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Thread: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, firsthand account)

  1. #31
    Flashaholic* leukos's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)



    Wow! Glad it wasn't worse. Pelican's warranty service will probably give you a new light. Yeah, I wonder why this is happening with PM6's? I guess we all should use more caution on our multi-celled lights!
    Last edited by leukos; 06-07-2006 at 11:10 AM.
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  2. #32
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule,

    Thank God you are OK (for the most part)! That's the important thing for right now.

    A few thoughts, for what they are worth:

    As SilverFox notes, this was almost certainly due to one of the cells being near 0 percent capacity and the other near 100 percent. The short-circuit protection would not stop the reverse charging of the low cell, because the current being drawn through the circuit path was not high. Probably significantly lower than normal, actually.

    And, as noted, recently there have been problems with new cells being at a rather large spread of percent capacity, some pretty much at 0. Amondotech Titanium brand cells have had this problem as well. Probably there was some changeover of personel at the one (or two) factories in China that make these.

    As for the spring in the PM6 exerting too much pressure, that is highly unlikely.

    Ultimately, what we are seeing here, and what I am taking away from this, is that we CPFers need to get a ZTS style tester made for the type of draw rates we typically pull (1 to 2 amps), so that we can test all our 123's to ensure that they are a matched set. Because reverse charging a 123 will cause an explosion. If one or more cells are low and the other(s) are high, then the low one(s) will undergo polarity reversal and will then begin to be charged. This will cause hydrogen gas and other nastiness to be emitted, which will in turn cause an explosion.

    A very sobering thought indeed.

    As for Li-ion, the nice thing there is that if you charge the cells individually, then you KNOW for sure that you are dealing with a matched set. Plus, the most dangerous thing about Li-ion cells is overcharging them, and not so much short-circuiting them, as even "unprotected" li-ion cells have PTC protection.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  3. #33

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Glad you're ok LM, and thanks for the heads up.

    Batterystation, I salute your make-it-right attitude, even though it wasn't your fault in the slightest.


    Cheers!
    Got Biodiesel?

  4. #34
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Thank God you are not seriously hurt, by looking at the pictures things could have been much, much worse. Hope you heal fast from your wounds.

    Are you able to tell what batch were those batteries? Anyone? I have a good load of BS batteries, that I am checking for any signs of defect or low voltage. but would be interested in knowing if there is a bad batch number to look for.

    BTW Cheers to batterystation for being so upfront and responsible in taking care of the situation, that is real SERVICE and no bull...t like some other companies do.

    AlexGT

  5. #35

    Cool Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    glad ur alright... good thing you dropped it or... it wouldnt have been very pleasant.

    edit: I guess it is the combination of pm6s and batterstation batteries that is the issue.



    -David
    Last edited by cheapo; 06-07-2006 at 12:08 PM.

  6. #36
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    Ooo Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Just a quick note to let everyone know that ALL CPF orders of L-AA and CR123A batteries from right now on will be ZTS tested before they leave. So even if you do not own a tester, be assured they will be tested anyway. Yes all of them. The one in a million scares the crap out of me and yet we have had good batteries for three years now. We are also going to stock and sell the ZTS MBT-1 tester on our CPF page as well. I have them on order now.
    Again, I am VERY sorry this happened. I have many long nights testing every sort of battery we sell from the customer point of view. I really feel badly.

    I would like to sponsor a ZTS tester passaround. I emailed Silverfox about this and if someone would volunteer to be "in charge", all I need is an address of the first person for the passaround. I admit I don't have the ability to handle the operation of it but would be glad to get it started with someone.

    Kevin
    Last edited by batterystation; 06-07-2006 at 12:38 PM.
    USA Made CR123A $1.25, Surefire Lights, HDS Twisty Lights, Pelican, Streamlight, Tek-Tite + MORE http://www.batterystation.com/cpf.htm
    Kevin

  7. #37

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Good to here your ok Lunar. Get well!

    I do find it odd that the two blown up CR123 lights I have seen on here were/are M6s.

    Also, BatteryStation, very impressive, I think that's the way a business should be run. I know that if something I provide to my cleints is wrong or defective I fix it.

    I am also curious to find out what voltage range we should be looking for? Can I run 3.3 with 3.1 or only 3.3 with 3.3? I would think anything within say .5 volts would be ok.

    P.S. Anybody have like a guide to CR123 cells, with like a diagram of the inside of a cell, just curious.
    Gage a.k.a SRacer2000: SF E2e, SF L4, KX2 (Gen1) w/ McR-19 XR and UCL Lens, KL1 (Gen1), KL1 (Gen4) w/ McR-20 and Flat Lens, McE2S (22 Ohms) in Z52

  8. #38

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Glad you're OK Lunarmodule after that experience. After reading what happened with your light, it occured to me that I have a 3x123 KL3 on a UBH that hasn't been used or checked on for close to a year. Eventhough it's not a high draining light, I decided to check the batteries on a lark. First two batteries dead and only the tail-end one had a charge left. Self-discharge? Guess from now on I'll leave the batteries out until I need the light.

  9. #39

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Holy Crud!!! Add me to the list of "glad you are okay" folks!

    Regards,
    Scott.
    Scott N.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Hello SRacer,

    I don't think the open circuit matching will tell you what you need to know. What we need is a load test that subjects the cells to a variety of loads and reports the voltage at those loads.

    The ZTS tester loads the cells and reports the voltage as a % of full capacity. It can be very useful, but I think it could be improved by subjecting the cell to a higher load. The problem is that it would no longer be useful for its intended purpose. A high load would reduce the voltage and indicate that it does not have much life left in it.

    I have had several discussions with ZTS and it is possible to get a custom program developed for the ZTS. It is expensive, but it may be possible to get a group buy together to offset the cost. I am not sure what loads would work best, but it should be possible to come up with something.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  11. #41

    Smile Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule:

    Sorry to hear about your injuries. Hope you heal up quickly.

    I've been sticking with Surefire brand batteries, in my multiple cell flashlights, thinking that I'd be protected from an incident of this type. But now I guess I had better buy a tester. Up till now, I have been putting the off brand batteries in single cell flashlights only.

    Thanks for sharing with us, so we can all learn from your experience.

    oldgrandpajack

  12. #42
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    But now I guess I had better buy a tester.
    There is no evidence that one of these testers will be of any use. No one knows what is causing these 123 primary cells to "vent with flame"; it could just as well be that the strong spring on the Pelican is crushing some cells and causing an internal short.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Holy Crap Man! That's scary. I thought I was on the bleeding edge running unprotected 18650's in my ROP. Now I've gotta worry about primaries too? Dern!

    Glad you are relatively unscathed. If nothing else it is a wake up call for the rest of us. Sorry you had to be the one.

  14. #44

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Wow, Steve, glad you are allright!! What a scary thing to have happen, especially when you aren't pushing anything, and thus really off-guard.
    Sounds like no dancing for you for awhile and sorry you had to be the one to wake a few of us up! I sure never worried about primaries before this. Maybe some Kevlar and safety glasses for some of these crazy Mods we seem to love! Time to go print off some of the warning threads you mentioned.

    Hope you are feeling better, Steve. Sorry you "took one for the team."

    Mack

  15. #45
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    David Campen,

    No. Not true. We do have evidence that points the finger at mis-matched cells, (one used or as if used, the other new).

    A ZTS style tester would elminate that possibility. If you know that ALL of your cells are 80 percent or better, than there is no chance of polarity reversal and reverse charging (and thus explosion).

    The metal can of a primary 123 is way strong enough to withstand the pelican spring. I highly doubt that that is the issue, although, yes, an internal short would be very bad. However, an internal short occurence would not need to, and would not even be all that likely to coincide with running the light.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  16. #46
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    David Campen,

    No. Not true. We do have evidence that points the finger at mis-matched cells, (one used or as if used, the other new).
    Is that evidence posted here?

  17. #47
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    If one cell had gone to 0 and then started reverse charging wouldn't the light have dimmed to orange or no light at all? From Lunar's original report it doesn't seem like that happened.

    Greg
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  18. #48
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    It's even more scary to image what would have happened if the flashlight didn't have a rubber button to vent from. Pipe bomb?

    Glad you are okay.

    Greg
    My EDC: Chrome Draco.

  19. #49
    Flashaholic* WAVE_PARTICLE's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Holy Crap, Lunar....

    I'm glad this thing wasn't in your pocket..... This is hitting too close to home. It just seems that this keeps happening more to Lithium batteries and not as much for Lithium ion batteries. And ANOTHER PELICAN M6?!?!?!?

    This begs the question: IS THIS TECHNOLOGY SAFE?

    Even odds of 1 in one million is not acceptable. This is quite dissappointing to read, but I'm am thankful that you came out of this relatively intact.

    Maybe as a rule of thumb, whenever you get a light delivered to your door, throw out the batteries that are in it and put in fresh ones. Because you never know if the olds ones are good. Even if it was from a reputable person. Sometimes people can just grab any set of batteries they see on the table and throw them into a light before shipping out.

    I'm so glad this was not worse, my friend. Your story will help people recognize the early warning signs of trouble.....even if it is only seconds..

    WP

  20. #50
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Quote Originally Posted by batterystation
    I am very sorry this happened.
    ...
    I have spoken to people at several factories including domestic big names and they all have incidents similar to this. This is being caused by mixing batteries that are not exactly matched.
    ...
    Seems like idle speculation to me. What does "exactly matched mean". Can you specify a test that will determine if 2 cells are "exactly matched"?

  21. #51
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    And ANOTHER PELICAN M6?!?!?!?
    It seems that the Pelican M6 is the common denominator in these events. There are a lot of Surefires lights running 123 primary cells. Why haven't these "vent with flame" events been reported with Surefire lights?

  22. #52

    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    wow!!! that totally sucks!!! glad to hear that you are ok. are you going to send it to pelican and ask for a replacement?

  23. #53
    Flashaholic* metalhed's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    I know this is a strong statement, but whatever...


    If these events are limited to a specific brand or make of light, the manufacturer should test said lights until failures are reproduced, and then implement design changes to prevent future occurances. Mind you I said if...but, at this point I believe the evidence suggests a problem with the PM6. Unless of course other examples of this kind of catastrophic failure has been seen in other lights.

    Surefire has many lights with multiple-cell 123 configurations...any reports of this type of failure in those lights?


    If, in fact, the failures are not related to a specific design feature in flashlights, then the cells themselves are, IMHO, a defective product.

    I don't mean any individual brand...but instead primary CR123 cells themselves.

    Unless these types of failures are common to other primary cells (AA, D, C, etc.) and I'm not aware of it, these cells are not safe for untrained individuals to use.

    I mean come on now...how many average joes even think about this problem? Think a cop or soldier has the time to 'match' cells? I don't think so.

    What happens when one of these goes off on a nightstand or other spot close to a person's head or face? Do we have a death instead of a bloody foot? (sorry LM, I'm not trying to minimize your pain any )


    I'm starting to believe there is a much larger issue here than we think.

  24. #54
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    If, in fact, the failures are not related to a specific design feature in flashlights, then the cells themselves are, IMHO, a defective product.

    I don't mean any individual brand...but instead primary CR123 cells themselves.

    Unless these types of failures are common to other primary cells (AA, D, C, etc.) and I'm not aware of it, these cells are not safe for untrained individuals to use.

    I mean come on now...how many average joes even think about this problem? Think a cop or soldier has the time to 'match' cells? I don't think so.
    My thoughts, exactly.

  25. #55
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    *Points at other topic with exploded M6*
    Last edited by Navck; 06-07-2006 at 02:01 PM.

  26. #56
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Has anyone checked the light assembly spring on the pelican to see if the diameter is just the correct size to cause a short between the + top and the - sleeve? I am thinking that maybe that is the cause of the problem, when you screw the battery cap all the way in maybe the battery gets squished just right into the 2 springs to cause a short on 1 cell, overheat, vent and then take out the 2nd battery.

    AlexGT
    Last edited by AlexGT; 06-07-2006 at 02:06 PM.

  27. #57
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Edit:
    Last edited by David_Campen; 06-07-2006 at 02:03 PM.

  28. #58
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Sorry about that, didn't read Kevin's post since I'm the world's slowest computer right now ( ). However, I would like to point everyone to the older thread with ANOTHER exploded M6 as well.

  29. #59
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    quite a few of us bought defective 18650`s a few months ago that were supposed to be protected.

    still waiting for replacements.

    glad your OK Lunarmodule.

    regards.
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  30. #60
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule, can you measure the diameter of the + top on the battery that was in contact with the bulb spring and the inside diameter of the bulb spring, I think that there is where the short originated.

    AlexGT

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