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Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
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- One Triple Power LED, two Single Power white LEDs and two Single Power red LEDs emit up to 130 lumens (max setting with alkaline batteries)
- Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode
- Three-level power meter shows remaining battery life for three seconds after switching on headlamp
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|Light Source Type||LED|
|Model Name||Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp 2014|
|Package Height||1.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches|
|Shipping Weight||0.45 pounds|
The Black Diamond Revolt is a powerful, versatile, rechargeable headlamp for climbing, hiking, camping or any other time you may find yourself out after dark. With 130 lumens of power, the Revolt easily spots anchors while you rappel in the dark; proximity lighting gives you a large area of light for hiking down the trail; and a dimming feature lets you choose just the right amount of light for the task at hand. A three-level power meter keeps you from ever being surprised by dead batteries and the Revolt can run on standard AAA batteries in addition to the included rechargeable batteries.
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Top Customer Reviews
The included batteries are a very high mAh rating for their size.
Pros, rechargeable and/or alkaline use.good build
I waited until it went on sale, bought one, loved it, and I just bought my second. Here's why:
1. Black Diamond makes quality headlamps. Some other companies do too, but I have found BD to be just consistently better. Good workmanship, good build quality (remember we're talking about plastic here) and very good performance specs on brightness, length of beam and battery life.
2. The ability to recharge your AAA batteries in a remote situation is great. So you can plug this BD ReVolt via USB cable into any portable USB battery, or a solar charger's USB port, or both, and not only recharge your ReVolt headlamp, but recharge additional AAA batteries that can then be used in other devices, or stored. Nice.
3. This ReVolt unit ships with both a set of alkaline batteries AND an included set of rechargeable batteries. Plus a charging USB cable. You can use that included USB cable with any wall charger or car 12V DC charger that you own(the charger itself is not included, just the USB cable).
4. There's a green LED light that comes on for 2 seconds when you first activate the headlamp to inform you that the batteries are sufficiently charged. When green changes to yellow or red, it's time to recharge.
5. Like the Storm and the Spot models, the ReVolt has a full dimmer range for both its spotlight and its area-flood settings. Hold the button down and the light will recycle from dimmest to brightest; just release when it hits the light level you want.
6. The stated spec's on this headlamp are reasonably accurate. All headlamp makers seem to exaggerate their claims to battery life, but BD does this much less than most, and BD headlamps come closer to actually delivering their promised performance spec's than most.
With any headlamp, you'll always get MUCH better performance (brightness, range and battery life) from an alkaline battery than from ANY rechargeable--that's just the tradeoff in being able to reuse a rechargeable. The difference can vary from 20% to 40%, in my experience. By the same token, you'll get much better performance with an expensive Lithium battery than either an alkaline or a rechargeable.
There's a little rubbery flap cover over the recharging port ( that hockey-stick-shaped grey piece to the left side in the Amazon photo). That prevents the ReVolt from being certified truly 'waterproof' like the Storm. I haven't had my ReVolt out in the rain yet.
If I knew I had a good chance of getting really wet, I would reach for the Storm first, and then the 'water-resistant' Spot, and I would try not to bring the ReVolt out in the rain, or out into water sports.
Thought: I would put some Scotch tape (or duct tape?) over that charging port flap to help secure it from both water and possible dust.
SUMMARY: Another great BD headlamp, with a recharge-your-AAA's option. When on sale for a few extra dollars more than a Spot, I think this is a solid buy. The ability to charge your AAA's in the ReVolt, then remove them for use in a different device, is really handy--much more versatile than only being able to recharge a built-in nonremovable battery that only powers a headlamp.
So if you are expecting to go off-grid for awhile, or want a prepping option for an extended power outage, the ReVolt has a lot to offer.
And now that the USB battery recharging option is available at this pricepoint, I expect to see it start appearing with other battery powered outdoors devices...weather radios and GPS, for instance. Should be interesting.
I haven't had these long enough to report on durability. But BD has a good reputation for honoring their warranty, and all my other BD headlamps have performed flawlessly for years. I do expect the charger to hold up, so we'll see.
I hope this review is helpful. I like my first ReVolt so much I bought a second (on sale). Money well spent. I'm satisfied, and no complaints. Happy trails, everybody.
I agree this is a great light with useful features and good implementation. I personally like the USB recharging because it means I can recharge the light with a 5V solar panel when out in the wild. And you can charge at the start of your trip instead of tossing probably half full alkalines to put in fresh ones every time you go on a trip.
As to replacement rechargeables read reviews on the older versions of the Revolt for specific guidance. In order to protect consumers from themselves BD uses slightly different battery terminals on their rechargeables to prevent the light from attempting to charge non-rechargeable batteries. You can use generic rechargeables (i.e. don't have to buy from BD) if you just modify the tops of the batteries a little.
Be aware in the spot mode that the central region of the spot has an odd yellow color to it. This seems to be true of all the similarly designed BD headlamps. I haven't used the light enough for this to annoy me yet, but the color non-uniformity is definitely there and according to BD is a limitation of the higher power nature of the LED used. I suspect for hiking uses it is a non issue, but if using the dimmed spot mode to look at things like maps or books this could be annoying. For me a week of typical use on a trip and I really didn't notice the yellow spot unless I went out of my way to look for it, but on a uniform white page it is more easily noticeable.
Also check the battery life for flood mode. This is not particularly efficient in run time in flood mode. This is to be expected to a degree - the flood mode is very much a FLOOD mode. The beam width is extremely wide. The spot mode has a lens that focuses the light to a much tighter beam and is thus more efficient. One benefit of the very wide flood mode is it seems like this would work great as a top of the tent lantern. Also provides uniform illumination when looking at close objects like reading a book. So, great wide uniform flood mode but just be aware the flood mode uses up a lot more battery life than the spot for a given illumination level.
The red mode is not nearly as nice as the white modes. First be aware that it is a spot, not a flood. The beam width is quite narrow. Second be aware that the beam pattern and uniformity is quite poor. You essentially get bright rings at the periphery of the beam and a dimmer center. As noted in other reviews it has a very useful feature in which you don't have to cycle through white to get into the red mode. And once in the red mode you also can't accidentally end up in white mode unless you hold down the button for three seconds. This makes the red mode much more useful than on many lights where you are forced to blind yourself or those around you cycling through white to get to red. All in all using the red mode in a dark environment for a number of nights I found it very useful and the non-uniform beam pattern was not an issue in practical use.
Now to my one disappointment, which is probably nitpicking and not going to be an issue for the vast majority of users. You can not dim the red light mode, despite the fact that the manual is written implying you can (See UPDATES at end of review with regard to this issue, it appears current versions do now dim red mode). I went back and forth with Black Diamond customer service on this and after some checking on their end they determined that manual is not correct and the Revolt does not dim on red mode. Note that the Spot and Storm head lamps do have a dimming red mode so if this is important to you then give those lamps a look.
In practical use the red is about as dim as you would want already for walking and distant work. And most people probably want it at the brightness it is for close work. But for some niche applications like looking at star charts or detailed maps when working with fully dark adapted eyes the one setting for red is a bit too bright when viewing close up charts and maps.
Otherwise dimming in the white mode is quite good because it does dim down to quite low light levels. Many other dimming lights don't seem to get very dim. If you are trying to work in moonlight and maintain some dark adaption having really dim settings is very useful. I found that for distant work like walking with the dimmed spot mode or scanning an area for items left behind with the dimmed flood mode that the minimum white brightness was a good level to see clearly without compromising dark adapted eyes too much.
I've discovered one great feature of the dimming mode as well. It blinks the light at the dimmest setting. With dark adapted eyes this means you can reliably set to dimmest level without having to directly view the bright level. With your eyes closed you can still perceive when the light blinks at its dimmest setting. So, close your eyes and turn on light (comes on at 75%) then hold down button with eyes still closed and it will go to 100% and then slowly dim. At the dimmest it will pause and blink and even with my eyes closed in a dark environment I can perceive the blink and release the button. Then open my eyes to a nice dim light without ever having viewed to bright setting. As for anyone around you, well too bad for them unless they close their eyes while you adjust your lamp.
Also there is the question of price. These things are quite expensive compared to a more basic three battery head lamp. It is a very feature rich lamp, but if you just want basic light there are less expensive options. Fortunately they go on sale pretty frequently. I feel that the collection of features, especially the recharging and dimming, it is definitely worth the on sale prices. At something like two Andrew Jackson's or so this is a great feature set for the price. But honestly, if you want all these features and the excellent recharging feature then this is the light for you and most any price.
If you don't need the recharging feature then get the BD Spot instead. Same feature set (and red dimming actually works to boot) but for a lower price. The Spot also has a cute feature where tapping the light sets it to full brightness and tapping again sets it back to your dimmed level. The Revolt doesn't have this feature and instead has the USB charging port where the tap sensor is in the Spot.
UPDATE 12/11/14 - I've edited the review to reflect information from Black Diamond customer support regarding the manual for the Revolt incorrectly indicating that dimming works in the red mode. It does not in fact dim in red mode. BD customer support was extremely helpful in sorting that out for me and went out of their way to make sure I ended up with a BD light I was happy with. Seems like a great company making excellent products.
UPDATE 4/7/16 - Another reviewer has commented that the light they've just received does now successfully dim the red mode. It appears BD has updated the firmware along the way at some point to support red dimming like most of their other models.