GoPro Dive Lighting (Photo/video)

chipsnfish

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
4
Hi everyone,

After failed past attempts with thrown together dive lighting (a pair of 120 lm led flashlights filled with mineral oil) I'm looking for something more reliable, brighter, and less messy. I found that the old lights really made no difference in the daytime here in Hawaii, and not enough difference at night for properly exposed pictures. To give you an idea on how dim they were during the day, at a 40 foot depth, there was no return in color until the light was less than a foot away.

What I'm looking to do is build a photo/video lighting rig to use in the day to bring back the color during the day, as well as for a dive lighting during the night. I'll be using it with my GoPro 3 Black while snorkeling/free diving/ and SCUBA diving. My basis for attachment will be my custom stability rig:
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/16595_10200347223383884_1350522227_n.jpg

I'm on a (very) tight budget, but I want to build it all myself in a configuration that is compact, as bright as possible with a decent battery life, and easily battery swappable.

I've got an extra GoPro 960 housing laying around made to fit(H x W x D): 1.6” x 2.4” x 1.2” (42mm x 60mm x 30mm) and was thinking of building a light into it. Would this be too small of a space to work with?

Any ideas, thoughts and (constructive) criticism will be happily appreciated. Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Norm

Retired Administrator
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Jun 13, 2006
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:welcome:

Your images are too large, please edit to comply with rule #3.

See Rule #3 If you post an image in your post, please downsize the image to no larger than 800 x 800 pixels.

Thank Norm
 

DIWdiver

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Jan 27, 2010
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2,689
Location
Connecticut, USA
Most of the video lights being built are at least 10 times the brightness of your first attempt, some substantially more than that.

That housing is entirely too puny to house the kind of light you want. The LEDs will generate substantial heat, which needs to be conducted to the water through a good thermal path. Unlike incandescent bulbs which get really hot, the LEDs must be kept cool or they will fail. Usually this means a continuous path of aluminum and/or copper from the LED to the water.

If you are on a really tight buget, your best bet is probably to mod two MAG lights, and build a PVC canister with a pack of NiMH cells. There are some triple XPG and maybe some triple XML boards that will fit in that head with minor mods. There are numerous threads showing how to do this. Or you could buy LEDs on stars and build your own head. There are threads showing this as well.
 

chipsnfish

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
4
Thanks for the input.

I should also mention that I don't have much access to fabrication. PVC and pre-made is fine, but metalworking and machining is far out of my league. I have no problem doing all the wiring myself.
 

DIWdiver

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
2,689
Location
Connecticut, USA
Anyone who's handy with hand tools should be able to make a decent cannister light. If you need help with a part or two in the head, there are people here who can do that for reasonable fees.
 

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