Scorpion X16 Description
The scorpion X16 is a 16 volt, high performance, high efficiency, sealed rechargeable caving and mining caplamp. And is the latest in the long line of Fellows batcookers and the best one produced to date. It has been developed over the last two years or so and presented quite a few challenges. These lamps are only produced in small numbers, as a sort of ‘flagship’ product, with the appeal being to a niche market of either photographers or people who get a kick out of strolling through roomy slate mines. Big issue with the earlier lamps was the tendency for a user to be that busy in taking photographs that they would forget that the lamp was on full power, and good as gold it was always the floodlights that failed. This lamp has been designed with one eye on that situation, and the realisation of what a fantastically good heat sink platform the scorpion lamp actually is.
The concept was born of the realisation that the best compromise between size and weight to capacity for a helmet mounted power bank is 4 X 18650 cells, and that if in series to give 16.8V off charge these can power the latest high forward voltage quad die emitters from a simple buck circuit and utilize readily available laptop computer components.
It utilises the 2 switch operation of the earlier Lynx ‘batcookers’ whereby the right hand switch ‘down’ operates beams through three modes, while ‘up’ gives a pilot. However the upper throw is now called “Ecodrive” rather than “Pilot”. The left hand switch ‘down’ position operates bare flood emitters through 3 modes and upper throw actuates the blue nightrider battery level indicator. That much is possibly true to form, however the specs differ widely from its predecessors.
The internal layout as seen through the glass follows the established over and under design of the Scorpion, the twin beam emitters producing a maximum output of over 4650 lumens.
The lowest setting, “Standard Mode” is about 300 lumens and the battery pack will sustain this level for about 25 hours. Actual tests have produced 27 hours after which the lamp goes into a ‘slow death’. This is because the forward voltage of the emitters at lowest light levels is still greater than the power pack switch off voltage level. The alternative Ecodrive has a single mode of about 160 lumens sustainable for 2 days, or an estimated 50 hours to be precise.
The 4 bare emitter flood lights give 4600 lumens on max, plus the two lower settings. Lowest is about 120 lumens and can be combined with either Ecodrive or Standard Main Beam to give a very pleasant overall lighting effect.
Maximum power is achieved by combining beams and floods at full power to generate over 9200 lumens.
The lamp handles the heat generated extremely well, and there is an overheat alert in the form of a flashing red LED to alert you to this condition. This is set into the bottom of the lamp directly above the eyes of the user; you would have to be pretty blind to miss it once it starts flashing.
This is set to a modest 65 degrees C, so you have time to finish whatever you are doing, photograph or whatever, before switching down to allow the lamp to cool. I recommend a ‘window’ about 5 or 6 seconds.
Also at eye level is an amber low battery warning, when this illuminates the flood light will become inoperative within 5 seconds, this is a power saving feature which prevents a premature sudden switch off. Also, if the floods are turned on, as this point approaches they will start to flash on and off, so plenty of warning.
The weight of the lamp is typically 237 grams. This compares to weight of an Oldham pitlamp of 200 grams, Scurion of 160 (without rear heatsink), Stenlight of 125, Earthworm about 245 (manufacturer states “less than 250”), or my old MagnumStar of over 400. No kidding.
The power pack is an unusual design and comes from a minimalist objective to keep down weight, whilst allowing enough room for the 16 volt laptop computer electronics. It is of 3000 mAh capacity at the nominal voltage of 14.4 volts which equates to 4320 Watt Hours. This is just marginally less than the Lynx X12 20170 celled power bank of 4700 WH as described by the cell manufacturer. However these cells are actually tested at 4000 mAh @ 3.7V so the true capacity is 4440 Watt Hours.
The X16 power bank weighs 370 grams which is lighter than the Lynx X12 power bank of 400 grams. Comparison is Scurion 4 cell aluminium power bank 311 grams. It fits by a new helmet mounting which is of thin PVC so as not to add bulk but acts as a template for the screw holes and securing strap for the charging plug. Power bank is locked in by a tagged silicone strap which holds it tightly.
The lamp has a one piece cable, so no plug to allow water ingress on prolonged submersion. The battery cells are thin aluminium cased over an internal thin plastic separator and has an anti explosion device set back in the far end. There is a flashing on charge red indicator LED followed by a bright green LED when charge completed.
There is an isolator switch within a protected shield with a transport lock split pin to prevent accidental activation of the lamp. The switch alternates between the lamp on and lamp off/charge. The charging jackplug is exposed by unscrewing the 10 BAR rated plug.
The lamp is supplied with 19 volt laptop mains adaptor, but can be charged in car by use of either an inverter or a 19v laptop or phone inverter charger provided the charge current does not exceed 4 amps. The lamp can also be safely charged from a 16.8 volt dedicated Li Ion charger which has its own red to green LED. However, the lamps built in charge indicator will continue to flash after charging is completed as the cells will be very slightly undercharged using this device. Top up charging is OK as with any Li Ion battery setup as these do not suffer from memory effect. The on charge LED circuit is isolated from the battery cells and is entirely dependant on charger input, so green ‘charge completed’ does not draw on the cells
Operating the switch in the downward direction brings the lamp on line, a blue LED illuminates on the side of the power pack to indicate this. This light draws only 3 mA, again utilising a gallium nitride emitter. This LED can be safely covered with a bit of tape if the wearer is posing for photographs.
The design of the lamp is such that the cable is easily replaced. A new battery bank would be cost effective for the customer as all the circuits etc can be transferred to a new bare unit.
The lamp has been tested to 8 feet for some time, but is not offered as suitable for diving.