Saturday, November 26, 2016

So I Bought A Carbide Lamp

Carbide lamp in action.

I have one of these Petromax lamps, I bought it because I FELT a survivalist SHOULD have one.

Oh, don`t get me wrong! Petromax lanterns are great! They are highly effective, give off a lot of light and heat (I even bought an adapter so I could cook meals on top of the lamp, and it works quite well!) and are a testimony for German engineering skills. 

Exactly therein lies the problem: German engineers expect you to adapt to technology even though it is counter intuitive.

My Petromax lamp: Brialliant but over complicated

And: High pressure petroleum lamps are a high maintenance affair: You need special oil (with a shelf life as long as a banana lying next to an apple!), "glow socks" (a gas mantle in which pressurized petroleum is injected in vapor form) and spare not get me started on spare parts!

So I wanted something simple and easy...or handle. And came to think of carbide lamps.

Getting your hands on to carbide lamps in Poland is simple: Poland is/was coal country and plenty of old miners carbide lamps are in circulation.
However, I found this model which is still in production in Japan :-)

Here is is in all its glory! My FUJI carbide lamp.

The two gas nozzles. From here acetylene gas escapes at high pressure.

The magic stuff: Calcium Carbide is cheap as dirt and is sold in most
building markets. One of the advantages the carbide lamp has over a
petroleum lamp is that carbide will be widely available even AFTER a
SHTF scenario....and that it can be stored indefinitely.

1 kg of carbide cost around 5 Euro.

This small amount of carbide will be enough for 30 minutes of light/heat.

This is the water tank with regulator valve: Calcium Carbide reacts with
water and gives off highly flammable acetylene gas.

Water dripping from the tank and the exit
(for the gas) leading to the nozzles

The carbide reacts with the water immediately and produces gas.
(You can hear a hissing sound when the reaction starts)

"That`s all very well!" you`d say "but can that thing make coffee?!"

Let`s find out!

I think I can answer that question with YES :-)

The lamp gives a very bright light.


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