If you read the OP, you'll find NO-OX-ID on the list.
ooooops!! - just keep going as if I'm not here
mental note: read threads before you open your mouth
KiwiMark, and TC, I think that is exactly how I would portray the dichotomy between the "top" grease/paste consistency lubes and Nano-Oil. There are indications for both...but at this point, if I could only have one it would clearly be the Nano-Oil. But we don't have to have one, do we?
I can understand why you (TC) prefer the Krytox as soon as you said you like that thicker/sticky feel in a flashlight lube. I'm not going to want to combine Krytox grease with Krytox oil to get a lighter feel, when in my experience Nano-Oil has already accomplished what I want.
So I think we should be clear in your rankings that there are both:
- 1) Objective applications (such as waterproofing, or metal-on-metal, or where lighter coating protection is ideal) where one "style" of lube is better indicated, perhaps with some crossover (i.e. I am not yet willing to say that Krytox is less effective than Nano-Oil for metal-on-metal...but I have ruled out Nyogel on that issue--based upon thread feel and discoloration).
- 2) Subjective preferences for a thicker or lighter feel. I suspect this is amplified in colder weather. I would add the issue of grease vs. oil messiness/discoloration as another preference. You likely don't mind getting the grease on your fingers or contact surfaces, where I dislike that. I further detest the gray/black discoloration staining of Nyogel.
IMHO you are seriously remiss to have not yet even listed Nano-Oil in your rankings, given all the comments...especially seeing you have DeoxIT Gold listed. Despite your preference for the thicker/greasy feel of Krytox, there are too many users promoting Nano-Oil to ignore it if you want this to be a somewhat useful and objective list. Obviously, I feel it should be in the top category.
I don't believe DeoxIT Gold even has a place on this list. Not only does it contain mineral spirits, but it is primarily an electrical contact enhancer. It is not something that flashlight users should remotely consider using as a thread lube. If you read the instructions on using DeoxIT Gold, it clearly says to apply and wipe clean with a lint free cloth (thereby further reducing any lube effect), and which I have found very few people using CAIG's products understand.
I didn't even notice DeoxIT in the list. Pro Gold should not be in the list as it is not be used as a lubricant for flashlight threads or orings. I've used Pro Gold for numerous of things over the years. Quite expensive (the pen I have was $15-$20 IIRC) & a great product but it's really a protectant for electrical contacts. I mainly use it on relays & switch contacts, really does good job at preventing corrosion but the contact must be deoxidized first. I sometimes use it on battery contacts for flashlights but that's about it.
I was very skeptical of Nano Oil of working as a good lube for flashlight threads & orings because it's such a lightweight oil that doesn't seem to fit here. I'm sold as it does perform exactly as the others have described. Going to order some Nano grease to try as well.
Last edited by darkzero; 09-26-2009 at 01:18 PM.
Quick question Lux:
If you could only have one flashlight - would your head explode or implode?
I would suggest adding Nano-Oil to the 'Very Good Lubes' section, even though I haven't got mine yet I think there has been more than enough positive recommendations from respected members to warrant it being there.
I would also suggest a note on the Deoxit Pro Gold - it is not a lube for threads or O-rings and it really shouldn't be on the list without a note as to its application. I love that lube, but it is a lube for contacts, not threads or O-rings.
So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!
Great thread guys. Very informative!
Has anyone used the 85 weight nano-oil? - its really quite thick and sticky much like everybody seems to want in a grease - it is not quite like grease but I would say its half way in between grease and oil.
I just put a drop on my finger between my thumb and pointer and when I pull them apart I got a string of viscosity about 10mm long if thats any help.
I have noticed that using the 85 weight on threads/orings makes it hard to screw on the tail cap the first time you screw it on because you can hear/feel the back pressure of trapped air from a tight seal that the 85 weight gives.
I definitely agree that it's very good to have several choices
I have no issues with getting grease on anything. Threads and o-rings are concealed, and unless you frequently take your light apart, I don't see how you could be spreading the lube all over.
I wholeheartedly agree that there should be both objective and subjective ratings on the lubes. If people will let me know what they are, I will be happy to add them.
I actually did add Nano-oil to the list, but it was removed by a mod. I agree that my personal preferences have affected the amount of time it has taken for me to put it back on the list, and for this I apologize. Just because I will never use it on my lights for reasons I won't go into, it doesn't mean that it is not an effective lube.
I also agree that Deoxit Pro Gold shouldn't be on the list without an explanation of it's proper use. I will try to fix this within the next couple of days.
why could/would you not use it?? can you share here - or maybe you could PM me - from my experience this nano-oil is one of the best lubes out there IMHO and it would be a shame if you don't use it from a bad experience? or a misunderstanding of how to use it.
Last edited by Glenn7; 09-26-2009 at 09:47 PM.
Not all silicone greases are created equal and I am no chemist and can't explain what the difference might be.
My initial and continued exposure to silicone O-rings comes from the under water camera's and housings arena. To my limited knowledge the primary material in O-rings for this gear is silicone. Silicone grease is also recommended for lubing the O-rings but it is always by an identified brand or even offered by the manufacturer. I have seen silicone O-rings swell but never as a result of using a recommended silicone grease. Travaco (sp) makes a silicone grease called GLY if memory serves and I never had an O-ring swell using that grease. I used to use it and preferred it over the Nyogel that was recommended by SureFire when I first got into these lights. However, I found the stiction with the silicone grease a nuisance and sought a better solution. I was real happy with the Krytox once I found a blend that seemed to work well. I won't get into my opinions of the various snake oils here, including the Krytox. There is always something better out there, certainly claimed anyway, and often in reality.
When I was involved in the marine industry, I became aware of real problems with buna and nitril (sp) O-rings and especially if they were dry and exposed to ozone. When I was doing a lot of mods and taking apart various SureFire lights, I came across some static internal seals and O-rings I presume to be of buna and some were cracked and compromised. These were not maintenance or user accessible seals. EPDM seems to be a much better choice of material provided it is not subjected to petroleum based products. (its achiles heel if I remember correctly).
I got pretty excited about using urethane O-rings a couple years back because it is a most hardy material and great on abrassion resistance and impervious to most chemicals. I found I didn't like its action in any of the dynamic applications and I think the silicone does a better job of forming to the seal surfaces and providing a seal.
On the subject of dynamic applications, I think there is a big difference between twisting a light on and off compared to a shaft O-ring spinning at thousands of RPM or a piston seal O-ring hammering up and down hundreds of cycles per minute. It is the fact that we are moving metal parts that I prefer the silicone even if it is subject to wear. Properly lubed, it has a nice give and seems to be less prone to stiction than other materials.
I wanted to add a couple comments. First and foremost, I don't consider myself to be an expert on the various O-ring materials or lubes. I have done some experimenting and have some experience in use which has biased and become the basis for my opinions. I am always open and willing to stand corrected on these issues.
Another consideration regarding some of these lights is that of the electrical conductivity across some of the metal components and how or to what extent various lubes may impact this. In many lights, the ground path is caried through the threads and these are threads which are often getting lubricated. As I recall, SureFire recommended two versions of the nyogel and this was based on whether there was an electrical path involved in the lube joint.
Your posts seem to be more concerned with various O-Ring issues, which for me personally is almost irrelevant in flashlights. Obviously for underwater waterproofing of cameras, scuba equipment, etc. that is crucial. In any case, you may wish to clarify your "snake oil" comment which casts aspersions with a wide net.
My comments have been mostly directed at the protection of the metal on metal threads, especially the softer aluminum lights that are not machined well.
Here was the post from 2002 quoting a SF engineer as to why they used Nyogel 779ZC on O-Rings, & 759G on Aluminum threads. Note that when I read the original Nye source documents, it appears the SF Engineer reversed the application of the two items:
Quite interesting to see this confusion from the engineer, and paucity of information on their data sheets is the foundation we have relied upon.
Here is a much better description by Lighthound of the two lubes which is worth reading. I love the first photo showing the dirty threads, and note how it is dismissed despite brand new lights from SF arrive looking like that. It is a more helpful presentation, but I am still not left with a clear understanding of the proper use and different applications between them.
As I have stated before, I have found several uses for Nano-oil, I will just never use it on my lights, or any of the lights that pass through my shop.
OK - sorry no flaming intended I defiantly respect your opinion - the world would be a boring place if we all had the same opinion and used the same things IMO
Perhaps I shouldn't have used the term but even though I personally have found that the Krytox 50-50 blend that I came up with has been the best lube for my applications (silicone O-rings and titanium metal) I don't know for a fact it is the best lube or why it might be the case. I read numbers of great testimonials here on CPF about the nano-lube and ended up purchasing a number of bottles thinking it would be a lot easier to apply than the krytox. Unfortunately it didn't live up to my hopes or succeed as a successor to the krytox. Someone mentioned Tri-Flow above and for years, that was my lube of choice and when I ran a moped store with my brother and I did all of the mechanics, I used that stuff like water. It would not surprise me that it would be ideal for some of the flashlights. I digress. I used the term snake oil because few of us if any actually know what the chemistry is in these lubes or what we ideally wish to gain from their use in terms of mechanical and electrical support or aid. There is no clear or widely accepted superior product here and there have been varied successes reported by users on the same lights with the same lube.
On the SF lube recommendations, I recall looking into the data sheets and being confused by what SF recommended compared to what the manufacturer recommended.
Beyond some users liking the "float" they experience with a grease suspended between the threads, to my knowledge, excessive grease can impede the performance and certainly is a ready host to suspended grit and foreign particles which may be abrasive in themselves. I would guess that with any of these lubes, there is an optimal amount to be applied and the performance under optimal conditions may well be noticeably different than the performance if too little or too much is used. Perhaps this accounts for the varying degrees of success reported by different users?
The requirements of a lube/ protectant in the case of raw aluminum to raw aluminum where the metal is also part of the ground path could be a completely different situation than one where you have anodized aluminum in contact with anodized aluminum and no electrical path involved. Mix your metals or go to different metals and the situation may be different again.
I have read of real concern of some users when it comes to titanium that galling might occur and what can be done to avoid this. I have never encountered a case of galling in a Ti flashlight. I do have a prototype SF weapon light somewhere where two of the components (aluminum) have galled and there is no way you are going to get them apart. For all I know, a grease may have held an aluminum burr suspended between the threads until it got wedged in compression in the threads and welded the threads together. Had the threads been dry and this chip dropped out...... I recall one or two other situations where I had some aluminum components gall and I had a couple chrome plated aluminum lights that never got built out because the head and power pak ended up welded together. Some components really need to break in prior to a lube that will impede further abrasion and some are prime for use immediately and the hope of a proper lube is that of extending the life and duty cycle.
In some threaded components, stiction is a non issue because these threads are static except for battery change. In others, these threads are part of the activation process and you want smooth and consistent performance.
I am not sure what point or points I am trying to make here but in the spirit of this thread being a "comprehensive grease and lube thread" there should at least be some examples of sincere confusion expressed and I willingly offer that up!
I think the materials involved (metals and O-rings) as well as the specific application or function of these materials need to be considered when it comes to lubrication and protection. Lubrication and protection may be in conflict to some extent. Case in point. If I were using a classic SF type aluminum light where the threads are static and not anodized, I would use lanocote on these threads. I don't consider lanocote as a lube but I have not seen anything come close to it in terms of protecting the aluminum from corrosion and especially when current is passing through.
We are making comments based upon incomplete product compositions, a variety of metal compositions (& surface treatments such as HA, plating, etc.) thread applications, a plethora of plastic and flexible O-ring parts, and unknown scenarios & degrees of electrical conduction.
I'm categorizing my comments and recommendations as how various lubes look, feel, & perform...rather than providing real science.
It would be nice if we could figure out a way to test the various lubes, with a quantifiable result. I have no idea how to go about this, but it would be great if there could be some suggestions thrown out there.
It would require a sophisticated level of calibrated testing equipment, and chemical/microscopic analysis equipment.
As an R&D engineer with a physical sciences background, you would be hard-pressed to find someone more generally supportive of carefully-planned, well-documented quantitative assessment. However, in this case, I'm not sure how much there is to be gained from casual performance tests, and not sure how useful more exhaustive performance tests would be.
Reason being, we're dealing in many cases with classes of lubricants whose capabilities far exceed the demands placed on them in flashlight use. There are ASTM scientists who have spent their careers pushing lubricants to their extremes in multi-thousand hour tests exploring a vast spectrum of properties.
As I've made known, my personal preference is Krytox -- and this is due to my familiarity with it from the semiconductor industry. We use it for seals that see hundreds of degrees and highly corrosive chemistries, bearings that see tens of thousands of rpms, pumps that maintain ultra high vacuum protecting high-dollar cassettes of wafers. It's used where lubricant failure can result in tens of millions of dollars of damage and injury/death to an equipment operator. My point here is not to plug the product further, or even to suggest that its greatest capabilities are particularly relevant for flashlight use.
Quite the opposite in fact: There are many products that are more than capable of doing what we need them too. A flashlight-use-based comparison test between the top contenders would be nearly akin to pitting Schrödinger against Einstein against Bohr with a Physics 101 exam; they're all going to do quite well.
Certainly there is room for opinions, preferences, and discussion. But with respect to quantiative performance evaluation; we're pushing these top products to exactly 0.00054% of their capability. (I just measured it ).
I'd like to know if anyone has experience using XF-7 on flashlight threads. I see that Maxpedition carries it in their online store, and it looks like it would work very well as a flashlight lube.
With regards to the viscosity of Krytox: Krytox greases all start from a base of clear, liquid Krytox oil. The viscosity of a particular version is dependent on the amount and exact type of fluoropolymer thickeners that are added, specifically for the reason of creating a grease instead of a liquid. As such, there is a great variety of available thicknesses, and the thickness of one sample is not indicative of what's available.
I selected a version with what I find to be a perfect viscosity, and from this description it is much thinner than what you used. I find it to be the least sticky grease I've ever handled (test method: the good 'ol rub-between-index-finger-and-thumb-test). It results in a smoother threading action than anything else I've tried, in many cases turning a "two-hander" into a "one-hander".
I just received som Krytox 50/50 mix from nfetterly to try on Ti threads. I applied some on my Ti "PD-K" & it doesn't seem to feel any better from the Parker Super O lube I had on it previously. In fact I feel the Parker Super O lube felt better than this Krytox mix. It doesn't seem to coat the threads evenly after some twisting. It will "bead" up in clumps in areas & does not seem to cover well. Not sure if there's a considerable difference in ratio mix between this one & the mix offered from the Shoppe or what Don uses if any different. I shook the bottle pretty well just in case the two compounds seperated & reapplied but had the same results. It doesn't seem to be the same mix as what comes on Ti PDs from Don. I'll keep it on there for a few days to see if it "breaks in" but I don't see that it should need a break in period.
Just for kicks I added a couple drops of nano oil to it & it then turned into a greasier consistency & now covers well. More like a greasy mess. Maybe the bottle I have does not have enough GPL101 oil mixed in or so I feel.
Perhaps I will try some GPL226 from Tekno next and/or 50/50 from the Shoppe.
Wow, this is a very long thread! Very interesting subject.
I use a gasket lubricator with silicon grease to lubricate o-rings in flashlights (and watches.) But, I use superlube to lubricate the threads on flashlights.
No claims as to what is best, this is just what I use.
I tried lubricating the threads of my modified 2C Mag-Lite with an Philips LUXEON III emitter with thermal grease to enhance thermal conductivity. But, determined that there was no advantage after running the flashlight for an hour with dry threads, then with thermal grease on the threads, while monitoring the temp.
You definitely are describing a thinner viscosity than the syringe I got from TC (GPL-226). I personally am interested in something that protects threads from metal on metal under tailcap spring tension (i.e. a Maglite D as example), more than the uses you described in your previous post #111. Krytox may also be doing this, but the 4 lights I have put this GPL-226 on are too thick for my preference.
As you say, most of the quality lube companies are custom designing for a specific application. I was just surprised with a company of SureFire's reputation, that all six of the lights I have ordered from them to date arrive with the messy, aluminum-gray discolored lube, which I believe are the Nyogel blends. I find a similar discoloration from all the Maglite Mods on arrival I have ordered from FiveMega, who says he uses "Sil-Glyde 765-1351"
If I thoroughly clean and re-apply fresh, clean Nyogel, in short order it is "crapped up" again, and I notice wearing off of the thread metal, mostly at the starting edges.
I don't know if the blends of Krytox being discussed here are designed for the metal on metal--under spring tension--protection, but it seems intuitive that a lube made for gasket/rubber/O-ring seals under pressure, and/or with chemical/heat/waterproof protection may not be ideal for flashlight threads.
Again, I don't know enough about the specifics and hard science of all these lubes, other than my practical observations and tactile feel to say anything profoundly objective. I know I don't like Nyogel for the above listed reasons, and despite the apparent overwhelming endorsements and use by SureFire. I also know I am glad I found Nano-Oil. Perhaps if I had a thinner batch of Krytox I would like the feel better...but I'm not that motivated to mix and store custom batches of a lube when I found one that is preventing metal damage.
LuxLuthor's point about Nyogel quickly becoming discolored is a good one. I'd like to comment on it from a particular viewpoint - that of scuba diving. Please note that I am not a qualified chemist or anything of that kind.
To divers, O-rings are a matter of life or death. We have them in our regulators, lights, camera housings, etc, etc. An O-ring failure at depth can kill you.
That is why we always use silicone grease, as it is compatible with all O-rings used in all diving equipment. Nyogel is a silicone grease, and AFAIK perfectly OK for diving applications, although I don't know any divers who use it - most just use the little tubes you get in dive shops which cost a few $s but last a long time.
For specialist applications such as rebreathers, where high partial pressures of oxygen are present, we move from plain silicone grease to Krytox. Krytox is Oxygen safe - in other words, it won't oxidise or cause problems in O2-rich environments.
Krytox is therefore the ultimate safe grease for scuba divers to use. It is more expensive than regular silicone grease, but again, a little goes a very long way.
I make no comment about the consistency/viscosity of either Nyogel or Krytox here - for diving, you don't want something that is too thin, but for out-of-water use a really good thin lubricant is definitely preferable.
Going back to LuxLuthor's point about the Nyogel discoloration, the reason for this is very probably the same reason why rebreather divers would not use it - it is oxidising on the threads of the lights. Whether or not (or how much) this affects its performance as a lubricant I don't know. I suspect not much, but it is none the less unattractive and messy.
Incidentally, members have mentioned SF lights arriving ready-lubed with Nyogel. In my experience, new SF lights usually arrive bone dry, with no lube on them at all. Obviously, that is easily remedied with the lube of your choice; but it is a little strange IMO.
Resistance is futile...
I currently use the 50/50 krytox blend, however I find that its not so effective on the threads on larger flashlights.
I find them great on smaller lights, but on my modamag collossus, I can still feel the metal grinding on metal. I believe this is due to the much higher amount of metal on metal contact, as opposed to the smaller lights. With my smaller lights, the krytox is excellent and provides nice and smooth threads and O rings.
I have ordered some nanolube, and I will be using it on the threads of all my flashlights. I will probably stick with krytox for the Orings though. Also going to use it on some of my tools
TK40, L0D, E01, P3D, P2D, Modamag TK Monster, ARC mania X6, DEFT, Mac's SST50 EDC Aluminium, Titanium Preon 2, LED Lenser duplex headlamp, 4D Mag w/ TLE300, Tiablo A7, Lummi Wee, Surefire C2HA w/ SST90 Nailbender dropin
Finish Line Extreme Fluoro. It's marketed as a bicycle bearing grease, but it is just a relatively low-viscosity straight Krytox nearly identical to the one I use (I have tried it). I think it's also available in 15g syringe instead of 20g, if you search a bit.
Of course, I have no affiliation with the product or company. I just thought I would throw it out there, as seems thinner than the description you gave, and doesn't require any blending or home-cookin'.
And we are definitely in agreement about the drawbacks of Nyogel.