Monday, 9 February 2015

Recharging The Batteries

Recharging The Batteries ...

I was back out on The Spine Race route last week with two things in mind.  One reason was to re-visit Hadrian’s Wall  and Wark Forest following the same switch back route of a few weeks ago.
The second reason was I needed an overnight trip, partly to rid myself of Spine RaceBlues, and partly, because I wanted to give Petzl Tikka R/RXP ‘AAA’ Battery pack a proper testing.

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I am a big fan of the Petzl Reactive Lighting torches and regularly use a Petzl Nao and Tikka RXP.  I have a spare rechargeable battery for each of these; hence I’ve got 10-12 hours of usable ‘Reactive light’ for each of these torches.  

However, if you've read my Spine Race blogs (Parts One and Two) you’ll know I reverted to a trusty Petzl Myo RXP,  for the six / seven day race. This is because it is ‘AAA’ battery fed, as you can’t expect to find, or rely on finding recharging facilities during a multi-day non-stop race.   But now I’m pleasantly surprised and a proud owner of this nifty piece of (not so cheap, but well worth it) quality plastic.


Petzl Tikka R 3x AAA Battery Pack (E92300)

The Reactive Lighting feature is excellent for Night Navigational trips when you are handling maps and then looking into the distance. The output reduces when you don’t need it, reducing map glare.  It’s rather like having automatic headlights on your car which switch from side, to dip, to full beam without your doing anything.  This is great for when you need to look at a map, as it doesn’t dazzle back at you, and saves power for close up ‘proximity’ work, and consequently is save battery power and  the big power / boost / full beam for when, and only when you need it.

The Reactive Lighting feature, measures and adapts just how much light you need based on what the sensor is measuring so it’s a very economically way of saving battery juice

The ‘Tikka R Battery pack’ simple takes three ‘AAA’ batteries and then slips into the Tikka R or RXP head torches so that you can carry on using the torch once the rechargeable battery has run down.

Tikka RXP and AAA Battery Pack with 3 Lithium batteries

What this means is that you can safely venture forth beyond the reach of plug and USB sockets and power your Tikka on ‘normal’ AAA batteries.  (These could be Alkaline, Lithium, or even rechargeable, of course) but if your are on a multi-day trip you can buy fresh supplies whenever you need them, or simply carry spares.


White rechargeable Battery being removed from the Tikka.


The output from the ‘AAA’ Battery pack is good, and in no way just a low level 'standby' light.  The downside is that you don't get the full Reactive Lighting functionality (nor do you do in the Nao with 2x AA)  You still get three strong beams, of differing spread and output, and apparently delivering about 60% of the lumens that  the rechargeable battery does. 

Hence,  if my Tikka RXP can normally deliver up to 215 lumens, then I estimate that the ‘AAA’s are pushing out around 80 - 120 lumens, which was more than adequate for general use.  It was certainly enough to get me deep into Wark Forest, and keep me writing this from the warmth of my sleeping bag, and other domestic bivi duties.   A proper mid-night navigation test around the forest proved that the output is very good, and leaving the torch on for a burn test gave me at least five hours of output, or the maybe more. 

So, this is a very worthwhile addition to your kit, with or without a second rechargeable battery.

Petzl Torches are very widely available, but this accessory isn't the most sexy bit of kit and retailers may not show it as a stock item, but can order it for you.  Swaledale Outoors stock both the Tikka R and RXP in two different colour options

Product code for the AAA Battery pack is E92300 and the Rechargeable E92200

2 comments:

  1. Great information Joe, thanks for sharing, I should get out and use mine that I got at the Marmot Dark Mountains 2015 (mountainrun were the planners)

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