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L&M Initially High Praise, Now Not so Much

Discussion in 'Light and Motion' started by drbill, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,424
    5,271
    113
    I have long been a fan of L&M products. Three of my four video housings were made by them and three of my four video lighting systems were as well.

    Recently I've been far less enamored of the business. The two video housings I currently use (Stingray G2) were advertised as working with all future Sony video cameras. In fact, the very next generation of Sony product wouldn't work in the housings.

    My two sets of Sola lights (1200s and 2000s) were wonderful when I first purchased them, but over time both have had significant issues with battery life and charging.

    One of my Stingray G2 housings dropped when the video light arm disconnected from the control handle. The handle thread ring broke, but that prevented more damage to the housing itself.

    I had a spare set of handle thread rings but could not figure out how to replace the broken one (even though I had a similar issue a few years ago and managed to do so). About 10 days ago I sent a request to L&M support e-mail (support@lightandmotion.com). I received no response to my inquiry.

    Of course L&M has dropped housings from its list of products. Apparently they have also dropped support for them as well. Good thing I always buy a backup system.
     
    ScubaSteve85 likes this.
  2. Father

    Father Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands
    323
    46
    28
    That's disappointing to hear.
    I've been wanting to pull the trigger on the L&M Sola Dive 2500 S/F.
    I read a few bad reviews on Amazon as well.
    What's the warranty and service like for L&M these days?
     
  3. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    3,344
    1,255
    113
    i had two lights replaced under warranty. got new replacements within a week or so of shipping them back.

    the failure rate is somewhat alarming considering they are considered a premium brand, but no complaints on their service and support.
     
  4. diversteve

    diversteve tech admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,135
    5,721
    113
    Housed video systems seem to be a thing of the past unless you buy Gates.

    I could tell similar stories about Amphibico which seems to also have mostly disappeared once being purchased by Aquatica a few years ago.

    Although they still have a website, it doesn't seem to have been updated in 4 years - the last date I saw was 2013 - and their online store link is dead.
     
  5. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    8,877
    7,176
    113
    Except for the pro levels, the distinction between still and video cameras are getting harder to find.
     
  6. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,603
    586
    113
    I have a Sola Dive 1200 S/F. After a few years of occasional use the 70" burn time was down to 35". It was not good for multiple dives because you couldn't charge it or change batteries but other than that it was a great light.
    I'm OK messing with lithium batteries and LED lights so I opened it up...easy. Pretty simple inside. If you want a lot more info go to this thread read post #19 [battery replacement for SOLA 1200] . I unfortunately made a mistake and shorted the 'motherboard'. See thread for a complete explanation. L&M do NOT supply replacement parts. I tried hard to get parts.

    In a nutshell they are using 2x LG 2200mA lithium ion cells. These are 'decent' but old battery tech, cheap, and low capacity. It is easy and inexpensive to get far better cells with 3200-3400mA (Panasonic, Sony, etc.) which would SIGNIFICANTLY increase the burn time and probably the lifespan. This is what I was going to put in.

    It you want a new pack, you have to send it to them and they'll charge you $150 for about $8 worth of batteries and 10 minutes of work from an experienced tech. You'll still have what I consider lame batteries. For a $400 light I consider this inexcusable. Makes me wonder what's inside their other lights.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    Father likes this.
  7. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,424
    5,271
    113
    I have had good luck with my three sets of Sola lights and have no complaints about L&M's support for those.

    However, I am still waiting for them to respond to my inquiry about replacing the handle thread ring. I wonder if L&M actually monitors this forum?
     
  8. Father

    Father Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands
    323
    46
    28
    Try seva@lightandmotion.com
     
  9. Father

    Father Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands
    323
    46
    28
    I bought a SOLA 2500 back in December.
    Received it right before leaving for my trip to Truk Lagoon.... did 19 dives with it.
    Toward the end of the trip I noticed the slide switch was sticking... so I would turn it on... and it would stick and turn itself off.
    It only did it in the water at depth. I sent it back for repair when I got back.

    Got it back a month or so later (not completely blaming L&M... where I live the mail system blows).
    When I ran it through the functions I noticed a new problem... the third brightness indicator light didn't go on when I put it on the brightest setting. Probably a minor thing but for the price I feel like it should be doing everything it's supposed to... especially since I had take it on <25 dives.

    Sent it back again... about the same turn around time. I haven't had it out since I got it back. If I notice anything else I'll post it.

    Overall.... awesome light, but WTF? Not sure whether I regret paying the crazy price for it or not, but I'm definitely disappointed that little things like that happen while it's still pretty much new.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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