Author Topic: Fenix HP 10 headlamp  (Read 1660 times)

Offline Fulk

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Fenix HP 10 headlamp
« on: February 17, 2011, 01:45:33 pm »

Some time ago I was in the market for a modern LED lamp to replace my ‘old faithful’ FX3; I didn’t fancy the ‘ubiquitous’ Petzl Duo because it did not seem to be very bright – unless you changed it with a Bif-type modification . . . not such a bad idea if you have an old one you want to update, but not such a good idea if starting from scratch.
   The Sten and Scurion lights were out of the question on account of cost, but I came across references to the Fenix HP 10 light on the NSS web-site. The comments posted there are generally favourable; it seemed that it is small, compact, waterproof and fairly sturdy, and it uses four AA cells, so I bought one last September.
   First impressions were good. There are four levels of light output (plus some flashing modes that I cannot see the point of). Level 1 is dim – OK for sitting round having a rest or chocolate break (claimed output – 7 lumens for 210 hours); level 2 is adequate for caving on in smaller passages (claimed output – 50 lumens for 22 hours); level 3 is a good bright light (claimed output – 120 lumens for 7.5 hours); and level 4 is brighter still for ‘spotting’ but can only be used for ~2½ minutes, after which it reverts back to level 3 (claimed output – 225 lumens for 2.5 hours).
   The HP 10 is easy to fit to a helmet if it has ‘lugs’ such as those on the Ecrin Roc, though in addition I added a strap round the battery case and fixed the headlamp unit to the lamp bracket on my helmet with a cable tie; I guess it wouldn’t be quite so easy for helmets lacking these lugs.
   The light pattern is basically a beam with a diffuse circle of dimmer light round it – at 2 m the central beam is ~37 cm in diameter, while the dimmer diffuse circle is about 2.2 m in diameter. I find that this light pattern suits me, though some people on the NSS site have commented unfavourably on it, saying that the beam is too tight.
   I find that in virtually all circumstances the light on level 3 is excellent for general caving. Using rechargeable (2650 mAh) cells it lasts about 8 hours. I guess that if you were on a expedition, or going on really long trips, then you could cave on ‘level 2’ – or you could just carry some spare AAs! I must admit that I have not really ‘abused’ it yet, by using it in mucky wet caves.
   One somewhat annoying feature of the light is that the main on/off switch can be pressed by accident if the lamp is in a rucksack or tackle bag; I allow for this (if I remember to do so) by changing to level 1 before switching the lamp off, on the grounds that if it gets switched on by accident, battery drainage will be minimal.
   Well, I guess that the HP 10 can’t compare with the likes of the Scurion and the Sten . . . but at £50 (as compared with ~£290 for the cheapest Sten, £398 for the cheapest Scurion and £372 for the Viper) I reckon it represents good value for money.