Novatac signal springs, and 18350 and 18650 mods

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jon_slider
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Novatac signal springs, and 18350 and 18650 mods

I recently bought a Novatac 120T that was unreliable. It would turn itself on, or sometimes the switch would not work at all, or sometimes when screwing it together with a fresh battery it would reset itself and forget the custom programming, or it would start strobing..

the cure was to replace the battery sleeve spring.

so here are some pics of several different springs, from Novatacs I have handled, plus some springs I bought from Unique Titanium.

there are variations in weight, and wire diameter, as well as variations in length, and the design of the spring with tight winds in separate sections..

1. this spring was defective, making the black 120T unreliable. this spring had no tight winds in the middle and is very light weight

2. this spring from Unique titanium made the light reliable, it is longer than the others, and has 2 bands of tight coils in the center section

3. this spring came in a Silver Novatac SPA Defense 120T, it works very well, even though the wire is slightly thinner than #4. It has one band of tight coils in the middle.

4. this spring came in a Pewter colored SPA with a black bezel, it also works very very well, the wire is thicker and shinier than #3. This spring has the same design, one tight band of coils, as #3

the light on the left was unreliable with the #1 spring shown, the two lights on the right are reliable, spring #3 is in the middle, and #4 on the right

Spring #2 shown on the left, made the Black 120T reliable. that light also worked with spring #3 and #4

the spring on the left is the unreliable one listed as #1 above, the middle spring is #3, and the spring on the right is #2

Here is a modification that allows the use of 18350 by replacing the signal spring with a brass signal bar. Pic is a link to the source

CRX wrote:
I made a prototype brass sleeve to contain a copper sliding bar with a spring on the end so the light can run on 18350 cells and dispense with the signal spring.

.

here is another brass bar mod, for using 18650 in a Novatac, starting with a 17670 tube, pic links to the original source:

Hogokansatsukan wrote:
Here is a pic from the top with the battery and bar inserted in the tube.

The nipple on your battery MUST be slightly higher than the brass bar.
Now screw the head on your light. It works!!! Or not.
If not, here is the trouble shooting section:

1. Light fails to come on at all (1 second dim light): YOUR NIPPLE AINT HIGHER THAN THE BRASS BAR. Fix it. (Twisting it in your fingers will not work for this.)
2. Light comes on for 1 second, turns off. Switch does not work: Your brass bar is too short and not touching both the head and tail. Good thing the brass bar is long enough to make two or three of these things. Try again but be easier on the cutting this time. Maybe less beer as well.
3. Light comes on bright and stays on. Your bar is making contact with the retaining ring in the head or tail. Bend the tail section a tad more. Check and make sure that the head section of the brass bar has it’s top most point away from retaining ring.
4. Light starts to smoke, vent gasses and explodes in my hand: Brass bar was making contact with the positive terminal on the battery.

Item 3 making contact with the retaining ring was the problem in both the Black 120T, and the B42 tube. Both were solved the same way, a new spring from Unique Titanium. It is crucial for any bar, wire, or spring not to make contact with the Novatac retaining rings.

Edited by: jon_slider on 10/24/2018 - 15:12
CRX
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Is there any way to tell the age/ model revisions of these lights?
Looks to be the unreliable linear spring design was changed to a variable rate to keep more even pressure on the contacts at some point.

LOL Hogokansatsukan

chadvone
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I fried 2 switches using the brass bar mod. If I remember it was right after I changed a cell

CRX
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Short? This is why I fixed my bar mod in place.

jon_slider
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CRX wrote:
Is there any way to tell the age/ model revisions of these lights?

nothing concrete, just some guesses based on whether the light has a removable black bezel, (I consider this older)

imo the Black 120T is newer than my Pewter SPA with black bezel
imo the Silver Novatac which came with a manual dated 2010 with a Florida address, and has the most aggressive knurling, is newer than the Black 120T
this link says Novatacs ran until 2013

I consider the Black 120T and Silver SPA, with no serial numbers, and matching body color anodized bezels, to be Chinese
My Pewter SPA with removable black bezel, but no serial number, is 9 grams heavier than the 120T and Silver SPA. It also has flat knurling… I like to think it was possibly made in California.. but that is pure speculation. It does have the shiniest and thickest wire spring.. I take this to mean it was made earlier, and that cheaper springs and lighter builds were later.. by this spring quality reasoning, the Black 120T, which had the lightest weight spring, would be newer than the Silver SPA. The straight wound spring imo was part of cost cutting, and is not a represantative of being older than the Progressive wound springs.

My gold Novatac Storm also has flat knurling, and Im sure that one is Asian. I expect to receive it in a couple days, so will be able to check what kind of spring it has. I think of my Pewter SPA as being earlier because it is heavier and has the black bezel that is removable (those bezels are stainless btw). I think the anodized bezels on the Asian models are Aluminum.

fwiw, Titanium bezels for Novatacs are still available

earlier models than the 4 I just mentioned, would be Novatacs that have serial numbers, and they have flat knurling.. those starting with 1 are oldest and are from the 2006 Tucson era. Serials starting with 2 are imo from the Carlsbad California Novatac era, same for Serials starting with 3

chadvone wrote:
I fried 2 switches using the brass bar mod. If I remember it was right after I changed a cell

yikes! were you using a 17670 tube?
fwiw datiled has both 17670 and 18650 tubes available for novatacs

CRX’s captive bar with spring for the 16340 tube, is a couple steps more advanced, and safer design than the solid bar idea for the 17670 tube
.

now for some Lego Fun:

Bigburly912 wrote:

I just received a B42 tail, the last of these were Oct 2006, just before Novatacs started,
I put the B42 tail on my Novatac, just because I wanted to learn what a flush button feels like Smile
At first it did not work, the light would not turn off (this means the spring is touching the retaining ring). I replaced the spring with one from Unique Titanium, and Bob’s My Uncle!
the spring is a very snug fit into the tube, which is kind of nice, since it does not fall out when swapping 16340’s

Im also experimenting with a bezel up clip.. I like that it keeps the light from rolling, and does not interfere with battery swaps.

the raised tactical button is much easier to use, and the knurled tail of the Novatac is much easier to hold onto
otoh the B42 smooth tailcap is easier to push into my pocket, and there is less chance of Accidental Activation..
fwiw the B42 tail weighs just 1 gram more..
Lego fun, the ano is a little mismatched.. LOL!

Ordered a Flush HDS button from Unique Titanium, so I have the option to swap out the Tactical button in the NovaTail
However, I find the B42 tail difficult to operate, and have gone back to the Tactical tail.. not sure if the issue is just the smooth tail cap of the B42, or also the flush button.. but I definitely prefer the ease of use of the raised button and the knurled tail.