Flashlights and Caves

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AEDe
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Flashlights and Caves

I see from other threads that there are number of cavers at BLF. But I cannot find any general thread to share our experience and thoughts about using diferent flashlights(serial or custom) in diffrent caves type.

(Headlamps is the most suitable section but of course handheld lights and connected equipment used in caves are not off topic)
So I try to create this thread,may be it would be interested to someone.
Pictures, photos, stories are welcomed)

Edited by: AEDe on 09/24/2019 - 04:03
YuvalS
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Here is my caving FW thread. I think it is more relevant here than in the modding category Smile
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/64493

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AEDe
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Thanks , didn’t saw this before.
Is it works with two separated drivers?

AEDe
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Oh! Videos are welcomed too)
Video about previous expedition in which I participates. You can also notice headlamps used now and in 80th.

YuvalS
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AEDe wrote:
Thanks , didn't saw this before. Is it works with two separated drivers?


No, it is a single switch, single (5$) driver to control the 2 LEDs.
Since you asked for videos:
  

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I’m not into caving, but recently I had the chance to test a caving headlamp from El Speleo, a Croatian caving/diving headlamp brand.

It’s really obvious that the designer of the light does caving. The ruggedness and UI is ideal for operating with gloves and without looking at the light. There’s a big screw on the side for operating the different modes (throw, flood, UV).

This prototype light is powered by two 18650s in parallel and used a white flat for throw and two Luxeon’s for flood. And a 365nm UV as well.

aswang
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maukka wrote:
I’m not into caving, but recently I had the chance to test a caving headlamp from El Speleo, a Croatian caving/diving headlamp brand.

It’s really obvious that the designer of the light does caving. The ruggedness and UI is ideal for operating with gloves and without looking at the light. There’s a big screw on the side for operating the different modes (throw, flood, UV).

This prototype light is powered by two 18650s in parallel and used a white flat for throw and two Luxeon’s for flood. And a 365nm UV as well.


That new el speleo does look good. Also nice to see caving lights now coming out with leds other than standard cool white CREEs. Could never afford them Scurions, El Speleos and Phaethons though. And the lack of proper moonlight mode is also a minus for me. I find very low modes very useful when taking a nap or camping inside the cave. I’ve been rocking a Panda 3R with 3000K SST-20s (primary) and a Thrunite TH10v2 with XHP35 3000K 80CRI (secondary) in recent trips. Although I have a few modded headlamps that also get caving use. I find single bodied tube style lights tend to survive better than consumer headlamps with wires and separate battery packs in wet and muddy caving scenarios. I have a dead fenix hp30r and nitecore hc70 to attest to that.

AEDe
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El speleo is famous manufacturer of specialized caving lamps.
As I remember they use PWM in Gnome early version. Is it true for this model?

aswang wrote:
I find single bodied tube style lights tend to survive better than consumer headlamps with wires and separate battery packs in wet and muddy caving scenarios.

Totally agree with that.1*18650/21700 is enough for 1 day work(with out diving), so I dont see any reason to carry more then 1 battery on my head)

maukka
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AEDe wrote:
El speleo is famous manufacturer of specialized caving lamps. As I remember they use PWM in Gnome early version. Is it true for this model?

Driver is by Dr. Jones and has 16kHz PWM on modes other than max just like his previous designs.

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maukka wrote:

Driver is by Dr. Jones and has 16kHz PWM on modes other than max just like his previous designs.

Thanks, 16khz is good.
I was surprised that low frequency PWM is used in such expensive professional light as El speleo or Scurion…
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AEDe wrote:
I was surprised that low frequency PWM is used in such expensive professional light as El speleo or Scurion...

First models of El speleo used Nanjg 105c driver Sad

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I think it could be interesting to someone.
Hosts for caving headlamps ~150$/pcs (actual during week)

aswang
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AEDe wrote:
I think it could be interesting to someone. Hosts for caving headlamps ~150$/pcs (actual during week) !{width:100%}https://sun9-28.userapi.com/c323120/v323120756/1220/4zcQMfqbDxE.jpg!

I’m interested. You selling these AEDe?

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aswang wrote:
I’m interested. You selling these AEDe?

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AEDe wrote:
I think it could be interesting to someone. Hosts for caving headlamps ~150$/pcs (actual during week) !{width:100%}https://sun9-28.userapi.com/c323120/v323120756/1220/4zcQMfqbDxE.jpg!

more details? Looks interesting.

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I used to do a lot of caving when I was younger. I started before the internet was a thing and incandescent was it. Back then, I always used Maglite. They did the job and held up to abuse really well. When LED lights first started showing up on the scene, it was headache city. They were usually brutal cool whites. I stuck with my incandescents until I eventually stopped caving due to some health issues. Now, technology has finally caught up. You can get some nice warmer LED lights and good color rendering, which can be a major plus for the beauty that can be found underground.

I did most of my caving with handheld lights and without what we’d consider proper safety gear by modern standards. If I was going to do it today, I’d look for a good warm headlamp with high CRI. As far as handheld lights, there aren’t really any special restrictions. You’ll want it to be sturdy enough to survive getting dropped or bumped. You’ll want basic water resistance. You’ll want decent battery life. For those who’ve spent extended time in low or no light, you know that starting in low is a must. (You don’t want a surprise blast of ultra-high lumens or tactical strobe down there.) Besides warmth and CRI, I’d avoid PWM if possible. Different people have different sensitivity levels but if you can find a light without it, that’s the best option.

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Ryzbor wrote:

more details? Looks interesting.

PM send

Mike C
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AEDe wrote:
I see from other threads that there are number of cavers at BLF.

I’ve been into a fair deal of caves and done my share of wet muddy potholing over the years. I think I still have a carbide light laying around somewhere. Now days I don’t consider myself a caver though. Lately I’ve more or less focused on abandoned mines when venturing underground. For that I don’t really need “caving” lights. For me a caving light is a light that can withstand mud, muck and waterfalls, and I tend to avoid that stuff now days, at least crawling through it (wading pants acceptable, full on caving suite for crawling and I’m not really interested anymore).

I modded a headlamp which I’ve been using, it stands up well to the conditions in mines, and as long as a cave is dry (or at least dry when you have to crawl and squeeze) it will work fine: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/55899

However, I am somewhat interested in making my own caving headlight. Yuval was kind enough to share some details about his host, I’d like to give it a go but I have so many light projects waiting in line that I don’t know when I’ll take the time.

For handheld lights I really do not see any distinction between a flashlight and a caving light (diving light is a different matter but I’ve never done cave diving). I’ve found that many Convoy hosts, which are not rated in any way, really can stand to be dropped in water and stay there for a while without leaking. That’s all I need really. Then what kind of light I want depends on what I am doing: exploring, photographing, SRT, or just strolling around. My two main works horses are a ZYT08: http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1225228#comment-1225228 and a SRK “soup can” light with triple MT-G2s. However, I haven’t put those two through waterfalls or anything like that though. As mentioned, that type of caving is something I’ve somewhat lost interest in. If I did decide to put myself through that again I’d pack my workhorses watertight and hand carry my Convoy S3 triple that can handle getting really wet.

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My caving experience dates back to carbide lantern days. I’d like to know how you carry batteries and how many do you carry. It’s been a while since I did any caving but who knows, now that I have some reliable light sources.

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Mike C wrote:
Lately I’ve more or less focused on abandoned mines when venturing underground.

In russian there is good term “spelestology/spelestologist”(from speleo and Stollen) for this type of activity to distinguish from “diggers” who visiting not abandoned underground. I actualy dont know if there any analogy of that terms in English language.)

Scientist wrote:
I’d like to know how you carry batteries and how many do you carry.

As for me. I alweys carry 2 18650 powered headlamps (main and backup) so I surely can not change batteries during day. If I stay in cave more than a day , than I have UBC (“underground base camp” may be there is more sutable term in english… )with spare batteries in such bags
Usualy I spend 1pcs 18650 per 1-3 days.
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But the 18650 batteries are not loose in your bag, correct? It is interesting to me that you use only one 18650/day. I guess the lights are usually used on a very low setting.

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aswang
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I carry 3 headlamps for caving (2 of which are mounted in the helmet and one as backup) as standard for our group. For multiday trips I carry my spare 18650’s on this mecarmy case inside a dry bag or darren drum in my tackle bag.

On shorter trips I just carry an extra flashlight or two (usually an extra thrower just in case) and carry the batteries in them. I also bring my d18 or modded Manker MK34 if photography is involved. I never owned a carbide lamp but I have a few buddies who still use them from time to time (just for kicks) and I do love the tint they produce. Hence, I prefer 3000K or below for my caving headlamp. Usually 1 18650 per day is enough (running at 100 lumens and below for a 6 hour trip) unless there’s photography involved or surveying and exploring really large caves. But of course we follow the rule of thirds so extra batteries are always a must.

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Scientist wrote:
But the 18650 batteries are not loose in your bag, correct? It is interesting to me that you use only one 18650/day. I guess the lights are usually used on a very low setting.

Of course I can use some holder for batteries, but I prefer to put them in trash bag then in warm sock and then in sleeping bag:)
When you already carry ~25-30kg you try to take minimum additional things.

Power consumption depend on many factors. While ascend and descend(SRT) about 30lm is sufficient to light on hands and rope. For walking I use about 100 lm . But our caves not very big (volume).
For 15 day trip at this august I used 11*18650.

aswang wrote:
I never owned a carbide lamp but I have a few buddies who still use them from time to time (just for kicks) and I do love the tint they produce.

Here carbide lamps are forbidden they are not eco friendly.

aswang wrote:
the rule of thirds
What is it ?
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AEDe wrote:
Of course I can use some holder for batteries, but I prefer to put them in trash bag then in warm sock and then in sleeping bag:) When you already carry ~25-30kg you try to take minimum additional things.

You see this is the kind of information you can only get on BLF! It must work well because you or your bag have not gone shooting across the cave.

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aswang
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AEDe wrote:

aswang wrote:
the rule of thirds
What is it ?

I think it’s adapted from diving to estimate how much air you carry. In our case, power, water etc. 1/3 for going in, 1/3 for exiting, 1/3 extra (for emergency). So for a 2 day trip you carry enough for 3 days minimum.
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I still have half a dozen carbide lamps and a maintenance kits.
I really need to clean house sometime.

aswang
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AEDe wrote:
Here carbide lamps are forbidden they are not eco friendly.

They probably should be. There is no practical need for them anymore. Except maybe to show off.

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aswang wrote:
AEDe wrote:
Here carbide lamps are forbidden they are not eco friendly.
They probably should be. There is no practical need for them anymore. Except maybe to show off.


Some cavers still use Carbide because of the nice color temperature (plus it can be used as emergency heat source)

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YuvalS wrote:
Some cavers still use Carbide because of the nice color temperature (plus it can be used as emergency heat source)

Now there are hicri LED of any CCT from 1800K to 6500K.Warm clothes is not a problem too. Soot on walls and
ceiling will stay forever. and used carbide will smell and poison environment for years.
Heat awake bats and thay die if winter is outside. So as I think who love caves do not use carbide(or use it very carefuly in large room and
takes away used carbide)
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AEDe wrote:
YuvalS wrote:
Some cavers still use Carbide because of the nice color temperature (plus it can be used as emergency heat source)
Now there are hicri LED of any CCT from 1800K to 6500K.Warm clothes is not a problem too. Soot on walls and ceiling will stay forever. and used carbide will smell and poison environment for years. Heat awake bats and thay die if winter is outside. So as I think who love caves do not use carbide(or use it very carefuly in large room and takes away used carbide)

I agree. In this day and age, there is just no reason. I felt the same way about casual cavers smoking cigarettes in caves. Sick

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Chronovore wrote:
I agree. In this day and age, there is just no reason. I felt the same way about casual cavers smoking cigarettes in caves. Sick

I smoke but never inside caves. For some reason I never get the urge to smoke when I’m caving. Even during multi day trips. Maybe I should just live in a cave.

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