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Flashlights that quit working

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by cmo, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. cmo
    • In Omnia Paratus

    cmo Loaded Pockets

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    Most of the topics here are about new flashlights, but how about talking about longevity of your flashlights.

    I like to carry a twisty flashlight or a compact that puts out decent light. I have been disappointed by a couple of lights that I like, but don't work after a time of moderate use.
    I have a ITP A2EOS that I carried for about 6 months, just about perfect. Now when I twist it on, it only comes on sporadically. Sometimes I can get it to work by tapping on it, but it no longer is the dependable light I need.
    I also bought a CR123 light that changes light modes by the angle you hold it at. I loved that light for hikes/camping. Walking down the path at night and just need a tiny bit of light, point the light straight down for moonlight mode. Hear something in the surrounding trees, bring the light up to 90 degrees and it automatically brightens to full light. Worked great for a couple months but now it only comes on in moonlight mode and stays in moonlight mode. I got rid of it and don't know the brand anymore.

    Does anyone have success fixing these new fangled flashlights or do clever lights come at the expense of fixable light?

    Anyone have a flashlight for years that is drop dead dependable?
     
  2. keith1234
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    keith1234 Loaded Pockets

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    For drop dead dependable an incandescent MiniMaglite I carried one for 22 years ( my first one for 15 years before I wanted a shiny new one, it still worked) then I moved onto a Nitecore D10 Tribute which disappointed me due to parasitic drain. Now I carry Fenix, Quark or Surefire lights on me. The second longest carry is a Fenix LD10 nearly 5 years. The MinMaglite was used on several occasions as a hammer dropped onto a concrete floor several times literally abused above anything else I have used.
     
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  3. LivingUpNorth

    LivingUpNorth Loaded Pockets

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    Not trying to insult anyone by stating something simple, but how often have you replaced the batteries? I have several different LED flashlights and they fail exactly the way you described. Unlike incandescent lights, many LED lights are voltage regulated. That means they put out their advertised (or close to advertised) light until the power supply drops below the minimum. Then, they either go out entirely, flicker, or switch to a lower power mode. Some LEDs will dim gradually. My Maglite and Coleman LED lights both flicker when the batteries go low; my Pelican dims and then flickers. A fresh set of batteries always brings them back to life. BTW, I usually only get 2-3 months from a set of regular alkaline batteries before I have to replace them.
     
  4. MatBlack

    MatBlack Loaded Pockets

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    I had my County Comm AA light "fail" last night. I was using it to see what I was cooking on the grill. I shut it off and the next time I turned it on it didn't work at all. It turned out the problem was only a dead battery, but there was no discernible dimness the last time I used it...is that normal with lithium batteries? One moment they work fine, the next they are dead...
     
  5. Skinny Tie

    Skinny Tie Loaded Pockets

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    Eagletac D25a Clicky Ti. Stopped turning on, but I found I can get it to come on by pressing the head down hard. Only works for a minute, though. Just past 1 year warranty, so I guess it's a loss. Too bad, it was a nice light when it worked.
     
  6. LivingUpNorth

    LivingUpNorth Loaded Pockets

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    I don't think it's limited to lithium batteries. It sounds like the battery voltage just dropped below the required amount for the light. Kind of like a "go-or-no-go" situation. I'm no expert, but from what I've read, a light that is voltage regulated (sounds like yours is) can efficiently give the max light output for as long as the battery can support it. Hypothetically, if the circuit in your light requires 1.3V to run (a new AA is usually a little over 1.5V) and the battery gets worn down to less than 1.3V, the light simply turns off altogether instead of dimming over time like the old incandescent lights.

    Flash-o-holics, feel free to correct me if I'm off base.
     
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  7. MatBlack

    MatBlack Loaded Pockets

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    That sounds good to me...thanks for answering.:)
     
  8. indigo_wolf

    indigo_wolf AKA Breezy

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    Try cleaning and lubing the threads of your flashlight. It's amazing how many flashlights "fail" due to gunk/corrosion on the threads creating a incomplete or sporadic contact.

    ATB,
    Sam
     
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  9. cmo
    • In Omnia Paratus

    cmo Loaded Pockets

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    No such luck, new batteries and same result.
     
  10. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    CMO, as Indigo suggested, a good cleaning of the contacts and or new batteries will usually solve most problems with modern flashlights. Use contact cleaner spray, alcohol wipes, and/or an eraser depending on the situation. Also, you should also check that the switch and the pill are both still tight. Lots of times, if either are loose, you can screw them back in with just a tweezers if you don't have snap ring pliers.

    As to Mat's question concerning lights that suddenly die, lots of lights are regulated to run at full power for as long as possible and will then shut off once the batteries can't come up with the goods, while others will lower their output slowly over time. Also, LI batteries, if they are protected, will shut themselves off at a certain point, also causing a sudden localized blackout.
     
  11. MatBlack

    MatBlack Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks. T.H.
     
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  12. LivingUpNorth

    LivingUpNorth Loaded Pockets

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    Sorry to hear that! That's some bad luck! :(

    The only other failure I had was the twisty head on my Coleman came loose. The light did flicker a bit, and it was about to physically fall apart. I took a set of long, thin needle-nosed pliers and reached into the main body (batteries removed) to tighten a ring that held the head from the inside.

    The next light I purchase will probably be a Fenix or maybe Klarus from the forum store, but it all depends on the $$ situation. I'm also a sucker for Maglites as they have a series of modern LED lights (albeit with a seemingly complicated user interface) that interest me.

    I have taken a couple of my older D-cell Mags and dropped in a TerraLux LED, which vastly improved the power and longevity of those lights. It's a fairly inexpensive upgrade for those with the old, large-bodied lights still hanging around.
     
  13. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    No problem Mat. You will find that the light will always suddenly quit working right when you need it most. For me, it usually happens whenI go into the barn loft without turning the lights on because, hey, I've got a flashlight. Never fails.

    I forgot to say before that sometimes the light just simple breaks. The more complicated these things become, the more likely the electronics will fail. Sometimes simpler is better.
     
  14. MatBlack

    MatBlack Loaded Pockets

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    As an aside, the Energizer Lithium lasted quite a long time in my light. It's my understanding Li batteries don't corrode like alkaline. Is that true?
     
  15. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    +1 on clean all the contact points - you really have to follow the electrical path from the neg. battery spring, through the clicky and body, to the head.... and disassemble as much as you can for cleaning and re-lubing. Also, it's always worth doing the bypass test - just using a battery and the head, use a paperclip or piece of tinfoil to complete circuit from the neg. batt. terminal to the ground in the head (either the threads, or a wide brass ring in the head that would touch the battery tube edge). This at least isolates if the problem is with the clicky or head. Different story if the light has and electronic switch though....

    I've had a few lights with problems/issues right out of the box, which were promptly returned/replaced by my dealer, but I've been quite lucky otherwise and cannot recall another failure, except perhaps Maglite bulbs. I thought my 1st gen Inova X1 had failed (been in a draw for over 5 yrs) but I just recently pulled it out, cleaned it up and it works! :)

    I carry a small piece of tinfoil in my wallet which can bypass a bad clickies (turns them into twisties), and also to use odd-sized cells (AAA/9V/CR123/18650) with my AA light (in a pinch).
     
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  16. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    True.
     
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  17. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    I've never had one fail, cheap to expensive. I would expect more expensive and more rustic designs (eg Malkoff P60) to have a much lower probability to fail than a DealExtreme special.

    Alkalines leak all the time. Take this scenario out of the picture and spend more than $10 and you *shouldn't* end up with rubbish.
     
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  18. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    As a side note, direct drive wide-voltage lights on average are more dependable but will dim over time. Usually the rustic features send people to more complicated and preferable designs.

    A horse is more reliable than a tractor which is more reliable than a BMW. It all depends if you can justify riding a horse for the sake of reliability ;).
     
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  19. FL Woods Bum
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    FL Woods Bum Your Grace!

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    I still have the 2 Cell "D" Maglite that I purchased with my birthday money back in 1985, yes I was a strange kid!! It was upgraded 10+ years ago to LED using the then "new" Nite-Ize LED bulb, well before Maglite started making it in LED. It is still going strong today. While not as bright as some of the other lights in my house, it's my go to light when I have serious work to do for extended periods of time.
     
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  20. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    My "drop-dead dependable flashlights have been made by Surefire. My first purchase from that brand was in 1988. It still functions as it did when I first activated it. I will not hesitate to use it in a critical circumstance to this day.
     
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