Black Diamond Storm - at the first look it is not especially different from the Spot - powered from 4 AAA cells and 100 lumens except of 75 and 3 AAA. However, after a closer acquaintance, it turns out that it is not a headlamp competing with Tikka 2 XP but with Princeton Tec EOS 70. In addition, it looks like the designers have met all assumed targets: compact size, 100 lumen, regulated, waterproof headlamp.
Some marketing data.
When you need bright, reliable light in the worst conditions, the fully waterproof Black Diamond Storm offers up 100 lumens of illumination for spotting rap anchors or lighting up the trail. In addition to versatile proximity, distance and strobe modes, the Storm's 2 red LEDs preserve night vision and activate without cycling through white mode. We also included a lock mode to stop accidental battery drain when the lamp is stored in your pack.
LED Type : 1 TriplePower, 4 SinglePower (2 white, 2 red)
Lumens : 100
Max Distances * : 70 m (TriplePower LED); 25 m (2 SinglePower LEDs)
Max Burn Time * : 200 H (TriplePower LED); 125 H (SinglePower LEDs)
Batteries : 4 AAA
Weight Without Batteries : 110 g (3.9 oz)
IPX Rating : 7 (Protection against immersion in water - immersion to the depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes)
* - all values are approximate.
Price : 49$
In total, similar to Spot, but somewhat another, the front glass integrated with then casing, screw closure, grey – orange colors… Where did I see it? That is exactly Princeton Tec EOS on steroids; well, almost, the closing screw is somewhat smaller what makes opening a little bit more difficult and the head deflection range is also smaller. The control system is known to me from the Spot already, though I do not bother too much;). First switching on and the first illumination: wow, this little thing lights really good !
This TriplePower led looks somehow familiar; this is Cree XP-E - the economic version of XP-G that I’m putting into all modded headlamps these days. XP-E is a good industrial standard for the present day, considerably cheaper but only a little lower efficient; these small things of 350mA provide at least 90 lumens of light at the lowest selection
The screw closure, the casing halves are not matched ideally; but, this time, it does not mean any gap - the additional edge ideally contacts the rubber gasket surface what ensures the tightness of the whole casing.
The battery level indicator known from the Spot - when the light is powered on in white mode, the battery meter on the side of the headlamp will show for 3 seconds:
Green – more than 75% - this is a very important information since, in this headlamp, it means also the time during which the light is regulated.
Orange - from 25 up to 75%
Read – below 25%
Never less, I would like that the screw will be a little bit bigger. The pushbutton rubber is also glued into the casing; thus, nothing will leak here, too.
What does whine inside ?
This time, the battery compartment has been thought over very carefully; the batteries find their way accurately into their places, they may be pulled out easily, the additional strap enables to remove the fourth cell. In the middle of the compartment, a little riddle. But I'll write about that later ;).
4 screw later, everything is on the top; this additional component in the battery compartment is a heat sink screwed to mcpcb , on which the LED-s are set. This is an interesting solution since delicate heating-up in the case of chargeable or not chargeable batteries enables to squeeze more energy from them - it is simply a solution of genius for winter season.
The mcpcb (metal core pcb) mentioned earlier, enables for much better heat distribution from the LED-s, in contrast to normal PCB applied in the Spot. Diode, inductor, some transistors and sepic processor - typical modern DC-DC buck driver.
In contrast to the Black Diamond Spot, Storm is a headlamp lamp offering regulation of the amount of emitted light what means that, within the defined voltage range, the amount of light will be constant. The manufacturer declares regulation till the instant that the power supply voltage falls down to ca. 4,7V, i.e. exactly when the voltage across the cell drops down below 1,2V what enables to use the NiMH type rechargeable’s without any loss of the amount of light with respect to the battery power supply. This is also a nice statement since, frankly speaking, nobody knows after what, accurately, time the voltage falls down below that level; thus we bypass the declaration concerning the regulated operation time. For the user, there is left the information: “green – regulation on, orange – you don't have regulation any longer” :D.
The measurement results confirms that the regulation is working; honestly speaking, obtained efficiency levels do not drive to ecstasy, but it is well enough ;-).
Black Diamond Storm - 4xAAA rechargeable batteries NiMH - 5,26V, without load.
V-In I-in P-In V-led I-led P-led Eff.
XP-E high 4,87V 336 mA 1,64W 3,17V 407 mA 1,29W 78,9%
XP-E low 5,21V 7 mA 0,04W 2,56V 10 mA 0,03W 71,0%
SMD-high 4,76V 143 mA 0,30W 3,02V 72 mA 0,21W 72,1%
SMD-low 5,19V 35 mA 0,18W 2,67V 45 mA 0,12W 66,8%
If we divide the current consumption results by the energy stored in 4 cells type AAA NiMH , of the capacity 950mAh , we should receive 4,56Wh / 1,64W = 2,78h, i.e. the lamp could light at the full power for more than 2,5 hours.
Intermediate modes - there is a problem with that since the automatic control between the minimum and maximum is infinitely variable ; any user will receive other amount of light and operating time:).
How does it light ?
Black Diamond Storm is a development of the Spot’s marketing idea; we do not declare the amount of light on the LED but the amount of light emitted by the headlamp. This is important since, even when using the very good optics, the light losses on the optics are about 10%. Due to that, we obtain, in direct comparison, a very good „wow factor” – they declare 100 and we declare 100 , but our lamp lights lighter ! Driving the Cree XP-E LED with current above 400mA , event at rather poor selection, we will gain 112 lumens, what enables to gain 100 lumens at the output :).
Black Diamond Storm - high
Black Diamond Spot - high
Princeton Tec EOS 70 - high
Petzl Tikka 2 XP - high
I have to admit that Black Diamond caught up Princeton and chased out ’a Petzl in the race of the compact forehead lamps; if somebody thinks how the fourth cell impacts on the mass: inconsiderably: Storm is only of 4 grams heavier than the EOS supplied from 3 cells AAA (90 vs 86g – without straps). Good design, good workmanship, met expectations and declarations. It looks that the Black Diamond Storm shall find its place in our outdoor market for a longer time. One I get used to the control system: after several hours with the Spot provided with Storm, I had no even smallest problems yet. It was worthwhile to wait for it and , for sure, to pay the differences in the price with respect to the Spot; the logo is the same but I almost can’t believe that the manufacturer is the same.
And if you have access to the hot-air and you have spare Cree X-G Outdoor White emitter...
Storm XP-E vs. Storm XP-G