How much light do I need?

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uncle sticky
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How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:37 pm

Small vehicle (10 foot footprint), but we want to be seen and get that night license! How much light do we need. I know, I know, take how much you think and double it, and then add more. Any suggestions as far as cumulative wattage? Lumens? Some kind of measure I can use when ordering? Needs to be 12 volt!
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:32 pm

Not enough info....
Can you post a picture of your rig?
First consideration is usually budget, what I'd recommend depends on that.
Next is power - do you run a generator, are you running an alternator, depending on batteries, or ??
You have a lot more options if you run an inverter, allowing you to use 120VAC lights. If you use incandescent lights you can get away with a cheap "modified sine wave" inverter, you'll wanna step up to a "pure sine wave" (and more expensive) one if you use LEDs or fluorescent.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by lemur » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:34 pm

the DMV follows a strict guideline on "how much is enough?" the info is below:


"RADICAL ILLUMINATION"




(i.e. have a shitload, a lot.... a ton.. you should be able to see it from far off, even after a dust storm has put a nice layer of dust all over it)
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:45 pm

Not to be a detail freak Lemur, but I believe it takes 1.4 shitloads to achieve Radical Illumination.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:55 pm

It depends if the guano comes from British or African swallows.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Major Krash » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:22 pm

Don't rely on EL wire for your main lighting...every square inch should be visible. Under-lights are highly recommended, at least one on each side (you want the entire surface under to glow). Using translucent fabric can achieve this. If you use UV paint, be sure not to cover it with a clear-coat unless you are sure it is not a UV block type (many are). If you cannot see the entire vehicle perfectly well at night from 100 yards, you need more light. Basically, as soon as the DMV Hottie lays eyes on your vehicle, you want them saying to themselves, "WOW!"

Also, you only get one shot - do not plan on adding more lights and going back for a 2nd try (I managed to talk the DMV Lead into a 2nd chance one year, but was very lucky just before rendering the final decision 2 Struedel Girls from "Ein Hammer" appeared and fed the Lead Struedal and whip cream.

Got a photo of your vehicle so far?
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uncle sticky
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Open metal frame in a sphere with a radius of 8 feet. Black lycra cover stretched over the sphere. Thinking about doing interior lighting from inside the frame. 12 volt deep cycle battery system, since we have an atv, no alternator. Hoping not to use a gennie on the vehicle. Powered by a Honda atv 300sx three wheeler, four stroke engine.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by EspressoDude » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:44 am

black fabric.. black light reactive paint would get a lot of design possibilities with some 12volt black light neon lights
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Ole Shi Ted
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Ole Shi Ted » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:15 pm

12v 3 channel rgb rope lights from china get cheaper all the time...3-6 10ft strands run for days off a deep cycle 12v battery. The one's called "horserace" have lots of cool programmability for pulsing effects. I have also discovered the DJ laser light shows...you'd need an inverter. They run about $100. Guitar center has a wide selection. I love these because you mount them in a single point and they send a cone of dancing dots out to infinity...these "digitally map" any surface and structure they come in contact with without having to hardwire light all over your structure.. they may read well from the outside when shot from the inside. A few laser units get pretty radical pretty quick. good luck!!!

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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by BurnerBunny » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:38 pm

this is my normal burning man thought process applied to this thread:

How much light do I need for a Mutant Vehicle?

1 year out: Enough so that it can be seen from Sparks, and with at least 45 cool effects and a laser light show
6 months out: LED's controlled by a computer would be awesome, and some flood lights all powered by an online generator
2 months out: some bike lights strapped to the front would probably work
1 week out: shit I was supposed to build a lit mutant vehicle!
day 3 of the burn: time to hang some glow sticks on my bike. woohoo!

Next year I'm totally going to rock out that crazy idea though!

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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Jackass » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:46 pm

IMO the Magic 8 Ball could only be lit by blacklight on the inside and outlined on the outside with white ropelight or EL wire, maybe two strobes and more blacklight underneath for the glow effect. Interior in something that pops under blacklight, hot pink, orange or yellow, white works too. Only problem is that blacklight doesn't illuminate very well.
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uncle sticky
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:38 pm

Awesome help so far. What I've got to date is two 30-40 watt headlights (think automotive lights) two mulit-led flashers (12 leds each) two automotive halogen headlamps (60 watts). I was thinking about running two of the headlights front and back to light the way, and two inside to illuminate the inside of the sphere. The flashing leds at the base to flash under the vehicle. I've also got 6 of these LED Strip light, Waterproof LED Flexible Light Strip 12V with 300 SMD LED, 3258 Cool White. 16.4 Foot stick on strips. I'm thinking that I'll run those around the base, and then on the inside to help illuminate. Thoughts?
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by BRCDMV » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:41 am

Hi there,

First off, as always, if you have specific questions regarding the DMV and what it's looking for in terms of licensing your vehicle, please feel free to email us at dmv@burningman.com

Next, there are two fundamental requirements for mutant vehicle night illumination.

1) SAFETY
2) RADICAL ILLUMINATION

SAFETY: People need to be able to see you and you need to be able to see them. This includes front head lights and a well lit area around your tow hitch (if you have one).

RADICAL ILLUMINATION: For a vehicle to be licensed for night driving, its visual presentation should be contributing something to the event. For mutant vehicles, in most cases, this requirement is met by radical visual stimulation. The more you make people go "WOW! What an Awesome Mutant Vehicle!!!", the more likely you are to be granted a license. At night this can be accomplished in two ways:

a) The lighting itself is the "art" (such as the Death Star - http://tinyurl.com/mwjnvhg)

b) You are illuminating a well crafted mutant vehicle that is already worthy of a day license.

In either case, the lighting should be significant so that the vehicle is easily seen from all sides from some distance away (50-100 feet should be a minimum if you are eyeballing it).

You will want to ensure that your vehicle meets the above criteria for radical illumination

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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:56 pm

Look at that, an objective criteria! I think we're going to be bright. This video is with only one of the eight LED strips attached. The vehicle is the only light source in the video. Now, we'll be covering the thing with lycra, so I'm a little worried about how much the light will shine through, but it should be pretty bright!
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FIGJAM
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:55 pm

I'm just curious how well you can see out with all that light inside.

Like driving down the road at night in my truck and turning the interior light on makes it harder to see outside. :?
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uncle sticky
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:25 pm

that's definitely been a design consideration Fig, but we're thinking that the lack of glass thus no light reflection will make it work. Failing that, we'll have a whole two days to come up with a Plan B.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:16 pm

I don't know how much is the glass and how much is just light polution, like trying to see the stars when you're in the city.

I think it may be a distraction from all the attractions. :lol:
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uncle sticky
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:55 pm

Dunno. Having drive a couple of cars out there, it's a freaking nightmare of distraction no matter what. Good thing we only go 5 mph. So much happening especially at night.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:35 pm

I've ridden those Honda ATCs... I hope the thing doesn't topple during a storm! On the plus side, you'll have zero issues with playa surface conditions.
I'd also wonder a bit about driver visibility sitting inside a lighted space trying to see an unlit person lying down on the dark playa.
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uncle sticky
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:52 pm

We do have a 40 watt headlight (what your car has), so we should have good visibility. On the mitigating factors side, the thing is pretty light, so we shouldn't kill any darktards.
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Galaxo Magic » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:50 am

Use LED rope lights. For an 18' piece it is only about 4 watts compared to non-LED rope lights that are 17 watts. You can use 4 times as many LED rope lights for the same wattage.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: How much light do I need?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:10 pm

I converted all my rope light (about 200 feet) to LED because it is much more efficient, but my watt meter says about 12 watts for 18 feet.
I'm looking at the watt meter right now and I'm drawing 124 watts for 198 feet.
That's a bit over .6 watts per foot.
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