Suggestions for headlamp – further questions re Petzl's Actik

guyburns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
27
I'm having difficulty locating a suitable headlamp. I have three ZebraLights, some dating back ten years, and they work superbly – but they don't have a red light, which I sometimes require to retain night vision. So, last time I was out at night I took my Energizer (see similar, here). It just what I need – usually.

But there are two problems with this headlamp. The first I've known about since I first used it: it glares into your eyes due to poor design. I fixed that by painting the offending areas black.

The second problem is more concerning and happened during my recent outing. When the batteries, 3AAA, are near flat, the light stops without warning and cannot be brought back to life. i.e. there is no way to power it up into a minimal light mode. There I was in the wilderness, 2am, pitch black, no moon, heavy cloud, no artificial lights anywhere, and the Energizer died. The only light it would provide was red for about 1/10 second as it tried to fire up.

Luckily, I had a ZebraLight with me, and knew where I could find it.

So, that sudden death of light has killed my enthusiasm for the Energizer. Now I need some suggestions for a go-to headtorch that I can use at home and in the wilderness. I don't need high power. I'd prefer something like the Energizer, but which doesn't die suddenly.

• AA or AAA batteries, preferably one AA Eneloop, but 3 AAA would be okay.
• Does not die suddenly even if the battery is near flat. i.e. it can still fire up in a dim mode, enough so that I can easily find my spare ZebraLight.
• Red light mode
• At least three levels of white brightness.
• Run time at mid brightness of 6-7 hours.

Any suggestions most appreciated.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,958
Nitecore UT27. Uses 3 aaa or usb-c rechargeable li-ion battery pack. Other options would be the Petzl Tikka line (Tikkina, Tikka, Zipka, Actik, etc). They have a separate lithium ion battery pack option and some come with it.
 

3L3M3NT

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
70
Location
Green Bay, WI
Here are a few options that run on either a single AA battery or 2AA batteries:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074DBD5MF/?tag=cpf0b6-20
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3242803068...3433204014&abcId=9300678&merchantid=101738700

If you wouldn't mind going with a 16340/CR123 you could try this Fenix HM50R V2.0. It's on sale right now too.
https://www.batteryjunction.com/fenix-hm50r-v2-headlamp.html

Otherwise you could replace your Zebralight with this Fenix HM61R that's also on sale today.
https://www.batteryjunction.com/fenix-hm61r-flashlight-headlamp.html

Good luck with your decision 👍
 

rstock521

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
6
I recently got the HM60R and really like it. I strongly looked at the Zebra's, but was concerned about the smaller button as my primary use will be for ice fishing. It's got red light, 2 flood light modes, red SOS, and a dedicated thrower LED with 3 brightness levels. I looked at the HM61R, but preferred the non-right angle design of the HM60R.
 

guyburns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
27
Thanks for the suggestions.

The Nitecore UT27 was top of my list, until I read this review about broken hinges (see Final Verdict at bottom). Maybe just a once off, but broken hinges put me off.

The Fenix suggestions led me to their website and the HP16R, their only headlamp that fits my requirements. But the weight put me off – almost three times the weight of my Zebras and the Energiser.

ZebraLight don't sell a combined red/white headlamp.
 

guyburns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
27
So it looks like one of the Petzls: Tikka, Tactikka, Tikkina, or Actik, with the latter being the most promising.
 

guyburns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
27
After a few hours of reading manuals I came across this in the User Manual for the Actik Core:

WARNING: if using the CORE battery, when the battery is nearly drained, the light may turn off abruptly.

Ques 1
This abrupt turn off when using the CORE battery, does that occur…
• ONLY after I receive the warning flashes; and
• ONLY after the Reserve time is virtually exhausted?

Ques 2
When using the Core battery and the AAA system, do they operate similarly for the Actik Core?
i.e. Does the Actik Core flash and go into Reserve, and eventually abruptly end, when using Eneloops?

Ques 3
In Patzl's FAQ it says: Two minutes before entering reserve mode, the lamp flashes as a warning.
Flashes once? Twice? For two minutes?

Ques 4
How do I know I'm in reserve mode? Does the light dim?
I'm used to the ZebraLight where the light outputs drops to the next lowest level as the battery flattens. So, if you cycle through the 3 levels of the ZebraLight, you can tell roughly how much battery power is left.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
 

fulee9999

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
657
just my two cents:
- Energizer uses a very weird driver for their flashlights, it randomly goes into thermal protection mode, meaning you can't turn it on after being on for a while, which could be really frustrating when using one of their hard case models where you cannot even feel the temperature of the light
- I would also consider Black Diamond as well, but full disclosure, I had a Spot350 randomly turn off one me, while using 3xAAA lithiums. I switched to my backup light, and a few minutes later when I decided to swap batteries ( I figured the batteries were dead ) it turned on no issues. I had no similar issues with the BD Storm - I run that on eneloops -, but that has the worst battery compartment clamp ever designed
- The Petzl CORE battery is probably a protected battery, so I imagine it will just randomly cut out like all protected li-ions
- If you use your headlamp constantly, probably any Petzl/BD should work, but I would suggest using eneloops
- If weight is not paramount, the ArmyTek Wizard is a great headlamp, for limited use ( <2 hours ) it's fairly comfortable
- You may want to use a bodylamp as well, so if your main headlamp cuts out, you have illumination to pull out your backup. Don't just plan with spare batteries, the safest bet is to change to a new headlamp with different batteries as well, that way you exclude both possibilites of device or fuel issue ( meaning maybe the driver of the headlamp cut out, or the battery is flat or went into protection mode, you may never know )
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,958
Petzl lights have been used and trusted by backpackers, climbers, and cavers for decades. One thing they don’t do is abruptly shut off, then not turn back on. You would hear a lot of complaints followed by them going out of business if that were the case. They tend to be unregulated so you get a longer tail of declining brightness before the batteries give up. That’s often what you want in situations where you have few if any spare batteries and you’re far from civilization. With the lithium ion pack, you usually get less of a drop in brightness over time, but probably not full regulation. Because the lithium ion battery is protected, it will eventually shut off to protect from battery damage from being completely drained. You should notice the light getting gradually dimmer as a hint to change or charge the batteries first.

Energizer headlights have cheaper circuitry that makes them less efficient. The voltage cutoff is higher so when the batteries start to get low and you turn the light off, it doesn’t have enough power to turn it back on. It will also shut off the light when the batteries get to a certain voltage instead of running the light until the batteries are actually dead. Get a better light and that won’t be an issue. Energizer lights are best for working used with a hard hat (no glare in face that way). They are cheap work lights. Don’t waste more than $15 on one. Don’t use one for wilderness travel.
 

knucklegary

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
3,053
Location
White Sand Bch
Petzl core packs have protected circuitry. Yep, no warning they just go out. I keep a couple packs fully charged, they easily pop in/out.. Loose eneloops are hard to load in the dark, but work okay, just gotta make sure all three are fully charged
 

guyburns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
27
Thanks for all the responses. Looking into all the suggestions, the choice came down to either the Petzl Actik Core or the Black Diamond Spot 350. The decision was made for me when the Spot 350 was half price at Black Diamond (Australia) for $40. So I bought the last two.

Great light – except the case cannot be opened with fingers. I've worked out how to do it using the buckle on the band, but no way can that case be opened by hand.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,958
Thanks for all the responses. Looking into all the suggestions, the choice came down to either the Petzl Actik Core or the Black Diamond Spot 350. The decision was made for me when the Spot 350 was half price at Black Diamond (Australia) for $40. So I bought the last two.

Great light – except the case cannot be opened with fingers. I've worked out how to do it using the buckle on the band, but no way can that case be opened by hand.
Should’ve gone with a Petzl. I hope they worked out the issues of the outer casing of the light cracking on their newer models. I had a first generation Black Diamond Spot and it didn’t last long. Limited use of pushing the button made the outer casing start to develop spider cracks across the body of the light that spread to the lens and affected it’s limited waterproof integrity. Had to take it back for a refund. Hopefully you have better luck. The design has changed a bit since then.
 
Top