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

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  • 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. #31
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I find one-quarter failures for H501s to stretch credulity. If I own/gifted/track nine of them, shouldn't two or three have failed by now, based on these reports?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedsix View Post
    Why is a light that is not even out yet in the poll?
    When I used to do research, we'd always put a "gotcha" question in there to see if people were paying attention. If they failed the "gotcha" question we were justified throwing that poll away; it was clear evidence the data that subject gave was worthless.
    Last edited by Bolster; 01-26-2012 at 08:11 PM.

  2. #32

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    I find one-quarter failures for H501s to stretch credulity. If I own/gifted/track nine of them, shouldn't two or three have failed by now, based on these reports?
    as i noted in Note 2 of the OP and post #22, i made a mistake which failed to exclude the bad early batch of H501 from the poll. the 3 to 1 ratio here mirrors the ratio in the first Zebralight Reliability poll which also failed to exclude the bad early batch of H501.

    Quote Originally Posted by speedsix View Post
    Why is a light that is not even out yet in the poll?
    this poll is intended to be open until the end of the year. the H502 is planned for release sometime this year. i cannot make changes to the poll once it goes up. that's why i included the H502 even though it hasn't been released yet. i explained this in the OP.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    When I used to do research, we'd always put a "gotcha" question in there to see if people were paying attention. If they failed the "gotcha" question we were justified throwing that poll away; it was clear evidence the data that subject gave was worthless.
    i'm pretty sure that one prankster is responsible for giving every model a bad vote, so if we throw that out, the results after 61 voters are as follows:

    H501 models - 15 owners reported no failures, 5 owners reported failures - ratio of 3:1 - this probably includes some bad early H501 units.

    H51 models - 28 owners reported no failures, 1 owner reported failures - ratio of 28:1

    H31 models - 17 owners reported no failures, 1 owner reported failures - ratio of 17:1

    H600 models - 8 owners reported no failures, 4 owners reported failures - ratio of 2:1

    H502 models - not released yet

    the poll doesn't tell us how many units each owner owns, so we can't say what the failure rate is per unit. this is just based on how many owners have had problems or no problems.

    this is not a great poll, i just think it's better than nothing. if you can make a better poll, i think we would all welcome that, me included.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 01-31-2012 at 06:56 AM. Reason: updated results as of 1/31, exactly one month after the poll went up

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I have the h31 which i edc-great light, no failures.

  5. #35
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    If you think about it, these results add credibility to Zebralight's own explanation. They said they had a bad batch of H501s in early 2009, and that's where you see the majority of failures. Once you take out the H501s, it's hard to make the case that Zebralight is, across the board, a manufacturer with horrid reliability, as has been implied countless times here at CPF.

    I'm not considering the H600 at the moment because it's new, and the 'n' is low. But I sure as heck hope that isn't history repeating itself...rushing a new light out the door before it's been completely tested? That would border on unforgivable, given that the lesson should have been learned with the early H501s.

    Honestly, the results as they stand (caveats aside about the methodology, as has been noted) make me wonder if I want to be first in line for the H502, or do I want to wait a couple months? If Zebralight is using the marketplace as their quality control testing laboratory, then that tells me to wait, and let someone else be the experimental subject...!
    Last edited by Bolster; 01-26-2012 at 10:06 PM.

  6. #36
    Flashaholic Glock27's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I'll order a 502w the day they take orders! My replacement H600w has went swimming several times with no problems.

    G27

  7. #37
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    My impression of zebralight quality is that their QAQC is lacking given the complicated nature of their headlamps. Most of the failures seem to happen with brand new lights. The reliability is good IF you get a working one. They really should do a little burn-in at the factory, but with demand higher than supply there is little motivation to do so.

  8. #38
    Flashaholic whiteoakjoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Just came out of hunting season and part way through trapping season with a H51Fc, I have had the light for almost a year now and it gets used as a headlamp most of the time. Best light I have ever owned for walking in the woods. Not one issue yet so reliable I rarely carry a backup headlamp. (i do keep a Olight AA in my pack just in case) I wouldn't change a thing about mine.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    15/06/11 me and my friend bought two Zebra H31Fw to the site www.zebralight.com
    The first lamp stopped working after three uses !
    I replaced the battery, but the lights did not work. A month later I decided to turn the lantern again.
    A miracle happened! It works again!
    The second lamp has worked 6 month and died.
    The last 4 months from 6 months, Zebrahad a problem with the switch.
    Now from the lantern burning smell.
    I am disappointed !


    Last edited by Dmitriyrus; 03-30-2012 at 06:21 AM.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I own both the H50 and the H30 and I have no complaints since both are functioning perfectly. Knock on wood!

    The only minor complaints I have are: as previously mentioned, especially with the H30, the light abruptly turns off once battery capacity drops below a certain point. It would be nice to have some sort of warning. The other complaint is that the headband appears to have been sewn on and is starting to wear out so replacing it will be a nuisance. I notice you can buy a replacement on Zebralight's website - too bad you can't just replace the band instead of the band / holder.
    Looking for: jhanko 'biohazard' V10R Ti clip, Luce de Notte (SS / Ti), SF Z2 (body, complete light, bored, unbored). Pls PM me with an offer.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I was supportive of Zebralight in the previous thread. For some time now, they've been the only Chinese manufacturer I would even look at, but my experience with them has quickly gone downhill, and they won't be seeing any more of my money.

    I ordered a "new UI" H501w, having been satisfied with my other ZLs, and it would flash briefly then turn off when activated. Returned that one for a refund.
    The H60w I'd been getting dependable use out of for some time at work screwed up-water under lens, and circuit failure due to water ingress.
    So I put one of my two H30ws on my hardhat as a temporary replacement for the H60w-malfunction due to water ingress a few nights later in its first heavy rain, modes not working, turning itself on and off. It started working again after drying out, but obviously can't be trusted.
    Those last two are both out of warranty.

    My SC30w worked fine, but was lost in three days due to the clip and short body, I guess.
    SC51Fw and other H30w continue to work fine with regular use. 'Course they haven't been used in the rain.

    Disappointing to say the least, and an embarassment, because I've recommended Zebralights to other people.
    They've been wonderful users with their floody beams, consistent color temps, excellent materials, machining and anodizing, and I thought highly of them, but reliability of the circuitry and waterproofing obviously just isn't there.
    I won't count the SC30w, so will say I'm now at a 60% failure rate with 5 Zebralights, and 100% failure rate of ones exposed to the elements.
    That's not just bad, it's pathetic. Would have had three more by now, but so much for my favorite brand...

  12. #42

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Owen: It's discouraging to hear about those bad experiences. I've been lucky with the Zebralights I have, but that's really concerning in regard to the waterproofing issues. I've never actually put mine through the ringer that way, but certainly if you need a headlamp that's waterproof (or in the very least highly water resistant) and you buy one with that characteristic...and it fails to perform up to stated standards...that's surely a major reliability issue.

  13. #43
    Flashaholic michman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I am really happy with my ZL 501w and H51(f)w's. I only wish that the H501w gave a bit more warning before the battery dies...
    EDC: SS ReVo S2 (1yr), E01 (1yr). Camping: Tikka XP (6 yrs). RIP: CMG Infinity (10 yrs), Gerber Infinity (7yrs)
    For a light to be worth while to EDC, it needs to be able to last a decade.

  14. #44
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I wonder what the base-rate for failures is, across the board, for all brands. I was just reading the Surefire Maximus, Minimus AA... thread and was noticing all the complaints of failures there, too. I wonder if there are any headlamp brands that are hardier than others, or are they pretty much all the same, on average. Dunno. They all seem to have plenty of reported failures. Makes me more and more of a "two is one" guy.
    Last edited by Bolster; 03-28-2012 at 09:36 PM.

  15. #45

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I 've had my h31 for 15 months now and no issues at all..it works as failthfully as it did on day 1..i've since bough an sc600 and h600..both work perfectly although i've only had them 3-4 months..love zebralight

  16. #46
    Flashaholic* B0wz3r's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I have four different ZL's, an SC50w+, an H51w, and SC60w, and an H51Fr, and not had a single problem with any of them. I've had my SC50w+ for nearly two years now and it has been a faithful and reliable light and it's been through the ringer. It's gone through the washing machine, been to the top of Yosemite Falls in January, been accidentally dropped half a dozen times, gone through four days of caving at Lava Beds National Monument, close to a dozen camping and backpacking trips, and even been thrown into the dog's water dish by my 3 y.o. daughter and it still fires up first time, every time. I don't have a single other light with a better track record.

    I'll be buying more ZL's as soon as I can afford it; I have an SC600w, SC80c, and an H502w on my want list.
    What? Me? Derail a thread?

  17. #47
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I've got a SC51w, SC51, H51r, H51, and my brother now has a H51Fw which is really going to get bashed around. Apart from the first one they're fairly new. The SC51w is about a year old and used daily. The SC51 and H51r are getting daily use strapped onto my bike or helmet so they're getting pretty rough treatment including being directly sprayed with water and mud coming off the road.

    No issues with any of them, but I haven't voted - will wait till much later in the year

  18. #48

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Had to return my first H600w - the switch worked for less than a day, after which it needed too much force to use. The replacement has been OK.

    On my SC600w, the emitter is just a bit off center, but the beam is OK (and very floody).

    (Both have the same acceptable tint, yellow with an ignoreable hint of what could be dubbed "xml sick green". Why, oh why, don't manufacturers just use T4 4A's.)

  19. #49
    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by bbb74 View Post
    I've got a SC51w, SC51, H51r, H51, and my brother now has a H51Fw which is really going to get bashed around. Apart from the first one they're fairly new. The SC51w is about a year old and used daily. The SC51 and H51r are getting daily use strapped onto my bike or helmet so they're getting pretty rough treatment including being directly sprayed with water and mud coming off the road.

    No issues with any of them, but I haven't voted - will wait till much later in the year
    I've only got one SC51w and have gifted an SC51 - both doing great, but not much abuse either. Since I'm planning on probably getting an SC600w I'll hold off voting until later too.
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

  20. #50

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    I've had no trouble for the last 9 months with my SC600, so I just ordered a 38 gram H600 after waiting so long for a future HP12 XM-L, and toying with the Spark SD6 and ST6 which both seemed to be too heavy and underpowered...

  21. #51
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by bbb74 View Post
    I've got a SC51w, SC51, H51r, H51, and my brother now has a H51Fw which is really going to get bashed around. Apart from the first one they're fairly new. The SC51w is about a year old and used daily. The SC51 and H51r are getting daily use strapped onto my bike or helmet so they're getting pretty rough treatment including being directly sprayed with water and mud coming off the road.

    No issues with any of them, but I haven't voted - will wait till much later in the year
    Well just had the first failure. The H51Fw is dead as a dodo. 5 months of daily use. The others are still going strong.

  22. #52
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Hi all,
    purchased H51 in 2010. Have used it randomly on hikings and other outdoor activities. No hard usage, never used in rain, no hard falls etc. In august this year torch went dead for no reason. Contacted ZL CS dept., paid repair fee and sent it back to China. Starting november contacted ZL again about status. Reply was they did not receive my package, torch was lost (last tracking point says it has reached China)! Thought i will spend some more cash to get quality light that will serve for some time. Now there is no light, no money but great disappointment. I have to say i was very happy with the torch until it worked, it perfectly fitted my needs, but confidence is lost now.

  23. #53
    Enlightened Pretbek's Avatar
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    Default Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    "There is a high failure rate among people who vote in this poll."

    Statistical use of these numbers is extremely limited, because the participants are self-selecting AND failures get counted 1:1 "per voter" and not 1:x "per total number of ZL lights owned".

    To add to the numbers: I have owned an H502d for a staggering 35 days and it hasn't failed me yet.
    EDIT: There, and because of my tiny phone screen and fat thumbs, I just voted that I DID have problems with my 502. Awesome.
    Last edited by Pretbek; 11-18-2012 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Screwed up my vote.

  24. #54

    Default

    I've had a couple failures with my light. Fixed them by cleaning the six contact surfaces.

    Also in leu of dunking my light in water and then subjecting it to positive and negative pressure changes while submerged, I instead produced suction on the empty, open battery tube until the switch "pressed" in due to the partial vacuum inside of the light. I kept it in that state for a minute or two until I was satisfied that it wasn't losing vacuum. Did the same thing with the lens face except there was no volume to recreate a partial vacuum, no bubbles appeared and the switch certainly wasn't effected.
    I find this H51Fc to be more reliable than many good tools.
    If you experience a "failure", and then fix it by cleaning the conductive surfaces, is it a failure?
    I'd vote no.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  25. #55

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Received the H502d a couple days and hadn't worked since i got it. Trying to get an exchange from Zebralight which the process thus far has been painfully slow. I am hoping ZL makes it right!

  26. #56

    Default

    That sucks, Dukester2, hope it's resolved to your satisfaction quick..
    I'm really looking forward to getting an H502c, can't wait. Wish I had a big old pile of money to roll around in. ;-)
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  27. #57

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Dukester2 View Post
    Received the H502d a couple days and hadn't worked since i got it. Trying to get an exchange from Zebralight which the process thus far has been painfully slow. I am hoping ZL makes it right!
    I've told this story before, but it might bear repeating. The first ZebraLight I ever bought (an H501w) gave me problems when it first arrived. I couldn't get it to work at all -- until I thoroughly cleaned and lubed the tailcap threads and tightened the cap down hard. Then it started working just fine. The first few times I loosened and tightened the tailcap, I had to tighten it pretty hard to get it to make proper contact. After a while, it eased into a state where normal tightening worked (and has been working that way ever since).

    This might not have anything to do with the problem you're experiencing, Dukester2...but cleaning, lubing, and tightening the tailcap down relatively hard couldn't hurt (and might fix the problem).

  28. #58

    Default

    ZL makes one single battery do an awful lot, and there are Six contact surfaces in the battery compartment that the current has to cross in order for the light to work.

    Mine died a couple times. Cleaned the contacts and it came back like new.

    Wiped the battery, the positive terminal inside the light, the negative terminal spring in the tail cap, the little gold ring down inside the tail cap, and the bare aluminum end of the battery tube that contacts the gold ring.

    People swear by DeoxIT for cleaning electrical contacts, good luck.
    Last edited by eh4; 12-04-2012 at 11:07 AM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  29. #59

    Default Re: Zebralight Reliability Poll Revised for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by varuscelli View Post
    I've told this story before, but it might bear repeating. The first ZebraLight I ever bought (an H501w) gave me problems when it first arrived. I couldn't get it to work at all -- until I thoroughly cleaned and lubed the tailcap threads and tightened the cap down hard. Then it started working just fine. The first few times I loosened and tightened the tailcap, I had to tighten it pretty hard to get it to make proper contact. After a while, it eased into a state where normal tightening worked (and has been working that way ever since).

    This might not have anything to do with the problem you're experiencing, Dukester2...but cleaning, lubing, and tightening the tailcap down relatively hard couldn't hurt (and might fix the problem).
    Thanks for your experience and cleaning tip. With the headlamp in question I already sent back to ZL for exchange. If I do have problems in the future I will certainly apply your advice. Where do you get this contact cleaner, Radio Shack? There were also a couple times when I turned on the Headlamp whereas the body of the Headlamp would heat up but would not light.

  30. #60

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dukester2 View Post
    There were also a couple times when I turned on the Headlamp whereas the body of the Headlamp would heat up but would not light.
    Wow, that changes everything. Sounds like a critical failure.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

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