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Looking for a new headlamp…

koalaboi

Ray Mears
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I have had a range of headlamps over the years. I think the main considerations apart from a range of lighting options are power and weight.

I much prefer rechargeable headlamps as it's so much easier.

If for overnight bushwalking a very light lamp is the go. If for general use weight is not so big an issue.

My general purpose lamp is a Fenix HL60R. It has a robust metal body and usb chargeable battery. A range of lighting options with the highest setting incredibly bright. I use it all the time and highly recommend it. More info here:

My lightweight lamp is a Nitecore NU20. Very light and a great light. More here:

I purchased both lights from the retailer at the sites above and their service was very prompt.

KB
 

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I have had a range of headlamps over the years. I think the main considerations apart from a range of lighting options are power and weight.

I much prefer rechargeable headlamps as it's so much easier.

If for overnight bushwalking a very light lamp is the go. If for general use weight is not so big an issue.

My general purpose lamp is a Fenix HL60R. It has a robust metal body and usb chargeable battery. A range of lighting options with the highest setting incredibly bright. I use it all the time and highly recommend it. More info here:

My lightweight lamp is a Nitecore NU20. Very light and a great light. More here:

I purchased both lights from the retailer at the sites above and their service was very prompt.

KB
Many lights are now rechargeable. Some are rechargeable and use generic batteries - this means if the battery dies you can easily buy a new (rechargable) one and keep going. Good 21700 or 18650 cells are fairly cheap. My 21700 batteries were $5.00 each and I got to choose what I wanted based on reviews. Another good thing about lights that use generic batteries is that they also use generic usb cables for charging - everyone has these and you can even charge your light from most TVs etc, anything with a usb socket. The Fenix in your link is like this uses a generic battery and a micro usb cable for charging. The nitecore in your link doesn't - when the battery dies that's it. I only mention this as something to consider when buying. The other thing to look out for are batteries that are proprietary. The olight brand uses proprietary batteries (and charging system) for many of their lights even though they are in a common format, for example 21700 or 18650. Sometimes it takes some digging to find if a light can use off the shelf rechargables. Olight batteries have both terminals on one end (not the AA or AAA); this means you need their battery and their charger for their light to work. Other brands might use batteries that look like a 21700 or 18650 but slightly longer because they have a charging terminal built into the battery. This means that an off the shelf battery won't be long enough in that light. I can also imagine that the proprietary stuff will be more expensive. You can see in the battery below that the charging system has been added to the end of the battery, along with led charging indicator within the positive terminal. I also see this as another potential area of failure.

A couple of other point with generic type batteries; if you're concerned that you may need more battery power (an extended walk for example), you can take an extra battery. I have two lights and two extra batteries. Of course you can also buy an extra proprietary battery when you purchase your light - I'd actually recommend this and also an extra charger if that is proprietary too. If your battery needs replacing in a few years time, you can get the latest and greatest battery of the day for a competitive price from pretty much anywhere. I imagine it won't be the same with proprietary batteries.

battery with inbuilt charging terminal.jpg
 
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Yamaotoko

Lofty Wiseman
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Great advice @Randall , what you’ve explained is why I’ve always preferred to steer clear of rechargeable gizmos, preferring to go with AA or AAA devices and just getting good rechargeable batteries instead. However, you’ve opened my eyes to the world of these new (to me at least!) lithium batteries… it’s loose the best of both worlds, a rechargeable unit AND a replaceable battery, genius!
 

old4570

John McDouall Stuart
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Great advice @Randall , what you’ve explained is why I’ve always preferred to steer clear of rechargeable gizmos, preferring to go with AA or AAA devices and just getting good rechargeable batteries instead. However, you’ve opened my eyes to the world of these new (to me at least!) lithium batteries… it’s loose the best of both worlds, a rechargeable unit AND a replaceable battery, genius!
Lithium needs care ... And a little dedication .
Search U tube for Lithium fires ..
Improper care / use can be problematic to the point U lose your house and heaven forbid Ur life .

AA may leak , cook , etc ... But I dont think they have exploded or burnt stuff down from ordinary use .

Dont get me wrong , I love my Lithium ... But just like driving a car , some care is needed to play safely .
 

Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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A few other issues about batteries, some will have a flat positive end and some have a nipple, most of the time size isn't too much of an issue, but I have one piece of kit that doesn't like the shorter battery.
For me, the most important thing is buying batteries that are protected. Virtually all my 18650 are olight I keep them in a battery caddy in a flame proof bag (eBay) I never leave them charging overnight and when charging have the charger on the top of the stove in case it does catch)

Having reread this post I realise the first bit is a bit Benny hill snd the last bit sounds like my parents.....
 

old4570

John McDouall Stuart
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Yeah , I dont buy protected batteries ..
The protection circuit itself can be an issue / problem .
I buy Japanese 18650 ...

Most of my problem 18650 have been protected batteries with the protection circuit being the issue .
I had a Xtar 18650 that kept loosing capacity doing nothing tripping the protection circuit .
When I removed the protection circuit the battery worked just fine .
After (?) years of Li-ion , I have discarded a lot of Li-ion ..
I have one that is over 10 years old that came with a Solarforce L2 ( Probably over 15 years old by now )

One rule applies to Li-ion ... Quality ! ( Same with Lipo )
Quality batteries last and bad batteries dont .
In single cell applications it's not that important , but in dual or triple or quad battery set ups .. It can be serious business .
You will want a Multi Meter with that li-ion flashlight ... ( And a clue )
There are probably millions of people out there playing with li-ion and they are clueless !
Only when a house burns down or lives are lost , do these stories make the news !

Well , with all the electric scooter fires (?) , are people getting a clue ? ( and bike fires ) and Electric car fires ! Oh dear !
 

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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Great advice @Randall , what you’ve explained is why I’ve always preferred to steer clear of rechargeable gizmos, preferring to go with AA or AAA devices and just getting good rechargeable batteries instead. However, you’ve opened my eyes to the world of these new (to me at least!) lithium batteries… it’s loose the best of both worlds, a rechargeable unit AND a replaceable battery, genius!
I revisited eneloop specs - they are really quite amazing (aa and aaa). There is something else that may appeal to you; 14500 batteries. These are the same format (I believe) as AA but pack more punch. Lights designed for 14500 can also be run with AA, although they won't be as bright because AA just doesn't provide the same amperage etc. Regarding cell size, it seems to depend on how much light you want and for how long do you want it.

One of my new lights has a charge circuit built in - most new lights seem to be this way now. I would prefer it not too - I see it as an extra system that can fail, rendering the light useless. My thinking is not aligned with the majority thought of enthusiasts though.
 
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Yamaotoko

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I stumbled across a light which (I thought) ticked all the boxes of what I’ve decided I would like: right angle, relatively small form factor, removable rechargeable battery, and customisable in terms of a secondary light colour… I was actually very close to just ordering one, until I found a video review showing that the secondary colour light is just a ‘glow’ to help you find the torch, not actually a useable light source, so disappointing!

It was a FireFlies PL47
 

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I stumbled across a light which (I thought) ticked all the boxes of what I’ve decided I would like: right angle, relatively small form factor, removable rechargeable battery, and customisable in terms of a secondary light colour… I was actually very close to just ordering one, until I found a video review showing that the secondary colour light is just a ‘glow’ to help you find the torch, not actually a useable light source, so disappointing!

It was a FireFlies PL47
I haven't seen right angle lights with a dedicated red beam along with the main light. Is that what you're looking for? This feature seems to be fairly common in dedicated headlamps - I just did a search. Most headlamps are just flood, some with a red light too. The one I showed is flood, throw and red.

With the right angle light you can find two light sources on some - usually one dedicated to flood (wide beam) and one dedicated to throw (narrow beam, longer range). Although the throw beam on this style of light will be limited by the form factor - a throw needs a larger reflector to concentrate the light. This is also true of the headlamps - throw will be limited by the form factor. That right angle light that the youtuber liked does get good reviews - it is just flood though.

Well bugger me :ROFLMAO:. Just came across an 18650 powered right angle red and white light. You'll have to research it yourself. It's a Canadian company so I'm guessing not budget. It looks like the price is in US dollars. It appears to use generic battery but proprietary charger https://www.armytek.com/flashlights/models/wizard/armytek-wizard-c2-wr-magnet-usb/

A video by armytek

Doh! Found another one by fenix, also 18650. Note, only 5 lumens for the red led. I can walk in the dark with a white 5 lumen output on good single track. I have no idea what 5 lumens in red is like. This light also uses proprietary charger, I don't know about the battery.

A review. It looks like those dudes also prefer the previously linked sofirn sp40 (no red led)
 
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Yamaotoko

Lofty Wiseman
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Great find! I watched a couple reviews of other Armytek lights yesterday, the general consensus seemed to be: great lights, terrible customer service! That one you find is available in Aus at lightshop.com.au, I’ll dig around for some reviews, but I think you may have found a winner 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
 

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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Great find! I watched a couple reviews of other Armytek lights yesterday, the general consensus seemed to be: great lights, terrible customer service! That one you find is available in Aus at lightshop.com.au, I’ll dig around for some reviews, but I think you may have found a winner 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Yes, be aware of the model number though - quite a few others that are very close. It also seems to be the only one that has different modes in the red light; most of the others seemed low, just for reading. Good luck. Ps: the only reviews I found of this particular model was on amazon from current owners: https://www.amazon.com/Armytek-Warm...ht-Rechargeable/dp/B0999J2451#customerReviews
 
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Yamaotoko

Lofty Wiseman
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Yes, be aware of the model number though - quite a few others that are very close.
I noticed that when I started looking for the best price, definitely need to be careful!

Well, after all your suggestions & advice, and a conversation with a friend, I've decided what style of light I would like, and what features, and also had my fears about different battery formats allayed. I've whittled my choice down to two options, both similar, but a bit different; I'm looking to replace both my old headlamp, and hand torch (Ledlenser P7), so I'm thinking in the context of a 'one and only' light to 'do it all' (of course, I have a small emergency 1xAAA pen light, larger area lanterns etc, but they're all just-in-case lights). I hope you don't mind, but 'm just going to think-out-loud for a moment while I Pro/Con the two three!

The lights are, the Armytek C2 WR and the Fenix HM50r V2.0 (...and in digging up those links, also the Fenix HM61r). The HM50r was recommended when talking to a friend yesterday, he's had one for a while (most likely the V1) and has been so impressed with the lightness, versatility, battery life etc, he's not bothered to source a second battery as backup because he's never had issues with the runtime, also raved about the quality. I'll list my concerns in the cons of that one below...

My requirements/wishes:
  • A light to replace both my old headlamp and hand torch
  • Dimmable white light
  • Red light (preferably also dimmable)
  • Right-Angle with pocket clip & headband
  • Good runtime (It's been many years, but I'm hoping to do some multi-nighters away from a vehicle)
  • Decent waterproof/ruggedness

Armytek C2 WR
  • Specs:
    • Max Lumens: 1100
    • Max throw: 98M
    • Beam Intensity: 2400cd
    • Battery: 18650
    • Weight: 115g
  • Pro:
    • Great output (for my needs)
    • Dimmable Red
    • Meets all my other requirements
  • Con:
    • No long-term reviews of a newer/less well known brand
    • Less lower lumen options (drops from 130 down to 0.6 lumens, nothing in between)
    • Magnetic base an issue if thrown in a bag with a compass??
    • Some reviews of lights this size/style have said they feel unbalanced on the headband due to the balance point not being in the centre of the light.

Fenix HM50r V2.0
  • Specs:
    • Max Lumens: 700
    • Max throw: 115M
    • Beam Intensity: 3350cd
    • Battery: 16340
    • Weight: 78g
  • Pro:
    • Good output (considering the P7, which I had judged all other lights by, was only 450L!)
    • Very lightweight & compact
    • Good lower output options (30L)
    • Established brand known for quality & longevity of products
    • Smaller battery easier/quicker to charge with portable powerbank (?)
  • Con:
    • Red light not dimmable
    • Smaller size/output may be less suitable as a 'do it all' light
    • Shorter runtime, only really limiting if doing multi-nighters (but then, offset by quicker charging?)

Fenix HM61r
  • Specs:
    • Max Lumens: 1200
    • Max throw: 145M
    • Beam Intensity: 5287cd
    • Battery: 18650
    • Weight: 99.5g (same as my old headlamp)
  • Pro:
    • Great output (for my needs)
    • Good lower output options (50L)
    • Dimmable Red
    • Established brand known for quality & longevity of products
    • Meets all other requirements
  • Con:
    • Magnetic base an issue if thrown in a bag with a compass??
    • (after more research) doesn't seem to have memory mode, so switches on to white before changing to red
    • Some reviews of lights this size/style have said they feel unbalanced on the headband due to the balance point not being in the centre of the light.


Just having put all those thoughts down, the Fenix HM61r looks like a clear winner. Yes, it's $10 more than the Armytek, and $35 more than the HM50r, and $100 more than I've spent on any torch before ( :ROFLMAO: ), but, as a 'one and done' unit, and given the reputation and quality of Fenix lights, I think it's justified... I had mentally set aside a bit of money from a recent windfall (small one, don't get excited, no lottery winner here!) to spend on updating some of my outdoor gear, so I'm happy to spend that.

Before I hit the BUY button, have I missed anything?
 
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Randall

Richard Proenneke
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re the HM61R - magnetic charging cable. This is proprietary - buy two if you're getting this and want to charge inside the light. If it was me, I prefer charging independently with my own charger - I'd buy two batteries. That would also give you peace of mind on an extended trip, although I really think the low modes are more than enough for most use so should be ample for most extended walks etc with the one battery. You also have your aaa backup light in the rare event that you run out of charge. It is the best option (this type of light) for hand held and headlamp, especially regards the swiveling up or down.

Personally I'd always prefer a dedicated headlamp and a dedicated hand held. I imagine most of those L shaped lights will be heavy at the front when worn as a headlamp even though they have the slightly smaller 18650 battery. I would still go for the one that has the single 21700 at the rear of your head with the lamp at the front for better balance and awesome light / power. I've been using a similar type light - 4xaa battery pack at rear of head, lamp at front, and it is no trouble on night time walks in the bush - regular climbing under and over fallen trees etc. However I'm not you, and I won't be offended in the least whatever you go with. I see the posts here as possibly benefiting anyone on this site - we've both gone through this learning process. It would be good to hear your feedback; whatever you get will be a new and different light.

Oh, just came across this - check out the parasitic drain (wtf is that? :eek:😂). Although it looks as though that can be avoided by undoing the tail cap 1/8th to 1/4 if you're not using it for a while: https://zeroair.org/2021/05/27/fenix-hm61r-headlamp-review. That would be a concern for me.

Just reading up on the red output; it has two modes, 1 lumen (enough to read) and 5 lumens. I'm guessing 5 lumens (mode 2) would be fine for general work outdoors. I have walked with 5 in bush quite well. Again though I have never walked with red light, so I can't say how that is. The reason I say this is because even with white lights, the colder tints give better light than the warmer tints if you just want to see things. There's a whole other thing about high cri tint but these seem to come at the cost of actually lighting things up to some degree.
 
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Randall

Richard Proenneke
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Just found a review on the headlamp I probably would have bought - I didn't look into headlamps much because I found one that I'd forgotten I had. This dude might be affiliated with fenix - I don't know, but it is an awesome overview. I really like the look of it. For your requirements it only has 5 lumen output on red led. Also, disregard turbo mode - no light holds turbo mode before stepping down because of heat. Stepdown is usually around 1 or 2 minutes with most lights. Med modes with most lights seem sustainable until the battery dies. High mode is also good, but generally still steps down after some time. With my flashlights I don't bother with turbo - it just generates lots of heat, uses much more juice, and doesn't make that much more light. I use all other modes (low, med, high) regularly depending on need. I would carry this folded up in a plastic container with a couple of holes in it to negate condensation - as I do with my existing headlamps
 
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Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I thought I might as well give a quick review here of a new headlamp I bought. My single AA headlamp sometimes gets turned on while in it's container - due to switch placement. Not ideal when you need a headlamp and find it's flat.

I wanted a single AA replacement. The 4 pack aa headlamp I have is OK for around home working etc, but really no better than some single AA headlamps. Surprisingly this area of flashlight technology hasn't really seen any changes for 10 years or so. I bought a couple of Acebeam single AA h40's.

I've had them for a while but have only just tried one out. I really like it. It can run on 14500 or AA battery. 14500 is higher voltage and therefore brighter output. AA has more capacity so will run longer than 14500. That suits me fine especially because I'd rather run any light (or machine) below their limits to minimise heat etc. Longer run time in a headlamp is more important to me. The light output is more than enough for walking and working.

It is a simple output - low and high. It has other modes that are accessed in a different way if needed. For example a moon mode (1 lumen?) - from off hold the switch down for 1 sec.

It is a very well made lamp. I bought the one that has the brighter led - the other led option has higher cri (shows colors more accurately), but that is at the cost of brightness.

No red lamp.

It is not documented, but I've found that twisting the tail cap just 1/8th to 1/4 of a turn is enough to break power connection. This is how I store it in a plastic container I found that it fits into nicely. If I turn it off with the tail cap (when I've finished using it), it is like a normal off. For example, twisting the tail cap tight again the lamp remains off; you have to then use the switch to turn it on, as normal. This is a great feature.

The beam on this headlamp with the brighter led alternative is very good. I'd read that the beam was narrow, but I've only found reviews on this headlamp with the high cri model led. I suspect that led has a narrow beam, whereas the led I have is really as good as it can be for such a small lamp / battery setup.

An in depth review

H40_6_0.jpg


h40 size.jpg
 
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Yamaotoko

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Looks like a great little unit! I’ve seen quite a few offering very low ‘moonlight’ modes, between 1-10 lumens, do you think yours is bright enough to be of any practical use?
 

Randall

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moonlight mode is supposed to be low, preferably 1 lumen. It's good for reading map or book - enough to read by and low enough that it shouldn't bounce back. I've found 5 lumen is fine for walking on defined single track. 5 to 10 is usually called eco. So mine has an eco mode, not a moonlight mode.

I was wrong to say this thing has a moonlight mode. They call it an ultra low mode which is 5 lumens; it does reflect back if reading. I have to angle the page a bit to avoid that. I can see the advantage of that for me though - 5 is enough for around camp etc and very economical. I would use this much more than moonlight mode.
 
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old4570

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Y don't need much light in true dark places ..
+ You get serious run time ..
3500mAh 18650 at say 50 or 100 mAh current draw ... Would give you around 30 to 60 hours + run time .. ( I use 18650 lights )
My Zanflare pulls 24mAh in Ultra Low / moon mode ...
That's going to run a long time on a 3000mAh 18650 .. Like over 100 hours !
My custom triple emitter pulls 159mAh in the lowest mode ...
And my DIY pulls 260mAh , 1070mAh & 2910mAh ...
These are the 3 single cell lights I have ready to Rock N stroll ..
My 18650 batteries range from 2500mAh to 3500mAh ...
I have 100's of flashlights to chose from and I used to have 20 to 30 ready to rock N stroll ... I think 3 is more sensible ..

The Zanflare is one of my all time favs due to the simple dual button function ..
ANd the two Solarforce bodies with custom drop ins for some serious Single Cell Output ( genuine 1000+++ Lumens output )

I also have a old now Stainless N-Light ( AAA ) and it pulls 25 to 30 mAh with a Xtar Li-ion 1.5v battery
my Nitecore D11 V2 ( AA ) less battery .. ( Plenty of AA on hand for use if needed ) It ramps up and down and cant be measured due to the design .
Just don't keep a battery in it anymore .

Also have some small keychain lights with inbuilt batteries ( USB charged ) .

Ok , 3 18650 lights ! + a few nick knack lights ...

Moon mode ... To me ... If you can look into the flashlight in the lowest mode and not suffer glare or blinding light = Moon mode ..


Oooops ! The point ... Which was lost in my ramblings ! ( Sorry )
Get out that Multi Meter and measure the current draw ... That way you wont need to guess run time ( Approx run time )
 
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MARC

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I have a few Fenix headlamps, used for both work and hunting, nightime flyfishing. Robust, reliable,powerful, waterproof, reasonably priced. Apart from lightness, mostly all of the older big names simply don't compete with fenix or other similar quality brands. BD, Petzl, are not in the same ball park. And yes I have owned all of them. IMO that is.
 
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