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Thread: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

  1. #1
    tgardiner
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    Default I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I am looking for a good led headlamp to use for night hikes and other nightime outdoor activities. I have looked at the Streamlight Septor and the Petzl Zipka. Does anybody have any reccomendations or better choices? I want something that is pretty bright and good on batteries and is still comfortable to use.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I have the Streamlight Septor and really like it. You can toggle among one, three, and seven LED's depending upon your lighting needs.

    The strap fits comfortably, and the assembly pivots to direct light where it's needed.

    The price is good too. I bought mine from Bright Guy, and I have always gotten good service from them.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I have the PT Aurora 3 X 5mm LED headlamp, and like it alot. Three brightness levels, and two blinking settings. It is nice and bright (close up) but being LED based lacks throw; compact; not very heavy and appears pretty solid.

  4. #4

    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I have a Petzl Tikka which is more comfortable as a headlamp. Very light easy to adjust angle, just move it up and down on your forehead. Zipka is a clever idea but not very comfortable to wear on head in my opinion. However for hiking you might want somthing a little more powerful.

  5. #5
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I also like the Petzl Tikka. But my friend swears by the Black Diamond Moonlight. It might be better for your purposes with 4 LEDs and a swivel head. Powered by 3 AAAs it is still very light and perhaps better weight distribution with the batteries carried on the back.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I just bought a Responder 4AA headlamp from Brightguy. It wears well and isn't as heavy as I thought having 4 batteries on the front. While it wasn't an led headlamp when I bought it, it is now. This is now my favorite headlamp.
    http://woodbender.freeservers.com/photo2.html

    I like the Princeton Tec headlamps(aurora and matrix) for off the shelf lights.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I would recommend the Photon Fusion. See the following thread for a previous discussion of your question and my response:

    Link

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Battery compartment on the rear is much more comfortable.

    However, the Lightwave Illuminator is a good one, even though the batts are in the front. It uses 3 AAs and can use Lithium AAs. It has 4 white Nichia LEDs, with an easy twist on/off.

    If you have a Petzl Zoom series, you can get 3 white LED bulbs from C. Crane www.ccrane.com and they have them for 4.5 and 6 volt Petzls.

    If you have a 3 volt (2AA for instance) incandescant, that is PR based for the bulb, you can get the Versalux PR-2 from www.techass.com (alkys only for this bulb).

    So, there are alot of options available.

    I have a Zoom Adapter and Zoom Mega Belt with LED bulbs installed (these are custom 9200 MCD single LED bulbs), PT Solo w/Matrix Module (regulated, but not really bright), Coleman Peak 1 Expedition Headlamp (2D) with a Versalux PR-2 (really bright), and an Illuminator, which is the only 'made as' and LED headlamp I've got.

    What you get, depends on your backpacking philosophy, time, and expedition type.

  9. #9

    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Any one tried one of these www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/flashlights%20main/petzl_duo_led.htm in standard or 8 led trim?

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Darell's Avatar
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I don't suppose anybody makes a *regulated* one yet do they? All the LED bike products on the market have the same limitation, I'm afraid.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    [ QUOTE ]
    Darell said:
    I don't suppose anybody makes a *regulated* one yet do they? All the LED bike products on the market have the same limitation, I'm afraid.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If they were regulated, they couldn't claim their "over 150 hours" runtime.

    Gotta love marketing.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    There're quite a few of regulated LED headlamp in the market such as Petzl (8 LED), foresight (24/48 LED), Lupine (26 LED) and HDS (24 LED).

    Alan

  13. #13
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    What kind of price range are you looking for? The least expensive regulated headlamp I have found is the 6 white/1 red LED Photon Fusion for about $45 on ebay. It also has the advantage of using any type of AA batteries (making NiMH a possibility for cost or lithium for weight)and has variable brightness settings so you can trade off brightness with runtime. Can also be modified to be used as a flashlight or table lamp. You can see it here:

    http://www.photonlight.com/fusion/

  14. #14
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Yes the hundreds of hours of battery life claim is confusing. But it's an important advantage of LED flashlights that they don't die on you, like incandescent and regulated lights do. When using regulated lights, you may want to carry extra batteries, lest you find yourself left in the dark.

  15. #15

    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Except in rare cases, I'd rather have a fully-regulated light (especially if I can adjust the brightness) than a constantly-dimming unregulated one.

    Any flashlight can die for any reason, not just batteries. Plus, many fully-regulated lights have a moon-mode, like the Arc AAA, SF KL1, and others, I'm sure. The change from sun to moon is a nice indicator that the battery is dying, and should be changed soon. Most of the sun/moon mode lights have several hours of runtime in moon mode.

  16. #16
    tgardiner
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I am looking to spend somewhere around $50. I have looked at the photon fusion that you recommended and think that it looks like a great light, just haven't been able to find one under $80. I have also decided that I might try the luxeon star mod on the rayovac headlamp that you get at wal mart. I found the info on it in the mod forums, and it looks pretty cheap and easy. It would be really nice to get a regulated light though.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Arc AAA is not fully-regulated. It will just fade in time, i.e. if you start with a new battery you get less light after 1 hour, then even less after 2 hours, and so on. I don't have the exact numbers, but I guess you have after 5-6 hrs. about half the original brightness (depends on the battery brand). And at some point you decide to change the battery :-). And it has no real "moon mode" (well, it has, but is the same thing as "depleted battery").

    [ QUOTE ]
    Blikbok said:
    Except in rare cases, I'd rather have a fully-regulated light (especially if I can adjust the brightness) than a constantly-dimming unregulated one.

    Any flashlight can die for any reason, not just batteries. Plus, many fully-regulated lights have a moon-mode, like the Arc AAA, SF KL1, and others, I'm sure. The change from sun to moon is a nice indicator that the battery is dying, and should be changed soon. Most of the sun/moon mode lights have several hours of runtime in moon mode.

    [/ QUOTE ]

  18. #18
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    [ QUOTE ]
    tgardiner said:
    I am looking to spend somewhere around $50. I have looked at the photon fusion that you recommended and think that it looks like a great light, just haven't been able to find one under $80. I have also decided that I might try the luxeon star mod on the rayovac headlamp that you get at wal mart. I found the info on it in the mod forums, and it looks pretty cheap and easy. It would be really nice to get a regulated light though.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If you like the Fusion and have a $50 budget you are in luck, as they are still available on Ebay as I write this for $45. See:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=20760

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I'm a fan of the Streamlight Trident. Having the option of the incandescent lamp for more intense light can be extremely helpful at times. If you don't want incandescent at all the Streamlight Septor is a good option.

    Brightguy has spare battery cartridges you can load up and carry with you if you need a quick change. The cartridges work in either headlamp. They fit well in T-8˝ perscription pill bottles from Eckerd. This protects them from moisture and keeps them from shorting (they have exposed contacts.)

    I'm just finishing up a headlamp review for a Princeton Tec Aurora. This is also a nice headlamp with dimming capability.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I want to pick a fight with Blikbok. Just kidding.

    Any flashlight can die at any time, but it seems to me the traditional cheap lights usually died because of weak batteries, a broken or burned out bulb, or a flaky switch, or dirty contacts.

    I really like the reliability of my unregulated LED lights with twist on heads, because they seem to eliminate most of the problems I've had in the past with flashlights.

    I guess the moral of the story is there are as many flashlight preferences as there are members of CPF. And hundreds of flashlight makers to please most of us.

  21. #21

    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    itsme1234:
    Not having designed the light, I can only repeat what the FAQ ( http://store.yahoo.com/flashlight/faq.html ) says:
    [ QUOTE ]
    What is the "auto sun/moon mode"?

    The regulated inverter is designed to provide an automatic sun/moon mode. When the batteries are fresh, the light will regulate itself to be as bright as possible. When the batteries are nearly depleted, the regulator will switch the inverter into a low power mode to provide a small amount of light for the remainder of the battery life.

    Without this feature, the light would simple shut off or fade very quickly once the battery was nearly depleted. Although moon mode is very dim, it does provide some light- maybe enough to get you back to camp, out of a cave or a dark building, etc.

    This feature is designed into all Arc flashlights. With the Arc-AAA for example, sun mode is about 5 hours and moon mode is about 6 hours.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    eluminator:
    I agree about flashlight preference. I prefer analog gauges in my car, I don't like a computer controlling things which might kill me. When in doubt, I trust simpler things more. If I could only have one flashlight in a cave, I'd likely choose an unregulated one like you would. So to a point, I guess I agree with you regarding reliability. It can be a very intangible thing, and confidence in equipment is very important.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I hike a lot in the dark because work and family obligations often require beginning or ending hikes in the dark. Here's my wish list:

    1. AA or CR123 power (one or two batteries to minimize weight).
    2. Regulated with "high" and "low" beams for two levels of constant brightness and runtime management.
    3. 2+ hour "high beam" run time (KL1/E1e brightness) with one battery or 4+ hours with two batteries.
    4. 5+ hour "low beam run time (Opalec Newbeam brightness) with one battery or 10+ hours with two batteries. I don't think I've ever hiked more than 4 hours in the dark.
    5. Light weight (Tikka/Aurora weight range).

    I'm still looking for an off-the-shelf headlamp solution. Black Diamond makes some nice regulated incandescent/LED lights, but they weigh in at around 1/2 pound. I want something half that weight or less--the lighter the better.

    I had a Tikka but sold it. I can tell you from experience you had better start your trip with fresh batteries if you want to follow a less than well established trail through thick forest at night with a Tikka. If, like me, you start with batteries you used for a few hours a few weeks earlier, you may end up changing the batteries or letting your buddy lead like I did.

    OK, OK, I know I could have started with fresh set of batteries in my Tikka, but if you only get 4 or 5 hours of decent light from a set of 3 AAAs, why not just attach 3 ARC AAAs to your hat and get 4 hours of bright, relatively constant light? I'd rather have a Tikka regulated to provide constant brightness for the ARC AAA's runtime.

    This season, I'm experimenting with my LSH-P (although a low don's wider beam might be better for my purposes), my KL1 with my E1e and E2e Outdoorsman, and a Nite Ize headband. The KL1/E2e Outdoorsman clips securely on a baseball cap and is in the same weight range as the Tikka/Aurora. The brightness is overkill, but it is also relatively constant over a runtime that is accebptable to me. See Brock's battery runtime versus brightness charts.. I can take one of these lights, an extra battery or two and a Photon or ARC AAA for camp use and battery changes and still be under 4 ounces [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  23. #23
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    Don't get me started with arc AAA regulation ! The runtime plot is
    here

    I think you can't say it's "fully regulated". By the way, I have a 5 led drop-in/mod for Princeton Tec-40, drive with 22 ohm resistors, no regulation of course. The runtime plot with NiMh is the same as Arc's (keeping proportions) !!! There is a steady drop for hours, then a steep drop to what you could cool "moon mode" then it goes on with that level forever (days).

  24. #24
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I didn't say "fully regulated". Whether you call it regulated or not, my experience with my unmodified ARC AAAs has been much better than my experince with my unmodified Tikka. If after n hours you don't have enough light for your purposes, the runtime claims don't matter [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] Hence my dissatisfaction with the Tikka.

    I tried to qualify my statements regarding the ARC AAAs brightness by saying "relatively constant" meaning moreso than the Tikka.

    An Opalec Newbeam offers 8 hours of rock solid regulation (about twice as bright as the initial brightness of one ARC AAA) according to Brock's site, and with two Lithium AAs it would be about .68 oz. heavier than a Tikka. I'm not saying that is the solution, either, but a Newbeam based headlamp would be a nice Tikka/Aurora alternative.

    For most hikers, I think a Newbeam based solution would be all they need. I think most hikers lug the light along and only use it for light duty chores (no pun intended) like setting up camp, rummaging in the pack, taking a leak at night, etc. or maaaayybe hiking a short distance on a well established trail. That's why many ultralight hikers rely on a single Photon. IMO a Newbeam based solution would suffice for anything you'd use a Tikka/Aurora for.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: I am looking for a good LED Headlamp

    I have a Tikka, and Zipka, and I really like the small size and convenience of the Zipka as a backup, and for close work. I just received a Headlamp from Wayne at Elektrolumens dot com, and it is wild. It sells for $29.99, and it has a 1 watt Luxeon, is very bright, long throw, white color beam, runs on 4 AA batteries for 12 hours, and you get to do business with Wayne, a real class act! I just bought a Blaster VI and it is incredible. The service from Wayne is top notch.
    http://elektrolumens.com/LS_HEADLAMP/LS_Headlamp.html

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