Sofirn SP36 spewed toxic chemicals throughout my entire house

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Something defo went wrong there then, burn’t up alright - I’ve seen something like this before on here, now who was it?
If memory serves me correct, he went outside at night and it happened in his hand and there was smoke in the head. Was a different light though I think….

One of my SP36's threw a wobbly while charging and stank to high heaven of a chemical smell.

It was the charging circuit as far as I could tell.

The cells look okay right? Am I just dealing with a very smelly board? I’m assuming it’s the charging board in particular because the flashlight still functions, ramps everything

Just out of curiosity when a board burns up and start smoking and smelling what is actually in the air and what is the lingering smell? Is this essentially just burnt plastic, resin and solder and that kind of thing? I don’t really know what these are made of.

Sounds like exactly what happened to me. Did you have any physical symptoms? What did you do just throw the light away and throw the cable away?

Do you have a DMM to measure the cells?

Either way i wouldnt use that light, especially the charging

Amazon return

Put it on charge first time, bad stink came out of it, no smoke, still worked, but would not charge.

Stripped out userable bits and binned the rest.

Bought 2 more.

Burnt electronic stuff usually gives out that acrid odour, I think it’s just the burning board - if it were me, I wouldn’t trust any of it batteries or light - return the lot.

Some observations from a quick glance at the pictures you linked:

  • The batteries look intact. From your pictures the head of each cell looks completely normal. I think if a battery vented there would have been some visible damage or mark on the wrapper. That said, I’m not an expert on venting batteries, but I suspect that your cells did not vent. That could be good news since it may mean your house isn’t contaminated with lithium ion battery byproducts. Also if a battery had vented, the light might have exploded and burned your house down.
  • There is an obvious burn mark on the PCB on the inside of the head. This suggests something on the driver self-destructed. The driver and/or charging circuit is probably destroyed.

My conclusion:

  • Defective light probably caused by poor quality control during manufacture on Sofirn’s part.
  • There is a remote chance the problem is your USB-C cable. Are you using one from a name-brand manufacturer or that came with the light? or are you using a cheap generic one? However, my guess is the problem isn’t the cable, since if it was I think your light would have malfunctioned the first time you tried the cable in it.

My recommendation:

  • Contact your vendor and/or Sofirn to see about getting warranty repair. Also check your manual for warranty information.
  • Do not attempt to activate the light since something in it is broken and it is a safety hazard. Do not reload the batteries into the light.

For getting rid of the smell in that room get a pound of freshly ground coffee, put a bead sheet on the floor and spread the coffee on it, leave it for a day it should take care of that nasty smell. When we transport fish on big trucks that is how we get rid of fishy smell.
You can always try fabreze.

If you shake the head, can you hear anything gently rattling? One of my SP36’s had a screw floating free inside of it.

If you try one battery at a time, do they all work?

Yea, the batteries look good to me. I blame the charging circuit. Return that sucker for a full refund.
You seem quite sensitive to the smell… I would research how the professionals clean up a home after smoke damage. Good luck.

What model charger & cable were you using?

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.


About how many charge cycles did you put the light through before this problem happened?

(I just ordered 2 of these. One of them will be a gift. Now I’m concerned. Dont want to give someone a poison gas bomb.)

Odds are very slim that the S model has a proper USB-C PD high voltage/current capability. “Real” USB-C PD requires the endpoint device to tell the charger what it wants and/or can accept. I would love to be wrong, but Sofirn has little incentive to rework the firmware AND driver when a simple firmware change will achieve the same effect.

If anyone has an SP36S and a ‘real’ USB-C PD type power supply with a C-C cable, can you test this combination of parts?

Sofirn does include a cable with their devices i believe

Trying each individual cell is a good idea. I didn’t think of that. Maybe I will give it a shot before I send this back. So you guys think I’m good to send this back and it won’t pose any safety hazards in the mail?

This is the last time I will buy a cheap light personally. I’m not really a modder or active on the forums, but I have been collecting flashlights since the 90s. My first high power LED light was back around 2006 from novatech. I still have it it still works. I bought my first fenix around 2009. I have a pretty large collection mainly of acebeam and fenix lights and I have never had a problem with any of them.

I would say I charged this light about five times before this happened. I don’t know about the USB cable brand but it’s a good quality cable that has worked fine. The wall unit is LG and I have used it to charge many different things including some of my acebeam and fenix lights.

I only bought this light because it was high CRI and did some things none of the quality brands offered, but from here on out I am done with bottom shelf garbage brands like this. The light did work fine for a few days, but from the moment I open the box it was clear that you get what you pay for. This didn’t particularly bother me but the machining was sharp and the anodizing had several flaws. I’ve always been a function kind of guy, but it seems that the low build quality continued inside of the light. I think good evidence of that is another guy who replied here had the same problem.

Too bad these guys are based in China. I’d make them buy me a new phone or pursue litigation.

You are probably right that it won’t get 20V unless the device has the right circuitry. I just don’t know what the fail-safes are.