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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Fellows lamps forum.
ChrisJC

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Posted: 11/07/2014 19:21:20
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Freud would have been right!

I haven't promoted the Gloworm at all as it's only of interest to mine-exploring lamp builders, so as you say, the only references are here and ME.
http://www.cowdery.org.uk/gloworm.php

Chris.
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royfellows

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Posted: 31/07/2014 16:31:30
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This is in the way of a question.

If I produced a lamp:
Similar to the Lynx_XLamps being of aluminium with some copper, maybe, but smaller and say at about 150 grams in weight.

Works on low voltage, which is nominal 3.7V, so it never actually goes out, but burns for days on diminishing output. This is like the Nora and my EcoStar.

Has a large reflector giving perfect beam control so that it gives the impression of being as powerful as the high voltage lamps.

Has single beam and flood emitters with capability to combine them.

Max output, single 770 lumens, combined, well a bit more but this is limited by the discharge rate of the cells. Beams will look a lot more than this, trust me.

For a price of about £150 as a kit with battery, charger etc all in.

Q: Will there be a demand?

Whats happening is that my supply of new Oldam headsets is drying up and with what I have to pay for those available I may as well design a replacement lamp based on an Aluminium body.
I have enough Oldham headsets to be going on with but one always has to look to the future.

Anyway, sensible answers please. Think in terms of "If I needed a lamp and didn't want to spend more than say £200, would I buy one of these"?



--

Qualifications? Well, being doing it for 30 years and I'm still here.
IP: 92.19.50.238 Edited: 31/07/2014 16:35:50 by royfellows
sinker

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Posted: 31/07/2014 16:38:23
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I don't think you would have a problem, pitched at the magical £149.99 level. Around the price of a Duo with the custom upgrades, but probably a better lamp?
I'll take the first one at that price Roy. Thumb Up

Phil.

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SimonRL

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Posted: 31/07/2014 16:45:20
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I would say so.

From my time selling the Sten I can certainly say the main selling point was the size and weight; and the general simplicity of the switch arrangement.

I lost count at Hidden Earth over the years of the number of times people who said "I don't want anything as heavy as the Scurion". (with the proviso that there are a lot of Scurions out there so clearly a lot of people are very happy with the lamp).

Most people want to do 4 to 8 hour trips with a convenient lightweight, but powerful and robust lamp. People who do expeditions or are underground for 12+ hours at a time are in the minority.

However if your batteries are swappable underground - they can stay down as long as they want to Smile

Similarly most people don't really want thousands of lumens. There's a surprising number of people out there who are happy with 200 to 300.

What you've proposed sounds just the ticket for the majority of people who don't want a bat cooker, don't want half a kilo of metalwork on their head and don't want to spend the equivalent of the NASA moonlanding on a programmable lamp that can light up Jupiter and be hooked up their PC.

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royfellows

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Posted: 31/07/2014 17:45:47
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Thanks to both of you for the imput, but in fairness I have to comment that the Scurrion is only 160 grams and the Rude Nora 120 grams. However Scurrion offer a rear heat sink which suggests possible heat control issues and would increase the weight.
I dont think weight within certain bounds is an issue, size is the thing, and unfortunately mine cannot be as small as a Sten and still give the performance I want. You cant get a quart into a pint pot.

Back to my efforts, a lab hash together gives a beam at 400 mA which looks like same as a Trigon or X3000 at middle beam at 600mA.
Its just peripheral illumination that worries me.

Be a long time anyway before I produce anything like this. I will probably get a protortype lashed up inside a Lynx headset for testing underground.

--

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davel

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Posted: 31/07/2014 22:07:19
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I've got a couple of Roy's WorkStar lamps (I think that's what he called them) and I'm very pleased with them. My only (very minor) criticism would be the sharp transition from the spot part of the beam to the flood area – which seems to be an artefact of the optic on the main emitter.

As for a new lamp, wish list (in order of decreasing importance) would be:

- total reliability, preferably with two emitters with no common circuitry

- capable of withstanding (repeatably) a 2 m drop in any orientation onto an unyielding surface without damage

- waterproof, indefinitely under running water (as in standing under a waterfall) and capable of immersion to say 2 m for a couple of minutes (i.e. longer than I can hold my breath)

- 12+ hours duration on main beam

- at least as bright as my current lamp

- switch mounted on the lamp, not on the battery or the cable, and protected against inadvertent operation.

- simple to use, I don't want to flick through half-a-dozen modes

- belt-mounted battery (a personal foible of mine is that I don't like helmet mounted batteries)

- detachable connector on the battery pack, not mid-cable, with some sort of cover for spare battery packs

- simple connection to the charger – at least as convenient as an Oldham charger

I admit that some of the above criteria are based on what I would have liked when caving regularly and I probably don't need such a demanding spec now (I'm certainly not that keen on sumps these days).

Dave
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Tamarmole

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Posted: 31/07/2014 22:58:04
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I use (and like) Roy's Ecostar.

If I could change anything it would be to reduce the number of settings - I don't like flicking back and forth between multiple settings - I was more than happy with pilot and main on my Oldham. Three settings max would be good.

I prefer a knob (oo- er missus) to a switch. The switches on Roy's new lamp look a bit exposed and vulnerable.

In terms of output the Ecostar is more than adequate - I can see the top of the main lode stopes in Devon Great Consols so I am happy; anything else is overkill as far as my needs are concerned.

I would also like a blade mount on the lamp rather than a permanent bolt on attachment which seems to be becoming more common.

Although it is a bit of a gimmick I do rather like the charge indicator on Roy's new lamp.

That said I am hoping not to have to buy another lamp for a fair while.

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royfellows

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Posted: 01/08/2014 09:35:08
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This is interesting, and I want to throw the table open to users of Stens, Scurrys, Monkeys or whatever as well as my own fan club.

Apart from this posting I want to stay quiet for while and listen.

Anyone out there with no interest in lamps is in the wrong game, its your singular most important and basic piece of equipment.

--

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ttxela

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Posted: 01/08/2014 09:38:58
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I would tend to agree on the number of settings, whilst it's nice to have the flexibility I tend to only really use three of the levels on the Magnumstar, the little emergency light for lunch, the middle of the 3 'flick' settings for general navigation and the full beam for pictures. IP: 86.151.215.100
gNick

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Posted: 01/08/2014 13:45:36
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royfellows wrote:

This is interesting, and I want to throw the table open to users of Stens, Scurrys, Monkeys or whatever as well as my own fan club.


I have one of the 700lm Scurions which pretty much ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned though not ideal - I am an engineer and very good at finding ways that I would have preferred things to have been done...

Settings
I really like the way you can independently set the output level for the flood & spot LEDs and also how many on settings there are.
Being able to scoll up and down the light settings is good
No pointless light settings e.g. strobe & sos.

Light Unit
Control is easy to use, can get a bit awkward when hands are covered in thick slime but easily dealt with by wiping slime on unsuspecting victim...
I like being able to change the orientation of the light, makes looking up shafts easier.
Bolted on means the light doesn't fall off the helmet at awkward moments.
Battery indicators display when you turn the light off.

Battery Unit.
Changeable battery pack, handy for epic trips or if you are staying where you can't recharge.
Reassuringly strong but reasonably light.
The lid clamp is my main dislike, the screws stick up a bit and I have become very adept at snagging them on things like the Norpex door.

Output levels.
The 700lm model is more than enough for the likes of Nenthead, you might want a bit more for slate cavern photography or anti-aircraft work.
For going places I mainly run on the level 2 setting for both LEDs which is about 100lm total, upping this according to how big a hole I'm in (and how much mud is on the lens). Digging usually only needs level 1, about 25lm

I haven't yet got the batery level below 3 out of 5 bars with the longest trip being about 8.5 hours so pretty happy here.

--

Give a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
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Drillbilly.

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Posted: 01/08/2014 15:06:36
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I am utterly dedicated to Roy's Trigon and it blows all the other lamps into the weeds, including my Magnumstar, which is just total overkill.

The trigon is 80% of the magnumstar, whilst also being a work/ecostar when you turn it down.

A lot of the people I go out with have W/E stars and they are very good. They are perfect for cavers and just that bit more meaty than Miles' original wonderlamp from 06 or whenever it was. I do a fair bit of going in deep shafts, big stopes and in massive sea-caves and it's good to have a "bloody loud" setting for when you need it. It's also good for photography.

The Trigon is something which is useful at all levels. The MS has quite a few which are over the top for most occasions and it pays a weight penalty.

I was in a hole the other night and took the Trigon, as we were just digging and when we came out and it was dark, I did a comparison with the MS. Main Beam was pretty similar, the MS flood and then MEGA BEAM (all on) was ridiculously over the top. My firm assessment of the MS is that it is over the top. The trigon is not.

Caving has gucci fashion elements and some of this has seeped into mine exploring in the form of "jewellery". I don't like the RudeNora and the Scurion, not because they are crap, just because they have not been designed to withstand the rigours of caving....rather like my iPhone. Looks great, but put it in your pocked with your keys and it's beaten up in a matter of days. The bolt on mounts and "meccano" which some of these lamps rest on do not inspire confidence. Being tall, I regularly spank my head with considerable force.

The whole draw of the RF lamps was that they combine the light output of a Scurion with the bombproof build of an oldham. I like a belt mounted battery, as it is my idiotic dogma that you can't mount a serious power supply on your head....for the sort of lamp I'd like.

If Roy didn't build lamps, I wouldn't get a nora, scurion or stenlight. I'd make my own. Thumb Up

I'm sure the new RF lamps are going to be awesome, I still like my light to emanate from an Oldham though.

Cheers Roy.
IP: 31.53.64.123
RJV

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Posted: 01/08/2014 15:53:18
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royfellows wrote:

This is interesting, and I want to throw the table open to users of Stens, Scurrys, Monkeys or whatever...

Well, speaking as the user of a fashion lamp (Sten in this instance) rather than as somebody who has notions about them all I can say is that about ten of us dig on the North York Moors once or twice a week, week in week out and we use pretty much exclusively a balanced mix of Stens, Scurrions & Rude Noras.

The passages we dig in are small, wet & thick with mud & debris. The rock is a very abrasive, rough, oolitic limestone which grinds away everything it comes into contact with as do the hundreds of bolts from scaff clamps which stick out all over the place waiting to attack whatever they can bite.

None of us have any particular problems with our lamps.

As to the build quality of the meccano brackets, speak to SimonRL if you want actual facts.

Not sure what my point is here other than keeping to the Oldham model isn't necessary. When my six year old Sten does eventually die I'd much rather pay £150 for a lamp than £300 should a decent one be available and personally, I'd much rather have one with the small profile of a Sten rather than an Oldham head, even if it did mean a compromise in brightness levels.
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royfellows

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Posted: 01/08/2014 15:53:34
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I was going to stay out and let people have their say but had to reply to this. Sorry Stu, but your comment about the Nora and Scurrion was not very nice. Mr Bif has put a hell of a lot of work into designing the Rude Nora where quality comes before all else. Some of the fanciful bits indeed are purely decorative and serve no useful purpose, but does not make the lamp crap.

He may well think my lamps are crap but is too polite to say so!
Laugh

Anyway, thank you for your kind remarks about mine.

On another matter, what do people think about battery packs?

Look
1/ Complete sealed unit, chargeable from supplied dedicated charger.

2/ Openable, if thats a proper word, waterproof case. Designed to take a seperate pack, and charged from seperate dedicated charger. (Most high end lamps like Monkey etc)

3/ As above, but designed to take individual cells. AAs, 18650s etc.

--

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Vanoord

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Posted: 01/08/2014 16:03:41
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3-ish

The ideal battery pack (wishing for the moon on the stick) would effectively be something the size of the new Sten battery but with the ability to replace the cells inside it if you wished to.

Not so you could replace the cells underground, but so that you could re-invigorate the pack after a couple of years; or to upgrade it to a higher capacity.

The issue - I think - is in making a case with sufficient circuitry and wiring built-in that you don't have to reach for the soldering iron to change the batteries.

I suppose it *might* be possible to make a case that you could open and swap batteries whilst underground but it would probably be difficult to maintain water-tight integrity.

--

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royfellows

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Posted: 01/08/2014 16:27:12
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Thanks for this Mr V, however there is an issue with this type of pack. Inevitably the cells will be held against contacts at one end by springs at other. All well and good until you bump your head and then the cells will move against the springs under inertia and momentarily contact will be lost. The result on a lot of lamps will be that the lamp will change mode.

I dont think that this would happen on Sten and possibly a few others though.

Is this ringing a bells on whats been heard about Chinese bike light/head torches?

--

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christwigg

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Posted: 01/08/2014 16:58:44
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Drillbilly. wrote:

Caving has gucci fashion elements and some of this has seeped into mine exploring in the form of "jewellery".


One could make similar sweeping generalisations about mine explorers in Landrovers, wearing camo, wanting to look 'proper' with their belt-mounted Oldhams.

Drillbilly. wrote:

I don't like the RudeNora and the Scurion, not because they are crap, just because they have not been designed to withstand the rigours of caving


Seriously ?
I somehow don't think they would have gained widespread usage if they were failing on every trip (but it didn't matter because at least you still looked cool)

Simple fact is that no light is immune to problems.

I've been out at least once a week for the last six year and i've seen a Sten fail, a Nora fail and (gulp) one of Roys fail.


IP: 145.8.104.65 Edited: 01/08/2014 17:00:28 by christwigg
RJV

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Posted: 01/08/2014 17:12:42
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royfellows wrote:

1/ Complete sealed unit, chargeable from supplied dedicated charger.

The idea of being able to replace the batteries in the unit is an attractive one however for practical purposes, I prefer the small sealed units in the likes of the Sten & I think your lamps Roy which can be changed on the hoof without having to open a casing up and expose the content to the conditions at the time.
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royfellows

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Posted: 01/08/2014 17:31:47
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Just a point:

Low voltage (Cells in parallel, about 3.7V nominal) lamps like Nora and my Eco dont go out suddenly when the battery goes down, they just get dimmer and dimmer and will still burn after 2 days. Its actually fun trying this, like watching paint dry.

High voltage lamps, (cells in series, 7.4V nominal or higher) will usually just suddenly switch off leaving the user in complete darkness, my Trigons will do this although the emergency light will give you something if you have the latest Sanyo power packs. Some higher voltage lamps have a switch down feature built in that senses voltage.
But a lot of lamps, its an 'expected issue', now there is a term!
Laugh

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Drillbilly.

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Posted: 01/08/2014 17:40:30
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christwigg wrote:

Drillbilly. wrote:

Caving has gucci fashion elements and some of this has seeped into mine exploring in the form of "jewellery".


One could make similar sweeping generalisations about mine explorers in Landrovers, wearing camo, wanting to look 'proper' with their belt-mounted Oldhams.

Drillbilly. wrote:

I don't like the RudeNora and the Scurion, not because they are crap, just because they have not been designed to withstand the rigours of caving


Seriously ?
I somehow don't think they would have gained widespread usage if they were failing on every trip (but it didn't matter because at least you still looked cool)

Simple fact is that no light is immune to problems.

I've been out at least once a week for the last six year and i've seen a Sten fail, a Nora fail and (gulp) one of Roys fail.




My offroader of choice is Suzuki SJ. Arguably a better offroader as well :D
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royfellows

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Posted: 01/08/2014 17:41:52
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christwigg wrote:



Simple fact is that no light is immune to problems.

I've been out at least once a week for the last six year and i've seen a Sten fail, a Nora fail and (gulp) one of Roys fail.


I recently sold a MagnumStar and the buyer has had three or four different problems with it from the word go. The latest is that (it appears from description) a switch has actually failed so its permanently on. And this a quality component from Farnell, not anything Chinese. I was pondering on this, never seen it happen before on lamp, car, TV, Radio, lawnmower, or anything that comes to mind.
Totally nonplussed
Shocked

--

Qualifications? Well, being doing it for 30 years and I'm still here.
IP: 92.19.50.238
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