Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quest for Fire

I have built a pretty decent spotlight. It is not as awesome as the WWII tank searchlight that I recently saw a video of, but it's still pretty good.
I haven't built a battery pack for it yet (I plan to), so I decided to take it out into the yard a little while ago, and connect it to the battery on my lawn mower. I had tested it to make sure it worked, but only tonight put some long wires with battery clips on it so I could aim it and really see what it could do. Specifically, I wanted to aim it at the pond a quarter mile away, and see how well it could illuminate it. Oh yeah, it illuminated it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So I was out there at the lawn tractor, holding my 2D Maglite betwixt shoulder & jaw as I connected the battery clips (being very careful the spot wasn't pointed at my face), and I was being eaten alive by the bugs that were swarming all around the Maglite and my face. So I made the connection, the spot flickered to life, and...
No more bugs. They were gone. They weren't around the spotlight, either. My theory is that they were irresistibly drawn to the beam, and then died instantly as they arrived at their new destination. The bass part from the climax of Cygnus X-1 played in my head as I contemplated this.

The amazing thing is, it only draws 3 amps @ 12 VDC. Yep, it's HID. It is a 9" diameter, 35 watt HID pencil-beam offroad light that I got from Harbor Freight, on clearance. 20% coupon and all, I got out the door with it for only $32. Too bad they only had the one; I would have bought all they had.
I haven't named my new "flashlight" yet. When I saw the sheer energy of the light it emitted, I thought "Death Star"! But upon further reflection (no pun intended; sorry) I decided to save that name for later, as I realized that there are HID bulbs and ballasts available up to at least 1000 watts...

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