Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Re-pack Control Ring For Sunwayman V11R Flashlight

The Sunwayman V11R was on my nightstand for almost a year. Not many people realize that the resistance on the control ring comes from the grease packed inside it. The design is pretty good because there's nothing to wear out, and no wear and tear on the control ring. The downside is that eventually all of these control ring lights will need to be re-packed with new grease. It's just a matter of time because the grease only lasts so long.

The control ring on my V11R was spinning freely, with no resistance whatsoever. The flashlight was basically unusable. Searching the web, I saw plenty of people complaining about the control ring, but nobody actually documenting how to repack it with grease. So I posted my dilemma to Budget Light Forum and a really helpful user named Moderator007 gave me all the advice and encouragement I needed to try the repair myself.

First I needed to buy the friction grease, which I ordered for 3 dollars from DealExtreme. I'm not their biggest fan, but there's not much risk at that price. The grease arrived in about 3 weeks, which is about right for ordering direct from China.

Friction Grease From DealExtreme
Not bad for 3 bucks!

Taking the head off


This was fairly easy. Apparently Sunwayman has used two different grades of loc-tite and mine had the blue version, which isn't as strong as the red version. If yours has red loc-tite, it may be extremely difficult to break the head loose. It seems like I got lucky.

What I did was cut two long strips of duct tape and put it on either side of the control ring. Then I used two pair of pliers to break the head loose.

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Required Tools
Here's everything it took to get the head off the V11R

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Taped Up Head
It came apart in a wad of tape

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Head Broken Loose
I thought I nicked it, but can't find any scratches or nicks anywhere

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Head Taken Apart

Looking at the parts


At this point if you were a modder, you would have access to the guts of the light. Getting it open is the hard part--now you're home free. With the light open, I would be very careful not to touch the emitter or the shiny part of the reflector. Don't do it.

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Head In Separate Pieces
The head in its three main pieces

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Control Ring Closeup
Top view of the control ring. Here you can see the two little magnets

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Top Half Of Head
Above you can see remnants of the blue loc-tite that was applied to the threads

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Underside Of Control Ring
Above you can see the grease channel on the underside of the control ring-- put new grease here
Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Head Assembly With Driver Pill


Packing the ring


Looking at the ring, there's a channel for the grease to ride in. There was enough of the friction grease in the cap so I took a little scoop with my flat head screwdriver and slathered into the little channel. I purposely used a little too much, and let the excess ooze out, which I just wiped off. Notice in the pictures I got a little bit of dog hair, which is fine.

The grease did the trick. Moderator007 suggested that if there is too much resistance on the control ring, you can mix the friction grease with regular Lithium grease to thin it out and fine tune the exact amount of resistance you want. I ended up using the grease as-is, but your mileage may vary, and that sounds like a good trick for tuning the amount of resistance.

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: Using Screwdriver To Apply Grease To Head
There was enough grease already in the cap to do the job!

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly: New Grease In Head
Yeah, I was holding the dog just before I did this

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly:Reassembeled After Re-Packing


Done! And all for 3 bucks


Using the cheapest friction grease money can buy paid off. The control ring on my V11R now has an identical feel as it did the day I opened the box. I won't lie-- having my 100 dollar flashlight back to factory condition made me do a little happy dance.

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly:Reassembeled Glamour Shot
It's as good as new, with the AA externder mounted

Sunwayman V11R Disassembly:Reassembeled In Nylon Holster



Conclusion


I'm a big fan of these control ring type flashlights, but they require maintenance from just normal use, and not many people use it enough to wear out the grease I guess. Now that broke the loc-tite holding it together, I can keep it running for as long as I want, since there is nothing to really wear out except the grease. The little tub of grease probably has enough to last my V11R for 100 years.

11 comments:

  1. Great article Mark. I am about to repack the grease on one of my Jetbeam RRT-0 lights. I have 2 of them. One has great resistance and the other feels like there is not any grease at all as it spins almost freely.

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    1. Thanks! It's almost time to re-pack mine a second time. It's finally now losing its resistance on the ring. I think the grease I bought from dx.com is a little better than what the V11R originally came with. I also have a V20C-Y which feels a little gritty, so time to see if I can get that one apart.

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  2. They must have used the red on mine. Yikes! I tried getting it apart once and ended up putting a few nasty marks on my heat sink. Ended up shipping it back to Sunwayman..... which was scary. Wasn't sure I was going to get it back but I did. They repacked it for me and after another year, that grease is dry again. I'll give it another go now that I see this. The loose ring is my major gripe about the thing... the other is that metal switch button being but hard to push. Thanks for the write up!

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  3. Mine has done fine since I re-greased it, and I still use it every day. So that grease I linked above is vastly superior to what SWM is using. I never did get around to re-packing it. Good luck getting yours apart. Heat should work I think, even with the red loc-tite.

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    1. I finally got it apart. I added some "extra character" to it in the process, but whatever... it's apart. I can see what's left of the old grease.. it's a yellow crust. Yuck. Waiting on that slow-boat from China now. Thanks again for the write up!

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  4. Very nice write up. Going to try a go on my V11R as well. The grease finally arrived.

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  5. Thanks for the disassembly and grease tips! I too simply followed ON's instructions, and aside from putting a few new nicks on my 4yr. old V11R, and substituting Pedro's Syn Grease (bicycle bearing grease) for damping grease...it worked great, restoring the rings damping to like new! Did the entire job in 10min...glad I found this article. Thanks ON!

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  6. Big thanks from Sweden! Just went through you're tutorial here and my V11R is now as good as new! Before the ring was completely stuck and I had almost given up on it. Very happy! /Johan

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  7. Thanks for going to the trouble, I was worried that it was press-fit into place. I took mine apart and now have some "character" marks on mine as well but in my search for a better solution than grease I discovered that my Permatex Dielectric grease gave me just the right amount of friction.I just put several drops around the center shaft and reassembled everything.

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