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CatEye HL-EL540 Econo Force Headlight

Item #: LS252A07
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CatEye HL-EL540 Econo Force Headlight

Ecology meets economy. The CatEye Econom Force uses ROL technology and 4 AA batteries to provide an efficient, regulated 4000cd light beam.

With high, low and flashing beams, a run time of up to 30hrs, and the option of upgrading to NiMH rechargeable batteries, using the built in charging port, give you as many lighting options as you have needs.

Tech Specs;

Dimension: 114.0 X 56.0 X 53.0mm
Weight: 244 grams (with bracket and batteries)
Light source: High power white SMD LED X1
Light output: 4000cd
Battery: AA alkaline battery X4
Runtime: Approx 2hrs in high mode, 9hrs in low mode, and 30hrs in flashing mode
Other: Low battery indicator
The factory-loaded battery life might be shorter than the specification above.
Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.


5.0 / 5.0
1 Review
5 Stars
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1 Stars
Excellent light for the price
Before I bought El-540, I have used many self-contained unit type meaning no wire to connect the battery pack to the light itself from HL-500(first Cateye headlight introduced) to Cateye HL-1500 the last unit I was using up until I bought EL-540 and the models from other makers which I didn't use very often.Before I decided to order, I read reviews in [@] to see how they rate it. The reviews are very good with 4-1/2 rating. It seems to be a big hit in Japan, there seems to be a shortage of supply. It's the same situation in US and it took about a month before I received a message that they(Jenson USA) had the products in stock.Some of the first impression I got when I first tried it.1) Much brighter than older 1 watt LED model powered by 4 AA batteries.2) Beam patter is very unique. It's rectangular and almost even illumination from corner to corner. Illuminates much wider than older Cateye models.3) Product quality is, in my opinion from the point of the material and fit, one level up from older Cateye models.4) Battery compartment is cleverly designed for no tool replacement(Most other gadgets in general, often flat screw driver is needed to pry out the first battery). It's a bit confusing at first but you get used to it quickly. You push in the one end of battery to push out the other end for the first battery then one on the other side in the same way. The rest can be pulled out like you normally do because there's room for a finger with one battery already out.Correction to the information you can find in most review sites like [@].1) Burning time is 2 hours:It's the burn time using alkaline batteries.It's hard to believe anybody buy this and use throw away batteries in them. According to Cateye package description, burn time with Nimh which most user will be using is 5 hours. Real burn time(full power) in my test was 5 hours and 18 minutes till red warning light came on with freshly charged Eneloop(first generation).2) Flextight not secure:It is getting a bad rap(it moves around even if it's tightened, it break snaps, plastic thread strip easily etc.) in most reviews but brief use of it, it's shown me it works, specially with a sheet of rubber from old inner tube, securely. But for now, I decide to play safe. I installed my old screw tight bracket(with a rubber sheet).Pros:1) Bright. It's rated 4000 candlepower. In term of Lumen, it's about 150 lumen. How I came up with this number? I have 200 lumen flash light(which was tad brighter than 250 lumen Cygolight side by side). Place them(one at a time) at the same spot aiming at the white ceiling then take photo of a print pasted on the wall. EL-540 power falls somewhere between 1/3 to 2/3 stop lower than 200 lumen flash light (1 stop down would be 100 lumen). It gives a illumination about 50 feet(15 meter) ahead of you, enough to slow down from 20 mph or stop when you see something or somebody.2) Ease of battery replacement. My first blind fold test, it took 55 seconds for the whole process. If you have to do this on the road, you need a couple of big pockets to save the parts from being dropped on the ground though. No tool replacement is a big plus. It has a low battery warning light, so it gives you a time to find some light(to replace the batteries), doing it in the total darkness is unlikely.(This isn't designed for mountain biking in the darkness)3) No spill beam pattern. Adjustment of light without disturbing the approaching traffic is a bit easier. Often spill part(or halo, if you want to call it) of the light is still distracting to the car driver and walker alike. Sometimes you see other oncoming cyclists aiming at your eyes (or it seems) at night, they don't mean to but they have to to keep the brightest part of the beam at right position. with EL-540, it's less likely to happen.4) Long burn time. Others may not agree but 5 hours is good enough for me. If you sacrifice the brightness in half power mode, you can go through the night ride without replacement battery. And of course, if you carry the replacement batteries you can go as long as you want.5) Runs cool. It gets warm but nowhere near hot. It's barely above the skin temp of your own. This probably means having longer life than some of others get hot enough to melt the plastic.6) Price. At the regular price of [$].-(I paid [$].- + tax, free shipping) most people can afford.Cons:1) Big and heavy. That's what many reviews say. It isn't much different from other 4AA battery lights. Most of the weight comes from the batteries. Personally, I'm happy with the weight and the bulk.Most other self-contained lights in this class are flashlights re-designed for bicycle with the brackets. A few were designed from ground up for bicycle use, EL-540 is one of those and the designers did a pretty good job pushing it a right step forward. I hope other makers realize this and not competing by the power only but the cyclists actually use it regularly have other requirements too.It would be best described as "Poorman's Philips Saferide", another model designed from ground up for bicycle but cost a lot more.I highly recommend this model(for its intended purpose).For more images, "HL EL540RC Econom Force [@]"(JensonUSA allows only 2 images per review)

PROS: Bright, Flashing mode, Weather resistant, No waste beam pattern, Low battery warning, Consistent light output, 5 hr burn time

CONS: big and heavy
July 31, 2012

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Free Shipping Offer

Get free Standard Shipping with your $50 purchase today! Just choose Standard Shipping during checkout.

Please note this offer is only available to physical shipping addresses in the 48 continental United States (no PO Boxes), and oversize charges still apply on some heavy/large items.