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Maxablaster: The homemade 52 million candlepower flashlight. Answered

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A homemade 52 million candlepower flashlight. So that's what engineers get up to in their spare time.

The article says 38, but apparently Ralf has already upgraded to 52 with his newer setup.

The 45-year-old Dutch optics engineer has been building his own lights since he was eight, but his recent 38-million-candlepower creation, the Maxablaster, is more like a miniature star. To start, Ottow stripped out the innards of a powerful commercial flashlight and switched in a mercury arc bulb, which generates light by creating an ultra-hot plasma between two closely spaced electrodes inside the gas-filled central chamber of the lamp. That results in a brighter, more focused beam but also kicks out more ultraviolet light (hence the sunburn, a product of early testing). So he added a specially coated reflector and designed, ground, and coated a new glass window that would trap UV rays while still pumping out light.

Powered by a pack of 54 batteries, the Maxablaster can put a bright spot of light on a cloud four miles high and illuminate a house from just as far. But Ottow doesn't use it to spook his neighbors. It's not a torch you'd walk your dog with," he says. "It would probably cook your dog."

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36 Replies

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Dr.Paj (author)2008-02-04

Is "candlepower" another way to say lumen?

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tejasr (author)Dr.Paj2016-01-01

No candlepower is related to candela. Lumens is a measure of output while candle power or candela, is a measure of intensity. See this wikipedia article, here - Candle Power

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user

Sorry about that, next time I will put a warning on my post: Warning: technical GEEK info.....take slowly or in pieces to avoid any damage ;-)

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user

so, do we need to do a lobotomy in order to remove the damaged areas? I have a DIY book on brain surgery I could use... ;-|)

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user

If you have to squint to look at it, it's pretty darn bright.

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gyromild (author)Goodhart2008-02-05

Is candlepower still widely used in the US, instead of candela?

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Goodhart (author)gyromild2008-02-05

I am not sure of which is used more often. I do know that candela is sometimes still called by the old name candle, as in foot-candle which has now become a more modern definition of candlepower, so the candela is supposed to have a luminous intensity of an emission of monochromatic radiation (frequency = 540 x 1012 Hz). That works out to 1/683 watt per steradian.

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caitlinsdad (author)2008-11-30

I think there may be some laws against even pointing something like that in the sky. It would be a menance to aviation. SWAT teams have descended on people fooling around with low-power lasers that have blinded airplane pilots in operation. The FAA is pretty serious about that.

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tejasr (author)caitlinsdad2011-02-26

Yes. I too feel the same way. Sometimes it can blind pilots. AM i right..? But using it against terrorists and pirates will be legal like pepper sprays and teasers...

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user

Emm, I have a project, which may infringe on such thing, any guesses how serious it'd be were I to not cause any problems but use a device such as this in airspace... There is reason for the vagueness... If I can't find the stuff I'll have a hunt in the old manuals and junk kicking about...

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user

You mean you have a 60 million candlepower zippo that can fit in your pocket and utterly windproof?

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n8man (author)caitlinsdad2008-11-30

That is why when you play with lasers of that sort you look for planes and then point it in open spaces where there are none.

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dutchindc (author)2009-04-08

This would be a great "tool" against Somali pirates. I wonder what 3 or more of these could do if they aim at a speedboat 400 yards away. Of course remove any UV coating first... Add a sonic weapon and the 400 miles back to shore will be a challenge for those criminals.

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tejasr (author)dutchindc2011-02-26

Good suggestion there. In fact pointing together 3 of those spotlights onto the rubber crafts will be enough to damage it and make them incapable to approaching the vehicle right..?

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tejasr (author)2011-02-26

WOW. 52 million candle power? I just blogged about this on millioncandlepower.com Check it out.

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Brennn10 (author)2008-02-04

I remember reading this in PopSci. It looks amazing, but if it gets into the wrong hands it can get pretty dangerous.

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lewmeister (author)Brennn102008-04-10

ya gotta point there captain, but so can a pack of jello

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guyfrom7up (author)Brennn102008-02-04

yeah, key operated, I mean getting sunburn from a flashlight is crazy

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wespau04 (author)2008-03-28

Email: wespau04@coundoncourt.coventry.sch.uk

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wespau04 (author)2008-03-28

I was Wondering if the 52 million Candle Power Torch can be purchused, if so where and if not when?

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Labot2001 (author)2008-02-07

*i posted [https://www.instructables.com/forum/If-you-need-an-idea-for-an-Instructable.../ something similar] a few days ago...*

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westfw (author)Labot20012008-02-07

Ah. THATS where my previous reply was. I feel a bit better now.

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S1L3N7 SWAT (author)2008-02-04

LOL Looks like he's holding a big ass light saber.

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wolfy02 (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2008-02-08

thats why i came to check it out! HAHA

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killerjackalope (author)2008-02-08

The most distrubing bit is that a guy called killerjackalope has all the main components of this torch scattered about the house, except the specially designed reflector, thankfully he's far more interested in his home-made plasma cutter, which ultimately may be no use except as a flash light of doom... this may well be something for me to try If I get my hands on the right glass otherwise I'll stick to the safer metal destroying apparatus...

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cprocjr (author)2008-02-07

i have a 2o million candle power flashlight.

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Vendigroth (author)2008-02-07

52000000!!?!?? That's over nine thousand!

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flyingfox2546 (author)2008-02-06

LOL you could probably start a fire with that pretty easily.... just imagine what having a magnifying glass infront of that beast would be like

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westfw (author)2008-02-04