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Light Geeks: Best (High End) Regulated Headlamp
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Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: All single AA LED Flashlights are regulated on 03/31/2013 12:59:34 MDT Print View

There were 2 "maximum"s in there, and I think he meant when the light was running at maximum output. The zebralights are nice because they give you the option of trading light output for runtime. More so than most headlamps, which offer 2 or maybe 3 settings in a much narrower range.

I got an H51 last year and would never go back to the ones I used to use.

Tom Watkins
(watkins) - F
Just my opinions.. on 03/31/2013 13:06:58 MDT Print View

I'd go NW not CW for a headlamp, you loose a little output but colour rendition is far better.
I'd look at budget alternatives to spark, they are great lights but for $100 you can likely find both lights that will fit your needs.

A nitecore hb02 headband would allow you to mount a small 18650 based light on your head/cap for the ultimate runtime and amount of light.

I use one, with a $15 torch modified to moon,low,medium,high and can therefore run for days on moon or a couple of hours on high with enough light coming out to light up 100m in front and have a whole group follow.

I'd consider adding two pieces of elastic to a cap that could hold a small light, such as the convoy s2, or roche f12. Therefore creating a holder for only the extra weight of the elastic. I'd then think about adding a layer of clear coat or spray to the lens to create a diffused beam. You then have a light more powerful, and less weight than alternative headlamps on the market.

That coupled with something like the xintd c8 would cover any night hiking I would feel comfortable with, and they both run on 18650's...which as far as I'm aware will give one of the best power to weight ratio's of any battery suitable for a headlamp.

steven franchuk
Re: Re: All single AA LED Flashlights are regulated on 03/31/2013 13:46:40 MDT Print View

"Regulated output regardless of batteries is a must, I wasn't aware that all AA lights were regulated, but I am aware that most AAA headlamps are not."

Another thing about LEDs is that they run at constant brightness as long as the voltage is in spec (3V). Go over it burn out. Go below they dim rapidly. So well a 3 AAA battery headlamp may not be regulated, it will for the most part produce constant light until the voltage drops below 3V and then you will quickly notice light drop off. My Princten Tech Fuel might not be regulated but with over 100 hours of stable light output I don't bother bringing a spare set of batteries most of the time.

In the past regulation was a bigger deal because most LED lights produced less than 40 lumens of light and it would be difficult to tell when they started to dim. but with many now over 100 lumens you will notice the drop in light output With a regulated light one of two things will happen when the batteries are fully drained. 1 the light start to flash until it goes out completely or 2. it just goes out with no warning. I would rather have one that gradually dims while hiking than one that suddenly goes out.

As to the comment:

" This is totally false.

Mine runs for 3.5 days on a single AA, and there is no rate problem."

I was reffering to 100 lumen output. On a single AA battery most manufactures list about 2 hours on high. I am not awar of any manufacutes clamming 3 day on high with a single AA. At low output, about 20 lumens or less, 3days might be possible but at that level you probably will have difficulty following the trail.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: All single AA LED Flashlights are regulated on 03/31/2013 14:07:46 MDT Print View

"I was reffering to 100 lumen output. On a single AA battery most manufactures list about 2 hours on high. I am not awar of any manufacutes clamming 3 day on high with a single AA."

Steven, you may be right, but I sure can't read what you wrote.


Tom Watkins
(watkins) - F
18650 on 03/31/2013 14:22:19 MDT Print View

3aaa v 18650
3 aaa 4.2v, 750mah v 18650 is 4.2v 3100mah
36g v 45g

3aaa batteries just about stands up to an aa.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Re: All single AA LED Flashlights are regulated on 03/31/2013 16:08:23 MDT Print View

"So well a 3 AAA battery headlamp may not be regulated, it will for the most part produce constant light until the voltage drops below 3V and then you will quickly notice light drop off."

That's not been my experience with the non-regulated 3 aaa headlamps (mostly petzl) I've used in the past.

I notice the change in brightness very quickly, and while they do last "forever", find that the vast majority of that "forever" is at well below the stated lumen output level.

Maybe if I always ran on low it wouldn't be an issue, but once the drain starts being noticeable, the low modes are now too low to be useful.

Another thing that bothers me about it is working in 3s, 3 alkaline triple a's (~34g) is fine but I've got to have 3 more to replace, and I find it easy to get the fresh and drained ones mixed up, 3 double A's weigh about the same as 6 triple a's, but that's two backups, which I often wont need more than one if at all looking at the numbers on something like a Zebralight.

Looking at the numbers on some comparable regulated high output lights that use either 3 triple a's, or a single double a, at the same ouput levels, the math is showing me that the double A's come out very close, depending on the LEDs.

Yeah, I'll be changing batteries more often, but in this scenario it seems more versatile to me.

Right now I'm leaning towards some Zebralight floody, with a backup high power torch, I like the Spark SD52-NW, *but* 4.2oz for the package with an eneloop, having to use two batteries in it, the ZL H502d High CRI Daylight tint AA Flood, with two eneloops would be 3.8oz.

It's a hard decision though, as the Spark with the extra lens would allow me to leave the flashlight at home for lighter trips, and supposedly has a more comfortable head-band, but is an ounce heavier on the head, and would require lens changing for hiking with it, and more fiddle factor likely.

I am probably going to go with an 18650 powered torch, but don't anticipate taking backup batteries considering the run times. I want the extra output and the long single cell run times, but will likely never drain one on a short to medium length trip.

Does anybody else know of a lamp like the Spark SD52-NW that can easily convert from a full flood to spill or spot beam, in a single AA format or a lighter overall package?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: All single AA LED Flashlights are regulated on 03/31/2013 17:47:07 MDT Print View

"ZL H502d High CRI Daylight tint AA Flood, with two eneloops would be 3.8oz."

My Zebralight H501 runs on a single AA lithium battery, and with some strap weight trimming left me at 1.92 ounces.


(wentworth) - F
Zebralight and beam/ tint on 03/31/2013 17:55:58 MDT Print View

I own:
-A Zebralight H51. It has a floody beam with a well blended hotspot, so it's great for walking at night but still very usable for reading a book. I use the 30 lumen mode for walking and the 2 lumen mode for reading.

-An H51w, which is the warm tint version of the H51. the tint is nicer on the eyes, but I find that I need to use a higher mode when walking at night. The cool tint of the H51 just seems to give more clarity, even if it isn't as easy on the eyes.

-An H502D, which is a full flood light with a tint that could be described as halfway between the H51 and the H51W to my eyes anyway. The full flood beam is great for reading, but I need to run it at the level two of the high mode if I want to walk around in the dark. This means that for wandering round, I burn through the batteries much faster than I would the H51.

-A Surefire E1L. This takes one cr123A battery and has a full spot beam. It's only use (for me) is occasional use to check ahead for where the track goes. Full spot is not very useful for me and hard work on the eyes for anything up close.

-A Fenix LD01. Nice beam with a smooth transition between the spill and the hotspot. The tint is more blue than the H51 and it runs on a AAA, which means the medium (which is what I used for walking at night) doesn't last as long as I'd like.

I don't think it's a good idea to pick lumens first and then beam pattern. If I want to walk at night, I'll want a floody beam with a smooth transition to a hotspot, so that it can give some distance. If I tried to use a full flood beam for this, I'd need to run it at full power.
30 lumens with a hotspot is the same percieved brightness/ usefulness as 100ish lumens of full flood, for me.

Lux is a better indicator that lumens for night walking (for me).

Edited by wentworth on 03/31/2013 18:11:30 MDT.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Surefire Minimus on 03/31/2013 21:54:47 MDT Print View

I've completely switched over to CR123s - far more energy dense [i.e. lighter], don't leak, have a shelf life of 10+ years, and function wonderfully in cold weather.

I've had a Surefire minimus for about 8 months and it's been excellent. It's robust and the potentiometer allows the user to dial-in light from 1-100 lumens and anywhere in between. The beam is quite diffuse - I've found it fine for backcountry use and even downhill/backcountry skiing at night [i.e. complete darkness] with zero issues light wise. 100 Surefire lumens is a lot different than another company's 100 lumens. I have Petzl lamps that have a higher-output on paper, but there's no comparison with respect to light quality and intensity. Definitely worth serious consideration.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Zebralight and beam/ tint on 03/31/2013 22:58:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for all that info A D

My original idea was to have a full flood for camp chores, which is why the H502, but I get what you're saying, and if I'm honest, I'm not sure what I'd like really. Unfortunately, most of the info you read on places like CPF is hyper subjective, and idealistic. High CRI, warm tints, throws, etc, not much evidence on how those opinions relate to our use.

I may pickup a H502 and a H51 and see which I like the best. I'm also ordering an Eagletac D25LC2 Clicky, as a backup flashlight. Although I may end up with a combination of H502 flood for camp use and a H600 for night hiking, or something even lighter for camp use and the H600.

Honestly avoiding the light obsession isn't working out, just too many f'n options.

Edit: Not sure which emitter I'll go with on the Eagletac, gotta do more research.

Edited by jdempsey on 03/31/2013 23:11:04 MDT.

SPIRIDON Papapetroy
(spotlight) - F
Some more on 04/01/2013 12:54:08 MDT Print View

Check these also:

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Light Geeks and CPF vortex of time loss on 04/01/2013 18:00:57 MDT Print View

Like this thread because I have been wanting a new HL for a while. Very good info.

I started at the Zebralight site. Had looked at those previously. I love their comparison page with a the spreadsheet. I like the right-angle beam and form factor. I was first looking at the H51 because of the the Eneloops I have around. Then I was intrigued by the H31 with the weight savings and smaller form factor. Started (first mistake here) looking at output ratings for the H600...damn that's bright, and the runtime is amazing. Started looking at options for 18650 batteries (second mistake here) and followed a link to CPF. After three days I have emerged even more confused than before.

I recently did a late night hike bailout with a Petzl e+lite. It was ok because we were primarily on a road, but it did leave me wanting more light. I had a Fenix LD01 (EDC) on the keyring in my pocket but I use poles and didn't want to hold it.

There are several 3400 mAh 18650's now available. Is it worth the weight penalty? Is it worth buying a new charger? I think i would use a higher setting in many tasks and when hiking just because I knew I wasn't running the cell low.

Any other 18650 users out there have opinions?

PS. I have blocked CPF at the router level and only my wife has the password. That place is dangerous...

Marc Loomis
haha on 04/01/2013 19:22:12 MDT Print View

"PS. I have blocked CPF at the router level and only my wife has the password. That place is dangerous..."

i lol'd a little

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Light Geeks and CPF vortex of time loss on 04/01/2013 22:37:47 MDT Print View

Haha this may happen to me also.

Anyway, I pulled the trigger on a Zebralight H600w today. I decided that instead of going with a primary light that used a standard battery configuration, I'd go with something high powered, with numerous modes and insane runtimes and output. It's a bit heavy, I figure 3.6-3.8oz for the package, but I wont be carrying extra cells for it.

For a backup I'll have either a single cell AAA or AA light (I'm leaning toward the Eagletac D25A mini (0.77oz without a cell), which is single AA and has outputs high enough, and run times long enough to cover a pretty serious bailout if I needed it, which I'll put a high capacity lithium primary in (Energizer Lithium AA 0.5oz)

My current Petzl Lamp weighs 3oz with Alkalines in it, could drop it a bit with lithiums, but a set of backup cells would be another 3/4oz in lithiums, so I'm at nearly the same weight primary, with 10x the output potential, many more modes, huge runtimes, fully regulated output, better color rendering, the ability to clip to my pack straps for night hiking, etc.

I'm also expecting I'll enjoy the beam quality a lot more, since I can't stand the Petzl's color, spill/spot profile, and glare.

I'm fairly certain I'll be able to work up a diffuser for better flood profile in camp if I feel I need to also.

In the end, I'm not saving weight, but I don't think I'm adding it either. I am losing the ability to find a battery at a gas station if I forget to bring one, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. I am however I think, increasing versatility, utility, and user happiness, god willing. I'll add the redundancy back in (which a single headlamp, regardless of battery type doesn't have if it simply fails) for the 1.25oz penalty, of a backup light with a standard battery type.

I've got plenty of room to add back in utility and still maintain crazy low baseweights, so the marginal net gain looks like a win to me here, and I've got other options for SUL/XUL pack lists, but those arbitrary number exercises no longer hold much appeal for me.

Edited by jdempsey on 04/01/2013 22:40:17 MDT.