Light-Test.info

The first presentations already hit the net in the last year - a new, revolutionary, proven in terms of light output in the integrated sphere. A lot of promises as from the company, which has warmed the rear seat for a long time and only try to keep a pace with the dominant Petzl.

 

Some marketing data.

The Black Diamond Spot powers through the darkness, whether you're trail finding during an alpine start or hunting for rap anchors at midnight. Incredibly adaptable and super bright with 75 lumens at max setting, this compact powerhouse has a mode customizable to any fast-paced activity, from distance to dimming to strobe. Red SinglePower LEDs provide proximity lighting without cycling through the white mode, so you won't accidentally compromise night vision. A lock mode prevents accidental battery drain in your pack or while stored, and a 3-level power meter means you'll never be caught with a dead headlamp hours from camp.

Black Diamod Spot 2011

LED Type : DoublePower/2 SinglePower
Lumens : 75 (estimated)
Max Distances : 70 meters, estimated (DoublePower LED); 15 meters, estimated (2 SinglePower LEDs)
Max Burn Time : 200 hours, estimated (DoublePower LED); 250 hours, estimated (2 SinglePower LEDs)
Batteries : 3 AAA included
IPX Rating : 4

Price : 40 $

Impressions.

Spot looks beautiful, big button, compact design - just who came up with the idea to stick it with tape to the inside of the carton? I struggled quite a while with this:]. It opens very easily, thanks to the large latch. You can see that element positioning, which broke far too often, was redesigned. The mass of the headlamp with headband and battery is a little more than the declared 90g - 94g real (53g without batteries) - just a few grams more than the Tikka 2 XP.

One pull and it's open...

No seals, straps connecting the two housing parts are looking very fragile - but the stress tests carried out showed that they should not break off without clear reason;-). The interior of the battery is typical for the Black Diamond the batteries or hard to remove, or flying out without a special reason. Here is even better - in this model, the designers had reached a kind of mastery...

On the upper picture - Black Diamond Spot 2011 headlamp with batteries inside - you can also see the battery indicator mentioned earlier - on the picture below is the same headlamp with rechargeable cells inside. Who will find the difference ?

I do not know what I would do as director to a person who has designed that- but it would be painful :-].

The head belt is also worth mentioning – it is smooth across, but the material in the vertical plane has the texture of shark skin so it significantly improve grip of the headlamp to the head while moving up and down.

What is inside ?

Compared with the Petzl Tikka 2 XP or Tikka XP, which have the same level of protection against water penetration IPX4 their protections seems to be totally exaggerated. Tikka XP, have sealed battery compartment and the lens, Tikka 2 XP has sealed compartment for driver and led. And here? There are no seals - apparently it was found that if elements are accurate enough it will satisfy the requirements of IPX4, beside that just around the corner Black Diamond Storm is waiting, it should be waterproof up to 1m (IPX7) and it will cost only 10$ more than Spot. So my recommendations for the use of a new BD Spot 2011 in rainy conditions - after use, open it, remove the batteries and allow to dry for several hours.

On the pcb you can see Luxeon Rebel 100 - although PCB is not perfect for cooling, but for small currents it somehow manage to do its job, somebody even spend some time thinking on how to improve heat circulation inside by placing some thru holes.

Power supply.

Judging by the look, I think this is a PIC16F without factory markings - but if they like to play hide and seek let them be so ;).

The whole idea of lights powered with 3 AAA batteries can be put quite simply, "It has to shine like a supernova and then shine the end of the world" ;-). 3xAAA cells contain approximately 3Wh of energy which translates into 1W for three hours or 3W for one hour... To make it very simple - mentioned earlier Luxeon Rebel 100 emits 100 lumens of light from 1W power, so we have to give it about 0.75W in order to get 75 lumens - we also are losing some power on the driver, but it’s whole different story. Under ideal conditions, the lamp can produce 75 lumens for 4 hours - to shine longer the current is gradually decreasing and so the light output decreases, but it is almost imperceptible to the human eye.

On the left you can see beam shot of Black Diamond Spot emitting about 75 lumens, on the right the same Spot but the output is only about 60 lumens (0.71 vs. 0.53 W).

On the occasion I checked how the light copes with rechargeable batteries - except that they will not fit inside - the light output is much lower (as you can see on above comparison made for the new batteries and freshly charged rechargeable batteries). But this is some kind of standard in this headlamp category, I’ll post a test of fully regulated EOS 70 to show the difference.

Black Diamod Spot 2011
Acu NiMH
        I-In     V-in   P-In    I-led    V-led   P-led   Eff.
Rebel 179,15mA  3,51V  0,629W  177,56mA  3,01V  0,534W   85%
Batt Alkaline
        I-In     V-in   P-In    I-led    V-led   P-led   Eff.
Rebel 235,5mA  4,19V   0,987W  233,29mA  3,06V  0,714W   72%

How it light ?

It lights ugly - there is a big doughnut hole in the hotspot and modes based on 5mm white and red led’s are so weak that they almost cannot be recorded using my standard camera settings :- /.

Black Diamond Spot vs Tikka 2 XP


Black Diamond Spot vs Tikka XP (Cree xp-g mod).


5mm white led mode and red mode on the right... Maybe somebody will see something ;).

And Low and red mode for Tikka 2 XP.

And finally, one more comparison Spot ’09 with the Spot ’11 ;-).

Black Diamond Spot 2009 (Cree XR-C) vs Black Diamond Spot 2011 (Luxeon Rebel 100)

Summary.

Pretty and pretty much light, although the modes makes a new user “grrr” ;).

After a brief moment with manual, you can learn everything that you need to master this headlamp. The lock mode is indicated by a blinking of a blue led - sometimes, instead of entering the lock mode you will enter to the maximum light level and change it continuously from a maximum to the minimum, but this option is not used too often.

Black Diamond Spot 2011 certainly gives you more light than its competitive Tikka 2 XP, the weaker modes are to be used exclusively for close range or camp works (the 5mm led's white mode is in my opinion to weak for trudging through bushes). It is possible to set an intermediate mode on the main light source, but unfortunately, this setting is not saved and every time you will need it you will have to set it again.

Generally, I have this very mixed feelings for that headlamp- it works exactly as producers claims, but a complete flop in closing and sealing when you want to use rechargeable cells + doughnut hole in the hotspot makes mi certain that I would not recommend that headlamp to any of my friends -> I'm waiting for the Black Diamond Storm.