Author Topic: Stenlight Trouble  (Read 2634 times)

Offline pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • TSG, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Stenlight Trouble
« on: June 30, 2017, 01:30:34 pm »
Over the last few trips I've had a problem with my Stenlight cutting out, and jiggling the cable generally fixed it, so I assumed a faulty lamp-end connector, as it can get bashed a bit - I fitted a new cable last year, which fixed the same problem when it occurred. The other day the lamp failed again (at home), and I couldn't get it to come on again, so I assumed it was another damaged or corroded connector. However, I've just bought the replacement cable kit again, but this time it's still not working, and I've fitted it correctly (it can only fit the one way). I can still charge the battery, which suggests that the connector at that end is fine, though the pins do look a bit grubby - adding some dielectric grease hasn't helped.

I've got the replacement connector spares, but there's so little spare cable on the battery end that I can't really afford to cut it, don't have testing equipment, and I'm not really familiar with the insides of the battery either - electronics isn't one of my hobbies.

Does anyone know what the problem/solution might be? Is it possible it's reached the end of its life in LED terms? I can't imagine so really, as I haven't used it that much. Regular trips, certainly, but not 100,000 hours or whatever they're meant to last. Stenlight apparently don't respond to anyone these days, and Excellent Stuff are really just the sales end now with no service, so I'm stuck. If anyone thinks they might be able to test/fix it, I'm happy to pay for their time, as it's a lovely light and I don't really want to lose it.

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 01:50:06 pm »
Potentially .....

I had the same problem with the cable but it fixed itself with a new cable (I was wiggling the end around for long exposure camera shots). After realising that caused the fracture in the wire I stopped doing it.

However, I am having new intermittent problems but it isn't the wire.

The "switch" mechanism that comes around the LED to turn it on moves a small ball bearing around inside. This is malfunctioning causing the lamp to either not turn on or not turn on to its full potential. Sometimes I have to turn it on and off several times to get it on properly.

You can (could) buy replacement "innards".

Does that seem similar to your problem?

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • TSG, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 02:47:01 pm »
I'm not sure if it's the switch itself, as when the light is working, the switch works fine. I've even cleaned the magnet. It always seemed to be the cable that was the problem - not least as the replacement battery I bought two years ago had a cable that was about 2cm shorter than the previous model, so it always felt like everything was straining a bit after that. It could well be the battery terminals that aren't connected properly anymore due to the flexible collar being over-stretched.

The other potential cause is that water has actually got inside the lamp body, as the screws on the backplate weren't that tight when I undid them. But there's no hint of condensation on the inside, and the rubber washer was fully in place when I replaced the cable, so I don't think so. It's really baffling. I've got a replacement kit for the front glass, etc., but didn't know you could actually replace the innards. I'm very wary of just replacing everything, as it may end up being cheaper to get a new lamp! I just don't think this one's dead yet, just resting....

Offline cooleycr

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 04:04:38 pm »
Look, matey, I know a dead Stenlight when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
TSG

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 04:53:34 pm »
It is possible for  the inner strands of a cable to break due to metal fatigue, this can happen at either lamp side or battery side. I would try the lamp on someone elses battery that is known to be good. If it is the battery, send the lamp into me and I will fit an XT 60 connector to enable the lamp to run of one of my high capacity 2 cell power banks.

I have done this for others.

Its daft, but my banks are 3.5 AH compared with the Stens 2.5, and only cost £35. Its been commented on.

Sten's are a nice lamp, worth persevering with.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • TSG, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 05:55:43 pm »
Roy

I remember being piqued by your earlier proposal to produce battery packs for the Stenlight, but had only just bought a new 'official' one at the time. That said, it's an absolute nightmare to seat comfortably on the helmet, partly due to the cable being so short and also its pronounced 'fixing plate' making the thing incredibly difficult to anchor flat. That 3M 'velcro' material is just crap - I get about three months use (if that), and then the adhesive starts to fail, and out come the cable ties again!

Sadly, I don't know many people with a Stenlight locally - the only one I do know runs on the old battery pack, so don't think it would work anyway. So at present I don't know how to isolate the problem to then know what the solution is. That said, I'll happily send the whole lot to you if you can make it work again, original battery or not! But wouldn't fitting a different connector mean I couldn't use the Stenlight charger anymore? Or could a XT 60 connector be fitted on that too? I know you'd probably prefer I bought a Dragon, but as you mentioned, it is a very nice lamp, and I don't think it should have died yet.

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 08:24:03 pm »
Send it all in mate, my chargers are only £8 but can put an XT60 on the Sten charger for you as I did for others.

I hear bad things about the Sten batteries so it could be kaput.

If its the lamps electronics I will have a play for free, I might learn something. I like messing.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • TSG, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 11:58:13 pm »
Brilliant - PM sent.

Offline ZombieCake

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 706
  • Dun cavin'
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2017, 12:31:41 am »
I really like my Stenlight - the user interface is really just an evolution on the old FX2 / Oldham main /pilot lamps.  Very simple, very easy to use practical lever from low to high and great in awkward situations.  Some of the modern one switch offerings from the likes of Petzl & Fenix for example (other complex lamps are also available) seem to require a Bletchley Park level of cipher decoding and Morse Code knowledge to operate. Can't be bothered with all that techno stuff that is a solution for a non-existent problem.  I suppose the marketeers like it.

Offline Tangent_tracker

  • DCC
  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 09:15:39 am »
If an electronic problem and Roy has no luck pass it on Phil as I have played with the Sten's before and they are lovely good old fashioned analogue driven lamps and worth fixing :-) It probably is the battery to be fair although interestingly a hall sensor is kept active to turn it off which I always found to be an interesting approach. I guess it covers the sudden unlikely loss of the magnet underground!
Olly.

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 02:50:10 pm »
All fixed, £10 service charge plus return post.

As expected it was the battery which was the new type and easily dismantled. A wire had broke away from the management PCB, simple re soldering. Poor insulation though between this and cells, I added a bit extra.

I also note front lens is plastic or more likely poly-carbonate and scuffed, thus dispersing the beam pattern.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline wormster

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 05:31:09 pm »
My Sten died moons ago, which is pain, because I was very happy with it. However the first hall effect diode died, Mr Biff generously had a shufti, and diagnosed the problem.

Since then its been sat on the side as I have no experience of flow solder/smt components, and TBH, I don't mess with the "Bloo Smoke", but I will gladly swap some beer tokens with someone if they are able to get it working again.
You die - We split you kit!

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 05:41:17 pm »
SMT is east work with as long as they not in microscope territory.

'Solder flow' can be dealt with by easy dodge. ;)

If its King Tut you can send it in to me and I will have a play. Phils lamp was OK so I have not touched it, so still have to sample the inner delights of a Stenlight.
But if a diode failed that could be a symptom of something else, any component will fail on overload.

Only warning is that you could get it back doing 1500K on turbo
 :lol:
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline wormster

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 06:44:01 pm »
Thanks Roy  :ang: :ang: :ang: :ang:, will post it at the weekend, I think I have your details somewhere.
You die - We split you kit!

Offline pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • TSG, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2017, 07:38:13 pm »
Roy

Just got back in and seen this, which is rather good news! I'll drop you an email anyway though.

Offline wormster

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2017, 07:25:14 pm »
Roy, package sent via snail mail yesterday!

You die - We split you kit!

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2017, 11:08:31 am »
I have your lamp and will report on forum for the general knowledge. I have just tried it of my lab power supply and it is indeed 'King Tut'.

Will get back.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2017, 02:38:27 pm »
Water ingress has damaged the PCB which appears to be fixed with epoxy, cable enters from the rear to 2 solder points and sealed with dollop of silicone.

Photo shows affected area, some caps, and possibly what looks like a MOSFET corroded. Something so badly corroded I cant identify it. SM resistor? Not good.

I would say normally beyond economic repair? I dont know or cost or availability?

2 of the front Allen screws missing, 2 rear ones damaged due to use of incorrect Allen key. Easy done as they are different Allen size. Removed by gently tapping in a micro torx bit.

I can possibly modify as the PCB is the same form factor as one of mine and if I can figure the magnetic switch it would work as my PCB is soft controlled hence v low current. I can create extra room inside by using small optics. I have some good ones from Ledil which are only 9mm, I use them as pilot LEDs.

Alternatively I may be able to put together s simple linear circuit. It would not be too bad as the V overhead is low due to 2S LEDs.

Instructions please, either "hold on" or "do best I can with it"
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 07:01:49 pm »
Well I have it apart.
PCB NG anyway and replacing any component with it in situ would "require a skill twix that of a dentist and a watchmaker"
Bet no one on here will know where that quote comes from, hint, from a book on mining

Anyway, tried solder wick to remove solder from lead, NG, so drilled it out as PCB NG anyway.
Removal of the PCB required a bit of effort through the lead hole now open as its stuck to the lamp body with thermal adhesive tape. Screws and thermal paste would have been huge improvement. Suspect that the lamp is a Mk 1 ?

Identified the missing front screws as 4/40 UNC as expected of USA manufacture. Actually same as the inside screws of the old Oldham headsets. Curious.

Big issue is magnetic switch, otherwise I would be able to offer a menu choice of possible mods.

Get back if I figure something.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline wormster

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2017, 07:43:23 pm »
Roy, thanks for taking an indepth autopsy of my "King Tut"

Yes it is a Mk1 offering, UNC threads eh thought they'd be something like that. As it such not so simple repair, best package the whole thing up and scarp it*!, it been deed for a few years now, Mr Biff's inserts are working just fine in my other lamps, and I'm still working on "Bodgelight, Son of Blacklight"!

*unless you fancy yet another tinkering project!!
You die - We split you kit!

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2017, 08:39:13 pm »
I not going to scrap it.

It is an extremely robustly constructed lamp and although I am not going to waste my life on it I will give a lot of thought to it. If I can offer something useful, I will only charge you a pittance for the fun of having a go.

A StenDragon sounds rather good.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline wormster

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2017, 09:49:46 pm »
A StenDragon sounds rather good.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM I likey!!
You die - We split you kit!

Offline jeskynar

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2017, 03:00:55 pm »
My Stenlight has just developed an odd problem - it comes on ok but then at some point while switching brightness it will go off and stay off. No amount of fiddling will fix it unless I unplug the battery then when plugged in again it works until the next time I fiddle with it.

Sten seem to think it's just the cable although I'm not entirely sure. A new cable isn't expensive to buy, but it has to be imported from USA and postage costs more than the cable which makes it less tempting to buy it just to try it.

Any suggestions?

Offline mrodoc

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2606
    • Peter Glanvill's Webpage
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2017, 05:34:30 pm »
I have an Earthworm that does this intermittently and Simon Mullens who makes them says it is likely to be a cable fault that changes the voltage and affects the software. The lamp goes out suddenly (happens more at higher settings) and then if I unplug and plug in again all is fine. He'll fix when I get round to giving it to him (just got to get round to it).

Offline superterminal

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • Mark Rice
Re: Stenlight Trouble
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2018, 03:20:10 pm »
Does anyone know where we can get Stenlights repaired these days?

I have had mine for a few years now and always been fine and looked after. When I went to charge it last time it flickered light for a little bit and did nothing. It won't charge and I have no idea if it is the battery / light unit or charger itself that is broken? (I am assuming not the charger as the light still comes on that but just doesn't seem to do anything)

I have emailed every email address I can find for Stenlight over the last month or so, but got absolutely no replies from anyone.

It seems a shame to have to just bin such a good and expensive light because they don't bother to reply.

Thanks for any advice and help anyone can offer here  :)