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Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Dec 30, 2007 12:57 pm
by lenslover2003
Just another thought for the original poster.

The big thing to consider when thinking about the Sten ,is what kind of light pattern do you need,and enjoy,and what kind of caves do you spend your time in? I say this,because it may not be the best choice for your needs. I will say ,though,that the Sten is a well built light,and has a feel of quality that exudes from it. But......the single light pattern choice of the Sten may not justify it's cost. I realize that you can buy different optics for it,and slightly modify the beam,but you would be detracting from it's original intended purpose......which is/was to be a real "thrower". You need to decide if you want a light that really reaches out there to light up those high ceilings,big rooms,and deep pits, or if you need a wider diffuse spread,for smaller crawls,and general walking around. With the Sten,something will have to be compromised,at least a little.

If you only need a "thrower" for a small percentage of the time,I think there are better and cheaper ways to go. For example,I own a Task Force, 2 c-cell light,that I got from Lowe's ,of all places. Only cost $29,and it has somewhere around 120 -150 lumens,depending on what you read,and it has the new Cree LED. It has a narrow beam that really reaches out there. With rechargeable 6000 Ma batteries,the runtime is about 2 hours at max lumens,another hour at about half lumens,and another hour of fading light. The quality is standard, basic, mass produced Chinese,but for that price,I can stock up!

Also,consider the Fenix line of products. I gave my buddy the Premium 2-AA model with the new Cree LED,for Christmas,and it was about $65 shipped. This thing rocks! Numerous settings,long runtimes,and AA batteries,which almost everyone has.The quality is good,too. Both of these are hand helds,but are small enough to be carried into a cave,as a second or third light source. Plus,they both are great for checking holes,while ridgewalking.We can wear dark sunglasses,and they still have enough punch to see into holes! Saves a lot of unnecessary effort,and climbing.

Just a few thoughts,so go with your gut. Even if it's not perfect,you will still have a great light.

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Dec 31, 2007 1:32 pm
by FiddleCaver
my k2's do have the gummy dome. :grin: That said, I would like to apologize for veering so :off topic: with this pointless discussion over LED's that are so similar that shining one beside the other, I doubt me or anyone else could distinguish one from the other. Besides, the original topic is the Stenlight which you cannot get a Cree XRE in.

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Jan 1, 2008 2:41 am
by karst97
Regarding the cost of making one of these headlamps, I will still be doing my own for a number of reasons.

First & foremost is that I can make one for <$60-$70 that will be as bright or brighter than the currently available lights. So far commercial lights always start lagging at some point because the technology always jumps ahead and it takes a while for the "new stuff" to make it into a commercial unit.

Second is that I can choose the types of batteries that can be used. I for one don't want an expensive lithium ion battery pack on the back of my helmet... Also, if something happens, I want to be able to run on regular alkalines if necessary (at lower outputs of course). This can be important on foreign expeditions.

It is especially easy to design your own lights now that places such as TaskLED provide you with step-down & step-up current regulators that are designed to be used with the high-brightness LEDs. Order some LEDs & lenses or reflectors, a board & switch, and then all you have to do is figure out a case for it all that dissipates the large # of watts coming out the back of those LEDs...

One of the nice things about doing your own lights too is that you can upgrade to new LEDs when the time comes. That's what I've been doing lately.


Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Apr 1, 2008 2:19 pm
by Videocaver
HID Headlamps

There are some bright headlamps out there (Sten), but the mountain bike guys have been using bright lighting systems for years. HID (High Intensity Discharge) are as bright as halogens, but use less energy. Some of the headlamp units available are rated up to 16W (FYI a HID Watt is different than a Halogen Watt), and pumps out a massive 660 lumens of light. Several manufacturers also sell lithium ion batteries with run times over 6 hours. Most of these systems are waterproof (i.e. from rain), but I would not suggest swimming with them. You can purchase these off Ebay for 1/2 - 2/3rds the cost of new. I purchased a Light & Motion Arc Ultra off Ebay, which puts out over 500 lumens, and has a lithium ion battery with a 6 hr runtime. I light output from this light has a smooth pattern (no lighting artifacts) due to its stippled reflector (reduces lumen output slightly). I have used this light for 3 years and love it! When I purchased the light, I had to figure out a way to mount it to my Petzl Elios Helmet, since it was designed to mount on the top of a bike helmet. I had to purchase a "cheap" headlamp from Wal-Mart ($12.00) and removed the light from it, leaving the elasting band and front plastic plate. I also had to modify a right angle bracket I purchase from Home Depot ($2.00), which I mounted to the plastic headband plate(hot melt glue), and used zip ties to attach the light to the other part of the bracket (drilled holes in the bracket). It has worked like a champ. As a side note, I made a diffuser for this light, which works out well with my helmet camera system. Helmet cameras tend to pick up hot spots from lights resulting in over exposure, so you have to diffuse your light source.

Below is an older article from MTBR Magazine which talks about HID lights.

Below are some HID Light Manufacturers:

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Apr 2, 2008 7:53 am
by YuccaPatrol
lenslover2003 wrote:
Also,consider the Fenix line of products.

Last week I tested my new Fenix L2D in a cave and was super impressed (as were my caving companions). It was much brighter than a Sten light and only weighs about 120 grams with 2AA batteries. I have it mounted on the side of my helmet using the mag-lite helmet mount available from Inner Mountain.

One note about mounting it to a helmet. The mag-lite mount is too small for the light to fit. I had our guy in the machine shop bore it out a bit to fit. The adjustability of the mount is well worth it though and a big improvement over zip-ties since you can point the light exactly where you want it.

Another great option is to modify a Princeton Tec Apex with a Seoul P4 emitter. This new and very efficient LED costs about $15 to do and more than doubles the brightness without any loss in run-time. Consider it a poor man's Sten-light.

Between my Fenix L2D and my modified Apex, I was lighting up the big passages like crazy.

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Apr 2, 2008 10:01 am
by barcelonacvr
Another HID headlamp to add to videocavers post are

I have used them for video and photo lighting and they are till working despite taking a lot of beating.They are only good for a few ft of water though but someone on The Deco Stop (technical diving forum) makes housings that you can drop the entire module etc into.They are good for 300+ ft then.I get about 2.5 hrs burn time overall and unless you have them on steadily they do not get too hot (at least in our cooler base temp caves)They are normally air cooled while riding an ATV otherwise.

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Apr 2, 2008 11:32 am
by JoeyS
Ponorplumber wrote:Another HID headlamp to add to videocavers post are


Oh and you're going to look really cool with this caving set-up :laughing:

Re: Head Lamps

PostPosted: Apr 3, 2008 6:36 pm
by Mark620
Mark Joop is using a custom built 10W HID light.
It is the brightest (11 hours on high) light I have seen.
BUT it costs about 3X what the sten costs.