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Thread: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    I see too many threads about "my light won't come on" where people just do not know the basics of what to do in that type of situation, so here it is in a nutshell:

    BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURE:

    1 – Check the battery polarity (most often positive towards the head, but not always)

    2 - Make sure all parts are screwed in all the way and remove / reinstall your dropin if applicable while inspecting for broken parts.

    3 - Try a new non-rechargeable battery (and new bulb if it’s an incandescent)

    4 - Clean all contacts: inside the head, spring(s), tube ends and threads. (Rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip work fine or this)
    4A - For twisties and lights that have erratic behavior: check if your o-rings are not creating too much friction (too dry or too big) or not enough tension (too small). Big o-rings can prevent contact, small o-rings can make contacts happen when not desired, causing flickers or undesired mode changes.

    5 - Remove the tailcap and short the end of the battery with the end of the tube (a paper clip works just fine).
    5A - If this works: tighten the tailcap retainer ring (note that some are reverse threaded).
    5B - If tightening the retainer ring doesn't work dismantle the switch, clean all contacts inside the switch area
    and reassemble.
    5C - If this does not fix the problem, but the light comes on when you short the battery and the tube end, you most likely have a defective switch.

    6 - Contact you dealer. If the dealer warranty is over, contact the manufacturer. Some dealers and manufacturers will honor the warranty for longer than stated or will provide replacement parts for a reasonable fee and sometimes even for free.

    Don’t just give up on a light or brand just because your light didn’t come on.

    As a standard maintenance procedure, you should lubricate your o-rings (see the comprehensive grease and lube thread for more details) and clean your contacts on a regular basis (at the very least once or twice a year up to once a month, depending on your usage.) Once a year, I check that my retainer rings are screwed in properly and I basically never have any problems.

    Let me know if I forgot anything and I invite you to share your tips & trick or stories of a light that neede a simple maintenance to get going again
    Last edited by Cataract; 04-24-2013 at 08:59 AM.
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* ^Gurthang's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Cataract,

    Your list is a very good start. I'll suggest also checking the driver & LED for broken connections [especially if the light was dropped]. I had a drop-in + spring pop loose after a drop.
    ^G When I reply, threads die....

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Good point. I added a comment on dropins on the second line.

    The goal here is to get newbs over 99% problems while not running the risk of voiding the warranty on new lights, so I prefer not to mention taking the pill out or anything like that. I'm hoping the mods will notice this thread and make it a sticky so people don't feel the need to start a thread every time a light won't turn on due to a small maintenance related problem. In-depth troubleshooting is rarely needed (virtually never if the light is under warranty) and very often requires more specific procedures like how to remove a specific pill and should also be accompanied by recommendations from someone who already opened that specific light when possible.
    Cataract,

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    Flashaholic Draven451's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    great idea! I think this post would make for a great sticky~*
    "Light up the Darkness"

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* ^Gurthang's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Cataract,

    I get your point about taking apart a light & voiding the warranty. I was mainly thinking of P60 based lights when I responded the first time. I'll second the motion to make this a "sticky" thread for helping newbies, especially since I've gotten a small amount of grief for suggesting [to newbies] to use the search function to find the info they seek. Another suggesttion if this is made a sticky thread is to add some pics showing how to tighten a tailcap switch ring or a loose connection, or some sort of helpful pics.
    ^G When I reply, threads die....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    There is a sticky about stuff like this (with pictures) in the budget part of the forum.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by ^Gurthang View Post
    Cataract,

    I get your point about taking apart a light & voiding the warranty. I was mainly thinking of P60 based lights when I responded the first time. I'll second the motion to make this a "sticky" thread for helping newbies, especially since I've gotten a small amount of grief for suggesting [to newbies] to use the search function to find the info they seek. Another suggesttion if this is made a sticky thread is to add some pics showing how to tighten a tailcap switch ring or a loose connection, or some sort of helpful pics.
    Excellent points there. I'll make the commitment to add pics with arrows to the areas to clean, disassembled switch and whatever seems useful if the mods decide to sticky this thread.



    Quote Originally Posted by jorn View Post
    There is a sticky about stuff like this (with pictures) in the budget part of the forum.
    Didn't know about that one, but it does concentrate more on the internals rather than the regular maintenance points. Nice pics, though.
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  8. #8

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Cataract,
    As a newb I want to thank you for taking the time to put this together. I knew about most of these, others I would have spent a great deal of time either searching (here) for or fumbling around until I thought of it myself.
    Cheers!

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by russde View Post
    Cataract,
    As a newb I want to thank you for taking the time to put this together. I knew about most of these, others I would have spent a great deal of time either searching (here) for or fumbling around until I thought of it myself.
    Cheers!
    Thanks, took me a while too at first and that's why I figured these little things needed to be put together
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  10. #10

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Thanks, as a relative newbie to Flashlight repairs, following your steps helped me start up a 10 minute RUN BC 10!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by sold365.com View Post
    Thanks, as a relative newbie to Flashlight repairs, following your steps helped me start up a 10 minute RUN BC 10!
    That's what I created this thread for!

    Mods: why not make this a sticky or link it in "threads of interest"...
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  12. #12

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Thanks for starting this thread, Cataract! A little contribution from my fresh experience.

    Twisty flashlight changes modes out of sequence + very hard to turn on and off

    I've almost returned a perfectly good LD01 (XP-G R4) today. At first it seemed like it's changing modes randomly (as you probably know, LD01 is a twisty with med>low>high sequence), and that p*ssed me off so bad that I've failed to notice how dry the O-ring was, making turning on and off very hard. Upon arriving home, I've removed the O-ring and then tested the UI: it worked flawlessly! I've lightly polished the sealing surfaces with used "1500" waterproof carbide paper, washed the O-ring in dishwashing detergent, cleaned everything, applied silicone grease and re-assembled. Everything A-OK!

    So, dry and sticky O-ring can affect the overall flashlight operation, not only the waterproofing.

    Cheers

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    I've got a problem with #4.

    Alcohol isn't the best thing to clean contacts, though it may work if nothing else is available. The catch is that you have to use the 91% alchol and not the far more common 70%.

    It doesn't make any sense to try to clean electrical contacts with anything that is 30% water.

  14. #14

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I've got a problem with #4.

    Alcohol isn't the best thing to clean contacts, though it may work if nothing else is available. The catch is that you have to use the 91% alchol and not the far more common 70%.

    It doesn't make any sense to try to clean electrical contacts with anything that is 30% water.
    I highly recommend DeoxIT. I work with electronics all day and much of it is repair work. We have tried all types of contact cleaners and DeoxIT works wonders and keeps the contacts looking good for a long time. Grab a bottle and it will last you a long time if all you are doing is cleaning your light contacts once in a while. I just cleaned my Quark 123 contacts with it the other day and they look as good as new now.

  15. #15

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I've got a problem with #4.

    Alcohol isn't the best thing to clean contacts, though it may work if nothing else is available. The catch is that you have to use the 91% alchol and not the far more common 70%.

    It doesn't make any sense to try to clean electrical contacts with anything that is 30% water.
    Alcohol is recommended in Fenixlight Ltd.'s user manuals. Quote: "Clean the contact points with an alcohol soaked cotton swab." (Source: LD01 R4 User Manual). Which alcohol and which concentration - not mentioned.

    I'm using either 95% ethanol or "Oszillin T6" contact spray for fine electronics. Never use water-based products or WD-40...

    Cheers

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    I just came back from vacation to see my thread has attracted some new comments.


    Quote Originally Posted by tam17 View Post
    Thanks for starting this thread, Cataract! A little contribution from my fresh experience.

    Twisty flashlight changes modes out of sequence + very hard to turn on and off

    I've almost returned a perfectly good LD01 (XP-G R4) today. At first it seemed like it's changing modes randomly (as you probably know, LD01 is a twisty with med>low>high sequence), and that p*ssed me off so bad that I've failed to notice how dry the O-ring was, making turning on and off very hard. Upon arriving home, I've removed the O-ring and then tested the UI: it worked flawlessly! I've lightly polished the sealing surfaces with used "1500" waterproof carbide paper, washed the O-ring in dishwashing detergent, cleaned everything, applied silicone grease and re-assembled. Everything A-OK!

    So, dry and sticky O-ring can affect the overall flashlight operation, not only the waterproofing.

    Cheers
    Thanks for your contribution, I'll add something about checking o-rings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I've got a problem with #4.

    Alcohol isn't the best thing to clean contacts, though it may work if nothing else is available. The catch is that you have to use the 91% alchol and not the far more common 70%.

    It doesn't make any sense to try to clean electrical contacts with anything that is 30% water.
    Believe it or not, this is a very common practice in electronics to use alcohol, wheter it be 90% or 70% alcohol (most do prefer 90 - 95%, though). First off, board contacts are normally of a type that is very hard to corrode, if at all, and board traces are protected by a coating. Second, the evaporation rate of alcohol (including 70%) is high enough that nothing is left on the surface within seconds. In general, there is only a very small deposit of dirt, oil or oxydation on flashlight contacts and even a dry q-tip might do the job, but sometimes more is needed and alcohol is used because of the high evaporation rate and also because it works well on most oils.

    Contact cleaner solutions are also recommendable, but there is no evidence whatsoever that using 70% alcohol will do anything bad. Plus, most flashlights have gold plated contacts and gold has pretty much 0 tendency to corrode. Whatever you use to clean your contacts, just make sure you don't use so much it can leak inside the head or the tailcap. What you really want to avoid is humidity inside the head with the electronics, that's where water can affect the durability of the electronics, but exactly how much so is very open for debate and has more to do with the soldering quality than anything else. Also, know that most contact cleaning products do contain some water and that some of these products are aggressive enough that they can cause premature wear on contacts or dissolve gold plating when used frequently. Basically, the more a product cleans oily stuff easily, the more it is likely to remove gold plating, but that is only a concern if you clean your contacts often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irelander View Post
    I highly recommend DeoxIT. I work with electronics all day and much of it is repair work. We have tried all types of contact cleaners and DeoxIT works wonders and keeps the contacts looking good for a long time. Grab a bottle and it will last you a long time if all you are doing is cleaning your light contacts once in a while. I just cleaned my Quark 123 contacts with it the other day and they look as good as new now.
    Deoxit will remove the worst of residues, even some rust caused by a leaking battery. I still try to use it with caution but, yea, it makes contacts look great. It is also designed with gold plated contacts in mind, so is very recommendable.


    Quote Originally Posted by tam17 View Post
    Alcohol is recommended in Fenixlight Ltd.'s user manuals. Quote: "Clean the contact points with an alcohol soaked cotton swab." (Source: LD01 R4 User Manual). Which alcohol and which concentration - not mentioned.

    I'm using either 95% ethanol or "Oszillin T6" contact spray for fine electronics. Never use water-based products or WD-40...

    Cheers

    Most (if not all) manufacturers of anything electronic will recommend using alcohol for cleaning contacts and, no, no one will specify which concentration: 70% and up is good enough for most uses. Just don't overdo it whatever you use.


    NOW FOR THE RESERVE SIDE OF THE COIN:

    I definitely recommend NOT using alcohol on your o-rings as it can dry and cause cracking on certain materials. I usually remove my o-rings before doing any cleaning on the threads.
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Added line 4A thanks to tam17.
    Cataract,

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  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    If you have a faulty TK40 that has a battery case with the metal posts, check this thread:

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post4051043
    Cataract,

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    Flashaholic cummins4x4's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Great thread. I am currently trying to repair a dead deree, so far newly charged batteries aren,t doing it.

    In God we trust
    For everyone else we have Smith & Wesson


  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Let us know how it's going. I'll be glad to help if I can
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Bringing this to the top. Good thread and deserves to be a sticky, what with all of the threads started about "my broken light".

    Bill

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    : thanks Bill! That was the whole point for starting this thread
    Cataract,

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  23. #23

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Very useful,thanks

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Newuser01's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    I have found that some lights , pills, or the switch assembly becomes loose (some times even new out of box) that tightening it can eliminate problems such as whining and/or won't turn on.

    This issue can and do effect premium lights as well as cheap ones.

    Regards.
    Noob
    Poor noob who want some lights.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataract View Post
    I see too many threads about "my light won't come on" where people just do not know the basics of what to do in that type of situation, so here it is in a nutshell:

    BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURE:

    1 – Check the battery polarity (most often positive towards the head, but not always)

    2 - Make sure all parts are screwed in all the way and remove / reinstall your dropin if applicable while inspecting for broken parts.

    3 - Try a new non-rechargeable battery (and new bulb if it’s an incandescent)

    4 - Clean all contacts: inside the head, spring(s), tube ends and threads. (Rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip work fine or this)
    4A - For twisties and lights that have erratic behavior: check if your o-rings are not creating too much friction (too dry or too big) or not enough tension (too small). Big o-rings can prevent contact, small o-rings can make contacts happen when not desired, causing flickers or undesired mode changes.

    5 - Remove the tailcap and short the end of the battery with the end of the tube (a trombone works just fine).
    5A - If this works: tighten the tailcap retainer ring (note that some are reverse threaded).
    5B - If tightening the retainer ring doesn't work dismantle the switch, clean all contacts inside the switch area
    and reassemble.
    5C - If this does not fix the problem, but the light comes on when you short the battery and the tube end, you most likely have a defective switch.

    6 - Contact you dealer. If the dealer warranty is over, contact the manufacturer. Some dealers and manufacturers will honor the warranty for longer than stated or will provide replacement parts for a reasonable fee and sometimes even for free.

    Don’t just give up on a light or brand just because your light didn’t come on.

    As a standard maintenance procedure, you should lubricate your o-rings (see the comprehensive grease and lube thread for more details) and clean your contacts on a regular basis (at the very least once or twice a year up to once a month, depending on your usage.) Once a year, I check that my retainer rings are screwed in properly and I basically never have any problems.

    Let me know if I forgot anything and I invite you to share your tips & trick or stories of a light that neede a simple maintenance to get going again
    Trombone?!?!

    I laughed out loud and now everyone on the bus thinks Im insane....

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    It may be a bad translation of "paperclip", since paperclips are folded in the same basic shape as trombones.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    It may be a bad translation of "paperclip", since paperclips are folded in the same basic shape as trombones.
    I had assumed such, unless it was an on-going CPF joke I hadn't got yet!

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Emmm... yea, that would be a paper clip... don't know how that one got through LOL. Although, any musical brass instrument should conduct enough to let the current through, but you might find the tuba a little tough to handle while playing with a flashlight (on any other forum this would have been said the other way around)... and you might want to think twice before putting your lips to something that has a couple of amps going through - and I don't mean guitar amp here (some people might thank you for not playing the trombone on an amplifier, though).

    I corrected the original post to avoid confusion and help prevent flashlights to be blown onto walls or musical instruments to mysteriously start sound like the hamster got stuck in there.

    gravelmonkey: I hope you don't see too many of the same people on the bus each day.

    fyrstormer: correct, trombone is both the musical instrument and a paper clip in French. Don't know if it was me or the spell-check that got mixed up.
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  29. #29

    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Hi there.

    Informative thread!

    I have a Jetbeam DDR30 which is about 2 months old and has about 3-4 hour of use. The other night I was using it and moments after turning it on, it shut down. This happened two (2) times over a 1 hour period in the same night. The first time I noticed the battery tube/tail cap was not screwed on completely (could be tighten just a bit more). Shortly thereafter, it happened again. Both incidents occurred moments after first turning on the light. The light allows for 'momentary on' by depressing the on button for a short period. After holding the on button for more than 2 seconds, it stays on and the DDR shows an "H" denoting 'high.' In both instances I had depressed the on button for a minimum of 4 seconds and the "H" appeared.

    At the time I had Panasonic NCR18650A 3100mAh batteries installed. Despite numerous attempts, I have not been able to get the light to trun off erratically again (good I suppose).

    Anyone know what could be the culprit here?

    Finally, as for cleaning the contacts, should I need to do that on a factory fresh barely used light?

    Many thanks in advance for any help!
    Sent from a BlackBerry Q10

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: BASIC FLASHLIGHT TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

    Hi One Missed Call

    You had to get me to check out the Going Gear review! Good thing I put a restriction on my budget, else I might be ordering a DDR30 myself...

    Do start with my basic list even on a brand new light or right after doing a good maintenance as this solves over 90% of all problems.

    Your first suspect in this case is lube on the threads, tube endings or battery carrier contacts. I always start with cleaning threads and all contacts and seldom have to go any further, even on spankin new lights - when it does happen.

    Also, make sure your battery level is not low. You do have a battery level indicator on this light, so check out what it says... 1 = low batteries. When batteries are low on regulated lights, they normally cycle down through the modes and then just turn off.

    In your case I'd say also give your battery contacts a swipe as well just in case. This light has a battery carrier, so you also want to make sure all the screws are nice and snug on the carrier as lots of battery carriers use the posts as conductors.

    Let us know if you find out anything or if it keeps going and going and going...
    Last edited by Cataract; 09-17-2013 at 03:18 PM.
    Cataract,

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