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Thread: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

  1. #1

    Question Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Obligatory: Hey! I'm new but have stalked for years.

    I have a Hanko Trident (in titanium) with a CWF Dragon driver. Recently it started flickering on all modes. It's not an on/off flickering. Almost like a candle mode but it flickers down until off and even sometimes triggers the programming mode.

    Most of the time loosening and retightening the head resolves the flickering in the short term. Sometimes shaking the light slightly causes the flickering to become worse. I don't mean like I'm mixing a drink, like if it was a salt shaker.

    Here's what I've done so far:


    • Disassembled and cleaned main threads with detergent, windex, and alcohol
    • Removed, cleaned, and re-installed pill
    • Used multiple (identical) batteries (Keeppower 18350s, they work fine in all my other lights)
    • Swapped in a new Dragon driver. Exhibits same issues as the original.
    • Cleaned all contacts again
    • Pulled out a multimeter and measured continuity between switch spring and threads (seems same as the DC1), between the threads on the head, and around the pill. All seems normal?


    I'm out of ideas to try here. I haven't replaced the switch since circlip pliers are at the shop. That's next on my list.

    I'm almost positive it's something about the threads. I put a bit of Krytox on the main body o-ring and maybe it got on the threads and is insulating? Sometimes I'll re-seat the head, it doesn't flicker, and I'll put the light down on a shelf for an hour. I pick it up and immediately it's flickering.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    My first thought based upon what you are saying is the switch either not seated all the way or defective.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by staticx57 View Post
    My first thought based upon what you are saying is the switch either not seated all the way or defective.
    I'm going to pull the switch and replace it with a spare.

    But while trying to ďdebugĒ I put a dab more Krytox on the threads and immediately saw flickering/dimming. I'm going through more extensive cleaning but I'm almost positive it's due to interference on the threads. My questions then become:

    1. Why? There should be at least some metal-to-metal contact
    2. Why flickering? It's almost like there's arcing or something else going on, which sounds like the gap isn't due to the lubricant but the head design
    3. Does everyone have this problem? I've seen various threads on lubricant for threads and none mention this problem.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Does the body make contact through the threads themselves, through the end of the tube, or both?
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Dan View Post
    Does the body make contact through the threads themselves, through the end of the tube, or both?
    It appears to make contact both through the threads and by seating flush against the ends of the tubes. I've highlighted:



    Perhaps and idea (to prove/disprove the thread issue) would be to make a short jumper with wire on the outside of the light?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Yeah if you can find a short wire to jump from battery neg to the head and try running it sans body that would be a good test. I suppose it is possible that the issue is hidden away in the driver somewhere, although that isn't a problem I've heard of before.
    Hello darkness my old friend,
    I've come to talk with you again...
    I liked neutral tints before they were cool.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Dan View Post
    Yeah if you can find a short wire to jump from battery neg to the head and try running it sans body that would be a good test. I suppose it is possible that the issue is hidden away in the driver somewhere, although that isn't a problem I've heard of before.
    Thanks, I'll do this.

    I was really hoping someone would say ďOh that's a known issue on Tridents, don't put anything on the threads it messes up flow for <insert reasons>.Ē

  8. #8
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Krytox won't interrupt electrical conductivity through the threads. McGizmos used the same stuff for years.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Krytox won't interrupt electrical conductivity through the threads. McGizmos used the same stuff for years.
    Exactly what I thought! Apparently McGizmo's Piston Drive means the threads aren't in the path of the current though.

    But I went and put another drab of Krytox on and it immediately made the flickering way worse, to the point the entire light cut out and wouldn't turn on. Leaving the switch clicked on and twisting the head caused it to partially come back on.

    This is a head scratcher for me because I'm assuming even if the threads are the only point of contact and that the lubricant prevents this, why is it flickering? Why isn't it on/off?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    As an aside, McGizmo hasnít made a piston drive light in many years. All his offerings for like a decade are body tube mated to head like the Hanko.

    And unless you were piling on a whole lot of lube it shouldnít make a difference.

    Iíd definitely check to make sure that the switch is tightened in properly - Iíve had the retaining rings get loose on lights before and got wonky activation.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    I could have sworn I saw Don mention recently that the threads arenít responsible for carrying current on the current designs. I thought that was PD.

    Iím in the less is more camp with lube. I probably used even less than I would on the second time around trying to reproduce the issue.

    Iíll work on the switch tonight and report back.
    Last edited by SWE; 02-11-2019 at 06:58 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Long story short, I think Iím cursed with switches. Thanks to everyone that replied. Iíve replaced the McClicky switch and it seems to work much better.

    Iíve also noticed that there are multiple different spring heights for McClicky switches. I originally swapped it with a similar height stock replacement and almost immediately ran into an issue where when fully tightened the light wouldnít turn on at all. I canít imagine why, pressure on the driver? Replacing with a smaller than stock spring switch gives me reliable on/off in the short time Iíve tested it with zero flickering.

    Now off to figure out why neither of these switches work in a DC1 body.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    In my experience if the engine tests out fine and you have flickering it is poor contact on the switch, either loose or not enough spring tension resulting in light contact pressure. The McClicky itself has one size spring, however some lights using them have had the spring clipped down or modified.

    Side note, on the McGizmo designs the battery pack lip makes contact with the engine when fully tightened which is the main electrical contact, all his current work is based on his McClicky switch, the PD is long obsolete, a decade ago now actually.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thetasigma View Post
    In my experience if the engine tests out fine and you have flickering it is poor contact on the switch, either loose or not enough spring tension resulting in light contact pressure.
    A direct replacement switch didnít work and felt very tight when tightening the head fully down. It turned on when about halfway unscrewed.

    I used a clipped/smaller spring McClicky and it worked.

    Iím head scratching super hard but generally am happy to have a working light at this point. I ordered a handful of replacement switches for next time.

  15. #15
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Instead of clipping the spring on the McClicky switch, jam an old battery as far down into the tube as possible, compressing the spring all the way. (I say to use an old battery because it's possible the force involved will dent the negative terminal a little.) This will "initialize" the spring by crushing the portion of the spring's initial length that exceeds the metal's elasticity. It will be a couple millimeters shorter after this.

    ...or you can drop your light switch-down on a hard surface and let the momentum of the battery inside the battery tube "initialize" the spring for you. I prefer a more controlled approach though.

    Also, file-down the tip of the spring wire on any new McClicky switch you get. They all have a barb on the end where the spring-making machine cut the wire after coiling it up, and that barb will scrape the negative terminal of the battery if you don't remove it. (clipping the spring doesn't solve this problem; it just makes a new barb at the point where you clipped the spring.) If you only use single-use batteries you don't have to worry about cumulative damage to the battery, but debris scraped off the negative terminals of previous batteries can build-up over time and inhibit proper conductivity with future batteries. Better to file-down the end of the spring to make it smoother.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 02-13-2019 at 01:46 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Instead of clipping the spring on the McClicky switch, jam an old battery as far down into the tube as possible, compressing the spring all the way. (I say to use an old battery because it's possible the force involved will dent the negative terminal a little.) This will "initialize" the spring by crushing the portion of the spring's initial length that exceeds the metal's elasticity. It will be a couple millimeters shorter after this.

    Also, file-down the tip of the spring wire on any new McClicky switch you get.
    Good advice, thanks! Iíll check out the couple I have on the way. I hadnít thought about the end of the spring being sharp and since Iím primarily using 18350s it would be nice to keep them in good condition.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Debugging random flickering on Hanko Trident?

    Quote Originally Posted by SWE View Post
    Good advice, thanks! Iíll check out the couple I have on the way. I hadnít thought about the end of the spring being sharp and since Iím primarily using 18350s it would be nice to keep them in good condition.
    It's also entirely possible that you had some carbon build up from repeated loose contacts that caused the flickering to begin with and thus worsened the electrical contact between the spring and battery. Also check between the spring and switch contacts. My Jetbeam 3M was having a bout of flickering and I finally tracked it down to the contacts inside the switch being bent...apparently from a friend using the light and pressing down on the button very hard.

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