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Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Steripen Freedom Questions on 06/22/2013 14:15:06 MDT Print View

Does anyone here use the Steripen Freedom? Does it work with Gatorade Bottles? If not, what is the lightest bottle that is compatible? Has anyone had any failures? I tried a Steripen in 2009 and it failed at temps in the teens, not to mention it drained the battery when stored, but I have heard they have fixed that.

I have been using Aquamira Drops (repackaged) since 2008 but I thought it might be time to revisit what is out there today.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
rei video on 06/22/2013 14:38:44 MDT Print View

REI has a video that show the freedom fitting inside a wine glass so I think it will fit into a gaitor aid bottle...

http://www.rei.com/product/824898/steripen-freedom-water-purifier#video-inner

Buy it at REI... if you don't like it.. return it...

b

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
I've had bad luck with mine on 06/22/2013 18:25:49 MDT Print View

I have one. I got it this spring because a lot of my electronic gear is no rechargeable via a 5v USB plug system. This seemed to fit the bill nicely. I charged it and tested on a few liters at home and then took it on my most recent trip. It worked fine for the first liter of water, but during the next use it gave me the "one-green, 3-red flash, repeating" LED error code, which is "UV lamp failure, replace lamp" problem. So the lamp which is supposed to last 8,000 hours is acting like it has issues after less than 5 minutes of total use. I tried recharging it in the field but that was not the issue. I carried the useless thing on the rest of my trip. Luckily I live in a place where finding good water is not an issue. Back home it kept acting poorly, but then randomly decided to work again once.

Mine is totally unreliable. I called the company and they offered to service it for me so that I am "totally confident" in the product. Well, I doubt I will ever be truly confident in it again...

The body of the unit will fit into a bottle mouth with a 38mm inside diameter.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: I've had bad luck with mine on 06/22/2013 18:44:19 MDT Print View

Philip,
Even though electronic things are "burned in", early mortality is still an issue.

However, if you get through the "first 100" you should be good. So if you get another one, work it over for at month, at home. Maybe a little "vibration testing". Maybe a couple of soft landing "drop tests". Then decide.

And yes...confidence is the name of the game.

(I'm a pump guy)

YMMV

BTW - GREAT Trip Report. You've really got me dreaming.

Edited by greg23 on 06/22/2013 18:47:18 MDT.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
More testing would have been smart on 06/22/2013 20:24:19 MDT Print View

Yeah, I should have used it many more times at home before dragging it along. I am just so used to the reliability of electronics nowadays (cameras, ipods, radios, et al) that I figured they would engineer in a BIG margin of proper operability on such a seemingly safety-oriented product. I mean, it's basically just a freaking flashlight emitting a somewhat unique wavelength. KISS.

I have been dipping it in a glass of water regularly today and it seems to be working correctly again. It just annoys me that when it mattered, it got balky. I will be sending it to Steripen and let them work on it. I read a review online where someone else had a similar issue and it needed a software update, or something similar.

Before you get too excited about hiking in Kodiak, we are back to our other weather pattern again: wind-driven rain/drizzle/mist. The good thing about living here is that I can head out at a moment's notice when I like what the weather map shows. :^)

Edited by Philip.AK on 06/22/2013 20:26:31 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Steripen Freedom fits nicely into 32 oz Gatorade bottle, 32 oz Snapple bottle, 20 oz Nestle bottle, 15.2 oz Ocean Spray bottle on 06/22/2013 22:06:22 MDT Print View

Bradford,

I'm using the Steripen Freedom with an assortment of bottles that all use the same cap. It rests nicely on top of the 32 oz Gatorade bottle - it will not fit into the smaller Gatorade bottles as they use a smaller cap, but there are other brands that use smaller bottles with the same cap.

If you fill the bottle almost to the brim and don't feel the need to shake it, you can just put it in there and let it do its work without having to hold the bottle. I have used the Freedom on the JMT, the SHR, the TGO Challenge and was always very happy with it.

Manfred

Edited by Orienteering on 06/22/2013 22:11:25 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Steripen - Lamp Failure - Does it happen in cold temperatures? on 06/22/2013 22:16:25 MDT Print View

Philip,

I got the same problem with my first Steripen Freedom and returned it to REI. Then I got the same problem with my second and got curious. Why would it work again at home after telling me "Lamp Failure" out in the field? The problem really seems to be the temperature. I get the "lamp failure" when it is colder. When I then warm the Steripen Freedom between my hands or legs for a minute it works fine. Since I figured that out I have had no problems and get the Steripen to work even in really cold conditions after the initial "lamp failure".

Manfred

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Steripen - Lamp Failure - Does it happen in cold temperatures? on 06/22/2013 23:41:26 MDT Print View

I got the same problem with my first Steripen Freedom and returned it to REI. Then I got the same problem with my second and got curious. Why would it work again at home after telling me "Lamp Failure" out in the field? The problem really seems to be the temperature. I get the "lamp failure" when it is colder. When I then warm the Steripen Freedom between my hands or legs for a minute it works fine. Since I figured that out I have had no problems and get the Steripen to work even in really cold conditions after the initial "lamp failure".

Batteries generate electricity through a chemical reaction. Chemical reactions are generally faster at high temperature and slow a cold temperatures. If you cool a new battery to a low enough temperature the battery voltage can drop to zero volts. Generally battery voltage will start to drop at about freezing temperatures and the device could post a low battery warning. However once the battery warms up it will work normally.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Steripen - Lamp Failure - Does it happen in cold temperatures? on 06/22/2013 23:54:34 MDT Print View

I had an Opti

It worked some, but then one trip it only did one pint before failing. I tried different brand of batteries and same thing, worked some then one time it didn't.

When it was cold I put it in my pocket to warm up so that wasn't the problem.

I think that technology is just unreliable. Most people have good experience, but some units are flaky.

I just returned it to REI and got a Squeeze, which also has some problems, but it's better.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Battery Life on 06/23/2013 00:37:58 MDT Print View

I was just thinking about getting one of these after reading WIll Rietveld's M-SUL article. May I ask how long the rechargeable battery lasts? I'm worried that if I'm out there for several days I wouldn't be able to recharge it if the battery runs out. At least with my Steripen Adventurer I can replace the batteries.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Update on 06/23/2013 02:04:41 MDT Print View

I've been dipping mine into a glass of water all day. Not sure on the number of cycles I got out of it, but it has worked for the most part. I did get a "lamp failure" warning once more, but then it went away. For what it's worth, the temps were quite warm when it failed in the field. Still seems too flakey to me.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
I get reliably 20 liters treated with one charge on 06/23/2013 02:58:45 MDT Print View

Miguel,

I carry a solar charger for re-charging the SteriPen on longer trips. I always re-charge after having done 40 treatments (20 l). I can't say how many treatments you would really get out of it, because I never want to risk on my trips to have the battery totally empty.

Manfred

Ken Strayer
(TheRambler) - F
re: steripen failures on 06/23/2013 04:24:50 MDT Print View

Not to sound like an ass but make sure you follow the directions for the unit in the proper sequence. I tested mine out quite a few times at home, and then put it up for a month or two before taking it out on a trip. When I tried to use it in the field I must have had a brain fart and was trying to operate the unit out of sequence and it gave me the lamp failure indication. I cursed up a storm thinking it was broken and a pos. Low and behold I reread the directions when I got home and it has been working fine every time all the time now that I operate it per the instructions.

Not saying this is the case with y'all, but it happened to me and with several other steripen users I know personally, as well as many people mentioning similar of it on different forums. So just keep it in mind as a possibility is all I am saying, as operator error seems to be the root cause of a lot of steripen "issues"

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Battery behavior in cold temperatures on 06/23/2013 08:27:16 MDT Print View

"If you cool a new battery to a low enough temperature the battery voltage can drop to zero volts. Generally battery voltage will start to drop at about freezing temperatures and the device could post a low battery warning."

Er, not quite.

Battery VOLTAGE (at no current) is pretty independent of temperature. Available AMPERAGE is very much a function of temperature and those UV lights suck a lot of current.

NiCads go to about zero current below freezing. Alkalines to about 0F. Lithium to below -20F. LED lights (a low current use) will work fine above those limits. But SteriPen batteries need to be much warmer than those minimums. And warmer still when partially used.

The batteries can be warmed quicker when out of the unit.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: I get reliably 20 liters treated with one charge on 06/23/2013 09:26:07 MDT Print View

Manfred et al, does the packaging indicate what the Freedom's battery capacity is in mAh? One person on BPL thought it was ~ 750 but wasn't sure. I sent Steripen an email but not sure how long it will be until I get a response and was hoping you might know.

Sounds like it's extremely vulnerable in low temperatures. With its small size, I'm assuming that if I were to keep it in my shirt pocket that this would take care of the problem? I'm also concerned that it might not treat cold water. I've never measured the water temperature but I'm guessing that most of the streams I encounter in the Cascades will be <40*. In your experience, will this be a problem for me?

I'm currently using the Adventurer opti with no problems and love the system but I like the idea of having a rechargeable unit and one that will fit in a 32 oz gatorade bottle.

Ken,

My understanding is that all you have to do with the Freedom is just put it into the water and it will treat .5L of water. Repeat the process for 1L. Is there more to it than this?

v/r

Ian

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Has anyone used both the Classic and Freedom? on 06/23/2013 09:56:17 MDT Print View

Folks,

Has anyone used both the classic and Freedom, if so beside the weight and battery is there any differences with them.

On longer trips I carry an Anker battery pack so recharging it in the field will not be an issue.

Is it worth upgrading as I have a Classic or should I not bother.

Cheers,

Stephen

Edited by stephenm on 06/23/2013 09:56:56 MDT.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Has anyone used both the Classic and Freedom? on 06/23/2013 10:01:54 MDT Print View

Here's a link for comparison:

http://www.steripen.com/compare/

John Abela's take:

http://hikelighter.com/2013/02/25/steripen-ultra-the-new-heavier-steripen/

Edit: one thing to be careful of is that a couple of them (emergency and traveler) have 3000 use lamps vs the rest which have 8000 treatment lamps.

Edit to my edit: John has a nice article on the steripens but be aware that the Freedom is advertised to treat 20 liters (40 .5l) per charge. I think a rogue zero was added unless I'm missing something.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 06/23/2013 10:09:38 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: Has anyone used both the Classic and Freedom? on 06/23/2013 10:06:18 MDT Print View

Cheers Ian I did not spot the compare page on the website.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Pretty straight forward instructions on 06/23/2013 10:10:48 MDT Print View

While agree that user error is often a factor, that seems unlikely here. Aside from the standard precautions about using battery operated electronics in cold weather, there is really nothing complicated in the instructions. Immerse in water until the electrodes are submerged, stir for the full treatment duration, dry the unit when finished. That's it. The only thing that is odd in the manual is a paragraph stating that the unit can somehow sense that the bulb cover has been removed and then goes into an "activation" mode. If the water sensors are not immersed in water within 13 seconds of going into activation mode, the unit purportedly shuts off. I don't see what the practical result of this is since the unit behaves identically whether you wait 5 seconds or 20 seconds after removing the lamp cover to treat the water.

Ken Strayer
(TheRambler) - F
re: steripen user error on 06/23/2013 13:33:40 MDT Print View

Well you see , You don't simply put it in water and stir. As simple as it sounds, the most common user error is not pressing the activation button and THEN submersing it in water. If you submerse it in water and then press the button there is a high tendancy for it to fail the lamp fail indication. For whatever reason, myself included, make this mistake on occassion. Its simple to mess up if you dont do it frequently enough to remember. You have to press the button, wait for it to start flashing, and then submerge it.

Not saying this is neccesarily the case here, but it could be. Just something to keep in mind.

EDIT: Ok so i am a little wrong on this. I guess this only pertains to the other Steripens such as my adventurer, and not to the freedom. Figured they all worked the same but just checked the Freedom user guide and it indeed says to just remove the cap and submerge in water.

Edited by TheRambler on 06/23/2013 13:38:31 MDT.