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  1. #1

    Default Rant: Push button on/off headlamps

    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 AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  2. #2
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    While I have worried about this, I have never had the problem. Perhaps your headlamp has an overly sensitive switch?
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  3. #3

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    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.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    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.
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    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.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  6. #6

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    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
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    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).

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    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

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    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.

    petzl_tikka_xp_f.jpg

  10. #10
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    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.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  11. #11

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    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

  12. #12

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    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.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Default Rant: Push button on/off headlamps

    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.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    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.

  15. #15

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    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.

  16. #16
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    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.


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  17. #17
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Unbelievable. Sounds a little like a user issue,,, take the batteries out till you need them nsh.gif
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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    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

  19. #19

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    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.

  20. #20
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    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.

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