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Thread: Head lamps

  1. #46
    Senior Member Viewseeker's Avatar
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    Black Diamond Icon is what i have, light and good battery life...great beam. Im thinking like 20+ on a set, could be wrong.. I use it so much i really cant tell ya what batty life is..but its worth just buying new ones and installing them, not good luck with rechargables in any of my electronics, GPS, camera, etc..
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  2. #47
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianChris View Post
    I am assuming that the Tikka is unregulated since it fades over time. Is that right? Does a regulated led stay at the same brightness and then just go off when batteries die?
    Yes and yes.

    The regulated light will also give the same brightness with any kind of batteries. An unregulated light will be dimmer with NiMH (1.3V) than with alkaline or lithium (1.5V).

    The regulator maintains constant light power (power = voltage * current) by drawing more or less current to compensate for voltage changes/differences. A regulator can also boost (or reduce) the voltage so one or two cells (1.5V or 3V) can power a white LED which requires at least 4V. The high intensity LEDs must be driven from a constant current source (batteries are constant voltage) and thermally protected (reduce the current if they get too hot) which requires a regulated source. And the regulator can also set the different intensities of a multi-intensity light. (Unregulated lights adjust the intensity with a simple pulse-duty factor modulator.)

    Doug

  3. #48
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    . The modern LED lights can now feature both the bright narrow beams and the less-bright wide beams with high efficiency at all intensity settings all at longer battery lifetimes (or smaller, lighter batteries) than the old lights.Doug
    But can they do both at the same time and still not spend a bundle. Thus with two inexpensive headlamps one focused short and one long I can do both at the same time.

    Not very scientific but they work.
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  4. #49
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I have what must be the previous version of the Icon. Canít remember what model it is? Plenty bright for those night time above treeline blowing snow epics.
    I think there is only one version of the Icon.

    Doug

  5. #50
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Doug -

    The red light doesn't keep me happy per se - personally, I don't use it much as I have trouble seeing with it. However, when you're standing around in a group, particularly when waiting for everyone to get ready, it's so easy to 'flash' someone by looking at them with your headlamp thereby blinding them for several seconds. When in a group setting like that, I try to remember to switch it over to red. You don't need much light in that setting anyway.
    It was just intended as a joke... (The red light is on the back of the Dinotte light "engine" and would be in the way for any mounting except on the top of a helmet.)

    Seriously, I agree that a low intensity red beam would be useful. Not a make-or-break issue for me, but it would be nice to have.

    On a different tack - somehow I find the premise of this thread a bit unsettling. It's the same old story - when is enough enough? Why do we need a headlamp capable of illuminating an entire hillside when the real need is simply to illuminate the next 10 to 20 feet of a trail 3 feet wide at best? Why do people need a mondo dualie pickup for commuting? Why has the square footage of homes increased while family size has decreased? Etc, etc? I know - it's the American Way - More is More.

    Sorry if this seems like a version of the Grinch, but occasionally I find it helpful to examine one's own footprint upon the Earth.
    I think we are in general agreement--see my editorial in post #44 (written before I read your post). More intensity also brings heavier lights and shorter battery lifetimes. I can't speak for anyone else, but I sure would like a) to be able to carry my batteries and b) have them last until I make it back to the car. IMO, the big lights are not the best choice for most camping and hiking. (They are, however, a good choice for certain other activities or special situations, eg SAR or fast skiing.) The recent dual-mode LED lights (eg Spot and Remix), IMO, cover both needs pretty well most of the time.

    Doug

  6. #51
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    <meta comment>
    Whew! I think this thread is working on a number of posts by one person in one thread in one day record...

    Time to take a break for lunch and recharge my batteries...
    </meta comment>

    Doug

  7. #52
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    BTW, somebody in this thread mentioned a bike helmet, I use a BD Icon for bike commuting and with the BD at it's largest setting, it fits over my helmet (a Bell something or other). What I do is I snake the center strap through the top of helmet via the vent holes and then I use zip ties (maybe one per side) to keep the side straps from slipping off. The side straps will tend to want to slip off. I use the highest settings on the 3W bulb on the ICON for bike commuting.. (and I also use a handlebar mount, usually a basic LED AA-based battery light on blink mode to be seen).

    Jay
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  8. #53
    Senior Member IndianChris's Avatar
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    Whew! I think this thread is working on a number of posts by one person in one thread in one day record...
    I agree. Never thought I would get so much info in such short a time. You guys are great. Great reviews, advice, opinions.

    Why do we need a headlamp capable of illuminating an entire hillside when the real need is simply to illuminate the next 10 to 20 feet of a trail 3 feet wide at best? Why do people need a mondo dualie pickup for commuting? Why has the square footage of homes increased while family size has decreased?
    I like to think of the headlight as a safety device, not necessarilly a luxury item. Hate to say it...I am getting older and my eyes are also getting weaker so a brighter light, I think, is more likely to keep me injury-free rather than a light that is not so bright. On the other hand, I do intend on only using the most light I need in order to do that. Lighting up the whole hillside is unnecessary.
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  9. #54
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianChris View Post
    ...I like to think of the headlight as a safety device, not necessarilly a luxury item. Hate to say it...I am getting older and my eyes are also getting weaker so a brighter light, I think, is more likely to keep me injury-free rather than a light that is not so bright. On the other hand, I do intend on only using the most light I need in order to do that. Lighting up the whole hillside is unnecessary.
    I hear you, but ... have you been into REI/EMS lately? Seen those displays with 50 headlamps all vying for your $$? At least we've had the benefit of reading Doug Paul's explanations of regulated/unregulated and other fine points of headlamps.

    Headlamp "intensity creep" is not unlike what's happened with headlights? Why does everyone need high intensity halogen lamps AND fog lights on at the same time? Just because their vehicle has them?

  10. #55
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    On a different tack - somehow I find the premise of this thread a bit unsettling. It's the same old story - when is enough enough? Why do we need a headlamp capable of illuminating an entire hillside when the real need is simply to illuminate the next 10 to 20 feet of a trail 3 feet wide at best?
    I don't know "how much" the Black Diamond Icon or Zenix IQ's (my 2 brighter lights) throw out but I do know that the little Zipkas and Tikkas (the smaller headlamps that run on AAA's) don't throw enough light to spot deadfall in time when skiing downhill on a trail, or for bushwhacking in the dark. The BD lights do a great job in that regard.

    I guess a person could always say, "don't bushwhack in the dark or ski downhill on hiking trails with blowdown in the dark", but that would be very grinchy and un-(insert north here to include krazy kanuks)american.

  11. #56
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    I've always hiked with those basic LEDs on my Zenix IQ but use the bigger 1W super Xenon/Halogen jobbers of the Zenix or Icon to spot trail markers in the darkness in winter when you're breaking trail.

    I use my Zenix IQ when hiking and find that it's more than fine for the job, unfortunately, BD no longer sells it for some reason..

    Jay
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  12. #57
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay H View Post
    BTW, somebody in this thread mentioned a bike helmet, I use a BD Icon for bike commuting and with the BD at it's largest setting, it fits over my helmet (a Bell something or other). What I do is I snake the center strap through the top of helmet via the vent holes and then I use zip ties (maybe one per side) to keep the side straps from slipping off. The side straps will tend to want to slip off. I use the highest settings on the 3W bulb on the ICON for bike commuting.. (and I also use a handlebar mount, usually a basic LED AA-based battery light on blink mode to be seen).
    I think that was me...

    One factor which has not received much attention in this thread is the light pattern. (We've simply mentioned broad vs narrow.) The Icon (high beam) has a rather narrow beam with a very sharp cutoff at the edges and dim side-spill. My best bike light (Nite Rider Minewt X2, LED, 130 lumens, handlebar mounted) also has a relatively narrow center bright spot with a smooth taper off to a lower intensity fairly wide side-spill. In biking (and other sports where you are moving fast) the center bright spot illuminates the distant path so you can see the obstacles ahead in time to react while the side-spill illuminates the nearby surrounding bushes and tredway/track/path. (IMO this pattern is a good match for biking.) In hiking (and sports where you are moving slowly) there is time to swivel your head to fill in the surround and much less need to see obstacles far ahead (navigation sometimes requires more light to see things far away). A lower intensity broad beam is, IMO, generally a good match for this.

    For one reason or another, many have to use a single light for multiple activities but I like knowing (or at least to guesstimate) what would be best for each whether I can achieve it or not.


    FWIW, the Apex has a very bright beam that is wider than the Icon's beam. The Apex has a reasonable-intensity side-spill, but its intensity is uneven with sharp edges within the side-spill.

    FWIW2, the Icon only runs at 1.7W. BD advertises a 3W LED, but doesn't mention that they do not run it at full power. (The plastic-covered heatsinks are inadequate to run the LED at full power. It would overheat and burn out. Look at an Apex to see what "real" 3W heatsinks look like.) IMO, this is misleading advertising by BD.

    FWIW3, on my road bike, I use a 1W narrow beam aimed in the distance, a 3W broader beam for the middle distance and surround, and a 1W light aimed down at the ground (to spot sticks etc) on my handlebars and an Aurora hiking light on my helmet (to stare down cars and light my instruments and view direction). (I often ride on a very dark bike path where nearly invisible pedestrians in dark clothing are a major hazard.) A mountain biker is likely to want a brighter wider pattern.

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-10-2009 at 01:22 PM.

  13. #58
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    I don't know "how much" the Black Diamond Icon or Zenix IQ's (my 2 brighter lights) throw out but I do know that the little Zipkas and Tikkas (the smaller headlamps that run on AAA's) don't throw enough light to spot deadfall in time when skiing downhill on a trail, or for bushwhacking in the dark. The BD lights do a great job in that regard.
    They have to bring out new models to keep the economy (and their businesses) going... But there has been significant progress in LED technology in the past 10 or 20 years--enough to result in significantly improved headlamps. (Even within a single model line, too. The PT Aurora at least doubled in intensity (for the same current drain) in its model lifetime as they substituted newer and more efficient LEDs.)

    So while the headlamp wall at the local outdoor store may look a bit daunting, IMO there is adequate reason to upgrade now and then. I'd rather have too many to choose from than not enough. (But then I might have a bit more ability to compare them than most customers... )

    I guess a person could always say, "don't bushwhack in the dark or ski downhill on hiking trails with blowdown in the dark", but that would be very grinchy and un-(insert north here to include krazy kanuks)american.
    Bah! Humbug!
    Along with "Don't go out in that cold snow" and "I only go camping at the local Ramada Inn" (or whatever your favorite hotel/motel might be). And, of course, "Make sure you get back to the car before dark".

    Mommy, what's a turn-around time? (Best spoken in a child's voice.)

    Doug

  14. #59
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Holy Cow, Neil. Unless chased by a pack of hungry wolves, I can't see myself backcountry downhill skiing in the dark ... doing so wouldn't seem krazy to me. Suicidal maybe.

    Seriously - the older I get, the more I'm struck by the variation between individuals as to what constitutes an acceptable risk.

    For example - the past winter storm which just tore through coast-to-coast? (don't know if Canada was affected as much by it, but many of the states here were). Well, last nite on a US west coast hiking forum I watched two short videos of these two fellows who quite deliberately set out as the storm was beginning to camp out on the top of Baldy in SoCal. Now, Baldy ain't the tallest peak in the US, but it is 10K', and well above treeline. Despite a broken pole due to wind in one of the tents, they spent the night. The second video is a shot of the lead hiker headed over the Devils Backbone (the ridgeline) during the height of the storm. It's called the Devil's Backbone for a reason. Visibility was pretty nil due to the wind-driven sideways snow - the usual stuff you get in storms - and they were at 10K', about 2-3 miles from treeline, and having a tough time remaining upright. And there were the usual comments from a few posters in the "you da man" vein.

    I must be getting old.

  15. #60
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Holy Cow, Neil. Unless chased by a pack of hungry wolves, I can't see myself backcountry downhill skiing in the dark ... doing so wouldn't seem krazy to me. Suicidal maybe.
    I can't speak for Neil, but here is my take:
    I don't do heavy duty DH skiing in the dark, but I have XC skied in the dark on trails steep enough that you move at a good pace. For instance, down Livermore Road from the height of land near Livermore Pass. (The upper part has been renamed Livermore Trail.) This is a fire road which is kept pretty clear, but there are frequently blowdowns to avoid. It is typically XC tracked so you can ski in the tracks or the fresh snow alongside. A good light is pretty much essential, IMO.

    (The upper part of the road is where I broke my leg, but that was in full daylight and before the steepest part. I probably would have been ok if I had waited until dark and used my light--if it had been dark, the blowdown wouldn't have seen me coming in time to jump out in front of me. )

    Seriously - the older I get, the more I'm struck by the variation between individuals as to what constitutes an acceptable risk.
    There has always been a wide range on this scale, no matter how old one is.

    For example - the past winter storm which just tore through coast-to-coast? (don't know if Canada was affected as much by it, but many of the states here were). Well, last nite on a US west coast hiking forum I watched two short videos of these two fellows who quite deliberately set out as the storm was beginning to camp out on the top of Baldy in SoCal. Now, Baldy ain't the tallest peak in the US, but it is 10K', and well above treeline. Despite a broken pole due to wind in one of the tents, they spent the night. The second video is a shot of the lead hiker headed over the Devils Backbone (the ridgeline) during the height of the storm. It's called the Devil's Backbone for a reason. Visibility was pretty nil due to the wind-driven sideways snow - the usual stuff you get in storms - and they were at 10K', about 2-3 miles from treeline, and having a tough time remaining upright.
    Maybe they are practicing skills for mountaineering in the Himalayas? Maybe they are just crazy? Maybe just testosterone poisoned? Who knows?

    And there were the usual comments from a few posters in the "you da man" vein.
    The usual macho crap. (Had they gotten hurt, the internet vultures/lynch mobs would have devoured/hung them...)

    I must be getting old.
    Me too.
    I just let the kids do their own stuff. As long as it doesn't hurt me or something/someone important to me, I don't care.

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-10-2009 at 02:40 PM.

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