Lighting yourself-help!

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Nebula
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Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Nebula » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:43 pm

Hi!

New burner, but very well studied. I've been all over these forums and am pretty clear on what I need to do to prepare.

BUT: lighting myself is my sticking point.

I know about EL wire and LEDs and everything but here's my question: is everyone absolutely covered in lights at night? Or are the night pictures as deceiving as the day pictures (where every woman is a topless chiseled art piece)?

Making myself what is basically a tron jumpsuit would involve a LOT of wire (aka money) and time, but I don't want to be a darkwad.

So, tell me. How lit is lit enough? My bike will be lit (wheel lights with cool patterns, probably additional EL wire around the structure, and standard front and rear lights), I'll be wearing blink lit headwear, I'm looking at light up leg warmers and bras and belts and such but my coat will be covering most of my body. Should I be el-ing up my whole legs? or finding a simple way to light my coat?

Halp.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Captain Goddammit » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:51 pm

Douse with gasoline, light match.

But if you don't need to be that visible, just do what most do. A little EL wire, or a little LED blinky light or two is fine.
The vast majority are not lit up like a Vegas sign.
The point is just to be seen at all by passing Mutant Vehicles or bicycles.
About the same as you might do out walking or riding a bike on the side of a street at night at home.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby bluemiragemi » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:02 pm

I'm also a birgin this year and I went this route:

1. Bought 10 pieces of 3 foot EL wire ($15 total) and sewed it onto a thrift store vest and jacket, with fishing wire, put the battery packs into the pockets and/or made pockets.
2. Bought LED bracelets ($5) to put on my wrists at night.
3. Bought LED flowers to put on my bike ($20).
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:03 pm

If it's stressing you out, keep it simple. I just take a battery-powered string of LED lights and sort of drape it around my person, plus headlamp. The key for me is making sure I can be seen from all sides with minimal fuss.

I also tote along an extra flashlight or three in case a light goes out, or for when I inevitably come across somebody who's got no lights on at all.
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Token
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Token » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:13 pm

The lights you see serious bicyclists use on their backs, helmets and whatnot are a good bet. They are durable and do a great job.

Get some from a real cycle shop for best results, not the cheap "breaks in two days" Wallfart knock-offs.

Having a blinky light pointing forward as well as behind is recommended.

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Riv
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Riv » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:15 pm

Yeah, something simple is fine, the bare minimum is "don't get run over". Brighter is better!

If you're at all interested in going beyond the bare minimum: you'll find that a distinctive-looking piece of glow will help your friends find you when travelling together at night. Getting split up in the chaos will probably happen at least once regardless, but if you can be picked out of a crowd from 20 feet away or more in the dark, you can at least attempt to stick together :) Doesn't have to be elaborate--a string of those fairy lights illuminating the pattern on a shawl that's around your neck could do it, or two different colors of EL wire worn over each shoulder like bandoliers making an X, or a hat with a flashing fiber optic glowby stuck (securely!) in the brim would all do the job. Maybe look into pinning some fairy lights around the collar of your coat.

You can light your bike with a similar strategy--how will you tell your bike from all the other twisted metal blinky glowy masses in the huge tangle of bikes left on the ground? Again, it's not that it needs to be fancy (though by all means go for it if you're inspired), it's just really helpful if your bike's glow is recognizable to you in some way (like leaving your flashing lights on a pattern you'll remember, or wrapping it in a combination of three different colors of light, or even putting some retroreflective stickers or tape that will shine back at you when you shine a flashlight or headlamp at the pile).

Hope that helps!

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Jovankat » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:06 pm

Nebula wrote:I know about EL wire and LEDs and everything but here's my question: is everyone absolutely covered in lights at night? Or are the night pictures as deceiving as the day pictures (where every woman is a topless chiseled art piece)?


Yup, there's a very similar amount of selection bias towards the most photogenic people being the ones who are photographed.

So many people just haphazardly wrap some EL wire around their bike and have a couple of blinkies hanging off them.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Monkeystyle » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:56 pm

i bought an old fur coat at an estate sale... it now has 120 cool white LED lights in it.... i think i need more still...

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby tatonka » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:01 pm

[media]
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Eric » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:11 pm

Most nights the only lights I have on my person are strands of the copper-wire fairy lights woven through my hat-bands. They're above the brim so I don't have to look at them, they're definitely bright enough to be seen.

IMG_0795.JPG

Old, decent quality top-hat that had been to the playa too many times to be used in the city. I've added lace to the outside, glued the battery case for the LEDs to the top of the hat inside (it made a lump on the outside). Slit a hole in the back of the hat to pass the LEDs through, then wrapped them around multi-tone fabric (silver, white, off-white) that I braided into a hat-band. Some of the hat-band hangs of the back of the hat & makes a Victorian-mourner sort of look.

I've done variations of this on 3 hats so far, I'll probably do a few more.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby gaminwench » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:26 pm

I'm with Eric on this, I light up my hat(s) and not much more.

As the sun sets, I also put on my 'night necklace', a Mardi Gras type long strand of beads with a micro flashlight attached. This is handy in the portos, and for lighting the ground around me; just turn it on and let it swing.

That and a hat, done. :D
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Elorrum » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Yes, I'm with the hats with lights. It doesn't affect what you see, and you get seen from all sides.
Don't stress about having to make a great piece of el-wire light outfit. If you feel like making it as art, by all means, do so. But don't feel it's a necessity. Lights can be fun, and wearable art, but for basic safety, you don't need to go that far.

in a pinch, a little flashlight off your belt, or pants pocket that gives a circle of light on the ground is a good way to be seen. As it swings about a bit, the circle moves, and is very visable. I buy a bunch of these, change the white bulbs out for slow changing colored ones, put them on a key ring with a safety pin, and give them out as shwag. They have a momentary push switch, and a little slide switch for keeping them on. I usually have a few around my neck, or pinned to my clothes at night.
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I also have a water bottle lid that lights up, and I usually carry this around as my water supply at night as well.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Fan C » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:44 pm

I too am of the bright hat frame of mind. Mine is remarkably similar to Eric's, just pink hat with red led's. When our camp went out together my head was the rally point.

I also found the head lamp around the neck pointing down in front lit up most of my front and the ground in front of me while being less annoying to others around me.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby FossaFerox » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:42 am

I'm also a fan of adding LEDs to hats, particularly since it means your lights work with almost any outfit. I'm also a giant hypocrite, though, because I wear the same hooded vest every night and it prevents me from wearing a hat, so I get creative.

Belts, bracelets, backpack (though I don't carry it at night anymore) and if I have time to rig it this year my gear holster (like a regular holster only it holds a liter of water against my leg in place of something dumb like a gun).

Just make sure you have something bright visible from any angle and you're fine.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby VultureChow » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:00 pm

There are more... permanent methods.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby susieclue » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:16 pm

And don't forget extra batteries! LOTS of extra batteries.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:30 pm

A simple yet highly versatile method of personal lighting is to make several loops in a 10 foot piece of EL wire and fasten with tape or a zip tie. Put the battery pack in a pocket and drop the loop over your head for 360 degree illumination.

A major advantage is that this works with every outfit you bring.

Although I have 20 feet of EL wire on my playa coat, when it is too warm to wear it I use this method.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Goodwolfe » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:50 pm

Just got some RTGS micro LEDs that are pretty cheap for the brightness they put off. This one is $12 and has 20 feet of lights (60 micro LEDs) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J444DMY/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Takes 6 AAs and is supposed to have like 48 hrs of continuous light. Not sure if it will do that on the playa, but the wire it is on can be bent, so easy to add to costumes! Haven't put mine on anything yet, but working on what I want to do with it.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:18 pm

Goodwolfe wrote:Just got some RTGS micro LEDs that are pretty cheap for the brightness they put off. Not sure if it will do that on the playa, but the wire it is on can be bent, so easy to add to costumes! Haven't put mine on anything yet, but working on what I want to do with it.


I use the 10' version of that for my hatbands- it's fucking bright (and does great on the playa). That battery pack looks like a bitch to carry though - 6 AA batteries, plus the bulk of the case? Make sure you have pockets that will fit it comfortably.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby FlyingMonkey » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:02 pm

If you can solder a few wires together, I have been using sideglow fiber optic cable & really like the results. light shines out the ends like normal fiber optics but also glows from the sides as well. EL looks kind of haphazard & cheap sometimes (IMHO) but sideglow fiber has more of a neon glow to it & is more rigid so it holds its shape better. Of course that too is a disadvantage of fiber because it only bends so far before it breaks but you can really abuse EL wire. I made a 10' fiber optic whip with 3 bright LEDs somewhat cheaply. I didn't realize it until our regional but if I gather all the fibers at the end it doubles as a flashlight. Not very bright, but enough to find your way home in the dark. I just solder the LEDs to a battery pack, hold them tightly against the fiber ends & keep it all together with heat shrink. It worked a lot better than I had anticipated since I thought that I would need to hot glue everything together. I will admit that EL wire is usually brighter but nothing says you can't experiment with both.

If you want to get really fancy you can use RGB LEDs & make any color you want which is something EL wire cannot do. It comes in really thin to thick 10mm cables. If I have time I will post a pic or two.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Goodwolfe » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:03 pm

Eric wrote:
Goodwolfe wrote:Just got some RTGS micro LEDs that are pretty cheap for the brightness they put off. Not sure if it will do that on the playa, but the wire it is on can be bent, so easy to add to costumes! Haven't put mine on anything yet, but working on what I want to do with it.


I use the 10' version of that for my hatbands- it's fucking bright (and does great on the playa). That battery pack looks like a bitch to carry though - 6 AA batteries, plus the bulk of the case? Make sure you have pockets that will fit it comfortably.


Yeah, definitely different sizes available, I think there are 7 ft versions at like $5 or $6 bucks, but the 20 ft one might be useful for tents or bikes or whatever. I think I'm going to try to get a coat or some fur object to glow pretty brightly, but not looking forward to lugging the little battery box around.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:06 pm

I'm in the process now of trying something new for personal lighting. I'm a little worried I might ruin an essential piece of gear, so I'm testing out the separate "elements" of the idea right now and I'll show off the results if everything works out.

My basic goal is to find a way to better defuse LEDs. I love the LOOK of EL wire, but hate the noise of the inverter, how much power they chew through, and how much they tend to break (usually because of cheap inverters). I love the reliability and comparatively low power consumption of LEDs, but hate how bright the individual lights are and how you lose a lot of creativity with the ability to shape the light.

With that in mind, I set out to find a good way to diffuse the light from LED fairy lights as evenly as possible over a larger area, preferably with an arbitrary shape. I think I found my answer. Silicone aquarium adhesive.

It's translucent and initial testing shows it scattering the light remarkably evenly. It should be flexible, UV resistant, and further protect the LED/fairy light wiring. And it should stick to the ballistic nylon of my water holster. Stay tuned for the results, though if anyone knows any other good ways to diffuse the light I'd love to hear them.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:39 pm

Every time I see this thread I think it's about lighting your self-help.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Eric » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:52 pm

FossaFerox wrote:though if anyone knows any other good ways to diffuse the light I'd love to hear them.


Have you tried translucent tubing? Comes in a variety of colors, and you can slit it to make it easier to put the LEDs inside. Downside: that same slit is going to make bending the tubing harder.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:03 pm

I did actually try silicone tubing and the effect wasn't bad. To get appreciable diffusion, though, you need a pretty thick wall which means a pretty big outer diameter. At that point (at least with the tubing I had) it's more like you're wearing a glowing rope and less like a line or shape of light. It's cumbersome and obtrusive. I have high hopes for the silicone gel, though.

With the initial silicone adhesive test I can shape it for about 5 minutes and the light evenly lights pretty much every bit of it, even around turns and corners. The shape I'm actually going for on my holster is pretty simple by comparison to the test piece so it should work well, I just need the other test patch to dry to make sure it will adhere to the nylon. (One test patch was for lighting effects, one was for adhesion/flexibility).

If all goes well I'll make the thing tonight and have pictures tomorrow.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby tink2011 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:40 pm

FossaFerox! What happened with your silicone aquarium adhesive? I'm looking for something to attach the copper 12 volt fairy lights to my mutant vehicle. Did you use the adhesive down the entire piece of wire to attach it to your holster and at the same time make the light scatter? How did it work on the playa? I am attaching mine to a paper mache alien head thats been sealed with Spar Urethane. In years past I've used EL for this, but want to try the fairy lights this year, already ordered them. ANY RESPONSE WOULD BE GREAT!!!
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby gaminwench » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:57 pm

Alice, you might try a PM to Fossa, he hasn't been 'round these parts lately.
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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby maladroit » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:41 am

I want to piggyback a heads-up on this post; since last year, Adafruit has addressable pixel strips (they call them DotStar) with warm white and cool white options. The white light you get from a white LED is so much more satisfying than trying to get white from an RGB LED, so if you're into cleaner/purer lighting effects this might be the ticket. Think old-timey Vegas incandescent marquee style rather than rainbow-disco-glitz.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Shoeshine » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:19 pm

Might be the nautical geek in me showing up, but I have a "running lights" belt that can be put around whatever else I choose (or choose not) to wear.

Red LED - right hip, Green LED - left hip, pointed about 60deg down so they illuminate the ground. white LED panel on the buckle like a headlamp. Orange diffuse on the back.

Doesn't get in my eyes and the added bonus of being able to tell the direction I am moving for those in the know.

The other key element is an easily accessible switch so as to be able to turn it off in polite company. Don't want to be a party barge when I walk into a low light chill space.

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Re: Lighting yourself-help!

Postby Molotov » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:52 am

Shoeshine, do you have to blow one or two horn blasts to pass a pedestrian on the playa starboard to starboard?


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