Fenix HP30 (XM-L2, 2x18650/4xCR123A) Headlamp Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS + more!

selfbuilt

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Messages
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HP30018.jpg

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This is my first review of a Fenix headlamp, supplied by Tinydeal.com. The HP30 is a higher-end model from Fenix that has been available since early this year (2014).

The HP30 is distinctive for its belt-attached battery compartment (2x18650), and its ability to recharge common USB devices directly from the battery compartment. Since it appears that this USB-charging battery compartment will be available on a number of new models, I thought you might like to see how it performs. :whistle:

Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

  • Utilizes Cree XM-L2 LED
  • Output/Runtime: Turbo 900 Lumens – High 500 Lumens / 3hr50min – Mid 200 Lumens / 12hr – Low 65 Lumens / 32hr40min – Eco 4 Lumens / 300hr – SOS 200 Lumens
  • Beam Intensity: 13,538cd
  • Beam Distance: 233m
  • Uses two 18650 batteries or four CR123A batteries
  • Light size:69.9mm (Length) ×55.9mm (Width) ×43.8mm (Height)
  • Battery box size:116.6mm (Length) ×56.3mm (Width) ×29.6mm (Height)
  • 276.5-gram weight (excluding batteries)
  • Digitally regulated output maintains constant brightness
  • Lockout function – prevents the light from accidental activation
  • Detachable diffuser lens
  • Remote battery case with USB output
  • 60-degree tilt mechanism
  • Reverse polarity protection guards against improper battery installation
  • Made from durable aluminum alloy and performance plastic
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
  • Impact resistant: 1m
  • Waterproof: IPX-6
  • MSRP: $90
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The packaging is a sturdy box with specs print on the outside. Inside, in cut-out foam, are all the component pieces: headlamp head with cables, head straps, battery compartment, removable diffuser cover (with flip), extra o-rings, headband clips for holding the wire, product insert and multi-language manual.

HP30051.jpg

HP30050.jpg

From left to right: AW Protected 18650 2200mAh; Fenix HP30; Petzl Tikka XP; Olight H15S; Spark ST5.

All dimensions directly measured:

Fenix HP30: Head unit alone: 99g, Head unit with diffuser, head strap and wire: 169g, Battery compartment alone: 129.4g, Battery compartment with 18650 batteries 219g, complete unit (with headband, compartment and batteries): 388g
Nitecore HC50: Weight 85.4g, Length: 86.0mm, Width (widest) 36.4mm
Olight H15S Wave: (1xLi-ion, 4xAAA): Head alone: 42.2g, Battery compartment alone: 31.0g, Battery compartment alone with OPS-H15S Li-ion battery: 58.3g, Battery compartment alone with 4xAAA: 77.3g, complete unit (with basic headband and Li-ion battery): 118.1g
Petzl Tikka XP2 (3xAAA): 52.3g, 88.4g with batteries
Skilhunt H02: Weight: 61.3g, Length: 110.8mm, Width (widest): 28.0mm
Spark ST5 (1xAA): Weight, 41.5g, Length 58.4mm, Width 42.8mm (max body), Width 24.0mm (bezel)
Zebralight H31w (1xCR123A): Weight: 28.6g, Length 66.9mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm.

One of the key points to note above – the headlamp alone weighs much more than typical for this class. This is due to the use of metal in the casing (to provide proper heatsinking). This should allow for sustained higher output performance. Note that overall weight is still fine, as the battery compartment has been off-loaded to the belt-attachement.

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This is a substantial headlamp – and a quality one in my opinion. :)

Many headlamps that I have used have a cheap plastic feel to them, which raises concerns about long-term stability. The HP30 feels like what you would expect from Fenix – a solid headlamp unit (with metal components), and good quality head straps. The headlamp angle mechanism is firm, with well-defined detents as you adjust the headlamp relative to its attachment base. Note that there are two body color choices when choosing the model – gray (as shown here) and orange.

Controls on the headlamp are easy to access – accept when the headlamp is angled fully straight ahead (there is a plastic "lip" to the attachment base that covers the buttons, presenting accidental mode changes). The rest of the time, there are two buttons – an elongated gray one for on/off and mode level changes, and a raised orange one for momentary Turbo mode. Both are electronic. Scroll down for a discussion of the user interface.

Given the headlamp nature of the light, it makes sense to me to keep Turbo restricted to momentary access.

The headband itself is well-made, with good quality stitching. I particular like the nice touches like the extra clips (to keep the power wire under control). The connection point of the wire to the battery pack is solid (although I would have liked a screw-down connector instead of the clip-together style). The wire itself is fairly stiff - a coiled spring-style cable might also have been good, although I found the included length fine for my above-average height.

The 2x18650 battery compartment has been offloaded to a separate belt attachment. Although I suppose you may be able to jury-ring something to the back of the headband, this design is really meant for belt/pocket carry of the battery compartment.

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The compartment is solid, and I like the removable metal holster (i.e., you don't need to use it). One thing to keep in mind is the battery orientation – despite how it looks, the cells are arrange in series. Given the symmetrical design however, you need to make sure you follow the + and – label instructions on the base and head of the compartment when inserting cells. Since the cells can fit either orientation, you run the risk of reversing (or cross-connecting them) if you are not careful. :caution:

There is a central screw on the top cover compartment – this is what keeps the lid tight against the body, allowing contact and operation. Tension can be a bit stiff (especially when using longer batteries), so I recommend you manually hold the lid part down over the bottom compartment when tightening or loosening the screw. There is an o-ring here for waterproofness. Note that I found thicker high capacity cells could be a tight squeeze inside the compartment.

There is a small button on the head – press it once to display the charge capacity of the installed batteries (1-4 blue LEDs will light up). To use the remote USB-charging feature, press and hold this button for 3 seconds (lights will flash in sequence).

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Under the side-mounted rubber cover on the lid of the battery compartment is a standard USB port. When in the mode to accept remote charging, simply plug any standard USB-rechargeable device.

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As you can see, the battery compartment can easily charge up to the standard USB 2.0 specs of 5V and up to 500mA. This is a great feature if you are in a remote environment and decide that using your cell phone is more important than the headlamp. :whistle:

As an aside, there are number of USB charging devices out there that will exceed the USB 2.0 spec, and charge up to 1A (for a faster charge). While I don't recommend exceeding specs, I notice the HP30 will allow charging up to this level on devices that request it:

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The HP30 comes with a basic – but functional – flip-style diffuser cover

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Let's take a closer look at the business end of the light:

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The HP30 has a good size smooth white reflector, with a cool white XM-L2 at the base (well centered on my sample). Combined with the diffuser cover, you have a lot of flexibility here in the beam pattern.

User Interface

Turn the light On by a single click of the gray electronic switch (i.e., rapid press release). Turn the light Off by a sustained press-hold of the switch for ~1 sec.

There are four main output levels controlled by a click of the gray electronic switch. Mode sequence is Eco > Lo > Med > Hi, in a repeating loop. The light has mode memory, and retains the last level set when you turn it Off/On.

There is a momentary Turbo mode, accessible from On or Off, by a press-hold of the raised orange electronic switch. Release to turn off Turbo.

When On, press and hold the main gray switch for ~3 secs to activate SOS mode. There is no typical strobe mode on the HP30. Click to exit SOS and return to the memorized constant On mode.

Note that this interface is different from most lights, in that you need a sustained press to turn off, and a simple click to change modes. On many lights, it is the other way around.

You can lock out the headlamp by disconnecting the power cable.

Video:

For information on the DS-series lights and the H02 - including the build and user interface - please see my video overview:



As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

PWM/Strobe

Like most Fenix lights, the HP30 is current-controlled – there no indication of pulse width modulation on any level. :thumbsup:

Noise:
HP30-MedHiNoise.gif


I did observe some faint circuit noise on the Med/Hi levels, but this not visually detectable in the beam. Again, it is quite common to see circuit patterns on current-controlled lights. Consistent with my standard review policy, I report on anything I can measure. But rest assured, it is not PWM, and it is not visible (i.e., the HP30 is fully flicker-free in all modes).

SOS:
HP30-SOS.gif


A fairly standard SOS mode is available.

Standby Drain

As the headlamp switches are electronic in a nature, a standby current drain is always present when batteries are installed. With the headlamp unit attached, I measured the total standby drain as 101uA. For standard 3100mAh cells, that would mean your batteries would be fully drained in about 3.5 years. Not much of a concern – and you can always disconnect the cable to prevent accidental activation and lower this drain even further.

Without the headlamp unit attached, there is still a small standby drain (due to the button for the battery charge and USB-charging features). However, this drain is lower, at 39uA. As such, you could expect 9 years before fully-charged batteries would be drained – which is definitely not a concern. :)

Beamshots

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on their respective battery source (AW protected 18650 for the HP30). Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

Note the HP30 is on its highest level for these beamshots (i.e. Turbo).

Let's start with a comparison with and without diffuser:

HP30-Turbo-Beam005.jpg
HP30-Turbo-Beam001.jpg


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Due to up-close distance, this doesn't really show off the diffuser well. In real life, it provides a fairly typical level of diffuse white light. :)

And now a comparison to some headlamps I've tested:

HP30-Turbo-Beam005.jpg
H02-001.jpg

HC50-Beam001.jpg
H15S-4AAA-Beam001.jpg


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H02-002.jpg

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H02-003.jpg

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H15S-4AAA-Beam003.jpg


HP30-Turbo-Beam008.jpg
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The HP30 is clearly capable of greater max output than the other headlamp models tested above. It is also a lot throwier without the diffuser cover in place. :eek:oo:

Scroll down for actual beam distance and output measures.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Charts:

My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).

HP30-FL1-Summary.gif


As expected, the HP30 is the highest output (and furthest throwing) headlamp I've tested (on Turbo). Not shown above, but for the constant output Hi mode, output is ~550 estimated lumens, and peak beam distance is 9,300cd (193m beam distance) – which is still impressive (especially for throw).

The lowest output level is reasonable, but it is still not a true "moonlight" level (i.e., I can see why Fenix calls this "Eco" mode instead). Not sure why Fenix can't/won't produce lower Lo modes on their various models (i.e., other current-controlled makers seem to accomplish this regularly). :shrug:

Here are the lumen estimates for all levels:

HP30-Lumens.gif


It's a good range of outputs. And as usual, Fenix seems very accurate in their output specs. :wave:

Runtimes

All my 18650 runtimes are done on AW 18650 protected 2200mAh cells. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan.

Let's start with a comparison to other recent headlamps I've tested:

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I've thrown in a protected NCR18650A (3100mAh) on the Hi mode run above for comparison purposes. Note that I haven't done a Turbo run, as this is a momentary-only mode.

Max levels (i.e. Turbo and Hi) are consistent with other 18650 headlights. But of course, runtime (and flat regulation) will last for a lot longer on the HP30, thanks to 2/4x batteries. There are defined step-downs to lower levels as the batteries run out of power, giving you plenty of advance warning to change batteries.

Overall output runtime efficiency seems excellent. But to really compare, I'll have to bring some other 2x18650 lights into the mix:

HP30-Hi.gif

HP30-Med.gif

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As expected, the HP30 output/runtime efficiency is consistent with an excellent current-controlled circuits. :thumbsup:

Potential Issues

Due to the use of 2x18650 (allowing for higher output and greater runtime), the relatively heavy battery compartment has to be carried separately from the headlamp unit. This means that there is a necessary cord running between the two units. The cord is fairly stiff on my sample, but long enough to be used comfortably at my 6-foot-2 height.

The battery compartment is designed to be carried on a belt, or in a pocket – it is not meant to be carried on the back of the headband. While you could potentially jury-rig something for this, the extra weight of this particular carrier (and cord length) would likely make it ungainly.

As with most headlamps, the HP30 uses electronic switches and therefore requires a small stand-by current. Similarly the USB-charging and battery capacity-checking features also require a small standby current. However, these standby drains were both negligible, and the headlamp drain can be easily disconnected (see discussion above).

Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches. However, the protective "lip" on the headlamp attachment base should help limit this.

Turbo output is momentary only (although this is reasonable to me, given the high output level).

Lo mode is lower than many Fenix lights, but still not a true "moonlight" mode.

Preliminary Observations

The HP30 is a quality headlamp, intended for people who actually need to use a headlamp in whatever activity they are doing. :wave:

I find a lot of headlamps are really after-thoughts for most makers. Even the dedicated headlamp makers tend to produce a much greater number of, shall we say, "budget-conscious" models. :rolleyes: The implication of this is that for most people, a headlamp is a nice-to-have convenience – but not a serious tool. And there is nothing wrong with that – one year at Christmas I gave out a dozen <$3 headlamps to friends and family, and they all loved them (particularly the red light option – it looked like the Borg had invaded my home). :laughing:

The HP30 fills a niche at the higher-end of headlamps. It is a solid unit (note the battery-free HP30 headlamp unit is about twice the weight of typical headlamp – due to the metal framing/heatsinking). The separated battery pack is not going to be everyone's preference – but combined with the quality headlamp unit, this allows for greater output and runtime, compared to traditional models. One place where I can see this unit doing really well is for bike riders, especially with the nice throwy beam (with option for full flood by flipping down the diffuser cover). :thumbsup:

One thing I really like about this model is the ability to charge USB-devices right from the battery compartment. In an emergency situation, you may find it more useful to cannibalize battery life from your 2x18650 cells to support your cell phone. ;)

Performance is exactly as you would expect for a 2x18650/4xCR123A light from Fenix – excellent output-runtime efficiency, and a good spacing of levels. :thumbsup: Although I'm glad to see the addition of the "Eco" low mode here, I'm still puzzled as to why Fenix doesn't move to true moonlight options. I would also like to have seen a red emitter option for true low-light level work, as this is something I tend to use a lot in any field work. I understand a red LED will be an option on the soon-to-be-released Fenix HP40, which shares the same battery pack design (although that light is likely to have less white throw, due to the dual-emitter head).

Speaking of the battery pack, I would also like to see a revised battery compartment orientation (i.e., it is too easy to put the cells in wrong here – you need to pay careful attention). But the battery compartment design itself is sturdy, and I particularly like the removable clip design. The remarkably low standby drain (and battery voltage checker) are also appreciated.

I realize not everyone is in the market for such a dedicated headlight tool. But if you have serious hands-free needs, I think the HP30 is a good light to consider. :thumbsup:

----

Fenix HP30 was supplied by Tinydeal.com (SKU: HLT-285782)
 

selfbuilt

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I've made one... Maybe this will you
Thanks for sharing! :wave:

May I ask what hat you have there and where I might purchase something similar?
That's actually a Tilley hat, about a decade old now. It's the "Airflow" model, still in production AFAIK. It's different from the standard Tilley hat as the Airflow breathes a lot better and is ultra-light - but very durable (all nylon and polyester construction). It is also has a wider brim, with a sunshade undercoating. It's great for hot and humid environments with a lot of sun (washes up great too, as you can probably tell from the photo). :)
 

cagenuts

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That's actually a Tilley hat, about a decade old now. It's the "Airflow" model, still in production AFAIK. It's different from the standard Tilley hat as the Airflow breathes a lot better and is ultra-light - but very durable (all nylon and polyester construction). It is also has a wider brim, with a sunshade undercoating. It's great for hot and humid environments with a lot of sun (washes up great too, as you can probably tell from the photo). :)

Thank you very much! Just what I need for my fishing trip in December where the temperatures climb over 50.
 

Chaitanya

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Jun 22, 2014
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Pune(India)
Thanks for the review. I did buy this headlamp for trekking and herping, but that battery carrier wasnt very convenient for use during monsoons in western ghats of India. I am thinking of replacing this headlamp with one that uses 1*18650 cell like one of the armytek units.
 

selfbuilt

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I did buy this headlamp for trekking and herping, but that battery carrier wasnt very convenient for use during monsoons in western ghats of India.
That's a good point - the separate battery pack may not be the most convenient under emergency conditions (i.e., where you may want a smaller self-contained unit). I really see the HP30 as best suited for extended use duties outdoors (in relatively calm environments).
 

VRus

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Aug 30, 2014
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thanks for reivew, good see a strong thrower headlamp coming from Fenix

selfbuilt; said:
I find a lot of headlamps are really after-thoughts for most makers..

wonder what's your take on Zebralight's new(ish) H600 Mk II would be

One Zebra you have in your group photo is H31w (reviewed in 2010) - is quite dated and from CR123 class, things have changed a lot since...
Just checked flashlightreviews.ca, and looks like Zebra's 18650 headlamps are a gapping omission from your extensive set, but one can hope ... :candle:
 

selfbuilt

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wonder what's your take on Zebralight's new(ish) H600 Mk II would be ... Just checked flashlightreviews.ca, and looks like Zebra's 18650 headlamps are a gapping omission from your extensive set, but one can hope ... :candle:
It's true that I have only reviewed a limited number of headlamp samples from them. I do have a new flashlight model on the way (SC62), which should be very similar in circuit performance to the H600.

As with most of my reviews, I typically leave it up to the makers to suggest models for review (and I choose based on what it offered). For really popular lights, I may request one - or even purchase on my own - but that's relatively rare now, given my limited time (and large number of requests). At least for Zebralight, the circuit performance is usually pretty comparable between flashlight and headlamp models, so you can check out the corresponding flashlight model review (if there is one).
 

Swedpat

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Thanks Selfbuilt for another great review! :thumbsup:

This headlamp has been in my mind a while now and I consider to get it.
 

rickypanecatyl

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Messages
910
Thanks for the review Selfbuilt! I've had one for a few months now and adding my "hard core" perspective would say I don't necessarily agree with this part:

This is a substantial headlamp – and a quality one in my opinion. :)

Many headlamps that I have used have a cheap plastic feel to them, which raises concerns about long-term stability. The HP30 feels like what you would expect from Fenix – a solid headlamp unit (with metal components), and good quality head straps. The headlamp angle mechanism is firm, with well-defined detents as you adjust the headlamp relative to its attachment base.

Fenix puts out some incredibly cheap and fragile headlights - most "waterproof" Fenix HL certainly are not "the wet kind of water" proof for example. The HL 30 is better than other Fenix HLs I've had though, so I would generously grant them the label "Not as cheap/fragile as our other lights" but I certainly would not call the HP30 "solid."

Some critiquing points:
- Lamp itself is very light weight and feels pretty cheap to me; nothing like an Army tech for example.
- Went on a 2 hour night jungle bike ride just last night - light gets extremely hot and uncomfortable on the forehead on just MEDIUM mode (I'd never leave it on high 550 lumens for an extended period.)
- Lots of sweaty runs (admittedly a tough test) and I haven't figured out how to keep the strap in place - if you run lots at night you'll be fiddling with the strap lots. The top strap seems to vibrate/wiggle it's way around as you run stretching one half of the horizontal strap and bunching the other half up. If someone has found a way to reloop it that works better I'd love to see that and am open to the possibility there is a way to improve the strap with some sewing "engineering" skills! :) I've got an old Petzl head lamp that has spoiled me; no modern headlamp strap I've seen comes close to it in terms of comfort, staying in place, ease of changing sizes and durability.
- Of course it is nice to have the run time of 2 18650's and to be able to get rid of the weight on the head but this does seem to take longer than it should to get all set up. It certainly is a pain in the jungle with the cable. It feels weird next to my skin under my shirt but it catches on stuff all the time if it is out.
- The USB charger I really like [Edit: removed]
- Xstar 3400 work but are extremely tight and though not hard to shove in can be a real pain to get out; I don't know if those batteries are wider than they should be - just wanted to give a reference point on how the batteries fit.

What I like I about it:
- The beam; I need throw and though there are lots of other 900ish lumen Headlamps out there there aren't many that can hit 15,000 lux!
- When I want flood, the diffuser makes for one of the nicest floody beams out there. (I'd be really curious Selfbuilt how many lumens the diffuser robs? No matter - even if it takes 1/2 thats still lots of lumens when you consider how nice the beam is.)
- I think the (2) 18650's is a great idea for a light this size; it takes a while to set up if you're going on a bike ride/hike for instance but once you got it set up you can use some serious light all night long.
- Hitting the battery button and seeing how much battery is left is a great idea that keeps me from charging batteries unnecessarily or going out with a light about to die. However I haven't found the 4 led lights to be consistent. Once it goes down to 2 lights left you're almost out NOT just 1/2 way thru the battery life.

Maybe I can agree with you Self built that it is a good and solid Fenix light...

for $90.

I'd be happy to pay $250 for a "real solid" light like this though. This light with:
- better heatsinking to sustain the higher modes.
- better strap/head band in league with an old Petzl light.
- Mode buttons easier to find; I'd love a turbo button on the battery holder or inline with a GITD button!
- Eco to moonlight - though I must say this is one of the lowest Fenix settings I've had.
- higher quality/better connecting cable. The present one is really stiff making it hard to work with.
- Wouldn't mind having the ability to use both a smaller rechargeable battery on the light and/or the big battery pack!
 
Last edited:

selfbuilt

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Thanks for the detail use experience comments Ricky.

The HL 30 is better than other Fenix HLs I've had though, so I would generously grant them the label "Not as cheap/fragile as our other lights" but I certainly would not call the HP30 "solid." ... Maybe I can agree with you Self built that it is a good and solid Fenix light... for $90. I'd be happy to pay $250 for a "real solid" light like this though.
Fair enough - Fenix certainly seems to make a lot of cheap options as well. As always, it is a question of what is reasonable for the cost. And I can certainly see a market for an even better (albeit more expensive) model.

The USB charger I really like but I get really inconsistent results with how much power it puts out. I use it on my Sony Xperia on which I have a battery monitoring widget that tells me what is going in to the battery, and in battery saving mode, dim screen, fully charged 18650's and nearly dead phone battery it ranges from -200mA to +7xxmA. (My phone is consuming +/-400 mA in that state so -200mA means 200 mA is going in if I understand it correctly.)
I wouldn't trust those measures. To start, I really doubt your phone is consuming 400mA when doing next to nothing. What happens when you use the widget with the phone charging on an actual computer USB port?

It can be difficult for a device that is consuming power - while simultaneously charging - to give any sort of accurate readout of the input charge current. I've tried a bunch of widgets/apps on a few phones, and only the one specific for my current Samsung model seems to be at all reasonable or accurate. The USB-based dongle that I have works a lot better to give a reliable measure of current flowing through. I have tested it on three modern cell phones, and it gives exactly the same consistent reading on the HP30 battery pack as it does on my computer's USB ports (which is invariably in the 400-500mA range, depending on the phone model).
 

rickypanecatyl

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Messages
910
I wouldn't trust those measures. To start, I really doubt your phone is consuming 400mA when doing next to nothing. What happens when you use the widget with the phone charging on an actual computer USB port?

It can be difficult for a device that is consuming power - while simultaneously charging - to give any sort of accurate readout of the input charge current. I've tried a bunch of widgets/apps on a few phones, and only the one specific for my current Samsung model seems to be at all reasonable or accurate. The USB-based dongle that I have works a lot better to give a reliable measure of current flowing through. I have tested it on three modern cell phones, and it gives exactly the same consistent reading on the HP30 battery pack as it does on my computer's USB ports (which is invariably in the 400-500mA range, depending on the phone model).

Thanks for pointing that out - you are absolutely right! I'm testing my "Battery Monitoring Widget" now and numbers are everywhere. They update about every 30 seconds or so and here's what it is reading for "Battery flow" with my phone battery charged 85%:

Wall charger: +255mA
Unplugged: -492/305/591mA
Plugged into computer: +274/224/91/209/57mA
(Battery level now at 86%)
Unplugged: -644/424/290mA
Plugged into Fenix HP30 battery pack: -77mA/+323mA/299mA

I was out of line to criticize the battery pack as a back up battery source without knowing what I'm talking about and so I apologize to Fenix for that!! I'll edit my post on that.

I actually put the battery monitoring widget on my phone as there were several times I was fairly confident my 18650's were fresh in my Fenix Battery pack but I couldn't charge my phone or Garmin with it or a monkey power bank I have. I do believe faulty intermittently working cables have been a source of the problem as well as the issues in the phone itself receiving a charge after getting wet.
Now I can add to my unknown variables widget may not be accurate AND I don't know how widget is supposed to be working when it is working!
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
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I do believe faulty intermittently working cables have been a source of the problem as well as the issues in the phone itself receiving a charge after getting wet.
Yeah, those are both likely issues as well - water damage does seem to specifically wreak havoc on cell phone charging systems (has happened to my son a few times). And now that I have my USB current detector dongle, I can see that certain computer ports and/or USB cables are not the most reliable for providing the full charging current.
 

rickypanecatyl

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
910
Thanks for the review Selfbuilt! I've had one for a few months now and adding my "hard core" perspective would say I don't necessarily agree with this part:



Fenix puts out some incredibly cheap and fragile headlights - most "waterproof" Fenix HL certainly are not "the wet kind of water" proof for example. The HL 30 is better than other Fenix HLs I've had though, so I would generously grant them the label "Not as cheap/fragile as our other lights" but I certainly would not call the HP30 "solid."

I hereby retract my previous generous statement! :wave:

The HP30 is not a dependable light. It is cheaply made, consistent with many Fenix products. I didn't subject this light to the abuse many of my other lights get. I wore it a few times only in very light rain and never dropped it.

Even at the time of my last post it had displayed some erratic behavior but I didn't measure it. For instance on my battery pack there are blue led lights that indicate how full the batteries are. I never checked if it did this when new, but once the battery meter dropped one level only low mode worked and occasionally burst; no medium or high. Putting the batteries on the charger I found I get all 4 led lights lit up until 3.8 volts (Xstar 3400 button top). That wasn't too big a deal to me - I just figured they screwed up their battery gauge and "3/4" isn't really 3/4.
But then after a few weeks it became more consistent that even with fresh batteries only low worked. Sometimes it "inconsistently worked correctly" and sometimes it didn't work at all.
Now it doesn't work at all (consistently at least! :thumbsup:)though the battery box usually works for USB power.
I went back to the Fenix dealer and discussed it with him and evidently there are many issues with the Fenix headlights.

Incidentally I was measuring the battery voltage with my Fenix battery charger. Certainly not very accurate but no apologies here to them. I bought that to have one charger to charge my 18650 batteries as well as NiMH C batteries I use in my Lambda light (Longest lasting most reliable light I've bought in the past 10 years.) Of course C batteries do not fit in that charger despite saying so on the label. A couple weeks after I got it the plastic base came apart at the seam and shot the batteries out; it still works zip tied together and then with another zip tie after you load the batteries.

Fenix makes low quality products. I had a TK15 that survived a good amount of abuse though....
 
Last edited:

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
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Messages
6,936
Location
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But then after a few weeks it became more consistent that even with fresh batteries only low worked. Sometimes it "inconsistently worked correctly" and sometimes it didn't work at all. ...I went back to the Fenix dealer and discussed it with him and evidently there are many issues with the Fenix headlights.
That's definitely not right. Appreciate the extended field report - hopefully your dealer at least exchanged units for you? Certainly a worrisome problem. I presume the 18650 cells work normally in other lights?
 

Volvo

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Messages
11
Location
Sweden
Thanks for a great Review. :thumbsup:

Is it possible to charge the battery in the belt-compartment in any way?

Or do i have to take them out every time?


I hope that my English isn`t to crappy?
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
Is it possible to charge the battery in the belt-compartment in any way?
No, there is no in-compartment charging option. You will need to take the batteries out and charge them in a separate charger.

And I understand you just fine. :)
 

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