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Avalanche 2 Headlamp


Avalanche 2 Headlamp, retail $TBA (http://www.tek-tite.com)
Manufactured by TEKTITE
Last updated: April 12 2001


LED Light

WHAT IS IT:
The Avalanche 2 is a "miner style" white LED headlight. Housed in a rough & tumble plastic case, the light is designed to be affixed to the head using a stable, 2 strap system, and it has an adjustable power head to put the light right where you need it with the flick of the wrist.

SIZE:

USING THE LIGHT:
The headlamp is powered by 3 "AA" cells, which were pre-installed in the test unit.
There are two straps used to affix the light to your head: a long loop that fits all around the head from front to back, and a shorter piece that goes over the top of your head to keep the light from falling down and ending up around your neck.

Hold the larger strap with both hands so the power head hangs straight down, and put it on your head like a hat. You can easily adjust both straps to get a good fit for both your head diameter and for how high or low you wish it to rest on your head.

Turning the cylindrical part of the head clockwise turns the Avalanche on, and turning it the other way shuts it off. The head turns very easily, and as such it can be turned on & off even with cold or wet hands.

To adjust the aim, just tilt the head up or down until the light is shining where you need it.


TIME FOR A CHANGE:

To install batteries in the Avalanche, locate the small tab on one corner of the battery box and lift away the soft rubber door. Install three "AA" cells in the compartment, following the polarity markings embossed inside. Press the battery door back in place and seal it around the flange on the battery box like you might the lid on a Tupperware container. The door is flexible rubber, and works just like Tupperware.

A spare bulb is hidden in a small compartment on the pylon that attaches the light to the head strap system. This will be discussed a bit later on.

Battery life for either lamp is not published, so this will have to be determined.


THE PUNISHMENT ZONE:
The Avalanche has some good points and some bad ones.
Let's get some of the bad points out of the way first.

First and foremost, the light feels really heavy and doesn't feel like it's on you really well, even with the straps tightened to their smallest size or when worn with a hat. It always feels like it could fall off at any moment.

Secondly, and this is more minor, the beam from the LEDs looks more irregular than that of most other LED flashlights. Some of that can be seen on the test firing, even though the brightness of the LEDs washed it out somewhat.
Using a faceted reflector would have largely eliminated this problem.

The light claims to be waterproof, but the seals look awfully cheesy to me. I highly doubt it will stay dry inside when it ends up in the tub or the fishtank in the latter stages of its testing.

Finally, the LED lamp itself appears to have been hastily and poorly manufactured. Both LEDs are cockeyed, and the assembly was not potted or sealed in any manner. A heat conducting epoxy would have been a good choice to use as a sealant, but there is no sealant of any kind here.

LED Light
Bright, but slightly irregular beam

Now let's get to some of the light's better points:
The light is very easy to turn on and off, and can be done with cold, wet, or gloved hands. The large sized head turns easily.

Cheap and common batteries that can be changed without tools - that's another +.

The Avalanche also comes with an incandescent lamp, hidden in the pylon between the power head and the base. So if you need something much brighter than the LEDs can give, you can quickly swap out the lamp and turn it into a regular headlamp. And although I was not terribly impressed with the brightness or beam quality from the incandescent, it is brighter than the LEDs and will serve its purpose. The Avalanche needs to be removed from your head to change lamps, as the head strap must be pulled up to access the bulb. This won't affect the adjustment of the strap once you've changed bulbs, so don't worry about getting a nice fit and then having to lose it over a stupid bulb... that won't happen.


LED Light
The unexpectedly front-heavy and too-tight light being "field tested".
All I need now is a coal miner's daughter... sorry, I had to say it!! :) :)




Overall brightness compares to that of the Petzl Tikka, but the Avalanche's irregular beam profile isn't as nice as the Tikka's smooth, soft edged beam. For two LEDs, it is more than adequate though.

TEST NOTES:

To be able to properly assess fitting problems, I will have to obtain a mountaineer's or caver's helmet, and try affixing the Avalanche to it.

Any updates related to this review will be posted as they happen.




PROS:
Reasonably durable construction, uses cheap & common batteries, easy aim head, easy turn switch.

CONS:
Seems topheavy or frontheavy, feels like it's about to fall off even though it isn't. May take longer to acclimate to this light than it might for other headlamps. Free-turning head opens up the possibility of unwanted activation. Poorly-made LED lamp.


            MANUFACTURER: Rondy
            PRODUCT TYPE: Head or helmet mounted torch
            LAMP TYPE: LED, White, 5mm
            No. OF LAMPS: 2
            BEAM TYPE: Irregular, central hot spot with soft fall-off
            SWITCH TYPE: Twist type bezel
            BEZEL: Plastic lens
            BATTERY: 3 AA cells
            CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured
            WATER RESISTANT: Light weather resistance only
            SUBMERSIBLE: No!
            ACCESSORIES: Duracell batteries
            WARRANTY: None shown on package
            SIZE: 2" diameter head, 2.5" depth (not including bracket)
            WEIGHT:4.98 oz. empty, 7.0 oz. full




            PRODUCT RATING:

            DURABILITY: --
            BRIGHTNESS: --
            USEABILITY: --
            BATTERY LIFE: --
            BATTERY AVAILABILITY: --

            OVERALL SCORE: --



Avalanche 2 * WWW.TEK-TITE.COM



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