Black Diamond Spot 325 headlamp

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gcbryan
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Black Diamond Spot 325 headlamp

I’ve been a fan of Black Diamond headlamps for hiking and other outdoor uses but I’ve never liked their user interface. I had a BD Storm but it had no memory and you have to go though a white light to get to a red light. It also toggled every time you turned it on between spot beam and wide-angle beam.

My latest BD Headlamp is the Spot 325. It’s 325 lumens on high with the main spot beam. There was a previous version that was 300 lumens I think but it only had one button and there were some complains about that so the Spot 325 also has a two button interface.

It uses 3 AAA batteries (rechargeable, alkaline or lithium). It has an infinitely dimmable main spot beam as well as dimmable wide-angle white or red beams . It has a memory for all beams and well as a feature where you just touch the right hand side of the housing (no button, just contact) and you instantly go to the highest setting for whatever beam you have on at the time. When you touch the right side again, it goes back to your memory setting.

When you turn the light on you also have a battery charge indicator (1,2, or 3 blue lights). There is also a battery lock to prevent the light from coming on accidentally in your backpack. There is a blinking setting for all beams as well.

The bigger button on top turns the light on and if you hold it down, it also serves to dim the light. While the light is on if you quickly press the button a couple of times, this activates the blinking function.

There is a smaller button next to the bigger button. This toggles between the main spot beam, the wide-angle white beam and the wide-angle red beam. The lock the unit you pressure both buttons until the red light blinks for a few seconds. To unlock the unit you press both buttons again for a few seconds.

I paid $35 including shipping for this headlamp.

I especially like the memory feature and the high beam feature just by touching the side of the housing and then going back to the memory setting with just another touch.

bmengineer
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Are you able to do a runtime test? One of the big issues with 3*AAA headlamps is that the regulation is almost always horrible.
Do you notice any PWM or flicker? I has a lantern from BD and it was so bad I couldn’t use the thing.
And thanks for sharing your thoughts on a brand that doesn’t get much press around here Smile

Find all my reviews of flashlights and more gear at www.bmengineer.com

gcbryan
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I’m not going to be able to do a run time test but regarding 3 AAA batteries…yes, I agree, it is what it is. For hiking, I’m less interested in how bright it can be and for how long and more interested in how low I can adjust it and for how long. The ability to just tap the side and have it go to full brightness and then back to the memory setting with another tap is very useful for me.

I have Zebralights as well but I have them in AA, again just because it’s convenient and lighter weight.

If I was into running at night or caving where I need a light that’s bright for a long time then I would be using 18650’s and waist mounted battery packs.

For a $35 general purpose hiking/camping headlamp, the user interface on this one is pretty convenient. When I have a project around the house that requires light to see detail, I put on my reading glasses and go with a Zebralight.

I’ll use the BD Spot if I pull out my telescope, go hiking or camping.

I’ve been away from the site for a few years so I’m catching up on what’s new now. Smile

I haven’t noticed any PWM or flickering. The beam is pretty free of any artifacts as well. I put a piece of adhesive diffusion material in front of my last BD Storm. I don’t need to do that with the Spot.

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I had an older generation Spot from some years ago. I found it very useable and just upgraded to the new one. The two buttons are an improvement, although I find them a little stiff compared to my old one, maybe they just need a bit more use. I like the tap on the side feature, but it took me awhile to get it to work. I was tapping too hard and brief. It’s more of a touch than a tap. I noticed the new beam right away. It is a lot brighter and I think a bit more focused than on the old one I had. Regarding how long it runs, I’ve never used it in a situation where I needed a lot of run time. Being able to set the output level to the most comfortable amount and to have red available have been important. I have also pocketed it some times, although it’s a bit big for that with the head band. I haven’t noticed PWM, but haven’t gone looking for it either.
Reviews for the Storm have never been as good as the Spot. I think the extra colors are inconvenient, unless you really need them all.
I also have a Sofirn D25S which I like quite a bit, but it doesn’t have red or ramping. I’m tempted to try modding it with Anduril.

gcbryan
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I’ve found one thing about this headlamp that I would improve upon and that is the wide-angle white light. I would put one on each side of the body rather than just one (my Spot from several years ago was that way). That mode also, when you touch the full brightness contact on the side),not only goes to full brightness but it also triggers the spot beam to come on and go to full brightness.

It would be better if only the wide-angle light went to full brightness. Also, even on the lowest setting, the wide-angle light is much brighter than the other lights on the lowest setting. It would be better if it was more balanced.

Just out of curiosity, are Zebralights still made? I don’t see them mentioned anymore.