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Thread: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

  1. #1

    Default Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    There seem to be limits to how much visible light I can put on the front of my car. Some kind of wuss thing about "not blinding oncoming drivers". But I want to see as well at night as I do by day. Anybody here tried driving around while wearing an NV setup? Is it a good idea? Or just an expensive way to apply for this years Darwin Awards?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    I'd hazard a guess that this would become a bad idea real fast, just as soon as you got an eyeful of headlight from a car approaching from the opposite direction. NV gear overloads, you lose visibility, car goes somewhere not good, you make the next days news...

    Even allowing for that, I imagine that NV gear would also restrict your peripheral vision enough to make it a Bad Idea..
    But then I don't own and have never owned NV gear, so best to hear from someone who has..

    Graham

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    Flashaholic* GeoffChan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    I don't think its possible.

    NVG's only provide a 2degree Field of View. In someplaces that would make you legally blind.

    Geoff

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    I think the military operate vehicles with NVG gear under certain conditions Including, helicopters, hummers, dunebuggys, motorcycles and ATV's but that they also undergo alot of training and practical exercises utilizing the latest generation gear.

    I would not attempt this without proper training though.

    TSG [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    TSG,
    You hit the nail on the head, the military does drive hummers around at 45MPH with no problems. They ride black motorcycles and land on runways in the middle of the night with no lights (on the runway or the plane) I checked out the NVGs they use, now I know why they don't let those things out on the market. They only cost $3,000 a pop and use AA batteries. Had to give them back though [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Yeah, I read that as far back as the Iranian hostage Crisis we were driving with NVG's. Delta put out two man motorcycle patrols using NVG to secure the landing site at the ill fated Desert I. They had to deploy two guys at a time due to the fact that the Gen I gear they were using was so heavy back then that you could only comfortably wear it for a half hour at a time then you needed to hand it off to your partner. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]

    That means that the military has been operating vehicles using NVG for around 25 years now, so I guess they've got the lock, for the most part, on it!

    I bet those Mil-spec NVG's were somethin' else eh, Benthead? Did you have alot of Sneaky-Pete's fartin' around the camp?!

    TSG [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    In case you have a really big budget, wouldn't it make more sense to have a strong IR frontlight combined with an IR-sensitive camera and projector to display the resulting image on your front screen or on a second display?

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    Glowing admin B@rt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Car manufacturers have been working on that for a while now... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
    The Volvo SSC uses IR with a projection system. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
    From an article dated January 10 2001 :
    [ QUOTE ]
    Enhanced night vision

    In order to improve safety when driving at night, the car is equipped with an infrared (IR) light enhancer. IR technology gives the driver both a longer and a broader field of vision in the dark. The system, which further boosts night-vision capability, has been developed by Swedish safety experts Autoliv.

    When driving at night, a black and white image is projected onto a glass display located at the top of the instrument panel. This image shows what is concealed in the area that is not lit up by the headlights, for example if there is a wild animal in the ditch alongside the road. It is also possible to see what is hidden in the blacked-out area between the SCC’s own headlights and the usually dazzling lights of an oncoming vehicle, such as a pedestrian without reflectors on his or her clothing.

    When driving in daylight, the glass display is retracted so it does not disturb the driver.



    [/ QUOTE ]

    Volvo Safety Concept Car (SCC): The Car That Catches the Eye


  9. #9

    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Yes you can drive with night vision. However, you need a special nightvision device to do it with. Regular monoculars and the two eyepeice an/pvs-7 which only has one amplifier tube produce flat 2 dimensional images that have NO depth perception. That is why helicopter pilots don't use these in the military. They use special 2 tube nightvision goggles that plug into the helicopter dc outlet. The army also has 2 tube goggles made for drivers. These goggles mount onto the kevlar helmet. They, even the helicopters pilots goggles, have battery pack adapter options so they can be worn outside the helicopter.

    They have full depth perception. They usually are very good gen 3 units with flash protection for missle or gun fire flashes and should be fine for driving.

    My anpvs 14delta monocular unit has a dimming knob in the front of the unit. When cranked all the way down most other light sources don't bother the monocular until they get very close. This dimmer feature was made for dawn and dusk scenarios. But never use it in daylight for the tube is deatroyed in about 10 minutes.

    http://www.x20.org/nightvision/anvis...ht_goggles.htm

    AN/PVS-15 Submersible NAVY, AIRBORNE NVG, picture located on this website:
    http://www.x20.org/nightvision/index.htm


    THIS APPEARS TO BE THE MOST ECONOMICAL 2 TUBE full depth perception unit offered for sale you could use. Note it will work fine. Problem is if the cops see you driving without headlights they're going to arrest you and in today's climate, they'll confiscate your goggles and try and steal them from you because they know they have the power today to get away with it because of how the patriot acts and homeland security acts and federal governments mood towards creating a police state has empowered them to expand their asset seizure and forfeiture crimes. IE Police used to just seize the drug dealers assets. Not any more. You can expect American law enforcement to more and more resemble Tijuana's corrupt police. I had the cops in Tijuana rob me at the border at gunpoint while I was in my car in a traffic jam waiting to cross back over into san diego. My wife is from Russia, Moscow. She witnessed the cops in moscow beat a Russian to death for cussing out one of the cops on the street; they dragged him into the station and killed him. Then they tried to get her to sign an affidavit that she saw another prisoner kill him. They promised to take care of the man she was complaining about to the police and asking help from because he was stalking her..... if and only if she would help the police out with their problem with this other fellow they just killed. THat is what our police will become in time as well. So if you spend the money and don't want to lose it.... be wise and keep your fancy gear out of sight of all greedy cops.
    AN/PVS 5 U.S. Military NVG Basis of issue data;
    A. DESCRIPTION: HEAD-MOUNTED, SELF-CONTAINED NIGHT VISION GOGGLE USED FOR WALKING, DRIVING, WEAPONS FIRING, SHORT RANGE SURVEILLANCE, AND OTHER TASKS SUCH AS MAP READING, VEHICLE MAINTENANCE, AND FIRST AID
    $1390.00
    http://www.x20.org/nightvision/anpvs5.htm

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Bart et all...

    The latest generation (2000+?) Cadillac Deville does it already...camera in grille, projects image onto window HID style.



    I've been to several new car shows where they have the camera mounted on a display board (Think portable wall) and the output connected to a flat screen TV. It's a cool setup.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Ok, 3 major kinds of NVG for the military. Monocular w/overload-safety, shuts down when some weenie points a light at it. Binocular w/overload-safety- like the Monocular, only used for non-pilots. Binocular, NO flash-shutoff: better to zorch a few $3-6K systems than to crash a multimillion-dollar aircraft due to poorly-timed blindness.

    Don't ask me what the numbers are for these, as I seem to have RAM lately. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon3.gif[/img]

    You can use any of these systems for driving, with a few *minor* problems.
    1. You can't look at the dash: Nobody makes auto-zoom headset-sized units, and fumbling for a few seconds is why you can't use a cell while driving in most states. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
    2. You need to drive a REALLY long way from anyone with headlamps/taillamps/streetlights/etc. Having that nice safety-shutoff is nice, but it'll give your airbags a test-run. Doh! So will flaring caused by bright point sources, unless you get good Gen3 systems.
    3. You need to get used to using them- the US Army has strict requirements for NV-driving and training. You ARE driving while looking thru a pair of paper-towel tubes, with all that implies.

    The latest monocular Mil-spec units kick ass- they don't even have the provision of lithium batteries, as even AA's will run them for a week, in -40F. They also cost WAY too much for me. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    HOWEVER, there is still hope. You can get a nice Thermal camera, and add your own HUD. (might be interesting trying to mount a fold-down LCD on the dash [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]) Try not to scream when you see the prices, the neighbors might not like it.
    http://www.edmundoptics.com/IOD/Browse.cfm?catid=1137

    Now for the big question: How much of this is LEGAL? Uh, I dunno.

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    [ QUOTE ]
    ledfanfromjuno said:
    So if you spend the money and don't want to lose it.... be wise and keep your fancy gear out of sight of all greedy cops.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I apologize for jumping traks a bit here, but let me see if I understand you correctly, are you stating that ALL cops are greedy and corrupt?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    >NVG's only provide a 2degree Field of View. In
    >someplaces that would make you legally blind.

    You can get 40 degrees. That's still not much.

    ledfanfromjuno - Wish I could say you were wrong. Whatever happened to that country I thought I grew up in?

    It sounds like untrained, homemade attempts to drive around strapped into something-or-another surplus NV gear is possible, but not a good idea.

    I like the auto HUD idea, visual IR might be affordable - the thermal IR equipment would be worth more than my car. I wonder how much it would cost to buy a replacement camera and projector from the Cadillac people? If they make it they must carry spare parts.

    mrorange - I think he was suggesting a concern, not an absolute.

    Thanks folks!

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    Flashaholic* Xrunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Ken_McE said:
    I wonder how much it would cost to buy a replacement camera and projector from the Cadillac people? If they make it they must carry spare parts.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Good thinking, I wonder if any salvage/scrap yards have those Cadillacs in? I would bet that if they do you might be able to piece together a "decent" system for a reasonable cost (based on the fact that the salvage yards don't know a lot about the NV equipment and the prices). It might be worth a shot.

    -Mike

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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    I'd salvage the Caddy too. I have a friend that was in the military and he told me he couldn't see sh*t with the night vision.

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    Flashaholic* Unicorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    Yes you can drive with NVG's on. I am licensed to drive the M998/1038 series of HMMWV (or Humvees) and M113A3 Armored Personell Carrier with AN/PVS-7B and the AN/PVS-14 NVG's. The 7B's are the twin eyepiece, single tube, and the PVS-14's are a single monocular. There is almost no depth perception, and it is not even close to what you see by daylight. Even the twin tube versions that helicopter pilots use don't give full depth perception. We also generally keep the speed down. 45 MPH is a bit fast, 25 MPH is more like the top speed, and that is only on decent trails/roads.
    Training on these involves both classroom and practical training. Not hard, just something to get used to.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Can You Drive A Car With a NV Rig?

    I believe it is possible to drive with a NV setup. There is a new kind of NV / IR being developed and tested (the military may already be using this, don't know) but the goggles combined a green NV view with a white, gray, and black IR view. The resulting image is better than NV or IR being used alone. The only drawback is these units are probably much more expensive than the strictly NV are. If you don't like this option you could just go with strapping a bunch of flashlights to your vehicle, i.e. short ranged ones angled down infront of your vehicle, and the ones with some throw angled farther infront. Hee hee hee (I'm imagining what oncoming drivers would see when your parked along the side of the road and suddenly turn your lights off. Officer it was this bright light that just seemed to stay there in the same spot and then it was gone. I woke up the next morning wondering how my car ended up in the lake.)

  18. #18

    Default Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    Hi Bright One,

    Unicorn is certified to drive with NV equipment. He reports that it requires training, is difficult to do well, and pretty much requires you to drive slowly 8-(

    As far as the flashlights on the bumper goes, I'm already up to six headlights (the car came with two) and I feel that it's maxed out. If I put on more they'll be hanging off funny or start to interfere with airflow to the radiator. If I put in brighter bulbs I'll start melting the housings, I know 'cause I've tried. It was a pain to mod the car to hold the new fixtures well, so I don't want to replace them.

    I had speculated that with IR sensitive goggles I could put on a bloody great IR spotlight on the front, any wattage I like, use that to drive with, and have a couple of winky-dink little fourty watt low beams on the front just so other people could see me coming. Well, it would work but I no longer think it's worth doing.

    What Saaby pointed out, the Cadillac heads up night vision system , sounds like the most promising idea. The Caddy sensor is actually thermal IR and it uses a HUD on the dash to project a small black and white image on the bottom of windshield as you drive, you use it like a second rear view mirror, only it looks ahead, not behind.

    To do this I would have to go down to a Caddy dealer and get them to sell me a replacement sensor and HUD unit. I have an intuitive feeling that if I told them it was so I could retrofit my scooty little japanese car to be like a Caddy, they would show me the door...

    If I did get the parts I would have to figure them out. Wanna bet they don't come with instructions? The sensor has a warm up period, and it only comes on with the headlights. I would have to duplicate the plug into the wiring harness and the harness too. There's no telling what the signal line is without looking at one. I also don't know if the sensor is 12 volt or if it has its own power supply. Since the system has only been around three years I don't think I'll find any in the scrapyards.

    I can get another line through the firewall on my car, but it's a pain, you have to lay upside down under the dash with sweat running in your eyes and hope that you measured the clearance from the brake line to where you're drilling juuuust right...

    The Caddy people, if my souces are correct, will not even try to retrofit this item to a Caddy, not even a late model one that could have come with it, you get it factory installed or not at all. Does this mean it's hard to do right, even in the right car?

    Assuming I got the sensor in and working, now there's the HUD to deal with. My windshield should not have the same shape as a Caddy windshield, and the dash-to-windshield distance should also be different. I'd probably have to pull the dash to mount it and that's an all weekend affair all by itself.

    The NV option seems to add around $2,000 (US) to the price of the new car so I assume the parts are somewhere around that price to "replace" at the parts counter. I could afford it, but I've got to think it through some. I'd hate to blow 2K on useless hardware that I couldn't make work or destroyed the first time I ran 12 volts through it....

    I've been Googling around and so far haven't found any references to anyone retrofitting a HUD unit into a different vehicle, so I don't even know if it can be done.

    It's an interesting challenge, no?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    More likely it has to 'Cool down.' [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] The best recent (last 5 years) development in IR imaging is non-supercooled systems. LN2 in a camera makes things tough, but they still seem to need some cooling, to keep all the pixels the same temperature.

    The Camera/HUD system might also require a propriatary (sp) tie-in with the car's systems. Computer connection, Headlight-on signal, signal-format translation, whatever. If you can find out who actually manufacturers the system, a PDF datasheet or wiring diagram may be available.

    If the Caddy system can't be had, there are other thermal cameras, and a BYO system can use a 6-8" flip-up LCD on the dash. (just flip it down if you get pulled over- it may count as 'obstructing your vision,' and it's not worth trying to convince the officer.)

    Either way, Thermal seems to be the only way to share the road with headlight-using drivers. (It's considered poor etiquette to turn on your vehicle's lights when driving in a NV-convoy. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ohgeez.gif[/img]) Good luck with your project- I certainly can't afford it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    A) I doubt the dealer just happens to have a spare NV system on hand
    B) Even if they did I doubt they want to sell it to you.
    C) If you find a wrecked/totalled Caddy--it COULD be a roll over, but, remember here it's a $45,000 totalled car, what are the chances it's a bad frontal crash that's rendered the NV system...useless.

    Maybe again in 10 years or so...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Saaby said:
    A) I doubt the dealer just happens to have a spare NV system on hand
    B) Even if they did I doubt they want to sell it to you.
    C) If you find a wrecked/totalled Caddy--it COULD be a roll over, but, remember here it's a $45,000 totalled car, what are the chances it's a bad frontal crash that's rendered the NV system...useless.

    Maybe again in 10 years or so...

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Rollover is not the only way to total a car that doesn't kill the front. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Most common source of junkyard engines and transmissions are not rolled cars, but T-boned cars.

    The Caddy NV system is likely not thermal, but near-IR (a la Sony NightShot).

  22. #22

    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    A) I doubt the dealer just happens to have a spare NV system on hand

    (K) Hey, if they sell the car, they've got to sell spare parts for the car. Even on a $50,000 (US) car things will break.

    B) Even if they did I doubt they want to sell it to you.

    (K) I agree. That's why I mentioned it as an obstacle. A social engineering challenge. I thought people here might have suggestions. You know, the ol' "I broke that night light thing on the middle of the grill on my uncles car, you gotta' sell me a new one" routine.

    C) If you find a wrecked/totalled Caddy--it COULD be a roll over, but, remember here it's a $45,000 totalled car, what are the chances it's a bad frontal crash that's rendered the NV system...useless.

    (K) The car in your example would be no good for the sensor, but I might be able to get the HUD unit or the fittings off the wiring system, or at least a close look at how the HUD unit was set up.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Entropy said:
    The Caddy NV system is likely not thermal, but near-IR (a la Sony NightShot).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Entrophy, it is a thermal IR sensor, its sensitivity peaks around 100 degrees farenheight, mammal body heat range. $2,000 (US) is actually quite inexpensive for thermal IR gear.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    Ken...I admire your enthusium [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    Sure you _can_ drive on NV, but I wouldn't advise it. Police are likely to assume that you're smuggling something. Local citizens may assume that you're a gangster looking for someone to kill to prove your meddle. Fellow motorists won't be able too see you until their headlights illuminate you.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    Suuure...as Ferrous said, anyway, there are some "retrofits." However, if you wish to try, I'd advise to replace or add an IR Illuminator as car's headlights.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    If anyone can get an IR system, you can leave the normal headlight in there, and just drive with the HUD. The normal headlights shouldn't interfere with that, and they DO have uses...

    They show other drivers where you are, illuminate the reflective road-signs, and most importantly.... they keep you from getting pulled over for not having your headlights on. (I think that admitting the reason why your lights were off will get you in MORE trouble- so LEO's are either bored or paranoid, and will wonder WHY anyone would think headlights suck... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img] If they're really curious, they'll start looking for things, wanting a way to keep you long enough for the drug-dog to get there.)

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    I'm not sayin replace your headlights with an IR apparatus. I'm sayin add at least one IR illuminator to you car. shouldn't that be better? Plus, you could replace you headlights with very low powered ones just to make other people spot you and not gettin police pulling you over.

  29. #29

    Default Automotive NV Systems

    Bendix has a general purpose thermal IR system for vehicles out. It includes a HUD unit and the camera looks like the one Raytheon uses in the Cadillacs.

    http://www.bendix.com/products/XVision.shtml

    The Cadillac DeVille has a factory-installed thermal IR option (Raytheon) that sells for $2 or 3 K.

    http://www.cadillac.com/cadillacjsp/...ghtvision.html

    There is a military issue NV system for the Hummer that I haven‘t paid much attention to ‘cause hell will surely freeze over before a civilian gets one.

    www.patrolcctv.com/military.html

    There is a civilian issue Hummer Thermal IR system called "Nightdriver" that runs $5k installed.

    http://www.autonews.com/article.cms?...night%20vision

    I‘m thinking about buying the Bendix one, which I think is the same as the Caddy one, except its available as a retrofit kit. I think all the thermal IR units trace back to Raytheon.

    http://www.raytheoninfrared.com/tran...ion/index.html

    The strategy behind the product:

    www.raytheoninfrared.com/admin/file/SPIE4360-211finalauto.pdf

    Has anyone here any experience with any of these type products?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Retrofit A Caddy IR System On My Car ?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Ken_McE said:
    Hi Bright One,

    The NV option seems to add around $2,000 (US) to the price of the new car so I assume the parts are somewhere around that price to "replace" at the parts counter. I could afford it, but I've got to think it through some. I'd hate to blow 2K on useless hardware that I couldn't make work or destroyed the first time I ran 12 volts through it....
    It's an interesting challenge, no?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If it's a $2,000 option I would bet it would cost you around $4,000 to buy it through the parts dept. I have been down this road with other things. A rear seat for a Suburban, $1,800 unassembled. It's a $1,000 option. All the parts will be sold separately. Mark-up on every part and doubly the cost. Good luck

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