"Twisty" tailcap issue on INOVA X5 solved!

Sovende

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I know that the INOVA X series has been around for at least a decade perhaps longer and don't even know if they are still in production. The most recent thread on CPF (via the "search" function) was 10 years ago so I'm thinking starting a new thread is acceptable 🤔.
I picked my X5 (green LED) up at a garage sale for $1 a few years ago. The issue with it was that the "twisty" tailcap had a tendency to be very loose in all but the "full on" position. It would go from the "momentary" position to the "full off" position just from movement in my pocket. This certainly made for a high level of unreliability when I wanted it to have one-hand functionality. My first solution was to place a section of rubber cut from a narrow bike inner tube over the junction between the tailcap and the body. Functionally, this worked but was hardly what one would call "elegant" and yes I believe many would consider the INOVA X5 to be "a more elegant light from a more civilized age" 😉. Anyway, I wasn't happy with that fix. I don't know if it was a design issue or a materials issue but the O-ring on the body no longer provided any resistance to rotation of the end cap. Not wishing to contact INOVA and wait for their solution (if any) I replaced the OEM O-ring with one with a larger x-sectional area. That definitely tightened things up! I applied a little silicone lube and now the "twisty" tailcap functions as it should 👍. I did spray some electrical contact cleaner inside the tailcap and ever-so-slightly scraped the contact ring on the body. This light functions perfectly now! To be completely honest, the "bubba" fix with the piece of inner tube worked but was very tacky 🙄.
Sovende
 

bykfixer

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Bravo!!
Those were/are some great flashlights.
Is it a Nite Ize era or the older Emissive Energy type? If the rubber button has Emissive Energy on it that is a real early model. (But you probably knew that.)

They were reportedly giving SureFire a fit in the early LED days with well built, easy to operate and fairly bright output.
I love the older Inovas with the thrower optics.
 

RobertMM

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Inovas were definitely something back then. I remember lusting for a T1(100 lumens for 4 hours on two CR123) and a T2 (don't remember the specs). At that time those were top notch performance and could give SF stiff competition.
 

bykfixer

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I have a few of the 1aa generations. T3?

I lucked up and scored a Snap On 'set' of like new Emmisive Energy versions from a member here. They don't fit into my daily rotation per sae but when I show them to people they always get positive reactions. Typically about how bureley they are. They reside in my LED flashlight museum disguised as a shelf in my den.
 

Sovende

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Mine has "INOVA" on the tailcap button. Not totally sure of this light's provenance but since I got it at a PCS (permanent change of station for the non-military folks) garage sale, I'm suspecting that it was an "issue item" therefore part of a gov't contract purchase. Again, I don't know if this was during Emmissive Energy's ownership or with that of Nite Ize?
With the loose tailcap issue remedied, I'm thinkin' that this light is now "qualified" to enter my EDC rotation group. I just need to add a paracord fob/wrist strap and I'll be G2G!
Sovende
 

defloyd77

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Bravo!!
Those were/are some great flashlights.
Is it a Nite Ize era or the older Emissive Energy type? If the rubber button has Emissive Energy on it that is a real early model. (But you probably knew that.)

They were reportedly giving SureFire a fit in the early LED days with well built, easy to operate and fairly bright output.
I love the older Inovas with the thrower optics.

Not to go too far off topic, but it has always puzzled me how on earth Inova has eluded Surefire's wrath with the X series' momentary twist tailcap being so close to Surefire's patented momentary twist, lock out tailcap that got all of those companies into trouble years back.
 

Sovende

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Not to go too far off topic, but it has always puzzled me how on earth Inova has eluded Surefire's wrath with the X series' momentary twist tailcap being so close to Surefire's patented momentary twist, lock out tailcap that got all of those companies into trouble years back.
I don't know just how the Surefire's switch functions but on my INOVA, the tailcap (I hesitate to even call it a switch) is pretty simplistic. Turning the tailcap fully clockwise turns the LEDs "on". Back the tailcap off (~1/2 turn counter-clockwise) to allow for "momentary on" by pressing the tailcap button. Another ~1/2 turn counter-clockwise of the tailcap and the tailcap button won't power the LEDs. The problem I was having was that there was nothing to keep the tailcap from continuing its counter-clockwise turn until the threads disengaged 😬. I can't imagine that Surfire would even consider that an infringement on their "patented" tailcap switch!
My "fix" of replacing the O-ring with one that provided more friction thus preventing unwanted turning of the tailcap was perhaps the OEM method and the original O-ring had just worn out 🤔. IDK?
 

defloyd77

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I don't know just how the Surefire's switch functions but on my INOVA, the tailcap (I hesitate to even call it a switch) is pretty simplistic. Turning the tailcap fully clockwise turns the LEDs "on". Back the tailcap off (~1/2 turn counter-clockwise) to allow for "momentary on" by pressing the tailcap button. Another ~1/2 turn counter-clockwise of the tailcap and the tailcap button won't power the LEDs. The problem I was having was that there was nothing to keep the tailcap from continuing its counter-clockwise turn until the threads disengaged . I can't imagine that Surfire would even consider that an infringement on their "patented" tailcap switch!
My "fix" of replacing the O-ring with one that provided more friction thus preventing unwanted turning of the tailcap was perhaps the OEM method and the original O-ring had just worn out 樂. IDK?

See the thing is that IS Surefire's infamous patented tailcap design, well, one of many.
 

defloyd77

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Maybe they're too embarrassed to contest it!

There are plenty of manufacturers (I won't name drop out of respect for them, but they frequented the forums quite often) wish that were true.

EDIT: Actually I'll drop one name, I don't think they had any presence on here and are completely out of business, Pentagon Lights.
 
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bykfixer

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The fatal mistake Pentagon made was not as much about the direct copy of a SureFire invention as it was about going after and winning a ginormous contract with the US military using a SureFire design and foreign made parts when the contract dictated original designs and US sourced parts only. The 1aa Molle had foreign parts but was touted as US made.

Many a company uses others ideas. But it's when they use them to gain a market held by the originator is where the contraversy begins. Emmisive Energy was largely after small-ish law enforcement contracts at the time. SureFire had their sights on a much larger target made of Benjamins.

Had Pentagon remained they would have lost their contracts due to using the same switch parts as Pelican at the time and they had/have a bad failure rate. Peli has since fixed the issue with later models but the early ones were plagued with problems, especially the early clickies. Hence the "kroll" fix way back when.
 

BattleBrat

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Ahhh Inova I remember the VERY FIRST X5's only the head would spin and it had the switch integrated into it, you'd remove it to put the batteries in. The switch plunger would grind where it made contact with the batteries and lose contact. I solved it by putting a drop of solder on the tip of the plunger. I was hoping Inova would become the 21st century Maglite but they sort of fizzled. :-(
 
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