Nitecore EC4 stand by current drain

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texas shooter
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Nitecore EC4 stand by current drain

So I’ve been using the light a lot since I received it. Batteries were at 3.4 volts, using Panasonic 3400’s. I didn’t think it had that much use so I charged the batteries then measured the standby current. I’m getting around 600µA. That’s way too high even to just let sit around for any length of time. I love the light but this kills its usability. Could those of you who have this light please measure and post your current readings. I’d like to think it’s a defective light not design.

Sonofspectrum
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I wonder if its similar to the EA41. This has a higher parasitic drain after the batteries have been changed. It has to be turned on and of for the drain to drop down. Don’t now why this is just a quirk i guess. The text below is taken from a review of the EA41 by subwoofer on CPF.

As there is an electronic switch we need to consider the parasitic drain. When measuring the parasitic drain of the EA41 a particular feature (so far unique to the EA41) was discovered and is very important for users to know about.

When inserting the cells, and closing the tail-cap, the EA41 has an initial power on state which has a much higher drain current at 568uA. At this drain current, fully charged NiMh cells will be completely drained in 139 days. This is very bad, however it is not the full story…..please read on.

Measuring parasitic drain is usually a simple matter of completing the circuit with an ammeter. Like this it is often difficult to operate the light, and the current used in normal operation would generally damage the ammeter. In the case of the EA41 it was necessary to use some special high current jumpers to allow the switches to be operated and then to turn the EA41 off while maintaining the circuit. One of the jumpers could then be substituted for the ammeter after switching the EA41 off again.

Having turned the EA41 on and off again, the parasitic drain current drops significantly to 106.7uA. At this drain, the same cells would take over 2 years to be depleted. Much better! This is the same current present in lockout mode, so you don’t get a lower drain in lockout mode, just protection against accidental activation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to switch the EA41 on and off after inserting fresh cells or the parasitic drain will be much higher.

It's moments of madness that keep us sane.

FlashLion
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I measure 350µA with fresh Sanyo 2600,or Keepower 3400.
I turned ON/Off the light a few times,still the same standby current.
If you trust your DMM,probably the flashlight is defective.

I have an idea how to add a physical switch to the tailcap,but I don’t know hard will be to do it.
What we need is to add a small metal membrane to the positive contact.
The metal button that is soldered there,should be removed.

It should be done similar to this in the MecArmy-
With tightening the tailcap the battery will press the membrane and will contact the tailcap board.

Trevi_lux
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The Mec-Army is exactly like my CooYoo Quantum 10180!!

FlashLion
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Here is what I mean.

hank
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Dagnabbit.

I missed this when I bought an EC4 online, rec’d it just today

And the light came with the warranty card blank, too — the one that says to make sure your reseller or retailer stamps it and fills it out.

Oh, joy ….

Has this modification of the tailcap worked out to eliminate the passive drain?

Does this advice also describe how the EC4 works, anyone know for sure?

Quote:
Remember to switch the EA41 on and off after inserting fresh cells or the parasitic drain will be much higher.

With a multiple-cell light, that much passive drain is asking for trouble as cells get older.
Not to mention this light can be used with four primary CR123s.

Does EC4 mean IED in any known language?

CRX
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You could replace the spring with a brass post, i did a lockout mod for the EA4 http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25651

hank
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> mod
As pictured earlier in the thread?
Or do you have a pointer to pictures/description of what you did?
Not sure I understand it from just the words.

EDIT, ah, now I can see the picture. Okay.

hank
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Hm, I recall a cautionary thought in another thread here a while back — that using protected cells isn’t necessarily protection against passive drain.
Explanation was that in normal use cell voltage does sag and the protection circuits are built with that in mind, so they trigger when the cell in normal use gets pulled down to the cutoff.
But in the relatively low drain from a circuit just sitting there, the cell can go below where it should cut off.

Anyone know any more about that, in particular about the Nitecore?

I somehow missed the passive drain problem when I saw one for sale recently and bought it. Only 2-cell light I own, and I don’t trust it now.

I am using protected cells in it. But if my memory is correct that’s not adequate protection in this configuration.

And I can’t “lock out” the tailcap with the usual quarter turn either.

I guess removing a spring and soldering in a brass bump is the answer.

Bye-bye warranty (sigh).

Then again, I don’t even know if I bought it from an “authorized dealer” — trying to find that list so I’ll know if Nitecore warranties it or not.

sidecross
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I gave up on my EC4 and gave it away with the warning to store the batteries outside of the light until needed for use. Another feature I did not like was if using protected batteries, a lock out at the tail cap has the tail cap just falling off.

I liked the idea of a two side by side 18650 batteries, and bought the Fenix TK35UE with the Cree MT-G2 on closeout from Fenix. If this is the kind of light you like, Fenix did a good job.

As a side note, since purchasing the Convoy L6 this has become the flashlight I am constantly using. The other light I tend to choose for in house use is the Fenix PD40. I am in a part of my life where having less seems to bring me more satisfaction than collecting; this is an acquired taste. Smile

“You must have a plan, if you don’t have a plan, you will become part of someone else’s plan.” Terence McKenna

hank
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I found I had a spare tailcap button — one without the little bump inside — and that drops nicely into the tube and prevents the tailcap spring from connecting.

Bother. But at least it breaks the circuit.

sidecross
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hank wrote:
I found I had a spare tailcap button — one without the little bump inside — and that drops nicely into the tube and prevents the tailcap spring from connecting.

Bother. But at least it breaks the circuit.


+1

Nice fix!

“You must have a plan, if you don’t have a plan, you will become part of someone else’s plan.” Terence McKenna

daninho
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I ordered the light as well at banggood but the parasitic drain problem is not that bad, just use protected cells and remove the batteries if you are not using it for months. I only use protected 18650s in my lights. I have the LG HG2 just for comparision

Pok
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My EC4 has stand by drain current 290uA. I’m OK with this.
I left batteries (NCR18650B protected) inside EC4 for stand by Flashlight.
I think that’s good for my batteries instead of let they always have full capacity.

southland
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Just got the EC4 today and ordered another one 10 minutes ago because I liked the first one, oh well. With the light in the lockout mode is the still drain or only when not locked out. Using the code it’s only $30, EC4.

hank
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There’s no lockout by just turning the knob on the stock light. The springs stay in contact until the tailcap comes off.
The suggestions above are for replacing the spring on the tailcap with a shorter piece of metal that will be easier to disconnect.

southland
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Was talking about locking the light by pressing both buttons for over over one second to lock the light.

hank
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> pressing both buttons
That just keeps a single button-press from waking it up — but it’s stilll watching the buttons, because you reactivate them also by pressing both of them simultaneously again.

I understand “lockout” to mean unscrewing the tail cap partway — until there’s no electrical circuit.

southland
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OK hank, thanks. Always thought that when a side switch light was locked or put to sleep it reduced or stopped the parasitic drain.

lightx
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Is the ATR really working? Some reviews I’ve read show EC4 has stable output on turbo.
Or it is too late to kicks in?

unknown00101
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southland wrote:
OK hank, thanks. Always thought that when a side switch light was locked or put to sleep it reduced or stopped the parasitic drain.

I tested this in my EA45S a week or two ago. I got the same parasitic drain whether the light was locked out or not; this type of lockout just prevents most accidental activation.
Pok
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lightx wrote:
Is the ATR really working? Some reviews I’ve read show EC4 has stable output on turbo. Or it is too late to kicks in?

Review1

Review2

For me This light is the 1st ( if the price is $30 Wink )

lightx
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Thanks for the links
It looks like the body can handle 1000 lumens really well. And needs higher output to beat it like EC4S and EC4SW.

jon_slider
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Here is another nitecore whose 2 button lockout (not talking about unscrewing anything) seems to have a power drain issue
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1005034#comment-1005034

will34 wrote:
Ok… you guys are NOT going to believe this… it is just plain STUPID!! No other word to describe this.

Got my Tip from AA today, ordered gray and got black, no big deal as it looks good to me. Turbo mode is impressive for this size and the light feels great overall. I like it. But that’s about it, because when I opened it up, unsoldered a battery lead and took measurements with my DMM, I got a nasty surprise.

Moonlight is nice and low as it should be… 4.34mA

But when you enter lockout… 6.49mA!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

Oh by the way… normal standby current draw? 0.00mA, so low my DMM doesn’t even read it. But I suppose it has to be around 0.1-0.5mA