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Thread: Water / water drops in the DS-500 without rain ?!

  1. #1

    Unhappy Water / water drops in the DS-500 without rain ?!

    Hey Stephen,

    i ve little water drops in the DS-500... i am confuese?! Without rain. Only a little bit snow on the road. For few days i cleaned the DS-500 with water, but not with a hard water jet. Its normal or dangerous for my light?

    Best regards

  2. #2

    Water Sealing

    Hey Bjoern! Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that one! This is the first instance of something like this that I've heard of so far.... lucky you! It would appear that either the combination of the cold temps and/or snow was somehow able to get by the water seals. Either that, or I just didn't do a good job of sealing it up in the first place. I've had several of these running in Canada and Alaska for a good while, so it's most likely my fault that it didn't get a good seal. Good news is that you should be able to disassemble the lens cover and re-seal everything with a heavier layer of grease, and you'll probably be alright. Here's what I recommend:

    Remove the lens cover (see user's manual), and remove the lenses, and if there is any water directly on the lenses, blow it off as best you can (the less you can physically touch the inner surfaces of the lenses, the better). Set aside in a clean location to dry. RUN the light for 10 minutes or so on level 3 with the lens cover completely removed. You can do this inside with no air-flow. This should "bake" off any moisture that has gotten inside the housing.

    There are three possible locations for water to get in: Around the perimeter of the lens cover, around the lens cover hold down screw, or around the lenses. From all the testing that I've done, It would be least likely for water to enter around the main seal (larger black o-ring) or around the screw. The most likely point of entry would be around the lenses, and specifically around the elliptical lens. If you look at the pictures closely, you'll see that the surface of the elliptical lens is actually ridged. It's very small, but you can see why this is a challenge to seal off. I've actually looked at this seal under a stereoscope and the silicon o-rings have proved themselves to be soft enough to conform to and fill these very small valleys.

    Just to take it another level, when I assemble the lights, I apply and light layer of silicon grease to each of the small, clear lens o-rings before placing them into the grooves in the lens cover. In your case, it might be advantageous to also go around the edge of the elliptical lens itself, applying a very small "bead" of grease, just to make sure that all of the ridges stay sealed. You may also "paint" a slightly heavier layer of grease around the inside of the main lens cover "race" (see picture). Lastly, you should put a small layer of grease around the underside of the screw head that is used to hold down the lens cover. This screw needs to be moderately tight. Just tight enough to "bite" into the polycarbonate and form and nice "lock." This downward pressure on lens cover is simultaneously compressing the o-rings against the edges of the lenses, so if it's not all the way tight, you might not be getting the best seal.

    Before you start putting things back together, just be certain that everything is absolutely clean. If you need to do any cleaning of the plastic parts, I'd recommend only using plastic-safe cleaner such as "Sprayway." No paper towels, only soft cotton. There are several other similar foaming glass cleaners available at auto parts stores (at least here in the states).

    A few other tips and things to note...
    Use a small pair of pointed tweezers for positioning the clear o-rings into place.
    Use a small hobby paint brush for applying grease to the main race around the lens cover.
    It's completely normal to see water droplets in the area highlighted by the yellow lines around the outer perimeter of the lens cover, in the small gap between the lens cover and the housing. It's only in the areas denoted by the red arrows and "X" that you want to see stay dry.
    Never use any kind of detergent soap while cleaning, to avoid breaking down the grease on the o-ring seal.
    You can find the silicon that you need commonly available at plumbing supply stores or on-line. Just do a search for silicon o-ring lubricant.
    Lastly, once you have everything sealed correctly, you should be able to plunk the light into a sink of water for 30 minutes (see picture) with absolutely no visible sign of water entry into the aforementioned areas after you pull it out and blow it off.
    The size of allen wrench that you need for the lens cover hold down screw is 1/16".

    Let me know if you need any help with the process.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Hey, Stephen!

    Thank your for your detailed answer. The temperature outside was only max. -5 °C. In the sink i didnt use any kind of detergent soap while cleaning. I used only warm water and it was very short. So i am confuse. Currently, i am at the university and the light is at hometone. So, its a problem with the waterdrops inside the DS-500? I am back again at weekend. Or must call my family to turn on the light to evaporate through heat ??? At weekend i can take a look inside the DS-500... I ve always luck with such problems...

    OR: Its better to send the light back to you ?! (because of warranty, expensive light, you are the specialist and currently i dont need it, because i use in winter month my city bike with the normal light. So i ve time for shipping.)

    A penny for your thoughts.

    Best regards!
    Last edited by shark_attack; 12-03-2012 at 01:01 AM.

  4. #4
    Well, I'd say if it only has very minor water vapor in it, then running it is certainly not going to damage anything. Just to be clear, though, the only way to "evaporate" the moisture out before re-sealing is to first remove the lens cover, so that the inside of the housing cavity can "breath." It should be fine to just let it sit the way it is, until you have time to take a look at it. If you'd feel more comfortable sending it back to me and letting me re-seal it, then I'd certainly be willing to do it for you. I could even do a permanent seal if you thought you would never need to swap the lens orientation. In theory, the seal on the light should still be good, even after you have removed the lens cover and re-installed it (at least in my sink tests). The worst case scenario is if you've been running the light in a vertical configuration for a long time, then you decide to remove the lens cover and swap the positions of the lenses for a horizontal application, the o-ring on the elliptical side will have formed a "slight" memory to the grooves on the lens. When you re-install the cover with the lenses in the new positions, you probably want to run the light for several minutes in a dry environment to let it heat up and help the o-rings "re-seat" with the different lens types. If you want to send it back to me, that would be fine. I would cover the cost of shipping it back to you. However, you might just take a look at it yourself first and see if you might be able to solve the issue with some of the above techniques. Then if it still didn't stay dry, definitely send it back.

    Anybody else experiencing anything like this?

  5. #5
    Well, i look at weekend to my DS-500. I open it and test it under water... After my tests i´ll decide the next step. But if i fail, i send the light back. Thx again for your great help. Hope the best and dont worry. You re a brilliant engineer and your light is awesome.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by shark_attack View Post
    Well, i look at weekend to my DS-500. I open it and test it under water... After my tests i´ll decide the next step. But if i fail, i send the light back. Thx again for your great help. Hope the best and dont worry. You re a brilliant engineer and your light is awesome.

    Sounds like a plan....
    Just make sure you have a few more steps between the "open it" and "test it under water" parts.

  7. #7
    I called my parents at home and they said that the waterdrops didnt exist. So i am agreeably surprised. But i cant understand. Without heat (light out, room cold) and so fast??? Iam so confused... because there were lots of little waterdrops (yesterday) inside the black and white areas. It's beyond belief. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. But i must wait with the test for weekend

    The next post comes at saturday...

  8. #8
    Well now that's one more possible scenario that I didn't think possible. Could it be that there was enough residual humidity inside the case, such that the cold temperature caused condensation to occur? If this is the case, then you might have a best case scenario. In other words, you might just be able to take the light to a nice cool/dry environment, remove the lens cover, run the light on HIGH for a few minutes to bake out any moisture, then re-install the lid. NOW, you should have a nice dry, sealed light. I'd try this first. In fact, now that we've had this discussion, I think it would be a good idea for me to add this to my build protocol, that is, do a short burn-in on the light, then immediately install the lens cover.

  9. #9
    Ok. Sounds good. THX for your fantastic support!

    Gn8 (00.05 AM in Germany^^)
    Last edited by shark_attack; 12-03-2012 at 06:05 PM.

  10. #10
    Bjoern, check out the latest BLOG POST. It looks like I was able to reproduce (at least partially) the situation that you ran into with the condensation. Basically, it's boiling down to the fact that there needs to be more grease around the edge of the elliptical lens to help fill in the small ridges. Apparently I'm getting slightly more compression of the o-ring on some lights vs. others just due to tolerances in the in the parts, which is why the heavier layer of grease is necessary. I'm doing some more testing now and should be able to give you some explicit instructions on how to apply the proper amount of grease in a few days. The first thing to do, would be just to remove the lens cover and use a hair dryer to evaporate any moisture that may still be lingering. Then power on the light to level 3 and let it run for at least 30 minutes. More later...

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