View Full Version : Handhelf fluorescent wand ?
January 16th, 2006, 05:38 AM
Handheld Fluorescent wand
I'm doing a photo/video packbacking trip in Kashmir. I don't expect much for light for indoor video, so I'd like to try a handheld, battery -powered fluorescent light that can fit in or on a backpack. I've seen the other threads about portable China lights and other portable fluorescent fixtures, but frankly, I can't carry that kind of battery power . Is there some sort of camping gear that would work on fuel or something ? Even 15 minutes of light on AA batteries would be better than nothing. I have access to power outlets probably everyday for recharging. The on-camera LED units are too expensive. Anything that can be purchased for $50-75 ?
Thanks for any help.
January 16th, 2006, 08:02 AM
if to go to Lowe's hardware store, in the aisle with all the florecent light fixtures and worklights, they have these little florecent utility lights (AA batteries) and I think one is about 12inches long and then you can buy a two-pack of shorter ones, which are maybe 6inches long. They are hanging from a peg in a blister pack. You can also get an AC adaptor for them if you want. These are not really a wand in the true sense of the word but very close to it. These little lights are made for under a cabinet or above a small work area where you don't want to run power or no power available. I think the package just calls them utility lights. About 60% of the girth of the bulb is exposed making it almost like a wand or light sabre but the part that is not exposed is were you could mount if from. Found a link.
again, these are small, sturdy, and take AA batteries and should be available at the Lowes store not just the website. And they are very inexpensive!!!
January 16th, 2006, 06:30 PM
Thank you. That's what I'm looking for.
January 16th, 2006, 07:32 PM
I have never tested this idea but, what about those wind up flashlights. You know those emergency lights with the cranks? I have no idea how they burn (color wise) or how long. Just an idea. Then you would need no power.
Remember the bicycle generator on Gilligans Island? Heck, I bet most of you guys are way too young to have ever seen that.
January 17th, 2006, 07:04 PM
I'm not too young. I always wondered how the professor could invent all that neat stuff but not be able to fix the hole in the side of the S.S. Minnow.
It is amazing the neat stuff you can find at the mega-hardware stores these days.
January 17th, 2006, 10:24 PM
I always wondered how the professor could invent all that neat stuff but not be able to fix the hole in the side of the S.S. Minnow.
Because he was an engineer, not a mechanic! Similar to the relationship between architects and builders, or MBAs and skilled people, or cats and dogs. Anybody can make a radio from a potato, a lemon and a cat's whisker or razor blade, but who do you call when you've got a coconut, a candle and a bottle of wine? Mary Ann!
January 18th, 2006, 01:39 AM
If there was just one Hawaiian there, they could have build a voyaging canoe out of the local trees, nevermind using coconut glue to caulk the hole. Many civilizations have made oceangoing vessels without metal.
Hmmm, how would the ancients light without batteries....I know, use fire! A nice oil-burning lamp or two would work with my VX2000. What kind of camera are you using? One of those coleman propane lamps puts out about 200Watts orth of 3200K for many, many hours on one tank of fuel.
If you are going to be matching your camera light to fire sources (i.e. if you are camping), don't forget to bring some CTO (orange temperature balance) gel so your artifical light doesn't look so artificial.
The wind-up LED flashlights are nice flashlights, but they put out about 6500K light. They are very blue compared to most night-time light sources.
Those fluorescent wands look handy, just make sure to test that they work properly with rechargeable batteries.
January 18th, 2006, 07:39 PM
I hope that fluorescent light works for you, because the small ones I have seen really don't put out much light, but hey, maybe it will be great. But what I really want is to point you to some serious reachargeable AA batteries:
These will smoke anything from your local retail store.
Wayne Orr, SOC
January 18th, 2006, 07:56 PM
2500mAh is impressive for AA batteries. I just wish there was some sort of rechargeable cell that put out 1.5Volts.
I just thought of something. "I have access to power outlets probably everyday for recharging."
Since this trip is going to be in Kashmir, the type of power grid is in question. What do they use? Is your battery charger compatible with the power in Kashmir? I assume they have 12V in their vehicles. Can you get a charger that accepts 12V as the input? That would make you even more portable as you could charge one set in the vehicle while you are using the other.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't AA batteries in standard use just about everywhere? If so, that makes a AA-powered system seem very practical.
January 20th, 2006, 02:44 PM
by the way, the same type lights that I suggested above with a link to lowes are also available at Walmart. they are a different brand, "GE" I think, but are basically the same and are about a ($)buck($) cheaper.
Carlos E. Martinez
January 29th, 2006, 04:20 AM
You should seriously reconsider this approach of yours to the lights you will be carrying on your trip.
Those portable fluos will output less than 10w, and the most they will serve you for are eye-lights, if you know what that means. They will not fit for key or fill lights, as their output is too low.
If you have access to some AC power to recharge batteries, as you say you will, pick 50w spot light that you can feed with 12v batteries. Or something in that area.
For that budget of yours I would not go the battery way, but try to find a 36w or 55w fluo that works with hi-frequency ballasts, used for home lighting, and take that with me.
Recently I modified a made in China-made panel, that uses a single 36w U-shaped light, which is very light and outputs a great light area. I am planning putting some photos here, as this is a project I mentioned a long time ago and only recently had the chance to finish it.
You should look for a roof fixture that uses those U-shaped devices. In my country (Brazil) I found mostly 55w types, and I also modified one that uses two bulbs. It's all metal and should go on a tripod. It's comparable to a 250w incandescent but doesn't heat up.
The other one, which I bought in Argentina, uses a single bulb but is more compact and light. You can hang it from anywhere and stays cold all the time. One thing I had to provide is a different ballast, that can be powered from 110v or 220v, which is not allowed in Argentina. In Brazil I could find such a ballast and it worked perfectly.
February 6th, 2006, 03:38 PM
I'm back from my Kashmir trip. Luckily, the tents of the earthquake affectees were light with 1-2 incandescent bulbs. Thanks for all of the help.
I bought a 6" and 12" fluorescent wand from Orchard Supply and powered them with my collection of 2500 mAh rechargeable batteries. There were few power outlets available at most locations , and as luck had it, they were never available in the tents during which night interviews were held.
I thought the night would be good to show the hardship of the displaced families, but it turned out that the entire family would enter the tent and distract the subject the whole time. Thus, I just went with daytime interviews, which weren't much better as just about every little kid in the camp decided to sneak a peak into the lens of the videocamera. Though, I think I walked away with enough material to help with charitable donations in the USA.
In the end, the fluorescent wands proved useful during evening when power
was disrupted in our night lodging. As another poster mentioned, these wands output very little light. I wish there were some models that had switches to burn brighter.
Thanks for all of the help,