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Backup lights - a discussion

Discussion in 'Hogarthian Diving' started by SDAnderson, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. SDAnderson

    SDAnderson Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: On a good day, Lake Michigan
    I'm currently using the Little Johnson back up lights and haven't been particularly happy with them. I have the usually problems with the copper conductor not seating properly and trying to find just the right combination of sweet spots so that the light won't flood, won't turn on as the pressure increases, will turn on when I want it to, etc. Simply put, the failure rate due to all of these issues is high enough that I've decided to look hard at the big picture.

    I hear much the same complaints from friends diving Scouts and some of the other clones, does anybody have any other suggestions? I'm most concerned with reliability and don't much care if they're pink with lace, so long as they work. The alternative, a couple of little overdriven Princetons, is where I started this journey and I'm not sure that I shouldn't turn around and head back to where I began...
  2. jagfish

    jagfish The man behind the fish ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kanagawa and Florida
    What were the problems with the scouts?
    Iused to fly with a Princeton Surge as a backup, but it is a little bulky and they tend to flood, although that can be minimized if you take good care of the oring. It's a convincing producer though, have even used it as a primary on my few night dives.

    Now that I have one, I like the ergonomics and solidity of the scout. Fits well on my harness as well, hardly know it's there until I need it. The beam is a nice pinpoint that works well in the day, and is well suited to day use because of this. I've also used this as a primary once or twice.

    I've carried the SL4 in daytime, throws pretty good light and has stood up to time, but is somewhat large and heavy for my taste.
  3. ScubaDadMiami

    ScubaDadMiami CCR Instructor

    I bought two knock-offs of a Scout about a year and a half ago. The guy from whom I bought my lights claimed to use the same parts (inside) but turned the body himself from delrin. I think I saved about thirty dollars on each light but I can't recall exactly how much.

    Other than testing my lights a number or times underwater, I have never needed to use them due to primary failure. I have had no problems whatsoever.

    I have seen other people whose lights turn on with the pressure from depth. I generally leave my light heads open about one and a half turns from fully closed. I have not had problems with my lights turning on when they should not and I have not had any leaking. Pressure does not seem to be an issue as I have taken the lights to about 220 feet several times without incident.
  4. DrDuktayp

    DrDuktayp Divemaster Candidate

    I would have thought that the second o-ring in the Scout would take care of the flooding. I know how frustrating leaking is as I have a couple of those indicator lights from Princeton. You twist them on/off. I flooded mine twice and gave up on it. Yet my wifes is still fine.

    Did you use silicone lube on the o-rings?

    I'm using a Princeton surge as a back up night light and primary light for darkish day dives. The plankton bloom can hide the little bit of light we do get up here.

  5. OneBrightGator

    OneBrightGator Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: St. Augustine, FL
    I use PT Tec 40s as my backups, but I have flooding problems with one of them and I can never quite seem to find the sweet spot, I pretty much always end up turning them off at some point during the dive.

    I'll tell you what I want, I have a Dive Rite/OMS LED light that is off when fully closed, and turns on a turn or 2 open, so there's never any confusion, if they ever make a halogen version I will be all over it.

  6. SDAnderson

    SDAnderson Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: On a good day, Lake Michigan
    Same problems with the Scouts as with my clones (that's why they're called clones): The copper contact strip can be a problem to position correctly (it seems prone to twisting instead of lying flat against the inside wall of the and sometimes needs to be "re-bent" so that the circuit closes when when the bezel is screwed in and not when the bezel is screwed out. If not positioned/bent correctly, turning the light off can mean unscrewing the bezel so far that the light is susceptible to flooding. Not unscrewing the bezel far enough can mean that the light turns itself on as depth related compression squeezes the light. Creating and maintaining that "sweet" spot seems harder than it should be.

    I don't see any problems with the O-rings but I'd be happy to replace them if I could find something identical. I've combed through a small mountain of o-rings and several catalogues lookind for an exact replacement without success. They aren't a standard size (Patrick Duffy suggested going to Home Depot and finding replacements there but couldn't provide a specification for them) and, yes, I keep them lubricated. :)

    I've only had to use the lights a couple of times but I test them at the start of any dive where I might have to use them, so maybe mine get more use than some other folks. Other than replacing the cells a couple of times each year, I don't open them unless there is a problem, however. Of course, that's my problem, I'm opening the lights too often due to problems...this is how vicious circles get started.

    I have to admit that I rarely (if ever) have had problems with them at recreational depths. So far as I can recall I've never had an issue with them flooding or turning themselves on above 200 feet. Someday, somewhere, somebody is going to come up with a reliable pressure- and water-proof switch that will eliminate the rotating bezel and solve all of our problems. Well, at least the ones having to do with back-up lights, I'm sure I'll still find a way to be intermittently insufferable...
  7. Doc Intrepid

    Doc Intrepid Instructor, Scuba


    PM Chickdiver. She had similar problems with her Scouts, got a couple lights from a new manufacturer (whose name escapes me at the moment) to beta test, and was wildly enthusiastic about them. She may be able to point you towards a better mousetrap.

  8. Dryglove

    Dryglove Solo Diver

    I think it was this one

  9. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    I use SL4s because I've never flooded one. With the twist on/off bezel of the Scouts and clones they tend to come on by themselves without you knowing it. This would not be fun if you actually needed it and the batteries were dead. Also, if you don't tighten them enough, they flood very quickly. Most of my dive buddies are former Scout owners.
  10. Mo2vation

    Mo2vation Relocated to South Florida.... ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: 33472
    Man. Maybe because I only do single tank recreational weenie diving, but in over 200 dives with my overrated Scout (an original pre "H" bezel I got used from eBay about 3 years ago.)

    I've actually needed to deploy it about three times (and have handed it off to lightless friends another 2 or 3 times) over the years and its been perfect. No floods, no hold ups, no nothing.

    Of course, it delivers that limp beam you expect from a back up (remember Bwerb??)... but it also does what else I expect a back up to do - and that is to work when called on.

    Its been a tank for me. I got no beefs wif mine. I'm looking for another and you people are scaring me. :11:


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