Appeared in DIVER May 2007

LIGHT OMS Ultra Bright Head Lamp
AS SOON AS ONE PRODUCT ARRIVES that might be a new idea, you know that a plethora of copycat products from other manufacturers cant be far behind. Once the diving trade had discovered HID bulbs, everyone produced a lamp using them.
It was the same with the Luxeon Star high-output LED.
I seem to find another lamp using this product on my desk every other week.
Dont be misled into thinking that because lamps use the same light source, they all produce the same light output. Some importers have criticised me for comparative tests I have run on which lamps with the same bulb and power source produced different results. The Luxeon Star 3W LED, for example, produces 80 lumens of light, so how could the lamps that use it have different performances
Well, they can. This is because I dont measure the light coming out of the bulb but the light that arrives at the subject at which it is pointed - and that, my friends, depends on the design of the reflector. So when I compared the light output from the OMS Ultra Bright Head Lamp with another Taiwanese-made lamp with exactly the same specification, I was surprised to find that the OMS product was far more effective. It lives up to its name!
The Ultra Bright Head Lamp uses the 3W 80 lumen-output LED and is powered by two CR123A lithium cells. The small batteries allow the design to be very compact indeed.
This product was designed for mounting by means of a headband or directly onto a cave divers helmet, but the one I was sent had an elastic strap intended to wrap around the fist and to be used like a Goodman handle.
That said, the picture shows that it was easy to substitute onto Thierry Terevets head strap (Thierry owns the Kairos expedition-diving ship). Holding the lamp, I found that its beam was so perfectly focused that no light was wasted. Thats why its so bright.
The lamp is encased in rubber, front shroud and side knobs too. You can unscrew the front shroud to access the bulb but probably wouldnt need to do this for a long time. These Luxeon Star LEDs are said to be good for 20,000 hours.

ONE SIDE KNOB ADJUSTS THE ANGLE OF TILT, while the other acts as a switch and allows access to the battery compartment. The mounting plate has a soft rubber pad, so it can be used on the head without needing a hood.
Angle of tilt is important. Head-mounted lamps that point only straight ahead are for those divers who have no buddy. If those who have buddies want to look at them, they will temporarily blind them. Adjusting the angle allows you to see things yet look directly at your buddy, without recriminations later.
The reflector keeps all the light going in one direction.
Just to give you an idea, the spot it produces at a distance of around 1m is only around 15cm across. There is a very weak peripheral halo, so it is very selective.
The beam is much tighter than the similarly equipped OMS Vega LED lamp we recently tested. It certainly gives a very penetrating beam. Claimed burntime for one set of two batteries is three hours.
The OMS Ultra Bright Head Lamp costs £50.
  • Otter Watersports, 01274 307555

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Powerful penetrating beam
    + Long-lasting LED

    - Very selective beam
    - Lithium batteries are costly