Anyone still use the cap style carbide lights?

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Anyone still use the cap style carbide lights?

Postby Zach » Sep 12, 2006 3:42 pm

Anyone here still use the regular carbide lights to cave with?

Not the generator kind but the cap style like Justrite or Premier or Minex.
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Postby hewhocaves » Sep 12, 2006 4:23 pm

yep. i have an autolight. it comes out on wet and survey trips especially.
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Postby cob » Sep 12, 2006 4:54 pm

an autolight and a justright. I use a generator too. love that carbide.

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Postby ArCaver » Sep 13, 2006 6:38 am

I still use my Justrite.
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Postby paul » Sep 13, 2006 6:39 am

I have a couple of old Premier "stinkies" (as we call them in th eUK!).

I've had one from new from when I started caving but I don't use them although they function perfectly.

Might come in handy as a spare for me to use when taking somebody caving and they have no gear of their own...
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Me too..

Postby Scott Shaw » Sep 13, 2006 7:31 am

I use a Guys Dropper most of the time unless it's a really wet cave. I've yet to be left without light using one, unlike my many adventures with my Petzls, nite-Lites, wheats, etc...
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Postby icave » Sep 14, 2006 9:41 am

I have a justrite I still use occasionally, but I think it's finally getting retired now that I have an Apex. Both the Justrite and my ceiling burner are nice, but they just can't compete with the Apex for the amount of light. Also, changing batteries is a lot easier than changing carbide.
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Postby hydrology_joe » Sep 14, 2006 3:42 pm

I have an autolite and a premier that I use for survey trips and well-known caves. I like the warm color for surveying and the comfort factor. (kind like sitting around a campfire even during the summer)
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Postby ArCaver » Sep 14, 2006 7:19 pm

I've seen the Apex. Impressive. I'll keep my Justrite. Caves should look like caves, not industrial warehouses.
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Postby NZcaver » Sep 14, 2006 7:44 pm

ArCaver wrote:I've seen the Apex. Impressive. I'll keep my Justrite. Caves should look like caves, not industrial warehouses.

So I'm curious - how exactly does using an Apex make a cave look like an industrial warehouse? :question:

You know that, generally speaking, "white" LED light is closer in wavelength to natural light (sunlight) than either carbide flames or incandescent bulbs - right? Plus with the Apex, cavers *normally* use that big 3 watt beam just for spotting. The 4 LEDs are more practical for most cave travel.

But in all honesty - yes, I do own a cap-lamp. It's a Premier, and I don't think it's been lit in about 10 years. Used to cave with it quite frequently, back in the day. Once in a rare while I still use my Petzl Aceto ceiling-burner, if that counts for anything. Keeps me warmer than a LED does... :wink:
Last edited by NZcaver on Sep 15, 2006 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Wayne Harrison » Sep 14, 2006 7:55 pm

I sold one of my 1970s-era Premiers on eBay (a guy bought it for frog gigging). The other one I'm keeping and giving to my daughter with instructions that it is to hold some of my ashes. (Both were bought from Donald G. Davis when he used to sell them at Colorado Grotto meetings).

Now, whenever I run across someone with a carbide lamp I always get a warm feeling when I smell the carbide. It reminds me of younger days and fond caving trips of years gone by.

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Postby ArCaver » Sep 15, 2006 6:43 am

NZcaver wrote:I've seen the Apex. Impressive. I'll keep my Justrite. Caves should look like caves, not industrial warehouses.

So I'm curious - how exactly does using an Apex make a cave look like an industrial warehouse? :question:

Too much light, and of the wrong color. I own two Princeton Tec Coronas and use one when I must but I find the blue cast ruins my night vision and gives false colors. The real problem is when several cavers have the high powered LEDs on at the same time. I'm dreading the day that I go underground to find it's brighter inside than on the surface.
You know that, generally speaking, "white" LED light is closer in frequency to natural light (sunlight) than either carbide flames or incandescent bulbs - right? Plus with the Apex, cavers *normally* use that big 3 watt beam just for spotting. The 4 LEDs are more practical for most cave travel.


The "white" LEDs are not white, they're blue. Natural sunlight is white for only part of the day, around midday. Mankind has used fire as the only supplemental light until incandescents that we may have evolved to better utilize yellow/red light.
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Postby NZcaver » Sep 15, 2006 11:08 pm

ArCaver wrote:
NZcaver wrote:So I'm curious - how exactly does using an Apex make a cave look like an industrial warehouse?

Too much light, and of the wrong color. I own two Princeton Tec Coronas and use one when I must but I find the blue cast ruins my night vision and gives false colors. The real problem is when several cavers have the high powered LEDs on at the same time. I'm dreading the day that I go underground to find it's brighter inside than on the surface.

The "white" LEDs are not white, they're blue. Natural sunlight is white for only part of the day, around midday. Mankind has used fire as the only supplemental light until incandescents that we may have evolved to better utilize yellow/red light.

If you have some LEDs that throw out "too much light, and of the wrong color" - I will be happy to help you dispose of them. :tonguecheek:

That's an interesting opinion - you don't often hear cavers complain about too much light. As for color - yes, most of those white LEDs technically use chips that emit blue light.

From wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode
Most "white" LEDs in production today use a LED chip which emits blue light, part of which is efficiently converted to a broad spectrum centered at about 580 nm (yellow). Since yellow light stimulates the red and green receptors of the eye, the resulting mix of blue and yellow light gives the appearance of white, the resulting shade often called "lunar white".

You mentioned owning the older PT Corona headlamps. I haven't specifically used those ones, but I do know that as technology has advanced so-called white LEDs have become "less blue" than they used to be. They're also a lot brighter, for those who find brightness to be an advantage. :wink:

When LED lights were first becoming popular for caving, I didn't like them much either. Other people's LED lights blinded me more than usual, and my own one seemed to cause me diminished depth perception. But what can I say? The pros soon outweighed the cons for me, and I've never looked back. (Actually, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Apex on 4 LED mode gives me better depth perception than my previous headlamps. I assume the 2 LED pairs being spaced about the same width apart as the human eyes may have something to do with that. That isn't exactly one of it's listed features, but I find it nice all the same.)

Sure, experiencing a cave by flickering firelight looks cool in Hollywood movies - and on the occasional nostalgic caving trip - but now in the 21st Century it seems most cavers have moved on with their lighting choices. And as I'm sure you're aware, in some caves it's now forbidden to use carbide. :cry:
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Sep 16, 2006 5:19 am

I jumped on the LED bandwagon early. I never liked the traditional electrics because they had spot beams which meant you had to shine your light EXACTLY where you were going to step. Nope, with carbide, you had that broad glow that was so wonderful. LEDs do that, too. At first I didn't like that bluish tint. But I was on a trip when someone had a regular, old dying, typical-inefficient electric and it had an orange spot on the cave floor, and I decided then and there, "I love this bright white, uniform light!"
:grin:
I've never gone back, though, I was a carbide caver for years before.
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Postby Teresa » Sep 16, 2006 10:00 am

NZcaver wrote:That's an interesting opinion - you don't often hear cavers complain about too much light. As for color - yes, most of those white LEDs technically use chips that emit blue light.


I'm still complaining-- about other people's lights in my eyes. The 'natural tilt' which many LEDs are made with (esp. Petzls) drives that light right into the eyes of short people. It is likely because I have bad astigmatism, but LED light is the pits--much harsher than either incandescent or fire. I have yet to cave with anyone with the BIG LEDs, and I don't look forward to it.

Sure, experiencing a cave by flickering firelight looks cool in Hollywood movies - and on the occasional nostalgic caving trip - but now in the 21st Century it seems most cavers have moved on with their lighting choices. And as I'm sure you're aware, in some caves it's now forbidden to use carbide. :cry:


A carbide light is a dependable source of heat. That's why I carry one. It can be used in a pinch to provide light. If you cave in wet caves, without some external source of heat, you're tempting fate.
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