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November 19, 2018, 05:55:31 AM
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tools of the trade  |  Topic: red flashlight for ground team
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Author Topic: red flashlight for ground team  (Read 1357 times)
Geber
Member

Posts: 68

« on: January 18, 2018, 12:57:46 PM »

Looking for recommendations for a red flashlight for ground team use. Looking at some models intended for amateur astronomers, who have pretty much the same need we have: read charts without ruining night vision. I'm considering

Orion 5755 (some reviews say it isn't bright enough, has white LED to which could be turned on by accident)

Orion 5756 (some reviewers had good results, some had leaking batteries on arrival or other problems)

Celestron 93588 (reviews suggest it is cheap, not very reliable, and changing the battery is a delicate operation)

I occasionally do some amateur astronomy, so I would have another use for it. Any comments?
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,142
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 01:42:19 PM »



Recommend you go to a home improvement/hardware store and get one of the MANY cheap, head mounted LED lights which have dual mode white/red lighting. Having a red on the head is very very useful (the ones which tilt downward are best). This should be in addition to a small but powerful lightweight hand light for area/task specific lighting and for redundancy.


At the price, (three for $15 including nine AAAs) this one isn't bad. We have a range like this and they've worked fairly well in CAP field ops. I have one that I've knocked around for years without failure.    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Energizer-Universal-Headlight-3-Pack-ENHD32E3/302565695


WMMV - you'll likely have all sorts of replies urging you to $pend, $pend, $pend.   ;)

V/r
Spam



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NC Hokie
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 913
Unit: MER-NC-057

« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 01:50:45 PM »

I just bought one of these from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012QYI22/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The black thing that looks like a nut to the left of the flashlight is rubber and holds your choice of a red, blue, or clear filter.  It also keeps the flashlight from rolling away when you lay it down.

Good quality, uses common batteries, and won't make you cry if it gets lost or broken.
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NC Hokie, Lt Col, CAP

Graduated Squadron Commander
All Around Good Guy
Pylon
Administrator

Posts: 5,132
Unit: NER-NH-038

Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2018, 09:55:02 AM »

Years of using red light at night in the field as a Marine and I'm pretty sure I've always just used whatever light was cheap/available at the MCX/PX. A red lens is a red lens.


That being said: Dual-mode lights (ones with a flip down red lens or both white and red LEDs) always seemed be the most convenient because you have one less thing in your pack or on your person (versus carrying two different light sources).
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
Blanding
Recruit

Posts: 41
Unit: MER-VA-102

« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 02:34:50 PM »

Looking for recommendations for a red flashlight for ground team use. Looking at some models intended for amateur astronomers, who have pretty much the same need we have: read charts without ruining night vision.

I recommend you find a white LED flashlight that can be dimmed to zero (or near it) for use in dark environment. Reading things under red light presents challenges because red text (like warnings or map features) can be invisible under the right light.

The military is slowly catching up[1] to what the Human Factors community realized 30+ years ago; that for the light levels we all operate in typically, dim white light is the safest and most effective. Examples of white lighting at night are everywhere - Cessna uses dimmable white LEDs for cockpit light, cars use white light for map lights, etc.

Not to mention, if you're out at night on a ground team, you'll be using bright lights to navigate anyway - there's no need to operate at maximum scotopic threshold (night vision) on a ground team because you're not trying to hide.

[1] http://everyspec.com/MIL-STD/MIL-STD-1400-1499/MIL-STD-1472G_39997/

MIL-STD-1472G:

Quote
5.5.3.1.6 Dark adaptation and night vision.
a. Night vision. When night vision is required, low-level white lighting (with the capability to dim to zero) shall be used. Where night vision imaging devices are anticipated to be used in the proximity, night vision imaging system (NVIS) green shall be used.
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,142
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 04:25:15 PM »


As a working human factors engineer who designs cockpits for NVG compatibility (among other things such as symbology and control design) you've warmed my heart, Blanding. This might be my favorite post yet in Captalk. Quoting 1472, forsooth! (I was one of the contributing authors to rev. E and up).


For those interested, he's right: there are many examples of underlying research there (a search "operational use of low level white lighting" might get many). For aircraft with canopy coatings in particular (e.g. F-22, -35), we've worked to control beam paths as much as to be careful with spectrum and total energy (canopy reflections are bad things to have in tacair platforms). So as a systems solution, once you look at the whole design, the judicious use of white buys its way into the design (e.g. white ownship and sensor symbols, white alphanumerics, etc. for emphasis items, while range rings may be in dark blue, and map underlays with dark saturated hues to provide adequate color contrast).


For CAP though, as a GBD/GTL SET type, I gotta go with the current SQTR gear check requirement which is: red lens flashlight.  Should we EVER get off the dime with an effort to update our ground team TTPs (and document them) I'd be interested in development of the topic here. Dimmable LEDs... you're really talking about a PWM (pulse width modulator) which varies the on/off pulses to stimulate the diode, creating lower levels. Not sure if there are cheap consumer market solutions out yet. So, my practical conclusion is that I stick by my original reply to the OP, for now.


Fun stuff!

Spam

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Geber
Member

Posts: 68

« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 05:25:46 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions so far. The white light comments seem to be not-to-inconsistent with what I've read, that green is a good choice because the eye is most sensitive to it, so the lowest amount of light can be used if it's green. I've also read that for red to really have a negligible effect on night vision, it would have to be so far toward the longer wavelengths that you could hardly see it.

When I read Spam's comments about pulse width modulation and cheap, the first thought that popped into my head was radio frequency interference, which we would like to avoid.
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Robborsari
Forum Regular

Posts: 173
Unit: SER-TN-128

Tennessee Wing
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2018, 05:36:46 PM »

This is the light I have settled on for just about everything.  It has a very dim moon mode that is the first setting and can be increased from there or turned off without increase.  It also has a mode that flashes the battery level.  Very handy pocket light.

https://www.banggood.com/BLF-A6-XPL-1600LM-74modes-EDC-LED-Flashlight-INR18650-30Q-Battery-p-1088818.html?rmmds=search&cur_warehouse=CN

I also have this one for red:

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/pspages/aerophcoastflash.php?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIx5j6xf7k2AIVh7fACh0xZAGeEAQYAiABEgLB7vD_BwE

It has a separate button with a different texture for the red LED.   This is my backup light now.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 05:40:05 PM by Robborsari » Logged
Maj Rob Borsari
Group 1 CC / Wing DO
SER-TN-128
Blanding
Recruit

Posts: 41
Unit: MER-VA-102

« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2018, 07:18:03 PM »


As a working human factors engineer who designs cockpits for NVG compatibility (among other things such as symbology and control design) you've warmed my heart, Blanding. This might be my favorite post yet in Captalk. Quoting 1472, forsooth! (I was one of the contributing authors to rev. E and up).


Heh - neat. I helped contribute to the bridge design section of G, but admittedly it was more of a review with my limited experience. Glad to see another HF community member around!
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