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Black Diamond Giz-mo' is really a Giz-less

in Lights - Flashlights & Headlamps

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2.00 / 5 (1 reviews)

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paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Black Diamond Giz-mo' is really a Giz-less on 02/06/2007 05:02:51 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

After "playing with" the new BD Wiz, marketed as a kid's headlamp for "budding alpinists" (BD's own words), i was expecting more from its larger sibling, the Gizmo.

Gizmo has three 5mm white LEDs vs. two 5mm LEDs for the Wiz, and it has three operational modes vs. two for the Wiz. The Gizmo has the same "Positronic" On-Off-ModeSelection switch as the Wiz.

Here's how it works. Press and hold to turn on. Press and hold to turn off. Simple, quick full press and release of the button switches b/t modes.

From off, press and hold and the unit turns on to HI output mode. A simple press and release switches to LO output mode. Another press and release switches to HI output FLASH mode. Pressing and releasing again, begins the cycle all over again, going back to steady HI output mode. A press and hold in ANY on/operating mode switches the Gizmo off.

It takes longer button depressions to cause the Gizmo's Positronic operation to turn the Gizmo on and off. This sounds strange, so i repeated it many times. The Wiz took ~0.5s to recognize Positronic On-Off, whereas this Gizmo took between ~0.75s and ~1.0s to recognize that I wanted the Gizmo to switch on or off. My impression is that it takes too long a period of time to turn on and off, whereas the Wiz was just about right.

The Gizmo is noticeably brighter in HI output than the Wiz (3 LEDs vs. 2 LEDs). It's LO output mode is nice for reading or performing other close-at-hand tasks. HI output mode can be used to walk a path. Yes,...that's right, a "path", NOT a "trail" - a "path" being, for many in New England, a somewhat manicured/well-kept gravel or dirt clearly marked route; though, i suspect that younger folk, still in possesion of non-age degraded low light vision, might be able to do some non-technical hiking with the Gizmo on HI).

The Gizmo shares the same form-factor as the Wiz - really a very nice, attractive, small package; very appealing. The Gizmo's headband is also very comfortable, though it too, just like the Wiz, came with, IMHO, the headband incorrectly attached to the headlamp bracket. No matter, it's a trivial matter, even for a klutz like me, to remove the band and route it so that the soft, somewhat absorbent headband is against my forehead instead of the plastic bracket. The hard plastic corners of the bracket do NOT press against my forehead when the headband is installed in this way. In my case, the curvature of the bracket doesn't permit this to occur. YMMV???

The Gizmo also shares essentially the same weight ~2.00oz on my digital scale as the Wiz, including batts. This is also less than the Mfr's claimed wt.

Now for the part that is less than desireable, IMHO, about the Gizmo. Since it shares the same 2xAAA power source as the Wiz, but has one more LED, it's batt life i estimate to be quite poor.

After getting pretty good results from the Wiz, I was expecting the Gizmo to be pretty good in this department too, so i didn't keep close track of hours of use. Over the last few days, i've used it for at least 8hrs, but less than 16hrs - broad range i know, but that's the best i can nail it down. Most of the time, the Gizmo was on HI output, with at most 25% of the time on LO output mode. This is a "far cry" fr/BD's claimed 30hr of HI output.

At one point, i noticed that, when the Gizmo was in steady HI output mode, that the Gizmo started going into HI output FLASH mode. Shutting the unit off and allowing the batts to cool permitted quite a few more continuous minutes of operation in HI output mode. Then the unit began flashing again and repeating the cooling cycle only allowed a minute or less of HI output operation. LO output operation was fine whenever it was checked during this period of time. After, maybe an hour or so, of this operation, HI output mode started rapidly flickering (much faster than a 1Hz flash).

Checking the voltage on the batts revealed a combined supply voltage of ~2.42VDC. My guess is that at ~2.5VDC, the "boost" converter (cf. my review on the Wiz which explains this terminology just a tad more) starts having problems supplying the higher current required to maintain steady HI output mode. Now, i should also mention, that i was using the Mfr supplied alkaline 'no-name' brand batts, and NOT some manly Duracells or Energizers. I believe batt life, whether on LO or HI output, would be better with some real manly batts like Duracell or Energizer - or, even 1000mAH rechargable NiMH batts, perhaps, due to their more linear discharge characteristics, though the initial light output might be less using NiMH batts. I don't know if either the Wiz or the Gizmo can use non-rechrg Li batts.

At this point, the Gizmo will still operate fine in LO output mode, but for how much longer? Now, that i'm at this point in its batt life, i'd prefer to be using the 2LED Wiz, as there doesn't seem to be any advantage of 3LEDs, nor the no longer operating HI output mode.

As for how the Gizmo compares to other small headlamps, well, i'm finding it difficult to assess.

It isn't as bright as a 3LED Zipka and certainly, lacking a third AAA batt, doesn't have the "burn" time of the a 3xAAA 3LED (or 4LED) headlamp.

It's brighter than the 2LED Wiz, and the PT Scout. It's NOT as bright, initially, as the new Petzl e+LITE. Even with its disappointing batt life on steady HI output mode, it will for certain remain brighter longer than either the Scout or the e+LITE which are powered by Li coin cell batts. In this sense it is superior to them both and for only a half-ounce more weight, which is mainly from the batts.

I rate the Gizmo lower than the Wiz. Why? First, i was expecting more since the Wiz seemed to have pretty decent (though still short of Mfr. claimed) batt life, even considering its relatively anemic light output, which was MORE THAN SUFFICIENT for task/proximity lighting. Second, whereas i could justify the Wiz as a better, LONGER burning task light than either the Scout or e+LITE, i'm having more trouble, mentally, justifying the Gizmo. It has three LEDs and brighter output, but for a shorter period of time. Yes, it will still burn brighter longer than the Scout and e+LITE (though not as bright initially as the e+LITE for the first 30min).

Given the Gizmo's batt life limitations, and the fact that it's simply not as bright as a Zipka or ZipkaPlus or a PT Quad, i couldn't justify carrying it on a trek. If i felt that i needed a long burning task/proximity light (or a backup light) & didn't want to carry spare Li coin cells for a Scout, e+LITE, or Photon Freedom Maxx, i'd opt for the Wiz instead of the Gizmo. That's why i call the Giz-mo' a Giz-less!

My two shekels.

Edited by pj on 02/06/2007 05:07:22 MST.

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