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Black Diamond Icon Headlamp 2016 - High pitch whine.


Original Post
MikeMills · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10

Hi guys.
I recently received a BD Icon Headlamp 2016 model. Great eqipment with one flaw. The thing is whenever it's dimmed it makes high pitch whining noise, not loud but clearly audible. I asked BD whether it's normal, but they still haven't replied. I read a few articles about this phenomenon, has to do with ceramic capacitors, anyway, for those of you having one, would you mind checking if yours behaves the same?
Thanks.

RockinOut · · NY, NY · Joined May 2010 · Points: 100

Mine doesnt have that issue. I dimmed it to the lowest setting on both the spot and flood settings...no noise.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

BD has a great return policy. They can be slow to respond, but if you call them and tell them what's up my $ is on an exchange.

R. Moran · · Moab , UT · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 140

Check the Flux capacitor. It sounds like it may need a tune up!

MikeMills · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10
RockinOut wrote:Mine doesnt have that issue. I dimmed it to the lowest setting on both the spot and flood settings...no noise.
@RockinOut, do you have the latest model? :
blackdiamondequipment.com/e…

The thing is I contacted Black Diamond and they claim that the high pitch sound is NORMAL ... don't know what to think of it ...
that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Maybe you're part dog or have super human hearing.

Ryan Pigg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 0

I too just bought the Icon Polar and am having problems with the high pitch noise. I was also told by black diamond that this is a normal "echo" of the LED bulb. They stated that "most people are not bothered by it unless you are in a small room, but if you are outdoors you should not notice it." They did quickly offer to allow me to return it, so I will test the theory of use outdoors before committing to a return. My personal guess is that it is probably a faulty dimming switch between the bulb and the switch as I've never heard of an LED bulb having an "echo"

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

I just noticed that on Black Diamond's Icon web page in the reviews section someone else mentioned the high pitch whine, also some reliability and quality issues. Seems like this is not one of Black Diamond's better revisions of this headlamp. 


http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/headlamps-and-lanterns/icon-headlamp-BD620629BLAKALL1.html#start=5

Jameshew12 Hewitt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 150

I have the previous model and it does the same. Although you have to hold it near your ear to hear it

Jordan W · · NC · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 10

 They make that whining noise because Black Diamond uses a Pulse Width Modulation controller to take care of the LED dimming and brightness. The LED is actually switching so fast that your eyes can't actually notice it, however when the LED is dimmed very low, the wavelength (pulse-width) begins to decrease more and more, so the OFF time is longer than the ON time in each cycle... In full brightness, or even half brightness and above, the switching is so far out of the audible range (in the MHz) that no one would ever be able to hear it... However occasionally (and it depends on the design), when the light is dimmed, those pulses can end up in the upper end of the audible range, so on some lower settings, the switching frequency has gotten so low that you can hear the switching taking place.... It may sound like a high pitch whine, but it's actually the power supply switching very quickly at a certain speed (in the KHz normally).. You should be able to start at a low brightness, and gradually increase the brightness and you'll hear that noise get higher pitched and higher pitched until you reach a point where you cannot hear the switching at all, since the switching is back out of the audible range and the brightness will continue to increase....Not really a problem, just kind of a design issue and annoying... Thats the game with Switch Mode Power Supplies.... I wouldn't worry about it too much

Gold Plated Rocket Pony · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 93

It's a safety feature to scare off bears. Has probably saved your life countless times already.

Ryan Pigg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 0

This feedback is very helpful. I am still torn on whether to return or try to exchange as my headlamp is quite loud in all settings on the single bulb function. Indoors it's quite loud but even when I am outdoors and using it, just walking along it sounds like I had a loud blast go off in my ear and they are ringing from it... not sure how I'd like that after exposure to it for long hours. I am hoping that I'm an outlier and an exchange would resolve (or nearly resolve) the issue...  

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70
Ryan Pigg wrote:

This feedback is very helpful. I am still torn on whether to return or try to exchange as my headlamp is quite loud in all settings on the single bulb function. Indoors it's quite loud but even when I am outdoors and using it, just walking along it sounds like I had a loud blast go off in my ear and they are ringing from it... not sure how I'd like that after exposure to it for long hours. I am hoping that I'm an outlier and an exchange would resolve (or nearly resolve) the issue...  

If what Black Diamond and user Jordan Whitley say is true that this is normal, and it bothers you that much, I'd return it for a refund and potentially buy from another company. 

Does anyone know if the new Black Diamond Storm head lamp has this same issue? Is this only an issue with the recent Icon models? My three year old Black Diamond ReVolt doesn't do this at all and has been quite reliable. It would though be nice to upgrade as the lumen output on newer models has jumped quite a bit since I bought the ReVolt.

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70
Rick Dido · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
anotherclimber wrote:

If what Black Diamond and user Jordan Whitley say is true that this is normal, and it bothers you that much, I'd return it for a refund and potentially buy from another company. 

Does anyone know if the new Black Diamond Storm head lamp has this same issue? Is this only an issue with the recent Icon models? My three year old Black Diamond ReVolt doesn't do this at all and has been quite reliable. It would though be nice to upgrade as the lumen output on newer models has jumped quite a bit since I bought the ReVolt.

My wife has the Storm and it does not have the issue (EDIT: I later found out it does hum, but I can't hear it when on my head, see my next comment). My previous Icon 320 Lumen also did not have the whine. My new 500 has it, but I haven't been outside with it because it's raining hard out there. Just sitting here web searching about the high pitched whine ringing. Also, somebody said they heard the whine when dimming. Mine is the opposite; the whine is loudest at full power.

Rick Dido · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Just to follow up. I turned all my headlamps on. My 500 lumen Icon, 320 lumen Icon, and a Storm.   They all emitted a high pitched hum, the latter two I have never noticed before. The strange thing is that although they all sounded about the same volume, when putting the lights one after another on my bare head, the 500 is the only one I could hear.  I then put on my baseball hat and I could not hear the hum on the 500 lumen Icon. So...I guess I'm keeping it.

Rick

Julian Chin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

I just received the newer BD Storm 2017 (350lm) today and bought it even after hearing the reviews about the humming/high pitch whine. I also have the BD Spot 2016 (200lm)

Upon opning the box the first thing I checked for was the humming. Only occurs when at lower power and when not with powertap (Flood + Spot at full brightness)... When I wore it, I didn't hear a thing except being too conscious and trying my very best to hear it. Then I decided, hey , how about my previous Spot? Turned it on and held it close to my ear and guess what, it did have a hum too.

My conclusion, which is tied to some of your comments above, might be due to the same component that controls the power and dimming inside these headlamps for all BD headlamps.

Likely I won't be returning mine as it is too low a hum to bug me.

Time to head out into the wild.

Cheers guys!!!

Jay J · · Euelss · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 0

Black Diamond's first headlamp, The Spaceshot, had a PWM circuit that drove an incandescent bulb.  The circuitry was located in a pouch with the battery, so the wire going to the headlamp worked like an antenna.  Apparently it interfered with avalanche beacons, which is a bit inconvenient considering it was designed for cold-weather applications.  They put a sticker on the boxes saying not to use them with avalanche beacons.  Problem solved.  

Eric · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 10
Ryan Pigg wrote:

I am still torn on whether to return or try to exchange as my headlamp is quite loud in all settings on the single bulb function. . . . when I am outdoors and using it, just walking along it sounds like I had a loud blast go off in my ear and they are ringing from it...  

Not sure how you haven't decided yet.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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