Feb 7, 2008 at 10:18 am #1227172
Am I the only one to take a candle lantern once in a while?
They are great in a lean-to or shelter, just hang it up and everyone can see. And you can even write in your journal on a picnic table with one.
I have two types:
1) an old French model from the 1960's that takes a thicker candle than you can find in the US. I melt some wax in a pot and dip standard candles repeatedly until they are thick enough. This one works but must be hung up, Thus if I take one it usually is:
2) The standard pull-apart model that takes the really thick candle. This one is a bit heavier than the French version, but stands up by itself, gives off lots of light, has good wind protection, and gives off lots of light.
Ok, these are not UL items, but once in a while they are useful. Not sure of their weight, perhaps a few oz, but not much per person when there are five people. And if we don't bring tarps because we plan to stay in shelters it's a no-brainer.Feb 7, 2008 at 10:30 am #1419546
It doesn't give the benefit of heat, but I got one of these for Xmas and took it on a winter trip… It's pretty darn bright:
3.8oz isn't too bad IMO. it works as a flashlight or a lantern and has a built in hook which works great from a ridgeline or nail.
I have considered a candle for use huddled under a poncho for emergency heat/cooking in day trips when I don't have a full kit with me. then again, I usually take virtually my whole kit on day trips unless it's really warm.Feb 7, 2008 at 11:22 am #1419556
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
On 'group' trips I usually take an oil storm lantern. Very stable, packs down small and can also be hung. Weighs around 200g full, and burns for over 12 hours with a cheery glow that you just can't get from LEDs. There's also something mesmerising about watching the flame flicker. Have to be careful not to hang it too close to meltable fabrics though, as the lid of this sucker gets HOT.Feb 7, 2008 at 11:46 am #1419563
Jaiden's comment made me wonder if there is an LED lantern available that takes a lithium D-cell (i.e. LiSO2 or lithium sulfer-dioxide…I believe LED current draws are too much for the higher energy density lithium cells).
Such a lantern might have a trememdous lifetime, and might have multiple LED's. The REI LED lantern battery lasts 22 hours if I recall. The thick candles supposedly last 10 or more hours, but they only weigh 1-2 oz.
Never considered oil lanterns…interesting idea…Feb 7, 2008 at 11:56 am #1419565
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Yeah, my oil lantern is a funky little unit. The base (the bit that holds the oil) is a super light polycarbonate, screw-top bottle. The wick sticks out the top, and there is an additional cap to use during transport so the oil doesn't leak. The heaviest part is the glass mantle (46g), and the tripod legs plus chain to hang (another ~50g). If I know I'm staying in a hut I leave these at home and just take the base unit at ~80g full up. There is also a protective carry case but I rarely carry it.
The thing that I prefer about this setup (compared to candle versions) is that there is never any leftover half-candles to deal with. But there is always a theortical risk the lantern could leak smelly greasy oil all over you pack. Touch wood, it hasn't happened yet…Feb 7, 2008 at 12:46 pm #1419574
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
In 1968 I bought one of the French candle lanterns. In those days I used it all the time. The best thing about it was that that thick candle burned for hours and hours. It produced enough heat that there was very little, if any, condensation in my old Camp Trails, single wall, tent. It is made of very soft aluminum and I have to be very careful not to bend it. I still have the lantern and use it when the power goes out.Feb 7, 2008 at 12:59 pm #1419575
That reminds me, I used to carry the French lantern winter camping. I made a semi-hermetic seal around the front of my double A-frame tent with snow blocks and the tent fly, and hung the lantern from the guy line. Then I could open the tent door up and cook in the little enclosed snow-floored alcove.
The lantern and especially the stove generated enough heat to take the bite off the air in the tent (had to be careful about ventilation, of course). With down booties on it was even cozy in there!
I find the French lantern light but very flimsy. The modern ones are tougher but heavier. I haven't taken the French lantern in quite a while, but maybe I should…Feb 7, 2008 at 9:01 pm #1419659
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I use my converted candle lantern (it has a Candoil lamp oil insert and runs for 6 hours per filling).
In my 3 man dome tent it keeps the temp way up (maybe 15 F above normal.even on -5 F snowing and blowing nights.
BTW: Ever notice how much warmer a cold tent is in the morning than the outside air? Amazing.
EricFeb 8, 2008 at 12:36 am #1419672
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
I recently read a comment from a tarp camper who felt that using a candle lantern hanging a few inches below the ridgeline not only keeps his shelter much warmer, but the dry heat prevents condensation buildup. If this is true, it could be an excellent way to prevent the infamous single-wall shelter condensation issue. I think you can find UL candle lanterns around the 2oz range.
Personally, I wouldn't sleep well knowing a bucket of melted wax is hovering above my head while winds whip the tarp around.Feb 8, 2008 at 12:58 am #1419674
> I believe LED current draws are too much for the higher energy density lithium cells).
This depends entirely on what sort of LED you are using. I use one or two of the standard 5 mm Nichia white LEDS in my headlamps, and the nominal current for them is 20 milliamps. An AA lithium cell will supply that amount of current for … 40 hours I think.
On the other hand, if you are talking about one of the 1 watt or 3 watt white LEDS, designed to light the entire campsite and beyond, then they will drain an AA cell much faster.
CheersFeb 8, 2008 at 9:42 am #1419708
My understanding is although LiSO2 can handle high current draws, such as 20 mA and even much more, the higher capacity Li-SOCl2 and LiMnO2 (and similar) have maximum current draws less than 5 mA. The latter (in D cell size) I recall can have double the capacity of the LiSO2, but unfortunately cannot be used with existing high-brightness LED's.
My info is proably a few years old, so things may have changed.
Later…I am out of date. A quick web search shows Li-SOCl2 C cells handling up to 200 mA continuous draw, not the few mA I remember. I'm not sure if the full energy content is delivered at high current, though. If they can handle 200 mA continuous the they probably deliver full capacity at 20 mA.
Time to do some web research on Li primary batteries in C and D size again…Feb 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm #1419744
> Time to do some web research on Li primary batteries in C and D size again…
Good question, but…
I love the e2 lithiums in the AA size: expensive up front but very light and cheaper in the long run. But I don't think Eveready have bothered to make them in the C and D sizes, and I am not sure they are needed. The capacity of the AA is huge.
You can get PDFs for the Lithiums and the alkalines from Eveready.Feb 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm #1419747
Yes, the AA's have come quite a long way. They are 1.5 V, and the LiSO2, Li-SOCl2, etc. are 3.4 – 3.6 V. Not sure why, though.
I was thinking of an LED lantern, single Li D cell, reasonably bright, might last weeks or months on a single cell. And the cells are pretty light, too.
But maybe the AA's are the way to go these days…Feb 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm #1419848
Just weighed my two candle lanterns:
Modern lantern (mine is Early Winters brand) 5.2 oz (heavier than I had thought). Candle 1.6 oz. Manufacturer claims 9 hours per candle.
French lantern 4.3 oz. Candle about 0.8 oz (I don't have an unused one to weigh). I guess about 4-5 hours per candle, not sure.Feb 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm #1419852
The e2 AA Lithiums have a different chemistry from the other Lithiums. Eveready spent a lot of R&D to get a Lithium chemistry which would give about the same voltage as the alkalines, for obvious marketing reasons. Bless them for that!
Have you thought of buying a 5 mm 20 mA white LED and stringing it up with 3 e2 AAs? solder together with one little switch – Tandy or similar maybe. Be very quick with the soldering to avoid damage to the cells. Maybe stick a small resistor in series to limit current in the early days. Should last for … a very long time.Feb 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm #1419858
I seem to recall that LED's work best with a steady voltage, somewhere above 1.5 volts, and that current limiting is important. But introducing a current limiting resistor wastes power due to heat generation.
I figure a real current/voltage regulator circuit is needed to get optimum performance. I assume the better LED lights have them. I looked into this a long time ago when there were precious few LED lights on the market, but recall little.
Perhaps with the latest LED's and Li batteries it doesn't make much difference, and a simple circuit will suffice.
Yes, the e2's are lithium iron disulphide (LiFeS2 I think), and of course 1.5V was the holy grail of Lithium battery technology. Many thanks to Eveready for this fantastic development!Feb 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm #1419879
From time to time, especially for long winter nights, I use a MiniBullDesign Waterlite.Feb 9, 2008 at 7:42 pm #1419903
> I seem to recall that LED's work best with a steady voltage, somewhere above 1.5 volts,
Nope. They work very well with a pulsed supply. For instance, the Photon Rex uses a pulsed supply to get variable intensity.
> and that current limiting is important. But introducing a current limiting resistor wastes power due to heat generation.
Current limiting IS important, because the devices are highly non-linear. But that does not mean a LOT of waste heat. The voltage across a typical white LED is about 3.6 volts. A small fraction of a volt dropped across a resistor can mean the difference between a bright flash and a long life.
Be careful about believing the marketing pitch on most LED lights. Their electronic control is often nothing more than an active voltage-dropping current limiter. The word 'control' gets stretched slightly here.
Mind you, the LED headlights I make for myself use a genuine current-limited switched-mode power supply, and run off a single 1.5 V e2 cell. So a bit of electronics can be good.Feb 11, 2008 at 10:13 am #1420129
Yes, I mis-spoke (mis-wrote?)…unlike incandescant bulbs, my understanding is that LED's need a minimum voltage drop to shine at all (band-gaps or something like that). I understood you need a battery voltage well above this voltage (since batteries fade), that pulsing was a common intensity control mechanism, and that current regulation was essential.
I had also heard that the most efficient setup was to use a regulator to keep the voltage from varying much, not sure why, perhaps just to keep intensity constant. Also, the smaller the resistive component in whole setup, including in the current limiting bit, the better, to avoid waste heat.
Do you have any of your circuits posted? I want to modify some of my old headlamps to take LED's…
P.S. Check out the SAFT web site…there are all kinds of Li batteries there (except LiFeS2, the Eveready formulation), not all easily available, with all kinds of energy storage densities, maximum currents, tempature characteristics, etc. I think some of them are superior in terms of joules/kg than the Eveready batteries at low current draw and perhaps at cold temperatures.Feb 11, 2008 at 5:34 pm #1420202
@jasonklassLocale: Parker, CO
I few years ago I had a standard UCO candle lantern and got rid of it because it was on the heavy side. I replaced it with one of these: http://www.rei.com/product/611181
It's advertised as being able to use "standard" tea lights but I found that the one it came with is slightly smaller than the ones in the bag of 100 that I got at Big Lots. It doesn't stay in the holder when stowed and rattles around. Pretty dissapointing. :(Feb 12, 2008 at 7:56 am #1420273
JK – So, did the Big Lots candles not fit at all? You mentioned the ones it came with rattles around inside…
PS – I believe that one is also produced by UCO. Or, I should say I know UCO makes a similar one.
PPS – I've been planning on using a SP Mesh Globe as a tea-candle "lantern" (more of a windbreak really). Obviously I would not use this in a tent…Feb 12, 2008 at 8:35 am #1420283
this is not only alcohol stove but tab candle lantern.
small & light.
"chou karu" it means ultralight.
He is a famous Japanese producer of the stove.Feb 12, 2008 at 9:32 am #1420292
This link is great. I like the idea of the tea candle and stove design.
The pictures on alcanstove.exblog.jp are not only helpful but also indicate that there are other options for going UL
As well we learn some JapaneseFeb 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm #1420382
@jasonklassLocale: Parker, CO
They work (but are not dripless like the ones sold for $2.25 at REI for only 6). The thing is, the candle falls out of the metal casing because they're really cheap. You can actually bend the rim in a bit to secure the wax but that still doesn't solve the problem of the wax turning to liquid and potentially spilling. Maybe if you're committed to candle lanterns and don't mind paying more, this one is worth it. I guess I was just trying to eat my cake and have it too by having an endless supply of candles for $2! Oh well…Feb 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm #1420416
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
I haven't used a candle lantern for years, not since I moved to the PNW where winters are warm. But when I lived in Montana it was a wintertime staple. It's amazing how one tiny flame can warm up a tent! I just went through my footlocker of odds and ends and found my Early Winters spring loaded, telescoping lantern, and my favorite, the Linden midget lantern that I got from REI back in the 60s. The price tag is still on the box: $3.45. It uses tea candles and weighs 90gm total & is not quite 4" tall. Somewhere I have a French folding lantern that springs open into a rectangular box and has mica panes and is about the same as the EW in weight.
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