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  1. #1
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Is anyone else fed up with the cheap DX lights that only work for a few months?

    I am just curious if you all are finding the same problems with DX flashlights as I have. Every one is a delight when you get it and seems like a steal for what you paid for it, but a few months later it starts to get fickle and you have to rap it on the counter or fiddle with the switch or twist the bezel or the end cap to to get it to light. Then it gets unreliable and eventually does not light reliably at all. I have been saving all of the dead ones because I keep thinking maybe they will start to work again and I went to the bucket where they all are and I counted 14 that I have now retired for one reason or another. I have 2 in use that are still a little fickle and I have 1 in use that I still have not had any problems with. The cost of all of the dead ones looks to be over $200 all up. These are Trustfire, Ultrafire, Aurora and a couple of other brands too. I realized these are not a deal at all. I still have a working conventional flashlight from when I was a Cub Scout 45 years ago. These import lights mostly give up the ghost in less than a year. I have raved about several here over the years but I am now realizing that none of them are working anymore.

    I also have 4 Xeno lights and a pair of Lezyne lights that were quite a bit more expensive, but seem to be reliable and lasting far longer than a year.

    I guess it really is true that you do get what you pay for.

    Do you folks find this bears out as well with the DX lights?

  2. #2
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Yup!
    I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. --Blaise Pascal

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  3. #3
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I have a couple of UltraFire 501Bs and they've never failed. I've had one for over 2 years now, I use it fairly often. I only had one DX light before that and it did suck, the switch was never reliable.

    I don't use them much as a bike headlight; if I did maybe the vibration would do them in, I don't know. I do keep a 501B in my bag (and a lockblock on the bar) as a headlight backup, but I have only used it maybe twice.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  4. #4
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My 501B hasn't failed either, but it eats batteries fast.

    I had a Fenix PD32, and it cast an amazingly strong beam, and it didn't eat batteries, but the switch failed once, and a friend was able to fix it. Then it failed again, and I can't fix it, and a replacement would cost more than half the cost of the light. It originally cost me $70.
    I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. --Blaise Pascal

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  5. #5
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Mine are still OK - I think the oldest has been working for about 3 years. But I don't really use them much now, preferring the cheap MS clones with battery packs. The main issue I've had with the DX Ultrafires is the cheap batteries.

    Even with good batteries I only got about 2 commutes with them (DX flashlights) per charge.

  6. #6
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    I've got a pair of Ultrafire 501b's I bought from Amazon, and the Ultrafire batteries I got with them caused the usual reduced runtimes. Panasonic batteries give more light and last longer, but I bought a Convoy C8 from Mountain Electronics that puts out much more light with a better beam. It cost about twice what the Ultrafire lights did, but the $33 cost was worth it to me. The main reason it costs more than a similar light on DX is Mountain Electronics does the quality control and finishing that used to be done before things became so disposable.
    Last edited by no motor?; 03-24-15 at 10:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Interesting - I have not had any issues with batteries, just poor longevity in the electronics/switches. Maybe it is just the models I have purchased or really bad luck? I have a few panasonic batteries I bought for comparison and the Ultrafire batteries I have (~8 or 10) all seem to last maybe a bit less than the Panasonics but not way out of the ballpark.

    I have never had troublw with brightness or fade, just overall reliability of turning on and staying on.

    I have at least 3 WF 501B kights in the dead pile.

    The Xeno lights I have are rock solid though.

  8. #8
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    I recently upgraded my $16 kaidomain.com C8 to a $30 XinTD. The cheap lights are hit or miss. I've been lucky and also selected lights recommended by others on Home | BudgetLightForum.com. The 501's overall are pretty terrible lights.

    My first 18650 batteries were blue Ultrafires, but I know purchase the brand name recommended batteries.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  9. #9
    afraid of whales Mr IGH's Avatar
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    $70 for a dyno hub and $150 for a top-of-the-line LED lightset seems cheap, never needing to charge batteries, priceless....
    IGH's, Dyno Hubs, LED lights and old frames

  10. #10
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    Interesting - I have not had any issues with batteries, just poor longevity in the electronics/switches. Maybe it is just the models I have purchased or really bad luck? I have a few panasonic batteries I bought for comparison and the Ultrafire batteries I have (~8 or 10) all seem to last maybe a bit less than the Panasonics but not way out of the ballpark.

    I have never had troublw with brightness or fade, just overall reliability of turning on and staying on.

    I have at least 3 WF 501B kights in the dead pile.

    The Xeno lights I have are rock solid though.
    I think that the batteries are hit-and-miss due to quality control standards.

    For what it's worth I've revived a "dead" UF 501B by taking the end-cap off and scraping and sanding the threads on both pieces. The loose thread gets oxidized, making the electrical connection spotty or completely broken, and it acts like a bad switch.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    $70 for a dyno hub and $150 for a top-of-the-line LED lightset seems cheap, never needing to charge batteries, priceless....
    Yet so many people think this is expensive. I did. I like my dynamo system so much, I hardly ride any other bike. Rarely do I get such satisfaction from spending this amount of money.
    I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. --Blaise Pascal

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Never Bit the DX lure, Just went For reliability, and paid what it cost .. invested in the long run, so far so good..

  13. #13
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Never Bit the DX lure, Just went For reliability, and paid what it cost .. invested in the long run, so far so good..
    That is what I am doing now also and I am a lot happier. Funny thing is, the Xeno lights I bought are maybe $10 - $15 more only, but they are outlasting the cheaper DX lights maybe 4:1. My current favorite is the Xeno e03 which uses a single 14550 cell (AA format). It has a great beam pattern and is a great day blinker which is mostly how I use it, but I also use it for a backup to my dyno+Edelux II. The smaller batteries do not last as long as the 18650s, but I just carry a charged spare to swap in when I need it. The thing looks like a tiny penlight but has great output.

  14. #14
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Never Bit the DX lure, Just went For reliability, and paid what it cost .. invested in the long run, so far so good..
    This is wise. And I found I can get a lot of that cheap stuff on Amazon for the same price but with an easy return/refund policy. But I'm better off not buying cheap crap.
    I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. --Blaise Pascal

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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