4 Sevens

View Poll Results: Have you had any trouble with your Zebralight

Voters
142. You may not vote on this poll
  • No trouble w/ my H501/H501w with press fit switch

    30 21.13%
  • Yes, had a failure w/ my H501/H501w with press fit switch

    10 7.04%
  • No trouble w/ my H51 (all variants)

    64 45.07%
  • Yes, had a failure w/ my H51 (all variants)

    8 5.63%
  • No trouble w/ my H31 (all variants)

    30 21.13%
  • Yes, had a failure w/ my H31 (all variants)

    8 5.63%
  • No trouble w/ my H600/H600w

    24 16.90%
  • Yes, had a failure w/ my H600/H600w

    15 10.56%
  • No trouble w/ my H502/H502w

    13 9.15%
  • Yes, had a failure w/ my H502/H502w

    6 4.23%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

  1. #1

    Default Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    As discussed in the original Zebralight Reliability thread, here's a revised poll with more refined parameters. It's still not exactly scientific, but hopefully this will give us a better idea about whether only certain Zebras tend to go bad or they all do.

    I've limited the poll to Zebralight headlamps which are currently available to purchase. So the H50, the H30, and both versions of the H60 are not included as they are generally not available. I have included the H502 for any future users. Multiple selections are allowed in case you've owned multiple models.

    Also, this is not a thread about Zebra's customer service. Please limit any rants to the reliability of the Zebralights themselves and rant elsewhere about how disappointed you were with their communication or shipping times

    The poll will close at the end of the year, so hopefully it won't be resurrected years later by some disgruntled Zebra customer.

    Note: In the poll I identified the second gen H501 as having a press fit switch. I realize that this may be erroneous. I'm not sure how exactly the switch ring is attached. Just know that by that I meant the second gen H501. Sorry.

    Note 2 (1/14): as per post #20-22 below, THIS POLL DOES NOT EXCLUDE THE DEFECTIVE BATCH OF EARLY H501'S. I was mistaken about the H501 having two different versions of the switch ring. I thought that the H501 with the permanent switch ring was a second version and that there was a first version with a screw down switch ring. However, the Zebra H501 seems to have always had a permanent switch ring. The phantom "first version" seems to just have been a figment of my imagination*. I thought that including only what I believed to be the newer generation of H501 would exclude the defective batch of early H501's, but instead I've probably only succeeded in confusing a bunch of people. I'm sorry about that. I can't make changes to the poll. As a result, this poll is even more flawed than initially thought. I think it still has value concerning the other models (H51, H31, H600, and in the future the H502), but the info regarding the H501 is probably useless. Again, I offer my sincerest apologies.

    *i'm not sure exactly where this idea came from. it likely has something to do with the H60 having two different versions of switches. i might have even gotten the Zebra H501 confused with the Ultrafire UF-H2 - the UF-H2 has a screwed down switch ring. I don't know.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 01-25-2012 at 05:14 PM. Reason: added Note 2

  2. #2

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    I own the H51f, have been edc'ing it now for over a year and have had no problems whatsoever. Flashlight has worked perfect. Also, it gets fairly beat up... it has hit concrete quite a few times. Worth noting that for all the times it has hit concrete, it still cosmetically looks almost new.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Not quite ready to vote in this poll yet but I do know that a common complaint of the Zebralights is that when the battery no longer can provide the juice the ZL lights will just shut off without warning or without dimming down to a lower setting.

    This is a problem with my H31w and SC51. Both these lights however are more than a year old. I wonder if ZL has gone around to fixing this problem...
    I hope so because as much as I like these lights these no-warning shut-offs are tremendously irritating.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Imon View Post
    Not quite ready to vote in this poll yet but I do know that a common complaint of the Zebralights is that when the battery no longer can provide the juice the ZL lights will just shut off without warning or without dimming down to a lower setting.

    This is a problem with my H31w and SC51. Both these lights however are more than a year old. I wonder if ZL has gone around to fixing this problem...
    I hope so because as much as I like these lights these no-warning shut-offs are tremendously irritating.
    i think that's more of a design flaw than an actual failure. let's limit the discussion to instances of actual failure.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    i only have my H501w left, ive used it almost nightly for over 2 years now. no problems here

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    No failures from either of my two older H50s either, but they weren't included in the survey.

    Too bad I get only one vote, as I own five zebralights. I should be able to vote on each.

    I'm going to quote this guy (LOL) from the other thread, as background information:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Africanexp: you are aware of the known issue with Zebralights early 2009? Several weeks or months of insufficiently sealed H501s and H60s left the factory, and cause a large uptick in failure rates that spread out over months (and years), giving Zebralight a black eye for reliability. Zebralight is up front about this:

    "First few batches of H501 and H60 had problems with leaking switch caps and lens, causing mulfuntions of the lights. They have been addressed long time ago with revised/modified machining and assembly process."

    Even though Zebralight fixed the problem relatively quickly, so many were purchased during that time period (and later, from dealers) it's had a negative effect on peoples' perception of reliability. Not that they're perfect but you are not seeing nearly the volume of complaints with more recent (or earlier) releases. Take out that bad batch of lights and Zebralight would probably have a normal-looking number of failures. A shame it happened though, and I suspect they learned a valuable lesson. No reports of a similar problem since, that I'm aware of.

    One other thing to consider. Imagine that brands A and B both have failure rates of 2 out of 100. Brand A is wildly popular on CPF, and hardly anybody on CPF buys brand B. Which brand will have more reported failures on CPF? Now look at rankings of relative popularity.

    Take me for example...I own 5 Zebras, have given 2 as gifts, and talked my sailor friend (who is torturing them slowly to death) into buying 2. So I'm keeping an eye on 9 of them. No failures. BUT, I didn't buy any of them in 2009. I bought both earlier and later, just by luck. The sailor uses his constantly in a salt environment that will eventually kill them, but they've held up so far. When he does kill them, I'll report.

    For the record I own Zebralight, Spark, Petzl, Icon, and Energizer headlamps. (Looking forward to my first SF when they make a decent AA version.) For mission critical tasks, I don't "completely trust" any of them; they're just inexpensive mass produced items. I always carry a backup. If I owned a custom Horton or a $600 Scurion, I might feel differently.
    Last edited by Bolster; 01-07-2012 at 08:58 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Too bad I get only one vote, as I own five zebralights. I should be able to vote on each.
    yeah, i wish there was a way to reflect that in the survey too, but we're kind of limited to what we have. unless you want to reactivate your old Survey Monkey account.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    bump.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    The previous poll is now closed. It was not specific as to models, but the results were:

    No trouble reported: 258
    Failure reported: 83

    That is a failure rate of just under 1 in 3. It seems a high figure, but as with all such polls it cannot really be regarded as a reliable scientific sample. People will probably be more likely to report a failure.
    Resistance is futile...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Also many on here will have had multiple zebralights and if any failures occur will report it, even if all their other zebralights were fine.

    For example, I have had an H501w, H51 and SC51. The circuit died on the H501w (first driver version) but since it has been repaired (new driver) it has had no issues. The H51 and SC51 also had no problems, although I only had the SC51 for a few weeks before sending it back due to glue on the LED dome, it was lost in the post and I never heard back from zebralight..

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedForest UK View Post
    Also many on here will have had multiple zebralights and if any failures occur will report it, even if all their other zebralights were fine..
    Between the Zebras I own and the ones I've given to friends, I keep my eye on the health of 9 zebralights. When one fails, I'll report it and it will be counted as an example of a failure. But that would be one failure for nine lights (if and when it happens). The more Zebralights I buy, the more likely it is I'll be reporting a failure.

    So one way to look at the failure rate, as counted here, is a rough proxy for popularity. At minimum, "failure" and "popularity" are inextricably confounded, the way we're counting it. And before Cox Communications deleted all my images, you may recall seeing a graph I submitted, based on polling data from this forum, showing that Zebralights were far and away the most popular headlamps on this forum.

    Unless you know how many lights each owner has, the failure rate reported here or in the previous thread doesn't give a reliable estimate of failure percentage.
    Last edited by Bolster; 01-10-2012 at 01:29 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Between the Zebras I own and the ones I've given to friends, I keep my eye on the health of 9 zebralights. When one fails, I'll report it and it will be counted as an example of a failure. But that would be one failure for nine lights (if and when it happens). The more Zebralights I buy, the more likely it is I'll be reporting a failure.

    So one way to look at the failure rate, as counted here, is a rough proxy for popularity. At minimum, "failure" and "popularity" are inextricably confounded, the way we're counting it. And before Cox Communications deleted all my images, you may recall seeing a graph I submitted, based on polling data from this forum, showing that Zebralights were far and away the most popular headlamps on this forum.

    Unless you know how many lights each owner has, the failure rate reported here or in the previous thread doesn't give a reliable estimate of failure percentage.
    Exactly, very well put

  13. #13

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    could we include the SC600 and the SC600w in the poll?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pocketlight View Post
    could we include the SC600 and the SC600w in the poll?
    That would exceed the number of options the software can have in a poll.

    Also, those two are not headlamps, and this is the headlamp section.
    Resistance is futile...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pocketlight View Post
    could we include the SC600 and the SC600w in the poll?
    sorry, i barely figured out how to make the poll above so i could be wrong, but i don't think changes can be made to a poll after it goes up. and there's only room for 10 choices and since this is the Headlamps forum, i limited the poll just to the Zebarlight "H" models that are or will be available this year.

    i think you could make a separate Zebralight Reliability Poll in the LED Flashlights forum for the Zebralight "SC" models. if you do, please let me know and i'll provide a link to it in this thread.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 01-10-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  16. #16
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    No failures reported on the H31 series so far, me likey.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    it looks like one member decided to vote that he had a failure with every model listed including the as yet unreleased H502.

    i guess it was inevitable. haters gon' hate.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    I probably would have included "i just want to vote" option

    but jesus, failure rate is high.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    I think restarting the previous poll is a good idea, but I have doubts whether we can determine much of an answer via this forum's limited polling feature:

    - We don't have a control group (ie, another brand or two to compare);

    - There's a well-known effect that people who experience product failure are disproportionally motivated to express their disappointment, relative to contented consumers who haven't experienced failure (I have seen this ratio reported to be around 7:1);

    - We are not tracking the date of purchase, and there is the known switch seal issue from early 2009...those defective lights would be counted again in this poll;

    - the voting is anonymous and there are both Zebralight proponents and detractors who may try to skew the results (as indicated by reports of failures on unreleased lights). This is probably the biggest problem, as Zebralight has spawned an identity-allegiance in some and a matching hatred in others;

    - nothing stops a person from registering under multiple names and voting multiple times;

    - a major confound between popularity and failure rate exists (as explained above);

    - multiple ownership isn't considered, so a single failure may represent many owned lights (as explained above).

    But many people won't factor (or don't understand) the above. Not everyone has had training in the interpretation of research, or understands how just one of the above problems could sink the validity of a study. The response will simply be the lowest common denominator:

    "The failure rate is high."
    Last edited by Bolster; 01-14-2012 at 10:34 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    - We are not tracking the date of purchase, and there is the known switch seal issue from early 2009...those defective lights would be counted again in this poll
    wasn't the defect limited to the models that had the screw down type switch ring? if so, this poll asks only for votes on the newer versions of the H501, so the defective batch should be excluded.

    i agree with all of your other point though. the results of this poll are not scientific.

    i think it's better than the old one though. at least all the models aren't clumped together and the defective 2009 batch should be excluded. the failure rate reported on the old poll was a staggering 1 in 4. the rate reported on this poll seems a little more reasonable, albeit still inaccurate.

    sometimes better doesn't rise to being good, but it is still better.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by robostudent5000 View Post
    wasn't the defect limited to the models that had the screw down type switch ring?
    I've never been able to nail this down for certain. I have never seen a screw-down ring on an H501, do they exist?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    I've never been able to nail this down for certain. I have never seen a screw-down ring on an H501, do they exist?
    oh snap. i have confused the H501 and the H60. i know the first version of the H60 had a screw down switch ring and was later updated to a permanent switch ring. i guess the H501 has always had the permanent switch ring.

    ugghh... i totally screwed the pooch on this one.

    so, as a result, i now agree with all the points Bolster made in post #19 - this poll does NOT exclude the bad batch of H501's.

    i'm tempted to start another poll that corrects this error... but i don't know. Admins, do you have any thoughts?

    Note: added a note "Note 2" to the OP to explain the error and its effects. this poll should still be kind of useful for the info gathered on the other models, but the info on the H501 might be useless now.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 01-16-2012 at 04:22 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Revised Zebralight Reliability Poll for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    I think restarting the previous poll is a good idea, but I have doubts whether we can determine much of an answer via this forum's limited polling feature:
    "The failure rate is high."
    why not a google docs form with public results? that way we can tailor all the results to answer all the questions.. like a zebralight census.

  24. #24
    Enlightened bluegreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I've had my H501 for six months now and use it every day, both around the house and backpacking. Never missed a beat. I even quite like the UI now and its is my new favourite torch. I'm not sure what the fast flashing modes are for. A much slower flash would be make more sense as rescue beacon when out hillwalking.

  25. #25
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Sending a h600w back. There's either an LED dome damage/phosphor problem or a piece of reflector/circuit junk has attached itself to the dome. It still provides usable light, so I'll wait a couple months, or until the supply catches up, to RMA.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic Glock27's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Can you remove the garbage the user put for the 502? This shows how little these pols actually tell you.
    G27

  27. #27

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Glock27 View Post
    Can you remove the garbage the user put for the 502? This shows how little these pols actually tell you.
    G27

    Yes, remove any negative comments or votes. Who do they think they are for casting a vote based on personal experience?

  28. #28

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Glock27 View Post
    Can you remove the garbage the user put for the 502?
    wish i could, but i don't think the poll system allows that.

    Quote Originally Posted by speedsix View Post
    Yes, remove any negative comments or votes. Who do they think they are for casting a vote based on personal experience?
    no one's asked for negative comments to be removed. as for the vote, please read before you type.

    Quote Originally Posted by robostudent5000 View Post
    it looks like one member decided to vote that he had a failure with every model listed including the as yet unreleased H502.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 01-25-2012 at 11:10 PM.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic Glock27's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by speedsix View Post
    Yes, remove any negative comments or votes. Who do they think they are for casting a vote based on personal experience?
    Dude..the 502 isn't even out yet and it already has a reported failure. This is obviously a lie. Every vote that this user cast is suspect.

    G27

  30. #30

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Glock27 View Post
    Dude..the 502 isn't even out yet and it already has a reported failure. This is obviously a lie. Every vote that this user cast is suspect.

    G27
    Why is a light that is not even out yet in the poll?

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