Can a Cave Light be too Bright? HID

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

Postby tagcaving » Feb 14, 2007 12:21 pm

Thanks to everyone for their reply!

Well, I kinda got the answer to the question. On Saturday I took my HID light to a deep wet horror hole cave in Central Tennessee. It was running fine at 7w until I kicked in on high 12w to look across the top of a 300 foot pit. After 20 minutes the light color started to change to yellow orange and the bulb got very dim afterward. After I turned it off the bulb would not strike and relight. When I got home I took it apart and found that the bulb fried. It is a complicated story, but ultimately has to do with volatile organics.

>>>>>>>

Scott, No, Not Nathans, A custom carbon fiber prototype.

>>>>>>>>>

Nico, Yes, Mine is Waterproof.

Tough? Well they are put on mountain bikes and tend to survive a lot of abuse there.

As is my light, it cost $900 to build, but I got a prototype that is still in development. I am able to run it at 7w and 12w settings and the ballast is 90% efficient. My battery fits inside my helmet and the light runs for 9 hours. The whole system weighs 1.1 pounds, but put this into perspective, it puts out the same amount of light as 12 normal cave lights all turned on at once. It lights up wall details 200-300 feet away.

Thanks!, and sure, Next time I see the Old Bast----d I'll pass on the shout out.

>>>>>>>

Thanks Nathan! That is great you have one too. Whoa!!! 50W, that is like a freaking light bomb!!! That is like 3,500 lumens or having a 250w incandescent light. That is more light than having both regular car headlights on bright. I guess you use it for photography?

Yeah the color temperature is great. I also noticed that caves have lots of color in them now I can see with light that is at 5800K. We have been stumbling around with dim yellow twink lights all these years and could not see it. With the power of HID that has changed.

The light I use runs the HID full time. 7w and 12w settings. I would like to talk to you more about all this in the future.
>>>>>>>>>

JoeyS is correct. Even neon lights are a discharge light. The technology has spread from HID car lights and recently compact 10w HID bulbs started getting produced. Yes, very efficient, 60-70 lumens per watt. A typical incandescent bulb only gets 15 lumens per watt.

As for price, there is nothing stopping HID bulbs from being produced for $10 a bulb. All that is need is the economy of scale. HID headlights could be produced at the same cost as high watt LEDs. It is just there is not much demand for a caving headlight that is bright as a 50w car headlight beam.

>>>>>>>

Thanks InvSh, we had a caver decide not go with us on a big cave this this weekend just because we were going to be running our HID lights. She said that the HID lights gave her a migraine. This is true, bright lights often trigger Migraines in some people who suffer from them. I have to be very carefull not to shine my light into other cavers eyes. It will instantly blind them, like people who leave there car headlights on bright.

>>>>>>>>>>

Another point worth mentioning

One advantage is that the HID bulb has a 1.2mm gap between the electrodes. Once an electric arc ignites the gas inside it discharges photons in all directions as electrons excite the gas molecules. It takes about 6,000 volts to ignite and 60v to maintain the arc. All the light comes out of a 2 cubic mm volume, which is about as close to a point source of light as you can get. When you put a point source in the focal point of parabolic reflector, you can get an almost perfect beam of light.

LEDs have a lot advantages, but they will never be a point source of light that throws photos out in every direction like the sun. To do this the semiconductor crystals would have to be mounted on a small sphere, but even then the waste heat would be concentrated and could not dissipate and the whole thing would melt. You can focus a HID lamp just like a Wheat Light, only it is like shining 8 wheat lights all at once. When you see a cave lit up with this much light it is amazing.
To The Bitter End,
Andy Porter, 26258FERL

Image
User avatar
tagcaving
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 8, 2007 1:46 pm
Location: Georgia
  

Postby DeWayne » Feb 14, 2007 1:23 pm

Do you suppose it might be a heatsink issue that caused your bulb to fry? I know with early model HID's used as primary dive lights, you could not burn them out of the water for very long without risking excessive heat build up that would destroy the bulb and ballast. Newer designs have supposedly solved this problem, but I still hear of the occassional problem such as you experienced (I guess the ATV HID's intended to have some wind blowing across them as a secondary heatsink.) I love the color temps that HID's offer, the difference in an underwater cave is amazing.
Gobwats
User avatar
DeWayne
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Oct 1, 2005 12:30 pm
Location: BUrlington, KY
Name: DeWayne Hyatt PhD
NSS #: NSS# 53694
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CDS GCG
  

Postby wendy » Feb 14, 2007 1:28 pm

DeWayne wrote:Do you suppose it might be a heatsink issue that caused your bulb to fry? I know with early model HID's used as primary dive lights, you could not burn them out of the water for very long without risking excessive heat build up that would destroy the bulb and ballast. Newer designs have supposedly solved this problem, but I still hear of the occassional problem such as you experienced (I guess the ATV HID's intended to have some wind blowing across them as a secondary heatsink.) I love the color temps that HID's offer, the difference in an underwater cave is amazing.


ya i had thought of that too. Is it still a good rule of thumb to wait a few minutes before turning your light back off after you turn it on, so it goes thru a burn cycle?
User avatar
wendy
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1527
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 10:51 am
Location: florida
Name: Wendy
NSS #: 53923
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flint River Grotto
  

Postby DeWayne » Feb 14, 2007 1:35 pm

wendy wrote:
DeWayne wrote:Do you suppose it might be a heatsink issue that caused your bulb to fry? I know with early model HID's used as primary dive lights, you could not burn them out of the water for very long without risking excessive heat build up that would destroy the bulb and ballast. Newer designs have supposedly solved this problem, but I still hear of the occassional problem such as you experienced (I guess the ATV HID's intended to have some wind blowing across them as a secondary heatsink.) I love the color temps that HID's offer, the difference in an underwater cave is amazing.


ya i had thought of that too. Is it still a good rule of thumb to wait a few minutes before turning your light back off after you turn it on, so it goes thru a burn cycle?


I have always been told to let them burn at least 3-5 minutes once they have been turned on, regardless of the environment. This allows the bulb to come to full heat, and supposedly failure to do so will shorten the bulb life. Not being elctrically minded I generally follow the more conservative advice of those who sound like they know more about the subject than I do (which is near about everyone.)
Gobwats
User avatar
DeWayne
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Oct 1, 2005 12:30 pm
Location: BUrlington, KY
Name: DeWayne Hyatt PhD
NSS #: NSS# 53694
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CDS GCG
  

Postby hunter » Feb 14, 2007 2:12 pm

Like everyone else has said, I don't like caving with people who have way brighter lights for all the previously listed reasons. I think one other issue that doesn't come up much in "real" caving but could with this light is algae growth. In t our caves with fixed lights (Carlsbad) this is an issue. I could see the same thing happening in really popular caves where HID lights were used a lot.

One other practical question, just how tough is you battery and where are you putting it in your helmet? I think this came up on another thread somewhere but having any hard objects inside your helmet greatly reduces the effectivness of your helmet in a high impact scenario (i.e. a rock falling on your head). The crush space in a helmet is what makes it strong enough to stop a high speed object. Filling that space with something hard is a bad idea.
Also, maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea of having a battery that could break or leak inside my helmet.

Just my .02,
James
hunter
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 9:47 am
Location: New Mexico
  

Postby tagcaving » Feb 14, 2007 4:38 pm

hunter wrote:
One other practical question, just how tough is you battery and where are you putting it in your helmet? I think this came up on another thread somewhere but having any hard objects inside your helmet greatly reduces the effectiveness of your helmet in a high impact scenario (i.e. a rock falling on your head). The crush space in a helmet is what makes it strong enough to stop a high speed object. Filling that space with something hard is a bad idea. Also, maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea of having a battery that could break or leak inside my helmet.

Just my .02,
James


Hi James, The battery is made of high energy density lithium ion cells. They are dipped in plastic to waterproof them, but sitting inside the helmet they are in a very protected place. Lithium ion batteries can explode and burst into flame throwers within seconds of being crushed or punctured. People who left them in their car or house unattended while charging have come back find their house or car burned to the ground. This can occur if the batteries are abused or not charged correctly. I store my batteries in my fireplace at home and you can place them in a metal amo box with a small vent hole drilled in it in your car. So yes, I go caving with bomb sitting above my brain. If the batteries catch on fire it is easy to just unstrap the helmet and throw it at your rival across the cave. Use the light from the giant fireball to run and escape.

How many people know that the Sten Light uses the same kinds of lithium cells I use? Not many people seem to be worried about those battery packs when they are just as dangerous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OsBc8RqSKU

Yes, there is also a safety issue mounting the battery inside the helmet, I knew about this at the start. I wrote the following a month ago.

http://www.tagcaving.com/pics/vahid/slide009.html

"Warning: This set up removes the safety features for protection against velocity impacts and traumatic force. Most of the headspace inside the helmet has been filled in with a brick. This is a real issue and could determine whether a 10 pound rock falling down a 100 pit either kills you or gives you a really bad headache."

In the end, I don't worry about these safety issues. Caving is a dangerous sport. Taking risks is part of the game. At least I can see what is about to get me. Anyway, having your helmet explode would make a good story....
To The Bitter End,
Andy Porter, 26258FERL

Image
User avatar
tagcaving
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 8, 2007 1:46 pm
Location: Georgia
  

Postby Realms » Feb 14, 2007 5:10 pm

Andy do you use Li-po's?
never stop imagining what could someday come to pass...
User avatar
Realms
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 273
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 8:11 pm
Location: Huntsville,Alabama
  

Postby barcelonacvr » Feb 14, 2007 5:56 pm

Marbry talks about the more durable HID bulbs here here


http://forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?t=3192&start=15



Here is my dual 13 watt HID system with the Nimh battery pack on the back.I could go LION but I don't need the burntimes as I use it for specific things.it will run for the 2.5 hr burntime and not burnout as the ambient temps in caves seem to cool it enough.They are meant for ATV"S with air flow going over them otherwise.I am working with a person to make waterfoof heads with a heat sink for these.Currently I can go maybe 10 ft and keep running.I have been using them for about 2 yrs now and I love them for big tunnel/video

http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... hidgi4.jpg


I see there are a few more nice systems working well.HID has some nice applications IMHO

I myself don't think there is such a thing as too bright a light as long as your caving partners have decent enough lights and you don't blast them in the eyes.

I had no problem learning to avoid eyes in cave diving and dry caving is not proving to be any more difficult in that respect.


As for algae,if a cave biologist showed me the HID's would be a problem of course I would refrain but I cannot imagine stuff starting to grow from these.They aren't that bright(maybe dual 50 watt and up would be?)
barcelonacvr
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Oct 26, 2005 5:23 pm
  

Postby Realms » Feb 14, 2007 11:18 pm

Yeah I like the true color feel of both LED and HID lighting. I'm doing an artical related to this picture we shot 2 weeks ago. But look at the colors. This is pretty much how it came out. No post on the colors.

http://www.realmsofreality.net/williams_digital_rumble_room.jpg

Enjoy :-)
never stop imagining what could someday come to pass...
User avatar
Realms
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 273
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 8:11 pm
Location: Huntsville,Alabama
  

Postby adleedy » Feb 15, 2007 6:55 am

wow Realms, the color in that photo is absolutely amazing, GREAT JOB :grin:
Alan D. Leedy

E.R.V.K.E.T Life Member

SAVE CAVE RIVERS http://WWW.8RIVERSSAFEDEVELOPMENT.COM
User avatar
adleedy
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 522
Joined: Dec 12, 2006 6:04 pm
Location: charleston, west virginia
Name: alan dwayne leedy
NSS #: 56663
Primary Grotto Affiliation: charleston grotto + ERVKET
  

Postby tagcaving » Feb 15, 2007 8:21 am

Wow! Great Shot. Yeah, HID really shows the color of the rock units well. A lot of detail is shown.

I use 18650s with PTC and a PCB board. 18650s are much safer than lithium polymer prismatics. No matter the type, lithium batteries don't like to be overcharged. See what happens to this lipo pack....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMfdH76oi0
To The Bitter End,
Andy Porter, 26258FERL

Image
User avatar
tagcaving
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 8, 2007 1:46 pm
Location: Georgia
  

Postby barcelonacvr » Feb 15, 2007 9:04 am

Realms wrote:Yeah I like the true color feel of both LED and HID lighting. I'm doing an artical related to this picture we shot 2 weeks ago. But look at the colors. This is pretty much how it came out. No post on the colors.

http://www.realmsofreality.net/williams_digital_rumble_room.jpg

Enjoy :-)



AMAZING creation!!! That looks stunning.I was going to post a photo I took in Snedgars to show the HID look but I think I will burn it now LOL

Where will the article be printed?
barcelonacvr
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Oct 26, 2005 5:23 pm
  

Postby Realms » Feb 15, 2007 9:43 am

Actually folks the shot was done using only a few 3watt LED's. I did it as a proof of concept test. Shooting for the NSS News. There is a lot of articals up for publication so it may be a few months before it surfaces :-)
never stop imagining what could someday come to pass...
User avatar
Realms
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 273
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 8:11 pm
Location: Huntsville,Alabama
  

Postby Mike Cato » Feb 15, 2007 11:42 am

And now I've got a new background for the PC.

Thanks Realms! :kewl:
User avatar
Mike Cato
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Sep 15, 2005 10:35 am
Location: Morgan City, Alabama
NSS #: 51489
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Huntsville SCCi
  

Postby Tim White » Feb 15, 2007 12:05 pm

Mike Cato wrote:And now I've got a new background for the PC.

Thanks Realms! :kewl:


Me too! :exactly: I just replaced a shot by Bob Biddix of on Berta Whitesides. Guess that shows how much I liked Nathans' shot of the Rumble Room. Hope I don't get in trouble for replacing Berta on my desktop. :oops:

:off topic: :oops:
Be safe,
Tim White 26949 RL FE

Southeastern Region Coordinator - NCRC
Editor, Nylon Highway
Senior Technical Manager - Over the Edge, Inc.
User avatar
Tim White
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Sep 8, 2005 11:57 am
Location: Suwanee, GA
  

PreviousNext

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron