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Light & Motion Sola Charging

A Guide to Light & Motion Sola Lights

The Light & Motion Sola has been a mainstay of underwater image-makers for years.  Clean and simple by design, compact and powerful, this line-up of focus and video lights is relied upon worldwide...Yet—ubiquitous as they are—there are a few features of Sola lights that may stump even the most seasoned user.  This article serves as a guide to demystify some of the quirks of the Sola, as well as provide care and maintenance tips for the longevity of your light.

Locking Modes: Toggle Switch Lock and Travel Lock Out Mode

The How:

As a Sola user, you're probably aware of the ability to "lock" your light by turning the power toggle switch 90˚.
But did you know your Sola has a secondary locking mechanism?  Travel Lock Out Mode is a safety feature incorporated into the design of all Light & Motion Sola Lights (with the exception of the Dive and Photo 500 and 800 models).

To put your Sola into Travel Lock Out Mode, simply press the power switch forward and hold for 5-7 seconds (starting while the light is off).  The indicator lights will flash red 4-5 times indicating that the light is now in Lock Out Mode.  While your Sola is "locked out" it will not power on, nor accept a charge.

Sola not taking a charge?  First order of business is to check if it's in Travel Lock Out Mode.

To resume normal function, once again hold the toggle switch forward for 5-7 seconds, this time looking for the indicator lights to flash green 3-4 times to confirm return to normal operation.

The Why:

Sola lights are designed for in-water use, and require being water-cooled to function properly and avoid overheating and damage.  Additionally, a light that is turned on accidentally will drain the battery, or worse, lead to overheating of both the light and its surroundings (think luggage compartment on an airplane—yikes!).  When transporting your Sola, always implement some form of lock.  We recommend toggle switch locking for shorts trips (from your hotel room to the dive site), and the Travel Lock Out Mode for longer haul transport.

Hibernation: Your Sola's Getting Very Sleepy...

The Why:

Many models of Sola lights are designed to go into hibernation mode after an extended period without being charged or used.  Reason being?  To protect the battery from draining fully, as a full discharge can cause permanent damage and may require battery replacement.  Good care and maintenance of Sola lights requires periodic use and charging (every 30-60 days)—hibernation mode is a safety precaution put in place by Light & Motion for those of us who may suffer extended surface intervals between dive trips!

The How:

Stay with us, here—this may sound unorthodox, but it usually does the trick.  Plug your Sola's charger into a power outlet.  With the charger powered, rapidly tap the charger's contacts against the contacts of the light body (about 5 seconds), then plug the charger into the Sola fully.  This action can initiate a power-surge that jump-starts the Sola's internal circuitry, waking it up from hibernation.  It may take several seconds for the Sola to wake up and respond, so be patient.  If successful, you will see the green "Charging" light pattern on the light body's indicator lights.

S.O.S.                                    · · · ——— · ··

Hopefully you will never need it, but all Light & Motion Solas feature an S.O.S. mode.  To initiate the S.O.S. sequence, hold the toggle switch back for about 4-5 seconds when the light is off.  The Morse Code flash pattern will then begin flashing from the light head.

Charging Contact Maintenance:

External charging contacts, while super convenient, are prone to corrosion over time via exposure to the elements (namely, saltwater).  For that reason, it's important to always give your Sola a thorough freshwater rinse post-dive.

The main culprit of corrosive action is charging your Sola while residual saltwater remains on the contacts—be sure to thoroughly dry your Sola's charging ports before plugging it in.

If your contacts do begin to develop a slight patina, plain white vinegar does wonders to help remove corrosive build-up.  For more stubborn corrosion, scrub the inside of the light's contacts with any of the following: small wire brush, fine-pointed eraser, or fine sandpaper.  Rinse again with vinegar, and follow up with a thorough freshwater rinse and dry.

If your charger is also showing signs of corrosion, you may clean its contacts using the same techniques—just remember to unplug it first!

LED Indicators:

Upon plugging a Sola charger into a power outlet, a green LED indicator light will illuminate.

When the charger is plugged into a Sola light, the charger's LED display will change to red to indicate that charging is in progress.  If the charger's LED does not turn red, check the contacts condition. As the Sola charges, flashing green, yellow or red (depending on how low the battery is discharged) lights on the light body indicate that charging is underway.  This will vary amongst models (left to right, right to left, and newer).

When charging is complete, the charger's LED with revert to green, and the light body's indicator lights will display as solid, rather than flashing green.*

*Newer circuit boards have been designed to be more energy-efficient, illuminating only the center indicator light green when charging is complete.