Frustrated with UV lights, need help

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TheEyeball
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Frustrated with UV lights, need help

Hi all, my name is Ross and I’m a carpet cleaner in Indianapolis, IN, USA. In my industry we use, or try to use, UV light for pet urine detection on carpeting. It’s a great tool to show the customer that their dog is in fact peeing everywhere, even though most people deny it.

Problem is I’ve wasted a few hundred dollars over the years on junk flashlights that just do not work. Could be my own fault because I always try the cheap ones in the $50 or less range. Well, the holy grail UV light that everybody raves about is this one which you can see here and with a little more info and closeup pics here. If I have to spend the $240 to get something that actually works I will, but I figured I’d just ask if it’s a ripoff.

If you follow the second link I posted above you can see the HWA WYS logo in the picture so I know that’s like a $15 light and I’m assuming it has some kind of drop in. Is this light really worth the money? Can I buy the components and build one myself? Why can’t I find any other light that claims to be a 7w 395nm? Is this guy full of it or what? The money isn’t a big issue because it would be a tax write off for my business, but I just can’t stand the thought of getting ripped off again.

I hope it’s cool I posted the links. Let me know if that’s a no no or whatever. If you want to see some carpet cleaners raving about that light you can click here. It’s hard to tell if the light is really any good or if they are just rationalizing a $240 expense.

ezarc
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I cant say from experience but I thought 365 nm was the best kind?

TheEyeball
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Supposedly 385 is perfect for viewing pet urine, but who knows? There’s so much information and misinformation. I figured I’d ask here because there are obviously some geniuses here. I’ve been reading around on this forum the past few days and a lot of the talk is way over my head, lol.

Adam706
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3W 395nm UV Blacklight Ultra Violet P60 Style Drop in
http://www.ebay.com/itm/230919012248

Werner wrote:
I have no pets so I have too pee on the carpet myself…

“this tiny flashlight was the one that shined best”
InfinitusEquitas
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Try two things first...

1. Turn OFF all other lights, close blinds, curtains, etc.  Make sure the area you are examining is as dark as possible.  UV light, what we can see of it, is near the low end of the visible  spectrum, it will be much easier to see the UV, or near UV light ~400nm, when your surroundings are completely dark.  (For example, many people can't focus on the dot of a 405nm laser pointer at a distance.)  The way many things fluoresce, also makes it much harder to see if your ambient surroundings are well lit.

2. Use a pair of UV blocking goggles for yourself and your potential customer, these would work well: http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S0360X-Ultra-spec-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B003...

If this helps, great, and you'll make your customers feel like they are on CSI... if not you're out $10.

Personally I was kind of shocked at what I saw using both a ~400nm light, and a ~450nm light, combined with goggles.  The 450nm one, a friend made for me, it provides a lot more ambient/visible light vs the UV light, so it's easier to use, to shock people with.

oRAirwolf
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I feel like I’m in the wrong business here. $240 for a C8 with a UV drop in? I could be making bank!

TheEyeball
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So what drop in is it?

And what about the mumbo jumbo about a “heat dissipator” and a “deep reflector”? Are those really anything special or is that what the flashlight comes with?

texaspyro
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This article says that a green laser pointer (532 nm) used with laser goggles that block that wavelength may be a good choice for detecting a lot of bodily fluids…

http://www.forensics.org.my/img/Article%2004.pdf

leaftye
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The low mode should be lower.

Ray-o-light
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Hard to say if that flashlight has the Nichia ncsu033b UV LED in it. The Nichia is the best UV emitter out there. It’s peak wavelength is 365nm, but it still puts out a lot of 380nm as well. The Nichia runs about $120.00+ just for the LED. Flashlights that I know of using that LED are the Hoplite($500.00+), and the MTE. Compared to the UV drop-ins I have, there’s no comparison! The Nichia outputs way more light centered around the 365nm wavelength.

Hey Babe, check out my new light!!

TheEyeball
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Thanks for the replies so far. This is great stuff.

russthetoolman
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InfinitusEquitas
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russthetoolman wrote:
http://powerledlighting.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=71[/quote]

That's consistent with what I observed using a ~445-450nm light, and lasers.  Thanks for sharing.

Xiotis
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I have the TK566 UV 365nm, AA light, and i am very happy with its performance over other cheaper lights that my friends have.

However i feel that the 3W led would be ever more useful.
Maybe i buy the much cheaper UltraFire 3w, just to check and compare as i feel that the UV effectiveness of both brands would be very similar.

http://hkequipment.net/index.php?p=1&s=87d2f90e9e957977d266617dd1771601&...

Mr_Krabs
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I built my own 365 nm UV led light. The only really available unit is an LedEngin led. But I can tell you one thing, even though you think urine is visible to UV, it really isn’t that visible. Any glow is very very faint.

But general bodily fluid staining is revealed by generic 395-405 nm lights as stated by the forensic paper so a cheap UV p60 module in a host run direct drive on an 18650 will offer the most performance as 365 nm leds are very dim and need additional woods glass filtering to be most effective.

http://compare.ebay.com/like/230919012248?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

That module in a host like a Solarforce L2 will perform similarly to the $240 light which in all honesty is a complete ripoff

Try peeing in the toilet and shining a UV light in it. It really doesn’t glow. My experience has been that dried urine that hasn’t been cleaned actually seems more like a dark spot under UV light than a glow.

A lot of the glowing carpet “professionals” try to convince people what is urine is actually leftover detergent from stain removal attempts. Many times carpet cleaning solutions use phosphorescent brighteners. So these end up glowing very bright under UV light. So it’s useful for your own use to find the stain but it’s misleading to show the glowing spot where previous stain removal attempts left brighteners and claiming that’s the urine.

texaspyro
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I have lights with 365, 385, and 395 nm LEDs and did some wizz hunting in my bathroom. By far, the 395 nm light worked best. The 385 nm light has a very powerful 3W LED but did not work as well as the weaker 395 nm. The 365 nm was fairly useless.

For contrast enhancement I tried using some sunglasses with filters that block blue light, etc. I got the best results with some Ray Ban Kalichrome lenses. These have a light yellow lens (think yellow shooters glasses). The other ones I tried (Ray Ban Chromax) were probably too dark. Special orange UV blocking glasses would probably be best, but I don’t have any (yet).

TheEyeball
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So if 395nm works best, I wonder if that’s why this light I just bought doesn’t work hardly at all. It’s supposedly 385nm. Or maybe the batteries are half dead. Some of the industry “gurus” preach that 385nm is the most effective for viewing pet urine.

TheEyeball
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Mr_Krabs wrote:
I built my own 365 nm UV led light. The only really available unit is an LedEngin led. But I can tell you one thing, even though you think urine is visible to UV, it really isn’t that visible. Any glow is very very faint.

But general bodily fluid staining is revealed by generic 395-405 nm lights as stated by the forensic paper so a cheap UV p60 module in a host run direct drive on an 18650 will offer the most performance as 365 nm leds are very dim and need additional woods glass filtering to be most effective.

http://compare.ebay.com/like/230919012248?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

That module in a host like a Solarforce L2 will perform similarly to the $240 light which in all honesty is a complete ripoff

Try peeing in the toilet and shining a UV light in it. It really doesn’t glow. My experience has been that dried urine that hasn’t been cleaned actually seems more like a dark spot under UV light than a glow.

A lot of the glowing carpet “professionals” try to convince people what is urine is actually leftover detergent from stain removal attempts. Many times carpet cleaning solutions use phosphorescent brighteners. So these end up glowing very bright under UV light. So it’s useful for your own use to find the stain but it’s misleading to show the glowing spot where previous stain removal attempts left brighteners and claiming that’s the urine.

I don’t know man, sometimes urine lights up like a Christmas tree. Fresh urine is acidic but biodegrades into an alkaline. Maybe one fluoresces more than the other and that’s why there seems to be some discrepancy. A seasoned cleaner can tell the difference between pet urine and old detergent. You see the tell-tale signs: frayed, clawed-up carpet in doorways, yellow dribbles along baseboards and around the bottom of furniture, the odor, etc. Since optical brighteners void carpet warranties modern professional cleaning product manufacturers shun them. There are still a few hacks around using grocery store laundry detergent to clean carpet, but in those cases I assume an entire room would glow, not isolated spots. Or at least a large part of the room.

At any rate good cleaning pros understand the use of a UV light will only offer indications that urine is present and is not absolutely definitive. It’s up to us to gather all the evidence, not just rely on UV. I want to be clear that I don’t use this to whack people with extra charges bait and switch style. It’s useful in convincing, for instance, a landlord that he shouldn’t waste his money getting one of his rental homes cleaned because it’s full of urine. Many times they’ll swear there is no urine but they can’t argue with the UV light. I promise I use it for good, not evil. Smile

Check out the quick YouTube video below. It shows a pro cleaner (a well-known, trustworthy guy on the bulletin boards) using the $240 light in question, and you can see the spots lighting up very clearly. Without having been there I can’t say whether it’s urine or not but it is impressive, especially considering the amount of ambient light. I want a light that works that well, but I don’t want to get ripped off for $240 if I can do it for $50 or even $100!

Rezolution
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Hi Ross,

I’ve purchased 4 UV lights off of ebay (all work but only in a dark room) and I’ve built 3 of my own.

The winning combination for me was:

——————————————————————————————————————
Body ($8):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/sky-ray-sr5-flashlight-tube-dee...

Drop-in ($11):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/taiwan-3w-380nm-uv-flashlight-d...

Battery ($12 – set of 2 but you’ll only use one in the flashlight at a time):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/protected-trustfire-18650-37v-3...

Charger ($13):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/trustfire-tr006-dual-channel-li...
——————————————————————————————————————
It works in daylight. It’s amazing in a dim room. You’ll be sick to your stomach in a dark room (when you see what the pets do to a carpet).

So for $44 you should be up and running with one of the best lights you can make…

TheEyeball
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Rezolution wrote:
Hi Ross,

I’ve purchased 4 UV lights off of ebay (all work but only in a dark room) and I’ve built 3 of my own.

The winning combination for me was:

——————————————————————————————————————
Body ($8):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/sky-ray-sr5-flashlight-tube-dee...

Drop-in ($11):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/taiwan-3w-380nm-uv-flashlight-d...

Battery ($12 – set of 2 but you’ll only use one in the flashlight at a time):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/protected-trustfire-18650-37v-3...

Charger ($13):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/trustfire-tr006-dual-channel-li...
——————————————————————————————————————
It works in daylight. It’s amazing in a dim room. You’ll be sick to your stomach in a dark room (when you see what the pets do to a carpet).

So for $44 you should be up and running with one of the best lights you can make…

Wow, thanks man! That’s awesome.

Rezolution
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You’re welcome

TheEyeball
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Still wanna know how this guy is claiming a 7w UV light. Is it just 7 1w LEDs on a 7up board or something?

Richie086
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Back in 2009, I purchased a couple of UV lights. The small one is the 51 LED UV version powered by 3 x “AA” cells and 395nm. The large one is 128 LED UV powered by 4 x “D” cells and 385nm.

I find the smaller 395nm version better due to better contrast than the larger one. But both are not commercial duty so I wouldn’t recommend either for your line of work. However, the large one would be great to impress clients, but once they walk away, use something better. Not to mention the large one is priced up into the sky and not worth it.

Richie

keltex78
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leaftye beat me to posting my thread, but I had very good results with the Manafont drop-in I used to build a flashlight for hunting scorpions...

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11935

I can assure you that fresh urine does glow under the drop-in I'm using. Any sort of stain shows up really well as well (but don't fluoresce). The best thing I found to help improve usability was a pair of cheap $5 Shooting/Safety glasses with the yellow lenses from Wal Mart. These filter out the UV making it more comfortable on your eyes, while filtering out the blue visible light making any fluorescence really stand out. Once I started using these glasses, I was able to spot a lot more, including some plants with leaves that fluoresced a very deep red, and some tiny mushrooms that would faintly glow blue/green under the UV light.


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

keltex78
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[quote=Richie086]The large one is 128 LED UV powered by 4 x "D" cells and 385nm. I find the smaller 395nm version better due to better contrast than the larger one. But both are not commercial duty so I wouldn't recommend either for your line of work. However, the large one would be great to impress clients, but once they walk away, use something better. Not to mention the large one is priced up into the sky and not worth it.[quote]

5mm UV LEDS are cheap; If you are patient and are good with a soldering iron, you might could buy the Harbor Freight 95 LED flashlight for $20 (use a coupon to cut that price) and a bag of ebay UV 5mm LEDs ($5/100) and swap them yourself...

Of course, I wouldn't expect cheap eBay 5mm LEDs to have the best wavelength, probably mostly purple and less UV.


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

JaffoAZ
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Rezolution wrote:
Hi Ross,

I’ve purchased 4 UV lights off of ebay (all work but only in a dark room) and I’ve built 3 of my own.

The winning combination for me was:

——————————————————————————————————————
Body ($8):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/sky-ray-sr5-flashlight-tube-dee...

Drop-in ($11):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/taiwan-3w-380nm-uv-flashlight-d...

Battery ($12 – set of 2 but you’ll only use one in the flashlight at a time):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/protected-trustfire-18650-37v-3...

Charger ($13):
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/trustfire-tr006-dual-channel-li...
——————————————————————————————————————
It works in daylight. It’s amazing in a dim room. You’ll be sick to your stomach in a dark room (when you see what the pets do to a carpet).

So for $44 you should be up and running with one of the best lights you can make…

^^^^^ +1 This is basically what I have, but in a UltraFire WF-502B body. I’ll bet this setup is every bit as effective as that $240 rip-off deal. In fact, I’m even suspecting that expensive kit only cost the seller $40 or less to assemble, given that torch comes from the same manufacturer as my 502B. Sure a Solarforce body and you’ve got a high quality UV torch indeed.

I recommend this: instead of spending $240 on one expensive setup, spend $15 to $20 on one of the excellent P60 hosts out there, then experiment with budget UV drop-ins until you find one that works as well as you need it to. I’ll bet you end up spending $50-$60 tops.

JAFFO

TheEyeball
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Rezolution wrote:
The winning combination for me was:

Welp, I just ordered the stuff based on your recommendation. When it all comes in I’ll compare it to another clunker I just bought off ebay. I also ordered the generic 395nm drop-in. Are those pretty easy to swap out? There’s no soldering or anything, right?

I noticed you recommended the textured looking reflector instead of the smooth one. Is there an advantage there? Just curious.

Again, thanks for the info.

CouldUseALight
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This is a really useful thread, thanks all! Smile

Been looking for a UV light for mineral specimens and no idea where to start. You’d be amazed how well people can repair crystals…but the glue shows up under UV. Glasses

keltex78
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TheEyeball wrote:
Are those pretty easy to swap out? There's no soldering or anything, right? I noticed you recommended the textured looking reflector instead of the smooth one. Is there an advantage there? Just curious. Again, thanks for the info.

Very easy to swap. Just unscrew the head and drop the new module in.

The textured (orange peel) reflector will give you a smoother beam with less rings/mess, but at the expense of throw. These UV lights aren't designed for throw thow anyway, so I think OP will be your best option.

I tried using my UV drop-in in an aspheric-thrower P60 host I've built and the results were less than overwhelming.

:_(


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

Rezolution
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My build was inspired by the Scorpion thread from a while back. I read the thread about UV lights and ordered the drop-in within 5 minutes of reading that thread.

I started out with a need for a light to see UV dye for refrigeration systems. Then started using the lights to clean up pet spills. You won’t be disappointed with your new drop-in…. It’s worth every penny. You shouldn’t need to mess with the reflector at all, it’s fine the way it is. Happy hunting!

Rezolution
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TheEyeball wrote:
Welp, I just ordered the stuff based on your recommendation. Again, thanks for the info.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Lithium-Ion battery safety or not. If you aren’t familiar with the technology, you should really read up on it. There are quite a few threads on here about it. Improper use of Lithium-Ion batteries can cause fire, injuries, or even death. Please read up if this is your first time using them.

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