Just how complex should a headtorch be?

I received an email today advertising a new Petzl headtorch. Many brands of headtorch are available ranging from cheap junk from eBay to premier brands like Petzl. Now this torch had a lot of useful features such as rechargable LiIon battery, long duration and adjustable beam widths. But it was smart in that you could set it for background lighting or narrow beams, red lights for keeping your darkness vision working, ambient light detector to adjust the brightness.

All those features sound useful to me and seem desirable although it would obviously make this headtorch cost more than the junk from eBay. But what struck as absurd was the fact that this torch could be controlled by an app on your phone using Bluetooth.

Oh sweet baby Jesus, how absurd and stupid can tech designers be? (Very, I work with them!) It’s a torch on your head. If you want to control it, reach up and touch your head, it’s normally within reach of your arms. If your head is further away that your arms will reach then I think you have bigger problems than controlling your head torch! But seriously, using an smartphone app. So to control this you have to fumble and find the phone, then wake the phone, then take off a glove so the touch screen works, then start the app, then wait while it pairs/syncs with the headlamp, then remember you put the phone in Aeroplane mode because you are in the wilds and there is no service, so then you wait for Bluetooth, then you can adjust the mode or brightness. Or reach to your head and press the button.

I apologise that my employers provide the semiconductors that enable this nonsense to be considered sensible. As the saying goes…

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!



Excellent stuff!

Perfect for when your ‘mate’ fancies a laugh, and turns it off just as you’re about to step in a hole.
About as useless as the ‘plug a usb cable in this vacuum cleaner and work out how many calories you’ve used vacuuming the room’

Just think. That idea went to a meeting and someone said yes that’ll be something people will want!

On, off, two (at a push three) levels of brightness. Flashing mode. Zoomable beam. Bright, with a long battery life. Light weight, waterproof. The end.

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BTW. I’ve had a few LED ones that severely interfere with my VHF Mountain Rescue radio.

It honestly makes me wonder what goes through the heads of so called designers at times. Like some of these whizz bang LED torches that require about three or more button presses just to get them working at the right illumination level.

In many cases a brilliant light that can blind possums in trees 300M away is simply not needed.

The interference problem of some LED headlights has been noted by those using metal detectors for gold fossicking at night.

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You could hang the headtorch in your tent (or somewhere else in your camp) then turn it off (or on) without having to get out of your sleeping bag.

I use a Northern Lights candle light in my tent. Warms the tent up somewhat on cold winter nights.

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For the past couple of nights, we have been able to use the real Northern Lights for illumination!


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… so use it for signalling. An app could be written to modulate the beam for CW, or for the international distress signal (6 flashes in one minute, followed by a pause of 1 minute to see if anybody replies with the standard three flashes in a minute as confirmation of receipt of your signal).

And, if you’re hungry, it could be programmed to emit the mating signal of your local species of firefly. Just wait till they’re flying round you in great numbers, trap them in your handy butterfly net (you did remember to pack it, didn’t you?), and pop 'em in the frying pan. Delicious!


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“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!”. Yes, and if you do it anyway, public unveiling will be followed within 15 minutes by a gleeful chorus of “solution in search of a problem”.

My Fenix torch which I’ve had for donkey’s years does that already.
It still doesn’t need bluetooth :open_mouth:

Well, my old kerosene-fuelled hurricane lamp can also be put to the same use, but that would be a little more difficult to connect to Bluetooth… :laughing:

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I found my new head torch doesn’t like even a small amount of 2m RF from my VX5 ! it turns off

Fortunately it wasn’t sensitive enough to turn off when using the 817 on 2,5W to drive the 3cm or 13cm Transverters used for last weeks SHF UKAC.

Stewart G0LGS