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Thread: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Raccoon's Avatar
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    Default Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Hello All. I don't venture out of the Laser forums too often, so I never know what current LED technology exists in flashlights. Last I remember, Luxion Stars were a prototype too good to be true, and my last flashlight was a 10 LED 2x D-cell Lightwave 4000.

    I'm in college out in the middle of the New Mexico desert, and will be doing a lot of caving and exploring of old mines. I'm looking for a round up of decent reliable flashlights and headlamps I should consider purchasing. I'm not looking for a limited edition collector's light, but something I can use and get dirty.

    Bright lights are always great, but dimming features would be a plus. Affordable Alkaline battery sources are cool, but what exists on the Lithium side of the force? Are CR123's very cheap yet, or are rechargeable lithiums fesable?

    I'm looking for 3 lights. A caving headlamp. A handy all-around light with features. And a blind-em-all torch/lantern for illuminating rock walls and open pit mines at night.

    Also, where can I get a dimmable red led flashlight for astronomy. Something that can both light a path and find missing eye pieces, yet still useful for reading star charts without blinding people.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* ACMarina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Hmmm, you have been in the laser forum too much! There are a bunch of lithiums, you can get them for a buck each online. Rechargables are out there, too, and in a lot of lights (QIII, for example) they are capable of double the brightness.

    Hmm, headlamp. For caving, right? Do you want helmet mount?

    All-around light, I'd go with either an Aleph or an L4 with a McE2S switch. Dual brightness, either a really long time with useable light or a blinding bright flash. You could go with an Aleph3 for a boatload of throw, plus have the dual-output switch for both features.

    Red LED light, hmm, if you want to be able to walk and use it in that way, I'd look for a good luxeon mod. Somebody can do that for you, I'm sure. .

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Raccoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    I suppose I should invest in a hard hat helmet. What do you recommend that will fit most standard lights?

    Do they make luxeons in red? I can't imagine what 5 watts of red would look like. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    Could you recommend any links to any of these lights? Perhaps some CPF'ers here keep a list of "current" lights and their going price?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    There are several threads about caving lights mainly in the headlamps section.
    And a good fitting helmet makes the difference. This is the only field were I prefer Petzl over all the others...

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Raccoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Most of the Petzl's say explicitly "not for caving". The ones that don't, all look very large and cumbersome and not very ideal for crawling around through tiny passages. Should I ignore this warning as some sort of legal technicality?

    I understand there are thousands of lights out there. But I would imagine that these forums have boiled it down to a dozen or so premo, crem de la crem, anything else need not apply-- lights.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    For Astronomy you might want to consider the Rigel Systems Skylite LED: 2 White, 2 Red infinite adjustable. It was designed for Astronomy use.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* zespectre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Funny how timeing works out. I JUST found out about the Skylite II while doing night photography with a group. One of the guys kept loaning his to the rest of us so we could adjust camera settings,take notes, etc. It's a pretty neat light. Skylite II

    I don't do any caveing so take any suggestions from me with a grain of salt, but this is a pretty interesting article on one guy's attempt to build the Perfect Caving Light

  8. #8
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    I dont do any Caving, but purchased the princeton tec corona headlamp, as I use it for night time ops as it allows me to keep both hands free. It has 8 leds, can throw a wall of light in front of you, and can run on only 1 led. It has various settings of hi, medium, low and flashing for either all 8, stepping down 1 led. I purchased this after many pm's with jtice here on the forums. I believe he is one of many experts[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img] on headlamps and cavings, and such.

    Jim

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* offroadcmpr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    I've used the petzl helmets in caves and they work fine, they even have mounts on the side so you dont have to permanently attach you headlamp to the helmet. A nice combo is to use a multiple led lamp for walking along with a ultra bright lamp for distance. I've seen nitrider bike lights for this but always remember to bring extra batteries and lights. you want a light that has good runtime, there is no ambient light to worry about, so a little bit goes a long way. Next time I go out I'm going to bring my mag 85 in my pack to look down some minshafts, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Get a headlamp no matter what!
    Then a nice hand light that will throw well also.
    Then a LONG runtime light thats water proof.

    My best caving lights have been a PT Corona Headlamp,a 3W mag mod and , UK 4AA LED

  11. #11
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    Raccoon: I have had good initial experiences with a Nite Hawk Digital Emitter LED helmet light for biking, which runs for as long as 190hrs on %3 power from 1800mah Nimh rechargeable batteries. My review of it for bike purposes is under the CPF reviews section. You might refer to the caving version, which, mud and all, is reviewed here: http://www.cavediggers.com/NHReview/. For astronomy, the cheapest thing is a 2xAAA rear winkie bike light in red, with a constant on switch---these are as cheap as $4CND through the Mountain Equipment Co-op.

    Cheers!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Caving & Mine Shaft lights? Astronomy light?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Raccoon said:
    Most of the Petzl's say explicitly "not for caving". The ones that don't, all look very large and cumbersome and not very ideal for crawling around through tiny passages.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    And even the 'real' caving lights from Petzl have turned out to be not very cave proof .-)
    Martin Melzer, who made the Radon reports from a caving trip where ALL Petzl Duos failed (3 or 4 of them).

    When doing serious crawling (I assume, as you are wondering about the size), attaching the lamp with the headstraps is not very good. You have to add some duct tape, which makes the removal more difficult.
    In my experience, it turned out, that a permanently bolted light works better, and it is easier to just put on your har hat at camp in case you don't have any other headlamp available.

    And Garrie's claim of this 'perfect caving light' is higly subjective.

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