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View Full Version : Rant: Push button on/off headlamps



Slo-go'en
08-06-2018, 11:38
It seems most of the headlamps these days have electronic push button on/off switches. Which makes sense, since these often have multiple functions depending on how long you push on them. In theory, the PB switch should have better long term reliability than a slide switch and easier to make waterproof or resistant.

There is only one problem - they keep coming on in my pack and running the batteries down! Sometimes I notice, often I don't. It's frustrating to find the light really dim or worse, dead.

Sure, I could take out one of the batteries to keep that from happening, but then I got a loose battery to keep track of and have to remember to put it back in when I need the light. If you have one of those high end rechargeable headlamps, that's not an option.

I'm thinking the only solution is to store the headlamp in some non-crushable container. A small plastic jar or something. Got to start looking for a suitable container before fall gets here and I really need a light!

Feral Bill
08-06-2018, 11:43
While I have worried about this, I have never had the problem. Perhaps your headlamp has an overly sensitive switch?

cmoulder
08-06-2018, 11:43
Get a BD Spot, maybe? It has a safe mode that requires the button to be pressed for 4 seconds uninterrupted in order to turn it on.

perdidochas
08-06-2018, 11:46
It seems most of the headlamps these days have electronic push button on/off switches. Which makes sense, since these often have multiple functions depending on how long you push on them. In theory, the PB switch should have better long term reliability than a slide switch and easier to make waterproof or resistant.

There is only one problem - they keep coming on in my pack and running the batteries down! Sometimes I notice, often I don't. It's frustrating to find the light really dim or worse, dead.

Sure, I could take out one of the batteries to keep that from happening, but then I got a loose battery to keep track of and have to remember to put it back in when I need the light. If you have one of those high end rechargeable headlamps, that's not an option.

I'm thinking the only solution is to store the headlamp in some non-crushable container. A small plastic jar or something. Got to start looking for a suitable container before fall gets here and I really need a light!

The sliding on/off switches have the same problem Either a non-crushable container, or turn one of the batteries around during the day.

SteelCut
08-06-2018, 11:52
I prefer Zebralight. A quarter turn of the battery cap mechanically disengages the battery. I too got tired of all the BD soft on/off headlight switches only to come on in my pack during the day so I switched to Zebralight and haven't had a problem since.

But, not a solution if you want a USB rechargeable.

Gambit McCrae
08-06-2018, 11:57
Funny timing...
I bought my dad a Spark st6 about 4 years ago....$150 aluminum headlamp....push button broke, zero customer service, zero help.

I have had 3 BD headlamps and I guess they are only good for about 2 years cause headlamps are my #1 gear failure, time and time again. And I have even protected mine from water....China junk I guess

HooKooDooKu
08-06-2018, 13:00
If your light is powered by two batteries, simply flip one of them backwards during the day.

Otherwise, look for a headlamp that has a lock-out feature.

I use the Black Diamond Ion headlamp.
Older models have two metal touch sensitive contacts that allow you to turn on a red or white LED based on which way you swipe across them.
Newer models have a single push button.
Both models include the ability to place the headlamp in "lock" mode to prevent accidental activation.

I've wondered why more people don't use the Ion. It weights less than 2oz (with batteries) and a set of lithium lasts me a full season or more of casual use around camp.
In a pinch, it can be used for night-hiking (but with only two AAA batteries, this isn't what it was designed for).

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 13:21
While I have worried about this, I have never had the problem. Perhaps your headlamp has an overly sensitive switch?

I also have not had a problem with my Petzl. The PB switch is covered by a rubber membrane and isn't easy to inadvertently push in

Tipi Walter
08-06-2018, 13:59
I also have not had a problem with my Petzl. The PB switch is covered by a rubber membrane and isn't easy to inadvertently push in

My old Petzl is a great light so I bought 2 of them new about 10 years ago. The rubber switch wears out after awhile and becomes a small nub a quarter of the size. And only one time did this headlamp turn on by itself in my ditty bag. Of course I always carry 3 spare AAA batts for the thing---and also a micro-mini-mag in case all else fails.

Here's a pic of my headlamp and shows the two buttons---right (in the pic) for turning on and left for high beam. These rubber knobs wear away eventually.

43382

johnnybgood
08-06-2018, 14:06
Maybe once had this happen with Wal-Mart brand headlamp years ago. I have a petzl with the thick membrane which requires a firm press to activate. The BD Spot has a locking mechanism function for purposes of when headlamp is stowed away in a backpack.

peakbagger
08-06-2018, 16:32
I have a Petzl E lamp that runs on a lithium coin cell in the bottom of my pack for a backup. It has bombproof rotary switch. My regular Tikka plus has a recessed pushbutton, I have never had an issue, but of course I wouldn't as I carrying a backup ;)

Slo-go'en
08-06-2018, 17:20
Yes, I have a cheap Ozark Trails headlamp. Taking a closer look, I think I can solve the problem by putting a stiff cover over the switches, which are slightly recessed. Hold in place with a rubber band.

jefals
08-06-2018, 18:41
if something in your pack is pushing against that button, it seems like a few seconds delay might not help. I have my headlamp in a ziplok sandwich bag, with a battery out. turn the battery around -- that should work too, I guess.

Puddlefish
08-06-2018, 19:26
I have a Petzl E lamp that runs on a lithium coin cell in the bottom of my pack for a backup. It has bombproof rotary switch. My regular Tikka plus has a recessed pushbutton, I have never had an issue, but of course I wouldn't as I carrying a backup ;)

I use my Petzl E lamp as my main lamp. I don't hike on trails with it, but it's perfect for camp/tent tasks. I've washed the thing twice, works perfectly.

MtDoraDave
08-06-2018, 19:44
This has happened several times with two different headlights. Now, I clip it to the outside of the pack and tuck it into the mesh pocket to keep it from flopping around.

saltysack
08-06-2018, 21:29
Zebra definitely a bad azz headlamp Ive used for several years in salt water, sand etc and never a problem.....wanted a rechargeable option and save lil wt so bought a Nitecore NU25 rechargeable that has a safety feature to prevent accidental turn ons...so far very pleased as should be great for trips when am already carrying 10k charger for phone..its plastic as the others but weights only 1oz...zebra is aluminum around 2oz.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Wise Old Owl
08-06-2018, 21:34
Unbelievable. Sounds a little like a user issue,,, take the batteries out till you need them 43387

blw2
08-06-2018, 22:33
yeah, I rant about them too...but for different reason. I really don't like having to toggle through high/medium/low/red....or is it low/med/high/red..... Seems like every one I've had I remember some instructions about how if you stand facing north with your tongue sticking out and right while standing on one foot and press and hold the button for three seconds, then double click it...that it will then turn on straight away to one of the modes...but I can never remember which set of directions for which mode....
so I find myself toggling through them all, just to get to get to the one I want.

I've had similar problems as your irritation with slide switches and also with different buttons on other devices too...calculators come to mind, and also some tools such as multi meters, digital calipers.
I remember on one device I had, don't remember what it was but I remember doing a hack by attaching a sort of fence around the button to recess it, reducing the chance of it getting pushed when stowed. On that particular thing I remember not being very successful, but maybe you could have better luck...just a thought

or another thought, perhaps some sort of foam wrap or stick it into a foam tube of some sort...might shield it enough but still be light weight and flexible

u.w.
08-07-2018, 11:49
hmmm... I've been using the same twelve and a half dollar walmart 150 lumen headlamp for years now. It's been in unbelievable rains many, many times, plenty sweaty too. Batteries last surprisingly long - say 'bout a month & that's pretty decent early pre-sunrise use every morning & maybe a little after sunset use here and there.
I keep it in an outside 'pocket' (stretch fabric) or around my neck & (let me find some wood to knock on here) have yet to have an issue with it turning on when in pack or not wanted (knocking on wood now). It's an ozark trail brand, one red mode (hold the button down to turn on) and two white mode (bright and dim).

All that to say - I'm careful of where I put it in my pack and do keep it in an outside pocket. That seems to work for me, and might be a solution for you.

u.w.

Maineiac64
08-07-2018, 12:38
I take battery out and stow in plastic bag with my cables and extra batteries. I mark the batteries Im using so I know which are spares.

Recalc
08-07-2018, 13:21
Store the headlamp my GSI Outdoors Infinity Mug. No issues.

Sailing_Faith
08-07-2018, 14:02
I like black diamonds for the lock.... I would not find taking the battery out to be practice as most of the time you need a light it is dark out... fishing out batteries for the bottom of your pack sounds like a lower quality entertainment activity to me....

Five Tango
08-07-2018, 19:41
My Princeton Tech light has red,high,low beam capability.Three taps on the button lock or unlock it.Press once for red,again for high,hold it down for low.Works great and has never accidentally turned on.I do carry a hand held pen light for when I want white light as bugs love white light and a headlamp brings them to eye level.quickly at night.I cant remember what I paid for the light but it was in line with all the others as I recall.

Pringles
08-07-2018, 20:37
When rafting, I use a PB headlamp (for backpacking I use a sliding Petzl). I put the PB headlamp in a small yogurt cup with a lid. Most yogurt brands have gone to sealed tops rather than reuseable tops, but the last time I looked there were still a couple brands that would work. MMM, yogurt.

johnnybgood
08-07-2018, 21:26
[QUOTE=Pringles;2218646]When rafting, I use a PB headlamp (for backpacking I use a sliding Petzl). I put the PB headlamp in a small yogurt cup with a lid. Most yogurt brands have gone to sealed tops rather than reuseable tops, but the last time I looked there were still a couple brands that would work.

Pringles travel containers are a perfect size. I thought of this thanks in large part to your screen name :)

LittleTim
08-07-2018, 22:06
My Princeton Tech light has red,high,low beam capability.Three taps on the button lock or unlock it.Press once for red,again for high,hold it down for low.Works great and has never accidentally turned on.I do carry a hand held pen light for when I want white light as bugs love white light and a headlamp brings them to eye level.quickly at night.I cant remember what I paid for the light but it was in line with all the others as I recall.

Mine was about $25 on some deal. I love that the first push of the button is low red, then the rest depending on what you want.

I'm still a novice, but the method that's been working for me is having the light in a very small ziplock hard container that nests in my cookpot with the alchy stove and various other little stuffs. Come dinner time put headlamp on head or around the neck, eat dinner, put pot set in foodbag, hang appropriately, sleep, fetch foodbag, coffee, headlamp back in its home (cookpot), keep on hiking, repeat.
But that works for me since I'm only really eating a dinner and the rest of the day is a continuous grazing session.

Pringles
08-07-2018, 22:36
Johnnybgood, I got my trail name because an old hiking partner kept telling me that one should put their Waterford Crackers in a Pringles canister so they didnt break. I ended up not caring much for the Waterford Crackers, but I could put any kind of cracker in the Pringles canisters. We would hike separately, and ask others if they had seen the other hiker. Often, she would report that people said, Oh, she was eating Pringles. Theyd get a happy, dreamy look on their face. When I tell people Im Pringles, most get a happy grin.

jefals
08-08-2018, 04:55
I like black diamonds for the lock.... I would not find taking the battery out to be practice as most of the time you need a light it is dark out... fishing out batteries for the bottom of your pack sounds like a lower quality entertainment activity to me....
Works for me, tho, cause I'm always stopping before the sun goes down, so I have plenty of time to insert the batteries.
Plus, when I'm wearing the black diamond I have a spare petzyl in my pocket: (I like having a backup lamp).
While hiking, headlamps, batteries and spares are all in my hip belt pocket, so easy to get at.

Leo L.
08-08-2018, 07:22
In the old days of incandescent lamps after multiple incidents with lamps gone ON in the pack, I soldered a second switch into my old Petzl.
Others unplugged one of the battery poles, which was very good advice if in wet environment to avoid leakage current caused by the mix of dirt and humidity inside a heavily used lamp.

The modern Petzls I have never got switched on in the pack, no problem here.
As I seldom really use my headlamp, but just carry it in case I could need it sometimes, I usually stick a tiny flap of plastic between one battery pole and the corresponding contact in the case. Just to be double safe.