I'm still reeling with shock as I type this, bandages in place. They say there's a first time for everything, and my first lithium battery explosion happened moments ago to a flashlight in my hand while operating. It was a new (to me) Pelican M6 with incan lamp assembly, just arrived as a purchase from BST. It came with batteries already installed, CR123 primaries, am almost certain were Battery Station brand. The light was operating continuously for about 20 minutes, and I picked it up to move to another part of my darkroom. I noticed the body of the light was warm, not hot to the touch. As I picked it up it I heard a hissing sound, looked down and saw a gray haze spewing out around the rubber tailcap button, this was follwed by a shockingly loud *BANG* like a large firework. Startled, I dropped the light to the ground. I wasnt wearing any socks or shoes, and seconds later there was a second explosion, the second battery letting go, that blew out the front lens and sent shards of glass into the heel of my foot, which bled profusely. I saw the second explosion produce a small jet of flame six inches out of the tailcap, shredding the rubber button. I kicked the light away by reflex, but the drama was over. The incan bulb is still intact, but the tailcap is shredded. Lens is history. My foot was bleeding quite badly, but stopped when pressure was applied. No charring of the exterior. I'm still shellshocked by the event. What is it about the Pelican M6? I love this light, have four of them. The rest are LED, never had any problems. I know of 2 other M6es, the most notorious is in the sticky thread in this section., that have met similar fates. Not at all trying to badmouth Pelican or Batt Station or scare anyone, but this caught me totally off guard.
Just thought I'd add this to the list of traumas. And a word to those fearing the vent with flame phenomenon: it is NO picnic. I NEVER expected this to happen with a STOCK lamp assembly and primaries! "Vent with flame": true to the words! There was a tremendous amount of pressure exiting the light, it was MUCH more velocity to the gas than you would see with a tea kettle on full boil for instance. I was really scared at the violent nature of the demise of the batteries. I still dont understand what went wrong. The light came shipped with those batteries and I presume the seller had included a matched pair of new ones, as he is a skilled modder and knows whats what.
Ironically I use a lot of rechargeable LiIons, sometimes unprotected cells with no bad incidents except a few dead cells from over-discharge. I always feared the vent with flame thing when I knew I was driving cells really hard but it never happened to me. Until now, with primary cells. I NEVER expected this to happen. Worst part is there was almost no warning, the hissing sound, the gray haze venting happened only seconds before the firecracker explosion. Thankfully no other injuries except the glass in my foot, which is not insignificant. This thing was LOUD! REALLY REALLY LOUD!!! The hissing/venting continued for about 10 seconds before the first explosion, I totally froze and stared at it, not able to process what was happening.
I'm still afraid to pick up the light. Its across the room from where I'm typing. I'm ninety nine percent sure its all spent, no further pyrotechnics to look forward to. I hope. There is a terrible smell along with it. Quite distinct, unlike anything I've known.
Just summoned some courage and dismantled the light. The batteries are stuck in the tube, but it came apart easily enough. Snapped some pics with the point and shoot, I'll post them here....
Got the batteries out, they indeed are Battery Station CR123. BTW, Jon: I hold you at no fault whatsoever, please dont feel bad about this.
Blood all over the place. All from the glass shooting into my foot. Tremendous energy behind that explosion. I am totally without words to explain how grateful I am injuries are limited to what they are.
I want to give a nod of thanks to Newbie and SilverFox and all those who contribute to the lithium ion battery safety threads. Maybe some of you can help me figure out what the cause of this may have been. Time for the budding forensics folks out there to contribute their hypotheses.
the batteries are totally WET, covered in charred paste
batteries still inside the tube, head end, head removed (trembling)
bottom of stock screw in incan lamp assembly, part that mates with top battery (+) terminal