Can a Cave Light be too Bright? HID

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Can a Cave Light be too Bright? HID

Postby tagcaving » Feb 9, 2007 3:45 pm

To put HID into perspective, it puts out the same amount of light as 20 regular cave lights running all at once. These things are the brightest cave lights in the country and we run them full blast for 9 hours at a time on a high energy lithium battery pack. It lights up a cave like day. You know how huge passages and rooms look after photographers take pictures, fully lit up where you can see everything in the photo? Well, having one of these things on your head lights up the cave like that for hours at a time.

You have to really see one or use one to understand how revolutionary these things are. Here are some pictures that a friend took of my first trip using the HID cave light.

Lights up passage like this, Me in yellow with HID overexposing walls.
http://sports.webshots.com/photo/298083 ... 4580aDrgkb

Easily see the top of a 100 foot dome. HID exposure, no flash
http://sports.webshots.com/photo/212012 ... 4580aOsdbb

Looking back down a 100 foot pit. HID exposure, no flash
http://sports.webshots.com/photo/236320 ... 4580oVznzx

With the HID light nothing around you is dark anymore. There is so much light that reflection off the walls and ceilings lights up shadow areas. It is like you took the roof off and let in day. Recently on the first trip with my new HID cave light, I got complaints from some of the cavers I was caving with. It makes everyone else’s light around you look like their batteries are about to go out. They ended up naturally using the ambient light from my HID light to cave by. When I suddenly turned my light off or turned my head away they were instantly thrown into darkness. They were no longer accustomed to using the 25-40 lumen twink light they had.

Is there any such thing as having too much light in caving?


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Re: Can a Cave Light be too Bright? HID

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 9, 2007 4:21 pm

tagcaving wrote:Is there any such thing as having too much light in caving?

Um, maybe. Watch the video I linked to in this post: LINK. I think that would be a great light to have for spotting, but not for standard movement thru a cave. Can you dim it? Is this one of Nathan's lights he's been working on?

And welcome to Cavechat, Andy!!!
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Postby Nico » Feb 9, 2007 9:23 pm

HID lights are pretty cool but they're pricey thou, also are they waterproof?
can they hold up to the abuse of a cave enviroment? how much do they cost.. there are so many things that I would consider before buying one of these things (like I had the money to do it lol)
Again, welcome to cavechat and tell Marion that Nico from Mexico said hello
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Postby Realms » Feb 9, 2007 9:49 pm

No Scott he wasn't referencing the one I'm working on. Nice setup there Andy. How many watts is it? I'm building up a 50watt HID but still having some thermal issues. Also mine is not for general caving, only for domes and spotting across huge rooms and will be complimented by a trio of high powered LED's. Again this is typically considered overkill but I'm using it in conjunction with cave photography. HID as well as certain LED's have excellent color characteristics that bring out the true colors of a cave. Currently working on an article on this :-). Andy is yours a custom rig or one like you see on the ATV sites? Also is your ballast in the battery pack?
As for my current setup of using a trio of 3watters, man I love that light to death. We did a 15 hour trip last weekend and I ran it most of the time on all three. Its been really good to me. Lol if it craps out the only one I can blame or complain to is myself. Ahh the joy :-)

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Postby knotty » Feb 13, 2007 11:52 am

I cave with a guy that built a HID light years ago and its awesome. Her in Idaho, lava tubes are plentiful and lava sucks up all the light. We love it when he comes. I use three 3-watt leds on my helm but im not near as bright as his. Too much light? Not for me. Not in a lava tube
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Postby VACaver » Feb 13, 2007 7:00 pm

OK, what's HID stand for?
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Postby NZcaver » Feb 13, 2007 7:38 pm

VACaver wrote:OK, what's HID stand for?

High-Intensity Discharge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-inten ... harge_lamp
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Postby JoeyS » Feb 13, 2007 8:39 pm

HID technology is nothing new, it's just getting more compact. More from the fact that battery efficiency is getting better, ie. Lithium Ion, NiMh, etc.. The ten year old street lights you see everywhere are HID. Basically, HID is very efficient. You get alot more light than would get from a xenon lamp (like a Surefire type light). Drawbacks include the somewhat fragile HID bulbs, the lag in power-up of an HID (it takes up to 30 seconds for an HID to reach full brightness), and cost.
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Postby Herman Miller » Feb 13, 2007 8:44 pm

i get told my petzl duo is to birhgt lol
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Postby adleedy » Feb 13, 2007 9:19 pm

bremen66 wrote:i get told my petzl duo is to birhgt lol


which duo do you have, i use the duo 14 and i am plenty pleased with it.
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Postby Herman Miller » Feb 13, 2007 9:26 pm

i just have the standard, i think its a 7bulb led with an incandescent mate, we dont have very much borehole passage in the state of nevada
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Postby adleedy » Feb 13, 2007 9:46 pm

ok i gotcha, im thinking you actually have the duo 8 though.
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Postby wendy » Feb 13, 2007 10:15 pm

I have a 10 watt HID, but its for cave diving. Nowadays a lot of cave divers use 18 watt HIDs, they are super bright, and you have to becareful to not blind your buddy. So this brings up a point in using HID lights in caving.....you will have to be mindful in not blinding your buddy. SInce caving lights are worn on the helmet and you are often looknig at your fellow cavers. In cave diving this is easy to avoid, as we use light signals, shining the light away from your buddy, or point the light at your hand when doing hand signals. I can imagine you could do some damage to your fellow cavers eyes if you continue to blind them during a trip.
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Postby JoeyS » Feb 13, 2007 10:53 pm

wendy wrote:I have a 10 watt HID, but its for cave diving. Nowadays a lot of cave divers use 18 watt HIDs, they are super bright, and you have to becareful to not blind your buddy. So this brings up a point in using HID lights in caving.....you will have to be mindful in not blinding your buddy. SInce caving lights are worn on the helmet and you are often looknig at your fellow cavers. In cave diving this is easy to avoid, as we use light signals, shining the light away from your buddy, or point the light at your hand when doing hand signals. I can imagine you could do some damage to your fellow cavers eyes if you continue to blind them during a trip.

Agreed. You are going to ruffle some feathers when you cave with a light that is painfully bright. I try to be mindful of others' eyes with just my stenlight. I try to remember to dim it to the low setting when we stop for conversation or to break, or just shut it off completely. I do think that there is such a thing as too much light..., although I like it from a self-serving aspect... :banana: I think that even our 1 and 3 watt leds tend to wake bats if not careful. You would have to be extra careful if your running around sporting a 10 or 24 watt HID.
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Postby paul » Feb 14, 2007 8:01 am

JoeyS wrote:I think that even our 1 and 3 watt leds tend to wake bats if not careful. You would have to be extra careful if your running around sporting a 10 or 24 watt HID.


Good point!
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