I ran a test of bike taillight run times a while ago, with all lights in the steady “on” mode. Since most of us run our taillights in blink mode, I decided to repeat the test for the same set of lights in blink mode.
Just like last time, the lights are, from left to right, the MEC Saturn, PB Superflash Turbo, PB Superflash Stealth, PB Blinky7, and the PDW Danger Zone. All these lights have superbright LED’s and 0.5W or 1.0 W LED’s in various combinations. The list prices range from $9-37. Just like last time, I used rechargeable AAA’s (NiMH) from Duracell, with the white tops, which indicate that they were made in Japan.
Here is a video of all five lights in blink mode, at the start of the test, and after 68 hours. After 68 hours, only the Superflash and the Blinky7 are still alive, but only the Superflash is bright enough to be usable as a “be seen” light.
Time lapse does a poor job of showing lights in blink mode since the camera is taking a picture only every 600s (5 minutes). Nevertheless, it is useful to use the video to see when each light cuts out.
The time lapse ends after 85 hours, at which point the PB Blinky7 is still running, but it is far too faint to be effective.
I would continue to pick the Planet Bike Superflash as my favorite taillight. The blink run time of 80 h is within shooting distance of the advertised time of 100 hours. It is probable that the runtime could in fact exceed 100h if you used alkaline batteries, rather than the AAA rechargeables that I used. Unfortunately, MEC seems to have dropped the Superflash, in favour of the Superflash Turbo and the PDW taillights, which I think is a real mistake. I e-mailed them about this, but they responded that they might be able to find a couple of the older lights if I needed one (I already have three so I am set).