Princeton Tec Scout, retail $19.95 (
Manufactured by Princeton Tec (
Last updated 02-16-08

The Princeton Tec Scout is a small LED headlamp. It uses two white LEDs, powered by four CR2032 lithium coin cells. These cells help to keep the Scout's size and weight small, and these batteries aren't as hard to find as some others out there.

I don't believe the Scout was meant to be used as your primary headlamp, but as your backup headlamp for when or if your primary headlamp becomes lost, stolen, stepped on & broken, falls into deep water and goes glub glub glub all the way to the bottom, or quits working.


The PT Scout is ready to go as soon as you remove it from the package. If you have good fingernails, opening the package is a tool-free process; just "peel apart" the two plastic halves (the package is hinged at the bottom), and remove your Scout. It comes with a set of batteries already installed, so you don't have to buy and install them first.

The Scout offers five lighting modes: high, medium, low, slow blink, and faster blink.
These modes are accessed by pressing and releasing the pushbutton switch on top, within 1.5 seconds of the last button press. The Scout will turn off if the button is pressed once after 2 seconds or more of the last button press, so you do not have to cycle through all the modes to get your Scout to shut off.

The Scout has a clip built into it that allows you to affix the light to the bill of a baseball hat, a pocket, a belt, a pants wasteband, or other similar fabric edge. The light head can be swivelled up and down to point exactly where you need without having to remove it from whatever you clipped it on.

The Scout's primary use though, is as a headlamp. The headband is made out of an elastic (stretchy) material, and is adjustable in size via the buckles on the back of the strap. The headband is a two-point system. A strap across the top is not necessary because the Scout is very lightweight.

The PT Scout on a flashlight tester's head.

Once you have it fitted to your head, you can adjust the angle of the Scout by pivoting the light body up or down as you see fit.

To change the batteries in your Scout, unfold the light body from the headband assembly all the way (about 180 degrees), turn the light body upside-down, and take a #0 phillips screwdriver to unscrew and remove the screw. Set the screw aside. Flip the light over so the LEDs and window now face up. Remove the top half of the light, and set that aside too.

Remove the four used CR2032 cells from the two chambers, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert two new CR2032 cells into one chamber, flat (+) positive side up. Do the same thing with two more cells in the other chamber. Place the top half of the light onto the bottom half, and press gently until the two halves join together with very little or no seam visible at the edges. Turn the light over, and screw in the screw you took out earlier. Test the light to be sure it works correctly, and there, you're done with it.

I don't have any current readings because they cannot be taken in the Scout due to the way it was built.

Advertised battery life is:
24 hours in "high" mode.
36 hours in "medium" mode.
48 hours in "low" mode.

Like the other micro headlamp I evaluated a short time ago, the Scout appears to be durable. Since I cannot swing the Scout against a steel rod because the table hosting it is running a test on another product, and since beating the Scout against the rod would probably queer the test, I swung the Scout against the front of this table several times instead, and did not destroy or damage it in any fashion.

The Scout is probably at very minimum weather-resistant, but I don't believe it is waterproof or submersible. So although a little rain or snow shouldn't hurt it, please try not to drop it in creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceansides, docksides, puddles of kangaroo rat pee, slush piles, mud puddles, tubs, toilets, sinks, fishtanks, dog water dishes, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. If you know or suspect it got flooded, take it apart (as you would for a battery change) and set the parts in a warm, dry place for a day or so to be sure it's dry before you reassemble it. If it fell into seawater or if something peed on it, douche the parts off with fresh water before setting them out to dry. You don't want your Scout to smell like seaweed or piss when you go to use it next. Salt (from seawater or pee) can't be very good for the Scout, its switch, its circuit, or its batteries, so you'll want that stuff washed out.
There are no O-rings on the Scout to offer any environmental protection; so "weather-resistant" maybe; "waterproof or submersible" no.

The Scout is a nifty little headlamp that you can just stuff into a backpack or bag until needed. It's very small and tidy, and it doesn't need a three point strap system because it's so lightweight. So you can just throw it on and turn the light on, and it will serve you well.

The switch is shielded under a tab when the Scout is folded to its fully upright position, and for this reason should not easily turn itself on in a backpack, bag, or box.

Beam photograph at ~12".
Measures 37,600mcd on "high".
Measures 23,300mcd on "medium".
Measures 11,300mcd on "low".

All measurements were taken on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

The light has a slightly bluish-white central hotspot with a white corona.
This is a normal characteristic of white LEDs, and is nothing whatsoever to be concerned about.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this headlamp.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Test sample was sent by D.K. of along with five other lights, and was received on 05-10-04.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

Very good brightness for a little two-banger
Appears to be reasonably durable

Batteries could be difficult to find or expensive in an emergency

    MANUFACTURER: Princeton Tec
    PRODUCT TYPE: Small headlamp
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm white LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 2
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood with good corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton on/off/mode change on top of light
    BEZEL: LEDs partially inset into plastic cowlings, protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 4 CR2032 lithium coin cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: Yes, weather-resistant at minimum
    ACCESSORIES: Batteries
    SIZE: 1.75"W x 1"H x 0.5"D
    WEIGHT: 1.6oz. with batteries
    WARRANTY: Lifetime


    Star Rating

Princeton Tec Scout *

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