So I know this is kind of a weird post, but I’m here just to hopefully get some advice. A couple of weeks ago I bought both the bfl version of the sp36 and the sp36s from Amazon. Yesterday I was in my kitchen. The sp36s was several rooms away and I smelled what I would describe as a mix between spray paint and a new garden hose. I wasn’t sure what it was, but when I went into my office where this thing was charging the smell was extremely strong. I was trying to figure out what it was. I unplugged the flashlight and plugged my phone into the same charger. The flashlight was cold and I was surprised that it still was not finished charging. I soon realized that the smell was coming from the flashlight. in the actual room I would describe the smell as a strong mix between chlorine and a plastic garden hose smell.
I quickly put the flashlight in a ziplock bag and put it in the garage and aired out the room. For the next nine hours I had probably the worst headache I’ve ever had. The smell was so strong that simply plugging my phone into the same charger for 5 minutes has made my phone charging port emit the smell to the point where I can smell it from 3 feet away.
What do you guys think happened and what do you suggest I do to decontaminate things? Obviously I can’t un inhale whatever this terrible flashlight off gassed. I own many Acebeams, Fenixes, Jetbeams and other brands and I have never had a problem like this before. This will definitely be the last sofirn I ever buy.
There’s only two things it could be. “Magic smoke” from the electronics, or something from the batteries. I have never smelled a lithium battery, but I think you are describing magic smoke. We have all inhaled a little at some point or another. Just open a window and move to fresh air. And obviously take the flashlight outside.
Edit: hopefully it was just magic smoke from the driver/charger components frying, but…
It sounds like one or more of the 18650 cells could have vented, and what you were smelling was the organic electrolyte used in the battery.
This is a serious event that we never like to hear about. Do you have any lingering symptoms?
A cell can vent if it is overcharged or if there is a manufacturing problem with the battery that might cause it to have an internal short circuit.
Now some questions to help figure out what the cause might have been: had you used the light before you charged it and did it work correctly? If so when did you use it? Did you open the light and access the batteries before you plugged in the charger? How long was the light charging before you noticed the smell?
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.
My occupation is an electronics technician and burning components does not cause a 9 hour headache. But lithium will. It is very poisonous and will bring you to your knees if you get a good whiff.
I worked on some devices powered by D size lithium batteries and one day this bonehead at work cut open a unit with a sawzall and cut the battery open too. We opened all doors and evacuated the building for 2 hours until the smell was gone. I never want to smell that again. Serious and very poisonous.
Yep. Ask Sofirn how to confirm that Amazon sent you a real product not a fake.
Then assuming it is real, Sofirn ought to arrange for you to send the flashlight head to them for investigation.
That would be a small package.
I’m assuming something failed and overheated in the charging electronics, that it was not a leaky battery.
This is why no one should ever leave a lithium-ion charger operating unattended. Stuff can happen that’s not healthy.
Thanks very much for the replies, guys! I was honestly not sure where to go for help with this. to the guy asking for a picture there is really nothing to take a picture of. I haven’t opened the flashlight and I don’t really want to. From the outside it looks normal.
I have had the light for a couple of weeks. Up until this happened it worked flawlessly. I plugged it in before I went to bed. It was still flashing red when I unplugged it which was very odd it should have finished charging after a couple of hours. I had a very severe headache all day yesterday. My girlfriend wasn’t as affected as I was, but she wasn’t smelling around trying to figure out what was going on like I was. I’m not exaggerating when I say as I type this into my phone I can still smell this very strong chlorine sort of smell coming out of the charging port of my phone. My phone is waterproof so I could try rinsing it off. I have cleaned the entire thing with rubbing alcohol but I haven’t poured anything down the port yet. Before I realized how severe this was I plugged my phone into a couple of other USB c cables all of which currently have the smell as well. The room where this happened had my other flashlights, my shoes, my clothes, suitcases all sorts of stuff. I’m not sure that the smell really made it onto everything else. I don’t know if this substance landing on other items and touching them is a problem or if just inhaling it when it was a gas is a problem. Without really understanding what the smell is I’m not sure how serious this situation is or what action I should take. My theory is that since the flashlight is intact and sealed whatever vented vented straight out of the USB port which is why the smell is so strong on my phone and the chargers.
A chlorine smell does not seem to be consistent with what I’ve read about lithium-ion batteries smelling like, so I’m not sure what to make of this. It was a very strong plastic garden hose chlorine smell in the room. The smell that is lingering I would say smells more like chlorine than anything else. Like a chlorinated pool but maybe a little bit different. Not quite something I’ve ever smelled before.
Just to add some more details I was using the sofirn cells that were included. The light worked fine before. The batteries were definitely in the correct orientation. The only thing I can think of is I brought the flashlight in on a cold night and there was probably some condensation.
Is a chlorine plastic hose smell really consistent with a lithium ion battery venting? I feel much better today. What should I do here? should I be worried about the rest of the stuff in the room? I also had some vitamin supplements and a few other things although most of them were well sealed.
The light was used the day before. I have never opened it a single time since first installing the batteries. I am pretty much certain it was a genuine product because like I said I bought the blf version as well so I have both of them they are identical looking identical feeling and put out an identical amount of light that is exactly the same temperature.
The light, The batteries, The charger itself, Internal wiring, USB cable?
The smell you are describing sounds like a PCB melting, My soldering iron broke and i was doing some work didn’t notice the tip was at like 600 degrees Celsius and i melted a PCB. Worse smell ive ever the cheaper PCBs seems to smell worse than the better ones.
You really need to open that up and see what’s damaged for sure. You can’t put that in the mail and return it if it has damaged lithium batteries. You need to know. You really need to know. Heck, now we want to know
It’s time to find some cheap plastic or latex gloves, go outside and open the light. Dump the batteries and check the positive ends. Look at the face of the driver. Describe and/or take pics of what looks ‘wrong’.
Worst case, NOT applicable to your experience, but for caution to others:
WARNING: if a cell vents with flame, that reaction can produce hydrogen fluoride, which is what you’d want to immediately tell an emergency room doctor as
the health effects of exposure to HF may not show up for several days.
You mentioned : The smell was so strong that simply plugging my phone into the same charger for 5 minutes has made my phone charging port emit the smell to the point where I can smell it from 3 feet away.
Do you even suspect your charger than to the light?
Okay guys I am going to work on this. This thing is seriously inside of a plastic bag inside of a tupperware outside because even the plastic bag was not enough to get rid of the smell so I’m not looking forward to it but I guess you’re right. Without taking the pics I’m not giving you enough info. So if I had a severe headache all day yesterday but I feel much better today do you think I’m physically okay at this point? What would an emergency room even do about hydrogen fluoride? From my understanding when you’re exposed to stuff like this there isn’t a whole lot they actually do for you.