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  1. #1
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    Light & Motion Seca 1400 -- What's going on here?

    My wife and I each have brand new Light & Motion Seca 1400 as a helmet light. They've been cycled about 6 times (4 were prior to the first usage on trail). We've had a couple rides with them, and are coming across a problem despite being fully charged pre any ride. The issue is within 30 minutes of riding at "high" setting (which should support 2.5 hour run time according to manual), the light switches itself to "medium" setting. Does anyone else have this problem? Is there a fix for it or should we be returning our lights for replacement (refund?)? We thought it might be a heat issue, but we've run the lights at home in "high" setting (so no airflow at all) and the battery lasts for hours before losing power. Also, it's even more concerning that it's happening with BOTH of our lights consistently.

    Any advice/feedback appreciated. These lights were expensive, and I didn't mind assuming it was for quality. To be clear, the actual lighting of the trail from these lights is INCREDIBLE. We've compared them side by side with other riders we meet on the night trail runs, and these lights are by far better ... BUT why are they only able to stay at "high" setting for ~30 minutes compared to manual (or home usage) of 2.5 hours?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by weekendthrasher View Post
    My wife and I each have brand new Light & Motion Seca 1400 as a helmet light. They've been cycled about 6 times (4 were prior to the first usage on trail). We've had a couple rides with them, and are coming across a problem despite being fully charged pre any ride. The issue is within 30 minutes of riding at "high" setting (which should support 2.5 hour run time according to manual), the light switches itself to "medium" setting. Does anyone else have this problem? Is there a fix for it or should we be returning our lights for replacement (refund?)? We thought it might be a heat issue, but we've run the lights at home in "high" setting (so no airflow at all) and the battery lasts for hours before losing power. Also, it's even more concerning that it's happening with BOTH of our lights consistently.

    Any advice/feedback appreciated. These lights were expensive, and I didn't mind assuming it was for quality. To be clear, the actual lighting of the trail from these lights is INCREDIBLE. We've compared them side by side with other riders we meet on the night trail runs, and these lights are by far better ... BUT why are they only able to stay at "high" setting for ~30 minutes compared to manual (or home usage) of 2.5 hours?
    this could be your problem... shouldn't really do that, from what I understand, but L&M is great about warranty. I would return them for warranty, where ever you bought them.

  3. #3
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    First of all, the problem they experienced was out on the trail (with airflow) that suffered the lower kickover from High power to Low. I do not own any of these lights, and my stab at the problem may be far fetched, but could it be that the transition to the lower power setting occurred during rough sections of the trail? Perhaps the battery contacts may have been loose causing the light to detect a momentary drop of voltage.

    Have you tried switching the light back to the High setting? Try that and see how long it retains the High setting before switching itself back to Medium.

  4. #4
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    My first thought was, "thermal management cut-off". If it were me I'd try an in-house test. Set the light up with a fan blowing on it ( on low ). Turn the light on high and watch to see what happens. If it powers down again after half an hour you have a problem.

  5. #5
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    when it kicks itself down a notch to "medium" setting, we just put it back to "high" setting again right away. it accepts it without a problem, but 30 minutes later it again shifts down on its own. this is not related to bumps on the trail as far as we can tell since last night it powered down a notch while I was stopped on my bike catching my breath after a hill climb. we're going to try a couple more night rides and actually time exactly what happens before we go the warranty route ... unless it just works properly for whatever reason (fingers crossed, lol). would be willing to try a replacement if we have to because the throw and quality of the light is just that good (technical glitch aside). could be worse -- at least it's not powering itself down to 'low' setting or 'off',

  6. #6
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    Head scratcher

    It's weird problem for sure.
    The bigger issue in my mind is the hour+ run time indoors on high with NO perceivable drop in output. In my opinion, this just shouldn't have happened. No matter how elaborate the housing, once you try to dissipate more than about 6 watts in a housing of this size, the steady-state temperatures start getting too hot to be safe for the LEDs with no air-flow. This is why the light really NEEDS an effective thermal monitoring circuit. The more efficient housings require only a very small amount of forced air-flow to maintain safe operational temperatures, so by all counts, the behavior here seems contrary to conventional wisdom. Hard to say whether the light even HAS a thermal monitoring function. Certainly no readily available literature on the topic. Random shock/vibration seems to be the only difference in the two environments, but then why would it only be occurring at 30 min on two different lights?

    I assume you're dealing with a fully charged battery in every test case? If it's a consistent 30 min, then clearly it's some sort of programmed/timed event. Makes you wonder if it's not some sort of attempt to indicate battery status. Can you try the indoor test with a 50% charged battery? Just a thought.

    Let us know if you figure it out.

  7. #7
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    I'm left wondering if there is a hidden boost feature that was enabled during your ride and that it wasn't utilized during your indoor test. It doesn't make much logical sense that the light would kick itself down a power level. Unless the conditions were considerably colder outdoors, it may play a role in the incident as that usually has an adverse effect on lithium cells.

  8. #8
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    Light and motion seca 1400

    Hi, I'm new to this forum but have joined after reading your post. I have a few L&M sets and upgraded my old arc li-ion ultra to a Seca 1400 last year. I also have a Stella 300 and a few li-ion batteries.
    I have exactly the same issue as you with both the Seca 1400 and the Stella 300 as they both drop to the middle setting on each of the batteries I have when they get hot. It doesn't seem to be affected by how much charge is left, it's more about how hot the lamp head gets.
    I hope this helps, I've found these lights to be the best around with no other problems at all - I bought the original arc light 6 years ago!

  9. #9
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    update

    Unfortunately I've only been able to get one night ride in since last post due to weather and life getting in the way. Last night's ride was 51 minutes with constant 'high' setting without any issues for mine and my wife's light. Weather was on the chilly side so was very similar to prior times when it cycled itself down a power setting. I will continue to montior this and update for several more rides just to complete the picture, but that may take some time because where I am the forecast is for rain for the rest of the week right through Sunday. Regardless, I'm intent on seeing if I can replicate the issue consistently before going the warranty route because if not, then I'd chalk it up to fluke (or cold weather interference). The light is excellent, just need to know what's going on ... if anything of concern or not. Next update hopefully by mid next week. Thanks to all for feedback so far. Has helped me tons know what to be aware of in gauging things.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by weekendthrasher View Post
    Unfortunately I've only been able to get one night ride in since last post due to weather and life getting in the way. Last night's ride was 51 minutes with constant 'high' setting without any issues for mine and my wife's light. Weather was on the chilly side so was very similar to prior times when it cycled itself down a power setting. I will continue to montior this and update for several more rides just to complete the picture, but that may take some time because where I am the forecast is for rain for the rest of the week right through Sunday. Regardless, I'm intent on seeing if I can replicate the issue consistently before going the warranty route because if not, then I'd chalk it up to fluke (or cold weather interference). The light is excellent, just need to know what's going on ... if anything of concern or not. Next update hopefully by mid next week. Thanks to all for feedback so far. Has helped me tons know what to be aware of in gauging things.
    While I am not a genuine Light and Motion expert, I do know a bit about light systems in general. It sounds to me like your thermal drop down is being triggered. Your mention of stopping to rest after a climb after your light system had been on high and having the light automatically go to a lower setting, coupled with your having no issues on a chilly night leads me to believe it's the thermal drop setting in your lights.

    Again, I definitely can't speak for L&M (they are a great company), but it sounds like they have that system set to drop down quickly when the light gets hot. (ie; climbing with the light on high and stopping to rest with the light still on.) Being as how both lights do it under the same circumstances definitely points to the thermal drop down setting in your systems being the reason for what is happening.

    If it was my light I would put the system on low or medium for climbing and perhaps turn it off while you take a break to let things cool down as well as to conserve your battery - always a good idea.

    It also wouldn't hurt to give L&M a call or drop them an email and ask them about it. You could also check the rider reviews of your system here on MTBR to see if this situation is something other riders have noticed.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Shannon

  11. #11
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    battery usage?

    so far, I have not been able to replicate the prior cycling down of the light, but at this point am fairly comfortable that it is indeed tied to its thermal settings (protecting the light as it heats up). cycling down one setting is far better than shutting off that i've heard is the case with other cheaper lights.

    anyway, my question now is does it matter if the battery is fully depleted before recharging or simply topped up after every 1 hour usage regardless if it needs it or not? the reason i ask is because have been told topping it up instead of letting it get fully drained of charge will shorten its life usage and or reduce its ability to hold a long charge (such a thing as "battery memory" per se?). any truth to this?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by weekendthrasher View Post
    my question now is does it matter if the battery is fully depleted before recharging or simply topped up after every 1 hour usage regardless if it needs it or not? the reason i ask is because have been told topping it up instead of letting it get fully drained of charge will shorten its life usage and or reduce its ability to hold a long charge (such a thing as "battery memory" per se?). any truth to this?
    Li-ion batteries do not have a "memory".
    The best condition to store a Li-ion battery in (long term) is with about a 60% charge. However, if you are going to use it again in the near future, then a partial charge is better for the battery than running it down each time. If you have used half a charge then the optimum would be to top it up just before using it again.
    You might want to look at this article for a more complete explanation. Battery Care
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  13. #13
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    thx to all ... no issues repeated

    completing the thread, which has been extremely helpful. have not been able to repeat the earlier issues mentioned. can only conclude it was a protective powering down (only one setting lower anyway) due to heat build (especially when resting after 30 minutes of riding which had airflow to a standstill rest which did not have any airflow).

    thx for all the help (the last post regarding battery care has been forwarded to plenty of my riding buddies and mutually appreciated).

    Conclusion: HIGHLY recommend the SECA 1400 light! ... and getting knowledgeable about how it works,

  14. #14
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    That's great to hear Weekendthrasher. I hope you have a long healthy life with your lights!

  15. #15
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    I can add to this as well-- I use the 1400 for commuting to work- when it's warm out I find that it cuts down to medium on a long steep climb I have- once I get near the top and it flattens out (I speed up), it kicks back up to high just in time for a 40+ mph decent.

    The first time it happened I thought it was weird, but I had been doing some research before buying so I figured that had to be it. Never happens w/ colder temps (like this morning in the mid 30's).

  16. #16
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    I got this light and it's been fantastic. Mine is bar-mounted. Turns night riding into day riding pretty much (especially if you use the 1400 lumens setting).

    In terms of usage, I take the battery back off my bike when I'm at home and store it in the house. I always make sure that it is 100% charged before each run. Usually I top it off whenever I get back home after a bike run.

    Anyway, I usually use low setting while riding and switch to medium maybe mid-ride and then use the 1400 setting on the final stretch.

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