HELP WANTED - Need good (and cheap) headlamp for running

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Papa Bear
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HELP WANTED - Need good (and cheap) headlamp for running

I'm new to the world of BLF/serious lights.

Here is the problem. The only practical way that I have found to control my weight and health is running. The only available weekday time is 4-6 am. I've run without a headlamp and injured my knee bad enough to require surgery. Not running is not an option. 

My current headlamp is a Black Diamond Sprinter. At the time I bought it, it was advertised as being a 68 lumen light. The new (?) version is advertised as being a 75 lumen light. Even if it is real, a 7 lumen improvement is not enough to "upgrade". I need real visibility.

I just purchased a generic headlamp on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0098IJC7C/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00). Although I expect it to outperform the Black Diamond, I doubt it will be enough to make me truly comfortable when running outside during the winter mornings.

I've looked at some of the triple Cree XM-L T6 units, but I have my doubts about their performance. The advertised specs seem to be beyond miraculous.

I am expecting to have to carry a big, separate battery pack because my typical run is 1.5 - 2 hours and I want *lots* of light. Judging by my house lighting, I can't imagine being satisfied w/less than 500 lumens. 2000 lumens would be ideal, but I suspect the required heat sink would be to massive to carry on my head.

If I have missed any details or have unrealistic expectations, please inform me - you are the experts.

Please fire away!!!

Edited by: Papa Bear on 12/27/2012 - 23:11
Papa Bear
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Have you ever tried to get a parent w/dementia to take their meds? I started this topic about 8 am EST and quit writing in order to help my mom. 14 hours and I never got through to her. GAAAHHHH!!!!

Deklan
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I’m not sure if this would fit in your budget, but have you considered the H600 series from zebralight? They come with normal XML, neutral white and floody options and take a single 18650 battery. Runtime on high would be about 2 hours and 420lm going by their website description of the H600.

scaru
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I think that light will be plenty bright, what you have to keep in mind is the light in your home is diffused and spread out all around. This is all focused into a spot with some spill. 

My main recommendation is to get some good batteries. 

ezarc
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Do you have a preference for batteries, AA or AAA or 18650s etc?

texaspyro
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ruffles
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I fear you might find the amazon headlamp a bit heavy. If I’m right, that’s a magicshine clone, and they were originally designed as handlebar lights. You’ll probably get something like 800-900 lumens out of it, which is pretty bright for running.

Whether that’s overkill depends on what kind of surface you’re running on… is it trails, sidewalks, …?

Depending on mood/conditions/what batteries I can find, I run with a few different headlamps. For situations where I don’t need a ton of light, it’s a Petzl MYO RXP (~150 lumens). I’ve got a couple of homemade units based on a lux-rc triple xpg, one 700 lumens max, the other 1400 lumens max. Even for rough trails in pitch darkness, 700 with a medium carclo optic is enough. That said, I like the brighter one for reminding cars that I’m there. Plus, you see a lot more wildlife in the periphery with it, which is kinda nice.

You’ll find lots of info on the homemade ones on mtbr.com. Just search for “easy2led” housing, lux-rc triple.

All of these have a battery on the back of the head… I feel like that’s more balanced. They all weigh less than 200 grams (bright ones with 2-18650) which is my limit, having tried heavier ones. Some prefer otherwise.

Good luck with the running.


 

Flomotion
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I bought this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261105073395?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3...

Works for me, cheap, seems to work well, batteries that actually work…for the money, go for it…

Flomotion

leaftye
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The ground looks awfully flat with a headlamp.  The H600 is a good choice because you can hold it in your hand where it'll create shadows that will keep you from tripping.  If you tie a keychain coin light around your neck, you'll have a light to change batteries in case your primary light goes dead, or it should give you a few hours of light should you need to finish your run at a slower pace or a walk.

The low mode should be lower.

Papa Bear
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Sorry for the slow replies, still trying to sort out the med situation w/my mom - today was the first day since 12/25 that we were able to persuade her to take the meds ...

My preference in batteries is either 18650s or 28650s. I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised by my generic "1600 Lumen" (HAH!!!) headlamp. I guess it is difficult to screw up the XML LED. However, as you all anticipated, the Ultrafires that it came with are looking pretty shady ...

I ordered 2 pairs of Panasonic NCR18650Bs off of FastTech and a Nitecore I4 charger. I am debating the purchase of a SkyRC B6 ultimate to do controlled discharges and logging (its the research engineer in me).

Papa Bear
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I hadn't considered that (The zebra HL). The shape looked like it would be pretty bad for retention on a headband. However, your post got me researching and I found something called the Nite Ize Headband that seems to be pretty universally used for running w/the Zebra HL. That will be going on my short list.

scaru
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Papa Bear wrote:

My preference in batteries is either 18650s or 28650s. I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised by my generic "1600 Lumen" (HAH!!!) headlamp. I guess it is difficult to screw up the XML LED. However, as you all anticipated, the Ultrafires that it came with are looking pretty shady ...

I ordered 2 pairs of Panasonic NCR18650Bs off of FastTech and a Nitecore I4 charger. I am debating the purchase of a SkyRC B6 ultimate to do controlled discharges and logging (its the research engineer in me).

Glad to hear that it is bright! Truthfully that charger is overkill for flashlight batteries. From what I can tell the Accucel 6 can do everything that one can do, except the accucel 6 can be had for under 40 dollars shipped from the US. 

eebowler
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Check out SPARK headlamps. On par with the quality of zebralight. Check out the ST6

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

Papa Bear
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ruffles wrote:
I fear you might find the amazon headlamp a bit heavy. If I'm right, that's a magicshine clone, and they were originally designed as handlebar lights. You'll probably get something like 800-900 lumens out of it, which is pretty bright for running. Whether that's overkill depends on what kind of surface you're running on... is it trails, sidewalks, ...? Depending on mood/conditions/what batteries I can find, I run with a few different headlamps. For situations where I don't need a ton of light, it's a Petzl MYO RXP (~150 lumens). I've got a couple of homemade units based on a lux-rc triple xpg, one 700 lumens max, the other 1400 lumens max. Even for rough trails in pitch darkness, 700 with a medium carclo optic is enough. That said, I like the brighter one for reminding cars that I'm there. Plus, you see a lot more wildlife in the periphery with it, which is kinda nice. You'll find lots of info on the homemade ones on mtbr.com. Just search for "easy2led" housing, lux-rc triple. All of these have a battery on the back of the head... I feel like that's more balanced. They all weigh less than 200 grams (bright ones with 2-18650) which is my limit, having tried heavier ones. Some prefer otherwise. Good luck with the running.

I'll find out about the weight tomorrow morning. It seems a bit marginal at 263 grams. The majority of the weight is the battery compartment/circuitry which weighs about 150 grams. This has me thinking about making a dedicated battery pouch to carry on my waist ...

I'll be running on snow covered paved walking paths. Unfortunately, the Detroit Metro area has seen hard times and doesn't really maintain the quality of the pavement. There are numerous areas where tree roots have raised 2-3 inch high barriers.

I think I mentioned this in another post, but the amount of light is actually decent. It needs to be a bit more floody, but all things considered, not as bad as I feared. After looking at some of the magicshine lights, I think you have it identified correctly (as a clone).

scaru
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If you want it a bit more floody you can put scotch tape over the lense. 

Papa Bear
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scaru wrote:

 Truthfully that charger is overkill for flashlight batteries. From what I can tell the Accucel 6 can do everything that one can do, except the accucel 6 can be had for under 40 dollars shipped from the US. 

I got the SkyRC B6 Ultimate for $68 shipped - hopefully the data logging is worth it Undecided. Even if I had seen the Accucel before, I probably would have gone for the data logging. I'm sure someone at BLF has used one of these. I should have asked how good it is for that purpose ... 

I'm planning to power it w/an ATX power supply.

Papa Bear
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scaru wrote:

If you want it a bit more floody you can put scotch tape over the lense. 

AHAH!!!

Great idea. I assume you mean the frosty type of scotch tape?

Papa Bear
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eebowler wrote:
Check out SPARK headlamps. On par with the quality of zebralight. Check out the "ST6":http://www.spark001.com/Products.aspx?ProductID=13[/quote]

Interesting!

I like the ST6 and I am wondering about the SD6. It looks like it may be a bit too floody ...

Papa Bear
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Flomotion wrote:
I bought this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261105073395?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3... Works for me, cheap, seems to work well, batteries that actually work...for the money, go for it...

Funny enough, that looks *exactly* like what I got!

scaru
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Papa Bear wrote:

scaru wrote:

If you want it a bit more floody you can put scotch tape over the lense. 

AHAH!!!

Great idea. I assume you mean the frosty type of scotch tape?

Yep, I've actually done it before and it works fairly well. There also is diffuser film, but I don't see the need for it. (If I had any left I'd send some to you)

Papa Bear
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NightCrawl wrote:

Got a link? 

For all the good it will do, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0098IJC7C/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 . It appears that this HL doesn't have ANY distinguishing brand marks on it.

NightCrawl wrote:

Do you have a multimeter?

Yes. I have a basic multimeter. I also have access to some pretty high end stuff at work - all the way up to multi GS/S network scopes. Ironically enough, considering the next question I am going to ask you, I have been responsible for swapping out a small battery pack on a hybrid SUV and installing a large battery pack that allowed us to convert it to a plug in hybrid configuration.

NightCrawl wrote:

Did you measure how many amps it draws?

No. What would be your recommendation for how to measure the current draw? The battery pack is a dual 18650 setup in a parallel configuration. The cord that goes between the battery pack and the light appears to be sealed, so I cannot easily get a current probe around one of the wires. Should I get a couple of 18650 trays (I need them for my B6 charger) and temporarily patch them into the unit? Any easier ways? What do I do with the current numbers once I have them?

ruffles
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Since you’re talking about doing a remote battery pack, now is probably the right time to order extension cables. There’s a lot of possibilities, but a couple of sku 32751 at dx.com would work well. They’re waterproof and click together firmly. They’ll take a while to arrive, but I don’t know a vendor stateside.


 

NightCrawl
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Papa Bear wrote:

No. What would be your recommendation for how to measure the current draw? The battery pack is a dual 18650 setup in a parallel configuration. The cord that goes between the battery pack and the light appears to be sealed, so I cannot easily get a current probe around one of the wires. Should I get a couple of 18650 trays (I need them for my B6 charger) and temporarily patch them into the unit? Any easier ways? What do I do with the current numbers once I have them?

First of all, your cells should be great for that light. I doubt that its pulling more than 2A.

But on how to measure current (provided you know how to measure current):

You need some magnets and good testing leads (thick wires with alligator clips). Then hook it all up with just one cell, fire the light up and read the amps.

Papa Bear
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NightCrawl wrote:

First of all, your cells should be great for that light. I doubt that its pulling more than 2A.

But on how to measure current (provided you know how to measure current):

You need some magnets and good testing leads (thick wires with alligator clips). Then hook it all up with just one cell, fire the light up and read the amps.

Magnets/leads inbound. I can do either a direct measurement with my multi-meter, a current probe, or use a shunt inline. I'll probably do all three just to see how it differs.

Papa Bear
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ruffles wrote:
Since you're talking about doing a remote battery pack, now is probably the right time to order extension cables. There's a lot of possibilities, but a couple of sku 32751 at dx.com would work well. They're waterproof and click together firmly. They'll take a while to arrive, but I don't know a vendor stateside.

Inbound - Thanks!! I ended up getting one of their battery packs as well. I am expecting to replace the batteries in the pack, but the waterproofed case should be helpful until I can fashion one for myself.

ruffles
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One more idea for making the unit less spot-y…

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wide-Angle-Lens-4-MagicShine-Gemini-Lupine-Bike-...

or just google “wide angle lens for magicshine”


 

vēer
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I wonder if there is any other source beside the one ruffles posted?
Ie, Chinese seller selling these in larger quantities and for cheaper :D!

Papa Bear
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I put some different diffusion films on the lens and finally settled on DC Fix Sand on both sides of the lens. I may try the wide angle lens w/diffusion film on one side.

Thanks for the warning about DX shipping. They are horrible! They are still "working on putting the order together".

Seriously???

I nixed the battery pack because it was OOS and they couldn't give me an ETA for when it would be in stock.

My first run w/the system was on Sunday night. The first 6.3 miles was run w/o the light. The last 12.3 miles was w/the light. The performance was a bit marginal because I ran the system on the low setting. I was not sure of the XXXfire battery capacity, current drain of either setting, or the effect of cold weather. Once I have the Panasonic batteries and finish building my laboratory power supply, I plan to characterize the entire system. 

Flacomuchacho
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Papa Bear wrote:
…I’ll find out about the weight tomorrow morning. It seems a bit marginal at 263 grams. The majority of the weight is the battery compartment/circuitry which weighs about 150 grams. .

Wow…. really? that sounds like a lot to me…. When i ran even lighter lights were a PITA for me. Few headlights are well designed for running, light, well balanced and powerful enough. I used to do trail running , occasionally some skyrunning, and found out that sometimes it was better to use low outputs, because too high ones just killed the contrast and rocks and other obstacles turned flat. I’d say my headlights are around half weight without being ultralight. I should check it though…