by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
If you'll pardon the pun, a light bulb went off in my head when I came upon these Sylvania DOT-it lights in a hardware store.
They appeared to be perfect for use as a motorcycle top box or saddlebag light.
No wires, no switches and the LED light bulbs should withstand the abuse caused by motorcycle vibration.
And since LED bulbs draw only a tiny amount of current, the three AAA batteries (included) that power the DOT-it light should last nearly forever.
Sylvania DOT-it lights come in six different metallic (and vibrant) colors, from the black and silver shown here to purple, red, lime green and orange.
The construction seems to be of high quality, and the product does have a certain heft, weighing in at about 2.5 oz., or 78 grams.
The body is a heavy plastic and the three bright LED lights are covered by a clear plastic dome.
The idea is to stick the DOT-it light on a flat surface with the 3M 300LSE tape on the back and press the clear plastic dome to turn the light on and off.
3M says that this tape "provides a much higher peel strength ... to low surface energy plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene.
Sylvania also claims that the DOT-it will stick to fabric, leather, plastic, glass or fiberglass.
So the lights would theoretically work inside leather saddlebags, although I haven't tried it.
If this is true, this would be a very unique application -- wireless LED lights inside a leather saddlebag!
The tape is also claimed by 3M to have "very good chemical, humidity and exceptional temperature resistance, and is the best choice for bonding to plastic substrates, oily metal and powder paints."
This is the same adhesive that is used for motorcycle trim, nameplates, logos, decorative trim and in other uses.
One source claimed that the tape will work from 0 to 120 degrees (F), but I could not verify that claim with the 3M product information available to me.
The Sylvania DOT-it packaging claims that the owner can "apply and reapply (the light) to clean surfaces", but I have my doubts about how many times the light could be reapplied on the inside of a saddlebag.
Why would the light have to be reapplied? Well, one of the drawbacks of the design is that the three AAA batteries are accessible only by unscrewing three Phillips head screws on the backside of the light.
It's a shame that they didn't design it so that the top could be unscrewed, rather like a battery operated, flat mounted smoke detector.
Or so that a plate could stick to the surface but the light could be detached, so that it could also be used as a handheld light.
But since the batteries are supposed to last for 100 hours, I'm hoping that I won't have to worry about battery replacement for some time.
It takes a stiff push on the dome to turn the light on and off, which I think is a good thing when using the DOT-it as a saddlebag light, because otherwise it may turn on unexpectedly if the saddlebag was overstuffed or the contents were bouncing around during a ride.
The Triumph Tiger top box has a fairly big lid and when the lid is opened there is a wide horizontal area on the inside that looks down on the contents of the bag.
I was hoping that the surface would be a good location for mounting the DOT-it.
Unfortunately, this area isn't as flat as it should be for mounting, but it does seem to work. The DOT-it, by the way, measures 2.5" in diameter and about 1/2" high (64mm by 12mm).
I peeled off the backing on the 3M tape and pressed the DOT-it to the inside surface of the top box and held it for a few seconds and it stuck. I'm surprised that it's still holding after a few rides, but I'm expecting that it will fall off sooner rather than later.
I don't think this is the fault of the tape; rather, it's because the mounting surface that I chose is not flat.
I'll probably end up hot-gluing the light or using some other type of adhesive to get it to stick to the bag.
I could mount the DOT-it on the center of the inside of the top box, but then it would be shining at me rather than down on the contents of the box when the lid is opened. This would work, but not as well as the current location, shown in the bottom photo.
I also mounted a DOT-it on the inside front of a BMW saddlebag, and in the saddlebag orientation, the light works rather well.
It shines back into the bag and since the light is designed to provide a wide coverage area, most of the inside of the bag is illuminated.
Mounting the light on the inside front of the bag has a secondary effect of shining backwards into the traffic when/if I'm stopped on the side of the road at night.
And this might hopefully act as a warning, although the light is bright white instead of red.
I'm actually rather surprised at how bright the three LED lights are in the DOT-it. They seem brighter than several of the LED flashlights we have around the shop.
So the bottom line is that the Sylvania DOT-it works fairly well as a "wireless" LED light for illuminating the inside of a saddlebag.
I doubt if the Sylvania designers thought about using it this way.
And of course there are many other uses for the light, such as hanging in a cabinet or under a shelf in the shop or garage, in a toolbox or just about any other place where a semi-permanent, wireless light may be needed.
wBW Review: Sylvania DOT-it LED Lights
|Manufacturer: Osram Sylvania||List Price (2004): $9.99|
|Colors: Black, Silver, Red, Purple, Orange, Lime Green.||Made In: China|
|Review Date: April 2006|