Fenix HM65R-T, Super Raptor 2? Anything better?

Mike G

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Hi again guys,

I'm shopping around for a nice headlamp for my dad as a Christmas present, since he does night hiking with his dog and the el cheapo headlamps he buys keep dying... I took a couple of them apart in an effort to fix them, but no dice. Could just be that the battery cell is dead, but the terminals are connected by soldered wires, so I'd have to solder onto a lithium-ion cell if I wanted to replace it... which as I understand is a most excellent way of turning one into a grenade!

So I did some looking, and the Fenix HM65R-T looks pretty darn nice - options for both throw and flood, with a simple UI. The "Super Raptor 2" version looks even nicer, more brightness and regulated output with an overhead band for better support, and surprisingly cheap shipping from Finland unless I'm missing something.

Are there any "gotchas" with either of these lights I should know about? Anything else that does everything they do and ticks the same boxes, but better? (warmer colour temp, bigger cell, better build quality/reliability, etc?)

Also, a more general question - with these headlamps that have user-replaceable batteries with on-board USB charging, how important is it to use the same cell it came with when replacing it? Can you get away with any other cell of reasonable quality and appropriate size? Does it have to be the same MaH? How about alternative chemistries, especially ones with different voltages? Presumably the light itself would still work fine (provided cell voltage isn't too high), but I'm curious about the USB charging.
 

sirpetr

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Hi,
Fenix says 4000K-5000K, which is quite large range. There probably exists some similar lamps with at least true 4000K temperature. Bigger cells are 21700 but IMHO they are too heavy. 18650 has plenty of energy for night hiking with a dog, I would stay with it. 21700 provides 50% more energy. Better build quality/realibility? Its difficult to say something about reliability in general as not all lamps from one brand have same realiablity, especially brand with so many manufactured lamps. And in fact only Fenix has any comparable datas, like number of failures in warranty period etc. Fenix is said to be good quality, especially when taking into account its prize. There are better headlamps if you search only for the best, however they are more expensive and only EU made like Lupine or our brand.

You can use any protected cell with same voltage - standard is 4.2V. Protected 18650 cells have similar size, all protected cell fit in most cases. Capacity doesnt matter - it can have more or less mAh but runtimes would be then longer/shorter. No, I wouldnt use other chemistry with higher voltages - lamp is designed for standard 4.2V voltage. USB charger would still charge only to 4.2V, IC charging chip is always built for one specific charging end voltage.
 

seery

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While a decent light, there are a few significant negatives to consider.

- Does not rotate 180 degrees. It in fact has a very limited 60 degree range of motion.

- Does not allow you to rotate the light up to ceiling bounce (like many cavers do) or to quickly keep the light out of the eyes of other people or animals.

- Must be rotated down several clicks from its “normal” position in order to easily operate the buttons.

- The ratcheting system is weak and doesn’t hold the light firmly in position under any stress.

- The two small buttons are very difficult to operate with any type of gloves and near impossible with anything resembling winter gloves.

- USB charging cover is cheaply made, poorly positioned and of questionable water tightness.

- No red light (if that’s your thing).

- The higher output modes quickly drain the cell.
 

Mike G

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That's a good point about battery weight and carrying spares, I'm inclined to agree. I'm more familiar with big lights where carrying spares doesn't always make sense/isn't necessary so I'm rather out of my comfort zone here. Thank you for the information about the USB charging.

I had a look on your website and your headlamps look excellent! I'm not sure that they're in budget but the S2X is definitely going on the list of contenders (y)
Also snip
Info you can't get from reading a spec sheet... cheers bud. Just to clarify, the ratcheting system here referring to the "wire dial" thing on the 65R-T's headband, yeah? Anything else in particular you'd recommend over either of the two lights? I'm really partial to the dual-emitter design since you don't have to make a hard choice between throw and flood.
 

seery

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Just to clarify, the ratcheting system here referring to the "wire dial" thing on the 65R-T's headband, yeah?
No, not the headband.

But the ratcheting mechanism that holds the actual headlamp body in position after it’s tilted within its 60 degree tilt range.

D6E7E3AD-F73B-4156-A623-702254028F24.jpeg
 
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sirpetr

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60 degree tilt seems to me ok. We have similar max. angle and out of few thousands customers, no one complained. I usually tilt my headlamp to something like 30 degrees, never change the angle and its fine both for close up and distance.

seery: Good points. Actually never needed to rotate lamp 180 degrees but understand your case. Also in my experience the larger button size, the more comfortable user switching. With gloves its more difficult than without them, large size surely helps. Just for curiosity, we use 14mm diameter button.
 
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Mike G

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Petr, I was looking on your website again and noticed there's no indication of beam distance - out of curiosity, how far would you say the S2X optics throw? The 13° optic in particular, but it'd be nice to know for the 20° and 29° as well.

I also noticed you have two options for LEDs, the 4500k option is well documented but I couldn't find anything about the 5000k. How does it compare? Are there any pictures comparing the two? And do they really cost the same, or am I missing something?

EDIT: I almost forgot, since the charger you offer doesn't have a US plug option, is it safe to use any other wall wart with the appropriate connector and 4.2v/0.5A output?
 
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sirpetr

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MikeG:
Some beam distance figures are here: https://luciferlights.net/en/lux-lumens-distance

4500K, CRI70 are Cree XP-L2, the second option is Hi-CRI 5000K,CRI93 Samsung LH351D (12% lower intensity). They are different LEDs, but prized the same. Its up to the customer if he wants the highest light output with good color quality or highest color quality with good light output.

If its stated as "li-ion charger 4.2V" then its ok to use it. Soon (in 4-5 days) we will have our own USB charger for these lamps available.

Something similar to HM65R-T is our newest lamp Z2Mini, it has integrated USB-C charging and will be available also in few days. S2X is quite different, its mostly for runners - weight is split between the front and the rear which is beneficial for long runs.
 

Labrador72

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While a decent light, there are a few significant negatives to consider.

- Does not rotate 180 degrees. It in fact has a very limited 60 degree range of motion.

- Does not allow you to rotate the light up to ceiling bounce (like many cavers do) or to quickly keep the light out of the eyes of other people or animals.

- Must be rotated down several clicks from its “normal” position in order to easily operate the buttons.

- The ratcheting system is weak and doesn’t hold the light firmly in position under any stress.

- The two small buttons are very difficult to operate with any type of gloves and near impossible with anything resembling winter gloves.

- USB charging cover is cheaply made, poorly positioned and of questionable water tightness.

- No red light (if that’s your thing).

- The higher output modes quickly drain the cell.
I own a couple and have used them extensively, mostly for hiking and mountain/ultra running.
You made some really good points about the shortcomings.

That said, I have had no problem with ratcheting system holding its position and my sample needs to rotated only one click to operate buttons.

As for using it for winter gloves I completely agree: a side button like on the HL55 for the main reflector would have been much better, that was my main gripe but it is still usable even with winter gloves but it does take some getting used to and it's not ideal if you plan to change output levels frequently.

They should have added a USB charging port like on the HM60R.

As for the red light, you do have a HM65R that has it. It's called the ShadowMaster and is a limited edition for the UK market.
The same HM65R with red light is also available in Finland under a different name.
 
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