Headtorch short-lived

Bought a Ledlenser headtorch 5-10 yrs ago, used it maybe twice and put it in a drawer. Found it the other day, popped in some batteries and off we go…it won’t switch off. Pull it apart, micro switch isnt working. Sent off a msg on FB to them expressing my disappointment in what was essentially an unused product, back & forth, photos …they offered me a 12% discount off my next purchace (which wont be happening) and said they don’t have spare parts, but the torch is still on their webpage. A bit annoyed but not really expected much more


Many new products are not backed by spares. The warranty is served by providing a new product.

Try spraying the switch with contact cleaner, and if that doesn’t help WD40 and let it sit, followed by contact cleaner.

Micro switches are also pretty common (ref Jaycar for one source). You might be able to fix it yourself if you are even a bit handy with a soldering iron.


There are a lot of products that have the same model number but whose manufacturing process and materials change regularly. “We can save by replacing this widget with one that costs $0.002 less from a different supplier”. It may be that while the product looks the same and has the same product number it is substantially different.

I have had some el cheapo headlamp for years. Still works, just need to change the battery occasionally.


Do you live near the sea, a body of water, or an airport, or industrial area, or area with a large volume of vehicular traffic, or near a railway line, or a source of dust or ash, etc?

Airborne pollution can effect the life of electrical components whether you use them or not.


lt is spotless inside (and out, basically new). l’ve bought a cheapy online to replace it
Looked at replacing the switch Phil, its tiny & mounted on a dedicated pcb…considering it wont switch off l may install a SPST switch into the power cord (battery pack is at the rear of the headband

While it may look spotless inside, not regularly using the torch may have contributed to its failure.

As @meltam indicated, local air quality can impact on the long term durability of a device, even it isn’t used. It may look okay on the inside, but metal components such as those within a micro switch can corrode making them stick or fail. In extreme cases, microscopic corrosion or conductive deposits can also form on circuit boards causing shorting or components to be bypassed electrically, such as a micro switch causing it to be in effect in the on position

Notwithstanding this, other things can cause failure when electronic components aren’t used for a long time such as elastic components within switches or on the product hardening (these should remain subtle/flexible with regular use) or any lubricant within the switch can dry out (volatile compounds evaporate leaving a thick paste behind). The later is unavoidable and can occur over time with or without frequent use.

For small relatively low value electronic goods, spares won’t be kept by retailers/manufacturers as the cost to repair far exceeds the cost of the product. It is unfortunate as this causes eWaste often for things which might be seen as simple to repair.

As the torch was bought 5-10 years ago, the warranty or consumer guarantee periods have well and truly passed.


All this talk about moisture or dust or pollution getting in should not be a factor.

These head torches are supposed to be used for things like camping, hiking, boating. They should be tough and weather and water proof. Especially high priced units.

An inline low voltage switch for less than $10 could well get around the problem of a stuck micro switch. Luckily stuck closed rather than open.

Moisture is extremely important factor. While the head torch may be

it isn’t water intrusion through outer case which is the only issue for long term storage. If the waterproof case has been opened, say to replace batteries, moisture from the atmosphere (air within the waterproof housing) can cause corrosion.

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I don’t buy that argument. The battery compartment is separate from the torch unit. No need to expose the unit and switch at all if changing batteries. Pay note to the brand of head torch, and what the original poster has proposed as a fix.

Even if the casing was never opened or it couldn’t enter through battery compartment, there is still moisture present in the atmosphere within the casing. This moisture would be when the unit was manufactured. It is extremely unlikely a low end consumer product like a head torch would be manufactured in a high end facility where products are manufactured in near zero atmospheric moisture or pollutants.

Storing any item, the longer it is stored the higher the risk of moisture intrusion. In a ‘waterproof’ casing, seals can depreciated meaning it is no longer airtight, if such containers were originally airtight.

An example of how atmospheric moisture causes corrosion is silverware. It can be stored in sealed containers, but any atmospheric moisture causes oxidation of the surface during storage. It is possible the micro switch contacts are silver as it is a metal commonly used fir such purposes.

The fix proposed seems reasonable if it works. It would effectively replace the locked on micro switch.

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Failure analysis 101.

Any theory (possible explanation) as to what, how or why there has been a failure remains a guess. We may all be wrong.

Has anyone considered the failure may be purely mechanical? IE a cracked, jammed, broken component etc within the micro switch?

Plastics age. I’ll say no more until someone with X-ray vision can offer up some evidence. Although my experience suggests it is just as likely a mechanical failure of the mechanism and zero to do with the condition of the contacts. Corrosion or other damage to the contacts is more likely to cause a failure to turn on.


I am not sure of the Ledlenser, but our Kathmandu headlamp/torch has no waterproofing between the battery comparment and the rest of the unit. There is an air gap where each of the terminals passes through the battery compartment floor, so moisture and other pollutants can easily pass through to the electronics leading to corrosion, short circuits etc.

There are many different models, most alike but some different.

Whether the 10-15 year old model is exactly the same is unknown. Over time manufacturing or materials can change while the product looks similar, and sometimes products just go on and on. :wink:

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It may help to mention how much you paid. At what price would a 5 year lifespan be considered unreasonably short?

(I take your point that you have only used it twice but plainly no seller and no manufacturer can police that. So warranty has to be determined on the basis of age. I mean, for a more complex item that is capable of recording your usage, it is possible to take into account usage as well as age.)

It may not be completely convenient but you can always switch off and on by removing and inserting a battery. That is at least better than the opposite scenario that the microswitch is permanently off.

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l dont remember what l paid, they currently retail at about $85. l mainly reached out to them as they offer a 7 yr warranty if the product is registered (apparently l didnt, which surprises me, l’m normally fastidious about that)

You should read your rights under the Australian consumer law. They obviously think their headlight should last 7 years or more excepting for an arbitrary requirement to register it.

Make your case that even they believe their product should last 7 years and if you can establish you purchased yours in say 5-7 years rather than 9 or 10 even they make an implied claim it should be covered. One needs to send a formal ‘letter of complaint’ citing your rights, product claims (including arbitrary requirements that should be discounted) and what you want. If you have the original receipt be it from a register or a traceable card charge you can go to the retailer who sold it, who technically owns the problem.

Scan the Community for the Australian Consumer Law and writing a Letter of Complaint.


With the caveat that that may be the warranty today. You really need to know what the warranty was at the time of purchase.

I think here that there is no substitute for good record keeping.

  • what was the purchase date?
  • what was the purchase price?
  • do you have proof of purchase? (receipt or other transaction - should cover the previous two questions)
  • what was the warranty?

At least for an $85 item (today’s price), it may be worth hunting down all of the above.

What is the warranty if the product is not registered?

I’m a bit unconvinced that it’s legitimate for a company to vary the length of the warranty depending on whether you register, particularly for a product of this nature.


l dont have a receipt, and dont really remember if l bought it inside of 7 yrs.l would have just assumed that l was getting something that would last, being a well known/respected brand of torches. Not worth the hassle of chasing them up tbh

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I too had an old LedLenser. I DID use it often, eventually battery needed replacing (could tell because the case had swollen). A new battery worked well another few years. Then a trip to the retail camping shop revealed the German firm was no longer supplying it. LedLensers now made in China and cost more.
Another head torch from BigW operating with 3 standard AAA cells, the Eveready cost $22!


I don’t think it would be at all fair to expect them to give 10 year warranty on a headtorch!

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