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The cheap bike lights, made in China, caught fire while charging, destroying half of the cyclist's home...

A cheap bike light has nearly burned down a cyclist’s home.

The 5,000 lumen SolarStorm bike light, which had only been used a couple of times, was left charging in Adam Creager’s home in Florida, earlier this year. He returned hours later to an exploding battery and flames that eventually destroyed everything in his master bedroom and required the entire house to be redecorated.

Singletrack Magazine had earlier warned of corrosion in the batteries of the Chinese-made SolarStorm and discontinued a product test as a result.  

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Creager told Singletrack magazine he returned home to the sound of the alarm going off and a smell of burning.

He said: “I heard something cracking—it had fallen somehow from the stool itself and it had fallen behind the lazy boy. I noticed just a little flame and a little smoke coming from behind the lazy boy itself.

After an initial panic he ran downstairs for a bowl of water and threw it on the fire, but this was, perhaps unsurprisingly, unsuccessful.

He said: “I thought I honestly could put the fire out, I really did. I ran downstairs and—can’t really remember how many times I ran up and down, I know it was at least twice. But the last time, I remember I threw the water and I was just like, ‘I have to start getting stuff out. I’m never going to put out this fire.’”

He said the battery pack was “really, really, really big” and wrapped in plastic, “like a stick of dynamite”. He said the whole thing was bouncing around and exploding with a bright light.

Thick black smoke soon formed and he and the neighbours evacuated until the fire services arrived.

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He said: “The fire had burned one room—but the heat and the smoke was so bad that it basically destroyed everything that we had on the second floor. We had stuff that was just covered in black soot.”

The entire house will be redecorated, and everything in the master bedroom is destroyed, according to Creager. Images of the destruction are on the Singletrack site.

He urged readers to research carefully any electrical products they buy and not simply opt for the cheapest one. A similar-looking light - the Cree LED XML-T6 cycle lights – has also been reported to catch fire.

13 comments

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bendertherobot [1453 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

"I can't really remember how many times I ran up and down the stairs, it was at least twice."

Thought that was worth a repost.

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KiwiMike [1307 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Points of note, now the link is actually working and following the circa 5,000* replies to this on the Facebook article:

1) Yes, many people will have used these very lights for years without their house burning down. I used two sets weekly for 2 years, but now both batteries are dead, and one charger also. I do not intend replacing them.

2) No way on God's green earth are these 5,000 Lumens. I purchased exactly the same pair of Solarstorm Cree XM-L lights three years ago and they were advertised at about 700, from memory.  FWIW, I make them roughly twice as bright as a Lezyne Powerdrive XL, on 475 Lumen overdrive race mode. Full-glory tech-light-geek article HERE

3) Every kind of mobile phone, laptop and light has a story searchable somewhere of a charger / battery exploding whilst charging. I used to work in the mobile phone industry, it's a fact of life that dirt-cheap consumer electronics, mass-produced with SFA quality control, then put into the real world of dogs/kids/idiots chewing/spilling/overcharging stuff, shit's going to happen. And in the echo chamber that is the internet, you'll hear about it.

4) these lights are a cheap way into night riding. Hooray. Buy through Amazon or eBay and you should get some comeback, especially if you pay using PayPal.

5) You know what you're getting into - these aren't a £200 set of hand-built Exposure lights. Pay attention to where you charge them, ideally in a metal container or on a concrete surface and well away from flammable stuff. And don't overcharge. And pay attention to the fragile wiring and lack of waterproofing.

6) The article is a PSA, FFS. Not a move by Road.CC to get you to buy advertiser's products. Road.cc have included these in the lighting tests and did this review in Jan 2014, giving it ***4 STARS*** - no vendor asked them to (it was actually me hassling Dave for months), and the lights had to be purchased. If there were a conspiracy at work would Road.CC have ever included them in a review?

7) Chill out. It's Christmas  1

 

* OK, not 5,000, unless you measure Facebook posts like Solarstorm measure Lumens.

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cyclisto [274 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Ebayish no-name bike lights have a certain problem. They are priced as they should be, sometimes even lower than that. And that is a great problem for bicycle component manufacturers. Branded lights are either ridiculously expensive or very weak. And to make things even worse they can be really poor quality, I had a set of Tacx lights that failed already twice and the third try is already having problems (!!!). I read also constantly bad reviews for Lezyne failed products...

So all bicycle stores sell DANGEROUSLY weak lights, or very expensive and sometimes poor quality ones, that leaves you either half-blind in the dark or with empty pockets. The solution is much simpler. Buy a single led xml-T6 torch with NO ZOOM (it just loses power due to the thick convex plastic crystal, if it has) and a GOOD switch (not with soft touch as it may fail from vibrations, full click is more robust) Something like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/3500-LM-3-Modes-CREE-XM-L-T6-LED-18650-Waterproo... or this http://www.ebay.com/itm/2200LM-XM-L-T6-LED-5-Modes-18650-Head-Bicycle-Li... . Buy a 1quid mount for it, a couple good BRANDED 18650 batteries like Panasonic (unfortunately unbranded batteries still leave a lot to be desired) and a good multicharger (I have Nitecore). The "dangerous" procedure of charging is done without using anything "chinese" so even the easily-frightened will have no hesitation in charging. The best thing is that you have a very usable torch that can be used everywhere! Is it reliable? 3 years now no problem, but it even if it fails it costs the 1/10 of equivalent branded lights. Is it waterproof? Yes it does!

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abusivemonk [19 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

I have this light you metioned ://www.ebay.com/itm/2200LM-XM-L-T6-LED-5-Modes-18650-Head-Bicycle-Light-Tor... . But have nver been able to use due to having oversize handlebars. Any recommendations for mounting it? Cant find those £1 mounts you mention.

Thanks

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oliverjames [53 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

All that glitters is not necessarily golden. Or alternatively, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

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matthewn5 [1063 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
abusivemonk wrote:
cyclisto wrote:

I have this light you metioned ://www.ebay.com/itm/2200LM-XM-L-T6-LED-5-Modes-18650-Head-Bicycle-Light-Tor... . But have nver been able to use due to having oversize handlebars. Any recommendations for mounting it? Cant find those £1 mounts you mention.

Thanks

 

I cannibalised a bracket for another light that had fallen off and been flattened by a huge Mercedes. With a bit of cutting and shutting and a bolt through the middle of the two, the bracket is rock solid.

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Das [243 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have the same light, battery pack lasted 2 years and  smoke started pouring out of it one day after I removed it from my bike, but I put it down to holding the pack by the cable and not holding the battery pack, so really my fault. Didnt put me off buying another(larger) pack. Mind you think I might just start charing it ina metal box  too.

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cyclisto [274 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
abusivemonk wrote:
cyclisto wrote:

I have this light you metioned ://www.ebay.com/itm/2200LM-XM-L-T6-LED-5-Modes-18650-Head-Bicycle-Light-Tor... . But have nver been able to use due to having oversize handlebars. Any recommendations for mounting it? Cant find those £1 mounts you mention.

Thanks

 

I actually have this light nd I had to buy a torch for the same reason. However I lived quite in harmony with it for about a year, mounting it directly on my 31.8mm stem using hot silicone with a glue gun (don't worry about the paintjob, but if you are, use a kitchen film on the stem). Of course this was not enough so I used two zip ties on the transverse battery case and the bars and it was steady as a rock. However like that you cannot adjust the angle, so not the best option, but on the other hand you save space on the bars, for GPS etc.

It is bombproof though so if anybody else has thin bars it is a very good option.

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kev-s [273 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I would never buy any electronics directly from China, be it bike lights, phone chargers etc...

 

Most of them dont meet European safety standards and some have even been known to have fake CE markings or do have CE marked on them but it acutally means China Export not European Conformity

 

 

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Mototarka [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

You keep on talking, I'll keep on riding

 

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Leodis [424 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Some people will never learn, these lights are shite.  They can explode and 8/10 times fail after a few weeks.  I'd rather spend the cash on a decent set of lights 

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cyclisto [274 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

@Mototarka

which model is this??? It seems like having 2 LEDs or does it have more??

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niico [9 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
kev-s wrote:

I would never buy any electronics directly from China, be it bike lights, phone chargers etc...

 

Most of them dont meet European safety standards and some have even been known to have fake CE markings or do have CE marked on them but it acutally means China Export not European Conformity

 

 

I totally agree - I had 2 situations like this. In one the mAH rating was WAY lower than printed on the battery.

The second a very cheap Chinese import USB charger for my phone caught on fire *whilst in my pocket* - only the smell of burning meant I escaped serious burns.

With batteries - always buy a respected brand - otherwise you just can't trust the safety or longevity of them. Batteries dangerous chemicals - and yes most cheap Chinese imports won't meet European safety standards which are there for good reason.

For a USB charger I now use Anker batteries.