How to Replace a Headlamp

How to Replace a HeadlampWhile headlamps are useful tools for anyone who finds themself active at night, they are one of the most important pieces of gear for a caver. Having a headlamp suddenly fail on a night hike is a serious nuisance, but having the same thing happen deep underground is potentially disastrous. This makes knowing when to replace your headlamp and what to do about getting a new one a critical issue for cavers.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Examining Your Headlamp

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver
Step 1
Check the bulb and the battery. If the lamp is not producing any light, the first thing to do is replace the bulb and/or battery. You can typically replace the bulb by removing the cover and either screwing or plugging a new bulb in. This may or may not require a screwdriver. Cavers should always have extra bulbs and batteries on hand for use in emergencies anyway. If these do not fix the problem, your lamp likely needs replacement.
Step 2
Look at how your lamp is attached to your helmet. This could have been damaged in an accident or by general wear and tear. If your headlamp is secured by a strap, you can replace the damaged strap without having to replace the lamp. If your lamp is attached directly to the helmet, the issue depends on whether your lamp is loose because of damage to the lamp or to the helmet.
Step 3
Look at the lamp cover and reflector. If either is severely scratched or damaged, it diminishes your candlepower. You might find replacement parts on E-Bay, but more than likely a badly degraded cover or reflector is grounds for replacing the lamp.
Step 4
Examine the wiring. Lamps will either have on-board batteries, be wired to a battery pack on the back of the helmet or wired to a battery clipped to your belt. Unless you are already an electrician or handy with wiring, worn down or punctured wire insulation or worn out contact points are grounds for replacement. You should not make your headlamp your first subject for a wire or contact replacement job.

Selecting a New Helmet

Step 1
Determine your budget. You can replace a strap-on headlamp inexpensively. On the other hand, a helmet-lamp combo can be quite expensive.
Step 2
Think about the features. LED lamps last a lot longer than regular bulbs, for example. Strap-on lamps can be used for other things without having to wear your helmet, but helmet-based lamps are better secured on your helmet for caving. The longest battery life you are likely to get from a headlamp are from models that connect to a battery pack clipped to your belt. Ergo, if you want a lamp with the least fuss for caving, but that might be awkward to use for anything else; get an LED lamp with a big, belt-mounted battery pack that is attached directly to your helmet.
Step 3
Consider carbide-based lamps. Carbide lamps are disappearing due partly to economics and partly to environmental concerns. They offer certain advantages over electric lamps. Foremost among these is that they are a heat source as well as a light source, which can matter in emergency situations. Making use of carbide lamps therefore involves a lot of time and trouble, but every caving group ought to have at least one. If no one in your caving party has one, you should probably step up and get one yourself.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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