My first encounter with a Novatac Spa Defense 120T

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
I received Bigburly912's Black Novatac 120T and it indeed had a number of problem behaviors. It turned out they were all caused by the same single issue... the spring was overstretched. The spring also happens to be of rather flimsy design, and made of rather thin wire.

this is what I experienced, before I figured out the reason for the malfunctions:

When I inserted a battery and tightened the parts together, the light would turn on by itself. This was causing a Factory Reset, thereby disabling the 250 click unlock, after which the light would turn off, and the switch would not work.

Sometimes after inserting a battery and starting to tighten the parts together the light would flicker on and off while screwing, the reset would fail, and the light would go into flashing morse code for SOS.

The spring in this Black 120T had been stretched too long, and it was moving into contact with the retaining ring, thereby turning the switch on, at the wrong times.
qEDrrQ6.jpg

this made the light flash and flicker like crazy, during the process of trying to tighten the parts together. This issue was also resolved by replacing the spring with a good one, that was not overstretched. The spring on the left is also built from thicker wire than the one in the Black 120T

I have done the 250 click unlock, and the Black light is now programmed as a 120P. It is working normally, and it is no longer flashing, nor resetting itself, nor forgetting its unlock settings.

I was able to increase the reliability of the spring by twisting it around my finger and getting it shorter, but the function is inconsistent, sometimes the light acts like the switch is shorted to ON position, and the light tries to do a Reset, which I dont allow, now that I know its ways.

I have ordered replacement springs from Unique Titanium. You can see their construction is yet again different:
Tqsqgu5.jpg


Moral of the story, OverStretching your Spring may cause switching malfunctions, although the cause is actually lateral movement of the spring, making contact with the retaining ring...

Hogo explains the switch, signal wire, and retaining ring issue here:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...-18650-for-1&p=2626676&viewfull=1#post2626676
Hogokansatsukan said:
P9144883.jpg~original

See that outer ring? It's not just for holding in the pill. This is the main "negative" for the flashlight. See that big flat ring inside that? That is where the spring needs to make contact ...
...
your switch won't work ...

Iow, If the spring touches the retaining ring, it shorts the switch, and the light does not work properly.
 
Last edited:

ven

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 17, 2013
Messages
22,533
Location
Manchester UK
Awesome info! Will have a look at mine later on when I get back in(can't now or I might wake the boss!!!:faint:)
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
thanks for the encouraging words ven

I did a bit more testing
I put the stretched spring into one of my other SPAs and the light became unreliable. So I know its the spring.

I also developed a test from which I can tell the light will be unreliable or not. Sometimes the stretched spring works, sometimes it starts a reset. Hold the light in my fist, while it is Off, after tightening everything down, and punch my other hand. If the light turns itself on, its a masochist and its spring is stretched and is popping off the retaining ring and shorting the switch.

I can tell this is happening also, when closing a light with the stretched spring, when I screw the light together, and it flickers excessively, and when I finally seat the parts tight together, tail, head, body, instead of the light coming on for a moment and then turning off, it stays on.. thats a reset in the making, and will relock any 250 click unlock, IF the light is allowed to run the 10 second reset period, followed by turning itself off.

That is how I explain unlocked lights relocking themselves.. thanks to the BurleyStretchedSpringSeminar ;-)

I dont allow an unintentional factory reset anymore (unless Im intentionally holding the button down). If I see the light stays on for more than 5 seconds when first screwed together (and I am Not holding the switch button down), I unscrew the tail and try retightening again, until I see a normal short flash of light, or replace the spring with a shorter one and try again :)

The Schneiker UI in the Novatac is actually pretty clever, it tries to tell me when it is happy with how its switch spring is seated. It helps to have a quality spring, I can understand Henry's dismay at the cost cutting practices Novatac pursued, and that he could not tolerate. Fortunately in this case, I can still buy replacement switch signal springs from Unique Titanium.

If Bigburley912 had a chance to program this black 120T now, with a good Signal Spring, it would be much simpler and more rewarding, since it no longer goes nuts when the battery compartment gets opened, and no longer resets itself and forgets its unlock, during battery swaps. It was the Signal Spring all along.

43381160880_f5d93e7678_c.jpg


Its a nice little light. Everything works as it should now. Its got a great beam with a tight hotspot, no rings in the reflector, medium knurling that is not too coarse, and a nice, not too hard, not too soft, and not too loud, switch. I kind of like the pocket clip too..

44474963364_f6b5320c38_o.jpg


31323475538_903bf03336_o.jpg
 
Last edited:

peter yetman

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
5,100
Location
North Norfolk UK
I do have to say that I'm finding this thread fascinating, and I haven't even got a Novatac.
Thank you John, you are becoming the Novatac Guru.
I must get one of these one day, but not this week.
P
 

Lithium466

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
996
Location
QC
Nice write-up, thank you!
Also nice that you solved the weird behavior issue, glad to see it was just a spring issue and not an eeprom loosing its memory overnight :crackup:
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
Thanks for the kind words Peter, I will be happy to facilitate your acquisition, including unlocking and shipping a Novatac to you, when you are ready. I can ship direct to CRX, he has very modest pricing for LED swaps, and can also do a Full Triple Monty, lighted tail, 18350 compatibility, and driver swap to a different UI. Personally, I recommend sticking with the Standard Schneiker Driver Design...

And thanks again for the light Bigburley912, Im enjoying it a lot. It has the lowest low, 0.08 on my meter, of any of my SPAs to date. It has a really nice LED too, Im reluctant to change it, but it is destined to be modded to Nichia for more lumens and Red Rendering.

loosing its memory overnight :crackup:

I set my memory Loose a long time ago
what were we talking about?;-)

wanna see some blinkies?:
the Online Advanced Schneiker UI Programming class starts soon

for our first project we will be practicing setting Locator Flash and Auto Turn off:


if youre still conscious after that, we can dive in to Bike Strobe, SOS, and Disorienting Strobe:


the webinar will also address the merits of Last Mode Memory.. I almost forgot to mention that.. LOL

here is a sample setup for an Urban Configuration of the Schneiker Programmable Clicky UI,
as in my EDC Novatac:

A = Maximum
B = 11 (Level 15)
C = 33 lumens (Level 20)
D = Bicycle Flasher, or minimum

Turn On Preset = Off
Automatic Turn Off = On
Button Lockout = Off
Locator Flash = Off
Pseudo Momentary = Off
True Momentary = Off

====
We will also be discussing Pocket Clip Installation Options, including the pros and cons of wearing a SchneikerDesignsLight on a hat
Dont miss out, enrollment is free
bring your own hardware.. LOL

Here is the Lumen Levels Handout, for those who lack a light meter, and want to practice changing Presets, by counting ramping steps:
29185969617_76924bb2df_h.jpg


There will be an extra credit question on the Open Book Quiz, just read the manual to find the answer to this question:
How long does the 5 minute timer last on a Novatac?;-)
hint: its not 10 minutes.. LOL!
 
Last edited:

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
I recently bought a Novatac 120T that was unreliable. It would turn itself on, or sometimes the switch would not work at all, or sometimes when screwing it together with a fresh battery it would reset itself and forget the custom programming, or it would start strobing..

the cure was to replace the battery sleeve spring.

so here are some pics of several different springs, from Novatacs I have handled, plus some springs I bought from Unique Titanium.

there are variations in weight, and wire diameter, as well as variations in length, and the design of the spring with tight winds in separate sections..

1. this spring was defective, making the black 120T unreliable. this spring had no tight winds in the middle and is very light weight
44460182325_eb61af779f_c.jpg


2. this spring from Unique titanium made the light reliable, it is longer than the others, and has 2 bands of tight coils in the center section
31498901338_610ce09783_c.jpg


3. this spring came in a Silver Novatac SPA Defense 120T, it works very well, even though the wire is slightly thinner than #4. It has one band of tight coils in the middle.
45323556902_b844396f22_c.jpg


4. this spring came in a Pewter colored SPA with a black bezel, it also works very very well, the wire is thicker and shinier than #3. This spring has the same design, one tight band of coils, as #3
43557787190_50ce21e7bf_c.jpg


the light on the left was unreliable with the #1 spring shown, the two lights on the right are reliable, spring #3 is in the middle, and #4 on the right
44650195314_d419f11e07_c.jpg


Spring #2 shown on the left, made the Black 120T reliable. that light also worked with spring #3 and #4
45374463991_65885377e0_c.jpg


the spring on the left is the unreliable one listed as #1 above, the middle spring is #3, and the spring on the right is #2
45374464231_188e60d21b_c.jpg


Here is a modification that allows the use of 18350 by replacing the signal spring with a brass signal bar. Pic is a link to the source
CRX said:
I made a prototype brass sleeve to contain a copper sliding bar with a spring on the end so the light can run on 18350 cells and dispense with the signal spring.

.

here is another brass bar mod, for using 18650 in a Novatac, starting with a 17670 tube, pic links to the original source:
Hogokansatsukan said:
Here is a pic from the top with the battery and bar inserted in the tube.

The nipple on your battery MUST be slightly higher than the brass bar.
Now screw the head on your light. It works[/img][/img][/img] Or not.
If not, here is the trouble shooting section:

1. Light fails to come on at all (1 second dim light): YOUR NIPPLE AINT HIGHER THAN THE BRASS BAR. Fix it. (Twisting it in your fingers will not work for this.)
2. Light comes on for 1 second, turns off. Switch does not work: Your brass bar is too short and not touching both the head and tail. Good thing the brass bar is long enough to make two or three of these things. Try again but be easier on the cutting this time. Maybe less beer as well.
3. Light comes on bright and stays on. Your bar is making contact with the retaining ring in the head or tail. Bend the tail section a tad more. Check and make sure that the head section of the brass bar has it's top most point away from retaining ring.
4. Light starts to smoke, vent gasses and explodes in my hand: Brass bar was making contact with the positive terminal on the battery. Call 911 and get medical attention. Buy new NT, brass bar, and battery tube and try again when your hand grows back, and remember, I am not responsible for this. Beer will help the pain.

I've been using mine for about 4 days now and have had zero issues. I'm constantly taking it apart and putting it back together and it works every time.

Happy playing.
 

thermal guy

Flashaholic
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
9,994
Location
ny
Oh I remember when I first saw this mod. I used brass shim stock and got it to work on first try. Been using it ever sense
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
Oh I remember when I first saw this mod. I used brass shim stock and got it to work on first try. Been using it ever sense

glad it works!:)
Im guessing you mean Hogos Solid Brass Bar mod for 17670 tubes to run 18650
Ive heard of at least one person that fried 2 switches trying to get the length and bends just right

I dont recommend trying the solid bar mod on a 16340 tube, adding a spring and sleeve to the system like CRX did is less prone to grounding to the retaining ring, and cant short to the positive battery post.

Hogos troubleshooting guide is fantastic, it helped me understand the reason why the spring on the Black 120T did not work, it was grounding to the retaining ring. I solved the same problem with a B42 tail, the spring was grounding and the light would not turn off, it kept doing resets. In both cases a new spring from Unique Titanium made the lights reliable.

43559276040_62bbc79df1_c.jpg

the Novatac spring fit is quite snug in the B42 body, which I like because it does not fall out when swapping batteries, and it does not stretch out too far past the tube, so does not cause flickers when first reinstalling the tailcap
44669026324_9408938740_b.jpg
44669025684_1e6177dd22_b.jpg

the unreliable spring that came with the B42 tube, was too tall and flimsy

the signal spring is a point of failure if overstretched, and especially if it gets opened up in diameter. these factors allow the spring to contact the retaining ring, which grounds the switch into constant on. I like to slap my lights with control springs, to check if they get turned on. If they do, I try to tighten the winds on the spring, and set the length not too tall past the tube end, to reduce flickers during assembly..

I know Hogo has mentioned that stretching the signal spring can help in some cases, but I dont recommend stretching, as imho that allows the spring to move laterally more, and make contact with the retaining ring.

I watch closely when I do the final tightening of a battery tube, I want to see the 1 second of light, and then the light turns itself off, confirming the signal spring is working correctly. If I see the light stays on for 5 seconds, I unscrew and try again to get the spring to seat itself clear of the retaining ring. Having a Novatac stay on for 5 seconds, resets the battery type, and if the light is allowed to stay on for 10 seconds, it does a factory reset, which undoes the 250 click access to the Programming menu on non 120P models.

I get better results with a spring that is at the height of the SPA on the left. The 120T on the right is shown with a new spring, that does work, but imo it is too tall, and it causes more flickering when first installing the tailcap. imo the goal of a good spring height is for the tight winds to be supported by the top of the tube, forming a more rigid collar, that cannot move sideways to contact the retaining ring.
31517173508_224e9b1c61_c.jpg


if the spring is too short, the light wont turn on
44669348314_32cb22d75c_c.jpg


if the spring sits above the battery post, there will be good contact
44669403194_268988c097_c.jpg
 
Last edited:

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
i have 3 hds lights now i have no need for the novatac

well, no sooner than I got it working, a good friend fell in love with it, and after a short sojourn at the staging grounds in Scotland, it is ready for its European Embassadorship, with a Triple 3'OClock High CRI.

https://www.candlepowerforums.com/v...0T-Triple-Nichia-219C-H17Fx-18350-Tail-Clicky
CRX said:
NovaTac 120T - Triple Nichia 219C 5000K - H17Fx - 18350 - Rv Clicky Sw
Double Tap Mode - 2300lm - (Level 24).
45617992842_2f165a1656_c.jpg
 
Last edited:

bigburly912

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 12, 2015
Messages
3,361
Location
Virginia
He makes some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen. Can literally take scrap metal and build a work of art. Amazing.
 

bigburly912

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 12, 2015
Messages
3,361
Location
Virginia
Hopefully it's in better working order than the other one haha. I love 2XAA format. So hopefully this one does well. I've never seen one befofe
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
here is a thread you may find interesting
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...123A)-Mini-review-comparisons-to-Novatac-120P

Note AA Lithium primaries that are 1.5v each are OK (3v total), or also 2 AA Eneloop, that are 1.2v each are also OK,
but 14500 LiIon is NOT OK (2 of them add up to 7.2v which exceed the 3.5v max on the classic driver):
Input voltage: 1.8V to 3.5V
Battery Type: 2 x AA Alkaline (1.5v non rechargeable) or Ultimate Lithium (1.5v non rechargeable)

IF you use Lithium primary instead of Alkaleak, be careful to only use 2 fresh Ultimate Lithium at a time, do not mix an old Lithium Primary with a Fresh one.. bad things can happen.
 
Last edited:

Hondo

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Messages
1,544
Location
SE Michigan
I got a few of these when Novatac went under and they were clearanced. The only problem I had was one was either DOA, or totally flakey, can't remember. It passed the tailcap bypass test, so I pulled the lockring from the tailcap and removed the switch. A little thread lock or such was on the contact surface of the board for the switch, and after a thorough cleaning and re-assembly, it has been perfect.

BTW, after Hogo confirmed that there is nothing changed in those circuits from the CR123 lights, I have run it on 18650, with a brass bar, in one of the old 2x123 tubes. Works just fine - would be great with a 123 tube too, of course. And like jon said, no 2 x lithium-anything - except the Energizer primary AA lithiums. 4.2 volts is max.

Have fun doing the 250 clicks to unlock it, if it's your thing. I not only did all of mine, but one for a friend at work who got one as a gift for her husband.
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,137
BTW, after Hogo confirmed that there is nothing changed in those circuits from the CR123 lights, I have run it on 18650, with a brass bar, in one of the old 2x123 tubes. Works just fine - would be great with a 123 tube too, of course. And like jon said, no 2 x lithium-anything - except the Energizer primary AA lithiums. 4.2 volts is max.

great info!
 
Top