New 3W aluminum headlamp initial thoughts and pics- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New 3W aluminum headlamp initial thoughts and pics

    Just posted this at CPF.

    I ordered one of the newer 3W aluminum headlamps from focalprice because it looked like it might take a P60 dropin. It doesn't, but it does have a nice heatsink, a standard Cree star (for modding) and it is very nice and light. KD sells one that claims modes, and has the same packaging, but mine has only one mode.

    I bought this light as a replacement for my helmet light and I think it will fit the bill nicely. I still can't believe how much metal it has, while remaining under 6 oz with batteries. I'm currently running a battery life test, and the light has been on for 30 minutes. The body is warm, not too hot, very similar to my 6P with a R2 dropin.

    Here you can see the weight in oz with batteries and without:




    A comparison shot with the rechargeable AAAs I use. One future mod might be to replace these with a single RCR123a or even an 18650 if I really want runtime.




    A comparison with my Surefire 6P:






    The battery case is cheap, but not too flimsy. It comes with a large o-ring, but I wouldn't want to dunk it under water. It will probably shed rain just fine, but that test will have to wait until later. One very nice feature of the case is that the lid, which snaps on, is attached by a metal ring, so you don't worry about losing it or holding it while changing batteries. Very nice. The battery contacts are cheap and one popped out while pulling out a battery. A dab of glue will fix it.






    The base of the light contains a simple clicky switch setup with a spring that provides a contact to the emitter. There is a metal contact that covers the spring, which popped off the first time I took it apart.




    Here you can see all the components, my only concern is the multiple paths required for heat to leave the body. All the connections involve threads, so I may end up smearing thermal grease to help heat transfer between each component.

    The reflector is low quality smooth plastic. I would like to replace it with a aluminum OP, but getting the threads to align won't be easy for me (any machinists out there???). The lens on this light is really poor quality glass and has a few marks out of the box. I'll probably get a replacement from DX. The body is in fact aluminum, only the reflector and the adjustable base are plastic.



    Imagine my grin when I took the reflector off and discovered this:



    I only wish I could access the driver, but it is either glued in on the bottom of the heatsink or wedged in really tight. I couldn't get it out with mild pressure and don't want to break it (yet). Can anyone ID this emitter?




    The light does protrude a little from the head, but it is so light you don't even feel it. Since it will be on my helmet I don't care, my visor will block it anyway.






    And, of course, I must have beamshots. My Sony camera doesn't take the best shots, but here are some. On the left is my 6P with a R2 emitter running off two RCR123As, on the right is the 3AAA headlamp.


    The R2 is a good bit brighter, but also runs with more juice. The picture below is the same shot, but with an adjusted exposure.


    For $14 I didn't expect much, but I like the headlamp and think it is well worth the money. The fact that I can upgrade it easily makes it a steal. I'll ride around with it tonight and report back.

    Sorry for lots of pics, but no one has reported any experience with one of these lights, so I thought I'd be the first.

    Battery life is not great. Using 900mAh AAAs usable light is around an hour. The light still burns, but for riding I'll definitely be using an 18650. The weight difference between an 18650 and 3AAAs is about .3 ounces.

    When night hits I'll post some more pics.

  2. #2
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    Update, it will take a P60 dropin

    Yes! It will take a P60 dropin. The dropin will work without any modifications, but there is not a good thermal path. Some copper tape will fix the problem. Ordering an R2 right now...

  3. #3
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    What is the length of the front light pod?

  4. #4
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    Total length of the assembled pod is 42mm. Depth of bottom of screws to lens is 37mm. Hope that helps.


  5. #5
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    That helps, but can you show how long the entire front assembly is? This looks like a great host for P60, can you show up it fits?

    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    usable depth

    the usable depth is 32mm or slightly under from the inside of surface of the lens to the edge of the "well" which leads to the threaded area that screws into the rest of the headlamp. The spring of the insert protrudes through the hole to make contact with the + portion of the base.


    Here you can see the top view with the insert inside:


    Here is the unit running the insert without any modification.


  7. #7
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    Interesting. Thanks for the reply. This looks to be a good bet. I already have a two head straps with flashlight-mounting (using CR132A torches), so I don't really need to add another to the set but this looks tempting.

    It doesn't look like there's any o-ring to seal out water, I wonder how water-resistant or waterproof it is.

  8. #8
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    I'm impressed as well. I really like how the straps fit over your helmet. I've not seen anyone do that before. Does it stay in place? Is there any bouncing around of the light head? I agree though, this looks nice and upgradeable. Great that it works with a drop in but I think the best thing to look forward to would be upgrading it with an XP-G ( when they are released )...Thumbs up for the find.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles
    Interesting. Thanks for the reply. This looks to be a good bet. I already have a two head straps with flashlight-mounting (using CR132A torches), so I don't really need to add another to the set but this looks tempting.

    It doesn't look like there's any o-ring to seal out water, I wonder how water-resistant or waterproof it is.

    It has your typical low-quality thin o-rings. Those will be replaced. Out of the package I probably wouldn't want to spit on it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    I'm impressed as well. I really like how the straps fit over your helmet. I've not seen anyone do that before. Does it stay in place? Is there any bouncing around of the light head? I agree though, this looks nice and upgradeable. Great that it works with a drop in but I think the best thing to look forward to would be upgrading it with an XP-G ( when they are released )...Thumbs up for the find.
    I plan on wearing it in to work tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how much it moves. I may end up tightening the screws so that it won't want to fall down when I hit a bump. Right now it takes a decent amount of pressure to move it, not too much, but we'll see what a good bump does to it.

    All my headlamps have fit on my helmet this way, from the Oh-So-Heavy Petzl 4AA to the precursor to this helmet. No wiggle, no jiggle, and I can still wear them on my head without the helmet. If your helmet doesn't work so well just use Velcro straps to secure it.

  11. #11
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    Rode in this morning

    Rode with this light on my helmet this morning. Good thrower, super light weight, I tightened the screw last night, so no movement. While the beam is good I will definitely be throwing an R2 P60 insert in. I also had to replace batteries after 45 minutes, performance dropped very quickly at that point.

    One 18650 kept it going this weekend in my house for 1.5 hours, which is how long my commute is. I'll be getting some PVC to make a single 18650 holder as soon as I can get to Lowes.

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