Done Driving At Night

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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Eric » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:43 pm

Dr Helix wrote:Really appreciate all of this. I will incorporate these things in the 2014 version. Very kind of you all for the help.


Your truck was one of my favorites this year! We saw it, and had no idea it's actual size until we got close (it was night-time, of course :lol:). Loved it.

Of you want to light it, you could always go with the Japanese "light truck" version...
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Tanzremix » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:27 pm

Loved seeing the truck, one of my favorites out there. Was just so darn cool, especially with flamethrower stacks. You could always do what the Tie Fighter did and just cover the edges in LEDs, definitely no missing those guys.

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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:12 pm

Eric wrote:Your truck was one of my favorites this year! We saw it, and had no idea it's actual size until we got close (it was night-time, of course :lol:). Loved it.


Yeah, though that's a big part of the MV's charm, it's also probably a reason why people can't gauge its distance too well.

OH SHIT, IT'S RIGHT HERE! **Screeech!**

Tanzremix wrote:Loved seeing the truck, one of my favorites out there. Was just so darn cool, especially with flamethrower stacks. You could always do what the Tie Fighter did and just cover the edges in LEDs, definitely no missing those guys.


Well, what helps the Tie Fighter is that it has 1) really bright lights, 2) the structure allows you to see lights from both the front/back and both sides, effectively doubling the effect of any lighting, and 3) spokes crossing the middle of the hexagons that contribute to a larger area of light.

Notice how from the picture you can immediately tell the position, size and distance of the object. That all has to do with your ability to recognize how the shapes distort with distance and the relationship to the lighting on the ground. It also helps that the vehicle on the interior is visible, helping people gauge the true size of the object.

In Dr. Helix's truck, it's more difficult. The vehicle is a solid shape; so he can't share lights from either side. I'm not sure about the type of lights he used. If they were incandescent Christmas lights, they wouldn't be very bright, and the color of lights makes a difference as well. Also, he may have only outlined the edges of the vehicle, not had anything inside the regions of light.

The problem may not even be that the rig MV is hard to see as a blob of light, but rather it's hard to interpret the size and position of the vehicle from a distance. It would explain why people only narrowly avoid the vehicle, or may even crash into it: only up close does the person know the true size/distance of the vehicle. It's probably why deer don't know how to react to two headlights coming their way compared to if they could see the whole vehicle.

Perhaps lighting up the ground around Dr. Helix's vehicle would help in addition to filling in the side-panels. That way people can observe the location of the light with respect to the ground, rather than seeing some "floating truck" in the distance. Patterns on the panel would aid in recognizing 3D surfaces, in addition to more lighting.

Overall, I think this is a good opportunity to make the MV safer for bikers, while at the same time make MV look even cooler at night as it roams the playa.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Kenny Z » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:41 pm

Yep, driving at night is fucking nuts! Even early in the week now! I used to think it was a blast but now it feels like I am playing a video game and always on edge! The co-owner of The Dirty Sardine Can made his own vehicle this year (Swingline stapler) so I was driving much more than I wanted. Then I had a campmate drive without me aboard and heard stories about how crappy his driving was and his lack of concern. Ugh! I agree, I love daytime and people are so much more social when I pick them up, it seems. Can't wait until we hit 100k! lol :shock:
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby smittydc » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:55 pm

I gave up on Friday night - it was complete chaos. I mean I LOVE chaos and all, but I had to spend so much time dodging people I couldn't enjoy looking around or talking with my passengers. I parked it and we went out for a walk. Saturday night didn't seem as bad.

I have a 500watt halogen spotlight mounted on the front of the reindeer. It helps a LOT - both to see what's in front, and to scare people out of the way. :twisted:
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby gyre » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:18 pm

smittydc wrote:I have a 500watt halogen spotlight mounted on the front of the reindeer. It helps a LOT - both to see what's in front, and to scare people out of the way. :twisted:

500 watts! Yikes!

Ever thought of using hid?
175 or 400 watt metal halide?
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby BBadger » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:08 pm

smittydc wrote:I have a 500watt halogen spotlight mounted on the front of the reindeer. It helps a LOT - both to see what's in front, and to scare people out of the way. :twisted:


It no doubt guides that sleigh a bit better than some stupid red nose.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby atomicray » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:03 am

I own a marine tech support business and last year I rigged an aluminum boat with 32 12Vdc LED flood lights each with 4 LEDs...minimal draw, stayed fairly cool, great white light, and with three switches they could create a forward flood arc, a rear flood arc, and then the sides...it was for Texas A&M for night studies of animals and such.

I could dig up those part numbers again if anyone was interested...I bought at wholesale but the retail was not bad...retail $27 per flood.

For a MV, in particular the little semi in question, I would mount a set in the classic head light position angled 45* down to light the ground without direct eye contact with the center of the beam...a set above the cab also facing 45* down for the Hi Beam effect, when in open areas...perhaps elaborate on your passenger cart, making a framed cube (more hand holds also), mount 4 lights facing down on the upper rails of said cart with a dimmer switch...repeat the upper mounted lights on the truck body, perhaps mounting them on short 1'-2' posts for a bit of added height, to gain that reflected indirect light and thus the across the playa impact you are seeking?

$150 or so at retail, which there is no need to pay retail with the interweb available...usually even retail sources will auto discount for orders of more than 3-4...so most times, buy 4 get one free.

Best of luck and success with your plans and project!
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:03 am

Those are good suggestions, I'll add one thing: for general use the downward-facing headlights are nice for avoiding people's faces, but I recommend having some full-tilt, bright-ass lights pointed straight forward that you can turn on as needed.
I don't use those all the time but they work well to alert people ahead of you that are facing away from you - walking same direction - that something is coming up behind.

Of course whenever possible I go around people instead of trying to go through them or make them move, but they should at least know something big is coming up.
That accompanied by liberal use of OO-gah horn helps a lot.

I drive as much if not more than most in BRC at night and I don't think it's any big deal. Sure the occasional butt nugget comes along and does something stupid. I just ignore them.

Maybe it's cuz I'm used to maneuvering large crane trucks through crowded streets in default-land, I dunno, but I've never thought it was that big a deal to cruise an MV at night. That's my favorite time!
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Dr Helix » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:56 pm

So after all your suggestions, I did increase the light footprint on the truck starting with ground effects. My wife wired 150 super bright red LED's on the undercarriage, and they send out a 10-15 ft glow around the entire vehicle. Plus better headlights, and about 70 yellow/red running lights that have been relit with el-wire to save on amps. LED's also accentuate the stacks and other parts of the truck, and el-wire outlines our signage and figures. I believe we have really helped make it more visible. More details on the trailer as I finish, but it will be equally bright.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby gyre » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:36 pm

I hope you use some reflective striping too.

I've heard good things about your truck from everywhere.
Glad to hear it's working out.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby remi » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:18 am

I wasn't at the burn last year, but I heard from many people that 2013 had the most dark-wads ever. Gives me a gifting idea.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Dr Helix » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:54 am

gyre wrote:I hope you use some reflective striping too.

I've heard good things about your truck from everywhere.
Glad to hear it's working out.



Thanks for that. Much appreciated. And yes, the reflective striping is part of the process. I see it on big rigs and am always amazed how much it sends out with just a little light shone on it.
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Re: Done Driving At Night

Postby Drawingablank » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:48 am

tamarakay wrote:I drove the car one night down the back streets bar hopping, and then out around deep playa. It's nice back there and out there. The bars are really happy to see you and people have brains. I recommend this highly. I had a bunch of first timers on board and they loved it. none of them had any idea the bijou existed and we found that, found the bicycle beer bar and a few other deep playa pop ups. Was really magic.

Great suggestion, that was one of the best nights I've had on the playa - thank you TK.
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