Author Topic: Carbide lamps  (Read 4416 times)

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Carbide lamps
« on: March 21, 2005, 10:29:59 am »
There seem to be two flavours. Plastic hard shell or metal shell. Something to do with open and closed circuits. Closed circuit is bad because a build up of gas can occur? Could anyone explain the pros and cons please. Thinking of purchasing one and it seems it's either the arienne (sp?) or alpin (sp?).

Cheers
stu
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2005, 10:37:42 am »
Why, Stu? Carbide is on its way out and is now banned in many cave systems. The only reason for it is perhaps for overseas/expedition use and LEDs are now coming into their own in that field also. Perhaps if you're going ice cavern exploring it's good to keep warm with.

Offline SamT

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2005, 12:01:48 pm »
Have to agree with Chris.

I personally dont like to see them used in the peak disrict, banned in Peak Cavern Mendip and south wales.

I know they give off a nice light and can be used to warm your beer belly - but I dont feel there is any justification for them in the UK except in a few circumstances.
(e.g. - digging in Hypothermia passage in Rowter. No pretties to ruin with soot, and used specifically to provide a little warmth to the proceedings).

I have one that I used for a couple of big trips in france last year. (plasic open circuit arriene) And they are invaluable for big expedition trips to remote places too.

Still worth having one in your armoury though

Offline SamT

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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2005, 12:06:52 pm »
see this page for more discussion on the matter

http://www.ukcaving.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=374

(esp. the link to the french site - well worth reading)

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2005, 01:26:07 pm »
Well, I may (or may not!!) be off to France next year for some big cave action. I cave an LED setup but with my recent stint of hanging around freezing my nads off the thought crossed my mind for underground camp/bivi a carbide would be a welcome addition. Have a chance to buy one cheapish and wanted opinion on the merits of open/closed circuitry. The other issues I have chosen (though am fully aware of) to ignore for the time being as the technical aspects are just one of a lot of considerations.
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Offline SamT

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2005, 02:24:47 pm »
Cool - I know simon cornhill used his Closed circuit one to good effect in mexico for boiling kettles whilst stuck in alpazat.

Open circuit mean that any excess gas is vented off to atmosphere (effectivly wasting it) Closed circiut means the excess gas is recycled so you dont waste any.

only used the open circuit one - seem to be de-riger.

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2005, 03:24:10 pm »
So open circuit probably more popular because build up occurs in closed circuitry. How much "bang" could a carbide do if it decided to blow?
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Offline SamT

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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2005, 03:43:39 pm »
I'm not sure how they work. Im sure there must be a safety valve on em. I think the reason the open circuit seems more popular is that its just "old and established" rather than "new and untested"

I lost a jet once when it shot off cause it was blocked. Could have had my eye out.

diggerdog adam

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 06:47:07 pm »
Ive read somewhere that the pressure runs about 4psi depending on jet size whether thats right or wrong im not sure

but i would of thought in the event of a blocked pipe it would prob pop the pipe from the union before stripping the threds on the jet

Dave H

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 09:13:29 pm »
I have a number of the old Malham type of metal, open-circuit type lying around.
A remember an occassion where a fresher managed to unscrew the carbide containing base, drop it in a pool, panic, and screw it back on to the top.  The flame was about 3 feet long until the pipe melted at the headset end.  We left the, still gassing, generator well away from the cottage that night!  The generator had to be scrapped as we never managed to unscrew it again after that.

diggerdog adam

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2005, 09:20:48 pm »
:P  :bash:
laughing me head off reading that post !

be good tho if someone was a bit slow on the ladder

diggerdog adam

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2005, 09:28:12 pm »
is it possible then to make a gas welding kit from a old carbide lamp and a o2 bottle?

the only extras you would need would be bottle of o2 + reg and a T to join the pipes

surley some mad fool must of tryed it in the old days !

twllddu

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2005, 09:35:26 pm »
i don't recall needing the carbide lamp to do this  :)

diggerdog adam

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2005, 09:38:46 pm »
ok then when on that dig using scaffold and you run out of clamps :idea:

Offline ian mckenzie

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2005, 12:00:25 am »
Quote from: "stu"
but with my recent stint of hanging around freezing my nads off the thought crossed my mind for underground camp/bivi a carbide would be a welcome addition.
It's a little colder here, and we've pretty well gone off carbide completely.  
Quote from: "diggerdog adam"
is it possible then to make a gas welding kit from a old carbide lamp and a o2 bottle?
At one time carbide WAS extensively used to store acetylene for welding.

Offline paul

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2005, 07:44:15 am »
Quote from: "diggerdog adam"
Ive read somewhere that the pressure runs about 4psi depending on jet size whether thats right or wrong im not sure

but i would of thought in the event of a blocked pipe it would prob pop the pipe from the union before stripping the threds on the jet


I've had the same thing happen as SamT once on a Petzl "Laser" head-mounted carbide lamp.

The jet is held in place by the action of a small rubber ring which is squeezed by a threaded collar. The jet is smooth brass and it's only friction holding it in place (which may act as a safety valve??).

As SamT says, it can happen when the jet is blocked - just the time when you would tend to have it pointed at your face investigating why the blooddy thing woun't work!  :shock:
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline paul

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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2005, 07:50:42 am »
Quote from: "stu"
So open circuit probably more popular because build up occurs in closed circuitry. How much "bang" could a carbide do if it decided to blow?


I saw this happen to somebody on the surface just about to start down the Berger. They were using an Inox (I'm pretty sure that's what it is called) and in closed-circuit configuration. Basically the pipe from the generator blew off with a loud noise - not too bad, as long as the escaping acetylene doesn't catch light!

Years ago, I once lit a Premier "stinky" caplamp by Swildons blockhouse and wondered why everyone else was pointing at my head after replacing my helmet and shouting... I had dropped the rubber seal between the water and carbide chambers in the pool when checking the carbide level and the escaping acetylene caught light resulting in quite a lot of flames.

I realised what was going on and ripped my helmet of and chucked it in the pool to put it out!  :shock:
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2005, 10:09:28 am »
Might just take a handful of candles a la Casteret!
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Dave H

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2005, 10:35:29 am »
I've got a large rocket tube full of pieces of carbide up to fist size I brought back (illegally? :uhoh: )  from France about 15 years ago.  
Is it true that you can only buy carbide now in pieces slightly larger than dust?

Offline Rachel

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Carbide lamps
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2005, 09:29:02 pm »
Quote
How much "bang" could a carbide do if it decided to blow?


Reminds me of a trip down P5, when all of a sudden there was a mad hissing, a bang like a gunshot and the next thing, the entire helmet of the bloke in front of me was engulfed in flame. Luckily, he was more or less flat out in the streamway at the time, so all we had to do was hold the lot under water. I think he might have preferred it if we'd taken the helmet off his head first though.