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Thread: Problem with Zebra in the cold

  1. #1

    Default Problem with Zebra in the cold

    A little about what I do,

    I am a lineman that works out in the elements at night. I use the Zebra H60. I love it for what I do! The problem that I have is it is cold now. down in the single digits. The light works great when I get out of a warm truck, but when the light starts cooling off, it will flicker on and off and then go out. I am sure it is getting cold and shrinking and loosing contact somewhere.

    I am needing to know if there is a fix for this? Or if the new generation H60 handle the cold any better.

    I work with over 13,000 volts and need to be able to see what I am doing, and a strobe light on my head is not what I need. I want to stay alive and see my family when my shift ends!

    DuneDevil

  2. #2

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Sounds like your battery is getting too cold.

    Maybe you could wear a warm hat or headband to cover the battery tube, with a hole cut out for the head to shine through?

    Or you could buy a headlamp with an external battery pack, and wear the battery pack underneath your parka to keep it warm.

    -Jeff
    What's next?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Thanks for your reply!

    I have tried 4 or 5 different batteries! all with the same result.

    I have to were a hard hat with the light mounted to the outside of the hat. I do not see any way of keeping it warm.

    With the light mounted to a hardhat, the light has to be lightweight. With external wires going to a battery pack, it adds to the dangers of becoming energized by high voltage or becoming snagged and entangled. Thus leaving me unplugged. These are the reasons I really like the Zebra!

    If there was another light out there that could be mounted to a hardhat that had the lumens that this light does, I would try it out! The thing is so far, this has been the best all around light I have found........ so far. But will try others if they are available!

    Once again Thanks for the reply! Anything helps.

    If anyone has info on other lights that use the 18650, please post the links!

    Thanks

    DuneDevil

  4. #4

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Lots of lights can be mounted to a hard hat, no problem. I think your problem is keeping the BATTERIES warm.

    So...you could wrap your H60 in foam tape or pipe insulation to keep it warmer longer...or you could tape a disposable hand warmer onto the H60 body when you work in below-freezing conditions.

    Which utility company do you work for? I'd expect the company to specify or provide suitable equipment for their linemen...

    -Jeff
    What's next?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    I work for Kansas City Power and light. Been a trouble man for a few years. Love the job!

    Yes, they do supply us with headlamps. they are the Princeton tec eos headlamps. They are only rated for 50 lumens out the front. The H60 that I use is MUCH brighter and a wide field of view! At five feet in front of me, it is as wide as my arms stretched out(over 6 feet) . The Princeton at five feet is just a little bit more then a two foot circle.

    I know I can use the princeton in the cold, but was wanting the Zebra fixed or a better headlamp.

    Does any of the manufactures visit this site?

    Once again, Thanks for the info and keep it coming.

    DuneDevil

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* leukos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Li-ions have relatively poor cold weather performance. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=158112
    Use quality lithium primaries instead in any light exposed to extreme cold.
    Light is sweet and pleasing to the eyes....

  7. #7
    Flashaholic Qoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Have you tried primaries? IIRC, Rechargable cells have a higher minimum operating temperature range, bottom out as it hits the negative digits. Even before then, the cells performance won't be good enough to keep the driver from kicking out.

    Can the Princeton use li-ion cells, and does it still survive at those temperatures? If so then maybe it is the light.

    Otherwise I'd look for a primary solution.

    Edit: looks like leukos and I have the same idea, but he posted right as I looked away. You win this time!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Qoose View Post
    Have you tried primaries?
    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an 18650 sized primary lithium battery.

    If I were in this situation, I would get one of the AA or CR123 zebralights. They won't be quite as bright as the H60 on its highest setting at around 80-90 lumens or so depending on the model you choose, but will work fantastically with a lithium primary that can handle extreme temps much better.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Yucca Patrol; 12-27-2009 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    DuneDevil, I believe I have the 501 (The AA version). I am a cell tech and some of my recent night shifts ended up beening all nighters in single digits without the windchill. I have had no problems with my light at all. I use strictly eneloops, but I just bought some Lithiums for backpacking. Maybe the AA version will be ok for you. My only complaint is that I carry 2 batteryies in my pocket for the runtime is only 2.5 hours. Good luck

  10. #10

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Thank you for all your help and info! Greatly appreciate it. Looks like I will have a cold weather headlamp and a warm weather headlamp!

    Once again, Thank You

    DuneDevil

  11. #11
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    I would strongly consider the Surefire Minimus. It costs a bit more than the Zebra Light, but it runs on cr123 primaries. It is floody and bright. In your line of work you should have a quality light you can rely on.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    You might also want to take a look at the new Fenix HL20 headlight. Takes 1AA, no external wires, and has a flip up diffuser so you can choose spot or floodlight. It's 105 lumens on high and costs $42. You can use lithium, NiMH, or alkaline batteries in it.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic Qoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Yucca, I was aware of that, and was thinking that he probably needed a different model.

    However, does anyone know if it would work if you used a CR123 and a proper spacer? Runtime would suffer, but then he can find out if cold cells are the problem.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    I doubt that the 18650 Li-ions are the problem.
    I have used 14500 and 18650 in -9°F and they work ok in Quark AAW and Fenix TK11 R2.
    Last edited by Egsise; 12-28-2009 at 10:41 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Hey DuneDevil,

    I live in Kansas City also. If you'd like to try out the Zebralight H501w, send me a PM. I have two and I'd be happy to let you borrow one. Running on an Energizer lithium primary cell, it might do the job.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    In AA format Sanyo Eneloops perform better than Energizer Lithiums in cold temperature.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Egsise View Post
    In AA format Sanyo Eneloops perform better than Energizer Lithiums in cold temperature.

    The operating temperature of lithium batteries is -140 degrees to 60 degrees C, according to Energizer.
    http://www.energizer.com/products/hi...ages/faq4.aspx


    According to Eneloop, the low operating temperature is -10 degrees C.
    http://www.eneloop.info/home/perform...mperature.html

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff S. View Post
    The operating temperature of lithium batteries is -140 degrees to 60 degrees C, according to Energizer.
    http://www.energizer.com/products/hi...ages/faq4.aspx


    According to Eneloop, the low operating temperature is -10 degrees C.
    http://www.eneloop.info/home/perform...mperature.html
    Thats -40 not -140 degrees.

    Yes I know, the manufacturers may say whatever they like, and what they say may be true in low current draw devices.
    Then theres the BUT.
    If you look at the freezer test in my sig line you see how Energizer Lithium, sanyo Eneloop, and several other AA batteries behave when frozen.

    The tests are made in room temperature, so only the first 5-10 minutes are relevant before the cells warm up due ambient temp, internal resistance and driver heat.

    With Energizer Lithiums Fenix TK20 dropped out of regulation for only 20 seconds, but thats enough because with Sanyo Eneloops the drop was very small.

    As a bonus theres a few similar tests that i made with Fenix TK11 R2 and 18650 Li-ions.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* NutSAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Use a Zebralight H30 with a CR123 primary when it gets cold.
    - Terry

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    I find the 501 to be brighter than I'd expect off a AA Eneloop and I think you'll find the NiMH to handle the cold a lot better. It will let you know before blinking out too as opposed to my H30 on Li-ions which usually gives little warning and just goes off. The 501 lasts a long time on medium and I think it even outlasts the H30 on high and again it starts to flicker a bit before totally going out. Carry a couple spare Eneloops and you should be good to go for a whole shift. I find I can do most things on medium and that will last 8 hours easy on a full charge. But in consideration of your work please carry at least one spare headlamp ready to go as well as a flashlight.
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Before I cut the tailcap spring on my H60 ("old version") I started having problems at around 5°F, but now it works at -13°F with no problem.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Nobody has realized that his problem simply may be that his light may be defective. Loose solder joint, flaky component, etc.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

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    Default Re: Problem with Zebra in the cold

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    Nobody has realized that his problem simply may be that his light may be defective. Loose solder joint, flaky component, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by DuneDevil View Post
    I am sure it is getting cold and shrinking and loosing contact somewhere.

    I am needing to know if there is a fix for this? Or if the new generation H60 handle the cold any better.
    This topic started drifting when people thought that the battery was the problem.
    Now we all know that it is not.

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