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Nitecore HC60

 Budda    04 Apr 2017 : 04:35

I received the Nitecore courtesy of BangGood for the review. They also gave me a coupon code for the light: SH6%OFF

Classic Nitecore box
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Inside the box: the light already mounted on the headband adapter, headband strap, micro USB cable. The light has inside a Nitecore 3400mAh protected 18650 battery.
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You can even take the light apart and replace the important o-ring and switch cover
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Nitecore’s specs for the HC60
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The HC60 is made mostly out aluminum, there part where the switch resides is made out of plastic/rubber. The two parts are connected by 4 screws.
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Even the light holder has the same kind of construction: rigid plastic for the part that rests on your head, soft rubber for the 2 parts holding the light.
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The switch is slightly raised, and has a LED underneath it.
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XM-L2 CW emitter under the glass with AR treatment, inside a small and smooth reflector.
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Anodized threads and o-rings at both sides, so the water resistant feature is not an issue even for the presence of the micro USB port.
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You will need button top batteries to make this light work because at the positive pole there is a mechanical protection against polarity inversion.

Some pics with some other headlamp: Armytek Wizard Pro HICRI, Skilhunt H03 warm (modded by replacing the emitter), and and 18650 battery.
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The headband is made by 2 pieces, one that goes around the head, and another that goes above
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The headband is thick and elastic, and the width is the same as the ones of my wizards
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However, the HC60 needs a wider space to fit, so the headbands for the other lights won’t fit the HC60.
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When you insert the battery the blue led under the switch will blink and give you the voltage read (3.8 volts = 3 flashes, pause, 8 flashes).

The HC60 turns of by clicking the switch.
With a short click, the light will turn on at ultralow mode.
With a long click, the light will turn on at the last used mode.
With a longer click, the light will turn on at turbo mode.
When the light is on, to advance in the modes you have to click the switch. Each click will cycle modes in an increasing order: Ultralow-Low-Mid-High-Turbo.
To turn the HC60 off you have to keep pressed the switch.
A double click will give you strobe, click again for SOS and beacon mode.

Output and Runtime
Output and runtime have been measured using the included Nitecore 3400mAh protected 18650 battery.

First, test of the battery: discharged at 2A until 2.8Volts are reached with my SKYRC MC3000.
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No sign of PWM on any level according to my eyes.

Sampling time is every 2 seconds for Turbo mode, every 90 seconds for high and medium mode.
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Testing the thermal regulation system
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Beamshots 0.5 meters from the wall
Prior to the actual beamshot, a brief explaination on the beam patterns in headlamps, as there are 3 types:
A) the completely flood (such as zebralight H602), where you have only spill. They can be used from a few centimeters to a few meters (because the light is not focused and will disperse itself in short distances).
B) The “throwy” (such as Nitecoew HC60, Zebralight H600, Skilhunt H03R), where you have a regular beam composed by a spot and a spill. The spill is narrower than the one of the completely flood light, and the spot makes them usable to longer distances, but not for close distances where the spot will dazzle your eyes)
C) The “middle ones”, they go from models with a frosted lens (Zebralight H600F) to the one with the optic/lens (Armytek wizard, Skilhunt H03). They fall somewhere in the middle of the 2 above. The spot is very softened and widened by the lens, so even at close distances it won’t be an issue for your eyes, and can be used from close distances to a few meters more than the flood ones. Flashlight with optics such as TIR lens can still have “traces” of hotspot and its angle depends on the characteristic of the lens.
I don’t believe one of these beams is superior to another, simply there are different scenarios that requires different beams and there is also user preference.
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The HC60 has a narrower beam with a more concentrated spot compared to the one of the light with the TIR optic, and so it has more throw.
You can widen the beam, switching from type A to type B by sanding a bit the glass, or simply by adding a layer of magic tape scotch on top of it.
The last solution is fast and easily reversible, but how it works?

Let’s see this in practice:

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Comparative GIFs
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If you wanted to apply magic tape in a reversible but very durable way, you could remove the 4 screws and open the light
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Pull the glass out, apply the magic tape on the inside side of the glass, and put the light back together.

Since the light is already apart, here is a close look at the main board, that hosts the emitter and a whole bunch of other components.
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A couple of videos

Fit and finishes on the HC60 are as good as you would expect from Nitecore.
I like that this light has an integrated micro USB port for charging, and this port is secured from the environment with a threated tailcap and an o-ring.
I like the UI that allows access to lowest, highest and last used mode. I would make the low mode lower than 20 lumens.
I believe this is the first time I see a headlamp with “hidden” orings that are replaceable and given as spare, and you can access them just by unscrewing 4 screws. This also benefits making easier to access the inner parts, to do some modifications as the magic tape above suggested.

I like the thermal regulation, it works effectively as seen the above plot.