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Thread: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

  1. #1

    Default LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Hello all! Glad I found this forum and I hope it can help with some questions in the future, right now I just want to kind of rant, but I'm trying to get to a point, it just my take a few posts. I'll just say I've been a caver for more than 12 years now, everywhere from my original home of TAG to the western mountains, the Andes of Peru, Puerto Rico, blah, blah, blah. I'm just saying I've used my fair share of headlamps on many month long or more expeditions in far out hard to reach places. I expect durability, ease of repair, simple mechanics, and good light. When I started I had the original headlamp, my grandfathers carbide light he used as a coal miner in Kentucky. Great throw, simple mechanics, stinks like ass, but carrying an explosive around (carbide) does have its downsides. Thus, not many people use them much anymore.(except in Europe) My next was the original Petzl Zoom. It worked, that's all I can say, but it was the LAST incandescent light I have ever owned. My first LED was the Petzl Zipka Mk I. That thing was indestructible, dropped it in water, ran it over with a truck, took it apart, cleaned it and reassembled it (after resoldering some wires) and it worked great until I lost it. So I got another one...and was severely disappointed. Obviously over the years things had changed, the housing was no longer as tight fitting, condensation and corrosion came soon afterwards, and it just wasnt what it was. So I branched out. As a caver I get to see so many different lights on everyone's helmets, and after alot of deliberation I chose the, at the time brand new, Apex. What a horrible disappointment! I took it to the wilderness of Montana for two months of caving and on the last day before heading back I ceremoniously put it out of its misery with a very large rock. Battery power not what I expected or even close to what was published, more leaky than a sieve, I had corrosion on the terminals after one week. (and I dry my headlamps with batteries out after cave trips, though our trips do last upwards of 30hrs sometimes...) All of that aside there were two things that sealed the deal. The first was the wire leading from the batt to the lamp was not robust enough for caving and was short circuiting after a few trips. The second was the idiotically slow three flickers that was supposed to tell you to change your batteries. I will say that if I have a headlamp on and its THE way i am seeing, one flicker is enough to get my attention! I don't need 3 one second blackouts over a 8 second cycle! The clincher was when I was traversing a wall in a wetsuit over a 60ft pit and the damn thing decides to flicker while i'm placing a foothold, and then goes on the fritz. I had to slam my helmet against the wall just to get it to come back on so I could safely get to the other side. That was the last PT light I ever owned. Then the STEN came out. My friend was one of the product testers for it and they did a great job on repairing it when it was needed and keeping him updated on new upgrades and such, but it does have some flaws. As well as most lights I have used the main issue is the power cord where it enters the lamp body. It is not robust, in Puerto Rico last year 3 Stens failed because of this one problem, and I was handing out my spare BD plastic Icons like candy. Second, those silly allen wrench screws that keep the cover on, could they have found a more difficult fastener than that? I have witnessed many times people using whats at hand to drive those little wrenches into the socket, and usually to no avail. The final third, and this is purely caver related, as cool as the magnetic switch may be, it really destroys its usefulness as an all around caving light because that switch messes with the compasses we use to survey caves. So in order to read the compass, which you must put up to your eye and sight through, you have to take off your helmet and hold it arms length away. Well, that's not always possible or feasible. So what light, after all this ranting and complaining DO I use? The BD plastic 3W LED is hands down the most reliable, bright, spot and flood light I have ever used. But I hope to change that.<br><br>Coming Soon "what about the Little Monkey, Scurion, Hurricane, Rude Nora, SureFire?"<br><br>Karstonaut<br>Alpine Caver

  2. #2

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    "Hello all! Glad I found this forum and I hope it can help with some questions in the future, right now I just want to kind of rant, but I'm trying to get to a point, it just my take a few posts.

    I'll just say I've been a caver for more than 12 years now, everywhere from my original home of TAG to the western mountains, the Andes of Peru, Puerto Rico, blah, blah, blah. I'm just saying I've used my fair share of headlamps on many month long or more expeditions in far out hard to reach places.

    I expect durability, ease of repair, simple mechanics, and good light. When I started I had the original headlamp, my grandfathers carbide light he used as a coal miner in Kentucky. Great throw, simple mechanics, stinks like ass, but carrying an explosive around (carbide) does have its downsides. Thus, not many people use them much anymore.(except in Europe)

    My next was the original Petzl Zoom. It worked, that's all I can say, but it was the LAST incandescent light I have ever owned. My first LED was the Petzl Zipka Mk I. That thing was indestructible, dropped it in water, ran it over with a truck, took it apart, cleaned it and reassembled it (after resoldering some wires) and it worked great until I lost it. So I got another one...and was severely disappointed.

    Obviously over the years things had changed, the housing was no longer as tight fitting, condensation and corrosion came soon afterwards, and it just wasnt what it was. So I branched out. As a caver I get to see so many different lights on everyone's helmets, and after alot of deliberation I chose the, at the time brand new, Apex. What a horrible disappointment! I took it to the wilderness of Montana for two months of caving and on the last day before heading back I ceremoniously put it out of its misery with a very large rock. Battery power not what I expected or even close to what was published, more leaky than a sieve, I had corrosion on the terminals after one week. (and I dry my headlamps with batteries out after cave trips, though our trips do last upwards of 30hrs sometimes...)

    All of that aside there were two things that sealed the deal. The first was the wire leading from the batt to the lamp was not robust enough for caving and was short circuiting after a few trips. The second was the idiotically slow three flickers that was supposed to tell you to change your batteries. I will say that if I have a headlamp on and its THE way i am seeing, one flicker is enough to get my attention! I don't need 3 one second blackouts over a 8 second cycle! The clincher was when I was traversing a wall in a wetsuit over a 60ft pit and the damn thing decides to flicker while i'm placing a foothold, and then goes on the fritz. I had to slam my helmet against the wall just to get it to come back on so I could safely get to the other side. That was the last PT light I ever owned.

    Then the STEN came out. My friend was one of the product testers for it and they did a great job on repairing it when it was needed and keeping him updated on new upgrades and such, but it does have some flaws. As well as most lights I have used the main issue is the power cord where it enters the lamp body. It is not robust, in Puerto Rico last year 3 Stens failed because of this one problem, and I was handing out my spare BD plastic Icons like candy. Second, those silly allen wrench screws that keep the cover on, could they have found a more difficult fastener than that?

    I have witnessed many times people using whats at hand to drive those little wrenches into the socket, and usually to no avail. The final third, and this is purely caver related, as cool as the magnetic switch may be, it really destroys its usefulness as an all around caving light because that switch messes with the compasses we use to survey caves. So in order to read the compass, which you must put up to your eye and sight through, you have to take off your helmet and hold it arms length away.

    Well, that's not always possible or feasible. So what light, after all this ranting and complaining DO I use? The BD plastic 3W LED is hands down the most reliable, bright, spot and flood light I have ever used. But I hope to change that.<br><br>Coming Soon "what about the Little Monkey, Scurion, Hurricane, Rude Nora, SureFire?"<br><br>Karstonaut<br>Alpine Caver."

  3. #3

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Sorry about the run on paragraph! I'll make sure to break it up a bit more in the future.

  4. #4

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Woops! My apologies for not explaining why I reformatted it. I hit the send button too fast. I simply wanted to read your post with some breathing room between the paragraphs to avert astigmatism in both my eyes.

    I am not a caver and I am only mildly interested in your unique hobby; however, I have found your post to be an interesting one and wanted to read on.

    This is a diverse, interesting, and knowledgeable group of people that I am certain will provide answers to your questions.

    Welcome aboard.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    There are all kinds of balances in caving lights between bulk/size/durability, flexibility/ease-of-use, 'niceness'/price, etc.

    I started homemaking my own lights 8 years ago when power LEDs were pretty new, and made something which satisfied my needs (and, as it turned out, quite a few other people's needs), but which definitely involved making some compromises.

  6. #6

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Thanks for the welcome! I realize that cavers are a minority but this is the best forum I could find for LED's and lights. Its obvious from reading alot of the forum topics that there is a wide range of users here with a wide range of wants. So I guess I'll continue...

    So I will just start by saying that the Scurion and the Little Monkey series of lights are great! I have begun to see more and more cavers sporting these lights here in America and they are slick, robust, have great output, are survey friendly, but unfortunately are WAY out of the price range for many. The Scurion is 1,350.00$ and the Rude Nora is @400.00$ (website is having problems so I dont know if that is all the accessories like charger and all that). I'm guessing that this is the manufacturing cost of milling the aluminum? I am a blacksmith/machinist/tinkerer so I know how time consuming that can be and also how expensive the tools can be!

    I thought SureFire was going to bridge the gap between the super high end and the mass marketed light that leave much to be desired. A good number of years ago I was with the electrical engineer for SureFire, Willie Hunt, in Keystone River cave in Tennessee and he was all excited about making a great caving lamp because as a caver himself he knew that not many cavers want to strap a flashlight to the helmet, whether its a SureFire or a MagLight. So out came the SureFire line of headlamps. At first they had mixed reviews from cavers and the proprietary battery they were using caused alot of grumbling. But now they have the Maximus, and I have never seen one in person, so I cant say much about it. I hope its as cool as Willie aways wanted his caving lamps to be, anyone on here got one? From all the other electronic toys he has, from amazing flashes to the aptly named lightsaber (that's what we called it) I do have high hopes for it.

    So with all of that rambling aside, here is what I want from a headlamp, as a caver.

    -Robust. No space age looking housing, no fancy tidbits. Im caving, not going down a fashion runway. How many housing colors do you need in the dark?

    -Waterproof. Doesn't have to be hundreds of feet, I just want to know that when I walk under a waterfall or do a quick duckunder sump dive, that my light isn't going to go on the fritz or fill with water and condensation. (the doom of many a caving light, corrosion.)

    -Batteries. Li-ion AA batteries. Or any AA battery. Whether I'm way down in the cave or way up in the mountains, if my light goes dead I want to be able to open my bag and throw in some new juice. I'm not always around a wall socket to recharge my batteries, and I dont want to just carry around a bunch of pre shrink wrapped batt-packs and cycle through them in the hopes ill be somewhere soon to plug em in. (that could sometimes be a month away or more.) I've always understood that li-ion are best in the cold, and most of the caves I cave in are alpine and cold. 33F-42F.

    -Two lights. One spot one Flood with the option of using one or the other. Spot for those nice boreholes and large rooms and dome climbing and what not, and flood for tight crawl, tight digs, or just around camp or surveying. I really don't need numerous settings, how about just a bright and turbo setting for the spot and a regular and dim setting for the flood. Done deal. I don't need it to blink, or disco, or be red, or any of that. I have my backups and they usually have all that kind of stuff. (though I have never found myself using those settings.)

    -The cord. Robust cord, strong connection. Nuff said. I will say that 70% of my lights are retired because the cord always gets so abused that it starts to become unreliable after a year or sometimes sooner, and i'm sick of fiddling and wiggling that damn cord to get it to come on again.

    Well, I thinks that's about it. My dream CAVING light. I would probably never use it outside of a cave so it doesn't need to come off my helmet easily. Please understand that I'm very impressed with alot of the lights out there, and I cant really b*&^% because I haven't come up with an alternative, yet.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Obijuan Kenobe's Avatar
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    Default

    Kavelight. Find it here...custom phatness...250 at most if I recall correctly.

    Kevinm is the username I believe.

    P60 Kavelight headlamp.

    Sent from a long time ago...in a galaxy far, far away.
    Stay sharp and bright for life.
    Have your knife and light handy at all times.
    Sent from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Well, the base-model Scurions are somewhat cheaper than the highest-end ones, and are more than adequate for most people's needs.

    As for beams, a lot of that is a matter of taste, and what people are used to.

    Some people seem happy with either/or control of flood and spot LEDs, some seem happy with a fixed blend, some prefer more flexibility.
    Personally, having got used to a fully flexible light as far as blending goes, I'd hate to have to use one which wasn't flexible - sometimes it's nice to have a 'pure' flood, other times a greater or lesser amout of spot blended in gives a better beam for a particular situation, depending how far away you need to look.
    For someone looking to maximise runtime for expedition and similar remote use, the fact that a little spot added to a flood can allow adequate lighting for many situations while using rather less power than a pure flood would need in the same situation can be a big advantage in favour of flexibility.

    I think given the various desires different people have, having some configuration capability in a twin-beam light does mean one light can suit more people.

    I'm currently finishing off a twin-beam insert for Duos (as in, I really should be programming it right now rather than writing this), and I'm trying to cover multiple bases when it comes to operating modes to allow me to make as 'universal' a unit as possible, while not having so many choices that even having the choices is more than some people want.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Obijuan Kenobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...t-P60-Headlamp

    This is the best deal on CPF right now. If I biked at night...or was a caver...I would want this.

    Now I'll stop. You can lead a horse to water....

    obi
    Stay sharp and bright for life.
    Have your knife and light handy at all times.
    Sent from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

  10. #10

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    It looks great and robust, and a good price too. A little heavy but not too bad. Thanks for the link.

  11. #11

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    I'm not so much a caver but I'll climb down in a cave if I find one, or under a crawlspace, or up in a tree to get a cat or hang over a cliff to get a dog, anyways, not as your primary light but as a backup check out Zebralight. The lights barely weigh more than the batteries that they take, and my one sample (H51Fc) would make a fine backup light, especially if the battery cap were taped on with a little duct tape before going under ground. -not that it's prone to come loose, but that's the point of failure that I could foresee, I'd go ahead and tape a lanyard to it or tape it under my primary light on the helmet.
    With 1 AA rechargeable low self discharge Eneloop battery:
    16 days on Low 2, 3 days on Low 1, 24+ hours on Medium 2, 10 hours on Medium 1 (I hardly ever use any power level above Medium 1, frankly), 2.4 hours on High 2, .9 hours on High 1.


    People rave about Zebralights and people also rave against them because they loved them SO much and then had them fail in use. I've been able to replicate the most consistent problem b!+@#ed about by having the tail cap just slightly loosened. There are 6 points of corrosion/connection failure if you count each contact surface.
    I consider mine to be an excellent utility light and I would not hesitate to use my tiny little light for an impromptu subterranean exploration. And it's always in my pocket, the only bad thing I can say about this light is that it's small and light enough that it's easy to misplace.

    -add up compactness, light weight, user interface, toughness, long run times and well spaced power levels, not to mention cost, see if you don't find one of ZL's lights to be a great backup.

    Wow, the Kavelight P60 looks very nice! I bet you could put droves of misbehaving cave lights out of their misery with that thing without much scratching the battery case.
    That thing would be amazing with a High CRI 3 level P-60 dropin.
    Last edited by eh4; 04-02-2012 at 10:26 PM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  12. #12

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    I understand that it seems most everyone here loves the zebralight, but it really is more of a flashlight than a headlamp and more of a backup than a primary for a caver. What is the lumens for the medium 1? And if I need to tape the battery closure to have peace of mind then it is no where near as robust than I would hope for. But I am getting off post here...

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by karstonaut View Post
    I understand that it seems most everyone here loves the zebralight, but it really is more of a flashlight than a headlamp and more of a backup than a primary for a caver. What is the lumens for the medium 1? And if I need to tape the battery closure to have peace of mind then it is no where near as robust than I would hope for. But I am getting off post here...
    I think he means if he had to say there was a weak point he would advise you to tape the threads but in reality it is not needed
    Last edited by r-ice; 04-04-2012 at 05:52 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    yep, I was recommending it as a backup, I have about the dimmest variant of all of the ZLs, the H51Fc, which translates as:
    Headlamp form
    AA battery
    Floody
    High Color Rendering Index (85 CRI with color temperature of 4000 Kelvin)

    It's a little tiny Angle Light.

    Mine maxes out at about 123 lumens but I don't really use it even at it's 60 lumen/2.4 hour setting except to see briefly if I've just come from daylight, or to see into a shaded space when the surrounding area is too brightly lit and over exposed.
    I use 27 lumen/10 hours, 13 lumen/26 hours, 2.6 lumens/72 hours, and .28 lumen/ 384 hours.

    There is a new ZL that runs on an 18650 battery, it'll put out over 500 lumens for a little while or a really useful amount of light for a long time, it's the H600.

    I was being harsh about the battery cap, but it's reasonable, I'd tape anything like that down where losing it would be disasterous, also slightly loosening the tailcap breaks the battery contact with ZL and is used as the lock out feature.
    I assume that your standard caving battery compartment is a clamshell with a thumbscrew lock, or something like that, the thumbscrew could come quite loose without affecting the battery contacts. -I'd probably put a strip of tape over that too.
    One thing that's really nice about them is that the lights really just weigh about the same as the battery that powers them, if cost weren't a concern you could carry a spare battery inside of a spare light at a 1 oz. penalty instead of merely carrying a spare battery...

    I guess in the end if you want a completely reliable and dead simple back up light then the 3 battery, no frills led light is probably as simple and fool proof as it gets, even then by my count you've got more like 12 surfaces for failure/corrosion in the battery compartment vs. 6 for ZL.
    Last edited by eh4; 04-03-2012 at 02:46 AM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  15. #15

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Oh right, sorry I didnt see that you were saying it would be a backup. It sounds like it would be great, from the responses on this forum everyone tends to love it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    So I have a question that has come up in a few of my conversations about LED lights with other cavers, both DIY and mass manufactured. How come most mass manufactured lights (surefire, petzl,BD, PT) have ABS plastic housings and most DIY or Small scale production lights are anodized aluminum? Is it the ease of milling aluminum vs the setup for molding plastic? Also, I understand the use of aluminum as a heat sink, but then how do the mass marketed ones dissapate heat? I abuse my lights like hell, one of my favorite pasttimes in caving is digging, usually headfirst in some tight breakdown moving rocks and using hammers and chisels, sometimes using my helmut to help get traction to help push myself back out against gravity, but I have yet to break a housing of ABS yet. Could someone enlighten me on this?

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Machined aluminium lights tend to be expensive to make, but for someone doing a premium light for a small number of people, it's an appropriate technology, especially if going for high powers (more than just a watt or two of input power/waste heat.)

    Regarding heat, particularly these days a fair amount of light could be generated in a plastic-bodied light if the heat is spread around well inside. ~300lm is feasible in a Duo, and that's enough light for most caving activities.

    Though people's expectations about lights do tend to rise over time.

    My first homemade light had a couple of early Luxeon Is in, and had power levels of about 2/6/20 lumens per LED. At the time, that seemed seriously good compared to most electric alternatives.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    The issues you got with oxydation is most likely due to the fact you were using lights rated at IPX4 ("splash" resistant), which is the rating of most if not all headlamps sold in outdoor shops. The first thing I'd want in a caving light is IPX8 rating (can survive being submerged 1 meter for half an hour). This way no humidity will get inside your light to corrode the electronics.

    Have you looked at Fenix? I believe the HP20 would make a great caving light. VERY bright, excellent runtimes and uses 4 AA batteries.

    I second the Idea of having a Zebra as a backup, but for caving I'd definitely got with an H600. Even though it uses a more exotic battery (18650) the runtime/output ratio is great, especially compared to the smaller models that don't even get an hour runtime at max output.
    Cataract, Shiny things specialist.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    The Fenix looks fine and seems to be a good light but why two switches? And the large secondary switch just seems like it would keep getting accidentally triggered in crawls and whatnot. Though the runtimes and light output look very good. I wonder how reliable the tilt mechanism is... all in all not bad!

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by karstonaut View Post
    The Fenix looks fine and seems to be a good light but why two switches? And the large secondary switch just seems like it would keep getting accidentally triggered in crawls and whatnot. Though the runtimes and light output look very good. I wonder how reliable the tilt mechanism is... all in all not bad!
    ...and it throws very nicely.

    2 switches on the cord: 1 for mode change and 1 for on/standby. The actual power switch is on the battery pack. They include a clothing clip so you can position the cord and switches out of the way.
    Cataract, Shiny things specialist.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by karstonaut View Post
    So I have a question that has come up in a few of my conversations about LED lights with other cavers, both DIY and mass manufactured. How come most mass manufactured lights (surefire, petzl,BD, PT) have ABS plastic housings and most DIY or Small scale production lights are anodized aluminum?
    Plastic housings require expensive tooling to be cut for the injection molds. That's stupid expensive and unless you're aiming for the mass market, you'll never recoup your costs.

    Gordon

  22. #22

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Thats what I thought. It makes sense.

  23. #23

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Failing ABS, the field seems wide open for one time custom builds with all of the fiberglass, epoxies and silicons available to the hobbyist... Kind of the reverse in a way for a one off, as lathing, milling and anodizing aluminum is a daunting proposition without extensive machinery and experience.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    In the not too distant future I expect one-offs and very small production runs will be much easier in plastic by using the makerbot type plastic printers.

    Alu is easy to machine, and has good heat absorption/dissipation properties, so is well suited to LEDs that produce a bit of heat.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Beat me to my own punchline! I am a metalsmith by trade, and know what goes into the milling of metal. Not bad if I was just making one for myself, I like machining and tapping and milling. But I have been having so much fun working with a 3D printer that a friend bought (MakerBot) that I was looking into the thermal qualities of ABS and if I could use it with high power LEDs. I know more about making machines and tinkering then I do about electronics, but im trying to learn. Why isn't there a damn book titled "LED circuitry for Idiots"!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by karstonaut View Post
    I understand that it seems most everyone here loves the zebralight, but it really is more of a flashlight than a headlamp and more of a backup than a primary for a caver. What is the lumens for the medium 1? And if I need to tape the battery closure to have peace of mind then it is no where near as robust than I would hope for. But I am getting off post here...
    really ? a zebralight h600 18650 and a zebralight h501 AA as backup is pretty much an awesome setup, put them both on the same strap.

    zebralights will not flop, have no cords, are wicked light, the 600 will blast the lumens in 8 different levels......I do not understand why anyone would want old-school headlamps with umbilicals any more. or pay more than 90 bucks for a headlamp.
    IMHO zebralight physical properties (weight, impossible to flop) and the lighting capabilities and robusteness
    and waterproofness ...it has so much going for it. which is why I have 5 of them.
    posted by jh333233
    Dont cheat me, im expert in using crap light

  27. #27

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Well I am interesting so I will try one, they look good. I would need to create a bracket to attach it to the helmet and give it some tilt action, im not all about any strap on my helmet, just personal preference. But then again I like to make my own stuff, everything from sewing to machining, so ill probably just end up making my own light and housing for my primary helmet light. I take it you cant just go into a store and buy those 18650 batteries? Like a hardware store or, oh the horror, Wal-mart?

    And to get back to what I was originally asking, with all these high powered LEDs now, will ABS plastic hold up to the heat generated? The heat sink is the only thing worrying me about using the 3D printer, I cant print aluminum! Thanks for all the help and replies on the thread everyone!

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Mounting an LED directly onto ABS wouldn't allow much heatsinking, but an internal metal heatsink either heating up a decent area of a plastic case directly by conduction, or heating air inside which could then heat a decent area of the case could be usable, depending on the case&heatsink size, and the desired power level.

    Alternatively, it might be possible to fit an external heatsink and have some thermal connection to the LEDs on the inside of a plastic case, like a copper/aluminium stud or a heatpipe passing through holes in the plastic

    Or to make a plastic 'case' which was backless, and which mounted onto a metal backplate which the LEDs were attached to - making the plastic part effectively just a waterproof holder for the switch[es] and the front lens.
    Or some combination of similar ideas.

  29. #29

    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Thanks for the info UK. Thats what I was thinking, some kind of thermal connection by using conductive pathways from the LED through the ABS to an aluminum heatsink. I just didnt know if that was crazy talk! Ill post some images as things progress.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: LED lights from a cavers viewpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by karstonaut View Post
    Thanks for the info UK. Thats what I was thinking, some kind of thermal connection by using conductive pathways from the LED through the ABS to an aluminum heatsink. I just didnt know if that was crazy talk! Ill post some images as things progress.
    I don't see why you can't encapsulate a metal heatsink in thin (Pending thermal expansion) ABS. You CAN 3D-print metal with laser-sintering, but it requires 20+ watt lasers to do.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

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