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Thread: PT Apex, still the "best"?

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    Default PT Apex, still the "best"?

    I had asked once before about the best headlamp for caving. The little RiverRock one from Target just doesn't cut it. Anyways, I never got one at the time because I was still recovering from a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. Long story short, I hope to be able to go on a trip later this month. At the time of my original question it seemed that the Apex was the overwhelming favorite. My main requirements were good light output and flat regulation for as long as possible, and moderately priced (the $65 for the Apex will be a tough sell to the wife as it is). From what I could gather there hasn't been anything along in the last few months that is likely to have dethroned it. I just wanted to confirm that that is, indeed, the case.

  2. #2

    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    You can make a Seoul mod to the apex, that is "the" thing that makes it better than it is stock
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meduza View Post
    You can make a Seoul mod to the apex, that is "the" thing that makes it better than it is stock
    Yes, I had heard about these "mod" things. What are they? ;-) No, seriously, I know that's something a lot of people do. I will try to find one of the instructional threads on it but I'm at work and CPF is proxied out (says it's a forum of all things!) so I have to sidestep it, meaning that it's rather slow access. So, to save me a bit of trouble, about what do the Seoul P4 LEDs that I would need to do the mod run and how much, if any, does it affect the regulation time and flatness? It wouldn't be the first time I bought something and voided the warranty 10 minutes after I got it. :-)

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Im a big fan of my Apex Pro (pro just uses 123's) It runs a very long time, BUT there are some new drawbacks popping up. When i bought my headlamp, i paid over $80, and loved it (still do, don't get me wrong). But now since the Cree/Seoul revolution, it seems dim on high. If i were going to buy another headlamp, i would wait for some new technology, especially when for $80 you could buy a seriously high powered torch and a cheap headlamp.
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by scottaw View Post
    Im a big fan of my Apex Pro (pro just uses 123's) It runs a very long time, BUT there are some new drawbacks popping up. When i bought my headlamp, i paid over $80, and loved it (still do, don't get me wrong). But now since the Cree/Seoul revolution, it seems dim on high. If i were going to buy another headlamp, i would wait for some new technology, especially when for $80 you could buy a seriously high powered torch and a cheap headlamp.
    Replace the LED with Seoul. My guess is that it will take a while for some of the manufacturers to embrace the newer LED's and that by the time they do, we're already off to something better You could be waiting for a while and you'll always be behind "outdated".

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatar28 View Post
    ... about what do the Seoul P4 LEDs that I would need to do the mod run and how much, if any, does it affect the regulation time and flatness? It wouldn't be the first time I bought something and voided the warranty 10 minutes after I got it. :-)
    The P4 LED is about $10 shipped, plus you will need Thermal epoxy, and a reflector. You can get all from PhotonFanatic. If you keep the original optic it will almost double the brightness, it won't effect runtime or regulation.

    If you switch to a reflector the mod is a little harder. In the case of the IMS 17 and writerite light diffuser combo I used, the spot stayed about the same brightness but the spill got much bigger and brighter. There are a variety of other reflector options. I would recommend the reflector for caving, in some ways the P4 Mod on the optic is almost too bright for caving even on the low. You will want the spill from a reflector to see the area around your feet.

    Another cheaper and lighter option is to get and EOS and mod it. The high will now be almost as bright as the stock Apex and Med will run 10 hours regulated. The EOS P4 on Med is definitely enough for caving. I would rather have a modded EOS then a stock Apex.

    Here is what the Apex looks like inside.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by scottaw View Post
    Im a big fan of my Apex Pro (pro just uses 123's) It runs a very long time, BUT there are some new drawbacks popping up. When i bought my headlamp, i paid over $80, and loved it (still do, don't get me wrong). But now since the Cree/Seoul revolution, it seems dim on high. If i were going to buy another headlamp, i would wait for some new technology, especially when for $80 you could buy a seriously high powered torch and a cheap headlamp.
    Except that when caving your headlamp is your primary light and flat regulation is a good thing. Most of the cheaper headlamps don't have nearly the quality of regulation of the Apex from what I've seen. As several have suggested, I could just mod in a P4.

    Speaking of, I haven't had much luck so far finding the mod instructions to see what exactly is involved. I assume it would be in the mod section, right?

    cave_dave, regarding modding an EOS, what does the regulation on the EOS look like and what kind of runtime would I expect on high if I get 10 hrs on low? Or do you think that low will be plenty bright for caving? The EOS runs on AAA batteries, right? I know with the AA rechargables to look for the ones with letters stamped on the bottom as some of the best (I forget the letters but I know them when I see it). Are the AAAs similar?

    The cave I hope to be going to later this month is a pretty big borehole (main tunnel 50-60 ft across maybe) and has some largish rooms so I want to make sure I have plenty of light available if I need it.
    Last edited by Avatar28; 06-12-2007 at 08:45 AM.

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    EOS runtime charts here:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=105241

    P4 mod instructions are in several different threads, its best to read all the mod thread you can find:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=162784
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=152039
    Last edited by cave dave; 06-12-2007 at 10:30 AM.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatar28 View Post
    I had asked once before about the best headlamp for caving. The little RiverRock one from Target just doesn't cut it. Anyways, I never got one at the time because I was still recovering from a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. Long story short, I hope to be able to go on a trip later this month. At the time of my original question it seemed that the Apex was the overwhelming favorite. My main requirements were good light output and flat regulation for as long as possible, and moderately priced (the $65 for the Apex will be a tough sell to the wife as it is). From what I could gather there hasn't been anything along in the last few months that is likely to have dethroned it. I just wanted to confirm that that is, indeed, the case.
    IMHO the *best* headlight for caving is unquestionably the Stenlight... but at $300+ fora typical setup it's spendy and more than you specified.

    BUT IMHO the PT Apex is the best bang for the buck right now. (But NOT the Apex Pro, which uses CR123 instead of AA... maybe backpackers looking to save half a gram are willing to put up with those, but not cavers!)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Thanks, cave_dave! Good reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    IMHO the *best* headlight for caving is unquestionably the Stenlight... but at $300+ fora typical setup it's spendy and more than you specified.

    BUT IMHO the PT Apex is the best bang for the buck right now. (But NOT the Apex Pro, which uses CR123 instead of AA... maybe backpackers looking to save half a gram are willing to put up with those, but not cavers!)
    Agreed. No way would I EVER be able to convince the other half that a $300+ light is a good thing. The Apex is going to be a hard enough sell. Would I be right in guessing that a modded Apex would kick out about as much light as the Sten though? I mean, the Sten has two 3 watt Luxeons, right? The P4s are about twice as efficient as the Luxeons so a single P4 should be similar brightness, no?

    In any case, I am still leaning towards the Apex at the moment if only because I'm a sucker for having a bright light. I can always run it on it's lower settings, right? I also like the fact that the Apex has the 5mm LEDs for a floodier close-up light though if they're very blue I think they'll have to go so that I can find something with a nicer white shade. I think I'm too anal about that sometimes. I can't stand incandescent lights anymore. They're generally much too yellow. LEDs with a major bluish tinge are equally as bad. I can tolerate a faint blue tint, the kind that still looks mostly white. I know the Nichias in the Apex tend to be a bit bluish so I guess I will just play it by ear, er eye.

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  12. #12

    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Another +1 for the EOS (modded) - very easy to do and one of the big things I like is the single headband (just around the sides rather than over your head) plus the battery pack is integral.

    Takes 3 x AAA batteries - would probably recommend rechargeable Sanyo Eneloop AAA's (if you might not use / charge it as frequently) or their 1000mah (non-LSD) NiMH batteries for maximum capacity / runtime.

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Please don't think my first post was in any way bashing the apex, i love mine, i promise.

    As far as seoul modding mine, im a little leery of taking apart expensive things that still have warranties. Don't get me wrong, i'd love a seoul in there, but i just don't know the first thing about modding.

    And as far as 123A's, i don't carry them b/c they're lighter or anything, it's just that a lot of my lights use them, so they've become standard fare around my house, and i find them very reliable.
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatar28 View Post
    Agreed. No way would I EVER be able to convince the other half that a $300+ light is a good thing. The Apex is going to be a hard enough sell. Would I be right in guessing that a modded Apex would kick out about as much light as the Sten though? I mean, the Sten has two 3 watt Luxeons, right? The P4s are about twice as efficient as the Luxeons so a single P4 should be similar brightness, no?

    In any case, I am still leaning towards the Apex at the moment if only because I'm a sucker for having a bright light. I can always run it on it's lower settings, right? I also like the fact that the Apex has the 5mm LEDs for a floodier close-up light though if they're very blue I think they'll have to go so that I can find something with a nicer white shade. I think I'm too anal about that sometimes. I can't stand incandescent lights anymore. They're generally much too yellow. LEDs with a major bluish tinge are equally as bad. I can tolerate a faint blue tint, the kind that still looks mostly white. I know the Nichias in the Apex tend to be a bit bluish so I guess I will just play it by ear, er eye.
    No idea about modding -- that's not my thing.

    In smallish (Northern California) caves, running the 5mm leds on "hi" is plenty of light... I find that I run that way 95% of the time, with occasional switch to the 3W center Luxeon for spot work. Using hi-capacity NiMH AA's I get about 8hours runtime that way.

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    I have an Apex Pro and love it. I run 3.7V RCR's in it, and if I am going on a long trip I just bring some spare primaries with me. I used mine stock for quite awhile, but have since swapped to a Seoul P4 LED and an IMS 20mm reflector. I did have to shave down the top off the reflector to get it to fit.....but it was worth it

    I did some metering with my lightbox before and after the LED swap. These were my results(all figures are actual "torch" lumens):

    Stock:
    high- ~55 lumens
    low- ~25 lumens

    Seoul P4 LED w/ reflector:
    high- ~130 lumens
    low- ~60 lumens

    Swapping the LED and optic out was a HUGE improvement. Wonderful tint(USVOI emitter), blinding output, and a very smooth beam. If you need any help with modding yours, I would be more than happy to help.
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    what about the newer river rock k2 headlamp? 25 bux at target. 85 lumens on high
    beam a bit tight for close up work.

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    A word of warning/advice..... don't get the Orange colour Apex. All others are fine but the orange has had incidents of slight but visible cracks.
    ''Go placidly .....''

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by f22shift View Post
    what about the newer river rock k2 headlamp? 25 bux at target. 85 lumens on high
    beam a bit tight for close up work.
    There have been reports that if you leave it on continuously it overheats and melts the plastic. You get what you pay for I guess.
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Yeah i saw that thread. I bought one anyway and ran it for 2 hours straight and although it got hot it never melted. I dumped it since i felt it was uncomfortable to have the extra weight of a back battery pack. I still think it's a good value for someone looking for a nice output . It's easy to return if it doesn't live up to someone's standard.

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strauss View Post
    Swapping the LED and optic out was a HUGE improvement. Wonderful tint(USVOI emitter), blinding output, and a very smooth beam. If you need any help with modding yours, I would be more than happy to help.
    Could you please post pics of your modded Apex? I thought the IMS20 was too small compared to the stock optic to fit. Have you tried it with the stock optic?

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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strauss View Post
    I have an Apex Pro and love it. I run 3.7V RCR's in it, and if I am going on a long trip I just bring some spare primaries with me. I used mine stock for quite awhile, but have since swapped to a Seoul P4 LED and an IMS 20mm reflector. I did have to shave down the top off the reflector to get it to fit.....but it was worth it

    I did some metering with my lightbox before and after the LED swap. These were my results(all figures are actual "torch" lumens):

    Stock:
    high- ~55 lumens
    low- ~25 lumens

    Seoul P4 LED w/ reflector:
    high- ~130 lumens
    low- ~60 lumens

    Swapping the LED and optic out was a HUGE improvement. Wonderful tint(USVOI emitter), blinding output, and a very smooth beam. If you need any help with modding yours, I would be more than happy to help.
    I second the call for pics if you can. I don't like the look of the 17mm reflector. that would only work for me if I could get something to fill in the gap around it. How do you go about shaving the reflector?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarratt
    A word of warning/advice..... don't get the Orange colour Apex. All others are fine but the orange has had incidents of slight but visible cracks.
    Crap! Now you tell me. I already bought and paid for mine yesterday.

  22. #22
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    Default

    just to comment on the "still the best"-claim.

    imho it has never been the best:
    too quick on overheating, useless multilevel, questionable emitter choice.
    (thats a bit too extreme, but to get the point...)
    4 light levels that are all to question:
    full --> 1.5 hour. nice one but what gives? If there is such a level, there HAS to be another level just a bit lower, say 3 hours
    Lux low: 9 hours = Led high: 9 hours, wow, who had this idea?
    Led low: 14 hours - again, who had this idea? Much to SHORT runtime for the total low level.

    Imagine the following:
    an Apex with the EOS circuit and maybe also those 5 mm led things, but with some 30 hour and 100-150 hour levels, for those ppl that want the flood part of them.
    Now considering the Cree revolution, such a light with a SSC/Cree, then it would be "perfect"
    Last edited by yellow; 06-15-2007 at 07:46 AM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatar28 View Post
    Crap! Now you tell me. I already bought and paid for mine yesterday.
    I've had an orange Apex for a year with no visible cracking.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    I've had an orange Apex for a year with no visible cracking.
    AFAIK, that was an *old* problem they had with a torque wrench setting in their assembly line. The thread about that (with pics and the full explanation from PT) is somewhere in the archives.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    i've read that the complaint about the orange was that the casing lights up which can be distracting for some.

  26. #26
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    I remember the same as Greenled,
    the "orange housing problem" has been identified with these screws thightened too much,
    the defective ones have been exchanged
    and the problem has never been heared again

  27. #27
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    Quote Originally Posted by yellow View Post
    Lux low: 9 hours = Led high: 9 hours, wow, who had this idea?
    Led low: 14 hours - again, who had this idea? Much to SHORT runtime for the total low level.
    Could it be they were chosen for the amount of light at those settings rather than purely on runtime?
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  28. #28
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    sure, thats why I do agree on the 5mms to be added to the "perfect" Apex,
    but the difference in the 5mms two levels is not enough.

    still, the Apex basically has 2 "useful" runtime levels: 9 hours and 14 hours
    (and thats what keeps me from getting one)
    As typed: an Eos with the Apex batt-pack would be the more useful light instantly. Give it the 5mms leds for the flood-guys (with two much more different rumtimes) and add a ~3 hour turbo mode for the main beam ...

    PS, as I have never heared of this: how is the light from the 5mms in the Apex?
    All the 5mms mounted in lights I have seen so far, were more or less ugly blue. I would exchange them to sunny-white or similar, or just not use them, when this is the same
    Last edited by yellow; 06-16-2007 at 04:11 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    The 5 MM on the Apex are typical Nichia. I never use them since I put in a reflector. That gives me all the flood I need. I would rather PT ditched the 5mm's all together, put in a reflector and gave us a third or forth lower level. Basically a AA EOS with batteries in the back.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: PT Apex, still the "best"?

    I will try to get some pics up by the end of the day. I will probably just start a new thread with some beamshots as well. Keep your eyes open for the new thread in this section
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