Sofirn SP36 spewed toxic chemicals throughout my entire house

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Firelight2
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Presumably Sofirn would want to know about this defect so they can check their manufacturing process and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Still might be a good idea to contact them even if you don’t plan to ask for a refund.

Jake257
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I’m not sure how to contact them. Can someone here give them a link to the thread? I would assume someone here must know something about them since my other sofirn light says blf on it which I plan on returning as well. it’s kind of a shame because I really wanted that lantern they are coming out with where you can adjust the warmth but I can only imagine what this would smell like in a tent when it can make an entire 6000 square foot house smell like burning plastic lol

Bearbreeder
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Theres a sofirn thread here u can post up on

Just post the link to this thread there

I have fenix myself, used daily over the years

And i have a few sofirns

A lot of flashaholics consider zebralight superior to both yet weve had at least one explode and smoke

Weve also had iphones, samsungs and LG phones/laptops smoke and explode over the years

Its a risk with any lithium ion consumer product

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Jake257 wrote:
As for the guy calling me ridiculous you’re not here you don’t have any idea what’s actually happening. If you don’t have something useful to contribute then maybe don’t. I already answered the charger and cable question to the best of my ability.

What do you want? Seriously, consider what you want.

If you want to help yourself & the community by finding out why there was a problem with the charging circuit, then ask for help. I’m sure someone would be curious to check the light out before you send it back.

If you want to get your money back, then get your money back.

If you want to remove the smell from your home, then contact a cleaner or find a forum that knows about cleaning homes and give you a recommendation. Go see a doctor if you’re concerned about your health.

You’ve alluded to suing multiple times. I don’t think any of us care who you want to sue. Contact a legal professional if you seek compensation.

You started your post with a hyperbolic title. You could provide more helpful details if you want to help yourself. I think about Occam’s Razor & user error when someone is unwilling to look up the charger they used & provide as much helpful info as they can.

If you just want to bitch and moan because your home stinks that’s fine, but please tone down the rabble-rousing & inflammatory speech. That’s a lot of fearmongering & not much proactive problem solving. It also makes me think about psychosomatic symptoms. A lot of people have some fears about Li-ion batteries, I’m one of them. A lot of people don’t necessarily know why they do, I’m one of them too. A lot of people don’t know why situations like this happen, it looks like a lot of people here are in a similar boat. If your goal is information then go that route. If you want your money back go that route. Sorry your home stinks; glad it didn’t burn down.

Jake257
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But I think we have established this is not a Lithium-Ion problem. It’s a cheap circuit board burning up. I had a headache before I knew the problem was the flashlight, so I know it’s not a psychosomatic issue.

I’ve probably gotten as far as I can get here. I don’t think I mentioned suing anyone more than once. I think given the situation my tone has been reasonable. If you disagree then move on to another thread. If a moderator disagrees then they can throw me out I suppose.

I will spell out why I posted here for you. First, to warn others of this potential problem. If I had known about this I could have saved myself a 9 hour headache as well as several other problems. Second, to ascertain whether or not it was safe to put this thing in the mail because I was concerned about putting other people in harm’s way. Third, to get advice on what has potentially contaminated things and what would be a good course of action (I think it’s a cheap burnt Chinese circuit board giving off halogenated dioxins which are extremely toxic and smell similarly to chlorine from what I’m reading). Fourth, to ask the question of whether this has happened with these other brands I am collecting. I enjoy walking at night, but not enough to deal with this kind of nonsense if it’s likely with any of these other brands. I think we have established that it is pretty likely with sofirn since I’m not the only one this has happened to and very unlikely with these other brands since no one can cite a single instance of it happening with any of them and they have been around a lot longer.

some of the people reading this ordered this light now they know to watch out for it. I’m glad I could help them and I appreciate the people who have actually posted helpful suggestions for me. This is the nature ofan online forum though. This is why I don’t spend a lot of time in these kinds of places. Anyone can say anything and it only takes one douche to ruin it for the 99% of people who are here trying to learn or share their knowledge.

Joshk
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Bearbreeder wrote:

Weve also had iphones, samsungs and LG phones/laptops smoke and explode over the years

Its a risk with any lithium ion consumer product

I don’t the lithium ion battery had anything at all to do with this situation. Why go there?

ggf31416
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I guess USB-C is not yet mature enough to avoid charging circuit failures and mysterious cable and charger incompatibilities. Given the low market penetration in my country I think I will pass for now on USB-C charging and stick with old microusb until the whole mess is sorted out.

Bearbreeder
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Because of the amount of current needed for the bats and charging …

Like i said a zebralight literally exploded and smoke, but the battery was intact (not a battery issue)

https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?459991-Zebralight-SC...III-exploded-battery-intact

This probably wouldnt happen in an AA light

Add in the quick charging voltages and different protocols needed for li-on charging of 10,000 mah

And its clear that li-on consumer products are not as safe as some others

And like i said no one would consider zebralight “cheap”, yet it still happens

Theres been quite a few sp36 sold and used, and 2 instances dont make it dangerous

Thrunite, who advertise reverse polarity protection, has 2 failures here of such feature with smoking lights

https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/708s1u/thrunite_tn42_smoking/

Now im sure if it happened to me i would be upset and its something that should be posted up about

But if you want dangerous, well theres those ford cars …

amishbill
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ggf31416 wrote:
I guess USB-C is not yet mature enough to avoid charging circuit failures and mysterious cable and charger incompatibilities. Given the low market penetration in my country I think I will pass for now on USB-C charging and stick with old microusb until the whole mess is sorted out.

Nobody seems to be saying it’s a USB-C related issue.

So far, it sounds a lot more like a failed component on the driver.

DIY LT1 battery wrap image. "PDF on Google Drive":https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IHIEOi1NXu868IYNCzIM7D2Ulpxchmww

Fresh Sanyo NCR18650GAs already wrapped "for sale HERE":http://budgetlightforum.com/node/69120 if you like.

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My acebeam t27 uses USB c charging and it has been totally flawless. So does my Acebeam headlight, so does my Fenix headlight. All of these also work as powerbanks. I have had them longer and use them more with no problems.

Granted I don’t think any of them charge at the voltage sofirn did.

This actually made me think about another question. I was disappointed that none of Ace beams multi-cell lights had onboard charging, but now I’m beginning to think that they must do that for a reason. Most of their individual cell lights do have on-board charging. obviously charging each cell individually is better rather than charging multiple cells in a series. Do you guys think it’s a better design to just avoid onboard charging entirely when we are dealing with multiple cells?

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Well i havent heard of this issue on the single cell sofirn sc31 which has been out a year now (have given away 2) or sc31b (given away another 2)

I suspect single bat lights are much simpler (no screws) and most of em use micro usb with lower voltages

If i want a reliable light as possible, it wouldnt have usb charging, of course it would have simple modes, not be pushing the output too hard and a timed (not temp) stepdown

But we dont want simple lights we want fancy ones with usb charging, lotta flashy functions, customizable UIs and blinding outputs

You will find that many folks here having less than reliable lights is no big deal, never mind warranty

Just do a search on astrolux Wink

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EasyB wrote:
There are so many higher voltage (20V) charger systems using USB-C now that I wonder if using the wrong combination of charger and cable could apply more voltage to the light than what it was designed for and fry it.

I’m only halfway through this thread but this is what I was going to suggest. Too many cheap chargers just “assume” this or that and can potentially fry something that’s not meant to take high voltages.

Eg, old usb used to be limited to 500mA unless negotiated higher, but I got at least one combo of tablet and cheap “lipstick” powerbank that pushes enough current to get both (micro) connectors quite hot, and the powerbank/cell gets quite warm. Great for a quick boost but hardly healthy for either device. And that’s a 2-wire charge-only cable, no data connections, so no negotiation is even possible.

Hit a 5V device with up to 20V? Eep! Shocked

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Jake257 wrote:
This actually made me think about another question. I was disappointed that none of Ace beams multi-cell lights had onboard charging, but now I’m beginning to think that they must do that for a reason. Most of their individual cell lights do have on-board charging. obviously charging each cell individually is better rather than charging multiple cells in a series. Do you guys think it’s a better design to just avoid onboard charging entirely when we are dealing with multiple cells?

A better design? Not really. More complex, absolutely. There are plenty of devices that can charge multiple cells. Take power tools for example. It wouldn’t make sense to charge each cell individually. But then balancing comes into play.
For this light, though, the cells are in parallel so its essentially just charging a single cell. Not really any different than an individual cell light having a charging circuit…

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The smell of burnt chip is really awful and very “sticky”.

A chip on a previous laptop’s motherboard got fried caused by a short (don’t ask…) and let out the “magic smoke”. I just got one or two whiffs but it stuck in my nostrils. Just thinking of the smell makes me feel sick.

Even after 1-2 years, the smell is still there near the disintegrated chip. I avoid sniffing or touching near it. Incredibly nasty.

Jake257
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BillyBobJoe wrote:
Jake257 wrote:
This actually made me think about another question. I was disappointed that none of Ace beams multi-cell lights had onboard charging, but now I’m beginning to think that they must do that for a reason. Most of their individual cell lights do have on-board charging. obviously charging each cell individually is better rather than charging multiple cells in a series. Do you guys think it’s a better design to just avoid onboard charging entirely when we are dealing with multiple cells?

A better design? Not really. More complex, absolutely. There are plenty of devices that can charge multiple cells. Take power tools for example. It wouldn’t make sense to charge each cell individually. But then balancing comes into play.
For this light, though, the cells are in parallel so its essentially just charging a single cell. Not really any different than an individual cell light having a charging circuit…

I’m not familiar with the technicalities of it, but I know that a charger measures certain parameters to determine when a cell is done charging. If it’s charging three different cells in parallel then it can’t really do this effectively. It has to treat all of them the same even though there are manufacturing variances that may make it so that not all of them are exactly the same. I’m sure this is particularly true when you are dealing with low quality Chinese cells like these. I would venture to Guess that even if you had three brand-new high-quality cells in a charger the charges each cell individually they are never going to finish at exactly the same moment. Am I looking at this incorrectly, or discharging cells in a series like this always guarantee that they won’t be charged quite right? Not that this is really directly related to the problem I had here. The problem I had here I think is pretty clearly low quality manufacturing coupled with probably insufficient R&D and understanding of higher voltage charging

Jake257
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phouton wrote:
The smell of burnt chip is really awful and very “sticky”.

A chip on a previous laptop’s motherboard got fried caused by a short (don’t ask…) and let out the “magic smoke”. I just got one or two whiffs but it stuck in my nostrils. Just thinking of the smell makes me feel sick.

Even after 1-2 years, the smell is still there near the disintegrated chip. I avoid sniffing or touching near it. Incredibly nasty.

Well that’s depressing. So this probably won’t go away? I wonder what it’s off-gassing exactly. I don’t think anyone really knows what it is or what effect it could have on health.

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It’s created by the burning of the materials in the chip. What materials those are exactly could be determined by looking up the chip on Mouser.com or the like. I don’t think it would help your situation though. Mostly everything just needs a good wash. Including your walls and floor apparently.

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Jake257 wrote:
BillyBobJoe wrote:
Jake257 wrote:
This actually made me think about another question. I was disappointed that none of Ace beams multi-cell lights had onboard charging, but now I’m beginning to think that they must do that for a reason. Most of their individual cell lights do have on-board charging. obviously charging each cell individually is better rather than charging multiple cells in a series. Do you guys think it’s a better design to just avoid onboard charging entirely when we are dealing with multiple cells?

A better design? Not really. More complex, absolutely. There are plenty of devices that can charge multiple cells. Take power tools for example. It wouldn’t make sense to charge each cell individually. But then balancing comes into play.
For this light, though, the cells are in parallel so its essentially just charging a single cell. Not really any different than an individual cell light having a charging circuit…

I’m not familiar with the technicalities of it, but I know that a charger measures certain parameters to determine when a cell is done charging. If it’s charging three different cells in parallel then it can’t really do this effectively. It has to treat all of them the same even though there are manufacturing variances that may make it so that not all of them are exactly the same. I’m sure this is particularly true when you are dealing with low quality Chinese cells like these. I would venture to Guess that even if you had three brand-new high-quality cells in a charger the charges each cell individually they are never going to finish at exactly the same moment. Am I looking at this incorrectly, or discharging cells in a series like this always guarantee that they won’t be charged quite right? Not that this is really directly related to the problem I had here. The problem I had here I think is pretty clearly low quality manufacturing coupled with probably insufficient R&D and understanding of higher voltage charging


I think you’re right that charging with individual battery bays like in an external charger is safer than charging multiple cells simultaneously in parallel inside a flashlight.

That said, the photos OP posted appear to show undamaged batteries that did not vent. The problem appears to be something blew inside the driver, but fortunately the batteries were unaffected.

The cause is unknown. It is mostly likely poor quality control or a defective component on Sofirn’s part. But it could be a defective USB-C charging cable supplying too much current and blowing something on the board.

I’ve read able people having their laptops and cell phones destroyed when they tried using cheap generic USB-C cables that were miswired. I’m curious to know if if OP was using such a cable, if the cable was new, or if it was the original Sofirn cable that came with the light.

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amishbill wrote:
tekwyzrd wrote:
Oh, great… I’m waiting for an sp36s to be delivered. Hope it isn’t a problem with the revised charging design.
I was checking the details. Until I see otherwise, I’m going to assume it’s the same driver board as “USB-C 2A” is nothing more than standard USB power run through a USB-C port – just like the other SP36 flavors.

From the sofirn mfg ebay listing I purchased for mom:

sofirn sp36s on ebay

Look at the third listing image. Both the NarsilM and Anduril versions show 5V2A charging but the S version shows 5V2A,9V2A,12V2A so apparently the charging circuit was changed for the S version.

Quote:
USB Charging port: Build-In charging port and it comes with USBC cable(adapter not included), works with QC3.0 charging adapter(need to purchase seperately). It can be charged via power bank directly.

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. – Douglas Adams

Jake257
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Okay I looked up the cable. It’s an anker cable which is very well reviewed on Amazon. It’s a cable I have owned for 2 years and the cable still works just fine. It has charged multiple cell phones and three other flashlights several times with no problem. It even charged this light five times and the bfl version even more times than that. I really don’t think it’s the cable.

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Jake257 wrote:

I’m not familiar with the technicalities of it, but I know that a charger measures certain parameters to determine when a cell is done charging. If it’s charging three different cells in parallel then it can’t really do this effectively. It has to treat all of them the same even though there are manufacturing variances that may make it so that not all of them are exactly the same. I’m sure this is particularly true when you are dealing with low quality Chinese cells like these. I would venture to Guess that even if you had three brand-new high-quality cells in a charger the charges each cell individually they are never going to finish at exactly the same moment. Am I looking at this incorrectly, or discharging cells in a series like this always guarantee that they won’t be charged quite right? Not that this is really directly related to the problem I had here. The problem I had here I think is pretty clearly low quality manufacturing coupled with probably insufficient R&D and understanding of higher voltage charging

The cells are in parallel, not series. But even when charging cells in parallel, it is important to use similar cells. Because, like you said, the charger sees the cells as a group. However, from what I’ve read, the Sofirn cells have historically been pretty decent cells, not low quality.

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I’m glad you posted this, though, because I actually just ordered a SP36S last week. I’ll do some poking and prodding with the DMM with some of my USB-C cords and power supplies when it shows up.

Joshk
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It’s really not that surprising. 12v 2amp is 24 watt. Heck, most household light bulbs are only 6 watt these days. That’s plenty of power to fail spectacularly.

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Jake257 wrote:
Well that’s depressing. So this probably won’t go away? I wonder what it’s off-gassing exactly. I don’t think anyone really knows what it is or what effect it could have on health.

You’re not working around the stuff 8 hours a day. You were exposed for what… a minute? You’ll live. Nasty crap smells bad, and while it’s not good for you, everything is about dose. A small amount won’t hurt you. If you got a blast of a lithium-ion fire, that would be worse, but your batteries were fine.

The smell will clear in a few days. If you stick your nose up to the area, you’ll probably smell it for months or years. Some of that is real, some of it is just your imagination exaggerating things. Just keep your nose out of it, and you’ll probably never notice it.

Send the light back to Amazon and get a refund. Sure, it would be cool to tell Sofirn about it, but 99% chance is they won’t do anything about it other than replace your light.

Bottom line is that any high-power electronics can fail in bad ways.

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BillyBobJoe wrote:
The cells are in parallel, not series. But even when charging cells in parallel, it is important to use similar cells.

Actually, it’s really not that important. Terminal voltage will be exactly the same across all cells. Higher capacity cells with higher internal resistance will self-limit as that resistance acts as a ballast. It’s like having 3 water-tanks — 1pt, 1qt, 1gal — with hoses joining all them at the bottom. They’ll all fill at their own rate, and the level in each tank will be exactly the same.

The reverse happens when discharging. Voltage will sag in lower-drain cells so they won’t discharge as fast as higher-drain cells.

That said, and to keep from having to write a separate reply, most charging circuits pretty much use the same chipset, so there’s no real “better” or “worse” design. Same with usb chipsets (eg, voltage negotiation for usb-c).

Hell, whether it’s wifi, bluetooth, whatever, there are typically just a few chipsets to pick from. Almost no one rolls his own, as it’d just be reinventing the wheel.

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Oh yeh, the version with the ’351s is the old/good one, right? LOL

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Jake257 wrote:
Okay I looked up the cable. It’s an anker cable which is very well reviewed on Amazon. It’s a cable I have owned for 2 years and the cable still works just fine. It has charged multiple cell phones and three other flashlights several times with no problem. It even charged this light five times and the bfl version even more times than that. I really don’t think it’s the cable.

I agree. It doesn’t sound like it’s the cable. If it was, you’d know the first time you tried to use it.

Definitely sounds like a defective light. Something went kablooie on the driver. Your options:

  • Return the light to Amazon for refund.
  • Contact Sofirn to let them know about the problem and to ask for repair or replacement. This might also enable Sofirn to figure out exactly what happened so they can fix it and others don’t experience the same thing.
  • You could ask Sofirn for damages. I doubt they’d pay anything for just having a headache without any further medical diagnosis. But if you spend thousands of dollars on a cleaning service, you could potentially ask for reimbursement.
  • If Sofirn fails to pay for damages you could try suing them. This might not be worth it if their office is not located near you. Trying to sue in another country could be a pain. Probably not worth the effort for minor damages such as caused by this. Before any litigation, it is a good idea to contact Sofirn to see how willing they are to work with you and make you whole.
  • You could try sending the light to someone on this forum for dissection and analysis. I’d recommend securing a replacement or refund before doing that though.

Bearbreeder
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Sofirn, like most Chinese manufacturers, is in shenzhen, chia

So is fenix and acebeam, etc …

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Jake257 wrote:
phouton wrote:
The smell of burnt chip is really awful and very “sticky”.

A chip on a previous laptop’s motherboard got fried caused by a short (don’t ask…) and let out the “magic smoke”. I just got one or two whiffs but it stuck in my nostrils. Just thinking of the smell makes me feel sick.

Even after 1-2 years, the smell is still there near the disintegrated chip. I avoid sniffing or touching near it. Incredibly nasty.

Well that’s depressing. So this probably won’t go away? I wonder what it’s off-gassing exactly. I don’t think anyone really knows what it is or what effect it could have on health.

If you are that concerned about it, you should consider making an appointment with a pulmonologist and/or an ear/nose/throat specialist.

Jake257
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Bearbreeder wrote:
Sofirn, like most Chinese manufacturers, is in shenzhen, chia

So is fenix and acebeam, etc …

Yeah and there is also a Ruth’s Chris and an Arby’s in my town doesn’t make them equal quality. One way or another sofirn is doing things for 1/4 the price. After owning two of the lights it’s clear to me how they are doing it. Cutting corners.

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