PRINCETON TEC QUAD
BY WILLIAM RICE
January 13, 2008
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
5' 7" (1.70 m)
145 lb (65.80 kg)
I began backpacking at the age of 13 when I first went to summer camp (1993). In 1999, I started working with a college tripping organization in outdoor trip logistics (in gear preparation), and then as a leader. My most frequented hiking locations are in the Carolina Appalachians and the Smoky Mountains during the cold early spring and the summer. I stopped being a trip leader in 2004, and now I average about 4 backpacking trips and 4 day hikes per year. I carry between 25 and 35 lbs (11.3-15.8 kg) on multi-day trips.
Princeton Tec Quad (Headlamp)
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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Manufacturer: Princeton Tech
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Listed weight with batteries: 3.386 Ounces (96 Grams)
Measured weight with batteries: 3.53 Ounces (100 Grams)
Listed Dimensions: 2.4”x6.2”x1.9” (6.1x15.7x4.86 mm) plus an elastic headband
Measured Dimensions: 2.0”x2.0”x3.5” (5.08x5.08x8.89 cm) packed with wrapped band
Battery Type: AAA (Duracell Alkaline included) x3
MSRP not listed
Power: 21 Lumens
Bulb Burn Time (Bulb Life): not listed
Battery Burn Time (Battery Life): 150 hours (Flash), 50 hours (High), 70 hours (Medium), 150 hours (Low)
Illumination distance: 12m, 18m, 28m (39.4 ft, 59 ft, 91.8 ft)
The Quad came in a plastic hanging molded pack full assembled. It included the batteries but I had to put them in. A 1” thick elastic band came with the headlamp and was already attached. Spare bulbs were not included.
Note: I struggled for some time to try and find out how to change the LEDs. The website had no “Owner's Manual” type information, so I was even more frustrated because I don't remember it coming with a manual. So, I finally gave up and emailed Princeton Tec. They responded within 3 days and told me that the bulbs are not replaceable, but if they ever fail, I can call them and they will replace the entire unit. Altogether a really annoying ordeal, but with a great answer in the end.
The case for the light is hard plastic, black in color, with a clear front window to the light itself. This front window protects the LEDs (4) from damage. The switch is a rubber button on top of the light, yellow in color. The band is elastic (1”/2.53 cm wide) and soft. The band is attached to the light with a notched hinge, that allows 6 choices for light angle ranging from straight out to almost straight down .
The Light operates by pressing the rubberized button located on top of the lamp. Pressing once will turn it on in the highest mode, and subsequent presses will cycle it through the other modes (medium, low, flash, then off). A pause of more than a few seconds in between presses will stop this cycling mode option and the next press will turn the light off. Changing the batteries involves turning a screw using either a coin or the plastic piece on the strap adjustment. The strap adjustment is a typical slide buckle with a double back. There is also a red LED on the front of the light that indicates battery life. As the batteries wear down (indicated by the flashing LED), the lamp itself will sometimes flash 3 times in the middle of constant beam use. It does not do this more than once every half hour though, so I had otherwise uninterrupted use.
I have used the Quad on a few overnight trips. It has never seen rain, but it has been completely submersed in water while being cleaned (bumped it off a rock into a creek). The circuitry was not compromised. I have dropped it on packed gravel/sand type ground from about waist height several times without any permanent damage. I have also stepped on it in the dark in tennis shoes and had it not crush or get damaged. My QUAD has also been left on a picnic table overnight, and morning dew didn't affect its performance.
It has worked great for fiddling around camp. For me, the light output, even in the low setting, has been mostly adequate. On low, the light creates a 42” (1.068 m) circle at 16” (0.41 m) distance from the ground. It does illuminate outside this circle, but trails off rapidly. This has made it easy for me to cook with and to look for things in my tent. I have actually rarely needed to use more than the low setting due to the brightness. I have put it on high for midnight bathroom breaks while trekking away from a campsite and finding my way back. As the batteries wear out, the brightness differences seem to fade, but light output is still substantial. I would feel comfortable hiking at night with the distance and width of the light that it puts out, especially on the high mode. The ground 6 ft (1.8 m) in front of me was still really well lit, so walking on uneven ground was easy. I also use the lamp on low mode in my room to read by.
Lately, my battery indicator light has been blinking a little. Also, it appears that as the batteries wear out, the difference in the light intensities gets smaller. Now, as I switch through the modes, there is a split second of dimming when I push the button, but each mode is of the same intensity. While it is on though, the intensity stays the same. This is one of the benefits of a regulated LED. The temperature range that I have used it in is pretty moderate (50 F degree nights and 80 F degree days, 10 C to 26.6 C).
The Quad has been a really rugged, lightweight light for my backpacking and indoor, hands-free usages. Since I don't use much light, the low mode has provided me with really really long life for the first set of batteries. It has also been extremely comfortable and I don't get bothered with having an accessory on my head as I have with other lamps.
Things I like:
Things I don't like:
1. Not able to replace LEDs.
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