Head Lamps

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Head Lamps

Postby CaverCraig » Dec 24, 2007 3:00 pm

Hello, I'm thinking of up grading my head lamp and wanted to get some cavers opions on models that you think are good. I'm particularly interested in reviews on the Sten S7 light!
Happy Holidays Craig :grin:
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Postby NZcaver » Dec 24, 2007 3:08 pm

Hi Craig :waving: welcome to the forum.

Try searching the equipment section of this forum (where I just moved this thread to).

There are already several threads on the Stenlight S7, including detailed reviews. Click on the "search forum" option at the top of the page, and search away!

Here's one to start you off:

http://forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?t=63
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Cave Lights

Postby Cody JW » Dec 24, 2007 9:16 pm

Craig- The sten light is likely the best commercial available cave light I know of.It costs around 300 bucks.The Priceton Tec Apex is a great light for around 70 bucks.It has one three watt spot( sten had two)and a cluster of leds on each side of the spot for regular caving.Led tech. is changing alot know and I am sure better ones may come around soon.Fenix has a nice small backup hand light for around 70 bucks that is brighter than a sten but handheld like a mini mag.It runs off lithion ion ( spelling?) batteries that are now kind of expensive but are the wave of the things to come.I hear Fenix is working on a headlamp,if they do and it is anything like their Digital P3D light it will be hard to beat.
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Re: Cave Lights

Postby CaverCraig » Dec 24, 2007 11:25 pm

Cody JW wrote:Craig- The sten light is likely the best commercial available cave light I know of.It costs around 300 bucks.The Priceton Tec Apex is a great light for around 70 bucks.It has one three watt spot( sten had two)and a cluster of leds on each side of the spot for regular caving.Led tech. is changing alot know and I am sure better ones may come around soon.Fenix has a nice small backup hand light for around 70 bucks that is brighter than a sten but handheld like a mini mag.It runs off lithion ion ( spelling?) batteries that are now kind of expensive but are the wave of the things to come.I hear Fenix is working on a headlamp,if they do and it is anything like their Digital P3D light it will be hard to beat.


Does the Sten light run both 3 watt bulbs at the same time? and on the Apex I here that the 3 watt bulb eats the batteries within 3 to 4 hours, how much more burn time could you get out of it if you put Li-lon in it?
Merry Christmas Craig :woohoo:
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Postby David Grimes » Dec 24, 2007 11:49 pm

It does use both lights and yes it does have a considerably shorter battery life but at max output it make 140 lumen's. I am not sure about using lithium ion batteries.

For the steep price of a stenlight personally I would probably go with a different light but I also have modded allot of headlamps and with a little research and electrical skill I found it is pretty easy to build a waterproof headlamp that is comparable to the light output and still be durable and waterproof and more importantly allot cheaper.
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head lamps

Postby Eric » Dec 25, 2007 12:10 am

instead of $300 for a Sten I'd pay $50 more for one of these!

http://ktronik.com/cncdelite/index.html

a little modding and you'd have an awesome caving headlamp
looks pretty bomber to me. :kewl:

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Postby David Grimes » Dec 25, 2007 1:05 am

That looks like an awesome light very bright but still a little pricey for me. I have seen similar homemade headlamps using 3-4 luxeon LED's with different results some people claim to be getting 1000 lumens but I would say 200-300 would be more likely but still extremely bright. I know the cost of building a waterproof headlamp using 4 3watt luxeon's would only run you from $60-$100 but does require a bit of electrical knowledge.
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Postby Eric » Dec 25, 2007 1:55 am

Yea! it is way to expensive for me too. I found that company b/c I'm going to be trying to put together my own headlamp similar to this one.

I was inspired to try when I saw what awesome headlamps FiddleCaver & emesine had put together.

So far I have been able to get the main piece ( Seoul Z-Power LEDs and bFlex controller) for fairly cheap. So I figured I could try it too. I know I'm not going to get 1000 lm but I figure I could get around 700 pretty easily with the LEDs I have purchased.

I have zero electrical knowledge so I have been reading everything I can get my hands on related to building headlamps.

An awesome form to check out if you are interested in building is: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/

if anyone has any helpful knowledge in this area and wants to lend a hand it would be really appreciated. :grin:

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Postby FiddleCaver » Dec 25, 2007 2:09 am

Man that is almost exactly like the ones I've been building. Dark Storm, I seriously doubt that anybody is getting over 500 lumens with anything using luxeons, and I would say from experience that $150 - $200 is closer to the cost of building a serious waterproof light with a machined housing, li-ion batteries etc. but it is really not hard at all to put one together. Honestly, the hardest part is building your own battery packs.


ON TOPIC... The sten is a great light and I highly recommend it. Jeff Bartlett (a friend and cavechat member) recently got one with luxeon rebels and reflectors instead of lenses. According to him it is quite a bit brighter than the normal version and the price difference was quite minimal. These are mods that the sten people can custom make for you.

edit: Eric, feel free to pm me if you need any help with your light making. I imagine my countless hours spent looking for the right parts and trying out the wrong ones could save anyone else a bundle of time.
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Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 25, 2007 12:18 pm

FiddleCaver wrote:ON TOPIC... The sten is a great light and I highly recommend it. Jeff Bartlett (a friend and cavechat member) recently got one with luxeon rebels and reflectors instead of lenses. According to him it is quite a bit brighter than the normal version and the price difference was quite minimal. These are mods that the sten people can custom make for you.


this is true - i don't know how it compares to the SSC-modded versions like others on this forum have, but it's about one "setting" brighter than the stock sten (high on mine equals turbo on the original, etc) and has a lot more flood with the reflectors. the value is efficiency, though; turbo is absurdly bright and i pretty much cave with it on "medium", which is plenty bright and lasts something like 40 hours on the standard 2-cell battery.

however, i should mention it's a bit of an experimental model, i'm not sure if it's yet publicly available from Sten as a custom option or not. i know they were still testing a few things. the new LEDs don't drop right in like the SSCs did, so there's a daughterboard installed by Sten. they asked me to point that out if i reviewed the lamp.

the Sten is super light, waterproof, and bulletproof. a lot of people don't understand why you'd pay $300 for a headlamp when there are acceptable options costing much less (the Apex, for example), but i'm yet to find a single person with any version of the S7 who doesn't think it was worth the money or regrets the purchase. you can't go wrong the original either, although i do recommend the JS Burly's reflectors if you can track a set down.


fiddlecaver wrote:Man that is almost exactly like the ones I've been building.


wow, Allen, that DOES look a lot like what you're building. however, i'd definitely use one of yours before i'd use that. i didn't read through 7 pages of posts on candlepowerforums, but here are my concerns about that headlamp in the link:

(1) it costs a lot more than the Sten - we're talking Scurion territory here. i know you saw that $360 figure, Eric, but that figure is for the head unit only, and it doesn't include the battery (or "remote switch", whatever that is).

(2) look where the plug attaches to the head unit. good luck mounting that on a helmet, since you'll have to make your own bracket and somehow re-route the plug.

(3) it uses a 14.8 volt battery. holy crap! the Sten, Scurion, and other super high-powered LED headlamps use a 7.4v battery.

(4) to get a nice wide flood like us cavers typically enjoy, you'd need the "dimpled" front glass they offer, which would ruin your spot i'm sure. 25 degree on my Sten didn't look wide enough, especially when compared to the reflectors.

plus, when it comes down to it, if that's the style of lamp i want, i'd rather buy the product being offered by a US caver than the product being offered by an Australian bicycle racer. but that's just me =)
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Re: head lamps

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 25, 2007 12:34 pm

Eric wrote:instead of $300 for a Sten I'd pay $50 more for one of these!

http://ktronik.com/cncdelite/index.html

a little modding and you'd have an awesome caving headlamp
looks pretty bomber to me. :kewl:

Eric

Well it's without the battery and other stuff...
Complete Head Kit: Comes with everything except battery or remote switch ,programmed to your spec. All needed connectors provided (battery,charging,remote) connectors are Deans and mini-Deans. US$350 & $10 P&H.

So in the end you'll be paying more just to get it to run.

But it does catches the eye... wonder how good it actually is? We need our Aussie caving brothers to test it out for us. :waving:
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http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
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Postby CaverCraig » Dec 25, 2007 3:28 pm

FiddleCaver wrote:Man that is almost exactly like the ones I've been building. Dark Storm, I seriously doubt that anybody is getting over 500 lumens with anything using luxeons, and I would say from experience that $150 - $200 is closer to the cost of building a serious waterproof light with a machined housing, li-ion batteries etc. but it is really not hard at all to put one together. Honestly, the hardest part is building your own battery packs.


ON TOPIC... The sten is a great light and I highly recommend it. Jeff Bartlett (a friend and cavechat member) recently got one with luxeon rebels and reflectors instead of lenses. According to him it is quite a bit brighter than the normal version and the price difference was quite minimal. These are mods that the sten people can custom make for you.

edit: Eric, feel free to pm me if you need any help with your light making. I imagine my countless hours spent looking for the right parts and trying out the wrong ones could save anyone else a bundle of time.



Could you tell me more about the luxeon rebels and reflectors instead of lenses. Is this somthing Sten offers or is it somthing thats an after market do it your self upgrade? Is the Lexon Rebel a higher powered 3 watt bulb? and what about the refectors instead of lenses?
Thanks Craig :grin:
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Re: Cave Lights

Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 25, 2007 4:19 pm

Cody JW wrote:Craig- The sten light is likely the best commercial available cave light I know of.It costs around 300 bucks.The Priceton Tec Apex is a great light for around 70 bucks.It has one three watt spot( sten had two)and a cluster of leds on each side of the spot for regular caving.Led tech. is changing alot know and I am sure better ones may come around soon.Fenix has a nice small backup hand light for around 70 bucks that is brighter than a sten but handheld like a mini mag.It runs off lithion ion ( spelling?) batteries that are now kind of expensive but are the wave of the things to come.I hear Fenix is working on a headlamp,if they do and it is anything like their Digital P3D light it will be hard to beat.


I currently use a Fenix L0D-CE as my third light. It runs on a single Aaa and I can just wear it around my neck. What's nice I'd that it uses the newer superefficent Cree led so it runs for 8 hours on low (with genuinely usable light) and on hi it rivals the output of the 3w spot on an Apex. Prizcey at $40 or so but wellmade. If Fenix made a headlamp I'd be interested. Alternaely I wish the Sten would beads available with Cree or other nextgeen LEDs as they are around 50% more efficient.
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Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 25, 2007 5:28 pm

CaverCraig wrote:Could you tell me more about the luxeon rebels and reflectors instead of lenses. Is this somthing Sten offers or is it somthing thats an after market do it your self upgrade? Is the Lexon Rebel a higher powered 3 watt bulb? and what about the refectors instead of lenses?


Sten will put different LEDs in their headlamps upon request. They quoted me a price for SSC P4s and i spoke with at least one person who sent their lamp back to Sten to have the P4s put in by the manufacturer. As for the Rebel option, you'd need to contact Sten and ask if they're ready to sell these units yet. To my knowledge, i have the first, and it's still a bit experimental, so it may not be an available option yet. it uses a pair of 90-grade "cool white" Rebels. i was worried that the "cool white" would be a bit blue but it's not blue at all, it's very neutral and pleasing.

I am using a 4.0 AH battery from another manufacturer and was quoted runtimes of ~3 weeks on Low (seriously! and it's plenty bright for sketching or camp), 68 hours on Medium (brighter than the high flood on the apex, with much more throw), 15 hours on High (brighter than the high spot on the apex, without losing any of the flood - it's pretty ridiculous) and ~5 hours on Turbo depending on when/if thermal limiting kicks in. i'm sure you can extrapolate these numbers for an estimate of performance with the 2300mAh or 5000mAh battery packs Sten sells.

Turbo is just stupidly bright, although it comes in handy for the "holy crap look at that over there moments", light painting for photographs of shafts, and the night hike back through the woods from a cave! frankly, even though i have enough juice to use "high" for a whole cave trip, i've basically used it on "medium" most of the time. the rest of my grotto uses Apexes and if i'm on "high" their eyes aren't able to adjust very well to their own lights.

keep in mind there have been 2 revisions to the Sten circuit since they posted the figures that are on their site - i'm not entirely sure why they won't update that. in addition, the regular 3W luxeons are of a more efficient bin than what they began using. so even a new "stock" Sten will perform better than the original batches.

the reflectors aren't made by Sten. they were made by a gentleman named Jonathan Burly who posted quite a bit on candlepower forums, i believe posted here as well, and had his own website. i believe he had some sort of personal tragedy and basically disappeared completely. however, i was able to locate someone on CPF who had a couple sets remaining. it is possible that Sten will start manufacturing their own reflectors at some point, though i've no idea of an ETA or even if they've definitely committed to doing so.

if you search this forum you can find some reviews of the Burly's reflectors, as he did upgrades for several cavers. i was able to try several different collimators in my Sten and the reflectors outperformed them all. they have a very broad, even flood (as wide as is possible with the shape of the head unit), and the light moves very gradually to a "hot spot" in the center. the beam pattern is very reminiscent of a carbide cap lamp, although without as wide of a flood (and certainly much, much brighter).

and yes, with the Sten S7, both LEDs function at the same time and don't operate independently of each other. the standard version ships with a "spot" optic and a "flood" optic. it's a very efficient design.
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Re: Cave Lights

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 25, 2007 5:31 pm

Steven Johnson wrote:I wish the Sten would beads available with Cree or other nextgeen LEDs as they are around 50% more efficient.


see above - I know for a small customization fee they will sell you one with SSC P4s, and possibly Cree XREs or Luxeon Rebels. you just need to tell them what you want. I had the same concern when purchasing, i didn't the older style of LEDs when several more efficient/brighter options are available.

who has an SSC loaded version on this board... Driggs?
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