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Thread: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    I wanted a high lumen output flashlight. The second link is the story on the mod. Great mod too but I used these batteries: link: 25500
    and charged it on a BC6 charger. I do not know if I set the charger on the correct setting this time. The light charged in series internally and that is a danger with lithium batteries as these. I relied on the BC6 protection circuits and settings.

    Every time I built a light a short time later it was available from Asia. I quit modding because of this predicament.

    Recently I obtained a 3x xml-t60 300 lumen flashlight and it was very remarkably brighter than the TM800 mod which was a 3x P7. The XML light is everything and maybe more than what DX says it to be. We are talking HID output. I am very pleased with it.

    DX is honestly listing its 18650 capacities and I found some with gold lables that come protected with or without tabs that burn an hour in this light. I also use them in my xml head light which I use when fishing, camping or hiking.

    I like 1200 lumens as opposed to those puny few hundred lumen head lamps. So I use the 1200 lumen bicycle lights that have headlight straps and put those on my noggin.

    background:
    Has the LED finally reached HID out put?

    TM800-x3 tripl3 P7, better sync than Mag or the return of Northern Lights!

    I only charge in the house when I am home and near the charger. I have a metal box with a welding pad, jewelers hot pad in it and it sets on a marble tile too.

    COMPLACENCY, yes, I set the charging light directly on the quilt that covers the cedar chest and not in the box. I heard boom and a hiss, went into the room and flames were licking the wall a couple feet above the light. There was horrible choking fumes and dense smoke. I alwas keep 3 extinguishers (result of my wife catching the kitchen on fire one night) and I calmly walked to the extinguisher and back while dialing 911. I shot the fire out, dropped the phone and stepped on it . I opened the house and used huge exhaust fans and spent a day cleaning up extinguisher powder. About an hour after crushing the phone the Sheriff responded to the 911 dead line to check it out. At the time I dropped it I could not find it because of the fumes and smoke.

    I must now paint the walls again.

    BOOM!



    The batteries blew out the double sync like a cannon ball powered by a flame thrower.

    BEFORE BOOM:



    I still have the second TM800, a FS thread still exists on the parts at CPF, there is something quirky as to it not working, just check out that post if interested. The sync and reflectors are good as is the body, it is the electronics that are bad.

    No more modding I think for me. Looks like all I ever need or am interested in eventually is produced commerically a short time after a CPF'er introduces and posts the new creation. I still enjoy the gang we have here.
    Last edited by Northern Lights; 04-04-2012 at 03:20 PM.
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Hi,

    Sorry to hear about this... these kind of events are why I am weary about using 18650 rechargeable cells. Sad to hear you won't be modding any more, but I know how you feel.

  3. #3

    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    So cheap knock off cells charged in a cheap knock off light, in series, with a knock off charger...can be dangerous?

    Does anyone else know this?!

    We need to alert the community!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    So cheap knock off cells charged in a cheap knock off light, in series, with a knock off charger...can be dangerous?

    Does anyone else know this?!

    We need to alert the community!
    We need to get it staight first.

    Light is not a knock off, its a mod.
    charger is not cheap nor a knock off. It is a quality multi chemistry RC charger
    Cells are cheap unprotected junk

    "Does anyone else know this?!" Yes, if you search topics before you post you will see you are years behind...but welcome here...

    It is a learning experience and is supposed to be fun and a help to each other. When you refered to the BC6 as a knock off, well, I knew you have a bit to be researching before you respond.
    Also when you refered to my mod as a knock off, with nearly $400 in parts I knew the terminology is also new to you. Thats ok, now you know something new... Do you see the heavy knurling on the barrel of the light? We could rename it, call it a hand grenade, ya think?

    two oudda three not bad.

    I am curious, is that correct 912 posts in two months? Wow, welcome you really gotta an interest to be that busy.
    Last edited by Northern Lights; 04-04-2012 at 06:18 PM.
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lights View Post
    We need to get it staight first.

    Light is not a knock off, its a mod.
    charger is not cheap nor a knock off. It is a quality multi chemistry RC charger
    Cells are cheap unprotected junk

    "Does anyone else know this?!" Yes, if you search topics before you post you will see you are years behind...but welcome here...

    It is a learning experience and is supposed to be fun and a help to each other. When you refered to the BC6 as a knock off, well, I knew you have a bit to be researching before you respond.
    Also when you refered to my mod as a knock off, with nearly $400 in parts I knew the terminology is also new to you. Thats ok, now you know something new... Do you see the heavy knurling on the barrel of the light? We could rename it, call it a hand grenade, ya think?

    two oudda three not bad.

    I am curious, is that correct 912 posts in two months? Wow, welcome you really gotta an interest to be that busy.
    I cant let it go...and I found the double heat sync. The fire damage to the sync and wiring in the light and head and sync tell a story that exhonerates bad lithium cells. It condems the wiring in the light, however.

    In reality the Lithium cells are not junk and it is a jump to conclusions about the cells, light and charger. The charger worked perfecty and so did the cells. Those cells are to be used with an add-on pcb. As a matter of fact the design of the light calls for a pcb, I had not installed it (it is on my bench) and relied on the charger instead. I use PCBs from Batteryspace.com.

    So what happened if the cells worked and charger worked perfectly? There is indication that the charger safety circuits had not activated yet an awful amount of heat was generated as if a cell let loose. Those cells usually reliably recharge in series with that charger.

    I cleaned one of the sooty P7's.

    Notice the wiring in all the photos show intense heat but only on certain wires.

    Everything worked great, as expected the batteries are not defective nor the charger. But the charging jack in conjunction with the in the light charging system was shorted and caused the problem. Those batteries dumped their entire capacity through that internal short and that developed the heat that blew eht cells.

    The wires are the giveaway. All the hot side wires on the charging circuit are melted the worst. They lost the insulation and the copper melted, the other wires did not melt the copper, the insulation of those were superficially damaged from the heat. This shows that there was a short in the circuit, not the batteries. That is what caused the problem.

    If the cells had the pcb installed or were protected cells there would not have been a problem.

    What is demonstrated is that Lithium cells contain an enormous amount of stored energy. I have seen about as bad of a mess from high capacity NiMh cell however. So don't blame lithium, it is not the chemistry or battery of the system, it is a flaw in the safety circuits which were not built in correctly.
    Last edited by Northern Lights; 04-04-2012 at 09:02 PM.
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    > ...the charging jack in conjunction with the in the light charging system was shorted
    > ...
    > the hot side wires on the charging circuit are melted the worst. They lost the insulation and the copper melted

    Any guess what shorted where, initially, to set this off?

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Hello Northern Lights,

    Does this serve as a caution to those who travel down the modification road...?

    First of all it is good to hear that you and your house survived.

    I have some lights that have a charging fitting. I have always been concerned that shorting was possible, so I usually just take the light apart and charge the cells outside the light. Not the most convenient, but reasonably safe.

    I am sure there is a way to engineer a safe connection, but many times the modification goal is to produce a bright light and sometimes some of the other details get overlooked.

    Thanks for sharing and I am glad you are OK.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  8. #8

    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    For the record...I was on the phone, and there were parts that indicated I was being factitious that didn't make it to the final post, which I didn't see until now, so, obviously, the post came across differently than intended.


    Including there being nothing about being glad you survived, etc...it was a different post than intended. (Sorry)

    So you blame the cells lack of protection combined with the charger shorting out. I think you're saying that the flaw in the safety circuits which were not built in correctly was the bottom line issue?

    What caused the short in the first place?

    If the safety circuitry was the issue, the short needed to happen to illustrate it...as safety circuitry would be to protect you if that happened.

    You indicated that the light's charger was not finished yet, as you had yet to install the PCB?

    I'm trying to piece together the references to your forensics...

    So far, the batteries, ironically, seemed to be the only component not malfunctioning, albeit still contributing once underway due to a lack of protection...assuming the light's charging system and the charger short is the issue.

    Just a frayed wire or loose connection?
    Last edited by TEEJ; 04-05-2012 at 12:16 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by hank View Post
    > ...the charging jack in conjunction with the in the light charging system was shorted
    > ...
    > the hot side wires on the charging circuit are melted the worst. They lost the insulation and the copper melted

    Any guess what shorted where, initially, to set this off?
    The jack is a generic power jack. And it was sealed in shrink and liquid insulations so likely not it.

    I think stuffing the switch, pilot LED, driver and socket into a small space is a problem. Everything although insulated is touching something next to it. I solder my conection and use shrink to insulate them but pressing on each other and add some physical shocks from dropping the light and you can get a crossed wire or connection that shorts.

    Too much to put into a small space is probably the problem. Commercially everything is on a printed circuit and about the only thing that happens with a board is a broken board or cracked board and open circuit.

    I have two tool boxes of different soldering systems, guns and irons and materials. Usually I get that right so I will lay the blame on to much in too little.

    The best mods are those with a switch, LED and driver. Leave the bells and whistles on the fire truck.
    The 3000 lumen 18650 x2 that I got from DX for about $60 compared to this mod of about $400 is superior inclulding the syncs on the LEDs and driver. The efficiency of design even makes it smaller.

    Somewhere in the history of my posts when hot wires easily out preformed LEDs I made and still have a Mag Charger on D lithiums of 7.2 V and 5761 bulb. It is heavy, produces a spot beam of about 900 lumens for about an hour and gets very hot. I expect it too will have its day of problems. Its only advantage is that the light souce is a single element so it can be focused and form a spot beam. Multi LED lights or the P7 or XML have the light source coming from a larger perpendicular plane and accordingly throw flood beams.

    As enaticing it is to make a long thrower I am going to quit and go over to the spotlight forum and find something commercially out there to satisfy my insatiable desire for yet another light. How about an HID?
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

  10. #10

    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Good nobody got hurt. I'm interested in the technical details of your charging set up, did you use 2 wire charging, or 3 wire charging? Or 2 + 3? Any protection features in BC6 will be mostly nullified with 2 wire charging.

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Very glad nothing worse happened to you.
    Good that you didn't charge the light unattended.
    happens

  12. #12

    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lights View Post
    The jack is a generic power jack. And it was sealed in shrink and liquid insulations so likely not it.

    I think stuffing the switch, pilot LED, driver and socket into a small space is a problem. Everything although insulated is touching something next to it. I solder my conection and use shrink to insulate them but pressing on each other and add some physical shocks from dropping the light and you can get a crossed wire or connection that shorts.

    Too much to put into a small space is probably the problem. Commercially everything is on a printed circuit and about the only thing that happens with a board is a broken board or cracked board and open circuit.

    I have two tool boxes of different soldering systems, guns and irons and materials. Usually I get that right so I will lay the blame on to much in too little.

    The best mods are those with a switch, LED and driver. Leave the bells and whistles on the fire truck.
    The 3000 lumen 18650 x2 that I got from DX for about $60 compared to this mod of about $400 is superior inclulding the syncs on the LEDs and driver. The efficiency of design even makes it smaller.

    Somewhere in the history of my posts when hot wires easily out preformed LEDs I made and still have a Mag Charger on D lithiums of 7.2 V and 5761 bulb. It is heavy, produces a spot beam of about 900 lumens for about an hour and gets very hot. I expect it too will have its day of problems. Its only advantage is that the light souce is a single element so it can be focused and form a spot beam. Multi LED lights or the P7 or XML have the light source coming from a larger perpendicular plane and accordingly throw flood beams.

    As enaticing it is to make a long thrower I am going to quit and go over to the spotlight forum and find something commercially out there to satisfy my insatiable desire for yet another light. How about an HID?
    There's a good sale on Polarions, and some used Surefire HellFires in the marketplace, etc.


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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    I am glad no one was hurt. I would never tell anyone to charge anything in series unless you have a balance charger (which you do) and the cells wired for balancing each cell. I usually charge all my cells one at a time as I haven't spent my time making balancing packs. I myself am into RC everything (Car, boat, plane, Heli) and am very familiar with Li-ion cells as I have been using them much longer than they have been used in flashlights.

    Not saying you did, but there can be user error when using better RC car chargers because the user can set the voltage they want the cells to stop charging and how many cells. A few wrong setting here could be disasterous.. Knock on wood, I have not done this but I know people that have. At the flying field, chargers on the front seat of car, boom, now there car is on fire.. Lithium cells can be pretty safe if used correctly. I am not saying you didn't use correctly....

    Enough rambling for me. Everyone be safe this weekend.

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by TnC_Products View Post
    I would never tell anyone to charge anything in series unless you have a balance charger (which you do) and the cells wired for balancing each cell.
    I'm wondering about this too. A balancing hobby charger is just a simple CC/CV charger if you aren't making use of balance taps. My concern includes not only cell mismatches which may worsen over time but how do you know if a cell suffers a significant failure? If there is no way to observe the state of each cell during the charging cycle, charging in series just doesn't seem safe enough for me.

    Disassembling the pack for each charge session and charging them independently or in parallel would be ok.

    To the OP, did your design include a balance charging scheme?

    I'm so glad to hear that you were able to prevent the incident from becoming much worse. +1 for preparation and cool heads!
    Last edited by tandem; 04-08-2012 at 12:16 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjk View Post
    Good nobody got hurt. I'm interested in the technical details of your charging set up, did you use 2 wire charging, or 3 wire charging? Or 2 + 3? Any protection features in BC6 will be mostly nullified with 2 wire charging.
    BC6 is most popular with RC people, top of the line charger, google it foer details.

    The batteries are unprotected and would charge ok in single with bc6. BC6 has a harness for up to 6 series any lithium chemistry.

    The ligt was designed for a PCB from Batteryspace.com and I did not instal it so I assume one battery went bad and I got a reverse charge on that cell.

    there were three LEDs, VF about 3.6-3.7 so I used one cell for each. No driver just PWM modulation from taskled.com. I think it was a d2flex, dont remember this late at night.
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    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    I have never charged multiple cells in series. I usually do them one at a time or in matched parallel pairs... so please forgive me. Don't you NEED a balance charging configuration with that charger if you want to (safely) charge multiple cells in series? I don't see how you can achieve this with the light host pictured.
    Last edited by kramer5150; 04-09-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Northern Lights, great forensic analysis and I appreciate all the excellent pics of both before and after!

    Threads like this are still the main reason I stick to lights with only one cell at a time!
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    I have never charged multiple cells in series. I usually do them one at a time or in matched parallel pairs... so please forgive me. Don't you NEED a balance charging configuration with that charger if you want to (safely) charge multiple cells in series? I don't see how you can achieve this with the light host pictured.
    YEs, please forgive me. I have the harness but did not use it! and you see what happened. Works like it should when I use it on the BC6.

    Some how in my aging feebleness I confused that I had Lithium Ion cells in the light, I was off hand thinking this was a manganese Lithium battery, and that was wrong.

    The BC6 is very programable, and does not fail.

    Operator error...
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by kaichu dento View Post
    Northern Lights, great forensic analysis and I appreciate all the excellent pics of both before and after!

    Threads like this are still the main reason I stick to lights with only one cell at a time!
    I learn the hard way. Good personal rule on your part...
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    I have never charged multiple cells in series. I usually do them one at a time or in matched parallel pairs... so please forgive me. Don't you NEED a balance charging configuration with that charger if you want to (safely) charge multiple cells in series? I don't see how you can achieve this with the light host pictured.
    obw:

    This nuwai light has incredible space in the front of the tube and head and there is room fo a second jack to add a harness. Wiring the pack into the tube was to be a tickler but could be done, I got tired of a three year project and short cutted to the final product and then forgot that I had not gone to the manganese cells.

    I will PM on another matter!
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* missionaryman's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Wow, I'm glad you weren't hurt and the house didn't get damaged any worse than it did.
    I've always been very careful with mine and only charge them in single cell array but it still makes me worry about the long D cell Li Ion battery that drives my P7 Mag shorty - if it goes up I'll be in strife.
    My Chinese HID's also charge in series with their own built in safeguards but who knows how carefully built they are.
    "Let your light shine" - it's the one commandment we all obey...

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lights View Post
    YEs, please forgive me. I have the harness but did not use it! and you see what happened. Works like it should when I use it on the BC6.

    Some how in my aging feebleness I confused that I had Lithium Ion cells in the light, I was off hand thinking this was a manganese Lithium battery, and that was wrong.

    The BC6 is very programable, and does not fail.

    Operator error...
    FYI its never a good idea to charge any Li-ion cell including Lithium Managanese (LiMn) cells. The cells that can take the most abuse as far as overcharging goes would be Lifepo4 cells. While it may be fairly safe to charge Lifepo4's in series without using the balancing plug, its still not the best idea, because it could lead to some cells being overcharged.

    Quote Originally Posted by missionaryman View Post
    My Chinese HID's also charge in series with their own built in safeguards but who knows how carefully built they are.
    They have a built in BMS system which should charge and monitor each cell individually.

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lights View Post
    YEs, please forgive me. I have the harness but did not use it! and you see what happened. Works like it should when I use it on the BC6.

    Some how in my aging feebleness I confused that I had Lithium Ion cells in the light, I was off hand thinking this was a manganese Lithium battery, and that was wrong.

    The BC6 is very programable, and does not fail.

    Operator error...
    YIKES!!! Clearly operator negligence (or lack of understanding).
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    So cheap knock off cells charged in a cheap knock off light, in series, with a knock off charger...can be dangerous?

    Does anyone else know this?!

    We need to alert the community!

    I'm sorry, but this is funny
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by F250XLT View Post
    I'm sorry, but this is funny
    +1

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    It is a bit funny, but it's also serious. It goes to show that you better be safe with your cells every time, not just most of the time. Plus, you'd be appalled at how many people still use off-brand Li-ions.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the community, Northern Lights.

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    NL, my good friend, the most important thing is that you are OK, and eventually your property has been restored. Thanks for the great and honest details.

    I always hate hearing about these Li-Ion or Li primary vents, fires, explosions when we are all just using the cells for a fun/useful hobby. It is especially shocking when it happens to one of the experienced members, but experience & familiarity can result in letting your guard down.

    Just last night I was charging two 18650 AW cells in my Pila charger..........on top of the wood dining room table because I was just too lazy to take it out to the garage where I *almost* always do my charging. Nothing went wrong, but still I know better, and this reminder is really valuable.

    Maybe time to get back to some fishing? Hope all your family and "things" are doing as well as can be expected.

    Heartfelt regards!

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    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    ...

    Maybe time to get back to some fishing? Hope all your family and "things" are doing as well as can be expected.

    Heartfelt regards!

    Yes, I am fishing in the far north west, hope to catch some northern pike today. Been raining 2 weeks straight. My life is drama if not a conspiracy.

    I flipped the boat and trailer 2 days ago, and spend 16 hours making make-do repairs so to continuing fishing. I broke a bunch, half dozen pole in the accident but I carry about 20, like a golfer has a bag of clubs. Pics to come later. It is an axle problem that caused it.

    I retired a few months ago after 2 years of turbulent health issues.

    Now staying on topic, I am testing green LEDs and fish attraction to them and Green Laser light. I find you can submerse key chain lights.

    Thank you, my good CPFer Friend, LL.

    NL
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

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    Flashaholic* bshanahan14rulz's Avatar
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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    ^I have heard that various colors attract fish for some reason. I'd be interested to hear your findings on this. I shore fish, read: I throw stuff in the water on a string and reel it back in, over and over again because I don't know what I'm doing. Wouldn't mind another excuse to make more lights.

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    Default Re: BOOM! AND MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

    What the hell is the first picture? It looks like a horribly stained coffee pot.

    Cases like this make me VERY cautious, and somewhat afraid of my hotwire build.
    Mag 1D, 2DL, 3DL, 6D hotwire+extension... Fenix E15... Surefire Z2, E1e, 6P, U2 modded with T5 XM-L... Just to name a few

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