Carbide Lights

25 posts / 0 new
Last post
Richwouldnt
Richwouldnt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/24/2014 - 00:22
Posts: 1353
Location: Reno, NV, USA, Terra, Sol, Milky Way, Known Universe
Carbide Lights

Someone mentioned these a bit ago so I did a bit of web searching and came up with multiple sources. One of the more exotic, and expensive these days, forms of lighting but still apparently used by some cavers.

Made in India. https://www.lehmans.com/c-31-carbide-lamp.aspx

Petzl Aceto Carbide Lamp: http://www.amazon.com/Petzl-Aceto-Headlamp/dp/B002IAHGWK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=U...

Petzl Ariane Headlamp: http://www.amazon.com/Petzl-Ariane-Headlamp-One-Size/dp/B002SQCSB8/ref=s...

The Ariane takes up to 400 grams of carbide per the description so is apparently sizable.

I know that I have seen a number of pre WWI cars and motorcycles with carbide lighting. Pretty well gone by about 1912 for cars due to electric starters requiring a sizable generator and battery. Motorcycle use lasted a bit later.

Rich Wood
Reno, NV

Mike C
Mike C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/22/2014 - 08:03
Posts: 2009
Location: Sweden

I have a Petzl Ariane which I have used for caving. The flickering flame gives of a very pleasant light, triggering a primal feel of comfort from fire. In cold caves we can all put our helmets in front of us and stand in a ring around them to get a little warmer. Sometimes this little moral booster is surprisingly effective.

It is however a pain in the *** in tight squeezes, and can leave ugly burn marks if your head is too close. I generally don’t bring it, but if I’d be going to a cold wet cave and knew that others would be bringing them I would, just for that little campfire feeling during a break.

Fritz t. Cat
Fritz t. Cat's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 6 days ago
Joined: 05/07/2013 - 00:33
Posts: 2535
Location: Si Valley

I suppose carbide cannon must still be available. They are mostly cast iron with water and flint. My son’s could shoot a Star Wars action figure across the yard.

Flashlight designers should look at lighthouses and pottery.
这些谁设计的手电筒应该看灯塔,以及在陶器。

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 7363
Location: California

What kind of carbide cannon? I’ve always wondered if the “Conestoga” company was lying when they say
“*Big-Bang® Cannons won’t fire projectiles. Putting objects in the barrel will only inhibit the full effect of the cannon’s blast.”

Richwouldnt
Richwouldnt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 05/24/2014 - 00:22
Posts: 1353
Location: Reno, NV, USA, Terra, Sol, Milky Way, Known Universe

Considering that they use the same general principle as a potato gun, or even a true gun, I suspect that it is BS. The problem might be to get adequate blocking of the barrel by the projectile if the front opening is necked down compared to the barrel behind it. You need decent sealing between the projectile and barrel.

Rich Wood
Reno, NV

IN Caver
IN Caver's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 05/05/2013 - 19:09
Posts: 141
Location: Indiana

I’ve used a very old Justrite lamp for caving. They do give off a nice light but man they smell like crap.

Streamer
Streamer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 5 min ago
Joined: 12/01/2011 - 21:06
Posts: 3434
Location: TX

IN Caver wrote:
They do give off a nice light but man they smell like crap.

 

LOL...yep..that's Acetylene gas they give off...big stinker for sure.Sealed

DanielM
DanielM's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 05/09/2014 - 01:31
Posts: 1804
Location: Romania

Fritz t. Cat wrote:
I suppose carbide cannon must still be available. They are mostly cast iron with water and flint. My son’s could shoot a Star Wars action figure across the yard.

LOL we used to use artisanal carbide cannons primarily for noise during winter holidays when I was a kid. Try to do that now and you’d probably get in jail or worse.
We used carbide burners when camping in the Danube Delta for light cooking and such. Great use of carbide but not very safe.

Old-Lumens wrote:
I love modding, but I don't have much use at all for flashlights in general.
djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 2 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 13102
Location: Amsterdam

Ah, this is about carbid cannons now Smile

In the Netherlands old milk churns are used as carbid cannons, with a football pressed in the opening for the right pressure build-up, they shoot the ball 100+ meters away. It still is a national pastime everywhere outside the cities, although milk has not been collected in milk churns anywhere for decades now.

link to djozz tests 

“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”   (Gus Speth)

Racer
Racer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/07/2013 - 00:39
Posts: 1792
Location: Hillsboro, OR

Love the photo, but that thing does look a little scary. Was that everyone’s EDC in the 1800s?

DanielM
DanielM's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 05/09/2014 - 01:31
Posts: 1804
Location: Romania

Or you could stick a piece of carbide in a plastic bottle with water, put the cap on then run away. Don’t try it folks !!!

Old-Lumens wrote:
I love modding, but I don't have much use at all for flashlights in general.
djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 2 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 13102
Location: Amsterdam

DanielM wrote:
Or you could stick a piece of carbide in a plastic bottle with water, put the cap on then run away. Don't try it folks !!!

The blast is aided by some sort of ignition Smile

link to djozz tests 

“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”   (Gus Speth)

Mike C
Mike C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/22/2014 - 08:03
Posts: 2009
Location: Sweden

IN Caver wrote:
I’ve used a very old Justrite lamp for caving. They do give off a nice light but man they smell like crap.

I’ve heard of cavers running out of water and peeing in them… Now that’s a smell I’d rather not experience!
texaspyro
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 04/29/2011 - 12:43
Posts: 4593
djozz wrote:

Ah, this is about carbid cannons now Smile

In the Netherlands old milk churns are used as carbid cannons, with a football pressed in the opening for the right pressure build-up, they shoot the ball 100+ meters away. It still is a national pastime everywhere outside the cities, although milk has not been collected in milk churns anywhere for decades now.

Gotta love the Dutch…

texaspyro
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 04/29/2011 - 12:43
Posts: 4593

The one thing you don’t want to do is fill a beach ball/inner tube from an oxy-acetylene torch. Some lady did that around Austin a few years back (thinking it was just compressed air). Blew up in her car and totally shredded it. And there was a guy that did it on purpose in his back yard… broke just about every window for a block around.

WarHawk-AVG
WarHawk-AVG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 9 min ago
Joined: 01/04/2014 - 06:47
Posts: 5048
Location: H-Town

Carbide lights..neato

Wanna see something crazy…Google “Punkin chunkin”

texaspyro
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 04/29/2011 - 12:43
Posts: 4593

WarHawk-AVG wrote:
Carbide lights..neato

Wanna see something crazy…Google “Punkin chunkin”

Real men toss anvils… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anvil_firing

WarHawk-AVG
WarHawk-AVG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 9 min ago
Joined: 01/04/2014 - 06:47
Posts: 5048
Location: H-Town

texaspyro wrote:
WarHawk-AVG wrote:
Carbide lights..neato

Wanna see something crazy…Google “Punkin chunkin”

Real men toss anvils… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anvil_firing

no no no

Real men CATCH anvils

Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile

That’s some wicked cool stuff blasting an anvil in the air for sure

texaspyro
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 04/29/2011 - 12:43
Posts: 4593

People take anvil shooting rather seriously. Precision machined surfaces, etc. People put thousands of dollars into their anvils.

A friend of mine makes cannons. You can shoot a golf ball up to around 7 miles. Past that and the cover comes off. He also has one that shoots D-cells.

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 7363
Location: California

I saw a report today that the huge explosion in China involved calcium carbide — that’s the fuel used by miner’s lamps.

CaC2 + 2 H2O → C2H2 + Ca(OH)2

C2H2 is acetylene gas. Inside the miner’s light, as the gas evolves it quickly pushes out any air, and the stream of pure acetylene coming out of the tip burns.
But acetylene mixed in air is explosive over a wide range.

One common experience using a miner’s lamp for caving I recall was — they’re ignited with a little spark made by turning a rough steel wheel on a flint (typical mechanical spark lighter). Cup your hand over the reflector, feel the gas, whip your hand away over the spark wheel. POP and then a flame. If you did it too quickly, sometimes some acetylene in the delivery tube behind the flame tip would POP throwing the tip out (it was a press fit tip, as a safety factor, so you wouldn’t blow up the brass container).

Chasing down those little tips was — something to plan not to need to do.

The report on the China explosion mentioned that the firefighters knew there was calcium carbide in there somewhere but not where, so they had to keep pouring water on the fire.

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 7363
Location: California

Well, here’s a new gas source:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2142693-nano-aluminium-offers-fuel-...

Put crumbs of that alloy in the bottom of a carbide lamp, light it, and you’ve got a hydrogen flame coming out the tip.

Nowhere near as bright as acetylene though, and not particularly useful for illumination:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v5/n128/abs/005461d0.html

A possibility for cheaply refueling internal combustion engines though.

Just shovel the metal alloy in, add water, burn the hydrogen for energy, and shovel the powdered aluminum hydroxide out of the exhaust bin.

x8353
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 5 days ago
Joined: 06/03/2018 - 21:05
Posts: 22
Location: United States

1964 or so, I got a new Justrite carbide lamp. Tested, demonstrated, used it on a few Boy Scout camping trips, then broke something off in the tip. Got it down from the attic a couple of days ago, cleaned up lamp, polished reflector, soaked the tip in alum solution and cleared it out.

It works.

DSC00694

Little or no odor unless the carbide compartment is leaking, no smoke, no flicker.

Kindle
Kindle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 39 min ago
Joined: 04/22/2011 - 10:24
Posts: 477
Location: USA
Robowski
Robowski's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min 32 sec ago
Joined: 03/30/2018 - 04:56
Posts: 132
Location: Australia

I remember as a child in South Africa in the 60’s there were still carbide lamps around. Being a large gold mining country, some were still used on the mines. A lot of the poorer people still used carbide lamps for bicycle lights, but the newer lights were generator driven off the wheel of the bike.
Batteries were expensive and had little capacity in those days so I don’t think many people would have used them in flashlights as bike lights.
Kids were obsessed with making explosive devices, and fire crackers were still legal to buy.
On the 5th of November (Guy Fawkes night) we used to have huge fireworks parties and displays.
My older brothers used to buy carbide at the hardware shop to make some sort of cannons out of old coffee or baby formula tins.
By the time I joined the scouts and got into camping, we used LPG cylinders with cooking or lamp attachments.
These gas lamps became very popular for many years before batteries became as advanced and affordable as they are these days.

samreg77
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 09/03/2018 - 03:56
Posts: 2
Location: LondonB

Useful thread