Light-Test.info

This is, probably, the last Black Diamond head lamp under my testing this year ;). The Black Diamond Sprinter unit is a head lamp created especially for runners, of individually designed optics, waterproof, provided with an integrated li-ion power supply package, and a red light on the battery compartment. To summarize, all what is needed for a runner in night time...

 

 

Some marketing data (I love their poetic descriptions of these ;) ) :

The urban-inspired Sprinter opens up the dark for those whose running isn’t restricted to daytime hours. This rechargeable streets-to-trails runner’s headlamp features excellent fore-aft balance and a super low profile, which minimizes bouncing and shifting with your stride. A red rear strobe offers safety around cars while a strong, ovalized beam keeps your vision focused on the path ahead.

DoublePower LED with 68 lumens (max setting) projects a strong, ovalized beam optimized for running
Red taillight strobe for visibility in urban areas with on/off switch
Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable battery (6-hour charge time)
Settings include full strength, dimming and strobe
Regulated for constant illumination on max brightness setting
Sealed waterproof to 1 m (3.3 ft)

Price : 58-80$

 

Impressions.

Small and lightweight, very nice design, integrated power supply, the kit including a docking station for charging - in essence, an I-pod only is missing in the kit;). Actually, without the upper belt, it weighs 96g - a not too bad result in the category of the compact units, the more so that the head lamp weight is distributed to he front and back. The oval shape of the beam? In my opinion, rather rectangular but, in essence, this matches to the path even better ;).

Black Diamond Sprinter

The head is really small; if you want to change the mode or switch the lamp on, you have to catch in with two fingers; therefore, additional rubber straps have been added to the bottom. Since the pushbutton should be pressed rather deeply and it almost doesn’t extend above the casing, this may hinder the lamp operation in rather thick gloves but, truly, who plays with the modes when running??

Switching the lamp on activates, automatically, the rear flasher on the rechargeable battery compartment; it may be switched off with a separate pushbutton on the compartment but it may not be switched on to operate as an autonomous red light.

The cable interconnecting the battery compartment and the head has been hidden inside the strap what avoids its flinging and eliminates the chances for catching something if the User got carried away into some bushes ;).

What whines inside ?

The cable entries are sealed accurately and all parts are secured tightly; the gaskets at the casing connections and pushbutton rubbers glued in ensure water tightness.

Everywhere the inscription Azoteq but, the Users probably have used to that already; this is a South African company designing electronics (or maybe even complete head lamps) for Black Diamond. As you can see in the picture, either I have handled the head lamp not too delicately when dismounting it or the material has been a little bit to thin at that place; anyhow nothing that can not be repaired with a drop of super glue ;-).

Cree XR-C on an adequately matched mcpcb is rather obsolete already in comparison with Spot or Storm wherein the new leds XP-E have been applied. The maximum specifications for the XR-C leds, at the best possible selection of P4 are 80 lumens at 350mA where the typical XP-E are capable of giving more than 130… The amount of light declared is 68 lumens only so that, when choosing the supply current on the level of 300mA , you can easily obtain the amount assumed.

Power supply.

Black Diamond Sprinter is provided with a lithium-polymer power supply package; presently these are the most popular rechargeable batteries in small portable devices (mobiles, mp3 players).

1500mAh 3,7V =>5,55Wh, assuming the converter efficiency of 85% , you have left 4,7Wh only, i.e. 0,94Wh per each operation period declared. At that instant, already, something is odd with the light amount declared:].

Inside the compartment, a dilic undefined more clearly, responsible for the rear flasher.

The charging control is located in the docking station that you supply from a common mains power supply (AC120-240V => DC 6V 0,6A) with a complete set of adaptors enabling connection to any electrical mains (4 socket types).

In the middle, a very nice circuit, FS3871D – not only that it serves the charging process, it enables to display instantaneously the battery status with leds (red – charging, green – charged up) and, even more, it is capable of controlling the temperature during charging, but this option has not been used here:(.

Back to the led supply, supplying one of the li-pol cells produces no special problems. The white leds operate within the range 2,8-3,5V and the li-pol cells within the range 3,0-4,2V so that, at adequately chosen current limitation characteristics, the led, in practice, “operates itself”.

Black Diamond Sprinter - Li-Pol
V-In    I-in     P-In    V-led    I-led   P-led   Eff.
High   3,624V  173,1mA  0,627W   3,21V  180,21mA  0,579W  92,3%
Low    3,699V    9,3mA  0,034W   3,04V    9,83mA  0,030W  86,9%

Superb efficiency, but a little too low current – no chance to achieve the 68 lumens assumed unless I’ve shut already into the range not covered by the regulation, though the voltage value of 3,7V at no load, for the li-pol is ca. 70% of the capacity. Since no information on when you have the regulation at your disposal, and when not, is available , you can assume equally well that there is no regulation and the light amount decreases slowly in time.

How does it light ?

Whereas the 2 newest head lamps Spot and Storm produce the declared light amounts, in the case of Sprinter, you cope still with the old version of marketing – as many lumens, as on the led at the beginning of operation, as much on the packaging;). In practice, only optics selected especially, “not wasting” the light by illuminating the sky or sights, rescues the case; it enables good illumination of the first 10-15 meters of the path, accurately as much as it is needed to run on the well known route.

Black Diamond Sprinter - high

Black Diamond Sprinter - high

Petzl Tikka 2 XP - high

Petzl Tikka 2 XP - high

Black Diamond Spot - high

Black Diamond Spot - high

Black Diamond Storm - high

 

Resume.

A very interesting concept, nice design, even it does not observe the declared lumen number, the 50-60 lumens of well directed light are enough, for sure, for night running along paths. Now, a question may be raised if the integrated power supply, the general comfort in use, the red light at the back, balance the enough only light amount and the high price. Looking at that from the economic point , at the same price, you can get Myo RXP or Storm and quite a sum will remain in your wallet (well, almost, since to either unit you have to add a charger and a complete set of rechargeable batteries;-) ).