby bright at 1300 lumens. The Sinewave Beacon coming in at £380 but having low speed flicker (below 4mph apparently), a basic but effective charging regulator and a quite a dim 750 lumen beam (in my experience anyway...I sold it on..sticking with my Exposure Revo (around 800 lumens)/Igaro D1 combination and a diy three-way toggle switch instead). Neither K-lite, the Beacon or Exposure Revo are road friendly.

There is a new kid on the block, however, again not road friendly, but does look good and that is the LLUM https://llum.caminade.eu/. Both with charging regulator and light , with some nice durable-looking electrical sockets. It seems to be a better alternative to the Sinewave Beacon as it has a feature or two that the Beacon is missing.

The configuration of the Igaro C1 light is incredibly granular...to the point that I think it'll scare off most dynamo users (except for me) as they tend to be bearded old types that don't understand smart phones let alone smart lights.

I think there will be a few ultracyclists that would aspire to own the Igaro light as ultracyclists can be pretty geeky with their set-ups. Mostly europeans too as I think fewer Brits understand the virtues of dynamo set-ups.

If the settings truly are set-once and work in all scenarios then it'll be a winner but I do find my preferences change depending on the terrain. Very long hilly audaxes such as the London-Lands End-London found me really on the edge with regards to keeping my phone charged (used for navigation and music) and lights powered without resorting to using my headtorch battery to top up the phone charge a bit.

Personally, I've always thought that integrating a charging regulator with the front light is the most logical union of technologies due to their position on the bike and their need to draw power from the same source.

If I had the spare cash, which I don't then I'd aspire to having the LLUM for off-road and the Igaro C1 for on-road/gravel duties.

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igarocom replied to Twowheelsaregreat | 6 months ago
1 like

The LLUM has the same issue as the Beacon 2, rain goes into the USB port and ruins it. Electrolysis is unavoidable between charged metals and liquid. For the Igaro C1 we've considered long term usage, which is why the rain cover is extensive and the USB rear board is replaceable should it ever get to that point.

While some may advertise 1300 lumens this is impossible from dynamo power. We use CREE XD16 emitters which at maximum brightness offer 6W of light, 8W of power draw (so 75% efficiency) and ~700 lumens. A SON28 at maximum saturation point (extremely fast, most riders will never hit it) yields 9.5W of power. If any light could use the full 9.5W it would be about 750 lumens.

Only the Igaro C1 and Supernova M99 use reactance tuning and MPPT (you can read about these on our website). Without this a light can't get above about 6W of draw and the real output doesn't make 500 lumens. In reality due to other factors like the transmission index of the glass and rectification losses (another two areas where the Igaro C1 excels) it's less.

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leipreachan replied to Twowheelsaregreat | 6 months ago
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Twowheelsaregreat wrote:

but that has low speed flicker which is very poor

just out of curiousity -- at what speed the flickering occurs? I've been considering to get M99

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Twowheelsaregreat replied to leipreachan | 6 months ago
1 like

I don't know the speed range precisely, but I noticed it on another audaxers' bike as he was slowing down prior to pulling up next to us, as we were standing outside a Mcdonalds one evening. I though ooh haven't seen one of those lights in the flesh yet (after previously yearning for one) but also thought...it flickered. The Beacon put me of flickering dyno lights and to use one of those on an mtb where speeds are generally slower than road then it's definately a no-go for me. At least with the Beacon you can add an external battery to overcome this oversight. Not so with the M99. It might be tolerable for most road cyclists but if the Exposure Revo can avoid it then why can't these more expensive alternatives?

It also mentions it here https://bikepacking.com/gear/supernova-m99-dy-pro-review/

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igarocom replied to Twowheelsaregreat | 6 months ago
1 like

It probably doesn't need saying but we will add it to the FAQ, the Igaro C1 is flicker-free at any speed. Also worth a mention is internally the hardware uses voltage (rather than PWM) control for the LEDs (front and rear) and therefore there's no flickering when recording video footage.

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Chris RideFar | 6 months ago
0 likes

This could be interesting if they made a version without the USB  charging functions, so reduced the price by 100 pounds and got rid of the need for an app. In addition, I'd want the option of mounting it in various positions on different bikes, so the single mount is also a dealbreaker for me. I wish them luck finding enough of the exact kind of client that wants this exact version of their product, but I think they'd do better with a range of options/versions.

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Twowheelsaregreat replied to Chris RideFar | 6 months ago
1 like

You have a range of options...Igaro charger, B&M charger, Sinewave Charger....the list goes on....then add light only, e.g. Exposre Revo, numerous B&M lights, Son lights, etc. Igaro's C1 is unique; sounds like it's not for you but you do have alternatives. B&M is probably more within your budget.

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Daclu Trelub | 7 months ago
0 likes

£350 for just the front?

They can keep it.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Daclu Trelub | 7 months ago
4 likes

You're not a connoisseur of high end dynamo lights for backpacking and ultra distance rides then?  This is in the ballpark with KLite and Sine Wave, and in the same range as most Exposures as well.

If it does what it is promised to do it's probably a reasonable price.  As a Klite owner Im intrigued 

Don't judge by your narrow worldview.

 

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STATO | 7 months ago
6 likes

Kudos to them making a light, the chargers seem to be well thought of.

However, the last thing Id want is a light/charger you can only control with an app. This absoloutly need a simple mechanical override switch to change it to just lights.

And the '2 versions available, top or bottom mount' is a folly only suiable for overpriced custom steel showbikes. A simple threaded boss on the back or top/bottom reversible mount, so you can adapt and modify your setup over years of use.

The price is fine, its a small batch unique high quality piece, but for some reason they have decided to intentionally limit its utility.

 

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igarocom replied to STATO | 7 months ago
4 likes

It was investigated and decided against, doing so would have added at least 5mm depth to the rear of the unit and would run a risk of the thread stripping at that depth (the shell is aluminium).

The App is for configuration and control overrides, the Igaro C1 controls itself. Once 'dialed in' to the users riding style and requirements then by and large the App isn't needed.

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Blackthorne replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
0 likes

Any setup requiring an app with Bluetooth is a dealbreaker. You could give it away for free and I won't go near it. A pointless hassle and a dependency on the company. I am sure you would not be wanting to maintain said app in 10 years time nor will the customer.

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igarocom replied to Blackthorne | 6 months ago
5 likes

There is no other means to do what the Igaro C1 offers as the configurability is in excess of what switches could provide. Nothing like the Igaro C1 has ever been done before and it requires a different train of thought. Whereas on other lights you may have -

"a simple mechanical override switch to change it to just lights"

The Igaro C1 will do this automatically. It'll also put your lights on lower during dusk and reduce the power going to the USB, in a perfect power balancing operation. You decide through configuration and leave the control side of it to the Igaro C1.

The Igaro C1 will be around for a lot longer than 10 years simply because (at least with current technology) we can't improve it, and we'll be maintaining the App with it. At the point at which the App can't be maintained by us for whatever reason we'd release both the source-code for the App and the firmware for the Igaro C1.

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mattw replied to igarocom | 6 months ago
3 likes

I appreciate manufacturers who come on to comment.

Not in my universe (that's half the cost of my carbon-fork cycle with all its accessories which I bought in 2015), but I wish you success in your niche. 

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chrisonabike | 7 months ago
3 likes

What do you get when you cross electrics with electronics (and indeed programming...)?

IMHO square lights are OK for industrial applications / offices / work lights, but that's it!

BTW still pleased to see a mention of dynamo lights here, even if it be "anyone received any press releases"? (No shade on Matt though - more in the audax community seem to use them).

Very happy with my Supernova and my B&M IQ for urban use, but will watch this space as still have bikes left to equip!

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Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
2 likes

£350!

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Rendel Harris replied to Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
6 likes

Muddy Ford wrote:

£350!

Sits nicely on the "good value" £745 aero bars…

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ChasP replied to Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
2 likes

Not as ridiculous as it seems from the title as the charger with supercapacitors is a large part of the cost. The stvzo regulations are great for not dazzling others but limit the dynamo output (and dim steady rear light) so balancing charging and lights is challenging. If this does a good job of it and has a decent beam pattern it could be a worthwhile investment.

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