Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp

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Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp

Postby lookingaround » Nov 24, 2005 9:53 pm

Has anybody tried the new Princeton Tec Apex LED headlamp? At ~$65, it is a bit spendy, but it might look good on my Christmas list. :grin:

The review at flashlightreviews.com looks pretty good. But, I’d like to hear if anybody has used one caving and what they thought of it.
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Postby itabot » Nov 25, 2005 7:20 pm

It would look good on your Christmas list. I haven't used that one , but I use the Princeton Yukon HL. It has a 1 watt LED and its pretty nice. On IMO the Apex is $75. I didnt see on your link where it said it has the 3 watt LED, but that would be nice. It would be a good light for us poor folks who can't afford a fancy Stenlight!
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Postby steelwool » Nov 26, 2005 9:21 pm

The Apex is a much better light! The Apex is regulated and the beam is far better then the Yukon HL. The beam from the Apex, is brighter and the color is whiter. If you have a little extra cash you should buy a Sten Light :wink:
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Postby GoHighGoDeep » Nov 27, 2005 10:19 pm

got one a few days ago... :grin: i like it a lot... the 3W is really really bright, and you pay for it in battery life... the 4 lower wattage LEDs are more than bright enough to do most things... i've yet to use it underground... it's too bright and shiny to take caving... yet! but it's supposed to be water resistant to 1 meter, so it should be pretty good for caving/mud/etc.

my only concern is that the back of the LED portion is a big heat sink, and it might not dissipate heat real well if it's all clogged with mud...
c'mon, you can fit through that
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Apex

Postby Thomas Coleman » Dec 4, 2005 7:08 pm

I am planning to get this headlamp soon. Does anyone know how it compares in brightness to the Myo xp, Nova 3, and Stenlight? It looks like a good affordable alternative to the Nova 3 or Stenlight. Would it be difficult to hook up a rechargeable battery pack to the Apex? Or maybe a 4C hip pack? It would be nice to get a longer runtime on high.
Last edited by Thomas Coleman on Dec 7, 2005 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby bsignorelli » Dec 5, 2005 10:57 pm

Regarding runtimes on the Apex...

Beth got one a month ago and loves it. She put four 2500mAh NiMH batteries (Energizer brand) in it and didn't change the batteries till 12 hours underground had passed (14 hour cave trip). I think she would have gotten more life out of them but it was convienent to change them before we got into the 3000' of water on our way back to the entrance.

The cave she used the light in is pretty big...the main room is 1000'x500'x(50-100) though you cant see from end to end due to breakdown mountains. She lit it up well enough that people who have been to that cave many times over the last 14 years said "wow...i've never seen that before". She lit up the borehole (100' dia tube) for several hundred feet too.

She used the 4-led mode most of the time and turned on the 3W for ooo's and ahhh's (the ceiling and walls of this cave are covered in helectites both white and brown and some blue...running joke is "whats down that way?" "oh nothing except some helectites").

At one point we were what...200+ feet from the Great White Hope and the second best light (with a 1W EverELD) lit it up enough that you knew it was there but Beth's 3W lit it up like a spot light...very very cool.

She said the buttons took a little gettign used to when you had muddy gloves on but what light doesn't require that? I don't see the heat sink as being a problem because I gave up pushing me head face down through the mud. Otherwise I don't know how youd get mud behind your light.

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Postby lookingaround » Dec 6, 2005 4:12 am

bsignorelli wrote:Beth got one a month ago and loves it. She put four 2500mAh NiMH batteries (Energizer brand) in it and didn't change the batteries till 12 hours underground had passed (14 hour cave trip). I think she would have gotten more life out of them but it was convienent to change them before we got into the 3000' of water on our way back to the entrance.


This light is now on my Christmas list! I hope that Santa takes care of me! :grin:

Did you notice any difference in the light output with the lower voltage NiMH batteries?
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Postby potholer » Dec 6, 2005 3:27 pm

I'd have thought if you were pulling somewhat over half an amp out of a set of AAs, the voltage on NiMH cells may well be as high as on a set of alkalines, and possibly even higher.
Though the review did mention light output might be lower from NiMH cells, since it's regulated, I'd guess it may well be pretty similar, and seems liable to last rather longer at near-full-power on NiMH cells than on alkalines

I noticed in the flashlightreview analysis, the 4x5mm LEDs seemed to be putting out a fairly large amount of light, with their high power setting comparable to the Luxeon on low, which was surprising.

What are the 4x5mmLEDs like for regular caving - how spread out is the beam?
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Postby bsignorelli » Dec 7, 2005 9:29 pm

lookingaround wrote:This light is now on my Christmas list! I hope that Santa takes care of me! :grin:


Yeah, I get to use it this weekend (she doesn't do vertical trips yet) so it'll probably wind up on my xmas list too.

Did you notice any difference in the light output with the lower voltage NiMH batteries?


Shes only used it in caves with the rechargeables and it was plenty bright enough.

Kinda comes down to the choice of 12+ hours on a set of rechargeables, less time on alkalines, or $10/set of lithiums. Just seems to be that the rechargeables are the best bang for the buck since we don't seem to take trips shorter than 8 hours and a lot of them are 10-12.

potholer wrote:I noticed in the flashlightreview analysis, the 4x5mm LEDs seemed to be putting out a fairly large amount of light, with their high power setting comparable to the Luxeon on low, which was surprising.

What are the 4x5mmLEDs like for regular caving - how spread out is the beam?


Beth used the 4led high for her main caving light and thought it was more than fine. She said that she didn't find herself looking up and down much cause the beam is spread out way more than your usual headlamp.

I'm used to carbide caving but this weekend I'm taking the Apex with me and I can then let you know how it compares. I'm fond of taking my carbide off my helmet and holding it in my hands when in walking passage (helps see the floor better since it creates "better" shadows) so if I keep bobbing my head wit hteh Apex I'll be sure to gripe about it :)

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Postby Thomas Coleman » Dec 9, 2005 6:59 pm

Princeton Tec now has the Apex on their website http://www.princetontec.com

Looks like a really nice light from the pics.
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Postby randojl » Dec 10, 2005 5:24 pm

My wife, son and I just took a short trip in a local cave that features some pretty big rooms. I had a Nova 3 running on a Duracell "flat pack" and they each had a Princeton Tec Apex running on Duracell AA's.

Light output: Both did well in large spaces, with the Nova reaching out a little farther but not dramatically different. The Apex users relied mostly on the four-LED group on "high," and several more experienced cavers commented about their exceptional brightness.

Battery life: No change observed in the Nova after three hours of both high and low, for what that's worth (the flat pack should last much longer). The Apex indicator LEDs looked orange after two hours; green means >40% left, yellow means <40% and red means <20 minutes. I'm not sure what orange (?) means but the output was not noticeably less at that point.

Design and workmanship: The Nova 3 light itself feels rugged but the "flexi" model battery pack seems crude and is not water resistant. The Apexes seem well-designed, including a 1-meter water rating, and appear to have good workmanship.

Conclusions: The Apexes seem like real winners all around, especially for the price. Nova 3 is a good light so far but the battery box leaves me wondering. I guess I could get an FX3 diver's battery and charger for the Nova, but that money might be better spent on a Sten Light or a sackful of Apexes.

All opinions my own -- hope this helps.
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Postby potholer » Dec 10, 2005 6:27 pm

That's an interesting post, comparing the two lights. At a distance, did the spread of the two seem similar?

Nova 3 is a good light so far but the battery box leaves me wondering. I guess I could get an FX3 diver's battery and charger for the Nova...


I thought an FX3 battery would require a different Nova3, with the appropriate cable attached? Rechargeable Headlite packs are a possibility, but could be a case of costs piling up, especially compared to the Apex.

Apex durability in less-welcoming caves (tight/muddy) would be interesting to hear about in the long term.
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Postby randojl » Dec 11, 2005 12:18 am

I thought an FX3 battery would require a different Nova3, with the appropriate cable attached?


I can't be sure, but both the Speleo webpage and the IMO listing suggest that the same light is available with various battery options (Li, NiMH, NiCd, Alkaline). The Nova 3 uses a two-prong plug at the interface with the battery box, and I would expect that plug to be accommodated by all of the battery options to reduce manufacturing costs and to provide more flexibility. Anybody know with certainty?
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Apex

Postby Vader » Dec 11, 2005 3:08 am

I have been wanting to get an Apex for a while. Based on the reviews of the light here I went ahead and ordered one tonight. Can't wait until it gets here and I have a chance to get it underground.

I must have been under a rock for a while. Last time I checked you got longer battery life out of alkaline batteries. Do you really get longer battery life out of rechargeable batteries now :?:
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Postby potholer » Dec 11, 2005 5:12 am

Alkaline vs. rechargeable - a lot depends on the load.

An alkaline AA is something like ~2800mAh, but that's for low-drain loads. If pulling a high current out of an alkaline, as well as causing the battery voltage to droop, the battery may give up after supplying only a fraction of its capacity in amp-hour terms. Very roughly speaking, at a 0.5Amp load, the battery may suply only ~1800mAh (2/3 of its nominal capacity), and at a 1Amp load, only 900mAh (1/3 of the nominal capacity).
Once the cell 'gives up' with a heavy load, it may still have some life left for supplying smaller loads, especially after a bit of a rest.
NiMH cells aren't affected as much by heavy loads as alkaline cells - pulling 0.1A or 1A is likely to result in pretty much the same number of mAh being obtained from an AA cell.

Given the draw of an Apex on the spot beam is going to be roughly ~0.5A on full power, high-capacity rechargeables may well be able to power the beam at near-full-power for longer than alkalines. If the circuitry is such that rechargeables don't give *quite* full power (which the manufacturer information would indicate may be the case), it could be that they give *almost* full power for some time, whereas alkalines give a brief burst of full power when fresh, then decline quickly.

If a user didn't use the high power settings for long, the two types of battery may end up pretty much equal in terms of life, but these days, with ~2500mAh NiMH cells available, the advantage of alaklines on even light loads is small, though they still have the edge in lights where cells may be left in for some time, or for 'emergency' spare battery packs, since rechargeables don't hold their charge in the medium term.
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