Safety alert - Nitecore TM03

eh4

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This isn't a Nitecore specific problem, it's the nature of high powered flashlights, I'm sure that incandescents were setting fires back when leds couldn't begin to compete in brightness.
Battery lockout is the only way to be sure for now
 

mhpreston

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In my testing, thermal regulation doesn't kick in until about 4.5 minutes. There's another reviewer who did a teardown and found a substantial block of copper in the tm03 to dissipate heat.

I have several Olight lights that I'm happy with as well, but none of those - few lights anywhere - have the sort of environment sensor for which you desire. That's not to say it isn't a valid request.

Thanks - this is really helpful and confirms my suspicion. I've got a new Olight X7R, which really is a fabulous 'tiny monster'. This has a lockout and sensor in the reflector. As mentioned before, having nearly burnt down my house, these are now 'must have' features for me :)
 

mhpreston

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This isn't a Nitecore specific problem, it's the nature of high powered flashlights, I'm sure that incandescents were setting fires back when leds couldn't begin to compete in brightness.
Battery lockout is the only way to be sure for now

Completely agree about the lockout. I think it's something that consumers should push for. Hopefully forums like this will help raise awareness. I'm sure you're right about incandescents causing fires too, although aren't we seeing lumens nowadays that could only have been dreamt of then?
 

eh4

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Emisar lights have the excellent Narsil light UI, which allows the user to set the thermal limit to whetever they're comfortable with.
(That's the D4 v2 option that's available for several drivers at Mountain Electronics, if you're into swapping drivers)

I have a D4 in my pocket which could absolutely set fires if the side switch were pressed the wrong way and I had the thermal limit at its highest, but I've set the thermal limit to a pretty conservative 51 Celsius, and it's pretty anti climactically tame that way,
the outside temp never gets that high before it ramps down.
-I also typically do a battery lockout because I don't live on the edge and I like living a bit away from the edge. I also like never having a dead battery.

Side note, with the D4, D1, and probably many lights that have a battery tube that screws into the head *** well as a tail cap, I find that it's much more practical to loosen the head slightly rather than loosen the tail cap, as is typically recommended.
If the tail cap is tight, the head can be loosened from the battery tube with one hand, and tightened.
Palm and three fingers hold the tube, thumb and index finger lien and tighten the light.
Pretty easy, I think this is a technique for a side switch light, loosening tail cap is likely the more practical option for a tail switch light.
 
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mhpreston

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Side note, with the D4, D1, and probably many lights that have a battery tube that screws into the head *** well as a tail cap, I find that it's much more practical to loosen the head slightly rather than loosen the tail cap, as is typically recommended.
If the tail cap is tight, the head can be loosened from the battery tube with one hand, and tightened.
Palm and three fingers hold the tube, thumb and index finger lien and tighten the light.
Pretty easy, I think this is a technique for a side switch light, loosening tail cap is likely the more practical option for a tail switch

Nice tips here - thanks!
 
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jorn

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Completely agree about the lockout. I think it's something that consumers should push for. Hopefully forums like this will help raise awareness. I'm sure you're right about incandescents causing fires too, although aren't we seeing lumens nowadays that could only have been dreamt of then?
The incans will send out way more heat energy with the light compared to led or hid. More infrared i guess. Leds run mutch cooler. I always have to scrape the ice off my led hedlights on the car. The halogen just melts everyting in notime, even with only 1/4 the lumen :) So it's not like xxxx lumen will give a exact amount of heat.
Dont worry about waterproofing when uncrewing the tailcap slightly, it's the o-ring that makes it waterproof, not how tight the tailcap is torqed in. So as long as the o-ring is not fully exposed, it's all good :)
 

kpatz

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Incans throw both heat (IR) and light, but are usually lower in lumens than modern LEDs. LEDs are more efficient and throw more light and less heat, but they can still get hot. But, when light hits a surface, some of it is absorbed and converted to heat. The more light absorbed, the more heat is produced, which is why black materials get hotter under the sun (or a bright LED flashlight) than white material.... white reflects, black absorbs.

It looks like the melting happened in the spot where the bright light was striking the material, so this was mostly light absorption heat. If it was heat from the LED itself, it would have melted around the area of the head where the heat from the LED dissipates.... and the thermal management in the light would have reduced the brightness.

In the case of icy headlights, it's the heat from the bulb that melts the ice. The lens and ice don't absorb much light or convert it to heat, so that's why an LED headlight won't melt the ice as well as a halogen bulb.
 

mhpreston

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Dont worry about waterproofing when uncrewing the tailcap slightly, it's the o-ring that makes it waterproof, not how tight the tailcap is torqed in. So as long as the o-ring is not fully exposed, it's all good :)

Makes sense - thanks! It's a pain having to twist it on and off, of course, but l'd hate to burn another holster, drone or my house [emoji12]
 

mhpreston

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It looks like the melting happened in the spot where the bright light was striking the material, so this was mostly light absorption heat. If it was heat from the LED itself, it would have melted around the area of the head where the heat from the LED dissipates.... and the thermal management in the light would have reduced the brightness.

Nice analysis. Do you think holster flaps should be metalised or have a thermal layer of some sort (like drone battery charging bags)?
 

zespectre

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side note... Nyogel 760 is great stuff for maintaining your "O" rings and water resistance. A tube isn't cheap but will last years and years as you only use about a "Tick-Tac" worth for each light each time you do the seals.
I re-do my heavily used "twisty" type lights about once a year.
I don't think I've actually had to replace an "O" ring on a light since I started doing this.
 

1Oldlight

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Don't like that setup. Glad that things didn't get any worse for you. Have to give these high power lights more respect as possible safety problems.
 

kpatz

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Nice analysis. Do you think holster flaps should be metalised or have a thermal layer of some sort (like drone battery charging bags)?
I'm not a mechanical engineer (I do software, lol) so... I don't know. :) Perhaps a material that is heat resistant/non melting to at least 100-150C would help. Insulating would help prevent objects outside the holster from heating up, but then the light itself will get too hot, which may cause more damage unless there's thermal management in the light. Metalizing would just make the metal parts hot, which could still melt surrounding materials.

Probably the best solution would be to design the light so it doesn't turn on as easily while in the holster, either via an automatic lockout, have it default to a lower brightness level when turned on, or sensing when there's an obstruction and lowering the light level (would probably raise the cost of the light due to additional sensors needed). Or design the holster so it can't easily press on the switch. There's always ways to improve safety of any item, whether it's a light, a knife, a battery or a firearm, but no matter what is done, accidents (or people doing stupid things) will still happen.

Recently I was reading and watching video reviews of the Thrunite TN4A and as soon as I saw the neat little case/holster that it comes in, I thought to myself, it looks like it would be way too easy for the light to turn on while inside, melting or burning the holster. If I get one, I may avoid using the holster unless the cap is unscrewed or batteries removed.

Of course, you could store the light in a RC/drone charging bag for the ultimate protection, or just do the simple thing and unscrew the tailcap a bit before holstering.
 
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paulmcdivett@hotmail

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Hey folks - I'm posting this in general discussion (admins - please move to Nitecore thread if need be).

I'm fairly new to high power LED flashlights (and this forum), but have collected a small assortment of lights and head torches. I've got a few Nitecore products and like them a lot.

Today I came within a few seconds of setting fire to my house, due to a design flaw with the Nitecore TM03 and the holster. I want to alert any other TM03 users of the problem and hopefully others will learn from my mistake.

The TM03 is a relatively recent addition to the Nitecore range and is a 2,800 lumen flashlight featuring a dual-switch tail-cap. In addition to the clicky, there is a 'mode' control that puts the torch straight into 'turbo' or 'strobe'. For me, the mode switch was really handy to use, but in my case it nearly proved lethal!

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I'm learning to fly a drone and had added my torch to a backpack I carry everything in. I wanted to have quick access to a flashlight with flexibility to allow me to delve into the bag or, if I was unlucky, search for my drone in the event I had landed it in a bush or tree. I thought the TM03 would do this nicely.

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As you can see from the photos, I used the standard Nitecore nylon holster that came with the torch. Having charged batteries on the drone ready for a flight, I put my backpack into a wardrobe. Luckily for me, I decided to get some spare batteries for my GPS navigation device and returned to the room a few moments later. I could then smell burning plastic. Looking around the room wondering where the smell was coming from, I reached in to grab the backpack and straight away felt the heat radiating from the holster. I quickly removed the torch and holster to a safe place.

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No damage was done to the torch or my new drone, but it was on the verge of catching alight and was in a wardrobe with plenty of clothing to act as fuel.

d3da6fa9df2a009cc33b3b51af242d80.jpg

What happened? As I placed the pack into the wardrobe, it must have pressed the mode switch with just enough force to power the torch on and into turbo mode.

As far as I know, I placed the torch in the holster correctly and as a 'tactical' holster it is designed to be attached to other webbing items and bags. I am a bit shocked at this development and how a handy feature also has a dangerous flip side. This now means I have to undo the tail cap every time I stow my torch, which is inconvenient and potentially reduces the waterproofing.

The instruction sheet does not warn of this danger and by comparison, my new Olight (Marauder) has a sensor that reduces the power whenever it detects an obstruction - I can see the value of this feature now!

Be interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience. Seems to me that it would be possible to trigger the flashlight in the same way of you had it stowed in a toolbox or backpack and it got pressed against other items.
Problem solved with a plastic ring used to extend the case past the cap. This also makes it easy to stand the light vertical to reflect off of ceiling etc.
 

Lights and Guns

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I've had it happen with a soda pop can light with a side button activation.

it was in my bag in its holster very similar to yours. The light was a noctigon m43 if I remember correctly that had been modified by vinh.

Anyway, somehow I guess I knocked the bag against something hard enough to not on turn on the light, but somehow on to turbo (11,000 lumens)
Needless to say the light burned a hole straight through the holster and didn't finish there, the light continues to burn a hole in the bottom of my north face bag.

From that day forward I always physically twisted the head of the light a turn or two so I locked out the light, zero chance of it coming on unless I want it to.
I wouldn't want to lock out an edc light, but a bay light that usually never gets used besides emergencies / blackouts ect… I don't mind.

Anyway, glad your okay
 
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