- Nov 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm #3502927
Just got some Petzl Tikka on clearance from REI, probably discontinued version. Takes three AAA batteries, Instructions say to use alkaline and NOT Lithium, can’t understand why. Lithium puts out the same voltage, just has longer lifetime and better cold weather performance.
Wrote to them, waiting to hear back. Any idea why they say not to use Lithium? I’m tempted to ignore the instructions.Nov 19, 2017 at 8:50 pm #3502936
Instructions say to use alkaline and NOT Lithium,
That Petzl will have an incandescent bulb, not a LED. The alkalines have a much higher voltage drop when loaded compared to the lithiums, which is what the Petzl bulbs are designed for. Using lithiums on those bulbs, with less voltage drop, will overdrive them and burn them out.
Which is why they were on clearance: antique.
If the Petzl really does have a LED, not an incandescent, then I suspect the bloke who wrote the instructions may still be living in the last century.
Nov 19, 2017 at 9:37 pm #3502955
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Roger Caffin.
Roger got me worried there that I bought an incandescent, but I checked and it’s an LED. 180 hrs at 20 lumens, 120 hours at 100 lumens according to the REI page (replaced by new model 60 hrs at 200 lumens, 240 hours at 5 lumen red I believe).
So not sure what’s going on, maybe the warning is leftover from an older model.Nov 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm #3502956
Likely. Petzl were KNOWN for that warning, back then. It did cause some puzzlement at first, until it was understood.
To the best of my knowledge, quite a few cheap torches use 3*AAA lithium to drive a white LED.
cheersNov 20, 2017 at 3:39 am #3503037
Ed TyanichBPL Member
I have used lithium batteries in the Petzl Tikka LED headlamps since they were first introduced and I wrote the first review of the Tikka in North America for Climbing Magazine.
None of my lights have burst into flames or had any adverse reactions to the lithium batteries. However, your experience may be different.Nov 20, 2017 at 6:45 am #3503060
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I use alkalines in the summer and lithiums in the winter in my various Petzel LED lights. Haven’t had a problem. Never burned out an LED.Nov 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm #3503070
Below is a photo of my old Tikka, same vintage to which Ed refers… the first model sold in the USA, anyway. I got it sometime back in the ’90s. It has a set angle for the beam and there is only one power setting: ON. And it is very weak by today’s standards, maybe 40 lumens (??)
My wife still uses it for walking the dog at night, and it has had lithiums in it for years. If it was going to have a problem it would have by now! Still works fine but the slide switch is a bit balky.Nov 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm #3503074
@pastyj-2-2Locale: Signed off
I always considered the lithium restriction to have originated in the Petzl legal dept., not in engineering. Lithium batteries do not present themselves to devices any differently than other AAA batteries. I’m in the “they are just fine” camp along with others.Nov 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm #3503076
originated in the Petzl legal dept., not in engineering
That happens a lot. There is actually a Warning! in the MSR Pocket Rocket instructions to use only MSR cookware, lol.Nov 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm #3503081
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Lithium batteries produce about .2-.4V higher than Alkiline batteries under the same conditions (some conditions will show much higher differences.) For a single cell this is relatively unimportant. However, placing three in series will add up to over a volt. Sometimes this can cause problems with electronic circuitry…LEDs are an example of one such device.Nov 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm #3503083
@pastyj-2-2Locale: Signed off
James – did not know that, thanks for the information.
Given my and others experience though, I will continue to use lithiums :) I’m stubborn.Nov 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm #3503107
Bob…I too have the original Tikka and my switch is balky as well, part of the reason I upgraded to a newer but not the latest model (it was on clearance). I had the problem of leaking alkaline cells, to make the switch problem worse, doused it with Isopropyl and it seems to have cleaned it up, mostly.
Isopropyl likely has too much water, but it’s what I had at the moment. Probably there’s something better.Nov 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm #3503115
Maybe I should give it a tiny shot of WD-40, which seems to work for most things in the Known Universe. :^)Nov 22, 2017 at 5:15 am #3503446
180 hrs at 20 lumens, 120 hours at 100 lumens according to the REI page (replaced by new model 60 hrs at 200 lumens, 240 hours at 5 lumen red I believe)
Just as a FYI, no set of 3 AAA batteries will deliver enough energy to light a LED at 100 lumens for 120 hours or 200 lumens for 60 hrs.
According to Petzl, The measurement is made from when the lamp is turned on until the user cannot move for lack of visibility; this value has been estimated to be 0.25 lux at 2 meters (equivalent to a full moon night).
I did not find any data on what batteries are used, but based on the curve shown on the website it is likely alkaline batteries. Nimh or lithium primary batteries will provide a more constant light output, but will drop off more quickly at the end, especially the lithium primary.
Sorry if this is excessive thread drift but the realization of the sort of advertising quoted above is what turned me off from mainstream headlamps. Of the bunch the Petzl e+lite is still a decent lightweight alternative that provide pretty good output for a long time, due to using two lithium button cells.Nov 22, 2017 at 7:24 am #3503454
The measurement is made from when the lamp is turned on until the user cannot move for lack of visibility; this value has been estimated to be 0.25 lux at 2 meters
Yeah, I have seen that sort of spec, and I reckon it should be reported to whatever Federal agency handles deceptive advertising. It is a total fraud, because anyone who reads it casually will think they mean full illumination for that time. If Petzl are doing this, I would not buy Petzl.
CheersNov 22, 2017 at 12:47 pm #3503458
If Petzl are doing this, I would not buy Petzl
The list of those not doing that is probably very short.Nov 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm #3503459
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
As bad as sleeping bag specs quoting survival temps as opposed to comfort temps….
I still use the e+lights. I get about a full year on red. (Hah hey, now there is a spec ;-)Nov 22, 2017 at 1:43 pm #3503467
If Petzl are doing this, I would not buy Petzl.
Yes, Petzl (just click the link in my post above) and any other mainstream headlight manufacturer that uses 3 AAA batteries. Three batteries are required to get enough voltage to turn the LED on.
The list of manufacturers not doing that is much shorter. But there are some, like Thrunite (TN20), Nitecore, Armytek, Zebralght, Olight, Fenix, and Manker are a few. Most will use a single AA, some a single AAA. They won’t advertis 120 hour run times with 100 lumens. The TN20 will give about an hour at 250 lumens with an AA Nimh battery. Yes, that is what you can expect at that level of light output. At lower levels the lights are much more efficient, so run times are correspondingly longer. All make a light that puts out constant light level for a certain time, then the light output begins to drop. Aka a regulated light output.Nov 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm #3503529
Thomas ConlyBPL Member
@conlyLocale: Lots of canoeing and snow
I may be able to shed some light on this topic (when I initially wrote that, I didn’t notice the pun). I have one of the older headlamps that Bob has in the picture and a couple Tikka XP2s from the 2010ish era. I used lithium batteries in both and the older one was fine, but the newer Tikka XP2 was not. It ran a little warm, but the batteries died very quickly over and over again. In fact while hiking the Appalachian Trail, I put brand new batteries in, used it once, left it unused for a week, and it was dead when I tried to use it again. Other hikers reported the same experiences. I don’t know for sure why this would happen, but I have a theory. I think that the ones with a push button have to be “always on” just a little in the same way that your TV does, waiting for the signal from the remote. Because lithiums have a slightly higher voltage, the headlamp burns off that extra energy, even when it’s off. I have no idea if this is true, it’s just the only explanation I can think of.Nov 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm #3503534
You are correct about electronic switches always drawing some power from a battery. Another reason I dislike mainstream headlamps. Not sure why the lithiums draw down so fast, but as James Marco noted above, they will provide a volt or so more than alkaline batteries, and that likely causes the static current draw to increase, in this case very significantly.Nov 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm #3503538
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Petzl had problems with its circuitry overheating and even burning when using Lithium batteries several years ago. I thought they had solved that problem.
Anyway, I prefer Princeton Tech, which has always been made with good circuits and never had that problem.Nov 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm #3503547
One of the problems with many commercial headlamps is that they (more or less) simply put the 3 AA or AAA batteries across the LED and rely on the match in specs to get the ‘high power’ rating. Now, this works, but it is crude. (For ‘crude’, read ‘cheap’.) Some lamps just stick a resistor in the circuit to get lower brightness, which is wasteful.
I make my own headlamps using a full-blown switch-mode circuit, and they can use a SINGLE AA battery or TWO AA batteries. The circuit converts the 1.5 V to a regulated 3.6 V. The circuits genuinely regulate the voltage applied across the LED to whatever voltage you want, and in mine I can switch between two levels: High and Low. At Low the batteries will last a very long time and the light will NOT vary in brightness; it is quite enough inside a tent. At High the batteries will last a shorter time but the light will still stay constant; this is suitable for moving fast through the bush. Both levels work until the whole thing shuts down because the batteries are exhausted.
Commercial manufacturers could do this, but the circuit is more expensive, and the customer wants CHEAP. YGWYPF.
CheersNov 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm #3503556
Exactly, well said.
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