Streamlight really let me down :(

TacmedRN

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
32
Location
USA
I will preface by saying I'm a huge fan of Streamlight. They have incredible value, great user interface, and a wide variety of products. I use them ALMOST exclusively. I especially love their AAA lights.

I primarily use eneloop rechargeables, but when I'm "out in the field" for an extended period of time, I switch to primary cells since access to a charger isn't guaranteed. I also like to have a spare set of primaries on standby on a regular basis just in case the enveloops die and I need a quick power source.

Lately, I've been having issues with leaking batteries. I had two stream light stylus pros get destroyed by leaking energizer alkalines. Also, I was checking my equipment bag before a training exercise last week, and noticed 6 out of the 10 spare AAAs I had in my bag had leaked; they were brand new Duracell batteries stored in dedicated spare battery holders. They were only in the bag for a couple of weeks, and my bag either sits at home or at my desk, so there was zero issues with the storage climate.

I decided to switch to lithium batteries to eliminate the issues I've been having with alkaline. I put lithium batteries in a Stylus Pro, Microstream, and a Protac 1AAA for use during my training. By the end of the week, all three lights were dead. I tried differs batteries and different tail caps to no avail.

I called Streamlight this morning for help troubleshooting and possibly using the warranty. They advised that their "alkaline" lights are NOT compatible with lithium batteries, and that I likely damaged the LED by using them, which is NOT covered under warranty. They offered to fix them for a cost, which I'm not going to waste time and postage doing.

I was "head over heels" with Streamlight, but find us now growing apart. In today's manufacturing/technology climate, there is absolutely no excuse for lights from an established company like Streamlight to NOT be able to handle lithium batteries.

Now the hunt begins for quality AAA lights that can work with both eneloops AND lithium primaries…
 

sween1911

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Dec 10, 2003
Messages
2,088
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Pennsylvania
Oof. Sounds like whoever handled your call may have misunderstood it's not lithium rechargeables, but non-rechargeable lithium primaries which have the same exact voltage as alkalines. You might try calling back and trying to calmly explain, or send an email with a picture of the package showing the voltage. Good luck!
 

bykfixer

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Aug 9, 2015
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Dust in the Wind
Oof. Sounds like whoever handled your call may have misunderstood it's not lithium rechargeables, but non-rechargeable lithium primaries which have the same exact voltage as alkalines. You might try calling back and trying to calmly explain, or send an email with a picture of the package showing the voltage. Good luck!
Yup, you don't always end up with the sharpest knife in the drawer taking your call there.
I had an incan Keymate with alkaleak ooze deep inside and a aaa battery would not go into the barrel. I thought "well maybe they used "N" cells and called Streamlight to ask. The fellow said "we never made incadecent Keymates". I emailed them and got confirmation it was indeed a aaa light. Turned out a portion of the leaked battery was still inside.

Point being that an email may get you better results. If you use the term "ultimate lithium" batteries they may understand you better. Most know those are the same resting voltage as alkalines but..... they do hold more steady voltage under load than an alkaline. Often able to stay around 1.5 volts versus alkalines quickly dropping to about 1.2 volts so keep that in mind.
 

ABTOMAT

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
3,031
Location
MA, USA
This was interesting enough I had to go back and do some research. Streamlight's current documentation for the Stylus Pro and Microstream has a lot of "comes with alkaline battery" or "uses alkaline battery" but there is no explicit warning to ONLY use alkalines or that other types of battery is harmful. At least none I saw. Now, the Protac 1AAA is discontinued but as of 2018 its documentation outright states that you can use an alkaline 1AAA or a lithium 1AAA for longer life. It even gives performance data for both types of cells. After I found this I went back and looked at 2018 docs for the Stylus Pro but it still just says "uses alkaline."

So, if you're going by the absolute letter of their published info, the Protac is supposed to work fine on lithiums but possibly the others aren't. But if you have what I'd consider a reasonable take, if lithium cells are known to damage the lights they should have stated that somewhere, since they're commonly used interchageably.

Streamlight's customer service has always been fantastic for me, although occasionally something comes back with an issue which they fix again or send out free parts for. If you sent these lights in with an...abbreviated note I imagine they'd replace it no questions asked.
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,652
Location
New Mexico, USA
Uninformed rep or thinking you were talking about 3.8V lithium? The clue is that they said the LED might get over voltage damage?

Could you have received lousy lithium primaries?
 

Monocrom

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
21,160
Location
NYC
I would contact Streamlight again, and speak with another customer service rep. Clearly there was a misunderstanding the first time around. Also, whenever I buy a new light, I carefully check to see what types of batteries it is compatible with. If it doesn't specifically say it's compatible with lithiums (primary or rechargeables) I take that into account before buying.
 

aznsx

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
1,882
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
I would contact Streamlight again, and speak with another customer service rep. Clearly there was a misunderstanding the first time around. Also, whenever I buy a new light, I carefully check to see what types of batteries it is compatible with. If it doesn't specifically say it's compatible with lithiums (primary or rechargeables) I take that into account before buying.
This ^^^

Gotta say though, the problem scenario itself, as described, still sounds seriously bizarre to me. I'd like to hear the end of this story! That's a very picky design if it fails due to the (very marginally) higher voltage of a Li primary. I'm trying to think of when I've heard of that before.................

That said, many forget that unlike 'mains' powered gear, batt powered gear does tend to be designed with almost all the input tolerance on the (-) side; more like '+0/-N' rather than (+/-N), for good reason. Unlike line power, 'overvoltage' is not generally possible with a given chemistry and thus doesn't need to be designed for it, but one does need to get very specific when shopping.

I recently told someone I was going to check w/the mfgr. before using 2X Li primaries w/ a 2X alkaline 'drop-in', for exactly this reason; not because I thought it would be a problem, but as a matter of process to get their approval in writing before doing it;-) Then again, I do live on the other side of the fence (in the mfgrs. world), and I know how things work there. Anyway, any overvoltage w/ batt-powered gear? 'Assume nothing' is the best policy.
 
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