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#201223 - 04/30/10 02:30 PM Re: Strobe Lights [Re: Art_in_FL]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
I think you have the right idea. While the power of a xenon strobe is an advantage the fragile flash tube, battery life, and overall unit bulk and weight make such a unit a burden.

It's surprising how much difference there can be in perceived brightness with LED flashers, like the ones used for bicycles. I have a number, and the name-brand ones, like my Cateye, are definitely more "dazzling" to the eye than the no-name cheap ones I have. I don't think it's a matter of the amount of current sent to the LED's. I just think the more expensive unit uses better quality LED's IMHO.

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#201237 - 04/30/10 10:33 PM Re: Strobe Lights [Re: Arney]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Arney

It's surprising how much difference there can be in perceived brightness with LED flashers, like the ones used for bicycles. I have a number, and the name-brand ones, like my Cateye, are definitely more "dazzling" to the eye than the no-name cheap ones I have. I don't think it's a matter of the amount of current sent to the LED's. I just think the more expensive unit uses better quality LED's IMHO.


I think you're right that newer LED flashers, and particularly brand-name units, tend to be much brighter.

Back in the early 70 LEDs were expensive and considered pretty high-tech. The stereo system I had back then had little neon bulbs instead of LEDs.

LEDs were rare and the modern high-output LEDs were simply not available at any price. Which is why so many LED lights advertise as one and two watt. In the 80s a one watt LED was a dream. When they became commercially available in the late 90s it was a technological breakthrough and big selling point.

Of course wattage doesn't tell you much about actual light output but in the language of advertising "one watt" sounds impressive and "two watts" is, of course, better still.

As better LEDs are developed the older LED models drop in price and get incorporated into no-name devices. Brand-name producers use better LEDs. Of course I think we are coming up against other limits. How much light do you need? In urban areas with man-made light all around, and at sea where star and moonlight reflecting off waves confuses the issue, you might very well want and need a more powerful strobe. Fog and haze can also confound weaker lights.

Everything is a trade-off. Xenon strobes can be a half pound or more and they use considerable amounts of power so run times are often twenty-four hours or less.

In marine use, where weight is far less an issue, where localizing your location on vast areas of ocean is the biggest obstacle, plus the likelihood of fog and mist, I think a more powerful strobe is in order. The shorter run time may not be such a burden if you're in cold water. Even with an exposure suit if you don't get picked up in a short time you're dead.

For hiking and backpacking use, where every single gram has to be humped for miles and distances are smaller, a lighter unit or two that can ride for months unused in the bottom of a small survival kit, a unit with an extended run time seems more like the tool for the job. On land there is a good chance you can hunker down for a few days so long run time has more utility.


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#201463 - 05/06/10 05:18 PM Re: Strobe Lights [Re: bsmith]
bsmith Offline
day hiker
Addict

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 577
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: bsmith
i asked a local sheriff's aviation / sar unit official about this during a presentation two nights ago.
they have and use night vision eye wear. he said they've had lost hikers turn on their cell phones and point it in the direction of the helicopter. he said pilots have seen that illumination from "miles away".

i guess the point seems to be that seemingly little light can attract attention - but just think what a flashlight or dedicated strobe could do for you.
a recent rescue account mentions the cell phone as attracting the attention of a helipcopter here and the first person account also mentions "waving" the cell here.

you may not get reception but the light acts as a homing beacon for the night vision equipped.
_________________________
“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

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#201528 - 05/08/10 05:38 PM Strobes key in 2008 rescue of 47 crew [Re: JBMat]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Southern California
Reading the account below of the Alaska Ranger crew at pre-dawn on 3/23/2008, it seems that strobes were key.

The crew got off a distress message with their lat/lon before sinking, and when the USCG helo got there:

" ...there it was—a light. Then two, three ... five. The crew saw what looked like a poorly lit runway, a string of strobes flashing on and off over almost a mile-long stretch of ocean."

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/crashes/4267469
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#201529 - 05/08/10 05:59 PM US Coast Guard likes the ACR "Firefly 2" strobe [Re: rafowell]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Southern California
The US Coast Guard seems to like the ACR "Firefly 2" strobe.

In this USCG training video for the skill task:
"BCM-02-08-ANY Identify Boat Crew Survival Vest Equipment"
the strobe the instructor shows at 0:40-0:43 is an ACR Firefly 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq7bOZxNJR4



The USCG is also displaying several of the ACR Firefly 2 at 00:09-00:11 of
this survival suit demo (and the interviewer discusses this in 2:00-2:32 of this segment)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQxyr2fIu0c


_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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