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Thread: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

  1. #1

    Default Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    I just had a Blackhawk Falcata 6 volt explode less than a foot from me. It blew shrapnel into my arm and leg, hit me in the face with a large piece of metal, and i inhaled some unpleasant gas that is made me sick and dizzy. I'm bleeding from about 15 places

    If that's not bad enough, the pants and shirt I was wearing are badly burned, and my couch has a 6 inch diameter hole 3 inches deep burned in it and small shrapnel holes all over it.

    I am pissed off beyond words but i talked to 2 vice presidents at blackhawk this morning. They were very nice, and said they would pay for everything including my couch if it turned out that their flashlight was responsible.

    They asked me to send in the parts of the light that i have left, and i told them i would if my lawyer okayed it.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    What type of batteries was it using?

    If they were CR123A primaries, what brand?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    energizer 123a

    both pretty new, and fully charged

  4. #4

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Sorry to hear what happened to you. Hope you'll be ok.

    Am also curious about what batteries you were using, what brand they were.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Info from incorrect weblink removed.
    Last edited by RAGE CAGE; 03-24-2010 at 11:02 AM.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    A few questions:
    What brand batteries were you using?
    Do you have pictures of the damage caused?
    How long were you using the light before it exploded?

    Also, a strong recommendation:
    Print this out and go to a doctor and tell him you may have been exposed to the chemical fumes of exploded 123's
    http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/lithi...oxide_psds.pdf
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    first, this is the light

    http://www.blackhawk.com/product/Nig...olt,501,40.htm

    it is a 2 cell light, not one.

    second, i was using walmart Energizer 123a cell batteries

    Third, i was not using the light at all. It was sitting on my couch.

    A little back story will serve here.

    I had had this light for about a year, and a few weeks ago, the bulb went out. Blackhawk customer service sent me a new one free of charge.

    It came in the mail yesterday, and i replaced the non-functioning one with it. Very simple procedure. The light didn't work with the new bulb, so i clicked it back off and set it on the couch thinking i'd just worry about it later. 2 hours later, my girlfriend and i were watching a movie on that same couch, and i heard a pop then less than a second later, a huge boom that sounded like a shotgun blast.

    I was hit in the face with something metal, and the entire left side of my body was hit with burning crap and glass. I was cut in about 20 places, 2 of which were bleeding profusely. My couch was pretty much completely destroyed, and my clothes are a total loss. I inhaled a bunch of dust/gas, and coughed a LOT. That is when i decided to go to the ER.

    http://i39.tinypic.com/14t7fvs.jpg
    http://i41.tinypic.com/zmi638.jpg
    http://i43.tinypic.com/2ihr1br.jpg
    Last edited by Empath; 03-24-2010 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Oversized image changed to link to stop horizontal scrolling

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Illum's Avatar
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    Thinking Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by RAGE CAGE View Post
    Scary stuff there- on a 1 cell 123 torch? What brand,type batt were you using? Single cell lights are SUPPOSED to be safe and not go .
    Pics please...this is crazy. Did you mod the light from the orig. bulb?
    uh... the thread op did say "6V"
    what single cell cr123A light do you own thats "6v"?
    http://www.blackhawk.com/product/Nig...olt,501,40.htm

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Illum View Post
    uh... the thread op did say "6V"
    what single cell cr123A light do you own thats "6v"?
    http://www.blackhawk.com/product/Nig...olt,501,40.htm
    uh....sorry.....I should have went to the manufacturers website first.
    Corrected post- sounds like you already know what happened......
    Last edited by RAGE CAGE; 03-24-2010 at 11:05 AM. Reason: stfu

  10. #10

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    First hope that you will be okay, have a doctor check you out and tell him/her that you inhaled fumes from the batteries and what they were exactly.

    Next tell us exactly what batteries you had, name brand, voltage rating, rechargeable or single use, whether or not they had a full charge on them or if you had put a fresh battery in with an older one, info like that. What the run time was on the batteries prior to the , and if you have more of these batteries at home. Very important stuff.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    The light is an incan light with two 3 volt lithium batteries (Probably CR123).
    With an incan bulb it can discharge the batteries completely or reverse charge one battery.
    My website with battery, charger, usb reviews, comparisons & information: https://lygte-info.dk/
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    i have spoken with both VP's of Blackhawk, and so far they have been very polite and helpful. They've said that if they find that the light was to blame, they will pay for all my medical bills, replace my couch and clothes, and replace the light (unsure how i feel about that).

    if they are willing to do all that, I will not litigate, as i'm not interested in trying to get more money out of it than it cost me... but that being said, if they decide it's not their problem, i have already talked to a lawyer, and he has the paperwork ready for me to sign so that we can begin legal proceedings asap.

    I just want Blackhawk to make it right. Even if the batteries fail the flashlight should not come apart like a shotgun shell.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    the following is a potential explanation as to what could have happened. It is speculation based on the new input above, not a verified failure analysis: It is very possible that the "new bulb" was a defect and the filaments were shorted and when you turned it on it drew high current. Turning it off may not have actually switched off the current. the switch contacts may have been damaged from high current flow of turn on into a shorted filament. So its possible it was sitting there drawing current in the couch even though there was no light output and then eventually one battery got depleted, reverse charged first and blew.

    It is also possible that the lamp assembly was not installed correctly and that caused a short that bypassed the lamp altogether.

    I have had one switch that failed when I tested a high current SST-50 direct drive LED through it that was drawing 4.7 amps. It would not turn off when I switched it off. In this case I knew the flashlight was on by light coming out of the LED and undid the tail cap to turn the light off. If there was a short circuit where there was no light output you would not know that it was still stuck in the on position drawing current.

    the part we would need to examine is the lamp assembly.

    That's my theory at the moment.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* saabgoblin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Is that a battery charger that I see in your first picture? Should you be charging primary Cr123's in a charger, you can expect the batteries and or light to explode. I don't know if you did charge primaries but that could definitely do the trick. Basically, I just hope that you are okay and no permanent damage was done to either you and or you're girlfriend.
    "Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place". John Bender, The Breakfast Club

  15. #15

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Man, that's scary!

    energizer 123a

    both pretty new, and fully charged

    It sounds like it might have been user error though... you talk about "fully charged" energizer 123s... charging primaries is a good way to make them explode!

    Follow the directions on the package and only charge batteries that are intended to be charged.
    Last edited by csa; 03-24-2010 at 01:47 PM.
    EDC E1B, Tigerlight w/LED dropin for when I need more light. Love my new Zebralight H30 for floody tasks and my Quark Mini123 for being awesomely small and bright.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGman View Post
    the following is a potential explanation as to what could have happened. It is speculation based on the new input above, not a verified failure analysis: It is very possible that the "new bulb" was a defect and the filaments were shorted and when you turned it on it drew high current. Turning it off may not have actually switched off the current. the switch contacts may have been damaged from high current flow of turn on into a shorted filament. So its possible it was sitting there drawing current in the couch even though there was no light output and then eventually one battery got depleted, reverse charged first and blew.

    It is also possible that the lamp assembly was not installed correctly and that caused a short that bypassed the lamp altogether.

    I have had one switch that failed when I tested a high current SST-50 direct drive LED through it that was drawing 4.7 amps. It would not turn off when I switched it off. In this case I knew the flashlight was on by light coming out of the LED and undid the tail cap to turn the light off. If there was a short circuit where there was no light output you would not know that it was still stuck in the on position drawing current.

    the part we would need to examine is the lamp assembly.

    That's my theory at the moment.

    unfortunately, the lamp assembly disintigrated into the dust that you see on the couch in the first picture as well as the glass that i pulled out of my leg and arm... it's not around to examine.


    Quote Originally Posted by saabgoblin View Post
    Is that a battery charger that I see in your first picture? Should you be charging primary Cr123's in a charger, you can expect the batteries and or light to explode. I don't know if you did charge primaries but that could definitely do the trick. Basically, I just hope that you are okay and no permanent damage was done to either you and or you're girlfriend.
    that is the remote to my dvd player. I do not charge 123a batteries.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Beprepared View Post
    Even if the batteries fail the flashlight should not come apart like a shotgun shell.
    When batteries misbehave (understatement), the built up gasses inside the flashlight need to go somewhere.

    Depending on how airtight the flashlight is, the gasses may vent out the tailcap area, bezel area (as yours appears to have), or the flashlight body may self destruct if the gasses are building up rapidly (which is usually the case).

    Even Surefire flashlights (the cream of the crop) have come apart when CR123A primary cells failed.

    EDIT: Scary pictures
    Last edited by Black Rose; 03-24-2010 at 02:15 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    The only real evidence you have is that the new lamp did not come on when installed. I see from the link to the vendor's site its an entire lamp assembly you are just dropping in and not a little tiny bi-pin lamp that you have to plug in yourself and could have an accident with. If that is correct, the likelyhood that you could have "dropped it in" wrong is very low, but not Zero %. Its always possible that the center spring for the module was touching the positive terminal of the battery and also somehow touching the case wall. The metal spring would have been a very low resistive load to the batteries. It may be a remote possibility but still until its ruled out its still a possibility.

    Were both batteries new or of the same previous condition, meaning they were both in the same light together previously and not having one or the other changed out?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    both batteries were in THIS light previously, were purchased the same day, and had been in this light together from the day i bought them. They were almost never used, but they worked just fine until the bulb went out.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* gswitter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGman View Post
    Its always possible that the center spring for the module was touching the positive terminal of the battery and also somehow touching the case wall. The metal spring would have been a very low resistive load to the batteries. It may be a remote possibility but still until its ruled out its still a possibility.
    +1

    I'm not familiar with the internals of the Falcata. Do you remove the tail cap to insert the batteries, or are they inserted through the head side of the body? Maybe this is similar to the issue we see with the springs on P60 lamps getting deflected if the batteries aren't removed when lamps are replaced?

    Glad you're OK, BTW.



  21. #21

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Beprepared,

    It's hard to tell from those tinypic images. Do you have a good photo of what's left of the light - the tube, the head, those pieces - you could post?

  22. #22
    Enlightened Olef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Wow. A lot of damage there. I hope you don't suffer any lasting effects. Thanks for keeping us informed, it is appreciated.

    Seems to me that lithium cell powered lights require way more than normal care and attention. I wonder how many of us here would have done the same as the OP did - light doesn't work so drop it down to check out later. I doubt many of us would have been careful enough or aware enough to have realised what was happening The more I learn here the more it seems to me that li-ions, rechargeable or primary, must be treated with the utmost respect and at the slightest sign of anything untoward treated as potential grenades with the pin out.

    Olef

  23. #23

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    pics as requested. Best i can do without getting my good camera from my girlfriend.

    the grey areas on the couch are all burns. There are over a dozen small holes burned in the couch that don't show up in the pics, and several dozen slivers of glass and metal imbedded in it.

    [IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/70akaf.jpg[IMG]
    [IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/9johg9.jpg[IMG]

    [IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/1zj5gx.jpg[IMG]
    Last edited by SilverFox; 03-27-2010 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Pictures need to be resized.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    I think Energizer is at least partly at fault here, and you should also contact them.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    the problem with that is that i can only find one of the batteries. The other one was billowing smoke and my gf threw it outside. I have looked in the bushes, but i can't find it. Here's a pic of the one i have left. That should give you an idea of the exact model energizer.

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/k37w9d.jpg[IMG]
    Last edited by SilverFox; 03-27-2010 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Picture needs to be resized.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Stillphoto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Looks like that battery is somewhat intact (from this side view). Assuming the smoking one outside is the one that went boom? Probably going to have to find that one if you want to bring Energizer in on this right?

    I'm guessing that mesh like material is an internal component of the 123 that blew.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    i can't imagine energizer just taking my word for it that the other one was one of theirs, so unless i can find the other battery, i don't see them doing much. I think it is more the replacement bulb assembly that is to blame anyway, which puts it in Blackhawk's field.

    I have no clue at all what the mesh is. I was wondering that myself, but it's scorched, and was melted to my couch, so whatever it is, it was HOT

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    If a flashlight is designed in a way that replacing a bulb lends it to explode then I think the flashlight is a flawed design. If batteries explode when a flashlight is flawed then they are at least partly at fault. I am going to say 2 cell flashlights should have a pressure release mechanism because of the known situation involving 2 cells where one can reverse charge another.
    Make sure you have no long term effects from this incident. My experience with Blackhawk is that they build good quality lights but as with anything you can have a bad apple in the bunch. That's not to say it was even the fault of the light. The battery chemistry is inherently dangerous in those type of cells. Hopefully at some point in the future there will be cells that can provide the same or better power without the explosive concern these type have.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Wow! Thanks for the detailed photos. Remind me to stay away from Energizer lithiums - oops, never-mind, you just did! I assume there was at one time a glass lens in front of the bulb that's now also just shards. Good thing it wasn't clipped in your shirt pocket when it blew!

    One other thought: the original bulb that died that caused you to replace it with another - do you still have that dead bulb? Have you checked to make sure the bulb's really open or shorted (with an ohmmeter would be the easiest way)? I was just wondering if something could have failed in the light which would look like a failed bulb, but might have actually set up the proper conditions for causing this sort of catastrophic failure after you put in the replacement bulb. Just an idea.
    Last edited by tsmccull; 03-24-2010 at 07:32 PM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Blackhawk Flashlight literally exploded like a bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Beprepared View Post
    energizer 123a

    both pretty new, and fully charged

    Are you saying that you charged them?

    Or do you always check the voltage of batteries when new out of the pack before installing?

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