Author Topic: Customduo omni v42 review  (Read 464 times)

Offline ObviousSpectre

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Customduo omni v42 review
« on: June 08, 2019, 11:21:53 pm »
This is my review of customduo's latest addition to their omni series, the v42. I would like to preface this review by stating that I am not in any way affiliated with customduo nor am I being paid to endorse their stuff. This is also the first customduo product that I've ever bought and so sadly can't compare it to any of the previous omni's.

I got my hands on the v42 a few weeks ago when it first came out, as an upgrade to my Duo 5 LED as I was getting tired of my mates with their much cheaper however much more brighter Chinese lights from Amazon putting my Duo to shame and to be honest, 60 lumen wasn't really cutting it for me anyway and as I have recently discovered the joys of SRT and I had begun to encounter deeper pitches and avens that my Duo could not light. I also found the halogen light on the original Duo to be rather useless as the 'spot' it generates is only about a foot wide and really warm so it's hard to appreciate formations using it as they all appear a dull amber.

The delivery of the insert was fast and it arrived in a couple of days, along with the small remote control that you can use to mess with the lighting profiles. Installation was dead easy, even with my eager and slightly heavy handed approach I managed to get the insert inserted easily, all that's needed is to remove the grey bezel and window and then pull out the LED's from their socket and unscrew the halogen bulb and then the reflector should just fall out. I expected delicate and complex circuitry to just fall out of the light at this point but fortunately it didn't and instead there was a flat bit with an obvious socket previously occupied by the LED array that the insert clipped straight into. Only problem with this process was the grease from the window O-ring got all over my hands and I ended up getting the components all greasy although with a bit of caution this could have been avoided.

Programming the light was an interesting experience, I'm glad that there was the little remote as I'm pretty sure that dealing with all the different profiles and options with just the one button as with the old omni, I would have been in a muddle pretty quickly.    A little bit about the remote itself, I did have to go out and buy a silver disc battery for it, as it's not included, the buttons on the remote have also started to peel off although so far I have just pushed them back on and they seem to be staying for the time being, they are all part of this one plastic piece that goes over the circuit board so each button just pushes a part of the board. Overall the build quality of the remote is pretty low but it only costs £2.50 and you can easily buy replacements from the customduo shop. The instructions on the website were useful to programme the light modes, I opted for 5, keeping the original 4 and adding full flood to the 5th. You can programme up to 9 settings into the light that you can scroll through using the on-off switch, although 9 seems excessive and you'll probably never need more than 6. I also managed to dazzle myself whilst programming the light as it is still bright even in the dimmed 'programming' mode. Overall the programming process is easy and can be done quickly although it's easy to get sucked into the trap of messing with loads of combinations of flood and spot and getting them in the right order to maximise efficiency whilst caving.

Now for the main part of the review, how well does the insert actually light stuff up? I did my testing of the insert across a couple of trips in the peaks. Firstly was Giant's hole doing the classic round trip and then Oxlow about a week later. The operation of the on-off switch was fiddly at first and I kept turning the thing off or onto the 'moon mode' by accident and getting mixed up with which setting was which, although I got used to it after a while.I had been in Giant's with my Duo still with it's stock LEDs and halogen bulb a few weeks prior and the difference was quite noticeable, especially on the footage from my Gopro. Previously I was unable to see the bottom of Garland's from the top of the pitch, hell, you could barely make out much of the crabwalk on my Gopro footage on the 5 LED setting. However with the customduo insert, Garlands was very nicely lit using the full power of the spot and flood which allowed the camera a good view as well and the crabwalk was lit up very nicely by just the lowest flood setting. I used the second power level of the flood by itself for much of the trip (182 lumen according the website) and this provided more than adequate light for movement as well as looking down pitches for belaying and videos of the crabwalk and windpipe. The full power mode was used to help light photographs of the pretties just before the windpipe as well as Maggins rift. I found the 'moon mode' useful for checking the battery level as went along, the extra flash that the light does when the first lighting mode is selected was also useful when selecting settings as its easy to get lost in the list of settings especially at higher power modes where lots of them look the same. When I exited the cave I found that the indicator showed only 1 out of 5 'power units' left, this didn't surprise me as I used the higher lighting modes often as the trip was only a short one. I am yet to test the run time of the light modes for myself but I will add the results of these to this post later on, I found that the stock Duo lasted for ages 24+ hrs on the low setting, albeit with a lower output after around 20hrs but this light would still be enough for a stranded caver to use whilst waiting for rescue. I hope that the lowest setting on the inserts flood mode will surpass this as the LED is supposed to be more power efficient. The insert performed well in Oxlow too, the chambers being larger than those in Giant's required a higher output and I used the high flood and spot combo frequently in the East chamber, although this didn't light all of it up and the far end of it remained hidden in the shadows as well as the roof. I used the 2nd flood option by itself again for much of my SRT and general progression and this did a good job, even lighting the bigger passages below the third pitch. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to make it to the West chamber and so could not test the insert there. Upon exiting I checked the battery level to find that I still had 2 'power units' left.

Overall, I would recommend the insert strongly to anyone wanting to upgrade the punch of their Duo. If you are currently caving on a 5 LED Duo, get out of the dark ages and get an upgrade. If you need help justifying the £70 price tag, remember that  more light is more visibility and so a brighter light is safer one also. The programming and installation of the insert is also straightforward and there is loads of info on the website about how to do it all. 

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Customduo omni v42 review
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 11:41:50 am »
 :thumbsup:

One comment on your review.  You don't mention the battery pack you use?

The cost of the Omni V5 back in the day pushed me to the side and spot setup bought separately.  Compared to the Rude Nora though, Helmet, lamp and upgrade was still much lumens for little wonga.

Caving with Scurion users though is still dazzling.

Offline ObviousSpectre

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Re: Customduo omni v42 review
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 01:35:00 pm »
:thumbsup:

One comment on your review.  You don't mention the battery pack you use?

The cost of the Omni V5 back in the day pushed me to the side and spot setup bought separately.  Compared to the Rude Nora though, Helmet, lamp and upgrade was still much lumens for little wonga.

Caving with Scurion users though is still dazzling.

That’s a good point Ian. For those wondering I use the normal 4x AA battery pack with 4 fancy Duracell rechargeable NiMH batteries. These are worth the cost imo as they seem to provide a brighter output than cheap batteries and can be charged quickly between trips.

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Customduo omni v42 review
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 03:05:24 pm »
I'm impressed with the Ikea Ladda 2450mAh pack you can get for under £7 in the shop
They spec match the Eneloop Pro which are the bees knees.

Though whichever you prefer,  I think a second set of 4 is wise.

Offline JasonC

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Re: Customduo omni v42 review
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 05:27:27 pm »
Thanks for the review.  It's clearly moved on a bit since my Omni v4 - being able to program your own settings is an interesting development!

I find the v4 pretty good, though occasionally in big chambers envy those with the likes of Scurions.

One slight niggle is the function that indicates battery charge level (a double-click gives between 1 and 5 red flashes) - when caving on a far-from-fresh set of batteries, it might give one or two flashes, which feels right given that the light is starting to fade.  But when I get home, and the light's been off for a few hours, it will cheerfully give me 4 or 5 flashes, apparently indicating the batteries are good for another longish trip.

Why does this matter?  I don't go caving very often, and use a set of 4 AA non-rechargeable batteries (I know - rechargeables are better, but when you can get 6 decent alkaline AAs for £1 in the pound shop....) - so often find it hard to remember how many hours the current set have done.  So I always carry a spare new set anyway, but it's just a bit annoying that this useful feature doesn't behave consistently.