Convoy metal switch discussion

80 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan
Convoy metal switch discussion

It would seem there are a lot of fans of the stainless switch button used on the Convoy S2+. I count myself among them. It looks great and it works great.

Just look at it. It’s beautiful.

There is one small issue though… Waterproofing.

The current design is not waterproof. It’s water resistant and might survive a quick dunk (don’t test that) but it’s not as waterproof as the standard silcone switch covers. If you look at the listings in the Convoy store for the metal switch versions he rates them at IPX6 where the silicone boot model is IPX8. Simon has told me several times that this bothers him. He wants it to have better waterproofing. From what I’ve been told, good waterproofing is difficult to accomplish in a metal switch. I haven’t taken mine apart yet. Any who know me know that I’m not a modder by any means. I could probably manage to take it apart without damaging anything but I know there are many experts in this community who have already done that.

I’d like to ask the BLF community to chime in here.

Anyone who has taken the switch apart please post any thoughts, ideas, pictures, suggestions and comments.

Can a sweet looking switch like this be made truly waterproof?

I’m not talking about a diving light level waterproofing but able to survive the standard “oops I dropped in in the pool” situation.

What are your thoughts BLF?

Edited by: J-Dub74 on 03/09/2016 - 10:28
emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA

I posted this brief writeup in another thread but it makes more sense here now, so I’m copying it. Hope that’s okay.

First, here’s the threaded section. Its a 12.25mm opening:

Now the interesting bits. Here’s the whole switch cover assembly turned upside-down:

This is made up of two parts. From the outside you’d see them as the outside part (the “sleeve”) and the inside part (the “piston”). Most of what you see in this photo is part of the sleeve, but that bottom rubber ring (top in this photo; its upside-down) is attached to the piston.

The piston just pushes out of the sleeve. Its friction fit and held by the translucent ring mentioned earlier along with the bottom section of that black rubber seal. Pushing the piston out, here’s what it looks like:

There’s that black rubber seal assembly that provides some springyness and water resistance. That leaves the sleeve part left. The translucent nylon bit is attached to the sleeve and it looks like this:

I’m sure that nylon ring could be removed with a bit of persuasion but I didn’t try. Don’t really want to booger it up.

Now for the proof of concept – I reassembled the switch cover assembly and put it back into the tailcap. I did not put the switch back in since any sort of lighted assembly would be on/above that board anyway. Then I held a small flashlight up inside the tailcap and turned it on. The result looks like this:

Now I think that looks really cool! Its kinda orange; not sure if that’s reflections from the red host or if its the tint of the nylon seal, but it works well on this red light. I’ve got blue and green hosts I can experiment with to see how those colors react, too.

Here’s the bad news: that’s 85 lumens I’m shining up in there. Sad I could still see the light pretty well down around 20 lumens, but as should be expected, that black rubber seal doesn’t lend itself to light transmission. I don’t even have any clear/translucent switch caps to play with here but it may be possible to cut the black rubber off of the bottom of the piston and use a clear switch cap in its place; I’m not sure yet. But that should require a lot less light to get through there. I’m going to keep poking around at this though because I’d love for my S2+ lights to have this feature.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6360
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

I was hoping emarkd would get that up in post #1, so I withheld my comment til now. emarkd’s post was originally in response to my asking for info about how it was constructed with the intent of possibly installing a lighted tailcap under the metal button. In regards to this new thread, I’ll just say that waterproofing the switch should of course be the main priority for a redesign because that’s what the vast majority of users will notice. But I wouldn’t mind if whatever type of gasket was used ended up being a translucent one Wink .

I don’t have any brilliant ideas on the subject though.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Andrew2007
Andrew2007's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/04/2015 - 16:07
Posts: 590
Location: Northumberland, England

Difficult to say without examining it yourself to see the tolerances involved with the different moving part’s, but if you want to use a grease then:

If you have rubber with stainless a waterproof grease could be used, most greases are but some are better than other’s. One of the concerns with rubber is that a grease can change it’s mechanical properties causing it to swell and not function as designed.

There’re plenty of rubber seals on car’s where stainless is involved – caliper brake pistons are often stainless with rubber seals. A red rubber grease is used, Castrol CCG is one and it is water resistant. It’s based on vegetable oil and doesn’t harm rubber. It’s perfect for rubber to rubber and rubber to metal contact’s.

The grease viscosity will vary with temperature and you want it to remain in place in the switch and not to get it on your fingers, it’s perfect to use where you don’t have o rings and seals because of the low viscosity at room temperature.

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

emarkd wrote:
I posted this brief writeup in another thread but it makes more sense here now, so I’m copying it. Hope that’s okay.

Better than okay my friend. I was going to ask if you would do exactly that. It shows more of the switch internals than I’ve seen before with excellent pictures and descriptions. This will be helpful. Thanks! :bigsmile:
J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

pilotdog68 wrote:
I was hoping emarkd would get that up in post #1, so I withheld my comment til now. emarkd’s post was originally in response to my asking for info about how it was constructed with the intent of possibly installing a lighted tailcap under the metal button. In regards to this new thread, I’ll just say that waterproofing the switch should of course be the main priority for a redesign because that’s what the vast majority of users will notice. But I wouldn’t mind if whatever type of gasket was used ended up being a translucent one Wink .

I don’t have any brilliant ideas on the subject though.


You don’t have any “brilliant” ideas. Ha! I suppose we actually are looking for a dim bulb here… “Why don’t you just ruminate, while I illuminate the possibilities”… Okay that’s all I have but it would be really cool if I could follow that with something smart. Silly
J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

Andrew-W wrote:
Difficult to say without examining it yourself to see the tolerances involved with the different moving part’s, but if you want to use a grease then:

If you have rubber with stainless a waterproof grease could be used, most greases are but some are better than other’s. One of the concerns with rubber is that a grease can change it’s mechanical properties causing it to swell and not function as designed.

There’re plenty of rubber seals on car’s where stainless is involved – caliper brake pistons are often stainless with rubber seals. A red rubber grease is used, Castrol CCG is one and it is water resistant. It’s based on vegetable oil and doesn’t harm rubber. It’s perfect for rubber to rubber and rubber to metal contact’s.

The grease viscosity will vary with temperature and you want it to remain in place in the switch and not to get it on your fingers, it’s perfect to use where you don’t have o rings and seals because of the low viscosity at room temperature.


It definitely is hard even with good pictures to see the tolerances involved. I was hoping Simon could provide me with a CAD model but it seems he doesn’t have one for the switch. If it comes down to it I may just end up taking it apart myself to help me visualize possible solutions. I don’t really like the thought of relying just on grease for a few different reasons but all ideas and feedback are appreciated. Smile
ToyKeeper
ToyKeeper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 39 min 11 sec ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 14:40
Posts: 7037
Location: (469219) 2016 HO3

FWIW, the first revision of the CNQG brass 18650 light has a waterproof metal button. Here’s how it goes together:





ToyKeeper
ToyKeeper's picture
Offline
Last seen: 39 min 11 sec ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 14:40
Posts: 7037
Location: (469219) 2016 HO3

I tried a lighted tailcap in a blue S2+, and the light isn’t visible at all. The black rubber blocks it.

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan
ToyKeeper wrote:
FWIW, the first revision of the CNQG brass 18650 light has a waterproof metal button. Here’s how it goes together:

Thanks ToyKeeper! I meant to put in the OP that it would help if anyone could post pictures of properly waterproof metal switches from other lights. Excellent info and lots of pictures. Thank you. As far as the light up tailcap I’d think switching the black inner boot on the existing Convoy switch to one made of translucent silicone would be the easiest lighting option as long as Simon can have that sourced. I plan to ask. Do you think that would be enough to let a decent glow through? I know it’s not going to be bright like the silicone switch boots but based on the picture emarkd posted it might be visible enough.

mapache
mapache's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
Joined: 08/10/2015 - 09:34
Posts: 1193
Location: Vic, Aus

It would seem I am out of my depth in this thread, and without a switch in hand it’s hard to be able to figure anything out, but it looks like that threaded section of the switch butts up against the lip of the rubber seal, if so what is on the other side of the rubber lip? Wouldn’t it just need a retaining ring or shelf in the switch housing for that lip to butt up against, and with the threaded section tightened down shouldn’t it be more than adequately waterproof?

I might just go back to making colour requests!

Gunga
Gunga's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 21 hours ago
Joined: 11/28/2014 - 16:56
Posts: 1604
Location: Vancouver, Canada

A thin rubber boot like the brass switch should do it.

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA
mapache wrote:
It would seem I am out of my depth in this thread, and without a switch in hand it’s hard to be able to figure anything out, but it looks like that threaded section of the switch butts up against the lip of the rubber seal, if so what is on the other side of the rubber lip? Wouldn’t it just need a retaining ring or shelf in the switch housing for that lip to butt up against, and with the threaded section tightened down shouldn’t it be more than adequately waterproof?

No, I think you’re right and here’s the thing — there’s already a big metal washer in there that holds the top of the switch tight so that it keeps pressure on the retaining ring thereby making ground, just like about every other tailclicky light on the market. I think the rubber boot sits tightly against the top edge of that metal ring which, like you said, should make it quite waterproof.

I guess I’ll go ahead and ask: Are we sure its not waterproof already? I mean it looks like a solid design to me. Water will definitely get in around the nylon washer but should be stopped by that rubber boot I think, so shouldn’t do any damage. Has it been tested thoroughly as it is?

EDIT: Here’s a photo of the entire stack of stuff out of the tailcap of a Convoy S2+:

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6360
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Do it. Test it.

If I had one I wouldn’t hesitate to dunk it a few times. What’s the worst that could happen? Fry a $3 driver? Even that won’t happen if you just leave the light off and check for dampness inside before using it again.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA

pilotdog68 wrote:
Do it. Test it.

If I had one I wouldn’t hesitate to dunk it a few times. What’s the worst that could happen? Fry a $3 driver? Even that won’t happen if you just leave the light off and check for dampness inside before using it again.

Yeah I don’t mind testing it. I’ve got four of these hosts, one of them doesn’t even have anything in it at the moment. I’ll get back to everyone with some findings later, hopefully this evening or tomorrow.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6360
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA
Star

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

mapache
mapache's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
Joined: 08/10/2015 - 09:34
Posts: 1193
Location: Vic, Aus

That pic of the stack helps a lot. If the washer seats firmly against the boot the weak point may be the threads. Perhaps a really low strength threadlocker would help?

Looking forward to the test results. For one of the tests would it be worth heating the light beforehand to create a pressure differential, and to simulate a light that’s being used on high being dropped into cold water?

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

emarkd wrote:
pilotdog68 wrote:
Do it. Test it.

If I had one I wouldn’t hesitate to dunk it a few times. What’s the worst that could happen? Fry a $3 driver? Even that won’t happen if you just leave the light off and check for dampness inside before using it again.

Yeah I don’t mind testing it. I’ve got four of these hosts, one of them doesn’t even have anything in it at the moment. I’ll get back to everyone with some findings later, hopefully this evening or tomorrow.

I just got back to this and I love all the ideas, questions and concepts being thrown around. I honestly don’t have the time or brain capacity to put into it right now but I see intelligent people kicking this around and for that I say thank you! I am quite curious to see the results. I talked to Richard (RMM) a bit about this and he seemed to agree that most of the metal switches are more splash-proof than waterproof. I questioned this one myself as it’s the same switch used as a side switch on the BD01 which is shown here either giving false hope or proving that it IS indeed waterproof…

I look forward to hearing the results.

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA

Ran two S2+ waterproofing tests tonight. For the first test I used a temperature differential as was suggested a couple of comments ago, but I did it the opposite direction. I chilled the light with the barrel open, then closed it while still inside the freezer. Now I’ve got a very cold light full of very cold air, which is dense. Then I dunked it into lukewarm water. The water warms the light causing the air inside to expand, forcing the air out of the weakest points. A good IPX8 light will barely bubble at all and will hold most of that pressure inside.

I found very little bubbling, much less than I expected to. One or two very tiny bubbles formed around the outside edge of the “sleeve” so there is some leakage around that oring. I think it could probably be greased and it would seal right up. I think we all know how important it is to keep orings greased and that one probably isn’t. Most of the leakage came from between the piston and the sleeve, so it was getting around that black rubber seal inside. I saw a bubble form and float up about once every 4 seconds, so not especially fast. Here’s a photo of how that looked:

Really this light leaked very little. I wouldn’t be afraid to get it quite wet, so that’s what I did next. For the next test I let the light come back up to room temperature, equal to the water. Then I just dropped it in the bowl and walked away. Its only a few inches deep, but I left it in for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I retrieved it from the bowl. Inside the battery tube was completely dry. So I disassembled the switch assembly and it was completely dry too. ZERO water seeped past the black rubber seal during a 15 minute soak in a few inches of water. There was just a tiny drop or two above the black rubber so the nylon bushing by itself isn’t waterproof, but I don’t think we ever expected it to be.

I do have one thought about the air leakage I saw around that black rubber seal. I posted a photo earlier of the entire switch assembly stack from this light but it never occurred to be to look at how the head is machined. There’s a large shelf or “lip” inside the head that the silver washer sits on. That makes sense because it has to have something to put pressure against. I do see that the lip sits just a fraction of a mm lower than the rubber seal on the bottom of the “piston”. Not sure if you can see it in this photo, but it looks like this:

That means that the metal washer isn’t putting tight pressure on the bottom of the rubber seal, so I’m sure that’s where the highest potential for leakage is. If I were to make a suggestion to Simon it would be to machine just a bit more off of that shelf so that its completely flush with the rubber boot. I realize those are tight tolerances but for this design to seal up much more I think it would be necessary.

I’d like to take these tests a bit further and do some deeper water tests along with some jet spray/pressurized tests and see what happens, but not tonight. So far though, I’m really very impressed with Simon’s switch.

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6360
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

Or extend the edges of the rubber boot to overlap more of that edge and more of the washer, like TK’s pics

Good tests

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Halo...
Halo...'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 12/15/2011 - 02:39
Posts: 3304
Location: Halo island

I think the problem is that it might be technically waterproof but it’s relying on compression of a very tiny ledge to make the seal.

Hope you guys don’t mind me borrowing your pictures.

emarkd wrote:
EDIT: Here’s a photo of the entire stack of stuff out of the tailcap of a Convoy S2+:




pilotdog68 wrote:
Or extend the edges of the rubber boot to overlap more of that edge and more of the washer, like TK’s pics
That’s what I think it really needs. The rubber gasket should extend to cover the whole surface there.
Halo...
Halo...'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 12/15/2011 - 02:39
Posts: 3304
Location: Halo island

By the way, how is the rubber gasket attached to the metal button / “piston”?

RMM
RMM's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 07/23/2013 - 13:47
Posts: 4006
Location: USA

I think that you guys are right: the very thin seal area is definitely a weak point, especially when dealing with mass produced parts and assembly processes that aren't perfect.  

The solution would seem to be to make the rubber overlap more, and possibly machine the tailcap a bit differently if a switch change alone can't be made to work.  

Mountain Electronics : batteries, Noctigon, and much more! What's new? 

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

I like the way this is headed. It would be really nice if the solution is just making that lip of rubber bigger so it makes a better seal and while he’s at it switch the material to clear or translucent instead of black so a light up switch will shine through. I actually like the idea of just a glow coming from the gap in the switch. That would look pretty sweet. You could easily color match the LED for the red, blue and green versions. Thanks all for your input. Keep it coming. In the mean time I’m probably going to be brave and take my switch apart so I can see and understand better if it would be that easy. If there is enough space it seems that rubber lip or whatever else you want to call it should be extended out to the same diameter as the washer so that it seals against the inner ledge inside the tail. If there isn’t room right now Simon could just take the inner shelf of the tail maybe 0.5mm or so deeper and then there would be room to compress that gasket (which will now hopefully be made from translucent silicone) and make a proper seal. Does that sound right?

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA
Halo… wrote:
By the way, how is the rubber gasket attached to the metal button / “piston”?

Good question. Like this:

I had gently pulled at that join before but didn’t really investigate it closely yet. I should have. The top edge of that gasket is going to be another weak point for water ingress I think. Wonder if it could be sealed/glued using some sort of adhesive. I’m sure something like an rtv silicone would work well for the job but I’m not sure it can be done at the factory in a cost-effective manner.

Halo...
Halo...'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 12/15/2011 - 02:39
Posts: 3304
Location: Halo island

Hmm, well that seems less than ideal for waterproofing. :~
I suppose if it’s tight it could be good enough. But I’m thinking Simon should consider switching to a design like TK posted?

I do have some concern about long term wear with the design she posted. Could there be a risk of edges of the white clicky switch actuator cutting into the rubber gasket over time?

ToyKeeper wrote:



I think gasket should have a little nub inside which could keep the edges of the clicky actuator away. Like the nub inside our standard rubber tailcaps.
djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 15 min ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 12118
Location: Amsterdam

The BLF Ti light that Rey designed also has a waterproof metal clicky design. There have been problems with getting it assembled, but that is because the dimensions are not tweeked to perfection, the principle design is good. it uses a common 14mm silicon boot cap under the metal part that is screwed down, not unlike the CNQG brass 18650 light above. I got my BLF-Ti tail assembled alright and it works very well now.

J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

Halo… wrote:
Hmm, well that seems less than ideal for waterproofing. :~
I suppose if it’s tight it could be good enough. But I’m thinking Simon should consider switching to a design like TK posted?

I do have some concern about long term wear with the design she posted. Could there be a risk of edges of the white clicky switch actuator cutting into the rubber gasket over time?

ToyKeeper wrote:



I think gasket should have a little nub inside which could keep the edges of the clicky actuator away. Like the nub inside our standard rubber tailcaps.

From what I understand of metal switches there is always more concern over eventual breakdown because of the additional number of rubber against metal moving parts. That said, I think if properly executed you could expect at least close to the lifespan of a traditional rubber switch. I think you have to make at least a small concession there if you want the pretty metal switch…
J-Dub74
J-Dub74's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 03/14/2015 - 17:17
Posts: 2219
Location: Michigan

Getting back to the concern about water getting in at the top where the rubber gasket rests in the innermost diameter, does it really matter if it is properly sealed at the bottom which is the main trouble spot for water getting into the light? My thought on that is the upper portion of the“seal” is basically just cosmetic as far as waterproofing (secondary function being to help add springiness to push the switch piston back up) and it’s the lower seal point we should be concerned about. Yes? No?

pilotdog68
pilotdog68's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2013 - 23:31
Posts: 6360
Location: Held against my will in IOWA, USA

I haven’t used one of the brass lights, but just looking at it that design doesn’t seem like it would give as nice of a feel as the current convoy design does. It seems having the metal nub part just loose would feel wobbly. TK, can you (or anyone else) comment on that?

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

emarkd
emarkd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2015 - 22:04
Posts: 1466
Location: Georgia, USA

I haven’t used the brass light either although I do have one on order from CNQG. Tracking is already working but it still reads like the package is still in China. Still should be well enough ahead of the holiday that I can avoid that delay, I hope.

I do have the Rey Ti host that djozz mentioned. Here’s a photo of that tailcap from the outside:

I can disassemble it again and get some interior pictures if you all think it would help, but that thing was very fiddly to get all lined up properly. It definitely doesn’t just go together like this Convoy switch does and I had to work at it to make it operate smoothly. Its nice once its right, but getting it right was not easy.

Like djozz says, it’s got a full rubber boot under the metal switch so it would probably be a lot more waterproof, but I really can’t remember at the moment how well that rubber boot is sealed to the host. I do know the host itself was just an empty tube with some threaded sections. This photo was made from the head but you can see all the way through:

Pages