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Issue with L&M Sola 2000 batteries

Discussion in 'Light and Motion' started by drbill, May 28, 2014.

  1. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,436
    5,297
    113
    I'm a big fan of L&M's Sola light systems. I've had my 1200s long enough that they need new batteries and will send them in soon for a replacement. Purchased two 2000s earlier this year and expected battery life equivalent to the 1200s when used on the same output setting. Unfortunately that has not been the case.

    When I dive at night I use the Solas on the 500 lumen setting. I expected 3-4 hours like I would get with my 1200s on that setting. Two nights ago I did an 85 minute night dive using them at 500 lumens. Both LED indicators wet red a little over halfway through the dive. Then one of the light's batteries "died" just as I was exiting at 85 minutes.

    Since I'm often on dive boats that are out for 2-3 dives, this will greatly limit my filming opportunities. I leave for Aruba and Bonaire soon and don't have time to send my 1200s in and get them back. When I used the 1200s in the Philippines near the end of their battery life last year, we were doing two 1 1/2-21/2 hour dives each boat trip and the batteries on the 1200s were fine.

    Wondering if anyone else is experiencing such short battery times with their 2000s at the low setting?
     
  2. jimbeeler

    jimbeeler ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    277
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    This may or not be related you your problem but on my Sola 800's last week, I had the light show red almost as soon as I turned it on. I tried to charge it and it showed green (fully Charged). I decided to fully discharge the light and then recharge it, discharge it and recharge it. After this everything worked as it should.

    You've got much more experience with these lights than I but that's the one issue that I had with mine and the solution I found.

    Jim
     
  3. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,436
    5,297
    113
    On my dive last night, the "fully charged" Sola 2000 in question turned red (with embarrassment?) as soon as I turned it on before descending. It stayed on for just a few seconds so I was stuck with using a single light to film last night.

    I'm trying two things. I switched chargers after last night's dive to see if it might be related to the charger I'd been using for that light. I'll test it this morning by placing it in a bucket of water and seeing how quickly it runs down. That will allow me to totally discharge it and see if a cycle of charging/discharging will cure this.

    The fortunate thing is that I realized last night L&M will be at the SCUBA Show in Long Beach the weekend before I leave for Bonaire. I'm sure they will be willing to bring down another light to replace mine which only has about 15-20 dives on it and is still under warranty.
     
  4. fbk

    fbk Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Western Australia
    357
    118
    43
    Mine run for around 4hrs on low, I tested them when I got them. They sometimes act weird when charging, eg plug them in and straight away show full charge (all green) even though they are discharged. I have started getting really anal about drying the contacts and using deoxit contact cleaner on them hoping to avoid future charging problems I have heard about. Passing current through contacts with salt water residue in the holes can't be doing them any good.
     
    drbill likes this.
  5. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,436
    5,297
    113
    Good news. I decided to try switching my chargers yesterday. I always used to hook the same charger up to the same light (due to outlet position and cord length). Charged the "failed" Sola 2000 with the other charger and placed it on in a bucket of water to see how long it would last. I actually fell asleep waiting and at 2:30 AM finally turned it off and went to sleep. That was just past the four hour mark so unless the problem is intermittent, the issue may be with the charger rather than the light. I'm testing the other light the same way right now and it was been on over 2 hours so far (went into the red just after 1 1/2 hours).

    Maybe I just need a new charger. That would be a big relief.
     
  6. fbk

    fbk Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Western Australia
    357
    118
    43
    I have had 2 chargers die, one of them the first time I used it. Got that replaced and a few months later same thing. Got that replaced too and bought 2 extra as spares which I always take if I go away anywhere as I have no faith in them. For the price of the lights the chargers are pretty flaky, lucky they are cheap.
     
  7. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,436
    5,297
    113
    Tested the second light (the one that was not giving me problems) and it lasted almost five hours... well above its rated duration. I still have questions about the first light that was giving me problems, but will be testing it out tomorrow on some day dives and then again at night later in the week.

    I love the Solas. My 1200s have given me a nice uniform light field with which to shoot in the past. I do think the charging connectors should be redesigned so corrosion is not a problem. I try to rinse the lights in fresh water (we are on water rationing here) and clean the contacts, but they corrode quickly and I wonder how much of the metal is lost in the corrosion process, making a good connection less likely.
     
  8. Shinythings

    Shinythings Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Vancouver Island
    147
    18
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    There was a bad run on SOLA chargers and I know several people now that have had them replaced. Another issue that I have been frustrated by is the indicator lights not working properly (i.e. showing flashing red when really above 50%). My LSD was able to take mine apart (which they told me they weren't "supposed" to do), disconnect the "motherboard" and re-set it. This worked for maybe 10-20 dives and then it had to be done again. All in all I have "reset" my SOLA probably 5 times now and the indicator will get progressively worse (inaccurate) until it is reset.
     

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