Is my light damaged? Advice to proceed?

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RightHandedMan
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Is my light damaged? Advice to proceed?

So I recently bought a Suprabeam M6xr to add to my right angle collection, but it seems like it has some issues.

I tried lubing the light’s unanodized threads with Breakfree CLP — seemed to interfere with the connection, as it was rather spotty. So, I wiped it down with alcohol lens wipes (maybe a bad idea?), only to find it unable to function properly anymore — it merely blinks slightly when the button is pressed as seen here. I’ve gone back in with 6 swabs covered in 19% isopropyl alcohol to clear all surfaces (and tried new batteries), but the problem persists. Even used a multimeter to test if the threads conduct electricity, and it seemingly should.

I personally think that the threads aren’t contacted properly. A family friend insists that the light must’ve shorted, and to return it immediately. I have set up for a potential return, but I wish to check here first to see if this isn’t just a simple problem I’m missing here. (Especially since I got the light through Amazon.jp — don’t wanna lose DHL costs!)

Advice?

Correllux
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Had to look around to find views of this light. Is it a unibody/press-fit or will the battery tube unscrew from the head? Any chance you got some of that lube up toward the head section/driver/switch?

That’s probably going to take a stronger solvent than IPA. Try some acetone (or any good solvent that will not leave a residue…..if nothing else, a little white gas, gas, kerosene should do it, and those are easily cleaned up afterwards). Try an old toothbrush and plenty of solvent, or a thicker soft rag that you can press down into the thread roots…surfaces/threads of the tailcap and spring, too, not just the battery tube. Also, it looks like the spring in the tailcap is held in by a threaded retaining ring like many lights use. Try snugging that up just in case it’s loosened.

It’s not the best design in this light, but those threads need to stay clean so they can conduct electricity. There are some lubes that are conductive (some more than others) so those would be a better bet if you want to lube the threads. The electric path comes down from the switch, through the metal of the battery tube, where metal-to-metal contact is made with the tailcap, then through the tailcap metal into the spring…into battery – and through battery + to the driver/led. This is still true for lights with anodized tail threads, just a different contact surface there usually. But if things get gunked up and electricity can’t flow well then weird behaviors can occur (or worst case, the light won’t power on at all). Since you’re getting some reaction with switch activation, it’s probably just interruption of the current. If lube did get up into the driver or switch, then other things could be going on. Do check the tightness of that retaining ring, though. Wouldn’t hurt to remove the ring and the spring to be sure lube didn’t settle down at the bottom where cap-to-spring conductivity might be affected.

SammysHP
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Don’t use conductive grease. It will end somewhere else and cause shorts. Makes your work even less.

Your problem is somewhere in the driver or the LED itself.

JenkinsMatti
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Whether it has anything to do with your dead light or not…. Breakfree CLP is not a good choice as a thread/O-ring lube as far as I am concerned.

There are numerous greases that are.
Personally, I use SuperLube Synthetic Grease.

Tatteredmidnight
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Did you remember to clean out the inside threads as well? Both magic surfaces need to be clean, doesn’t help if the half the threads have a dielectric film on them.

RightHandedMan
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Correllux wrote:
Had to look around to find views of this light. Is it a unibody/press-fit or will the battery tube unscrew from the head? Any chance you got some of that lube up toward the head section/driver/switch?

That’s probably going to take a stronger solvent than IPA. Try some acetone (or any good solvent that will not leave a residue…..if nothing else, a little white gas, gas, kerosene should do it, and those are easily cleaned up afterwards). Try an old toothbrush and plenty of solvent, or a thicker soft rag that you can press down into the thread roots…surfaces/threads of the tailcap and spring, too, not just the battery tube. Also, it looks like the spring in the tailcap is held in by a threaded retaining ring like many lights use. Try snugging that up just in case it’s loosened.

It’s not the best design in this light, but those threads need to stay clean so they can conduct electricity. There are some lubes that are conductive (some more than others) so those would be a better bet if you want to lube the threads. The electric path comes down from the switch, through the metal of the battery tube, where metal-to-metal contact is made with the tailcap, then through the tailcap metal into the spring…into battery – and through battery + to the driver/led. This is still true for lights with anodized tail threads, just a different contact surface there usually. But if things get gunked up and electricity can’t flow well then weird behaviors can occur (or worst case, the light won’t power on at all). Since you’re getting some reaction with switch activation, it’s probably just interruption of the current. If lube did get up into the driver or switch, then other things could be going on. Do check the tightness of that retaining ring, though. Wouldn’t hurt to remove the ring and the spring to be sure lube didn’t settle down at the bottom where cap-to-spring conductivity might be affected.

Thanks for the advice. The light is a unibody and the only entryway seems to be through the bezel — don’t know whether this one’s a screw-in or press fit, though, as the picture’s too small.

I did a deep clean of all the threads and completely disassembled the cap using 100% acetone and IPA just to be safe. No real change — I’m starting to think it’s a driver problem. Maybe I’ll use this to learn how to solder and swap drivers….

Thanks for everyone’s other advice — I’ll refrain from buying conductive grease and get a tube of Superlube.

gravelmonkey
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1) User manual mentions a transport lock, have you tried unlocking it?

2) unless there’s anything unusual in the tailcap, take a paperclip and connect the bare threads to the end of the cell- if the light works this tells you there’s a problem in the tailcap.

3) learn to swap drivers on a different (easier) light, return this for a working one.

RightHandedMan
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gravelmonkey wrote:
1) User manual mentions a transport lock, have you tried unlocking it?

2) unless there’s anything unusual in the tailcap, take a paperclip and connect the bare threads to the end of the cell- if the light works this tells you there’s a problem in the tailcap.

3) learn to swap drivers on a different (easier) light, return this for a working one.

I did the paperclip thing — it unfortunately is still not working. Narrowed it drown to a driver issue.

Unfortunately I got the light from amazon.jp (as it was miles cheaper than through the company, who charges an outrageous price for it) and the shipping quote for returns are painful and 2 times the cost of the light. Can’t guarantee I’ll get reimbursed the amount, so that isn’t an option anymore. It’s pretty much a fancy paperweight at this point.

Tatteredmidnight
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Oof, that looks like an expensive lesson, very sorry to hear that it appears to be more seriously damaged.

Correllux
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Oh, well that stinks. I’ve ordered from Amazon Japan a few times…really an incredible buying experience, for what I got anyway. Shipping was amazingly fast and everything was – get this – packed so well! lol I guess there’s no chance of Amazon or Suprabeam sending you a replacement without return, perhaps if you can show them via video that the light isn’t working? Or do they have a North American distributor that might help out?

Does seem like a really difficult first mod, could be destructive just getting in there, but maybe there’s nothing to lose if you can’t get your money’s worth in a replacement.

For what it’s worth, I like Superlube grease a lot…stopped using it on my lights in favor of silicone grease, but for this light in particular I would not recommend Superlube. It’s a mild dielectric, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it will hugely interfere with electrical path once threads are snugged up (a case where crappy threads can be a benefit) but since this light is using the threads as the connection, I’d pick a grease that is either conductive (despite the comment above) or has a lower dielectric quality. The Superlube silicone o-ring grease would serve better here than the standard version. There are some excellent conductive greases that are not going to migrate or muck up anything unless you specifically put the grease on “bad” points yourself (Illumn carries one which I’ll link to below). Conductive grease is mostly used as a ground path in certain applications where static buildup/discharge is an issue, but it also serves as insurance for simple conductance where needed or beneficial. Non-conductive/dielectric grease can still let electricity conduct, but for this particular light I’d say minimize the dielectric properties. Both greases serve to prevent oxidation (some more, some less) which is also important, but the conductive greases give some added value, so to speak. Just don’t goop it on like you might with other greases…very thin wipe/smear and it’ll do its job the best.

If you look at most of your other lights that have anodized tail threads, you’ll see the end of the battery tube is bare metal and it will contact the tailcap bare metal surface somewhere…with all lights like that, the type of grease doesn’t matter so much, just keep the bare metal surfaces clean (and the spring end).

Nicron and Xtar and several flashlight brands all sell some good silicone grease in little tubs…lasts a long time, works great and has lower dielectric qualities. A bit overpriced in many places but you can order it on aliexpress for cheap. Mountain Electronics also sells a little tub for a good price but he may still be out of stock right now. Home Depot and Lowe’s also sell little tiny tube packets of silicone grease (plumbing department)…it’s a bit thicker and stickier but works. The silicone can affect silicone rubbers (some lights use silicone o-rings) but is safe for damn near everything else (very mild effects over time on some plastics like delrin). The plain Superlube is really a great general purpose grease as well.

https://www.illumn.com/no-ox-id-a-special-electrical-grade-conductive-gr...

RightHandedMan
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Correllux wrote:
Oh, well that stinks. I’ve ordered from Amazon Japan a few times…really an incredible buying experience, for what I got anyway. Shipping was amazingly fast and everything was – get this – packed so well! lol I guess there’s no chance of Amazon or Suprabeam sending you a replacement without return, perhaps if you can show them via video that the light isn’t working? Or do they have a North American distributor that might help out?

Does seem like a really difficult first mod, could be destructive just getting in there, but maybe there’s nothing to lose if you can’t get your money’s worth in a replacement.

For what it’s worth, I like Superlube grease a lot…stopped using it on my lights in favor of silicone grease, but for this light in particular I would not recommend Superlube. It’s a mild dielectric, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it will hugely interfere with electrical path once threads are snugged up (a case where crappy threads can be a benefit) but since this light is using the threads as the connection, I’d pick a grease that is either conductive (despite the comment above) or has a lower dielectric quality. The Superlube silicone o-ring grease would serve better here than the standard version. There are some excellent conductive greases that are not going to migrate or muck up anything unless you specifically put the grease on “bad” points yourself (Illumn carries one which I’ll link to below). Conductive grease is mostly used as a ground path in certain applications where static buildup/discharge is an issue, but it also serves as insurance for simple conductance where needed or beneficial. Non-conductive/dielectric grease can still let electricity conduct, but for this particular light I’d say minimize the dielectric properties. Both greases serve to prevent oxidation (some more, some less) which is also important, but the conductive greases give some added value, so to speak. Just don’t goop it on like you might with other greases…very thin wipe/smear and it’ll do its job the best.

If you look at most of your other lights that have anodized tail threads, you’ll see the end of the battery tube is bare metal and it will contact the tailcap bare metal surface somewhere…with all lights like that, the type of grease doesn’t matter so much, just keep the bare metal surfaces clean (and the spring end).

Nicron and Xtar and several flashlight brands all sell some good silicone grease in little tubs…lasts a long time, works great and has lower dielectric qualities. A bit overpriced in many places but you can order it on aliexpress for cheap. Mountain Electronics also sells a little tub for a good price but he may still be out of stock right now. Home Depot and Lowe’s also sell little tiny tube packets of silicone grease (plumbing department)…it’s a bit thicker and stickier but works. The silicone can affect silicone rubbers (some lights use silicone o-rings) but is safe for damn near everything else (very mild effects over time on some plastics like delrin). The plain Superlube is really a great general purpose grease as well.

https://www.illumn.com/no-ox-id-a-special-electrical-grade-conductive-gr...

No NA distributor just yet, unfortunately. Shipping is looking to be almost $100 back and I can’t guarantee I’d get refunded the return shipping… Most likely an expensive lesson for me. I’ll cry a bit and just stick with the trusted Sofirn and other brands probably…

Bezel might be press fit — maybe I can get this without destroying it? Wish me luck.

Coincidentally, I did have an order of no-ox-id coming in for both this light and my other unanodized lights. Nice to know that it works for those lights.

Mandrake50
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As mentioned.. I would avoid conductive lubes on lights. It is just too easy to get some of it in the wrong place.
If you do use it, be very careful and use sparingly. You don’t want to cause yourself more problems than the lube solves.

RightHandedMan
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Thanks to all who responded. I must embarassingly admit that I have managed to fix this light in the strangest way possible.

I tried removing the press-fit bezel very slowly, but due to how far it was seated in there, it got all scratched up during removal. After doing so, however, I realized that emitter suddenly started working again, though only when applying pressure to the tailcap. After reassembling the tailcap tightly and adding the smallest amount of no-ox-id, it sputtered back to life again. I reinstalled the bezel using a watch case closer, and it seems to be working fine now — a bit worse for the wear, but working.

Wonder what sheer dumb luck made it suddenly start working after I scratched the hell out of the bezel removing it, but oh well, at least the darn thing’s working. $80 saved!

Mandrake50
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Correllux
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Well…all’s well that ends well, right? Great! lol.

Possibly the grease helped do its thing and/or overcame any of the other residual lubricant? If it was the bezel that would make me want to pull it out again to check for poor soldering or squished/damaged led wires, debris, etc.

Loafglenn
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Check the tailcap spring if it got smashed in.