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A Survey of Water Hazards and Water Treatment Methods - Part 6: Ultra-Violet Light Methods
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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
A Survey of Water Hazards and Water Treatment Methods - Part 6: Ultra-Violet Light Methods on 08/28/2012 21:41:09 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

A Survey of Water Hazards and Water Treatment Methods - Part 6: Ultra-Violet Light Methods

Steven Scates MD
(scatesmd) - MLife
is all the water treated? on 08/29/2012 11:01:57 MDT Print View

One advantage of the chemical methods is that you can leak a bit of the treated water into the threads of the container before tightening so the water there is also treated. I noted on the Ultralight Training course water treatment video that Ryan treats the water with a Steripen in a pot and then consumes it. Is the water along the sides and edges being treated adequately if the pot is dipped and then treated with UV? I can imagine some of the water along the edges still contains viable organisms that could ultimately result in illness. Is there any evidence this is more than my hypothetical issue? Is there a method that can take care of the margins?

Thanks, steve

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
AquaStar on 08/29/2012 13:19:08 MDT Print View

I've been using the AquaStar quite happily for the past five years. I do carry, as Roger suggests, an extra set of CR123 batteries for it. I usually don't need them, but take them anyway. On my first trip with it my hiking partner was concerned enough to go out and buy a pump-type filter which he stashed in his pack. I didn't know he had it until we got back to the car and he pulled it out and sheepishly showed it to me. As anyone who uses UV to treat their water knows, it's really nice to be able to knock out a liter of water every two minutes (including filling and emptying time) when you need to replenish. It also makes it really easy to tank up because you can drink a liter while you're at the source quite readily.

I also used the, apparently now unavailable, mUV. I had one of the original mUV units with the leads that connected to a battery (I carried a C-cell) to recharge it in the field. I clumsily dropped it onto the wood deck of an AT shelter and the filament in the bulb broke. I contacted Meridian Designs about it and they sent me (at no charge) one of their new mUV models which uses a USB connector to recharge. That has worked really well for me - I found a small solar charger with a built-in battery that will recharge the mUV twice before it needs charged. I get about 8 liters out of the mUV before I need to recharge it. Since I only treat the water that I'm drinking (I don't treat water that I'm boiling for food) that works well for me.

I've had nothing but great customer service from Meridian Designs. Also, note that if you order 6 or more of the AquaStar units the price drops to $45 (from $79) per unit. Our hiking group did that - everyone has an AquaStar and we usually have 2-3 on a trip (more because people like using them than because we need the capacity).

Here's a link to the AquaStar for anyone who's interested.

Samuel David Sinclair
(samsamsam) - F
I also use the AquaStar mUV on 08/29/2012 13:29:07 MDT Print View

and I think it has the best concept.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
mUV availability on 08/29/2012 14:32:16 MDT Print View

The article says "For those with long memories, Meridian Designs did make a UV unit called the mUV. It seems it was not a great success on the market and is no longer sold."

I just looked at their web page, and it looks to me as if it is still sold -- is the web page just out of date?

Jane Burns
(Mynoot) - MLife
Question on steripen on 08/29/2012 15:25:57 MDT Print View

The problem I have with the steripen is that it needs a large mouthed bottle and I have the liter Platupus. Any suggestions?

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Which SteriPen? on 08/29/2012 15:32:09 MDT Print View

Jane,

you didn't say which SteriPen you use. The SteriPen Classic and the SteriPen Journey fit perfectly on a Platypus bottle and I have used the SteriPen Classic for a long time with Platypus bottles. Recently I have switched to the SteriPen Freedom. That SteriPen model doesn't fit Platypus bottles. I have now switched to 1l Snapple bottles for my water and treat the water in there with my SteriPen Freedom.

Manfred

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Question on steripen on 08/29/2012 15:33:14 MDT Print View

I carry a separate 'container' to scoop and sterilize, then pour that into my water bottles (2 gatorade bottles). My container is a 2-liter platy cut off just above the 1-liter mark. Weighs next to nothing and makes scooping from even light trickles possible.

Jane Burns
(Mynoot) - MLife
Re: Which SteriPen? on 08/29/2012 17:48:03 MDT Print View

It is the Steripen adventurer. After i posted, I saw where they don't recommend it with the platy. Problem is the platy is really lots lighter and the pen is actually heavy when one is trying to keep pack weight down to. Ultralight standards or close to.

Jane Burns
(Mynoot) - MLife
Re: is all the water treated? on 08/29/2012 17:51:03 MDT Print View

Steve, in one of the articles he talks in great detail about the parts per million that it takes for bugs to make us sick. Suggesting that the small amout of contaminants which might be lurking around after carefully treating isn't something to be overly anxious about. I am all for building up the immune system with a few :)

Jim Larkey
(jimlarkey) - MLife

Locale: NoCO
Re: AquaStar on 08/30/2012 05:37:21 MDT Print View

I too have used both Meridian products: mUV and AquaStar. Lookout for condensation in the bottle cap of the AquaStar:
http://goo.gl/A5EOW

I've switched to SteriPEN Traveler Mini and the Classic, and haven't looked back.

Just a word about CR123s....Surefires...they're awesome. I can buy the Surefire CR123 for $2/cell at my local store, and candlepowerforums.com showed they compare to Duracells in their battery shootout. And....made in USA!

Edited by jimlarkey on 09/05/2012 05:29:59 MDT.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
mUV Availability on 08/30/2012 09:32:15 MDT Print View

I had an email back from customer service at Meridan Design when I asked about the mUV and they said that they're getting ready to put the new design of the mUV into production and will make it available on the website as soon as they can.

From an earlier email it looks like the new mUV will treat 10 liters of water on a single charge (I currently get 8 liters). It uses a retractable USB cable to recharge the battery.

I have one of their new prototype models and it works very well. As soon as it's available to order I'll post a review of it as well as my setup for recharging it in the field.

No - Meridan Design did not give me a date when it would be available. Sorry.

Thorsten von Eicken
(tvoneicken)
SteriPen Freedom on 08/31/2012 22:09:21 MDT Print View

I recently got a steripen freedom with built-in rechargeable lithium battery. That seems like an incredible package to me. Recharges off USB, which means that most modern chargers, including solar or a laptop work. I've used it a few times, can't speak about number of actual recharges yet. It may not be the best device for a thru-hiker who can't recharge, but otherwise it's great.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
A Survey of Water Hazards and Water Treatment Methods - Part 6: Ultra-Violet Light Methods on 08/31/2012 23:58:52 MDT Print View

As someone who was an early adopter into UV, I figured I should throw in my 2 cents as I've had nearly every mode of failure.

Like most things, build quality is absolutely critical to having a successful product. I initially bought in with Meridian with the AquaStar. It worked fantastic for exactly three trips then stopped unexpectedly. I returned that unit, they blamed a switch failure (that was supposedly being redesigned).

I got a replacement unit and it again worked great, very fast and convenient. Until my batteries went low and the brand new off-branded ones I bought online we're dead. I ended up having to go untreated on water that was suspicious at best (didn't pack enough fuel to boil everything). Frustrated, I tossed in the back of my closet for the summer only to find that the housing was cracked between the bulb and the battery housing when I tried to use it during the fall and it was getting water in the circuits. They replaced it with a third unit which arrived with the housing already cracked.

The fourth unit has been more or less stable for four years, but I just don't trust it like I used to. I tried using it for winter camping where chems are slow and pumps might freeze, but the batteries went flat too quickly as they seemed to chill quickly when in close proximity to near freezing water even if kept in my jacket when not in use. It also seemed to occasionally lose contact for no apparent reason mid-cycle and force me to run it again, this time keeping a very close eye on the status meter to make sure it made it all the way through.

Given my communications with Meridian over the past and after doing a few reviews, they send me a Muv at one point to evaluate. I used it for a few weeks and while it seemed novel, it just didn't fit my style of use as it didn't work with the "throw away" style water bottles. While it worked great in a pot, if I was using it for cooking water, I usually had to boil it anyway - so what was the point?

Besides, I couldn't use the Muv while moving, which had been one of the major benefits of the other systems. I didn't have any major issues with this fourth AquaStar unit besides spotty connections, it wasn't enough benefits to offset the higher weight than KlearWater which was my alternate during that time (before it disappeared from the market).

All that said, my friend has one of the SteriPen Optis and I've always looked at it longingly as I remember the carefree approach of dunking my bottle in a creek and starting off the trail swishing it about a bit before drinking un-altered tasting mountain water. The allure is certainly there, and it seems SteriPen worked out their initial bugs (I can't say the same for Meridian unfortunately) but I find that I can't quiet put the past away, or at least not yet.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Question on steripen on 09/11/2012 12:53:45 MDT Print View

Douglas Ide wrote: > I carry a separate 'container' to scoop and sterilize, then pour that into my water bottles (2 gatorade bottles). My container is a 2-liter platy cut off just above the 1-liter mark. Weighs next to nothing and makes scooping from even light trickles possible
Now, that's an excellent idea. Might even be worth sacrificing a Platy for. :) I completely dislike having to carry a bulky/heavy Nalgene -or- carry a taller pot (and therefore less fuel efficient) in order to use a SteriPen. Having a cut off Platy saves weight, eliminates bulk, and means I can carry a wider, more efficient pot.

Thanks for the idea,

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Justin Young
(ironxcross)
SteriPen Adventurer interlock failure on 11/01/2012 23:11:51 MDT Print View

My first UV filter was a Steripen Adventurer. I liked it for its convenience, weight, and size, but it had some major problems. Once I was backpacking with a group, and let someone use it. I told him it was a UV lamp, and so if it were to come on out of water for some reason, don't stare at it. As things go, he asked me if the thing was working, and when I turned around, I saw he had it out of the Nalgene bottle and it was on! I have no idea how the interlock failed to turn it off. Along with its greater than 50% failure to complete cycles, shutting off halfway between treatments, with brand new batteries mind you, I've stopped using it.

I now use a CamelBak All Clear and love it. I was always afraid of dropping the SteriPen into the water while holding it and stirring it, with the CamelBak I just rotate the bottle whichever way I want to agitate the water. Re: charging via USB, if I was on a long trek, I'd have a little solar panel (Goal Zero looks interesting?), let it charge its own battery, and then plug the CamelBak into it. I'm not worried one bit about activating the lamp without it on the bottle, because I always keep it on the bottle. After the SteriPen incident, I was afraid to take it out of the pouch. Maybe the Opti has solved these issues, but I'm still hesitant.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: SteriPen Adventurer interlock failure on 11/02/2012 00:39:55 MDT Print View

You could return the Adventurer to Steripen for them to check, and if faulty replace. They are very good about doing that.

Yes, I think the Opti is a significant improvement over the Adventurer.

Cheers

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: SteriPen Adventurer interlock failure on 11/02/2012 04:32:25 MDT Print View

Yeah, I had a problem with mine that resulted in it not working. The first Adventurer Journer (old model) always worked really great. The mUV failed after a year with a dead battery(no charge.)

The new one had some problems with the circuits. I note a couple different threads here. They also jumped the battery requirement to higher quality batteries. Anyway, describe the problem to them.

Send it back to them after communicating with Rich. He will take care of it.
Rich [notifications-support@steripen2.zendesk.com]
You should recieve a RMA number after a couple emails and they will repair/replace the gadget if it is a failure, which it probably is...

On short trips I use this all the time. Well Worth the couple Extra Ounces!

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
mUV Failure on 11/02/2012 06:30:17 MDT Print View

James,

If you haven't already thrown it out, Meridian Designs has excellent customer service and would probably replace your mUV either for free or for a minimal charge.

They've updated the interface and it now charges via a USB cable rather than the magnetic leads that attach to a battery.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: mUV Failure on 11/02/2012 07:39:56 MDT Print View

Yeah, Thanks, Kevin!
I got the mUV about 6 years ago, I think...one of the first batch. The light never stopped blinking like it was designed to do, but the battery always charged, anyway. About a year after I had it, still working then, I headed out along the FLT/NCT. It failed. I hooked up the spare battery and it still failed to go. I ended up boiling water that trip.

Anyway, I picked up a Steripen Adventuror kit shortly after that, been using that, since. I have the mUV around I think...at least I didn't throw it out, I always intended to swap the rechargable battery out myself with a higher capacity one.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
mUV Replacement on 11/03/2012 09:40:32 MDT Print View

If you can find it go ahead and email them to see what they might be able to do for you. I dropped my original one and it bounced off the floor of an AT shelter and broke the filament. I think they replaced it for $15 and it was clearly my clumsiness that broke it.

Jim Larkey
(jimlarkey) - MLife

Locale: NoCO
Re: Re: mUV Failure on 11/03/2012 12:01:28 MDT Print View

@James, stick w the SteriPEN.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 13:11:56 MST Print View

Hi,

How does the Steripen do for winter camping?


Obviously the batteries will not work as long if cold. however Roger mentioned the uniot warms up during use, so if I keep the unit inside my clothes for storage, it should keep itself warm during use right, even in weather around 0F?

Is there any effect of water temperature on use of the unit? We would be getting water from underneath the ice, so it would be very close to freezing.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 14:40:29 MST Print View

I've had zero issues with icy cold water.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 15:39:20 MST Print View

Tjaard,

While disinfection by chlorine, bromine or iodine IS temperature dependent (lower temps require higher concentrations abd/or more time to be effective), in this case, chemical bonds aren't being broken/formed with other molecules (higher temp molecules are more reactive), but with UV photons.

The article details how UV photons makes thymine-thymine bonds in DNA rendering a virus, bacteria, etc, sterile - unable to reproduce/divide. That process is not very dependent on temperature.

Also, you're using lithium batteries (you pretty much have to in all the units), and they are much better at low temperatures than alkaline or nicads that we have more day-to-day experience with. That said, all batteries put out less current when (1) cold and (2) partially used. If you've got partially used batteries and they don't start/complete a cycle when cold, warm them up. My estimate - not a problem to 0C and 2/3s used, but I haven't tested that.

The batteries WILL, kind of, work "as long" at cold temps. The issue is if they can put out the 1 amp needed for the UV lamp. Even when cold, you'll get almost all the electrons out of a battery that you would at 20C, but maybe not at the current required by the device.

Edited to add my estimate for your original question: I suspect you are okay to 0F OR 2/3's used. i.e. it will probably work to 0F with new batteries. Or with largely drained batteries if warmed. But maybe not both. But if you're going to sterilize water in the next hour, it would be easy enough to put it in a shirt pocket under your jacket.

Edited to correct "breaks bonds" to "makes bonds". Thanks to Bill for catching that.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/08/2013 11:53:45 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 16:40:26 MST Print View

I think I remember reading the user manual that you don't want to treat water that has snow or ice in it, because the UV won't completely penetrate into the snow or ice where there could be organisms.

Then when that snow or ice melts, it will release the organisms, which can survive being frozen in water.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 20:41:42 MST Print View

> you don't want to treat water that has snow or ice in it, because the UV won't
> completely penetrate
Absolutely!

A girl on my staff went to Bali with her husband and friends. They all got the usual tummy (and bowel) troubles - except for the girl. Why?
Well, they were drinking spirits with ice while sitting around the pool - except for the girl, who was expecting. She only drank Coke straight from a can. The ice - the water came from the kitchen tap. She had the last laugh.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: cold water with steripen? on 01/07/2013 20:42:39 MST Print View

What David wrote.

Cheers