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Thread: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* guncollector's Avatar
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    Default Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Well, tried out my Surefire 6PN (for those unaware, that's Surefire-factory's pressure-certified [to 33m] model) for the first time on a dive in Lanai (Hawaii) today....and instead of bright light underwater, I got a dime orange glow, then fade-to-nothing...

    When I got to the surface, after the 1 hr. 10 min. dive (to a max depth of 45 feet) through caverns where I really could've used a functional 6PN, I discovered water had leaked in the tailcap, and "ruptured" (for lack of a better word) the momentary-on switch.

    "What a piece of #$@#!," I whispered to myself. When I collected myself and got over the initial disappointment, I realized even Surefire can ship out lemons. And unfortunately, I didn't have any facility to test the pressure-certification prior to an actual (and expensive) dive. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    But, I'm here in Hawaii for 1 more week (with three more two-tank dives), and will be calling Surefire to see what they can do to expedite me an exchange unit. I'm going to put Surefire's "World Class" customer service to the test.

    Anyway, just wanted to share my experience (and disappointment) with this particular Surefire 6PN unit.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    I think you shouldn't use any light of that type for diving. Use a real dive light from Tek-Tite or UKE. Tek-Tite's distinction between their "waterproof" lights and their actual dive lights is the dive lights have two O-rings. Any water that gets past the first ring then has to get past the second, and will be at much lower pressure.

    If you want a small 2L dive light, I like the UKE 2L, though it's not as bright as your 6PN.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    paulr said:
    I think you shouldn't use any light of that type for diving. Use a real dive light from Tek-Tite or UKE. Tek-Tite's distinction between their "waterproof" lights and their actual dive lights is the dive lights have two O-rings. Any water that gets past the first ring then has to get past the second, and will be at much lower pressure.

    If you want a small 2L dive light, I like the UKE 2L, though it's not as bright as your 6PN.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Sure, but where's the fun in that? The goal is to use one of my beloved Surefires while diving--where its form factor/light quality/brightness combination is tough to equal (especially with a P61 bulb).

    A non-defective 6PN should've handled my diving chores without any problems (if I'm not mistaken, then "N" is for Navy for chrissakes).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    sure sounds like poor qc, luckily it wasn't in the hands of a Navy member thats counting on the surefire for light.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Ron

    Did you turn it on and leave it on, prior to entering the water? Did you turn it off or rotate the tail underwater?

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that the tail/momentary cannot be activated after entering water.

    what does SureFire say?

    GregR

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Does it have a Lexan lens or is it a Pyrex lens?


  7. #7
    Flashaholic* chamenos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    if it has a lock-out tailcap, it shouldn't leak even when activated underwater. probably a defective tailcap.

    pahl: most probably lexan.

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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    I doubt any Operator would take kit into action without having put it though it's paces. And would not rely on one bit of kit alone.

    Having said that, I look forward to reading about your successful dealings with SureFire's customer service because it doesn't sound like what happened to you should have happened.

    The TailCap end of the body should be double o-ring sealed and there is another o-ring that isolates the switch button from the internal walls of the body.

    This allows you to use the TailCap underwater (lockout, momentary and constant-on). The deepest I've done this with non-certified SureFires is about 5 metres I believe.

    Al

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    Size15s said:
    I doubt any Operator would take kit into action without having put it though it's paces. And would not rely on one bit of kit alone.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yeah, only wannabe-operators like myself [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] would dive with untested equipment. LOL!

    [ QUOTE ]
    Having said that, I look forward to reading about your successful dealings with SureFire's customer service because it doesn't sound like what happened to you should have happened.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I thought much the same. I mean its supposed to be water-resistant to 33 meters, and I only dived to about half of that depth.

    [ QUOTE ]
    The TailCap end of the body should be double o-ring sealed and there is another o-ring that isolates the switch button from the internal walls of the body.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Aha! My TailCap is protected by only one o-ring. Possible culprit? I can't tell how the momentary-on switch is protected, and I can't tell if the "rupturing" was caused by the leak, or the corrosive muck that occurred upon saltwater-meeting-lithiums.

    [ QUOTE ]
    This allows you to use the TailCap underwater (lockout, momentary and constant-on). The deepest I've done this with non-certified SureFires is about 5 metres I believe.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    That's what I was hoping. But for the first dive I only used the twist-on feature--being afraid to use the momentary-on switch.

    Question: Should I let Surefire customer service know this is being followed by CPF members? I kinda loathe to play the "people-are-watching" card, but on the other hand it lets them know this is a chance for them to make some positive PR.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Does SF certify that their lights will operate underwater? I thought I read somewhere that their certification is so military operators can saftely carry or transport their lights through water to their destination. The N certification doesn't make it a dive light.

    I'll see if I can find that thread.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    guncollector said:
    Question: Should I let Surefire customer service know this is being followed by CPF members? I kinda loathe to play the "people-are-watching" card, but on the other hand it lets them know this is a chance for them to make some positive PR.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I would say no. Letting them know they are being watched will change their behavior. Depending on how you tell them, the individual you speak with may take offense as well.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Okay, heard back from Surefire.

    Here's the resolution, and IMO there's good news/bad news.

    Bad news first: Surefire will not directly "advance exchange" the unit (i.e. ship me the replacement unit first, taking a deposit on my CC, and reimbursing the deposit when they receive my defective unit). They claim because I bought it from one of their distributors (Strategos Intl), they cannot vouch for "what happened to the 6PN" while with the vendor. This was disappointing because I explained to them the unit was drop-shipped from Surefire directly to me!.

    Good news: Dorothy is shipping out a double-tested 6PN overnight to my rental condo today, to arrive tomorrow, in time for my Friday cavern dive--but I have to pay for it (as if buying a new one). This, in an of itself, is an accommodation as the 6PN's are in tight supply. More importantly it will salvage my upcoming dive trips.

    So, I'll end up probably sending my defective 6PN in for repair, and then have 2 (one for the wife, one for me).

    BTW, the 6PN's are supposed to be fully operational to their rated water-resistance (33m).

    Overall, I'd say the service was "Very Good" (with high marks for prompt replies and allocating a tight-supply model), but certainly not "World Class".

  13. #13

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Ron:

    What would qualify as World Class?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    guncollector said:
    Surefire will not directly "advance exchange" the unit (i.e. ship me the replacement unit first, taking a deposit on my CC, and reimbursing the deposit when they receive my defective unit).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think if Surefire would have done that, it would be "World Class".

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Thanks for the update.

    I'm interested to know whether the 6PN is meant to have double o-rings or not. Dan @TW should know I believe.
    I'm also interested to know what went wrong with you unit.

    Please keep us posted and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Al

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    FlashlightOCD said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    guncollector said:
    Surefire will not directly "advance exchange" the unit (i.e. ship me the replacement unit first, taking a deposit on my CC, and reimbursing the deposit when they receive my defective unit).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think if Surefire would have done that, it would be "World Class".

    [/ QUOTE ]
    To answer Blikbok's questions: Ditto to FlashlightOCD's opinion, plus picking up the overnight shipping--that would be the equivalent of "World Class" customer service.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    guncollector said:
    ...for the first dive I only used the twist-on feature--being afraid to use the momentary-on switch...


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That caught my attention. If the LOTC had been initially unscrewed far enough and then reengaged while submerged that may have provided an opportunity for water to breech the seal.

    Brightnorm

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    brightnorm said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    guncollector said:
    ...for the first dive I only used the twist-on feature--being afraid to use the momentary-on switch...


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That caught my attention. If the LOTC had been initially unscrewed far enough and then reengaged while submerged that may have provided an opportunity for water to breech the seal.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Actually, I anticipated that problem.

    So, I dove in with the constant-on twist set just about 1/4-turn past deactivation. By the time I submerged to about 45 feet, about 10 minutes or so later, a 1/4-turn in the activation direction produced only a dim orange glow, then as mentioned before nothing.

    I suppose that the leak had already occurred at that point, and was already shorting out the circuit.

    We'll have to see what Surefire eventually indicates, if they can determine at all, what the failure was.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Would it be better if the tailcap was screwed in all the way and the light was turned on and off by turning the bezel? That seems like it would provide the most waterproof method.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    FoxMulder said:
    Would it be better if the tailcap was screwed in all the way and the light was turned on and off by turning the bezel? That seems like it would provide the most waterproof method.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Fox, that might work, but I'd be afraid to try it.

    Y'know, the box my 6PN came in is clearly marked "6PN" on the end label, but inside were only the generic 6P instructions. My point being that there were no separate, 6PN-specific instructions.

    This combined with SF Techs indicating the 6PN should be "fully functional" to its rated water-resistant depth and absence of explicit underwater-operational instructions, to me indicates that it should function in the "normal" manner and retain its water-resistance through such usage.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Ron,

    As a person who has flooded 3 Nikonos and one video dive light, I can attest to the fact that a single dang cat hair on an O-ring can be a very expensive problem. I am not saying that some contaminate is what caused your failure but I do know that lubed O-rings are magnets to crap that can spell disaster! I think it's great that SF can and will N rate some of their lights but they really aren't dive lights and the tail switch is more trouble than it's worth beyond about 15' of depth. I dove successfully with an N rated M3 in Maui earily this year but like you kept the tail switch locked out.

    - Don

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    SureFire make a closed-end TailCap called the Z21. Still, double o-ring for it as you'll be rotating it.
    The Bezel end only has one o-ring and not intended to be rotated.

    Al

  23. #23

    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    So what is the big difference between a "regular" 6p and the 6pn? Can the regular 6p be made into a 6pn with the addition of a few o-rings?

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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    Were the O-rings removed from the flashlight, cleaned, properly lubricated with silicone grease or another approved lubricant, and properly reinstalled on the flashlight?

    I would not put in harms way any waterproof equipment out of the box without first doing the above.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    kaseri said:
    So what is the big difference between a "regular" 6p and the 6pn? Can the regular 6p be made into a 6pn with the addition of a few o-rings?

    [/ QUOTE ]
    The "big" difference is the tighter tolerances the N-certified 6P's parts are held to, plus the extra o-rings.

    It's not so much, as converting a 6P, as in selecting the "cream of the crop" out of a number ot 6P's to become N-cert'd--from my understanding of the process.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    [ QUOTE ]
    Tombeis said:
    Were the O-rings removed from the flashlight, cleaned, properly lubricated with silicone grease or another approved lubricant, and properly reinstalled on the flashlight?

    I would not put in harms way any waterproof equipment out of the box without first doing the above.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Shame on me, I did not. "If it weren't broke, I wasn't going to fix it" was my thinking, as this unit was drop-shipped from Surefire to me--as for all I knew, globbing on more of my Nye lube would undermine the unit's water-resistance.

    I'm going to call Surefire this morning, and double-check on if/what pre-dive preparations (i.e. additional lubrication) one should perform.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    guncollector:

    Just make the O-Rings shiny with lube. No globs please.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    According to an email from Steve Ryan at Surefire, the 6PSN I bought a while back has a "diaphragm sealed" tailcap and the light is tested to 1 atmosphere. I would guess, but don't know, that the 6PN should use the same method of sealing the tailcap.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Surefire 6PN: big letdown (poor QC?)

    that's correct; the only difference between the 6PSN and the 6PN should be the bezel, which is sealed the same way as the 6PN (press-fit lexan).

  30. #30
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    Default Resolution

    Spoke to Surefire today.

    Looks like I'm not going to be getting any explanation of what happened to my 6PN--perhaps SF is withholding the information or likely they just don't know (what happened).

    What they have said is they are simply going to replace (rather than repair) the 6PN with a newly certified unit. They only had 2 in stock, and I am apparently either very lucky (or perhaps just very persistent) to be receiving one of them.

    I haven't decided whether I'm going to keep this one, as I have a tried-and-true, tested 6PN already. So this brand-new one may be up for grabs (if you're interested in adding a 6PN to your collection, feel free to email me).

    Either way, giving credit where its due, its good to know Surefire stands behind their product with this type of replacement service.

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