Author Topic: Giving new life to an old light  (Read 9277 times)

endurance

  • Guest
Giving new life to an old light
« on: November 23, 2013, 09:21:21 AM »
So I've admitted to it before; I'm a light geek.  Every light I see I must own, every light I own, I must make brighter.  So when started looking at the light needs of my fire department and I saw the 15 year old 6v lantern on our 6wd ATV and realized that this and headlamps was the tools we were expected to use when starting an IV in the field, doing injury treatment, and loading them into a litter, I knew this would not do.  With tight budgets and folks who've always settled for "well, it's what we have" and "it's always worked before" I knew this was a project for me to take personally.  I wanted to use as much stuff as I could of what I already had lying around and have it end up being as simple and reliable as possible.  This is what I came up with:

I found an old Ray-o-Vac Hunter light, circa 1970s, that used 8 D cells for its power source.  The output was anemic by modern LED standards, but it gave me a good case to start with.  I decided I wanted to use a pre-wired off-road LED light and found something similar to this.  The one I used was 18w, 1320 lumens.  I already had a power source from my 24 hour mtb racing days, as I have a good collection of 14.4v lithium ion batteries around the basement.  What I ended up using is something similar to this.  There's probably some lead acid and nicad alternatives that would be a lot cheaper, but it's what I had around.  Otherwise, I already had the switches, connectors and wiring I needed, so the rest was just bodging it all together.  Per my tests, it was drawing about 0.915 amps, which should give me a lifespan of about two hours on a single charge.  I could actually fit at least three similarly sized battery packs into the case, but there's really no need for this application.


Just a basic case to start from.


Wiring up the guts.  That's not the battery I ended up using (the one shown is a larger 4800mah), but it was the only one I had charged at the time I started building it.


Oh my, what a big head you have there!


Bright enough to take on most any project.

While I already had some bits, my total cost was about $31, which included buying the light housing itself on e-bay and a single off-road light.  The ability to melt all that snow out of my yard with 24 hours of daylight = Priceless. ;D

Offline FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 5992
  • Karma: 771
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 12:54:11 PM »
 :clap:

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 03:31:40 PM »
Nice Job!! Flashlights are addicting, aren't they?  Are you a member of CPF?

Offline theBINKYhunter

  • Does not fall well with plastic guns...
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5847
  • Karma: 181
  • Not a tactical baddass
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 04:33:30 PM »
nice! flashlights are one of the things i'm going to try to learn more about.

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 06:00:24 PM »
Nice Job!! Flashlights are addicting, aren't they?  Are you a member of CPF?
I just rejoined after a five year hiatus (and unable to recall my old login.

Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 3700
  • Karma: 190
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 11:58:51 PM »
i just checked the CPF modified flahlight section and found the thread in a jiffy!
Good job! wellcome back!

Offline bartsdad

  • Scrooge McDuck
  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • ******
  • Posts: 4015
  • Karma: 237
  • We're Vikings, we have stubbornness issues.
    • SPAMMY Link
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 09:14:49 AM »
Great, you have just inspired me to make something similar using an old drill and my DeWalt battery packs.  Nice work.

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 09:40:11 AM »
Great, you have just inspired me to make something similar using an old drill and my DeWalt battery packs.  Nice work.
Since the battery and charger is the most expensive part usually, you're way ahead of the curve already.

After bringing it to the department and discussing recharging (lithium ions can't be left on a charger indefinitely and are technically supposed to be monitored while charging due to fire risk), I decided to put in the largest sealed lead acid battery I could fit and leads for an external smart charger so it could stay plugged in all the time.  That brought the total cost up to $75, but given a new set of box lights is over $200, it's a bargain.  Now we're taking about converting all the existing 12v box lights to LED, which might be as simple as just replacing the heads with off road lights.  When everyone saw how much brighter this was than our existing box lights, it was clear that at some point we should come into the 21st century for lighting.


Non-reversible charging connections should almost make it firefighter-proof.

I'll try to get a photo of the new battery set up soon.  I also cleaned up the wiring a lot inside now that I have a permanent battery installed.

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 10:04:09 AM »
Endurance are you talking about the Streamlight Liteboxes? If so you can save yourself and the dept a bundle and just get a new Streamlight Led-head kit for them. It's a 10 minute job. I did it for 2 of my liteboxes bought 1 E-spot and 1 E-flood the other one I bought as a new E-spot. costs about 50-60$ for the head assy the head also makes a good light head for a project light but it is a strict 6volt application and is built like a brick and the E-spot has a good throw pattern and they are a FD approved retrofit

Then I took the old Par36 lamps and fit them into two 6 volt mine safety lanterns I had that used 6volt auto bulbs. one used 2 lantern batteries the other used 3. I modded them to use D-cell NIMH rechargeable batteries now I have basically 2 more Halogen liteboxes that can run 18 and 30 hours plus on NIMHs before recharging. I have plenty of litebox bulbs and lamps I wont be running out of spares anytime soon.

IF you want to know when to find the heads let me know

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 10:10:48 AM »
Endurance are you talking about the Streamlight Liteboxes? If so you can save yourself and the dept a bundle and just get a new Streamlight Led-head kit for them. It's a 10 minute job. I did it for 2 of my liteboxes bought 1 E-spot and 1 E-flood the other one I bought as a new E-spot. costs about 50-60$ for the head assy the head also makes a good light head for a project light but it is a strict 6volt application and is built like a brick and the E-spot has a good throw pattern and they are a FD approved retrofit

Then I took the old Par36 lamps and fit them into two 6 volt mine safety lanterns I had that used 6volt auto bulbs. one used 2 lantern batteries the other used 3. I modded them to use D-cell NIMH rechargeable batteries now I have basically 2 more Halogen liteboxes that can run 18 and 30 hours plus on NIMHs before recharging. I have plenty of litebox bulbs and lamps I wont be running out of spares anytime soon.

IF you want to know when to find the heads let me know

Yes, please!  A pre-made LED head would be awesome!

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 10:24:44 AM »
http://www.brightguy.com/Streamlight/Streamlight+E-Flood+Upgrade+Kit+45842

http://www.brightguy.com/Streamlight/Streamlight+E-Spot+Upgrade+Kit+45845

Brightguy stocks them check my review on the flood upgrade on the page and I wrote a couple replies on CPF search E-spot/flood  head

I would get mostly e-spots and maybe 2-3 E-floods depending on how many lights your dept has. You will definitely appreciate the difference in the incan to the led spot I would get mostly spots as they are the best for all around duty and they throw some good light

Brightguy has a bunch of vids on the e-spot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkK7LFDePuw this is the actual upgrade being installed

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2013, 10:37:20 AM »
Thanks Jersey.  Looks like an easy conversion.  We have two in our engine, one in each ambulance, but nobody uses them (because they suck with the incandescent bulbs).  The hardest part of my sales pitch is likely going to be because nobody currently uses them.

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2013, 11:35:48 AM »
Do one upgrade in the E-spot

stand outside at night and light a second-third floor window with both lights-- Case Closed.... Order more upgrades

take a tour of a dark building or Park with both lights--- Case Closed and filed away .... Confirm upgrades ordered


I used mine all during 2012 Sandy (5 days no power) 2011 snow storm(4 days out) and 2011 hurricane (4 days). My Town FD from the Firehouse around the corner borrowed one during the OCT 2011 Snow Storm to search the park and a few houses for wires down after their Incan boxes died. They started swapping heads that week after the storm. I let them keep it till the storm was over

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 01:55:24 PM »
The other issue is my Lt. sees no point to box lights at all given that now you can have a 600-1000 lumen headlamp and angle light.  Of course he's a lightaholic light me, so he has good lighting; a lot of guys on our department are still working with incandescent lights. 

I'm not a structural guy (yet) so I get his argument against box lights in a structural setting given the challenges of carrying a light while making an entry (while carrying either irons or a hose).  Where I do see a huge benefit of box lights for scenes that are away from the truck where you're doing vehicle extrication in a gully or packaging up someone behind a house where they got thrown from their horse or fell off their trampoline (or search and rescues).  I think we'd be best served doing spots on the two engine lights and floods on the ambulance lights for that reason.  Of course if the department would buy everyone headlamps and angleheads, we wouldn't need them at all.  Instead, we have folks buying their own and there's such a hodgepodge of kit out there it's ridiculous.  Of course, as a taxpayer in said district I like the cheapest solution, so your upgrade is what I favor... and maybe sticking some LEDs into some Christmas stockings for a few Luddites. ;)

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2013, 09:33:45 PM »
I see both sides of his argument but it shard to beat the runtime and output of the litebox. Like you said at a off road accident or SAR they are in their prime. An offroad accident scene where a good solid that's bright enough to light the scene and sit in the weather is missed when you have to make due with what you have. When you get used to not having or using something you forget you need it, I'll bet the litebox will get used again after you upgrade it.

I have many handhelds that put out 500lumens plus but none can run 14 hours plus like the litebox

I'm an angle light fiend too must have 15+ rt angle lights. two I use the most are the Streamlight Knucklehead spot and the Pelican 3715

Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 3700
  • Karma: 190
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2013, 12:07:29 AM »
although the flashaholic in me screams NOOOOO! it is hard not to accept the box lights' merits

But how real is their 7hour runtime and is their 600-700 lumen output enough? Like to administer trauma first aid etc?

I amssuuming that these lights will be placed on the ground, shining UP. On the other hand a headlaml shines downwards much in accordance with your eyesight. So this is a general question. If crucial, what light angle is preffered most?

And while on headlamps, are you satisfied by the runtime of the over-200 lumens models?

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2013, 10:02:37 AM »
although the flashaholic in me screams NOOOOO! it is hard not to accept the box lights' merits

But how real is their 7hour runtime and is their 600-700 lumen output enough? Like to administer trauma first aid etc?

I amssuuming that these lights will be placed on the ground, shining UP. On the other hand a headlaml shines downwards much in accordance with your eyesight. So this is a general question. If crucial, what light angle is preffered most?

And while on headlamps, are you satisfied by the runtime of the over-200 lumens models?
When you have a department that's lived with 4AA incandescent lights for 20 years, 600 lumens is like daylight to these guys.  When I showed up to my first training with a Fenix PD35 mounted to the side of my helmet (850 lumens), I became the scene lighting for my department. ;D  Sure, a few guys had mounted some 85 lumen headlamps on their helmets, a few even had 330 lumen light bars, but nobody had a light as bright as even my EDC (Sunwayman V10R with RCR123).  Thus, I'm the light geek of the firehouse.

Scene lighting is really about not having to shine a light in someone's face to work.  You're still going to have a headlamp or another coworker holding a flashlight to help start an IV, but most of the time you just need enough light to see where things are.  80% of the time my headlamp is on the low or medium-low setting.  Occasionally I'll bump it up when trying to find stuff (like trying to read the needle gauge in our IV starting kit with 46 year old eyes to help the paramedic on scene), but most of the time you're looking at people 3' away from you and looking at them with 850 lumens doesn't help; it just makes them see spots for 10 seconds.  Structural entry is something I haven't even started to train for yet, but obviously light is important in that environment.  Of course we've had one structural fire in our district in the last five years, so that's not a primary focus.

To answer your question about the best angle, the answer is as many angles of light as possible.  When I 24 hour raced, it was suicidal to ride with just a headlamp because you couldn't see a dip in the road.  The light going into the dip was at the same point of view as your eyes, so you couldn't see it.  Having two lights, one on the handlebars and one on the helmet, ideally with two different colors of white (i.e. a cool white LED vs. a warm white LED), would give you much more contrast.  I always preferred a brighter bar light and dimmer headlamp.  Before LEDs that meant a 550 lumen 13w HID bar light and a 20w 320 lumen halogen on my head.  Eventually it became a 720 lumen LED on my bar and a 550 lumen LED on my helmet.  Now I suspect everyone is pushing 1000+ lumen lights.

I've never run out of light on a scene, but I carry one spare 18650 and two spare CR123s (my light will use either).  Like I said, 80% of the time I'm at sub-50 lumens, so the battery life is well beyond the time I'd spend on scene under any circumstances.

We have one open space park and our rescues there often just take a 35 lumen headlamp to walk on the trail.  Once you get to the patient, then you want scene lighting, but don't have a truck anywhere close.  That's where the light I built will come into use.  Sure, it's heavy, but we usually have plenty of folks, plus a wheeled litter.  Of course we're never on scene for more than 10-20 minutes (shorter if there's no paramedic on scene  ;) ), but you never know if the system will get a chance to charge fully before the next call.  You also might have to look for safety hazards if you need to land a helicopter, for which a 35 lumen headlamp is worthless (I want to be able to see powerlines 100' above me).






Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 3700
  • Karma: 190
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2013, 11:34:39 AM »
Quote
We have one open space park and our rescues there often just take a 35 lumen headlamp to walk on the trail.  Once you get to the patient, then you want scene lighting, but don't have a truck anywhere close.  That's where the light I built will come into use.  Sure, it's heavy, but we usually have plenty of folks, plus a wheeled litter.  Of course we're never on scene for more than 10-20 minutes (shorter if there's no paramedic on scene  ;) ), but you never know if the system will get a chance to charge fully before the next call.  You also might have to look for safety hazards if you need to land a helicopter, for which a 35 lumen headlamp is worthless (I want to be able to see powerlines 100' above me).

Seems you are OK with your mod. If more light is needed or for longer, one can make do with a 18650 light like the PD35.

I do not if I have told you before about my Sunwayman mod, but i will not miss the chance.
I took an AP05 extender, and bored it for 17mm batteries. Now i run AW 17500s

hey rest of the forum members
...are you getting us, or have we gone off-panet with this flashlight thing?  :P :P :P
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 11:44:38 AM by GreekMan »

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2013, 11:36:32 AM »
here's a video with a e-spot beamshot at 200 ft on a rifle range. the espot is at the  30secs spot

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxNaF68nYNs&list=PLylfpLTCQkISBnrtkCUd51DEj-3E5ImDu

Not sure if you've seen it but the Pelican 3715 has a set of downward facing leds that light the ground in front of you when its clipped to your pocket. you can have them on alone or with the main led or just the main led. The 3715 come in AA only ( which I use lithiums and eneloops in) or in a rechargeable kit. its a heckofa a compact led rt angle

take a look and see if you like it

http://www.brightguy.com/Pelican/Pelican+3715+LED+Flashlight#prettyPhoto

Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 3700
  • Karma: 190
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2013, 11:45:49 AM »
If only Pelican would use newer emitters in their lights it would get a +50% more output boonus

Offline JerseyVince

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1416
  • Karma: 54
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2013, 10:25:13 AM »
Endurance, did you guys decide on a lighting setup? How's your light working out

Offline Oil Lady

  • Lady oil lady oil la-dy hoo
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 4503
  • Karma: 316
  • My book needs more humor. My pen needs more salt.
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2013, 10:40:40 AM »
So I've admitted to it before; I'm a light geek.  Every light I see I must own, every light I own, I must make brighter.  So when started looking at the light needs of my fire department and ...

I read this far. And thought to myself: "He needs to watch The Light Bulb Conspiracy if he hasn't already!!" 


75 minutes long, perfectly safe for work.


http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/light-bulb-conspiracy/


Skip ahead past the first 3-minutes worth of screen time where we have all the opening credits. Once you get past that part, you will see the film's opening anecdotal sequence --the most important anecdotal sequence of the film-- which is the amazing story about the light bulb at the fire station in Livermore, California.


endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2013, 11:15:32 AM »
Endurance, did you guys decide on a lighting setup? How's your light working out
Right now I'm hesitant to modify the helmet I'm using now, since it's my rookie helmet and starting January 4, I'll have my full member's helmet.  I'm modding a Pelican light mount to hold my PD35.  I was going to use my new Nitecore HC50 on my fire helmet, but after getting it and realizing how perfect it would be for wildland and S&R, I decided not to commit it to my fire helmet since it would take modifications to make it work (I'd need to remove the over the top strap and the head strap would get stretched to the point where I couldn't use it without a helmet).  Of course, saying this today doesn't mean I won't look at options for the future, like buying a replacement strap and leaving it on my fire helmet. ;D

We haven't had a single night call since I built the Hunter mod, so it hasn't been put to work yet.  I ran 11 of 15 calls last month with our department (three of which were within 90 minutes of each other), so it's not like we have the highest call volume on earth.  It might be next spring before I get to use the Hunter or it might be tonight.  One never knows with a little shop like ours.  Our neighboring district had three structure fires in four hours last week and they were just getting to the point of calling for mutual aid when things calmed down.  Damn cold weather has caused folks who haven't used their fireplaces in 20 years to stoke 'em  up.  Two out of three fires were disconnected flue pipes.

Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 3700
  • Karma: 190
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2013, 02:16:57 PM »
I do not recall you mentioning the HC50 again.
Isn't it a beast (heavy) of a headlamp?

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Giving new life to an old light
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2013, 03:19:43 PM »
I do not recall you mentioning the HC50 again.
Isn't it a beast (heavy) of a headlamp?
I just received it a week or two ago.  While it doesn't have a counterweight like a 4AA battery light with a battery pack at the back, it isn't any heavier.  You definitely need the over the top strap to keep it in place, but so far I've found it to be comfortable and the various light settings are perfect.  So far I've used it mostly at 1 lumen for reading in bed.