Some Elements to Choose a Dive Light

Will make for their future dives. These investments include the acquisition of a lighthouse or a dive light. In ten years, the changes have been very large for headlight technology, both the battery side (to provide electricity) as ampoules (for light)… I do not want to produce here a pitch sales but rather bring elements of choice for divers who are about to spend a pretty penny for an object that will serve them only thirty minutes per dive …

First, battery technology has changed dramatically in 10 years. So we went from LED headlights based on a lead battery technology and Nickel-Cadmium ( NiCd ) showing big life issues (the famous memory effect which reduced the battery life gradually as refills) and then manipulate lights with rechargeable Nickel metal hydride ( NiMH ), which “suppressed” this memory effect, but that presented maintenance problems (had to systematically ensure that the battery retained a minimum electrical charge, even during a period of non-use, the risk that its batteries undergo a violent shock, rendering them unusable). Today it is common to find Lithium-ion batteries ( Li-ion ) that seem to eliminate disadvantages of NiMH, but have a peak power two times less.

As for batteries, bulb technologies have changed profoundly. We went from Halogen technology for HID bulbs then ever more efficient LEDs. On lamps, one must understand two concepts:

  • The color of light (which is expressed by Color temperature, in ° Kelvin, or K)
  • The measurement of luminous flux of lighting (which is expressed in lumens, or lm)

The higher the color temperature of the light source moves closer to the sunlight, the more your light will be able to repay you “real” colors of observed coral or fish. Secondly, we must not forget that unlike ‘understanding’ common blue is hotter than the red (blue flame has a higher temperature than a yellow flame). But rather than make a long speech, I will support me in the diagram below, taken from the excellent illustrated pack Alain Foret, which presents perfectly the color temperature of concept and relates to technologies bulb:

Give you a yellow cast to light, while LED or HID bulb will give you a blue or white light, the more you go up in color temperature.

We used to speak of the light power into electrical power consumed (and it was said: “I have a halogen lamp 50 W”), with current technology, it no longer makes sense. To compare bulbs of different technologies, compare the lumens produced by the bulb and lumens produced per watt consumed. The small table below summarizes my point:

Halogen HID LED
Life (hours) 100 2000 20000
Yield (lm / W) 25 75 100
color temperature (° K) 4000 5500 6000
Implementation Simple very complex Complex
Impact resistance bad good excellent

With this little table, so we are able to determine the autonomy and the light power between the three technologies.

Some other criteria must be taken into account in choosing a lighthouse. Thus the weight of the lighthouse should not be neglected! (-delà The adaptation of the weighting involved, wear at arm’s length a lighthouse whose “weight” in the air is more than one kilogram can be tiring. Also, clutter is a criterion to be taken into account, some divers (myself included) like headlights deported because clutter is found limited to the headlight bulb head.

Today all the lighthouses for sale show autonomy to easily perform a full dive with the beacon lit from one end to the other of the dive. The criterion of independence should be taken into account if you want to not find your lighthouse between 2 dives! It still needs to be paid to the battery recharge time to not be disabled on the second dive of the day with a non recharged lighthouse!

A good selection criterion for you is to answer the question “What type of diver am I?”. In fact, if you make only 5 dives per year, in the clear warm waters, it may not be necessary to invest in a lighthouse at € 1 000 (unless you only want to make you happy) . By cons, if you do fifty dives per year in various environments (freshwater, saltwater) and with different visibility, it may be worthwhile to pay attention to the investment you have to make.Remember that a dive light is an investment that you will perform for 5 to 10 years, so take the time to think, and feel free to test yourself headlights you are considering purchasing.

I have deliberately not discussed the budget as a selection criterion, as it is understood the thread of your choice.Feel free to bring your comments to this small article to enrich your experience and personal choices!