Monday, June 3, 2013

Guide to Basic LED Flashlight Repair

I've been troubleshooting modern LED flashlights for several years now, and in my experience, when your light is no longer working, it can usually be fixed very easily. In this blog post, I will guide you through some basic troubleshooting steps that may, hopefully, help your light shine again!

It is possible that these simple solutions may not fix your problem. If it it an issue with the circuit board of the flashlight, then it would be best to have your light repaired under warranty.

Starting Off - How Flashlights Work

To start, it is good to be mentally prepared to tackle your problem with the flashlight. Flashlights are simple circuits, and it's good to have a basic understanding of how they work.

In a basic, modern LED flashlight, the batteries provide the power. The electrical current flows from the batteries, through the tailcap switch (which can be turned off and on), through the outside of the flashlight body into the circuitry in the head of the light (part that emits light), and then goes back into the batteries.

Having an image of how a flashlight works can be very helpful in understanding what possible solutions may fix the problem with your light.

Problem: Your Flashlight Is Shining Dimly

Solution:
The first thing that you should do if your light is giving you
problems is to check your batteries.
- Check your batteries - When you're diagnosing a problem with anything, it's always a good idea to start with the simplest possible solution. If your light is shining dimly, the issue is probably weak batteries. Replace your batteries with a fresh set and you should be good to go!

Problem: Your Flashlight Is Flickering

Make sure that all dirt or grime is cleaned off of
your flashlight contacts.
Solution:
- Dirt or grime on contacts - A common solution to flashlight flickering can be dirt or grime on the internal contacts of the light. Unscrew the head and tailcap (if your flashlight has a tailcap) off of the light and clean the contacts where the body touches the head or tailcap. To do this, you can use a damp paper towel. Wipe off any dirt and grime, and then assemble the flashilght again.

If this does not help, then there may be an issue with the circuitry of your flashlight, which should fall under a warranty repair. Most reputable manufacturers will either repair or replace your flashlight at this point.

Problem: Your Flashlight Is Not Turning On

Solution:
- Check your batteries (see above)

- Dirt or grime on contacts (see above)

If your flashlight is giving you problems,
make sure that your flashlight is assembled correctly.
- Improperly assembled flashlight - Have you disassembled your flashlight and then found that it does not work upon reassembly? It is possible that you disassembled it improperly.

Disassemble your flashlight again. This time, upon reassembly, make sure that all o-rings are properly aligned and any pockets clips or accessories are correctly installed. The head and tailcap of the flashlight should fit snugly. If the head or tailcap are not tightening down all the way, make sure that any o-rings or other possible obstructions are not keeping you from tighetning them down.

- Leaked Battery - It is also possible that a battery might have leaked battery acid in your flashlight. If your flashlight takes alkaline batteries, this is definitely a possibility.

Disassemble your flashlight and remove your batteries. If there is any sign of corrosion, dispose of those batteries and no longer use them. Look into the body of the light and look for white or rust-colored discoloration. If you see some, use a wire brush and a slightly acidic solvent to try and scrape any corrosion away. A firearm cleaner such as Ballistol should work well.

It may also be necessary to take a file and remove any corroded metal at the base or head of the flashlight body (the area where the head and tailcap make contact with the body). There needs to be bare metal visible on both sides of the body for the flashlight to complete an electrical circuit to work properly.

After cleaning and removing the corrosion from the light, assemble the flashlight and test for functionality. If this does not help, you may try contacting the manufacturer. Although not guaranteed, your flashlight manufacturer may be willing to either replace or fix the flashlight under warranty.

Conclusion

I hope these simple solutions can help in your flashlight troubleshooting. Although not guaranteed to fix your light, I always start with these steps as I begin my flashlight troubleshooting.

If you liked these remedies, or if you have any other quick-fixes for flashlight problems, let me know in the comments below!

33 comments:

  1. Impressive creating blog on the internet keep going like this on the internet.


    Electrical repair

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  3. Thanks for the awesome article, repairing a flashlight is an interesting work. Streamlight Stinger LED conversion

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  4. Have done all the above. Batteries okay. Terminals clean and as new. All assembled correctly. Could it be the LED lights?
    A child (not ours!) got into our room and played with our torch. Now it won't go!! Could they have dropped it and damaged the lights?

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  5. Have done all the above. Batteries okay. Terminals clean and as new. All assembled correctly. Could it be the LED lights?
    A child (not ours!) got into our room and played with our torch. Now it won't go!! Could they have dropped it and damaged the lights?

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  6. I dropped my torch and have done all of the above. I have even looked at the LED circuit board to check the soldered attachments. So I suspect the LEDs are dead. Where to get some more?

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  7. I dropped my torch and have done all of the above. I have even looked at the LED circuit board to check the soldered attachments. So I suspect the LEDs are dead. Where to get some more?

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  8. LED flashlight strobes afer a few seconds and it has no strobe function. What causes this and how can it be fixed?

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  12. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. Are you looking for the best flashlight? As a survivalist, you should never forget having one in your backpack, car, home or emergency kit. And most importantly, it should not be left out in the list of survival items you need. Aside from the fact that a flashlight is helpful during a power outage, it has many uses. See more http://survival-mastery.com/reviews/best-flashlight.html

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  13. Thanks for the guide my shadowhawk x800 tactical flashlight was not working but now its perfect

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  14. Thank you this helped me fix my light and am now seeing brightly again.

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  15. I have been in possession of the Bell + Howell 1176 Taclight High-Powered Tactical Flashlight for a year now. Recently, it has been presenting some technical issues, mostly with the brightness. Your article was the first Google search result I opened after searching for LED flashlight repairs. Thanks for sharing. I also checked out some resourceful LED torches from the following site in case my current model breaks down completely: http://survival-mastery.com/reviews/best-flashlight.html

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  16. I have been using rechargeable flashlights for a year now, mostly during camping. I have had my share of problems with these lights, such as dimming and flickering. I didn’t know that it is quite simple to rectify these problems, not until I came across your article. This is undeniably a great post. You can read more on flashlights here: http://wildernessmastery.com/camping-and-hiking/best-rechargeable-flashlights.html

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  17. Great article and super helpful. I've been researching (how I found your page) and see that it may depend on tactical flashlight lumens when it comes to repair. Seems the tactical flashlights which have less lumens tend to be easier to repair. I like simple things so I would choose one of these flashlights with less lumens even if it means a little less brightness.

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  18. I just read your article, tried cleaning my contacts between head and battery case using a pencil eraser and it now works. Next time will use your more thorough cleaning instructions as above - thanks!

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  21. I have many LED torches that flicker and a few that never. I do not recall my incandescent torches flickering. There's more to this problem than just grime. It has happened on new torches quite often. On some it seemed to be the electrical contact to the body of the torch which is aluminium. If the design relies on contact through the threaded screw end caps or pressure against the led circuit board, then the aluminium naturally has oxidation which is the cause of the flickering. The torch design needs to have better electrical pathways than involving aluminium.

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  22. How do you fix a stuck tailcap button on a shure fire 6p

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  23. Thanks for sharing this information.

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  26. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  27. Thank you so much for this post.

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  28. Very informative. Thankyou so much for this post.

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