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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 12:44:54 MST Print View

I purchased my Steripen Opti right after Christmas. Like any gear nerd, I brought it home and promptly "tested" it in a glass of tap water. Cool! I had a new toy!

And I tested it again, and again, in different containers. My lamp was working since I could see the blue light, right? Well, something sat uneasily with me. The light seemed a bit dimmer than pictures I had seen. This was probably just my imagination, and different cameras will show light differently.

But still something inside me wasn't convinced. So I brought my concerns to various parties, including the store at which I purchased it and to Steripen directly. I even sent in pictures of the lamp in use and the tech support person said the photos looked like the lamp was operating normally. Everyone I talked to assured me the lamp was fine.

*Knock knock* Who's there? My hunch.

Luckily I was also having other issues with the unit at the same time. There is a tiny o-ring that sits underneath the head of the thumb screw that presumably helps seal the opening where the thumb screw goes through the battery cap and into the unit. This came out after only a few openings of the battery compartment, and being brand new it was covered under warranty.

I had been dealing with Rich from Steripen about these issues. He offered to replace the end cap for free and if I was still concerned with the UV lamp on my unit that I could send it in and they could test it. For $5 shipping I wanted the piece of mind and to finally put that nagging feeling to rest.

As a note, I would like to mention that dealing with Rich was nice. He was quick to respond to my emails and offered to rectify the situation by replacing the faulty endcap without hesitation. So Steripen's customer service is a plus.

I sent my unit off for repair, and I got this reply today:

"Hi Travis, I'm sending you a replacement steripen today. Your concern about the UV was well based; you had a faulty lamp.
Good luck with your travels.

Regards,
Richard
--------------------

Sometimes you just gotta follow your gut feeling.

Edited by T.L. on 02/24/2012 12:48:03 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:32:32 MST Print View

Good for you to follow through on your "hunch"!!

I hope you got a decent gift card -- or at least a reimbursement for postage? :)

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:42:02 MST Print View

Thanks for posting this Travis. I just bought one so time to test it.

How will I for sure know that the lamp is working based on the proper 'brightness?' I have never used one.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:48:39 MST Print View

David:

I have one that works pretty normal... so hard to say precisely the difference in brightness. Suffice to say, like a mini florescent light tube -- you can pretty much tell if the light is working normal -- versus a tube that is 'struggling' and dimming like. Maybe Travis can describe the latter in better terms.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:50:42 MST Print View

Thanks. I have a trip coming up and will take it but some additional Katadyn tabs just to be safe. An extra ounce that I can handle...; )

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:51:23 MST Print View

Since Travis has pictures of a bad one and will be getting a new one, perfect opportunity to show a side by side comparison.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:51:24 MST Print View

David, that's a tough one to judge. My lamp looked a bit dull and hazy compared to photos I found online. Other than that, there's not much else I can say. I would suspect that the vast majority of units are fine, but every product line has its lemons. Steripen did say they test their units during QC, but I'm not sure if that's every unit or a certain percentage.

I'll try to dig up the photos I took, but I think I deleted them.

Edited by T.L. on 02/24/2012 13:58:16 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:54:45 MST Print View

Thanks guys.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 13:59:38 MST Print View

Thanks for posting that Travis

I've had one for about a year and it seems normal, but now how would I know?

What I hate is that with water treatment there's no way to know if it's working.

Water is usually good, so you're just preventing a rare event of getting some infected water. The fact that I don't get sick could just mean that I didn't happen to encounter any infected water.

And if I did get sick, it's similar to routinely happening intenstinal problems that could be caused by exposure to bad food or fecal contamination. Only rarely does someone get very sick that doesn't go away without treatment.

Oh well, I debate just not treating water so I'm no worse off than that.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Photos on 02/24/2012 14:00:19 MST Print View

O-ring issue
jo;o

e5yutyu

dtkf

Lamp
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k'p'

srjjy


Sorry for the sideways photos. iPhone pictures like to do that. The little LED light is supposed to blink during the entire purification process, so some of the light you see in the pictures is coming from that.

Edited by T.L. on 02/24/2012 14:04:35 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 14:07:40 MST Print View

Yay - thanks for the pics.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Photos on 02/24/2012 14:08:59 MST Print View

Are those photos from a good lamp or a bad lamp?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Just got a reply from Steripen, like literally 2 seconds ago... on 02/24/2012 14:12:53 MST Print View

This is the bad lamp, and I should be receiving the good one in a few days. Do note that the Steripen Rep said the lamp looked ok from these photos. As I was typing my response to Jerry, I got an email from Steripen:

`````````````````````````````
Travis, it was emitting about half the UV energy we expect. Every pen is tested on a UV radiometer before leaving the factory, so presumably the lamp went bad in the shipment to the store and to you. We keep improving the strength and connections of the lamps, but unfortunately they still fail sometimes.

Regards,
Richard

Edited by T.L. on 02/24/2012 14:14:45 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Steripen in the Philippines Jan. & Feb. '12 on 02/24/2012 14:38:52 MST Print View

After contracting amoebic dysentery (fatal W/O antibiotics) from eating Kinilau - raw fish & veggies - in Cebu, Philippines in Jan. my internal medicine doctor there advise me to use my Steripen even in commercial FILTERED water unless it was distilled water.

I looked strange to the wait staff in restaurants as I stirred my (iceless) water with the Steripen but if you ever had amoebic dysentery you know it is agony and anything you can do to avoid a repeat you'll do. Yeah, don't consume ice in ANY form in 3rd world countries B/C you don't know the source of the water it was made from. Freezing only puts the bugs to sleep. Then they wake up in your nice, warm, dark tummy and go to work multiplying expolentially. And the agony begins...

The Steripen worked flawlessly several times a day for over a month and I'm really glad I had it with me. The lithium batteries held up well and I didn't need the backup batteries.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/04/2012 16:26:46 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Steripen in the Philippines Jan. & Feb. '12 on 02/24/2012 14:43:38 MST Print View

"I looked strange to the wait staff in restaurants as I stirred my (iceless) water with the Steripen"

But imagine the look on the same wait staff if you had pulled out a First Need pump purifier instead...

Eric, if you don't mind my asking... why is your doctor advising you to zap even commercially filtered water?

Edited by ben2world on 02/24/2012 14:45:28 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 15:12:19 MST Print View

Thanks for this thread Travis! I have a new Steripen Opti which is going to undergo some thorough testing soon!


I wonder how we'll know when the bulb is worn out from use if it wears out before the electronic use count tracker thinks it's worn out....

Edited by AndyF on 02/24/2012 15:12:51 MST.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
customer service on 02/24/2012 15:21:53 MST Print View

Just wanted to add a note on my customer service experience with SteriPEN. Just today I sent an email
to them to ask for the battery capacity of my Freedom unit (info for another thread in gear forum actually) and got a response back so quickly I didn't even read it at first as I assumed it was an auto-response. Actually it was an answer to my question from Rich Avery. Maybe a slow day or a fluke, but as far as I'm concerned that was stellar customer service.

Edited by 7sport on 02/24/2012 15:23:49 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 15:22:04 MST Print View

Andy:

As soon as the visible bulb shorts out, the UV circuity will stop working as well. The visible bulb is the "safety switch" so to speak.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 15:35:50 MST Print View

The ultimate would be a self-diagnosing unit that has a built-in UV sensor on a separate circuit that can actually detect if the UV lamp is working at an acceptable level.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: My Steripen Adventure: Concerns and Vindication on 02/24/2012 15:40:56 MST Print View

And just what is going to check on that UV sensor? :)