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Thread: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

  1. #1

    Default L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    My Fenix L2D Premium Q5 has stopped working. Sadly, I only got to use it a few times despite having had it for a couple years. I've read a lot of the troubleshooting tips from other people on this forum and others. I have stood a pair of AA's on the LED portion of the light and jumpered around them and the light works. So the problem must be in the tailcap, the switch, or the associated electrical connections of the body parts. I haven't found a disassembly photo of this particular light but everyone makes it sound like the tailcap should come off. For the life of me I can't get that @#$@% tailcap off. It sure seems like it is part of the light. I've wrapped the thing in protectant paper and tried twisting on it with a couple wrenches and still can't get it to budge. Can someone confirm for me that the tailcap does really does come off? If it doesn't then I'll stop twisting on it.

    I noticed some slight corrosion when I took the top part of the light off to replace the batteries when I thought they were dead. I'm wondering if maybe the tailcap should come off but is so corroded that it does not conduct and has sealed itself on.

    I needed this light last night and it didn't work. I'm bummed. And it wasn't cheap. I'll be even more disappointed if I have to throw away an expensive LED just because a cheap switch failed.

    While I'm posting, I read that alkaline batteries are not the preferred cell for these lights due to leakage issues. Unfortunately, that's what I've been using. But the cells I removed were pristine. None have ever leaked in this light. But what are the preferred batteries for these lights?
    Last edited by tracyreed; 04-28-2012 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Somehow first post got cut off.

  2. #2

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Just realized I didn't specify the whole model name of the light in the post: It is a Fenix L2D Premium Q5.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* jhc37013's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    When you say corroded do you mean the battery leaked if so I've read members use vinegar to clean that up pretty good. Like you I have a L2D tailcap that will not come apart and I've tried all the tricks, I think the metal retaining ring with the two dimples is warped like it was forced into place but I just don't know.

    Most of the time they used Loctite to seal the switch in and you could put the tailcap in a plastic bag and boil it for a period of time to loosen up the glue and then you can loosen the metal ring with needle nose pliers. I've been able to do that with other light's but that L2D I have never budged.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by jhc37013 View Post
    When you say corroded do you mean the battery leaked if so I've read members use vinegar to clean that up pretty good. Like you I have a L2D tailcap that will not come apart and I've tried all the tricks, I think the metal retaining ring with the two dimples is warped like it was forced into place but I just don't know.

    Most of the time they used Loctite to seal the switch in and you could put the tailcap in a plastic bag and boil it for a period of time to loosen up the glue and then you can loosen the metal ring with needle nose pliers. I've been able to do that with other light's but that L2D I have never budged.
    No, I do not mean the battery leaked. The batteries were in perfect condition when I removed them to investigate the problem. I'm a pilot (I used this light occasionally to preflight aircraft at night and as my backup to my emergency backup in-cockpit light) and I've seen oxidized aluminum before and that's what this was. Right on the top edge of the body tube on top of the threads. Not on the threads, not inside, but right there on that thin edge of the tube.

    I don't think the metal retaining ring is an issue in my case. The problem I am describing is that I cannot even get the tailcap off to where I could try to access the retaining ring.

    I've emailed Fenix about a repair out of warranty (I'd be ok with paying a few bucks for it) but if it ends up not being worth it I may try some penetrating oil on the i

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* jhc37013's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    btw I use to horde Fenix spare parts like crazy so if you find you need a replacement switch just shoot me a PM and I'm sure a can dig up one. No cost or anything I have more parts than I know what to do with, sorry I don't have the tailcap itself.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    So you cannot remove the tailcap itself, right? It sounds like jhc37013 is describing removing the aluminum ring inside the tailcap. That might be your NEXT problem once you get the tail cap off. Even though the batteries you removed looked good, maybe a previous battery leaked slightly and went unnoticed. It can take a few days or weeks for corrosion to set in.

    Sooner or later, alkalines will leak. Most guys use NiMh rechargables, with eneloops being very popular.

    You could try freezing the battery tube and then apply some gentle heat to the tailcap area upon removing it from the freezer. The thermal shock might loosen the cap. If you have any of those rubber grip things used around the kitchen for tight jar lids, they can be helpful. The oring will prevent dripping any solvents into the threads from the outside. When you are ready to give up, maybe squirt something down the battery tube like wd-40 to soak the threads from the inside. If that is successful, you will want to disassemble the tailcap and clean the switch and rubber boot. Water or vinegar might work if you don't have wd-40, but success is very important. Leaving water or vinegar in the switch should surely ruin it. Wd-40 is a crappy lube, but I've found it helpful to remove stuck things that I didn't want to hit with heavy duty chemicals.

    Another trick for removing stuck tubes is to wrap a layer of electrical tape around each of the two sections. This first layer is for surface protection. Then take a little piece of 'anything', like a small piece of stick or a pebble and tape it down to each tube and cover with more electrical tape. Its hard to draw a picture with words, but basically you want to create a 'bump' on each piece so you can apply much more force with your fingers and thumbs. Wrenches might dent the tailcap and make it tighter. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* jhc37013's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Good advice from lightwait and let me ask you this have you ever had the tailcap off in the past? I mentioned Fenix used a lot of Locktite during that model run inside the tailcap and I have seen them use to much or either apply it incorrectly and the Loctite get on the threads inside the tailcap inadvertently sealing the tailcap to the body. Try to break it loose the way lightwait describes above, if you rubber grips for jar lids I bet you could break it loose with those alone or if not try the cool then heat.

    If all that fails you could take the head off and put the body in a plastic freezer bag (or two) and boil it to try and break up the glue.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    never worry about a broken Fenix light! try to get a quote thanks
    3) Limited lifetime warranty. If problems develop after 24 months of the purchase date, we will charge for parts. The total repair fee is assessed according to the cost of the replaced materials, If damage to the light is substantial, Fenix will contact distributors with a quote who should contact the customers and customers will decide whether to exchange the parts or not. Freight should be paid by distributors or customers.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* jhc37013's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by shelm View Post
    never worry about a broken Fenix light! try to get a quote thanks
    Although finding that info for the OP was generous if he tries to contact Fenix and then IF he is able to send his light off I'd be surprised if he see's it back withing 6 months if at all. I've never had to send one off to Fenix themselves but I have read so many terrible story's about trying to return/fix a light by sending it to Fenix.

    I love all my Fenix light's but that's just what I've always heard about their CS.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    I read that sometimes the ring in the tail cap needs to be screwed back in but you will need to get the cap off first. I hope you get the light fixed. I have a L2D Q5 and think in some ways it is better than their newer stuff. The runtimes and output are still good, the throw is a bit more and the light can tail stand better. Plus like how it looks better.

    Best of luck.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    First..... welcome to CPF!

    I've been using my Fenix L2D (regular, not premium), as my bicycle light, 5 nights a week since I got it back in 2007. Talk about a super reliable work horse.

    Let me assure you that yes, the tailcap should be easily removable. I'd recommend investing in an inexpensive pair of strap wrenches. I got a nice pair for around $10 at ACE Hardware a few years ago, and they have been quite worth while. They allow you to apply the torque required without scratching your lights.

    I have an old 1200 watt hand held hair dryer that I use to apply heat. Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes and several tries to get a tight fitting part loose, but as with most things patience and persistence are the key ingredients.

    Take another light and look down inside the tube to see if you can see any obvious corrosion. If you do, then a mixture of warm/hot water and baking soda might help neutralize some of the acid. You might need to apply several batches. By this I mean mix some baking soda in some warm water and pour it in the tube, let it sit and bubble for a while, then pour it out, rinse with warm water, and then try the strap wrenches and heat again. I've fixed many a corroded Maglite this way.

    If and when you do get the tailcap off, here is a link to some photos, provided by another CPF member, that detail how to take the tailcap apart:
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...cement0vy.jpg/

    You don't necessarily need to take it apart, you could just try tightening the retaining ring and cleaning the contact points, but at this point it's not a bad idea, so clean all the parts using any good electrical contact cleaner, lube the threads using a little good quality lube (plumber's silicone grease works in a pinch), then reassemble, making sure the retaining ring is tight, pop in a couple of Sanyo Eneloops (NO ALKALINES PLEASE), and give it a whirl.

    If you just can't get the tailcap off, then by all means try spraying the electrical contact cleaner down inside the tube and use a long swab to clean the tailspring, then clean the edges of the tube as well as the contacts in the head (spray the cleaner on the swab, then clean the head contact points so you don't drip the cleaner down inside the head).

    In any case, don't give up, and keep reporting back on your progress. Good luck.

    EDIT: In case none of this works, you might consider just getting a new tailcap and body tube. Lighthound has the tailcap in stock, and they might have a body tube sitting around somewhere:
    http://www.lighthound.com/Fenix-L1D-...cap_p_345.html
    Last edited by Derek Dean; 05-01-2012 at 04:14 AM. Reason: Added Lighthound Info

  12. #12

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by lightwait View Post
    So you cannot remove the tailcap itself, right? It sounds like jhc37013 is describing removing the aluminum ring inside the tailcap. That might be your NEXT problem once you get the tail cap off. Even though the batteries you removed looked good, maybe a previous battery leaked slightly and went unnoticed. It can take a few days or weeks for corrosion to set in.
    Yes, I suppose this is possible. Although it has only ever had two or three sets of batteries in it and I've never seen corrosion. But since I really like my lights and don't want them to have problems I will go with NiMh from now on.

    You could try freezing the battery tube and then apply some gentle heat to the tailcap area upon removing it from the freezer.
    Another good idea, I'll give this a try too.


    When you are ready to give up, maybe squirt something down the battery tube like wd-40 to soak the threads from the inside.
    This is my next step after freezing. I'm going to buy some good penetrating oil, not WD-40. I had intended to pick some up on the way home tonight but I forgot.

    Another trick for removing stuck tubes is to wrap a layer of electrical tape around each of the two sections. This first layer is for surface protection. Then take a little piece of 'anything', like a small piece of stick or a pebble and tape it down to each tube and cover with more electrical tape. Its hard to draw a picture with words, but basically you want to create a 'bump' on each piece so you can apply much more force with your fingers and thumbs. Wrenches might dent the tailcap and make it tighter. Good luck.
    Another good idea. I tried wrenches once and didn't damage anything but it was certainly dicey. I don't want to try that again without much better protection.

    No reply yet to the email I sent nearly 3 days ago. I'll let you all know what the result ends being.

  13. #13

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by jhc37013 View Post
    Good advice from lightwait and let me ask you this have you ever had the tailcap off in the past? I mentioned Fenix used a lot of Locktite during that model run inside the tailcap and I have seen them use to much or either apply it incorrectly and the Loctite get on the threads inside the tailcap inadvertently sealing the tailcap to the body.
    No, I don't recall ever having it off in the past.

    Try to break it loose the way lightwait describes above, if you rubber grips for jar lids I bet you could break it loose with those alone or if not try the cool then heat.
    Will do. Thanks!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    To solve the problem quickly you might as well get a new tailcap: in Europe they sell for less than 10 euros.
    Then you try to fix the old tailcap so that you can keep it as a spare - which never hurts. The downside is: if the tailcap is not the problem you will waste 10 dollars but I'd definitely go down this road even before remotely considering sending the light back for repair - the shipping costs alone will be more than a new tailcap!
    Last edited by Labrador72; 05-02-2012 at 08:15 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by Labrador72 View Post
    To solve the problem quickly you might as well try to get a new tailcap: in Europe they sell for less than 10 euros.
    Then you and try to fix the old tailcap so that and keep it as a spare - which never hurts. The downside is - if the tailcap is not the problem you will waist 10 dollars but I'd definitely go down this road even before remotely considering sending the light back for repair - the shipping costs alone will be more than a new tailcap!
    I agree. Sending it off would be a slow process + shipping. Self repair is quicker/cheaper. Even if he does get the tailcap off without damage, the switch may be bad and he'll need a new tailcap or switch anyway. Worst case scenario, the cap does not come off with heat/oil/tape/strap wrench, but it will most likely respond to vice-grips.
    The tailcap is fairly inexpensive. I think he proved the head good with batteries and a jumper. The tube should be fine after some cleaning.
    I would 'have at it' and even it it comes down to destroying the tailcap, just order a new one. Lighthound has them listed on his site. Other dealers may have them too, just not listed on their website.

  16. #16

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Good news! I got the tailcap off. Using the various bits of advice you guys offered me I sprayed the joint area inside and out with penetrating oil, let it sit for a while, wrapped both halves in electrical tape putting a pencil under each side to make it thicker for more leverage, and ended up going to work on it again with the pliers now that I had the surface well protected with electrical tape, and eventually it just let go.

    So now the light is a bit greasy and sticky from the oil and tape but that can be cleaned up. I need to pick up some alcohol to really give it all a good cleaning.

    So now the next obstacle is the retaining ring. My understanding is that this thing is threaded and needs to unscrew. I already busted one of those small "precision" screwdrivers prying on the thing trying to get it to budge. This is potentially even more difficult because the surface to pry on is so small and there is no way to get leverage on it.

    I just hit it with some more penetrating oil and it is sitting. It might just have to sit overnight.

    Now that I have it open there are no signs of corrosion in the tailcap but there is some black stuff on the bottom around the inside o-ring. Maybe old o-ring lubricant or something. I need to find a way to heat up the tailcap so maybe it will expand and let go of the retaining ring without damaging anything.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* jhc37013's Avatar
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Hey glad you got the tailcap off the next part may be every bit as difficult, use needle nose pliers and if your lucky it's not glued in to bad. If it is the stick it in a couple freezer bags and boil it to break apart the glue, I never had much luck with mine I think the ring was deformed and wedged in but I've read other members had success that way. Good luck
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by jhc37013 View Post
    Hey glad you got the tailcap off the next part may be every bit as difficult, use needle nose pliers and if your lucky it's not glued in to bad. If it is the stick it in a couple freezer bags and boil it to break apart the glue, I never had much luck with mine I think the ring was deformed and wedged in but I've read other members had success that way. Good luck
    Interesting. On my several very early model Fenix's, those rings were a constant source of nuisance. They would always loosen up and the light would stop working. I quickly learned to not change batteries from the tail cap end because the ring would loosen. Fenix must have started loctite-ing them or maybe staking them.

    To the OP, try to find small, but strong needle nose pliers to fit in both holes in the ring at the same time, like a spanner wrench. Two nails might work, but its hard to hold them steady. Its still better than trying to rotate it from just one hole though.

  19. #19

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    I don't have an L2D, so excuse me if I muddy the waters, but I removed the switch from my LD20 once, and the silver ring inside the tailcap that holds the switch, and that you have to turn (I used the tips of needlenose pliers) to remove, is reverse-threaded. In other words, I had to turn the switch clockwise (looking at the open end of the tailcap) to remove it.

    Again, that was on an LD20, not an L2D, but it might be worth trying.

    Also, FWIW, I dont think I found any glue or thread-locker on anything.

    Good Luck.

  20. #20

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Well, It's been a couple months and I've hit it with penetrating oil, tried clockwise and counter-clockwise, used small needle-nose pliars to lock onto the two little holes to twist it, boiled it in a zip-lock bag to get it hot and hopefully loosen up whatever is holding it, and the ring in the tailcap won't budge. I've spent way too much time on this. I'm throwing this tailcap away. It has a defective switch or something in it anyway, which is what started this whole thing.

    So, anyone know where I can buy another L2D or compatible tailcap? Otherwise I'm throwing the whole light in the trash which is otherwise perfectly working which seems a real shame. Lighthound is out of stock. It is so old nobody may still carry the tailcap...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    Maybe try the CPF market place with a WTB (want to buy), somebody here might have the tailcap or the whole light to sell.

  22. #22

    Default Re: L2D disassembly and troubleshooting

    tracyreed, I sent you a pm.

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