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Thread: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

  1. #1
    Enlightened
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    Thumbs down ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Hi my fellow CPF'ers,

    I just wanted to share my experience with the waterproofness of the H502. I just bought one and as with all my new lights I took it with me in the shower , but the experience wasn't pleasant at all

    This is what happened



    The light began to act, some modes won't start, some modes flicker, it starts on its own and it will flicker even when it's off, so I guess it's ruined.

    Disclaimer: No Soaps were harmed during the testing process, but unfortunately the H502 did.
    EagleTac M2XC4, ET T20C2 MKII XPG, ET P100A2, 4Sevens Preon 2, Lumapower IncenDio V3+ XPG R5, Lumapower TRUST Model-1, NiteCore D10 SP, iTP A3 EOS, iTP A1 EOS.

  2. #2

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    My H502 failed the waterproof test too. Zebralight needs to fix this.
    EDC: Zebralight H52w; Backup/loaner: Olight i3S
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    The only useful tool is the one you have with you when you need it.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    I'm frosted that Zebralight didn't learn their lesson from the leaking H501s of several years ago. That totally trashed their reputation then, with people thinking that ZLs were delicate and not waterproofed... now they do this. How many times do they have to learn the same lesson? How long will loyal customers put up with it?

    My H502c went into a glass of water and survived, but...if other leaks are occurring...? Making the same mistake over and over is hard to forgive.

    EDIT: Let's collect some data on this problem...
    Last edited by Bolster; 08-18-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Sorry to see all your H502 failed the water test. I have one but I have not submitted it to a wet test yet.

    Just curious, did any of you click the button while it was under water and/or cooling it down while still wet?

  5. #5

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    Just curious.... did you folks with failed water tests get replacement lights from the dealer or ZL... or did you void the warranty and lose the $$?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* climberkid's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm not letting a single drop of water touch mine! No siree.


    -Alex
    -Alex

  7. #7

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Like Bolster, I dunked mine without issue, but like Bolster, I find it worrying to hear that this seems to be an issue with a small but significant number of lights.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by sbbsga View Post
    Sorry to see all your H502 failed the water test. I have one but I have not submitted it to a wet test yet.

    Just curious, did any of you click the button while it was under water and/or cooling it down while still wet?
    a couple clicks maybe nothing more, and it wasn't even fully submerged under water.

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Just curious.... did you folks with failed water tests get replacement lights from the dealer or ZL... or did you void the warranty and lose the $$?
    I haven't contacted the seller nor the manufacturer yet so I don't really know, but the H502 has an IPX8 rating so this should be covered.
    EagleTac M2XC4, ET T20C2 MKII XPG, ET P100A2, 4Sevens Preon 2, Lumapower IncenDio V3+ XPG R5, Lumapower TRUST Model-1, NiteCore D10 SP, iTP A3 EOS, iTP A1 EOS.

  9. #9

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    As for the shower, I wonder if the water being in a vapor state would affect the permeability of the light. Are the water molecules in steam smaller than water molecules in a glass of water? I'd assume not..

    One would think as internal flashlight temperatures increased (in the shower) the gas within the light would expand, thus making it attempt to leak air out. Once the light begins to cool again, internal gasses would contract and it would attempt to draw air in. I'm guessing the light were IN THE SHOWER, then spent some time on a counter or sink in a partially steamy bathroom? Regardless, it's hard to speculate if the pressures in the given situation would exceed IPX-8 standards. It'd depend on water temperature, ambient temperature prior to the shower, ambient temperature in the bathroom post shower, water density at 8 feet at whatever the IPX-8 tested temperature is, etc. etc. etc...

    This is all just non-sense rambling though. I'm no scientist. I'd like to think IPX-8 means it can handle a shower. This thread does concern me. I've had my 502 about a week. I use it outdoors while I work, rain or shine. Now I don't feel so good about it. Rest assured, I'll be tuned in.
    Last edited by fiberguy; 08-13-2012 at 07:22 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Vapor passes permeable barriers (Fabric and small gaps) much more easily than water does. Example: Fancy-pants waterproof tents can keep rain out, but not the humidity, and you can sweat through nice waterproof hiking gear.

    That's not to say that it excuses the manufacturer. For those of you walking on ice around water: Lube the O-rings. All of them. This may reduce bulk water ingress. The switch design should be designed to resist the simple fact that a warm-then-cool flashlight will condense water on surfaces in the light.

    My SC600w is going strong, but I have not gone swimming with it yet.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Pressure has nothing to do with it. The rubber boot will prevent big pressure/vacum buildups. My old zebra h30 had a leak around the lense. (put some droplets of water on top of the lense, and push the button. If bubbels of air start to grow around the lense when you press the button, well then you found your leak.) Same with the boot, but afaik zebralight leaks are mostly around the lense. The press fitted ring + glue to hold the glass is a bad combo if you ask me.
    I think they glue it, press it together, and last, some prayers for it to be waterproof.

    My new h51fc had a leak at the o-ring. The o-ring was way to small. Dident feel any added tention when i screwed the cap past the o-ring. Used a spare o-ring from anoter light, and now it's ok.



    1 of my 3 zebras were waterproof out of the box (sc50+)..

    I'm not letting a single drop of water touch mine! No siree.
    Zebra=headlamp. Headlamp=outdoors. Outdoors=rain (atleast most of the time) Thats how i found the leak on my h30. It crapped out on me in the rain when i was way up in some mountian at night. Not funny at all. Not dangerous, but not funny.. It came back to life after some days of drying. fixed now with some drops of transparent glue around the lense.

  12. #12

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by jorn View Post
    Pressure has nothing to do with it. The rubber boot will prevent big pressure/vacum buildups. .
    A good point that I didn't consider

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by jorn View Post
    The press fitted ring + glue to hold the glass is a bad combo if you ask me.
    I think they glue it, press it together, and last, some prayers for it to be waterproof.
    How certain are we this is how it's done? Was this an autopsy that revealed assembly method? You don't think there's a rubber gasket in there somewhere? No silicone sealant? Now I have this image in my head of old dried glue being the "waterproof" barrier.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* f22shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Didnt someone say do a blow test? Put the lens end in your mouth and leave the battery cap off. Blow some pressure and see if any air goes through.
    I guess the best thing to do is buy from a trusted dealer so it can be exchanged in a timely fashion. 6 week turnaround with zebra is too long.

  15. #15

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    And now I'm worried! Shower test failure is a real worry for me because unlike dunking the lights, a shower test is closest to a simple and realistic "rain test" an outdoors headlamp usage will experience. I have recently recommended the H502 and H51 to my friends in the military and avid hikers/campers. I worry that they trusted me to give them "flashlight expertise" and these lights will fail them when most needed! Come on Zebralight, get your sh.t together on quality control!

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by f22shift View Post
    Didnt someone say do a blow test? Put the lens end in your mouth and leave the battery cap off.
    I calculated the equivalent pressure of the "suck" version of this same test, and discovered that the amount of pressure you put on the light with the "suck" test far exceeds ZL's stated IPX8 standard for depth. It's like putting the light 18 feet underwater instead of 6 feet. Calculations in the poll thread if you want to check them.

    Quote Originally Posted by mega_lumens View Post
    I worry that they trusted me to give them "flashlight expertise" and these lights will fail them when most needed! Come on Zebralight, get your sh.t together on quality control!

    I'm also stalling for more data to come in, before recommending the H502 to an outdoorsman. Personally I'm waiting for the poll results before freaking out.

    I don't think there's a good "suck" or "blow" alternative to an actual test (shower or dunk) so man up, get your light wet, and gather us some data. I risked my light for a datapoint, now it's your turn!

    Data first. Then freak out (if the data's bad). That's my plan.
    Last edited by Bolster; 08-18-2012 at 07:01 PM.

  17. #17
    Enlightened raptechnician's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Why isnt Zebralight all over this thread? I thought they were a good well established company.

    If this was a 4sevens thread, David would be all over it.


    I own a sc52w and I really like it. Amazing interface...good job Zebra... Im kinda of upset to find out it might not be waterproof though, because the press fitted bezel.

    Ive dunk tested several different 4sevens Quarks while they were on max, and never had any problems...no water, condensation etc...

    Once again why isnt someone from Zebra here..?

    Come on Zebra.. Get your sh.t together...

    If you want us to give you a bad reputation for this issue we can.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Outdoorsman5's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by raptechnician View Post
    Why isnt Zebralight all over this thread? I thought they were a good well established company.

    If this was a 4sevens thread, David would be all over it.


    I own a sc52w and I really like it. Amazing interface...good job Zebra... Im kinda of upset to find out it might not be waterproof though, because the press fitted bezel.

    Ive dunk tested several different 4sevens Quarks while they were on max, and never had any problems...no water, condensation etc...

    Once again why isnt someone from Zebra here..?

    Come on Zebra.. Get your sh.t together...

    If you want us to give you a bad reputation for this issue we can.
    Hey raptechnician,
    This thread is more than a year old, and I believe zebralight made some improvements to their design since then. I got the H502w when it came out a few months ago, and it survived my water tests without any issues. I believe many others have had great success with theirs as well.

    Most of us, by the way (me included,) have posted on threads that were old.....so no worries here.

  19. #19

    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by raptechnician View Post
    Why isnt Zebralight all over this thread? I thought they were a good well established company.

    If this was a 4sevens thread, David would be all over it.


    I own a sc52w and I really like it. Amazing interface...good job Zebra... Im kinda of upset to find out it might not be waterproof though, because the press fitted bezel.

    Ive dunk tested several different 4sevens Quarks while they were on max, and never had any problems...no water, condensation etc...

    Once again why isnt someone from Zebra here..?

    Come on Zebra.. Get your sh.t together...

    If you want us to give you a bad reputation for this issue we can.
    I've never had a functioning problem with my Zebralights, but it is very disappointing to see this problem still exists. Sometimes it takes an old thread to remind you. They had more than enough time (several years - H501 model) to fix this issue...and they didn't!
    GOOD TINT!

  20. #20
    Flashaholic creyc's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoorsman5 View Post
    Hey raptechnician,
    This thread is more than a year old, and I believe zebralight made some improvements to their design since then. I got the H502w when it came out a few months ago, and it survived my water tests without any issues. I believe many others have had great success with theirs as well.

    Most of us, by the way (me included,) have posted on threads that were old.....so no worries here.
    This thread may be a tad old, but that doesn't mean it's not useful.

    In fact I have reason to believe nothing has changed as far as their design goes, contrary to your statement. I too received an H502w a few months ago. It's a wonderful little light, and I use it all the time. The first week of owning it however I left it sitting (on) in my driveway while assembling a shelf for the garage, and typical of Florida weather it started to downpour. I left the light be while I rushed the pieces in the garage but a few minutes later after retrieving the light and bringing it indoors there was what looked like moisture behind the lens. I pulled the battery and let it sit a day and never had an issue with it, but I'm almost certain it would fail a "dunk test".

    It's not too much of an issue (for me) as long as you know about it and know to be careful with it. I have plenty of uses for it indoors and around the house, and it really got a severe drenching that one time so a little splash here or there from normal use should be fine. If I know I'm going to be around water (pool, beach) I'll just grab a different light, but for those people with only the H502, I can see where that might not be an option.

    Keep in mind reports like the OP and mine are probably isolated accounts, the vast majority of people with this light have no reason to post about it if it's working fine. The sample size is far too low to assume reports like these are any indication of a widespread problem. I think with any brand there's going to be a few 'friday afternoon models.

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZebraLight H502 Shower Test went wrong

    Any light that is properly sealed with o-rings and gaskets should have no problem surviving less than 1 ATM (33 feet). I have tested the majority of my lights by at least placing them in the shower and plenty of them (4sevens included) are just fine for a little night-time snorkeling. Since a big part of my light usage can be under extremely wet and adverse conditions, all of my lights, especially headlamps, must at least survive the shower test!

    My Princeton Tec 1L and League 100 have no problems at 130 feet, but let's be fair, those are dive lights. However, there is honestly nothing special here in terms of construction besides having o-rings at all points of potential water ingress.

    I was all set to buy an H32 and H600 mkII but with these issues I am not sure I am comfortable making the investment. I will instead double down on Petzl and carry a Tikka to back up my NAO.
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