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Thread: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

  1. #1

    Help Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Hello everyone,


    I'm new to quality headlamps and batteries like 18650's in general. I'd appreciate any advice that could be given based on what I need.


    I like to repair vehicles at nighttime, but I'm running into a big problem regarding lighting. I am in close quarters most of the time, in areas with not a lot of room, such as under cars, under dashboards, or tight areas of engine bays. Up to this point I've been using modified "400 Lumen Energizer" headlamps( My favorite lights so far but required soldering and taking apart), and recently the "310 lumen Quantum" Headlamp from Harbor Freight( I don't like this one, it's too bulky, the back battery pack/front light magnifier gets in my way, and it's not floody enough). The stock 3X AAA batteries simply did not provide bright light for long periods of time. I made a 3X D battery box and added a digital voltage meter to it, and carry it on me using a chest gun holster to hold the battery pack. I made it modular with removable connectors.


    The other power source I made was a universal power adapter, which I set to 4.5 volts and (soldered/crimped) connected to the Energizer headlamp. This was my favorite set up so far, but I had to lug a power cord around for hours and it got annoying. I'm not sure if the insides of that headlamp had thermal regulation and if it's made to take max voltage for that long, It was fine when I used it but still.


    What headlamps do you guys recommend? Quality and safety would be my #1 priority, I don't mind paying extra if need be for this. Maybe high CRI based on what I read? it would be nice for different colored wires to stand out. 400 lumens for extended hours would be great if possible. I'm assuming a USA made light is the best? I don't know what brands are considered good in 2020.


    At first the "Nitecore HC70" stood out to me for its battery pack that supposedly could be used with additional usb power banks. But, I was reading about quality problems with the battery pack that connects to the light.


    Next I saw the "Acebeam H30" which can use a 21700 battery if I read that correctly. Again I read concerning reviews about the quality of the device. I liked this one cause you can get one that has a UV sublight which would be useful for seeing engine dye.


    Lastly the "Wizard Pro Nichia" looked really good to me based on what you and other forums were saying about it. My concern was with ArmyTek, and the quality control concerns with the light itself. People have been saying that there is a "Tint Lottery", and that if there is a problem with the light that ArmyTek's customer service is likely to ignore you.


    My budget for the headlamp itself is $200 USD, but I can increase that if the quality merits it. I had planned on getting "Panasonic Orbtronic 18650's 3600 mAH" batteries assuming I get a 18650 headlamp. But if there are better alternatives to this I'm all ears. I have no idea what kind of external charger I should get. I planned on getting maybe 3 extra batteries.


    I'd highly appreciate any advice and recommends towards this, thank you.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic xcandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    All the brands you mentioned, and most of the best lights come from China. Look for a floody beam or a "mule" type without a reflector or optic. You don't need to spend anywhere near $200 for a good headlamp.

    I'd get something like the Ryobi Workbench Light or something similar, which is not a headlamp. No personal experience, but my favorite youtubers mighty car mods use this a lot, and it looks very useful.

    https://ibb.co/k2pzRbJ

    https://ibb.co/Vq25THb

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Have you checked out Acebeam headlights?
    Their H60 Full Spectrum (18650 25a) caught my attention lately

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    I use a simple Petzl 3AAA headlamp for my night car repairs for a couple of years now 20L low, 80L high. I have a higher lumen headlamp but find in close quarters anything higher than 80ish lumen results in a lot of light bounce back, making it harder to focus vision on areas out of the illumination beam without a bit of recovery (reaching for tools, checking clearances etc) It only cost $20, very reliable design with floody beam, easy press button in a must with gloves on...works great.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Quote Originally Posted by xcandrew View Post
    All the brands you mentioned, and most of the best lights come from China. Look for a floody beam or a "mule" type without a reflector or optic. You don't need to spend anywhere near $200 for a good headlamp.

    I'd get something like the Ryobi Workbench Light or something similar, which is not a headlamp. No personal experience, but my favorite youtubers mighty car mods use this a lot, and it looks very useful.

    https://ibb.co/k2pzRbJ

    https://ibb.co/Vq25THb
    So I should not get lights with reflectors or optics? Ok. Well The Energizer I had had both types, a strong spotlight in the middle and one flood light on each side (these were very weak though). I'll look for some flood only lamps though.

    Ah the workbench lights, yea you're right that would be very useful. It's just that when I get into weird angles, not much fits. What I had been doing is taking off my headlamp and holding it with my one of my hands in the tight area. A lot of these places a workbench light would NOT fit in a lot the situations I encounter daily. having a headlamp with a magnetic base would be nice though.

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Have you checked out Acebeam headlights?
    Their H60 Full Spectrum (18650 25a) caught my attention lately
    I'll look into that thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanBurn View Post
    I use a simple Petzl 3AAA headlamp for my night car repairs for a couple of years now 20L low, 80L high. I have a higher lumen headlamp but find in close quarters anything higher than 80ish lumen results in a lot of light bounce back, making it harder to focus vision on areas out of the illumination beam without a bit of recovery (reaching for tools, checking clearances etc) It only cost $20, very reliable design with floody beam, easy press button in a must with gloves on...works great.
    Sometimes I need to be able to read tiny metal indented letters covered with 20+ years of old oil/dust/grease and I really need a bright light to have a chance to read some of that. I personally don't like lights that dim, however I will look it up. You make a great point about light reflections, I never took that into consideration, thanks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Zebralight

  7. #7

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    I couldn't find the "Acebeam H60 Full Spectrum" headlamp for sale ANYWHERE online. Is it unreleased or something?

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Tejasandre's Avatar
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    Default Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Zebra light. 18650 headlight , high cri floody $89.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    I've used my cheap Wowtac A2S neutral white headlamp to work on cars. It has good mode spacing and with an 18650 runs for days on lower modes.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    If you're looking for a headlamp that can be removed and used as a flashlight that has a magnetic base, this Fenix HM61R Ruby would be a good option imo.
    https://www.kronium.cz/nabijeci-celo...prod_2217.html The reason I like the HM61R Ruby over the standard HM61R is that the Ruby model has a Neutral White(NW) light output of ~4500k.

    If you don't feel comfortable ordering that one you could order the standard HM61R here and get 20% off on your 1st order. https://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-hm...able-headlamp/
    You could order one of these lights for working on your car if you were to order from them and get 20% off.
    https://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-wf...fe-flashlight/
    https://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-wf...fe-flashlight/
    https://www.fenix-store.com/

    Some other options:
    https://www.acebeam.com/h15

    https://www.armytek.com/flashlights/...hts-headlamps/

    https://www.imalentstore.com/collect...16476924936265

    https://www.batteryjunction.com/klar...-headlamp.html

    https://flashlight.nitecore.com/ILLUMINATION/hu/

    https://olightworld.com/olight-perun

    https://wowtac.com/wowtac-a2s-headlamp/

    Then as a few others have mentioned Zebralight. Here are the 2 models that should work for you.
    http://www.zebralight.com/H600Fc-Mk-...amp_p_218.html

    http://www.zebralight.com/H600Fd-Mk-...amp_p_219.html

    Here's a helpful guide on which Zebralight to get. https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...h-should-I-buy

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    The Wowtac doesn't have a magnet.
    Another one that I've noticed (no review) is Sofirn SP40. Not sure about a magnet but I have a Sofirn SP32 v2 and like it a lot (NW). The Sofirn again is cheap about $30 or less. I ordered my SP32 on Ebay from Sofirn and had no problems other than from China it did take awhile to arrive.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Thanks for the replies folks. I decided to go with the Fenix HP30r for the 2X18650 extended battery pack and the easy to see blue led battery life indicator located on the battery pack. I bought 2 Orbtronic 3600 mAh protected batteries to go with what came with it. Those Zebra lights you mentioned looked really nice, I'll look into that if this light doesn't work out (HP30R Reviewers were saying that the battery pack dies prematurely and will stop charging at some point).

    The Acebeam H50(High CRI led option) and H60 Full spectrum looked like very good options.

    What I don't like about most of these other quality headlamps is that they were all using 1 battery for the most part. I didn't see many lamps like the Fenix HP30R or the Nitecore HC70 which use a battery pack with at least two 18650 batteries.


    Is the "XTAR VC2S" battery charger ok quality wise? I just wanted a decent charger to charge my extra 18650's.
    Last edited by SuzukiBlueS2000; 10-07-2020 at 08:26 AM. Reason: corrections

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* abarth_1200's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Just get a zebralight mule type 18650 for super long runtimes, experiment with using less lumens, at the end of day (night) your only needing to light up a couple feet in front of you so need for 400 lumens (which your energiser would never have been anywhere close to putting out, probably closer to 200)

    100 lumens should be more than enough once adapted to it. Then you could even get a smaller 16340 zebralight if you donít need the high output for as long.


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  14. #14

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzukiBlueS2000 View Post

    Is the "XTAR VC2S" battery charger ok quality wise? I just wanted a decent charger to charge my extra 18650's.
    Xtar has quite a good reputation in the charger game for charging these smaller cells, so imo you'd be fine with any of the models that they offer.

    If it was me I'd go for the 4 bay battery charger, especially since you went with a headlamp that runs on 2 batteries and they can't be charged inside the headlamp. Unless you have a total of 6 batteries for that headlamp you could run into problems if you deplete the 4 batteries you're planning on getting and only have a 2 bay charger. That means you'll for sure have 2 good batteries for the next time you go to use your headlamp, unless you have a super good memory or a great boyfriend/girlfriend who'll change out the batteries while you're doing XYZ. With a 4 bay battery charger you put all 4 cells in the charger, come back in 4 or 5 hours and all 4 of the cells are fully charged.

    I bought this one for my sister and her 2 boys. https://www.xtar.cc/product/XTAR-VC4-Charger-20.html
    Here's the newest 4 cell charger they make and is pretty much the same as the VC2S, but with 2 more bays.
    https://www.xtar.cc/product/XTAR-VC4S-Charger-112.html

    Nitecore makes some good chargers too.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Zebralight would be great for this. Get one of their floody versions since you don't need to see far. As mentioned, you don't need anywhere near 400 lumens for working on a car at night. The great thing about zebralight is that they have so many different modes to choose from you can figure out what you need and then program it to come on at that level.

    For a cheap version I'd also recommend the thrunight TH20 with some rechargeable batteries (Eneloop).

  16. #16

    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    Can you help me program a Zebra light?

  17. #17

    Default Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    I absolutely love my armytek wizard pro xhp50 for car work. Comfy. Bright. Long runtimes. I would say it has removed the limitations after dark car repairs once posed.

  18. #18
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Headlamp recommendation for nighttime car repairs?

    https://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-hl...-led-headlamp/
    the main reason I like this headlamp is it has articulating head with detents so it stays in the up or down position easily not fighting rubber like some, also has onboard charger.
    the battery is inside of it so you can put your head on the ground without laying on anything. I have two in case one broke, but it has never broken. not to mention I use it several hours a day for 4 years now

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBnLtB2YG6g
    Last edited by flynndog; 11-23-2020 at 08:58 PM.

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