Eagletac M3C4 and the dreaded stripped hex screw - HELP!

HIDblue

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I just received my Eagletac M3C4 triple XP-G. Unfortunately, it's been a horrible experience so far. There are 4 hex screws that hold down the tail cap. You have to remove these 4 hex screws to replace the standard tail cap with the included clicky tail cap. The M3C4 has a rather high parasitic drain so you basically have to use the clicky tail cap to avoid it; aside from leaving the batteries out or almost completely removing the head from the body.

Not sure about others who have purchased this light, but the 4 hex screws on my M3C4 were not uniform in size and appear to be of inferior quality. 2 of the hex screws in the tail cap were 1.5mm while the other 2 hex screws were 1/16" in size. So, needless to say, the 1.5mm hex wrench that was included with the light only worked on 2 of the hex screws. I had to use my own 1/16" hex wrench to remove the other 2. :thinking:

Well, I managed to remove all 4 hex screws and installed the clicky tailcap being very cautious not to over tighten the hex screws and I still managed to strip one of the 1.5mm hex screw heads using the Eagletac provided 1.5mm hex wrench :sigh:. I've tried everything to remove it, including using a damaged screw extractor to no avail. Now, I'm stuck with a stripped hex screw in the clicky tail cap.

It must be a well known problem with this light and Eagletac seems to be aware of it since the instructions even state:

"Our warranty does not cover damages resulting from stripping mounting screws."

Based on this apparent design flaw and use of what I can only assume is inferior hex screws, I seriously caution others about this problem with the M3C4 before purchase. :shakehead

The light still seems to work, but I am stuck using the clicky tail cap now since I can't remove the stripped hex screw. And since the tail cap is made of plastic, any really invasive action on the stripped screw will most likely damage the clicky tail cap. It's even more disconcerting considering how much this light cost me. :thumbsdow

It's not the vendor's fault, but I contacted them as well to see if they could help me at all.

Aside from welding a hex wrench into the stripped hex screw head, does anyone know how I can get this thing out? Help! :confused:
 
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tre

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I agree, the cap and screws are super crappy quality. I did manage to change mine without issue but I treated it more gently than any screw in my life. Anyway, take the three good screws out and try unscrewing the bad one while lifting the tail cap. This should get it out. Use a tap & die set to rethread the holes slightly larger and buy a new screw to match. If you don't have a tap & die try to borrow one or get a cheap $20 one - I assure you that you will use it again. You could also try to drill out the screw with a very small bit but you will still need tap & die.
 

richpalm

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I just got one-same thing-very poor quality tail area for such a nice light. I got mine changed, but it isn't quite straight on. I think I squished the O-ring getting it on. I cussed that out trying to get it set in the channel more than I did the screws, which I'm gonna get rid of. Always hated hex head... Stupid to not use Philipps like the rest of the light.

Rich
 
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shipwreck

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I heard about this before I got my M2XC4. I asked the vendor I bought mine from to change the tailcap for me before shipping
 

HIDblue

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I agree, the cap and screws are super crappy quality. I did manage to change mine without issue but I treated it more gently than any screw in my life. Anyway, take the three good screws out and try unscrewing the bad one while lifting the tail cap. This should get it out. Use a tap & die set to rethread the holes slightly larger and buy a new screw to match. If you don't have a tap & die try to borrow one or get a cheap $20 one - I assure you that you will use it again. You could also try to drill out the screw with a very small bit but you will still need tap & die.

I just got one-same thing-very poor quality tail area for such a nice light. I got mine changed, but it isn't quite straight on. I think I squished the O-ring getting it on. I cussed that out trying to get it set in the channel more than I did the screws, which I'm gonna get rid of. Always hated hex head... Stupid to not use Philipps like the rest of the light.

Thanks for the replies. To echo your comments, I just don't understand why Eagletac would tack on such a lousy plastic tail cap and cheap hex screw assembly when the rest of the light appears to be well made...

Tre...the hex screw head is completely stripped so no hex wrench, no matter what size, works. I even tried a torx wrench and a broken screw extractor bit kit, but neither worked. I thought of using my Dremel tool to cut a slit on top of the hex screw head and then use a flat-head screwdriver to remove it, but then realized that I would have to cut into the plastic tail cap to cut down into the hex screw deep enough to make that notch. Now, I'm just afraid to do anymore to it since the plastic tail cap doesn't look like it's all that sturdy.

It kinda bums me out that I spent this kinda money only to have a $0.05 hex screw ruin my experience with it. I guess the saying is true..."you're only as strong as your weakest link..." Well, looks like the hex screws are the weakest link in the Eagletac Military lights. Either that or I'm the only knucklehead who can't manage to delicately remove/install hex screws.

Unfortunately, this brand new Eagletac may end up being a shelf-queen for me now since I'm not confident in it's mechanical reliability to use it in the field. Well, that was a complete waste of $140+ of my hard earned money. :confused:

It's a shame thinking I could've bought an HDS/Ra Clicky High CRI or Thrunite Catapult V2 with that same amount of money.
 
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HIDblue

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I heard about this before I got my M2XC4. I asked the vendor I bought mine from to change the tailcap for me before shipping

I thought of that as well, but reviews indicated that Eagletac improved the design of the tail cap/screws on the M3C4 so I didn't bother asking. Well, they may have improved it for better or for worse, but it sure didn't work out for me. :(
 
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richpalm

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I just emailed ET about this... I'll let you all know the reply. I also emailed them the link to this discussion.

The XPG's aren't centered well either. I'm not gonna hassle around with shipping and waiting.

I'm also disappointed that it's made in China. I was under the impression they were made here.

Rich
 

HIDblue

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Prospective buyers should be made aware of this flaw with the plastic tail cap and hex screws on the Eagletac M3C4. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who's had this problem. :sigh:

Caveat emptor.
 

B0wz3r

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I've been mulling a purchase of a larger, higher powered light; right now all I have are smaller lights that don't go past 1x18650. I had been thinking about one of these; just read Selfbuilt's new review on them and the 3xXPG sure looks like a winner in terms of performance.

But, if these lights have such a serious design flaw that leads to failures because of cheap parts used in them, this one is off my list.

Right now the TK40 is my front runner; I really was starting to like these lights, but now because of this (and a couple other reasons as well), they're off my list.

Thanks for the info.
 

wyager

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A surefire way to get screws or something out of something else when there's no way to move them is to get some sort of rod and put a bit of super glue on it and then stick it to the screw. After it cures, it's just a matter of unscrewing and getting a better screw.
 

dero

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Hmm, this has certainly put me off buying any Eagletac products in the future. Seems like a very poor effort on their behalf.
 

Steve'O

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Sounds like you need to take the screw head off using a small drill-bit of maybe 4 or 5mm dia.

At the very least, you will need a drill with drill stand or better still a pillar drill and support the light, and go very gently until the screw head comes away.
 

CarpentryHero

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A two part epoxy might work to add metal to the stripped screw face.
If the batteries aren't inside or you know the depth, I'd drill through, upping the bit size abit at a time until you can tap a new screw in place. Not sure if the current tailcap would go unscathed.
 

tre

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A surefire way to get screws or something out of something else when there's no way to move them is to get some sort of rod and put a bit of super glue on it and then stick it to the screw. After it cures, it's just a matter of unscrewing and getting a better screw.

Great Idea!

I just emailed ET about this... I'll let you all know the reply. I also emailed them the link to this discussion.

Don't hold your breath. I have sent many emails to them (months ago at this point) and they don't respond. Heck, they can't even be bothered to show the M3C4 on their web site. They clearly knew about the issue (since it was mentioned in their manual) and don't care.

Thanks for the replies. To echo your comments, I just don't understand why Eagletac would tack on such a lousy plastic tail cap and cheap hex screw assembly when the rest of the light appears to be well made...

Tre...the hex screw head is completely stripped so no hex wrench, no matter what size, works. I even tried a torx wrench and a broken screw extractor bit kit, but neither worked. I thought of using my Dremel tool to cut a slit on top of the hex screw head and then use a flat-head screwdriver to remove it, but then realized that I would have to cut into the plastic tail cap to cut down into the hex screw deep enough to make that notch. Now, I'm just afraid to do anymore to it since the plastic tail cap doesn't look like it's all that sturdy..

Ahh, I missed that. I thought the threads were stripped. I think the epoxy/super glue route sounds good.

If that does not work, maybe try just breaking the tailcap off to get the screw. I would guess you could get another from EagleTac for about 50 cents (it cant be worth more than that) but you will have to call - don't bother with email since they don't answer. You could try drilling it (remove the batteries first). Use a bit that is smaller than the threads, don't go any deeper than the screw depth, and tap the hole when your done - should be pretty easy. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you can always send it back to EagleTac for repair. Heck they may fix it for free because the tailcap design is such crap. The good news is that you never need to touch it IF you can get it swapped the one time. For those of you who don't know the M3C4 series, you remove the head to insert/remove batteries. You never have to remove the tail cap except to add the optional clickie switch (which you want to avoid the parasitic battery drain).

It is a great light (will, not the SST-50 version). I love my M3C4 triple XR-E. I love the side by side 18650 batteries. The only other light I know of that uses the 2x side-by-side format is the Sunwayman M40C but my M3C4 triple XR-E can out-throw that. They would have such a winner if they would just up their game and try a little harder. Right now their 90% effort in everything they do is just not cutting it.
 
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richpalm

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Well, I did it. I got the lousy Allen screws out of mine and took out the O-ring that got squashed. An extra one had gotten in there somehow.

Since I restore vintage radios for a hobby also, I have a lot of junkers sitting around. I managed to harvest four Phillips screws that had the same thread, so they exist anyway. They came from a trashed boombox. They were the small metric screws that held the tape heads in.

I had to cut them lengthwise but they went in fine with no binding. Touched up the heads with a black Sharpie.

Now I'm pretty happy with the light. So start looking in your junkboxes!

And for God's sake, use a good allen wrench. The POS that comes with the light is junk. With a good wrench mine came out fine.

Rich
 

xamoel

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that still is a huge turnoff from the eagletac M series. why do they even use a tailcap out of plastic? it is supposed to be a "military" light after all.
if they had a "normal" round shape, they could fit 2 more CR123s, resulting in even greater runtimes, PLUS use a better tailcap design.
 

tre

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I pulled my old original m2c4 w/ the ssc p7 emitter out of a drawer because I don't remember this issue with the original models. Sure enough it has a metal tail cap and Phillips screws. Why they changed this I will never know. I guess it saved them money but of course lost them customers. :fail::fail:
 

Steve'O

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If the tailcap clicky is the same as on my m2xc4, it is some kind of tough polymer material, not some cheap platic crap, so lets get that straight ok.

Like I said before, the best way to deal with this is to remove the metal on the screw head, and in this case being as it is recessed in the tailcap the way I would do it is by gentle removal with a drill and small bit.

Edit: The drill bit need only be the same or slightly larger diametre than the thread.

Once you have done this the cap will pull off and you can then unscrew the remaining thread by gripping the exposed stud with pliers, simple :)
 
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tre

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If the tailcap clicky is the same as on my m2xc4, it is some kind of tough polymer material, not some cheap platic crap, so lets get that straight ok.

It is junky low quality plastic. It is super light and I can bend and twist it using almost no force. I'm certain I can break it in half with little force. It is junk. The screws are also junk. Rarely have I seen such fragile screws. You must own an updated m2xc4 because my original had a metal tail cap. As I said, my m3c4 tailcap is plastic junk.
 

JML

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Screws that small ought to use a Torx recess and not a hex recess, and should be hardened stainless. You can find screws online; if you need a source, try smallparts.com for starters.

For extremely tiny screw extractors, try the set from Moody. You can find them online using Google.
 
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