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survivalhike
09-04-2007, 07:27 PM
In the book "SAS Survival Handbook" by John Wiseman they make a reference on page 29 (just in case anyone has the book and would like to see what I read) to a "beta light." He describes it as a small light emitting crystal about the size of a small coin that is fairly expensive but almost everlasting. It's used to read maps in the dark, and provide small amounts of light. I have been trying to figure out what the heck he is talking about for about a month now. I can't find anything on the internet about it (even the mighty google has failed me) and no one I know has any idea either. I wish he wrote more about this light crystal because it seems interesting to me. I figure that if I was going to find an answer to this question anywhere it would be here. I appreciate the help.

Sarge47
09-04-2007, 08:48 PM
In the book "SAS Survival Handbook" by John Wiseman they make a reference on page 29 (just in case anyone has the book and would like to see what I read) to a "beta light." He describes it as a small light emitting crystal about the size of a small coin that is fairly expensive but almost everlasting. It's used to read maps in the dark, and provide small amounts of light. I have been trying to figure out what the heck he is talking about for about a month now. I can't find anything on the internet about it (even the mighty google has failed me) and no one I know has any idea either. I wish he wrote more about this light crystal because it seems interesting to me. I figure that if I was going to find an answer to this question anywhere it would be here. I appreciate the help.

Wal-Mart sells them, but they're really just a small light about the size of a coin with a single LED light. I have one on my Buck LED Lumana Folding knife. They're available everywhere. I own a couple of cheapies, but my best light is the Pietzle Tikka EP Headlamp.;)

survivalhike
09-04-2007, 08:53 PM
Wow, that was alot less sci-fi than I thought it was going to be. I'm kind of let down a little bit. I really thought that this was some kind of light magnifying crystal that is a rare find in nature or something. I guess I let my mind wander a bit too far on that one. Thanks for destroying all the magic of the beta light for me. LOL.

owl_girl
09-05-2007, 12:26 AM
Thatís hilarious lol

Fog_Harbor
09-05-2007, 12:35 PM
Yeah, it's an LED. I got several from the local five-and-dime for about $2.00 a piece. They come in white, blue and red mostly, but you can get other colors as well - they're just harder to find.

survivalhike
09-07-2007, 01:02 AM
Thanks guys. I didn't mean to waste a thread on that simple of a question, I just really thought there was going to be more to it than that.

Fog_Harbor
09-09-2007, 03:36 PM
Thanks guys. I didn't mean to waste a thread on that simple of a question, I just really thought there was going to be more to it than that.

No biggie, just remember; when the book was written, LED's weren't as prevalent as they are now. And for all I know, maybe that's what they call them in Great Britain.

microtron
10-18-2007, 11:39 AM
I just stumbled upon this mystery this morning myself. I think he mis-spoke when he described it as a "light emitting crystal". He was almost certainly referring to a capsule of tritium coated with phosphor inside. The 'beta light' name he uses clinches it for me. From the wikipedia entry on self-powered lighting: "In the tube, the tritium gives off a steady stream of electrons due to beta decay. These particles excite the phosphor, causing it to emit a low, steady glow. One could use any beta particle-emitting substance, but in practice tritium is preferred because it is not very hazardous."

The other thing that makes me lean toward tritium instead of a battery powered LED is the suggested use as a fishing lure!

swampyankee
10-18-2007, 07:06 PM
I believe Microtron is correct. I Googled "tritium light" and came up with several suppliers of compact tritium lights.

Merlin
10-18-2007, 09:32 PM
Well yes I would have to agree with Microtron about it being a tritium light they have to be kept in a small pouch there is no off switch and unless technology has changed I believe that they were trying to focus the light to concentrate it to make a brighter light with a longer range.... O and I know for a fact it is being used in the fishing lure industry. I am not the every week fisherman that a friend of mine is but I think he said they were trout or bass lures and little over priced that goes with the hobby I guess

zaebra
10-19-2007, 07:39 PM
All hail the mighty power of Wiki!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_light

warrigal
10-20-2007, 06:58 AM
I haven't used the Beta light that Wiseman speaks of but I did have a Small gear marker on the same princple. I have seen them marketed as "Trasers"
http://www.glowrings.com/
They don't seem that bright in the light but the darker it gets the better they seem to work.
So attached to your torch for when you need to find it when it's dark ( when else do you need your torch?) or the lanyard hole of your Knife for when you drop it. they are great for map reading I'll stick with Leds.
Carl

outallweek
11-01-2007, 02:20 PM
I have only found it in the internet and is sold in England. No local, for non-military sources.

I don't know if you can ship radioactive material to the states (Tritium)?

Flying Dog
09-30-2008, 02:40 AM
Hi Survival Hike

I stumbled across this wilderness survival forum looking for a Beta Light myself!

Wiseman is talking about one of these:

http://www.beta-light.com/

Until I get access to one, I'm sticking to an LED with a watch battery attached!

potsy2008
05-21-2010, 06:18 AM
Hi Gang,

I am a year late...

Have been searching Beta Light in ebay and Google i too came up empty handed.

After reading this forum i searched Tritium light in ebay and found numerous lights.

I assume they are the same?

I hope this lights the way.

crashdive123
05-21-2010, 06:27 AM
Hey there Potsy2008 - let me light the way to the Introduction section for you so that you can tell us a bit about yourself. http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14 Thanks.

Sarge47
05-21-2010, 08:55 AM
Yeah, good ole Survivalhike. I wonder what ever happened to him? He's the guy that started another forum back when the "Heathen Chinee Spambots" attacked, resulting in getting himself banned. Later he was allowed back in, posted a bit, & disappeared...hope he's alright! :cool2:

RichJ
05-23-2010, 12:41 AM
This thread has most of the information about "Beta Lights" correct but misses a few points.

Yes they are just small tritium lights. They have a radioactive isotope that excites phosphor and makes it glow. It is the same thing they use for pistol night sights (look those up).

They don't last forever but do last a very long time; like 10-15 years. They are about the size of a quarter and are always "on."

They were developed for the military to use as tactical lights so the enemy can't see you at any distance. They are not like a flashlight that you can see a half a mile away. Because they aren't designed to emit very much light, they aren't good for much other than reading a map or some other task right in front of your face. You can't use one like you can use a regular flashlight, that's just not what this is for. A glow stick probably puts out about 20X the light one of these things does.

The SAS book mentions them because they 1.) will fit in the smallest of kits and 2.) will store for very long periods with 100% reliability.

Justin Case
03-19-2011, 10:15 AM
Not LED at all Richj is right,


Betalight - Self illuminating unit that does not affect Night Vision
The Betalight is a self-illuminated unit with a wide range of uses is compact, robust and has an in-service life of over ten years. Illuminates without affecting night vision. No batteries are required as a glass capsule internally phosphor-coated and filled with tritium gas, activates the phosphor to emit light.
Ideal for map reading
http://www.penrithsurvival.com/penrith_survival/55/mia/pid/242045

Used in all kinds of Tactical devices,
http://www.betalight.nl/files/252gvu8ch.pdf

hunter63
03-19-2011, 10:20 AM
Well, nice that you solved this 2-1/2 year old 'cold case".........Lots of fokes not around anymore.

Justin Case
03-19-2011, 10:22 AM
Well, nice that you solved this 2-1/2 year old 'cold case".........Lots of fokes not around anymore.

LOL, yeah I know,, maybe they will get an email and come back ? :)

(i still think its cool little item ;))

randyt
03-19-2011, 10:24 AM
tritium is used in gun sights, it should be good for low light shooting.

finallyME
03-22-2011, 10:05 AM
Justin just likes to "light" up old threads. ;)

Survival Guy 10
03-22-2011, 12:30 PM
PUN intended i guess lol

tesamurray
09-20-2014, 08:58 AM
This forum won't let me post a URL link. However,go to AliExpress and search for this : Automatic-light-15-years-3mm-12mm-tritium-tube-beta-tritium-gas-lamps-Survival-emergency-light-Free.
Apparently there is a beta light that requires on energy source. You may not have imagined as much as you think. Good luck.

tesamurray
09-20-2014, 09:18 AM
I took this off of another forum and I hope you find it helpful.
I've seen a lot of interest in Tritium lights here on the CPF and have held my breath for sometime, but feel compelled to post a few things.

While I won't debate the safety issue directly (I'll leave that to someone else), I will relate a couple facts about Tritium lights just to ensure everyone is aware of them.

Fact # 1 - They leak; all Tritium lights outgas measurable levels of contamination. Even when enveloped in the finest glass or resin polymers money can buy, they still leak. Whether the resulting low level radiation is a hazard to you, or your family, is something you will have to decide for yourself. I do think it is important that you know and understand this fact, so that you can make an informed decision about ownership and usage. They leak.

Fact # 2 - In the US, Tritium is regulated by the NRC. Other than the very small Trijicon gun sights, all other Tritium lights require a license or permit to own or use. Violation of the NRC regulations can result in fines, but more importantly, may expose you to other legal liabilities. For instance, you could be held financially, or even criminally liable for any person or item contaminated by exposure to your light. Wipe tests on surfaces have detected the presence of Tritium even years after exposure.

How safe or dangerous is Tritium? I don't know. I have pursued this issue in depth in conjunction with past endeavors, and the only conclusion I've made from that research is that nobody really knows the answer to that question. Little dedicated medical research has been done on Tritium, and out of what has been done, the results are inconclusive.

Most people dismiss Tritium radiation as benign, based on it's low energy level. Statements like "it won't even penetrate a piece of paper" are often seen in reference to Tritium radiation. While very accurate and true, it does not take in to account what happens when Tritium enters the human body. Unlike other radioactive isotopes, Tritium does not concentrate in, or affect any single part of the body. Where other isotopes are bone seekers, or collect in other organs of the body that make it easy to determine the effects of exposure to a particular isotope, Tritium generally evenly distributes itself throughout the human body. This is one reason for a less than definitive answer to what the long term effects of Tritium expose can be.

Tritium is radioactive hydrogen. You cannot use a Geiger counter to detect Tritium radiation.

It also has a nasty habit of replacing the H in H2O resulting in essentially radioactive water (tritium oxide), which is a generally recognized contamination hazard. One piece of equipment I worked with in the past was an optical device with a 10 curie Tritium lamp. Typical sphere lamp, glass with phosphor coating inside, about 5/8" diameter; like a glowing marble. This device was used outside, so it also had a desiccant in it to collect moisture to keep the lenses from fogging up. Small desiccant cartridge was replaced every six months. Desiccant liquid scintillation test readings were typically in excess of 1,000,000 dpm (disintigrations per minute) after 6 months in the device with the tritium lamp. For reference, 100 dpm and below is what is still allowable for a device and be considered "clean" for the general public. Military items usually are considered "clean" for hand held use at 1000 dpm and below, and 10,000 dpm and below for other equipment.
The desiccant contamination levels were 1000 times the allowable levels. The maintenance people who changed the desiccant did it bare handed, without any knowledge of any potential contamination. Tritium is like invisible sticky glue; if you handle a contaminated item then shake hands with someone, their hand will also be contaminated. Get the idea?

Whether it's harmless or not, I won't debate, but it can be spread in measurable levels by simple physical contact.

(They do not change the desiccant that way anymore, and the devices are being upgraded to use an LED and battery in place of the Tritium lamp) (duh)

Is Tritium safe? Again, I don't have the answer, but if you own a Tritium lamp, chances are a wipe test will detect "some" level of contamination. If you want to check your glow ring or other Tritium lamp source, look for testing labs on the web that can do liquid scintillation testing. It's simple and easy to do, and should not be very expensive. You will get a bottle with some distilled water in it, and some dry filter paper. Wipe the dry filter paper all over the outside surface of the lamp and then drop into the water, seal the bottle and send back to lab. You should have results in a couple weeks.

I know I've opened the proverbial can of worms here, but my experience has shown that Tritium devices are self-contaminating, and thought I had to say something. Again, is it safe? I don't know............

hunter63
09-20-2014, 10:23 AM
This thread seems to be one of the more interesting on the forum.
Started in 2007, and many different versions and sources listed as well as a large list of one of just a few posts and moved on......

I would be interested in hearing from some of you folks that breezed thru.

Rick
09-20-2014, 12:20 PM
You cannot post a link until you have 10 posts. It's to deter spam.

It's customary when posting someone else's work that you give them credit. Not everyone will know that CPF is Candle Power Forum. Fact #2 is not a fact. In fact, it's wrong. There are plenty of examples of tritium devices in use every day and it does not require any special permits to own them. Compasses, exit signs and watches are just a few. Tritium cannot harm you unless you ingest it in some way. In fact, it cannot penetrate skin.

Lamewolf
09-20-2014, 01:34 PM
The local NAPA store here did have them for $0.99 each. They use two 3 volt coin cells to power a super bright LED. Got one in each of my kits as backups. They are also called photon lights: http://www.photonlight.com/led-flashlights/keychain-lights/?sort=bestselling

Wildthang
09-25-2014, 02:27 PM
And here I thought they were a gift to mankind from ancient aliens, what a let down!

Tokwan
09-25-2014, 08:27 PM
Beta Lites and Nitestiks are used to mark things. Campers use them to mark the tent pegs or the guylines so that one does not trip over..or at least that is what I use them for.
Beta Lites are qyuite expensive and costs about 10 times of the McNett Nitestiks.
Beta lites does not need charging as they are are self emitting and their glow in the dark lasts longer.
Nitestiks on the hand needs at least 5 to 10 minutes charging in any kinda light...and its okay to leave in the sun during the day time. The glow is not as lasting as Beta , but they seems to be doing fine for at least 8 to 10 hrs.
Costs cheap and worth it.
I have a few of them...mainly use ofr tent pegs, guy lines, trail marking to go the stream and personal toilet in the jungle at nite...and asa marker where I placed my 45 and my parang.

Savagemarine559
11-21-2014, 02:02 AM
Try typing in www.Beta-light.com
There is also a thing called a betalight magnifier map reader
or maybe type in Betalight b.v.
or www.betalight.nl

Hope this helps. Im trying to get one too. Ive seen them when i was in the Marine Corps and see em in movies too. They are really cool.

Rick
11-21-2014, 06:42 AM
Those things are pretty expensive. I have glow stick holders. You can pick them for for $5 or less, you can control the amount of light output and you can purchase a lot of glow sticks for what the Beta Torch costs.

http://www.armynavysales.com/assets/item/large/DSCN2219.JPG (http://www.armynavysales.com/assets/item/large/DSCN2219.JPG)

griss999
07-29-2015, 08:34 AM
Hi I'm ex sas & the light that was in lofty's book is a betalight torch you can buy them
for around £80 they don't take battery's & you don't charge them up they are filled with a gas & last from 10-20 years there a really good bit of kit.

I hope this helps

Steve

Sarge47
07-29-2015, 11:25 AM
One of my 1st buddies on here, Survival Hike! He was on here way back before their were any mods. Then we got hit with the "Heathen Chinee Spambots" attack and he tried starting his own survival site and got banned. After awhile I talked to Chris and he allowed him back on. He hung around for awhile but then vanished, another one of those whom we've lost touch with. I hope he's okay!....:cowboy:

JohnPombrio
12-04-2016, 10:32 PM
I have several of the Tritium "GloRings" that I managed to get sent from England and a terrific Isobrite T100 tritium watch. The Betalight is indeed a tritium based light-source that can be found by typing in betalight dot nl /en and search under outdoor tactical torch. The tritium tubes are NOT dangerous as Tritium is an alpha particle source and has practically zero radioactivity. I had my watch checked by two different radioactive readers and had the same reading as background readings.
The Glo rings are interesting as they glow for years but are quite dim, green is the best color. The T100 watch is a lot brighter and glows enough to easily read the time under dim to dark conditions and can light things up a bit once my eyes are dark adapted. Love the watch.
A great substitution for the beta light is a battery based LED "glow light" that works for year or so and then is renewed by replacing a cheap coin cell. It is called Xodus Innovations BL300 Glowing LED Key Chain FOB on Amazon. I have used 7 of them for two years now and they glow a lot more brightly than Tritium and have a bright light function. Recommended for attaching to flashlight and backpack zipper tab along with the usual key rings and car keys. They wear well and so far have stood up to getting soaking wet on numerous occasions. 2032 coin cell battery needs to be replaced every year or so.
I love little glow in the dark things.