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Carbide Reflectors

PostPosted: May 10, 2007 8:17 am
by hardcorecaver
I am a caver and i mostly cave in gypsum caves. I need a reflector for my lamps there are three different ones to chose from a Parabolic SS, Stainless, Chrome and what size 2 5/8" or 4" do you recommend for caving? Also how to you clean the brass and reflector with soot< What is a Premier 7L Tip?

PostPosted: May 10, 2007 8:36 am
by Adam Craig
I prefer the chrome 4" reflector. It casts a better spot light... Tips are rated in liters per hour, the Premier is a 7 liter tip, which burns 7 liters of acetylene per hour. That's fairly standard for a caplamp. I don't polish my lamps anymore. I used to polish, but they'd tarnish right back to a dull brass in short order. Polishing seems sorta useless unless you're trying to jack the price up on Ebay.

How To Clean A Carbide Lamp

PostPosted: May 10, 2007 8:37 am
by Larry E. Matthews
I used to take my carbide lamp completely apart after each trip, and wash the parts under cool running water with a toothbrush. Don't use brass cleaner, or any other cleaner. The lamp will assume a nice weathered patina.

After washing each part, set them on a newspaper to dry. After the parts are dry, re-assemble the lamp. It is always a good idea to "ream" the tip before re-inserting it into the lamp.

As for reflector size, it depends on passage size. For small passages and crawlways, a 2.5 inch reflector is great. For most cave passages, I found a 4 inch reflector to be good. For really big passages and big rooms, a 7 inch reflector would be nice. A parabolic reflector probably gives a better "beam", but you need to see where your feet are going, too.

Larry E. Matthews
NSS #6792-F

PostPosted: May 10, 2007 8:54 am
by Dwight Livingston
If you are surveying and shooting compass, the 4" stainless reflectors work well and do not affect the compass reading the way the chromed steel ones can.

I'd leave the tip in for regular cleaning, to reduce the chance of galling the tip holder.

When you exit a cave and no longer need the light, dump the water out the top and loosen the bottom. That'll help preserve the gasket and keep the bottom from sticking to the lamp.


Dump That Carbide !!!

PostPosted: May 10, 2007 9:48 am
by Larry E. Matthews
Better yet, when you leave the cave, dump the carbide out into a trash bag immediately.

That way, you are not as likely to "forget" and let it sit for days on end. It tends to swell, and the bottom can get STUCK onto the top. More than one carbide lamp has been ruined that way.

I'd try to remember to dump both the water and the carbide as soon as you leave the cave.

Larry E. Matthews
NSS #6792-F