How to Maintain Your Camping Torches and Flashlights

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How to Maintain Your Camping Torches and Flashlights

Torches and flashlights are essential products for use in camping, fishing and other outdoor activities, as well as keeping in the car and home in case of an emergency.

eBay has lots of great torches as well as the products needed to service and repair many torch problems, at home. This guide will explain many of the different torch components, how they work and if they go wrong, how to repair them.

Types of Torches and Flashlights

There are many different types of torches, designed for lots of different uses, here are some of the more popular torches.

Head Torch

A small torch head, attached to elastic straps that secure it to the wearer’s head.

Hanging Torch

Can be hung from the top of a tent, light is either angled downward, or spread out across the tent.

Pocket Torch

A small torch, also called a mini torch that is lightweight and fits comfortably in a pocket.

Hand Torch

An average size torch, with a comfortable grip for carrying.

Wind Up Torch

A torch that has to be wound up before it will emit light. The energy does not last for very long, and tends to not be very bright, but good for use as a backup light source.

Large Torch

Large torches have powerful, strong beams. These torches can be quite heavy, and harder to transport. They usually have a handle above the main body of the torch.

Torch Materials

Modern torches and flashlights are made out of many different materials, depending on the cost and use for the product. Here are the main materials used in the body of the torch.

Material

Description

Plastic

Usually a low cost product, great for camping and casual use. These are usually lightweight items, but plastic is not as durable or robust as torches made out of stronger materials.

Rubber

A rubber outer layer makes the torch easier to grip Usually the main body of the torch will be made out of metal or plastic. The rubber also helps protect the torch as it has shock absorbing properties and are sometimes waterproof.

Aluminium

A strong conductive metal, aluminium makes a great material for a torch. It is robust and hardwearing.

Light Bulbs

In many torches and flashlights, light bulbs are secured into the body and cannot be replaced. This helps keep the torch waterproof and more robust.

Bulb Type

Description

Incandescent

A glass bulb with a tungsten filament, some use a trace of halogen to help improve the life and efficiency of the bulb.

LED (Light Emitting Diode)

A very efficient bulb, they have a longer battery life than incandescent bulbs,

HID (High Intensity Discharge)

These bulbs are brighter and more shock resistant than incandescent bulbs.

Bulb Maintenance

In most torches and flashlights, especially with LED bulbs, the bulbs cannot be changed or replaced at home. These bulbs need to be returned to the seller or manufacturer for repair. However in some torches, for example Maglite torches, the bulb is easy to change and a spare bulb comes with the torch. Here is how to change a Maglite bulb:

  1. Find the spare bulb, it is located in the tail cap. Remove the spare bulb and replace the tail cap.
  2. Unscrew the head and remove.
  3. Remove the retaining collar.
  4. Unscrew the old bulb and discard.
  5. Insert new bulb and turn to secure.
  6. Replace the retaining collar and head.

Reflectors

Reflectors within the torch head allow the beam of light to be concentrated and focused. They force light forwards so it isn’t wasted. Some torches have an adjustable focus, the reflectors can be repositioned to give a wider, thinner, or more concentrated beam of light.

Batteries

Here are the most common batteries used in torches, they are easy to change or recharge.

Batteries

Description

Alkaline

A very common household battery, many torches require these batteries. If left in the torch they can leak and ruin the torch.

Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel-metal hybrid battery)

A rechargeable battery, batteries are removed from the appliance and fitted in to a wall socket charger. An LED light on the charger indicates when the batteries are fully charged.

Lithium

Lightweight batteries that last a long time.

Rechargeable Lithium Ion

These batteries hold their charge very well, and the battery can be recharged many times before it is worn out.

Solar Powered

Powered by solar energy that is stored in a rechargeable battery. The solar energy may be able to give a few hours of light after being charged for a day.

Battery Maintenance

Here are some tips and suggestion of how to keep torches in great condition and few easy tings to check if a torch stops working.
  • Volt meter, to test batteries connect red to positive, and black to negative. This will show the voltage of the battery, and make sure it is a good working battery.
  • Another way to test batteries is to try them in another appliance.
  • If left in a torch, alkaline batteries can leak, which can damage the inside of the torch and the other components. So do not leave these batteries in the appliance.
  • Clean the contacts, the battery may not work if the battery contacts are dirty. It is common that the contacts are the threads used to unscrew the tail cap to the battery compartment. It is best to use an alcohol wipe to clean all the contact areas.
  • DeoxIt is a great product to help protect and maintain metal contacts.
  • Silicone grease is designed for lubricating conductive surfaces; it can be used as a lubricant for the battery contacts. This will help keep them clean and improve the movement on the threads.
  • To test if the battery cap connectors are working, insert the batteries and instead of replacing the battery cap, bridge the connecter gap with a different metal object, for example tweezers. This will show that the batteries and everything else in the torch is working, if it does not work when the cap is replaced, this is where the problem is. If this is the case here are a few things to try:
    • The ring under the coil may need tightening; this can be done on lots of torches using tweezers.
    • For torches with a removable pocket clip, if this or the ring holding it in place becomes loose the torch may stop working because some of the connectors may not be able to touch. Make sure these are correctly in place and tightened.

Brightness

The amount of light as seen by the human eye is measured in lumens, generally speaking the larger the number, the brighter the bulb will be. To put this into perspective here are two well-known light sources when measured in Lumens.

  • A 40 Watt incandescent light bulb is measured at 380-460 Lumens
  • Direct sunlight is measured at 100,000 Lumens

Torches will be brighter when they have new, fully charged batteries; some bulbs may take a few seconds to reach their full brightness.

Switches

The switches on torches differ between brand and model, some simply turn the torch on and off, whilst others switch lights on in sequence and some also adjust the beam of light.

Switch

Description

Bezel Twist

A section of the torch is twisted, needing two hands to turn the torch on. A simple switch that lines the connectors up so they touch. This switch is often waterproof.

Slide Switch

Easy to operate with one hand. The small switch is slid forwards and backwards to turn on and off.

Side Switch

A small rubber or plastic click switch located on the side of the torch so it is easy to operate while holding the torch.

Tail Cap Switch

A rubber or plastic click switch located on the end of the tail or battery cap. Usually easy to replace at home.

Torch and Flashlight Accessories

There are lots of items that either come with a torch or can be added to make them perform better and be easier to use, here are some of the most popular items:

Beam Cover

Protects the lens when the torch is not in use.

Lanyard

Makes carrying a torch easier when it is not in use. Only suitable for smaller, lighter torches. Small torches and key ring torches can be attached to keys, mobile phones and other small hand held items.

Lenses

You can buy replacement clear lenses if the original one has become damaged. Lenses also come in many different colours and some are designed to diffuse and funnel light.

Torch Cases and Holders

There are many different cases, some are padded to protect the torch, and some make carrying the torch easier. They keep torches cleaner when not in use. They are also useful to keep torch components and accessories together.

Whistles

Some torches have a detachable whistle for use in an emergency.

Compasses

Torches for orienteering, camping and outdoors activities sometimes come with a built in compass to make navigating easier.

Mounts

Torches can be mounted on to bicycles, fishing tripods and camping equipment, this makes angling light easy, and keeps the slight steady and stationary.

How to Buy Torch and Flashlight Maintenance Products

eBay is a great place to buy torches and flashlights, as well as accessories and maintenance products for them. They can be found in different categories on eBay, depending on their design or main use, the main categories are:

The easiest way to find any of the maintenance products or accessories on eBay is to search for it from the eBay home page or from the relevant category. For example searching for ‘silicone grease’ will give a list of all the relevant products, as this is a specialist search most of the items listed will be the desired product, but the search can be refined using the options on the left of the page.

Things to consider when Purchasing Torch Maintenance Products on eBay

  • Make sure when buying a replacement component that it is compatible with the torch it is being bought for.
  • Read product descriptions very carefully, they usually provide a lot of information about the product and how to use it.
  • Contact the seller if you have any questions that are not answered in the product’s description.
  • Check the seller’s feedback and rating to ensure they are reputable.

Conclusion

This guide has explained some of the simple maintenance services that can be performed at home, to repair torches and keep them in good working order.

eBay has lots of great products designed to enhance a torches life and performance. Maintaining torches and flashlights at home is easy, and affordable, from using silicone grease on the threads to changing the bulb, eBay has lots to offer.

 
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