/ Alpkit Gamma electrics
Because of the late evenings I've only used it a few times and it seemed very good, but has now developed the same fault as my original Gamma: the red LED on the battery pack works fine, but none of the front LEDs will work. Has anyone else had any problems with Gamma electrics? I've contacted Alpkit and expect they will deal with the issue with their usual perfect service, but I'd like to know if its a common fault.
Alpkit service is really great, but they're cheap torches and quality control is terrible. I wouldn't buy another one now.
White LEDs seem generally quite unreliable - the departure board at Euston used to have them and they were all knackered within about a month. They replaced with yellow.
That said, the (expensive) ones in my house are fine touch wood.
Mine is playing up. first teh red light on the battery compartment wouldn't turn off. After a lot of fiddling it fixed itself for a bit. now the main LED & other LEDs work sometimes and not others. Probably a couple of years old.
A headtorch that you cant't rely on is as much use as a chocolate tea-pot, i'll be buying a new one before the alps, however, this is now the third one that has broken in about ten years. Original Tikka, Myo XP, and now the Gamma. For sure I won't be buying one with a separate battery compartment and wires, as this is what always seems to cause the problem.
Maybe DB this time? are they more reliable?
Alpkit have got back to me and I'm sure will sort it, but will I trust the replacement?
My suspicion is that driver voltages are quite critical, and that the drive voltage was incorrect, or a poor batch of devices, or poor soldering (overheating the devices on installation). For them all to fail within a month is very suspicious, and smacks of a production fault somewhere.
Generally, LEDs use similar technology, and there's not a lot of difference between the construction of a white LED and a yellow LED, other than the addition of the fluorescing chip on top of the emitter ('white LEDs' are high-end blue/UV emitters with a fluorescent material to convert to broad-spectrum white).
Failures of headtorches are most likely down to the mechanical elements; wiring, switches, etc. There may be reliability problems with the electronics due to ingress of water, either into the LED package itself, or into the drive electronics.
High power LEDs might have inadequate cooling, resulting in high die temperatures, leading to premature failure.
But, generally, LEDs treated well during assembly and driven correctly, and not exposed to harsh environments should be very reliable. It's the bits around them that will fail.
Thanks for that, the last torch never got wet, but I'd expect a headtorch to survive a light shower at the very least.
I wonder if Alpkit design their own torches, or they are generic ones with Alpkit branding so they have less control over the production.
If none of the front LEDs work it's probably the wire from the battery pack, this failed on both of mine more than once, I took them to pieces, worked out where the break was, shortened the wires and soldered them back on, which cured it each time. It's an inherent problem with having the battery housing on the back. Speaking of which the closure on the battery compartment also failed on both of mine, I now use zip-ties to hold them closed.
Given the many stylistic similarities between the Alpkit Gamma and the Lifesystems Intensity 80 http://www.lifesystems.co.uk/products/outdoor-survival/intensity-80-head-torch.html I reckon they're both made in a factory in China based on a design portfolio that the manufacturer touts around brand owners, who choose their preferred set of options to sell with their badge on. In Lifesystem's case, they went for the wave-your-hand-in-front-to-switch-it-on option.
Here's another head torch that looks almost identical but has a focusing lens on the main LED: http://www.batteryjunction.com/egear-hl-130.html
According to a post I found on another forum, what we now know as the Alpkit Gamma was previously sold under the Ring brand name, and was also available from 7dayshop.com for a while.
I've got two Gammas. One has been going strong for 2/3 years but the elastic headband is giving up the ghost; the other, bought at the same time 'died' about a year ago and I've been humming and haa'ing about binning it or asking for advice/repair/replacement. After seeing this thread I pressed the power button and got a flicker. Off and on again and I got full beam with batteries that have been in there for a year. Seems to be a full on 'intermittent fault': and I've had this before with earlier version Gammas - stopped working and then came alive.
Alpkit will sell you a replacement: http://www.alpkit.com/shop/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16704&category_id=288
Your right that we share a factory with many other brands and that at our level the most economic way to get a headtorch is to use an existing mould/design that a factory use. This is becoming more common and you only need to look at stoves and pans to see the same thing happening.
We started Alpkit as we saw costs drop and prices rise and saw a gap in the market. When we first started doing headtorches (remember the Indigo) the torch cost us a couple of dollars and we retailed them for a fiver, the same torch was going for £20 elsewhere. I'd like to think that if nothing else the gamma has brought a modicum of sensibility in headtorch pricing. Sure there are many people that want and need a better torch, but at least you know what a half decent torch should cost.
Reliability - We have sold enough to know that it is a reliable headtorch with a low return rate (even taking into account people that don't return then). We will continue to sell the Gamma, and will look at other suppliers and improvements to quality.
Hello Nick, I'm sure you've done your homework and you've definitely shaken up the market for the better. I'd love you to give it another shake with a 4-500 lumen torch for more technical running :)
Nick, on the previous generation did you have many problems with the catch that holds the battery holder together? I find it to be rather "non-robust" - you have already magically fixed mine once (assuming a replacement catch) and it's gone again. I will pop it in the post for AlpKit to have another look at it, and this is not me "naming and shaming" at all (quite the opposite really) - just wondering if anyone else has had this problem and if it was addressed for the next design. I have had no electrical or headband-elastic problems, just the same little bit of plastic snapping twice now despite not treating things particularly roughly. It seems to be a flaw that you might say is a combination of design and material.
And injection moulding QC: if the injection process isn't properly controlled, it can lead to weaknesses for a number of reasons (voids, cold spots/flow interruptions, etc).
I had the same problem and to be honest the torch had only been used a hnadful of times so a tad disappointing.
what is the warranty on these please? are wiring problems wear and tear, or have you had enough of them to fix these as a recall (as Petzl were doing wiht the myo-xp?).
We have a simple warranty if it's our fault we will fix it, and if it's your fault then we will sort it out as economically as possible.
Send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and we should be able to sort something out.
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