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Thread: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

  1. #1

    Default Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    I've been using Deal Extreme's 2 and 3-mode clicky switches a while(SKU 5604 and 5660). As little as you pay for them, they really do work great and are very reliable in my experience.

    But I'm not sure if they will wear out after, say, 5,000 clicks.

    So have you ever had a DX switch fail under normal use (not abuse)?

    If so, can you buy high quality switches that don't ever wear out?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    most switch manufacturers will know how many cycles their products are rated for. Off the top of my head, I think you can get switches that will last a million cycles or so. Whether or not you can get really good switches in the form of a flashlight clicky switch is a different question.

    As a rule of thumb, everything that has moving parts will eventually wear out. Even stuff like semiconductors have wearout phenomena. The big questions are: how long do you need something to last, and how much are you willing to spend?

    Steve K.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    All things with moving parts fail. Many without any fail. Even wires gradually do exciting things, like grow mm-long nickel whiskers at the solder joints that short out and fry the board.

    Most mechanical parts are rated with "Mean Time Between Failure" or "Use cycles." These are valid if you have a pretty constant rate of failure. But many parts experience a 'bathtub' effect. Consider a shiny new widget off the factory: Many will fail in the first month, and the rest will generally last until the cheap capacitors go out in two or three years. The initial failure rate is frustratingly high: Some cheap wireless routers will have to be replaced twice or three times in a fair number of cases, but the ones that survive the first die-off period will serve faithfully for a while.

    Clicky switches are vulnerable to some things that negate any claim of durability, especially with dodgy DealExtreme components. ANY water intrusion can brick your switch. If the switch fails open, you can usually jam a wire across the spring and tailcap ring (The part that needs tightening) to get a temporary fix. In some lights this turns a clicky into a twisty, other lights will not turn off reliably. But they'll light, and that's something.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    Thanks for the advice.

    The switch is well housed and shouldn't experience any water or impact.

    Does anyone know how many cycles these DX switches are rated or are know to operate for? (if not from DX, perhaps a 3rd party test etc.)

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* LightWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    4Sevens sells his clickie switches for about $9 and his lights have a 10 year warranty, a worthy upgrade from DX.
    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Jesus Christ - John 12:46

  6. #6

    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    If you have a clicky failure go to the vendor or manufacturer first. If they can't help look on flashlight sites for replacements. When I had several switches fail (over many years) this is what I did: I bought a few switches from Shining Beam and adapted them to my application. Nothing lasts forever. A better solution would check to see of a McClicky switch would fit. You won't wear one of those out!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    Elzetta's clickys are good for over 10,000 cycles. I wonder how that compares to a McClicky or E series clicky?
    Last edited by BIG45-70; 04-25-2012 at 09:16 PM.
    Elzetta M60 | Fenix E01 E05 | Surefire 6P C2 E2E E2L-AA | Malkoff: M61-219 M61HCRI M61 Malkoff 3D Maglite
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic* LightWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    Putting a McClicky switch on a DX light would be like putting chrome rims on a Hugo.
    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Jesus Christ - John 12:46

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* yifu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    A McClicky is rated for 4A at 12V max, and 10 000 actuations. Source is the manufacturer of the switch itself http://flashlight-forums.com/index.php?topic=4329.0 Both mechanical wear and electrode arcing (which leads to the deterioration of the electrical contacts contribute to the wear on a switch.

    Most electronic switches are rated for 100 000 actuations, although there are some with more than that. The most reliable switches would be either a twisty (such as an oveready zerorez, there's no way you're going to destroy that switch but it's very heavy) or something with a relay built in, so that no current actually passes through the master.

  10. #10

    Default

    Is there a manufacture service life of the Surefire E-Series clicky?
    Elzetta M60 | Fenix E01 E05 | Surefire 6P C2 E2E E2L-AA | Malkoff: M61-219 M61HCRI M61 Malkoff 3D Maglite
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    If you drop the light directly on the clicky, you might break something. I've broken some Fenix ones. Taking them apart, its always the plastic center guide for the lower (towards the head of the light) that breaks off laterally. This will give the switch that typical problem of sometimes working and sometimes not working properly. I've tried to glue the little 0,6mm x 2,5mm tab back on with superglue, but it will eventually fail again.

    For me, the McGizmo protected switch is clearly the most stable one, only way to kill that switch is if you drop it directly onto a sharp point stone or whatnot.

    But the protected clickies are really no "tactical" clickies.

  12. #12
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    Quote Originally Posted by BIG45-70 View Post
    Is there a manufacture service life of the Surefire E-Series clicky?

    I'm curious as well. I have an E2E. I bought it before they had clickies. When the checkering wore off the original rubber cap button, I called to inquire about buying a new rubber button. They just sent me a whoe new tail cap with a clicky. It's been many years, but still seems to be fine and going strong. I carry and use it every day.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    A momentary on/twist on that can be taken apart to polish the contacts, along with an extra mm or so of contact thickness, and an extra thread depth of twist; that seems like a switch that wouldn't hardly ever "wear" out. You could be over zealous about taking it apart and polishing the contacts when they didn't need it of course, like wearing out a knife with too frequent and aggressive sharpening. Brass I guess.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do clicky switches ever wear out?

    Whatever the rating is for a certain switch, that is a mean rating. It could go more or it could fail in a lot less. Camera shutters are rated in cycles also. Generally several tens of thousands (depending on model)
    Some go double, some go half.

    I know some manufacturers supply a pare switch with their light. Not sure if that is good or not.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
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