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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Underwater Kinetics Vizion > Test Report by James E. Triplett
Vizion™ 3AAA eLED Headlamp
Waterproof All Weather LED Headlamp
by James E. Triplett
Initial Report - July 18, 2008
Field Report - September 29, 2008
Long Term Report - December 2, 2008
Personal Biographical Information:
I am an
experienced hiker, backpacker, and camper, and am gaining more
experience with winter camping every year. I hike every day,
backpack when possible, which leads to many weekends backpacking and
camping each year. I try and take at least one annual
backpacking trip in addition to many one to three-night weekend
trips. My style can best be described as
not at the cost of giving up too much comfort. I generally
in a tent, and seem to be collecting quite a few of them to choose from.
Additional UK Vizion information:
(from the Underwater Kinetics website)
July 18, 2008
This headlamp is pretty cool looking, and nothing like any of the several other lights I have used over the years. UK (Underwater Kinetics) specializes in injection molded materials, and LED lighting, specifically for wet or underwater applications. The Vizion was found in the "Utility" section of their website. The single LED light source is housed in a plastic cylinder which has angle and beam adjustments incorporated into the ends of the cylinder, and the three AAA batteries and the light source itself are within the cylinder. This assembly fits into a 2-piece injected molded housing which is what holds the lamp to a wide, over one inch (2.8 cm), headband.
The two cylinders simply pull apart and can then be removed from the headband and holder.
The Underwater Kinetics website lists the colors available for the Vizion, but doesn't show any examples other than the black model in the picture. I took a shot in the dark and requested the Eco Green model, and it is a nice color. Opening the specification sheet (downloadable PDF file) from the Underwater Kinetics website I later learned that some models have a Black/Silver headband (like the one I received), while a couple of models have a camouflage strap listed. I would have requested a different color if I had realized this, but the one I received still looks pretty cool. Also on the specification sheet (and not on the website) I found the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $31.95 US.
2-piece injection molded housing.
While I have found most headlamps to be rather intuitive as to their operation, this one is a little different. To adjust the beam from "spot" to "diffuse" to "red" a cylinder is rotated so that the outer most material rotates around placing different filters over the light source. In a somewhat similar fashion, the beam direction can be adjusted by rotating the entire lamp assembly up and down. The power switch is incorporated into one end of the cylinder and is activated by pressing a big soft rubber cover. Interestingly, to switch from high power to low power you must activate the button three times. The sequence is High-Off-Low-Off. Not what I'm used to but certainly simple enough to use.
Camp lantern setup, with the red filter rotated over the LED.
Another innovative idea is the fact that the lamp cylinder assembly can be removed from the headband and molded plastic frame, and used as a camp light. By pulling on the two ends of the lamp assembly, the batteries, LED, and beam angle adjustment core comes out one side, and the power switch and beam diffuser cylinder comes out the other side. These two halves can then be reassembled without using the holder, and at least at first glance, the lamp module seems rather stable sitting on one end with the power switch pointing upward.
The Vizion uses a single LED which is mounted in the black material in the center of the picture.
Batteries, LED, and even Further Inspection:
Removing the three Duracell AAA batteries (which came installed in the headlamp) I can see the single white 0.5 watt LED sitting under a lens. While many headlamps designs are going to more and more LEDs, the Vizion only has one. The lens mounted over the LED disperses the light into a broader pattern, kind of like a headlight lens would on an automobile. The three batteries mount in typical fashion, with a spring contact on one end of the battery and a fixed contact on the other end. However, two of the three batteries go in, in the opposite direction of what I would expect. I am accustom to the negative end of the battery, the flat end, being installed against the spring, while the positive end, with the little nub, goes against the fixed contact. One battery goes in this way, and the other two go the opposite way. This is conveyed with "+" stickers at the appropriate end, and I sure hope the stickers stay in place.
Despite all three battery springs at the same end, one of the batteries mounts in the opposite direction. There are + signs for each battery.
Comfort and Fit:
The headband is soft and wide, and trying the Vizion headlamp on for the first time indicated it would be comfortable to wear. The batteries, LED, and housing are all at the front of the setup, so all but the weight of the headband itself is against the wearer's forehead. Still, the model I received weighs in at 4.0 oz (113 g) with the included alkaline batteries, and despite that being as much as a quarterpounder hamburger, it's not that much weight and the headlamps sits securely in place.
Brightness: 29 lumen on high, 18 lumen on low
Distance Seen: 305 ft / 93 m
Burn Time: 74 hours on high, 127 hours on low
Depth Tested: 33 ft / 10 m
I plan to use the Underwater Kinetics Vizion 3AAA eLED Headlamp for all my illumination needs during the test period. Initially this will be primarily as a camp light since we're having fairly long days of daylight during the summer. Later in the test period I anticipate hiking with the Vizion lamp, as in, actually using it to light my path going down a trail. I intend to report on the battery life and illumination distances per the information above, although I don't have the equipment to take measurements on such things. Most if not all testing will be done in Iowa and Missouri. The average temperature and precipitation data for Eastern Iowa is in the table below. The elevations here range from around 480 feet (145 meters) near the Mississippi river, to around 800 feet (245 meters) around my house.
Initial Report Summary:
The UK Vizion is a sharp looking headlamp which appears to be made out of high quality materials. The design is innovative and seems good in theory. That being said, while playing with the headlamp, including removing the core to see how it works for an area light, I have already experienced an issue. After reassembling the nesting cylinder halves back on the holder and headband I have observed the two halves unscrewing from each other when I try and adjust the beam type or angle. (Note: These cylinders don't thread together, they are just a tight press-fit, but the effect is as if they are unscrewing from each other.) I am very curious to see if the headlamp is waterproof (at least in the rain) and in fact, whether it stays together when making beam adjustments. I hope so!
September 29, 2008Test Conditions:
I have taken the Underwater Kinetics Vizion 3AAA eLED Headlamp on all my backpacking outings since receiving it in July. This has included a 1-day 1-night trip, and a 3-day 3-night trip. Additionally, I have worn the Vizion more and more on morning hikes near my home as the sun comes up later and later and I am now often times back before daylight.
The temperature has ranged from 42 to 90 F (5.5 to 32 C), and I have used the headlamp in a variety of weather conditions. Primarily the weather has been dry, but I have used the Vizion for a total of three hours in the rain, one hour of which was in a fairly heavy downpour.. Total burn time for the headlamp so far is estimated at 12 hours.
The Vizion has been typically worn over a baseball cap during hikes down well-know trails in the area. When hiking in the rain, the Vizion has been over a cap, and under the hood of my rain-shell. In camp, the Vizion has again been worn over a cap, except for a few times of short use when I put it directly on my head. I have also used the headlight in lantern mode, on the ground, a picnic table, or in my tent.
So how has
this single LED headlamp worked? I would have to say pretty
well. The light is very bright and in the "diffused" mode lights
up a broad area, even in the dimmer of the two brightness
settings. In the "spot" mode it casts a beam well down the
trail. What I have noticed in "spot" mode is that I can't angle
the lamp down as far as I would like, so to see directly in front of me
I need to tip my head fairly significantly to illuminate the ground in
the area I'd be taking my next step. This is partially due to
wearing the headlamp over a cap, which I typically do, as the bill of
the cap prevents the headlamp from going any lower on my
forehead. (I've used headlamps both with and without this issue
before.) However, this isn't as noticeable on the Vizion when in
"diffused" mode, and that is where I tend to leave the headlamp.
December 2, 2008Test Conditions:
I have continued to use the Underwater Kinetics Vizion LED Headlamp as my sole lighting device for daily hikes before sun-up and on two overnight trips to Pinnicon Ridge Park here in Eastern Iowa. Temperatures have ranged from about 55 F down to 16 F (13 C down to -9 C). On the overnight trips there wasn't any precipitation. On my day hikes I have been caught twice more in the rain, and have worn the headlamp on two short hikes with snow falling. Estimated burn time for this portion of the test is approximately 25 hours, bringing the total for the complete test to 37 hours.
Respectfully submitted,-James T.
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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Underwater Kinetics Vizion > Test Report by James E. Triplett
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