ZEBRALIGHT REVIEW – 2 Malfunctions in all 4 lights

vadimax

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The last thing that hasn't been checked — the OP's karma :) He needs to go out to feed and stroke some kitten. They are little gods of electricity :D
 
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INFRNL

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I am currently testing that new Nitecore 8A low temperature battery. Some batteries will trigger the protection circuit if that draw is too high as well but this is also a known issue with high draw lights. I wonder what the rate of reduction in draw/output/whatever is for a 18650 in cold conditions (which needs also to be defined). Mostly interested as testing out that battery.

edit.

On a side note given the numbers of batteries and chargers etc the OP has I kinda question if those are the issue but don't really know as don't own these lights.

I am not sure if you are aware (since you do not own these lights) the SC600w variants only use the unprotected cells, so there is only the protection circuitry which is built into the light(I guess this could still apply though).
I own the mkIII and have had the same issue in different temperature environments. the only consistency is it happens when its dark and I need the light:)

Also, I am not sure how much the cold really effects the difference while in use being that at 1000+lm, the entire light is at least near 80-90F if not much warmer. So to me, the theory of cold weather is just a myth/legend, IDK. I can understand the ability to be stored/not used in cold weather has a big effect, but not if it is a freshly charged cell used in a somewhat cold environment.

the reason why I say this is for a couple reasons, i guess. The Op as myself have used the same cells in different lights without issue. Secondly; you are aware of my runtime tests I have recently been doing. I have run these tests anywhere from freezing(30's F) to 50-60F as of late. There has been no huge difference in performance during these tests. Obviously ambient temps do have some effects but I am not sure.

I'm going to have to try this freezer trick on my mkIII and see if it fails after 20min. anyway, that is enough of my nonsense for today.

The last thing that hasn't been checked — the OP's karma :) He needs to go out to feed and stroke some kitten. They are little gods of electricity :D

haha, I'm right there with the OP on bad luck...the Buddha I wear around my neck must not be working, or he works but with limited ability:crackup:
 

anthon87

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I agree with the output for the SC600W HI IV. I didn't have the previous model, but I have a integrating sphere and only reads 1030lm in H1 and 650lm in H2 (supposed 875lm).

I trust a lot in those results, and I also measured 3.67A current at the tail in H1 mode

I was about to return it but finally kept it because I like the tint and reading other members having the same problem, looks like all HI IV lights have the same output
 

INFRNL

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Ok,
I am currently trying this freezer test on my mkIII HI.
I am currently using an LG MJ1. Freezer is around 0F
@10min: 108F at the head, 100F through body, still running
@20min: 100F at the head, still running; cycled on/off (max) for at least a min without issue
@25min: 100F at head, still running, cycled on/off for at least a min without issue
@35min: 100F at head and through body, still running, cycled on/off for around a min without issue
let it run till 40min outside of freezer, didn't cut off. approx 715lm after 40min test, 3.6v straight out of the oven, approx 2.3A current draw at this point. around 3.9A [email protected](will recheck this on fresh cell at a later time)

will try to test GA and VTC6 cells later
 

Outdoorsman5

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haha...its always the batteries...

I guess I will be the first to contest that I have the same exact issue as the OP (well the first issue at least)
I own the SC600w MKIII HI and mentioned in the zebralight forum about it randomly just cutting off in H1 mode. never resolved the issue and everyone wanted to say batteries or charger.

I own the GA's that is recommended by ZL. LG's, Sony's, AW's, etc. they will all produce the same issue. I use high quality chargers/cells and I think the charger would be the least bit important to this issue. When the issue happens, the voltage isn't low enough that that should be an issue. It is obviously something in the light, electronics/circuitry. The ZL does not draw enough current to even phase an NCR18650GA

I have done a runtime test with this light on the GA, MJ1, VT6 cells and they all made it through the test. However the light will still randomly cutoff. It has a mind of it's own.

I am just here to say that the OP is not full of BS on the cutting off part and it has been a random issue for a while. I wish i had an answer for you and wish you the best of luck in getting this all figured out and/or taken care of.

Thanks for this report, and.....yes, it's always the batteries or charger rather than the beloved light. Folks reading this do need to discover if I know what I'm doing or not, and if I'm telling the truth or lying. So, with that in mind I don't blame that line of questioning - I'd probably wonder the same & want to qualify the OP if I wasn't the OP.

I kind of wish I had the MKIV so I can comment on the max outputs. There are many variables on the output aspect but clearly you have quite a bit of experience. My guess is that in reality there is some kind of difference in output; it's just that your eyes cannot see the difference. it take quite a bit of difference in output to actually see the difference.
when we are talking over 1000lm, 1150-1400lm is nothing.
If I had the new light I could tell you the actual difference in max output, but that will not happen as i am not seeing the best news from the Mk IV's or new lights

I haven't seen anyone post anything that'd suggest the output has increased from the Mk III. The SC600w Mk III HI is listed at 1126 lumens, and the Mk IV is listed at 1400 which is a 24.33% increase. Our eyes perceive only 25% of that increase, but a 24.33% increase in lumens is plenty to perceive some increase. I see no increase, and firmly believe there is in fact no meaningful increase at all. Perhaps there's an increase by a few lumens, but certainly not 274 lumens as advertised. I believe we are witnessing false advertisement, but that is simply my educated opinion as I've been on the receiving end of this bad behavior from many other companies.
 

Outdoorsman5

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I am currently testing that new Nitecore 8A low temperature battery. Some batteries will trigger the protection circuit if that draw is too high as well but this is also a known issue with high draw lights. I wonder what the rate of reduction in draw/output/whatever is for a 18650 in cold conditions (which needs also to be defined). Mostly interested as testing out that battery.

edit.

On a side note given the numbers of batteries and chargers etc the OP has I kinda question if those are the issue but don't really know as don't own these lights.

I'm pretty certain it's not the batteries, but rather a glitch in the electronics (regulation, boost, UI, connections, etc.) If I owned Zebralight or worked there, I would have been checking these issue out thoroughly when I & possibly others reported them last year. I had long conversations with them on my testing & problems. To date nothing has been resolved. I believe it will be resolved, I just don't like being the one to identify these issues for them - maybe they should put me on the payroll then :) All I've gotten for my trouble is 3 free batteries, and have had to pay for the return shipping each time (I honestly don't really care about this though.)
 

Outdoorsman5

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I agree with the output for the SC600W HI IV. I didn't have the previous model, but I have a integrating sphere and only reads 1030lm in H1 and 650lm in H2 (supposed 875lm).

I trust a lot in those results, and I also measured 3.67A current at the tail in H1 mode

I was about to return it but finally kept it because I like the tint and reading other members having the same problem, looks like all HI IV lights have the same output

Thank you for confirming my suspicions!
 

Outdoorsman5

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...I own the mkIII and have had the same issue in different temperature environments. the only consistency is it happens when its dark and I need the light:)

HA! I've been on many camping trips that have involved night hiking. Some of the time the SC600w Mk III & MkIV HI worked just fine and then it would go on a rampage of cutting off. Other times it started out cutting off and then start working normally. I wondered for a little while if it was triggered by a slightly drained battery, and then saw it happen repeatedly on a freshly charged battery. There were some months when I thought it might have been triggered by a fully charged battery. I now have watched this malfunction enough to know it is random. It does seem to get triggered more often when the light and the battery are cold though.

Also, I am not sure how much the cold really effects the difference while in use being that at 1000+lm, the entire light is at least near 80-90F if not much warmer. So to me, the theory of cold weather is just a myth/legend, IDK. I can understand the ability to be stored/not used in cold weather has a big effect, but not if it is a freshly charged cell used in a somewhat cold environment.

the reason why I say this is for a couple reasons, i guess. The Op as myself have used the same cells in different lights without issue. Secondly; you are aware of my runtime tests I have recently been doing. I have run these tests anywhere from freezing(30's F) to 50-60F as of late. There has been no huge difference in performance during these tests. Obviously ambient temps do have some effects but I am not sure.

My real world use would not get the results of your runtime tests in the cold. It appears that your light & battery are only cold from the start. Here is my typical use when camping in cold weather: In November we went climbing & rappelling but had to hike in Friday night in the dark. I used my headlight as my general light (H52w) - at times it was on M1, or H2 and occasionally I had it on H1 (running on Li-ion - my overall runtimes with this light were unexpectedly reduced by around 50% of what I'd expect in warm weather as it runs cool at M1 & H2.) In my pack hip pocket (exposed to the cold) was the SC600w Mk III HI with the red battery and used periodically to see up trail. This means the light & battery were always starting off from cold (temps that night were in the 30's I think & later colder maybe the 20s.) We got lost that night because we couldn't see the trail with all the freshly fallen leaves and for an hour or so I ran both lights harder as we attempted to regain the trail. My point is that my lights that night, the next morning, the next night & morning were often starting from cold. The heat from the LED only had a temporary effect of heating the battery up. It seemed that the light misbehaved more on that trip than at home at room temps. Also, last month we went backpacking on the A.T. and the new SC600w Mk IV HI misbehaved often in the cold; whereas, my H600w Mk II never malfunctioned once (as it never has and was using the same red battery.) I had the same experience last winter on 2 cold weather trips with the SC600w Mk III HI.

Side Note - since I am the Scoutmaster and am a flashaholic, I often plan our hiking trips with a Friday after school departurer which lands us at the trailhead near dark JUST SO WE CAN GO NIGHT HIKING. It's hilarious that no one ever questions me by asking, "why don't we leave Sat morning" HA!!! Not even any of my other adults ask!! My real motivation (like any respectable flashaholic) is to GO NIGHT HIKING with MY AWESOME LIGHTS which I often share!!

Ok,
I am currently trying this freezer test on my mkIII HI.
I am currently using an LG MJ1. Freezer is around 0F
@10min: 108F at the head, 100F through body, still running
@20min: 100F at the head, still running; cycled on/off (max) for at least a min without issue
@25min: 100F at head, still running, cycled on/off for at least a min without issue
@35min: 100F at head and through body, still running, cycled on/off for around a min without issue
let it run till 40min outside of freezer, didn't cut off. approx 715lm after 40min test, 3.6v straight out of the oven, approx 2.3A current draw at this point. around 3.9A [email protected](will recheck this on fresh cell at a later time)

will try to test GA and VTC6 cells later

Great effort, but I was not clear on what I meant. I put my light in the freezer while it was OFF. I wanted to cool the light and the battery down well below freezing to see if I could induce the abrupt cut off in H1 that I keep seeing. So try this, turn your light off, put it in the freezer for 20ish min and then pull it out & turn it on H1. If it works then turn it off & on several times in H1 to see if it malfunctions. The light will warm up quickly, but I am seeing the malfunction more often in the cold BUT HAS NOT BEEN LIMITED TO THE COLD.

When I woke up this morning I put a red battery in each of my older model Zebralights & put them all in the freezer for an hour - SC62w, H600w Mk II, H600 Mk I, and my 8 year old SC60. I also grabbed my AA Zebralights running on Li-ion bats - H501w, H52, H52w, SC 52w, & SC52 (I know - insane...and I have more that I didn't throw in there.) Anyway, after turning each on & off repeatedly, none of them failed once. My newest 4 Zebralights, however, have malfunctioned every time I've had them in the cold, but again THEY MALFUNCTION AT ROOM TEMPERATURES AS WELL, just not as often it seems.
 
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markr6

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I'm pretty certain it's not the batteries, but rather a glitch in the electronics (regulation, boost, UI, connections, etc.)

I believe this to be the case. As I mentioned before, I had the same thing happen to my new SC600w IV HI. It would just shut off about 50% of the time when I turned it on in high. But every time I turned it back on immediately after that, it would be fine and run for however long I wanted it to. So I ruled out the batteries, dirty contacts, etc.

ZL replaced it for me and that one has been perfect. Regarding the output, it seems identical to me but I'm OK with that now. I just wanted the new UI really.

And on the note of these pulling more current that the III, I don't know. But what I do know is that I don't want ZL to start making "project" lights; lights that constantly push it to the edge just to say "look what I can do". I really don't want a light that has to have a new, freshly charged, low resistance cell, running at room temperature just to guarantee it will work. I'm not saying that's the case here, but from some of the comments, some seem to imply they're getting that finicky. I just hope ZL doesn't do that and that they continue to make solid lights...with just modest improvements if that's what it takes. I feel the IV is still a "solid" light after I took it backpacking on a deep winter trip and it worked just fine among other uses. Good so far!
 

Crazyeddiethefirst

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I have one other suggestion-are there any other flashaholics that live near you, or anyone with at least one or two of the same lights? The reason I ask, is that if you observe someone else using and or programming the light and they see how you are doing it then perhaps something none of us has suggested may be caught. I guess another alternative is to make a video demonstrating the original problem(not the freezer cut off), then a second video demonstrating the freezer cutoff. Then you could post it here as well as send it to Zebralight. The reason I am suggesting this is because of the four Zebralights I own, I had one that I had difficulty in adjusting modes-it kept turning off. I ran into a fellow flashaholic in the Sierra Nevadas one summer and as we talked he asked to see how I was using it. As it turns out, too much or two little pressure can cause a number of issues. None of my other three lights seemed to be an issue, but after a little education by example my problem was solved. I am not saying that you, not the lights are definitively the problem, I am just suggesting you rule that out as a potential cause...
I can't imagine the frustration you must have with the situation, and am merely trying the old "throw all the ideas at a wall and see what sticks" approach. Good Luck!
 

Outdoorsman5

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I believe this to be the case. As I mentioned before, I had the same thing happen to my new SC600w IV HI. It would just shut off about 50% of the time when I turned it on in high. But every time I turned it back on immediately after that, it would be fine and run for however long I wanted it to. So I ruled out the batteries, dirty contacts, etc.

ZL replaced it for me and that one has been perfect. Regarding the output, it seems identical to me but I'm OK with that now. I just wanted the new UI really.

And on the note of these pulling more current that the III, I don't know. But what I do know is that I don't want ZL to start making "project" lights; lights that constantly push it to the edge just to say "look what I can do". I really don't want a light that has to have a new, freshly charged, low resistance cell, running at room temperature just to guarantee it will work. I'm not saying that's the case here, but from some of the comments, some seem to imply they're getting that finicky. I just hope ZL doesn't do that and that they continue to make solid lights...with just modest improvements if that's what it takes. I feel the IV is still a "solid" light after I took it backpacking on a deep winter trip and it worked just fine among other uses. Good so far!

Well said markr6.

If anyone is reading my posts and thinking I'm hating on ZL, I'm not. I just want to discuss the truth of what is happening. Like markr6, I love my Zebra's!! In fact, when I got the H600w years ago, it (and its successors) have since reigned as the single greatest night time trail running light ever since not to mention being the best headlight for long night hiking trips where I need better runtimes than my AA lights!! I spent years trying to find the best trail running light (I went running before sun up for years & years before my work hours improved 2 years ago, and I now get to go running after sun up - boring.) The H600w was revolutionary to say the least. I had the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE 14 months ago when markr6 recommended I get the Zebralight SC600w Mk III HI for outdoor use (hiking, running, etc.) When I got it, I was blown away. It is unbelievably bright & throwy for it's size & weight, but not too throwy like some of my annoying dedicated throwers (ie Olight M2X-UT or my vin light.) The SC600w Mk III HI has very nice & usable spill as well. SO, for its size & weight & performance, it too was revolutionary for my uses. I JUST WANT ONE THAT WORKS!
 

Outdoorsman5

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I have one other suggestion-are there any other flashaholics that live near you, or anyone with at least one or two of the same lights? The reason I ask, is that if you observe someone else using and or programming the light and they see how you are doing it then perhaps something none of us has suggested may be caught. I guess another alternative is to make a video demonstrating the original problem(not the freezer cut off), then a second video demonstrating the freezer cutoff. Then you could post it here as well as send it to Zebralight. The reason I am suggesting this is because of the four Zebralights I own, I had one that I had difficulty in adjusting modes-it kept turning off. I ran into a fellow flashaholic in the Sierra Nevadas one summer and as we talked he asked to see how I was using it. As it turns out, too much or two little pressure can cause a number of issues. None of my other three lights seemed to be an issue, but after a little education by example my problem was solved. I am not saying that you, not the lights are definitively the problem, I am just suggesting you rule that out as a potential cause...
I can't imagine the frustration you must have with the situation, and am merely trying the old "throw all the ideas at a wall and see what sticks" approach. Good Luck!

I don't know any other flashaholics (maybe I'm one of a kind in North GA - doubt it though.) I will see if I can get it on video, but that may be more time consuming than I'm interested in. Leaving for a trip in the morning, so maybe next week I can do it.
 

likethevegetable

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I will add a comparable experience with my H600Fc IV using 3 new NCR1860GAs.

With fully charged cells, tested at -20°C outside and room temperature, I can run H1 (1568 lm) to heart's content.

But when the battery is "3 flashes" or below (measured at 3.6V), the light will trip to a lower output, maybe 300 lm, just seconds after H1 is entered, without the light getting hot. The tripping occurs whether in G5 or G6. Same issue was happening last night. My initial thought is that the sudden change in current would depress the battery voltage, activating the light's internal voltage protection.

I contacted ZL regarding this concern, and the ascribed my finding to the low voltage protection, supporting my hunch. They suggested that a Sony VTC6 might be a better cell choice due to its lower resistance. Unfortunately I gifted my only Samsung 30Q to my vapaholic nephew.

I unscrewed/screwed the tailcap just now, and it seems to be running H1 regularly, and the light is getting hot. I'm wondering if the unscrew/screw of the tailcap improved the contact resistance enough to not trip the light under H1, and maybe the LVP is overly sensitive.

From my personal application point-of-view, this isn't too concerning as it only happens at 1568 lm and not on 980 lm and below. To me, the 1568 lm is just a show-off mode, and when I'm using the light in a runtime-favored application like backpacking where I would use an NCR18650GA, I wouldn't touch H1 (except to maybe show-off for 2 seconds). The light gets silly hot anyways..

Follow-up: I just unscrewed the tailcap out of curiosity and noticed there was a small bit of gunk around the ring, perhaps that was adversely affecting the resistance.
 
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reppans

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I agree with the output for the SC600W HI IV. I didn't have the previous model, but I have a integrating sphere and only reads 1030lm in H1 and 650lm in H2 (supposed 875lm).

I trust a lot in those results, and I also measured 3.67A current at the tail in H1 mode

I was about to return it but finally kept it because I like the tint and reading other members having the same problem, looks like all HI IV lights have the same output

That's ~1/3 over-stated - seems pretty consistent to me since ZL got me into testing lights way back to my H51 (claiming its 1AA lights were as bright as everyone else's 2AA and CR123 lights). In all fairness, they tie-up closely with Selfbuilt's lumen scale, and several 'reputable' overseas manufacturers have followed suit. For those of us using home made light boxes, it's tough figuring out what a real ANSI lumen, but HERE is one source where SB differs by 30-40% for the same light.
 

markr6

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To me, the 1568 lm is just a show-off mode

I agree. I normally don't care for those kinds of lights, but since ZL has so many other modes to choose and now fully program, I'm totally fine with it. I'll use H1 occasionally, but only for a few seconds at a time.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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When I first got my SC600w MkIV HI, I had an issue with H1 cutting out right after I would turn it on. It started doing this when my battery was about half-drained.

I cleaned up the threads, tube end, re-lubed, and put a bit of deoxit gold on each end of my battery. I also make sure to firmly tighten the tailcap when I change batteries. That seems to have fixed it. I haven't had the issue since, even when used outside below -20C. I use Samsung 30Q's, if that makes any difference.

IMO, the light is pretty sensitive if there's any dirt or issue with the current path. Probably because it uses fairly high amperage.

If you've done all that on your lights, and you still have 4 duds in a row, then I suggest you are probably the unluckiest person on earth. Even if the chance of getting a dud is as high as 5%, then the chance of 4 in a row is only 0.000625%. I guess someone might be that unlucky, but I wouldn't go outside if I was that guy. ;)
 

Outdoorsman5

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I agree. I normally don't care for those kinds of lights, but since ZL has so many other modes to choose and now fully program, I'm totally fine with it. I'll use H1 occasionally, but only for a few seconds at a time.

I also only use H1 a few seconds at a time usually, but when my group & I found ourselves way off trail in November, I was so glad I had the throwy SC600w Mk III HI with me & used H1 lots (even through the embarrassing malfunctions.) We found ourselves (after checking GPS) in between the trail below us and the trail above us. We were all loaded down with heavy packs, water for the entire weekend, heavy climbing gear (ropes, helmets, etc) and opted not to go back. So, we bush whacked our way up the mountain but were blocked by the climbing face, which is quite large & spans much of the width of the mountain (Mount Yonah in North GA.) Without that light I could not have seen the distances we needed to see to navigate efficiently (we could tell quickly which way not to go vs. which way to go.) To me H1 is the main reason I bought the light (along with the size & weight of the light,) so I have a tiny throwy powerful light to see good distances plus its usable spill.
 

ven

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My head would be well and truly done in, do you think there could be a chance ZL tested your light, then sent the same one back to you. So you have actually had the same one back instead of 4 different lights. Sorry if missed it, just a thought...........other than that, it appears bad luck and some kind of glitch in the firmware.

Hope you get it sorted, i would return the light to ZL for refund. Then get another from a different source(i know its still from ZL), as then you know its a different batch(so to speak).
 

Outdoorsman5

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My head would be well and truly done in, do you think there could be a chance ZL tested your light, then sent the same one back to you. So you have actually had the same one back instead of 4 different lights. Sorry if missed it, just a thought...........other than that, it appears bad luck and some kind of glitch in the firmware.

Hope you get it sorted, i would return the light to ZL for refund. Then get another from a different source(i know its still from ZL), as then you know its a different batch(so to speak).

You missed it, but no worries (a lot has been written already.) I have 4 different lights. The first light (SC600w Mk III HI) was purchased 14 months ago and has been sent back to ZL for "Repair" 3 times. This last time I asked them to "Replace" the light. Not sure what the outcome will be. The other three lights have been purchased recently and all three have the same defect (cutting off abruptly) plus I discovered a new defect in all three lights with regards to the UI. See above for more info.

I now have these defects on video and once I figure out how to post a video on this site, I will post them all.
 

ven

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Thanks for the info(again), my bad. Video wise, probably easiest to upload to youtube, then link it here with the video link(will appear as a screen).

I dont have a latest ZL yet, i tend to wait a while(late to the party so to speak). So i will wait longer till any potential gremlins are ironed out. I do have a couple of ZL's with the new UI, but these are AA fed(sc5c and sc53w). So far no issue, or nay i have noticed and both have been programmed.
 
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