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Home News Tech-Talk Let there be Light!

Let there be Light!

But sometimes I wish getting a PhD in mechanical engineering wasn’t that much work. Even though my boss gives me a great amount of freedom there are certain days where I can only look out the window of my office and watch the sun set after another day of perfect conditions. When I get home it’s already dark. This really sucks.

[This is what I've been dreaming about... The dream became reality - in Vasco da Gama, 7a]

For this reason and because the summer-months are way too hot and way too long in Austria I’ve been thinking about a cool lighting system so I could go bouldering at night.

[Thommy trying not to burn his fingers while "giving the light" to Stefan in Jager Franzl, 8a trav.]


In the past, I used to go out with a gas lamp but this solution had several disadvantages:

•    Fist, the lamp got really hot and it was easy to burn your fingers on it
•    The light beam could not be focused or directed to where you wanted to climb
•    The gas-bottles are somehow expensive and can’t be refilled (lotsa trash)
•    If you tip it over the incandescent gas mantle will crumble or even the glass can break
•    And, for an engineer: the degree of efficiency is lower than the one of a 1963 corvette


Any alternatives? Not really up until now… Unless you had super-night-vision and you were able to climb just with a Petzl Tikka on your head. I could never really do that.
But, the horrible working conditions and violation of human rights in China have made it possible! We can now take advantage of cheap and powerful LED Technology. So here we go: This is how I build the ultimate bouldering lamp!


[The goal: The ultimate bouldering flood light!]


[In the workshop once again. It all starts with a little bit of chaos...]


[A cheap but effective improvement: Soldering a 0,20 € switch]


[Drilling the 6mm diameter hole for the switch]


[The newly installed switch on top of the housing]


[Soldering the main battery connectors]


Some of you might wonder why I decided to go for such beefy connectors even if the LED-chip just draws around 0,6 Amps... Well, the reaon is, that I am using the same batteries I used to tune my HILTI. (read the full report: Pimp my HILTI)

Next step: the light needs a stand! As member of the GoPro Media Team I got to appreciate the Jobie Gorillapod because of tis versatility. You can either wrap it around a tree, level out uneven surfaces an much more. In this case, I decided to go for the much cheaper off-brand version by Rollei, which is still strong enough to easily hold the weight of the light.Another advantage of the Rollei Flexipod is that it comes with a small tripod plate, allowing me to quickly disconnect the light from the tripod and disassemble my setup.


[Light, Flexipod and replacement bolts for the final assembly]

Why so many screws? Well, the tiny screw that comes with the tripod plate is sure not long enough to be used with a nut to attach the metal frame of the light. Furthermore, it is a US 1/4" (inch standard) which is not really available here in Europe. Instead, I took a metric M6x16, put it into the lathe and shaped its head flat enough so it would fit.


[From left to right: Original M6x16, reshaped M6x16, original 1/4"-tripod screw and Flexipod plate]


[Finally: The tripod plate is attached to the light via a metric bolt and nut!]


[The first test: The light ran almost 8 hours before my LiPo-alarm shut down at 3,3 Volts per cell! Not bad!]


[Another compatibility test: The light also works with 8 standard AA-batteries]


[Done! And - wow - there are even 2 of them!]


[First field test: Successful! Flashing Fair Play, 7c (Chironico) in the dark!]

Again, if you have any questions concerning the electric stuff or where to get the components, please do not hesitate to drop me an email!


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Umfrage: your vision!