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Thread: Arc 4+ questions

  1. #1
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    Default Arc 4+ questions

    I have been looking at the Arc 4+ for a while now. I have decided that I really like the features of this light and would like to carry a light similar to this. I was thinking of waiting for the HDS EDC since it will be out early next year.
    What do you suggest? I'm not looking for a collectible light since I will use it...quite regularly and I'm sure it will recieve some abuse.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* chrisse242's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    There are quite a few arc4's on B/S/T right now, for what I'd consider fair prices, but there is the warranty thing. If I were to buy a new light for actuall use and didn't need it immediately, I'd probably wait for the HDS. We still don't know anything about the arc4's long term reliabilty. I wouldn't like to spend a premium on a light I intend to use, only to find out it breaks after one or two years of heavy use.

    Chrisse

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    ARC4's overall have proven to be very reliable. Aside from the very well documented switch design problems. there has been very few reports of electronics failing.

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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:
    ARC4's overall have proven to be very reliable. Aside from the very well documented switch design problems.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I have the impression that the assembly problems just start to occur (like the mentioned flux problem) after a while.

    And even the switch problem looks more like an assembly problem (You may call it a design problem that this kind of switch is not so tolerant to unacurate assembly).
    This makes a difference for people who want to buy a used device: If you can try it and you like the switch, it is likely that it stays so (but not for shure if you read some postings).

    Edit: I would prefer a Rev1 if I could choose. They have much less troubles.

    Anyway, if you cannot get a used Arc4, the only option I know is a HDS light.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    PeLu said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:
    ARC4's overall have proven to be very reliable. Aside from the very well documented switch design problems.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I have the impression that the assembly problems just start to occur (like the mentioned flux problem) after a while.

    And even the switch problem looks more like an assembly problem (You may call it a design problem that this kind of switch is not so tolerant to unacurate assembly).
    This makes a difference for people who want to buy a used device: If you can try it and you like the switch, it is likely that it stays so (but not for shure if you read some postings).

    Edit: I would prefer a Rev1 if I could choose. They have much less troubles.

    Anyway, if you cannot get a used Arc4, the only option I know is a HDS light.



    [/ QUOTE ]
    It's well documented by a large number of posts that ARC4 has a hypersensitive to batt length design problem. this is not caused by assembly.

    there was only a .015in difference in batt tube length between rev1 and rev2. there is no way this small length diff should cause the huge numbers of complaints resulted.

    to illustrate, surefire tolarates 1/4in+ difference in batt length. a simple kroll allows at least 1/4in. another example of a lousy design is VG new CR123 pack. very small batt length tolarance.

    I have never actually seen an ARC4 with flux problems. the one person that posted problems never sent his ARC4 in to me for repairs. IMHO flux problems in ARC4 (if any?) is an rare isolated instance.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* chrisse242's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:
    ARC4's overall have proven to be very reliable. Aside from the very well documented switch design problems. there has been very few reports of electronics failing.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That's why I wrote "long term reliability". The Arc4 hasn't been around for very long and only time will tell if problems occur after long times of use. While I have no reason to believe that in half a year all arc4's will start showing problems, I don't have any reason to be sure it won't happen either. One thing that justified the high price was the "lifetime warranty", since this doesn't exist any longer, there is the possibilty of having a very expensive light that isn't working. No matter how small this possibility is, one has to take that into account.
    Don't get me wrong, the arc4 is a nice light, and as long as one gets a working switch and no other problems occur it's worth getting it at a good price.
    By the way, I have a second revision with ground down battery tube and it's still having the length tolerance issue.

    Chrisse

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:It's well documented by a large number of posts that ARC4 has a hypersensitive to batt length design problem. this is not caused by assembly.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    But the manufacturing of the parts is quite constant (even the Mexican made parts should not have alrge tolerances) and several Arc4s are not too sensitive to battery length, at least not as much as it will be a problem in daily use.
    The only thing which could cause differences in here is assembly.

    [ QUOTE ]
    there was only a .015in difference in batt tube length between rev1 and rev2.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    It is quite well reported that Rev2 made much more troubles than Rev1. As NewBie prooved with impressive pictures, assembly quality and quality control with Rev2 was not even close to what it should have been for a torch/flashlight in this price range.
    The Arc4 switch is far from beeing perfect, but blaming all malfunctions on it reminds me on the saying: 'with a hammer in your hand everything looks like a nail'.
    Personally I do not think that the moving the cell(s) switch is very good anyway.

    [ QUOTE ]
    there is no way this small length diff should cause the huge numbers of complaints resulted.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Exactly what I say.

    [ QUOTE ]
    IMHO flux problems in ARC4 (if any?) is an rare isolated instance.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    As were troubles with the Rev1. Let's hope you are right.
    It would be good if most problems are just switch related, as you gave us a fix for it (cheers for that) and the switch is at least somewhat serviceable.

    Anyway, I would prefer a Rev1.
    The only things which are interesting in this thread are:

    Should people buy an Arc4 or not?
    We should just postpone the answer until the HDS lights are available.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    Well my rev1 died on me just last month. It first started by doing random flashes and wouldn't turn on. Now it turns on for a few seconds and than turns off and won't turn back on. I have checked all contacts and cleaned them. Anyways, I have given up on it and have ordered the HDS EDC Ultimate now.
    I hope that the HDS light will not be a disappointment.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    I have two ARC4+ Rev.2 in front of me.

    The one in the photo measures 1.574" on one side, the other side measures 1.612"

    I have another that measures from 1.587" to 1.603" (this is the older of the two).

    We are looking at two tails here that are over 0.01 of an inch different in length from the hand grind at ARC.

    The potted height of the boards are different.

    The solder blob ring on the board that contacts the body is quite different between the two, one has two high "peaks", the other was quite a bit smoother.

    The potting variation and the solder blob ring height, both obviously done by hand, are two contributing factors to grinding of tails to different length, but don't account for the tail ground face causing the leaning tower of pisa effect.

    There are three cases I recall where the ARC4 has had to be baked to restore proper operation. The assumption here is flux left on the board during ARC assembly process, probably under the switch. It can be also seen around 4 through hole solder points, and around the blob on the contact rim. After quite a number of batteries, one body contact ring blob is starting to make solder flakes. I assume that I will have to reflow the blob soon, as it has worn to the point that the head and tail contact each other when screwed down, previously there was a gap when I got it. At that time, I may polish up the tail face grinding, such that it doesn't act like a file on the solder rim.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    NewBie said:There are three cases I recall where the ARC4 has had to be baked to restore proper operation. The assumption here is flux left on the board during ARC assembly process,

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There are not too many (one digit number) Arc4s around here, but we do have one which came to live after baking and another one has symptons which might also be flux related.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    PeLu said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    NewBie said:There are three cases I recall where the ARC4 has had to be baked to restore proper operation. The assumption here is flux left on the board during ARC assembly process,

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There are not too many (one digit number) Arc4s around here, but we do have one which came to live after baking and another one has symptons which might also be flux related.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    At what temperture should the light be baked at? And for how long?

    Thanks!!!

    This may be the last hope for this light before it goes in the junker. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    Elmie, you can send your ARC4 to me for repairs. please PM if you are interested.

    Newbie, I sure would like to know more about the three cases of flux problems. I've never seen or heard any reference to them. It's hard to see every thread. Please PM.

    ARC's fix of hand grinding ARC4 bodies was a total POS procedure that should have never been done. The correct fix was to simply solder a puck to the underside of gold disc to place disc back into a nuetral position.

    I was in communication with ARC at the time, unfortunately they chose to ignore my fix. and went with the POS grind fix.

    The base issue is the design of the switch itself. anytime only .015 in throws off everything. something is wrong! a dented battery can be easily several time deeper than .015in.

    I'm not aware of ANY other flashlight that is hyper-sensitive to battery length as ARC4.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    I have an Arc 4+ that was awesome when it still worked. Now I can put a battery in it and it is dead the next day even if I don't use it.

    Is there any hope of getting it repaired??

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:I'm not aware of ANY other flashlight that is hyper-sensitive to battery length as ARC4.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I agree completely, while it differs a lot among individual samples. I wonder how it would have worked with multi-cell tubes. There should be a couple 2xCR123 and 2xAA tubes around. Cy, did you get any response from them?

    [ QUOTE ]
    ARC's fix of hand grinding ARC4 bodies was a total POS procedure that should have never been done.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    But wasn't it done by the same people who assembled it?

    [ QUOTE ]
    The correct fix was to simply solder a puck to the underside of gold disc

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yes, it would have been much better, as long as it is not on the contact side.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:

    Newbie, I sure would like to know more about the three cases of flux problems. I've never seen or heard any reference to them. It's hard to see every thread. Please PM.

    ARC's fix of hand grinding ARC4 bodies was a total POS procedure that should have never been done.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'll point you to this thread that you posted in cy:

    ARC4+ flux issue, shoddy manufacturing practices, etc...

    Pay attention to Henry's and TCG's posts...

    Also keep in mind, the Rev.2 was basically a Peter thing, as Henry never tested or approved.

    There is some switch fix information in my thread here:
    June switch fix

    Also some ARC4+ disassembly photos, and datasheets for the snapdomes in the ARC4+:
    Switch datasheet, photos, and more

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    NewBie said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:

    Newbie, I sure would like to know more about the three cases of flux problems. I've never seen or heard any reference to them. It's hard to see every thread. Please PM.

    ARC's fix of hand grinding ARC4 bodies was a total POS procedure that should have never been done.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'll point you to this thread that you posted in cy:

    ARC4+ flux issue, shoddy manufacturing practices, etc...

    Pay attention to Henry's and TCG's posts...

    Also keep in mind, the Rev.2 was basically a Peter thing, as Henry never tested or approved.

    There is some switch fix information in my thread here:
    June switch fix

    Also some ARC4+ disassembly photos, and datasheets for the snapdomes in the ARC4+:
    Switch datasheet, photos, and more

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I made an offer to Hesnot to repair the aRC4 in question. I have never seen the ARC4 in question.

    Anyone else that's having problems with their ARC4, please PM to make arrangement to get your ARC4 fixed.

    Until I see what's actually causing problems. It's not a flux issue until some type of proof exits. whereas ARC4's hyper-sensitive to battery length switch design issue is well documented.

    The difference between rev1 and rev2 that I've been able to tell is body of rev2 is aprox. .015in longer than rev1. I'll be glad to state ARC's fix for rev2 ARC4 is a POS!

    The aprox. .065in puck needs to be applied on the underside of gold disc contacting the battery. Applying a blob of solder does the exact same thing. The important point is that the gold disc needs to reside in a flat or nutral position. Then what little tolarance that is built-into HDS's design is effective.

    newbie, I remember seeing some internal ARC4 shots you posted, reflecting parts in horrible condition. Didn't you state that your unit was not typical?

    Since ARC4 is potted, would not remove that potting result in trashed out looking parts?

    ARC really didn't want anyone to see the guts. As you are the only person that I'm aware of that posted any internal pic's.

    I’m not doubting that the Flux problem could in theory be correct. Just that I have not seem proof of a single case of it. I doublt that baking in a 150 degree oven will get rid of flux, moisture certainly.

    My personal preferance goes with ARC LS & ARC AAA. To me those are still in a class of their own.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:


    Until I see what's actually causing problems. It's not a flux issue until some type of proof exits. whereas ARC4's hyper-sensitive to battery length switch design issue is well documented.



    [/ QUOTE ]

    One of those PeLu was speaking of is mine. I got it from Peter and Merry very cheap because I mainly wanted a body for making kydex sheaths. They told me it would be barely working and that was not exactly how it arrived here. It wasn't working at all. Well, I didn't care because that was what I had ordered and expected.
    After making the first sheath, which was done by wrapping the light in hot kydex and heating it with a heat gun, I tried it again (just for fun). While still having switch problems, the light worked. After tweaking the switch, the light now works nearly perfectly. While I can't say anything about what caused the failure (flux, moisture, whatever), I can say for sure that "baking" the light helped. On the other hand, this special light must have worked before. It's serial# was mentioned in one post of a user who complained about the "find me" not working. He apparently sent the light back and I got it as non-working. The "find me"-mode is the only thing that still doesn't work.

    Chrisse

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    Chris, Thanks so much for the feedback. if baking in an oven helps. I would suspect moisture rather than flux. which baking in an over would not help get rid of.

    You lucked out, getting a dead light. then bringing it back to life.

    ARC4's switch also caused all sorts of phantom problems. especially under the up to 1.5amp load. Add the crappy uneven hand grind fix from ARC. the gold disc design is stretched even further.

    in a perfectly tuned ARC4 switch. I mean with all slack between neg batt contact to gold disc removed by placing a blob of solder or puck of correct thickness.

    ARC4 will have aprox. 1/8in battery length tolarance. Problem was ARC didnot recognize this critical measurement, inspite my best attemps to convey this info.

    When this critical tolarance is ignored and gold disc is already deformed by 1/8in (.125in). then is expected to deform further. That's when everyone started having problems with rev2. Rev1 ARC4's were on the borderline of out of this tolarance. but still barely within.

    So when the .015 was added by the batt tube being longer. this was enough to throw everything out of wack.

    None of this info is new, I've posted this same info before and sent to ARC during the scramble by ARC to fix.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* chrisse242's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    Well, If I had paid the full price, I wouldn't care at all about what is causing the problems. The switch problems have been very well documented as you said, and your mod v1.2 helped me a lot. Wether it's moisture or flux that causes a failure that can be resolved by heating the light up, who cares? Heating an expensive light with hot air of 200° celsius to make it work? Well, these days that might be a chance for the poor guys with a non working light and no company to take care of it, but something went terribly wrong when those lights where put together. I agree, untill now there are only a few with this failure, and I sure hope there are not going be more.

    Chrisse

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    Chrisse, You are dead right about expecting a perfect light after paying $180. no apologies necessary!

    I still defer back to switch design of ARC4 as basis of 99%+ complaints directed towards ARC4.

    intolarance to different battery lengths combined with need to maintain/sustain up to 1.5amps thu the switch. Then add the weakness of not being able to survive a simple drop on the switch very well.

    strength of ARC4 was the electronics. with almost no documented failures reported. Features that didn't work perfectly were sold as seconds.

    When an ARC4 switch is properly tuned to give max 1/8in batt lenght tolarance. ARC4 becomes very reliable. lots of documentation on how to do that already posted.

    Just don't drop it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Arc 4+ questions

    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    NewBie said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    cy said:

    Newbie, I sure would like to know more about the three cases of flux problems. I've never seen or heard any reference to them. It's hard to see every thread. Please PM.

    ARC's fix of hand grinding ARC4 bodies was a total POS procedure that should have never been done.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'll point you to this thread that you posted in cy:

    ARC4+ flux issue, shoddy manufacturing practices, etc...

    Pay attention to Henry's and TCG's posts...

    Also keep in mind, the Rev.2 was basically a Peter thing, as Henry never tested or approved.

    There is some switch fix information in my thread here:
    June switch fix

    Also some ARC4+ disassembly photos, and datasheets for the snapdomes in the ARC4+:
    Switch datasheet, photos, and more

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I made an offer to Hesnot to repair the aRC4 in question. I have never seen the ARC4 in question.

    Anyone else that's having problems with their ARC4, please PM to make arrangement to get your ARC4 fixed.

    Until I see what's actually causing problems. It's not a flux issue until some type of proof exits. whereas ARC4's hyper-sensitive to battery length switch design issue is well documented.

    The difference between rev1 and rev2 that I've been able to tell is body of rev2 is aprox. .015in longer than rev1. I'll be glad to state ARC's fix for rev2 ARC4 is a POS!

    The aprox. .065in puck needs to be applied on the underside of gold disc contacting the battery. Applying a blob of solder does the exact same thing. The important point is that the gold disc needs to reside in a flat or nutral position. Then what little tolarance that is built-into HDS's design is effective.

    newbie, I remember seeing some internal ARC4 shots you posted, reflecting parts in horrible condition. Didn't you state that your unit was not typical?

    Since ARC4 is potted, would not remove that potting result in trashed out looking parts?

    ARC really didn't want anyone to see the guts. As you are the only person that I'm aware of that posted any internal pic's.

    I’m not doubting that the Flux problem could in theory be correct. Just that I have not seem proof of a single case of it. I doublt that baking in a 150 degree oven will get rid of flux, moisture certainly.

    My personal preferance goes with ARC LS & ARC AAA. To me those are still in a class of their own.

    [/ QUOTE ]


    Baking does remove moisture from flux. Baking does not remove flux.

    The shots of the internal parts were not from my ARC4+.

    Trashed out looking parts from removing the potting??? No, the shots from my ARC4 and the disassembled parts are different ARC4s.

    Most the trash was grindings left from custom grinding the tail to fit the solder contact ring on the electronics for the negative return. This mounded ring of solder did vary from unit to unit, and thus required custom grinding of each ARC4 Rev2 tail. This probably a part of the reason for the wide variety of experiences reported from user to user, "mine works great" to "mine is awful".

    The trashed out stuff you are referring to are all the Al shavings left behind from the ARC operator, which were not cleaned up after grinding for some odd reason.

    Again, that is a different ARC4 flashlight from the one that was un-potted.

    Anyhow, I don't see anything trashed out looking in this photo...


    In this photo, you can see the variation in the negative (ground) solder ring and if you look carefully, you'll see the two high spots at about 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock, that are worn flat:


    You can see a closeup of one of the worn high spot flats here (note image is rotated) at 11:30 :


    As a side note, you can see some of the flux and crud that was left behind by ARC on this board.

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