Cheap LED Flashlight Switch Disassembly

The pushbutton switch on the end cap of a cheap LED flashlight became intermittent, for reasons that should be obvious:

LED Flashlight switch - intact

LED Flashlight switch – intact

Pulling the spring contact out revealed the usual situation inside:

LED Flashlight switch - spring removed

LED Flashlight switch – spring removed

I thought that the discolorations around the central plug indicated a solder joint between the two, but the scratches showed that the plug was actually a press-fit plastic cylinder. Having nothing to lose, I pried the rubber dome off the outside of the switch, balanced the cap’s outer rim on the bench vise, centered an aluminum cylinder over the switch post, and gave it a hammer shot:

LED Flashlight switch - guts

LED Flashlight switch – guts

It appears the Basement Warehouse Wing inventory lacks a push-on switch that fits the cap, so this one goes on the pile of potentially useful parts. If a suitable switch appears, I know what to do with it, but if I should need a nice aluminum cylinder that fits a trio of AA cells before then, well …

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2013-01-12 - 12:04

    Ah, the famous flashlight eating batteries. I have a 2D cell Maglight that got hit by old batteries. In trying to clean it up, I used needle nose pliers to pull the focus cam screw, but can’t get it back in until the front end section is pulled. It needs a spanner wrench, with hole spacing difficult to determine, since the holes are about 2 inches down the tube. I just figured out how to do an “adjustable” spanner wrench–bore or drill a hole in some cylindrical stock to clear the central bulb holder, and mill a couple of slots to hold pins in the right location or thereabouts.

    That flashlight has been bugging me for a few years–sometimes inspiration comes slowly.

    FWIW, I did a capacitor transplant on a Princeton VL1919 power supply board. 11 electrolytic caps in there in the 10V to 100V range, with about 6-8 obviously bad, with swelling and some leakage at the vent. I think CapXon should not be on their approved vendor list… Now to get the monitor back together. It’s -10F outside, so some inside work sounds wonderful.

    • #2 by Ed on 2013-01-12 - 13:55

      with hole spacing difficult to determine

      If it’s a old one like mine, that diagram ought to get you pretty close… [grin]

      Remember to loosen the contact screw inside the switch before you beat the assembly out of the tube, though.

      with about 6-8 obviously bad

      And the others building up a head of steam. Makes one wonder how many bazillion dollars that bit of industrial espionage cost.

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2013-01-12 - 16:15

        Makes one wonder how many bazillion dollars that bit of industrial espionage cost.

        Loads, looking at the failure rate. The vendor I got my kit from (LCDalternatives) says he won’t sell CapXon devices, making me wonder if they got their act together. [A Bing sears implies not.] I was glad to not find a kit for our two year old Vizio TV. So far, anyway.

        I’m replacing light switches today (too cold to get the firewood for the shop and kerosene is too expensive to turn up the Toyostove anti-freeze heater). Of the 8 single switches I’ve swapped out so far, 3 were literally falling apart, complete with cracks or full failure of the case. No manufacture’s logo to be found, nor a UL bug. Somebody got a deal, but it wasn’t me

        • #4 by Ed on 2013-01-12 - 16:25

          No manufacture’s logo to be found, nor a UL bug.

          Maybe it’s a component of a manufactured housing unit, so it doesn’t need a UL sticker: the housing manufacturer asserts that the whole assembly meets code. Yeah, and after that inspection, they can use whatever switches they like…

          Wonder if that’s actionable? [sigh]

  2. #5 by Red County Pete on 2013-01-12 - 21:21

    Took a look at your Maglite page–I think it will work. Thanks much!

    Turns out I had 4 bad switches of the 11 singles. One simply died, one was starting, one ready to fall apart, and the last one had mildly roasted plastic on the toggle. Fortunately these ran CFs, so dissipated power was low. Julie and I agreed (!) that I need to replace a bunch more outlets, so next time in town, I get another 10 pack of duplex outlets. I’m trusting the GFCIs, so far, but if it’s a screwless outlet, I won’t trust it with more than a few watts (preferably zero) of load. (The stab-connection didn’t cause the problem, but I take lack of screws as a sign of too much cheapification–great word.)

    I think the builder saved about $100 with the cheap electrical components. Lots of risk for not much money, considering it was a low volume operation. Wonder if it’s still in business?

    • #6 by Ed on 2013-01-13 - 08:51

      Lots of risk for not much money

      Ah, but you take the risk and they get the money. What’s not to like? [sigh]

      I recently read that the disintegration of business ethics started back in the 1970s, accelerated through the 1990s, and might just possibly be decelerating nowadays. One can only hope that’s the case; we certainly need longer-term thinking with consideration for the consequences of short-term “inprovements”.