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

  1. #91
    Flashaholic* Nyctophiliac's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Just another thought, for those really worried - If we remove the O-ring from the tailcap when no chance of getting the torch wet seems likely - then that may vent enough gas to stop explosions?

    Depends on the thickness of the threads I suppose and runs the risk of moisture entry which may also cause a short etc...!

    Sorry, probably not a good idea.

    Very worried here...have to rethink the whole thing!

  2. #92
    Flashaholic* milkyspit's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Guys, I just want to mention that I wasn't trying to malign Pelican or anyone else... was only trying to make some sense of what might have happened. I do think the PM6 units shipped with those stiff tailsprings are probably not the kindest lights in the world on 123 cells, as far as the physical stresses imposed on the cells... but others here are right, too, in stating that there certainly are other lights that have experienced similar problems. Like I said... just trying to make some sense of the cause! When something like this happens, I instinctively want to know why... maybe it's the engineer in me.
    --Scott

  3. #93
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Browning, Dorcy and Galls issued recalls over the last two years for their lights that shipped with overseas produced CR-123 cells:

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml03/03195.html

    http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml04/04075.html

    http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml04/04067.html


    From my perspective, this is a cell issue, not a light issue.

    There are millions of these cells in use, and a very small amount of reported failures. These failures have come from overseas produced cells.

    -dan
    Last edited by dano; 06-07-2006 at 04:56 PM.
    There's more to a light than its output.

    CPF Member 13...

  4. #94
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Just some more conjecture from the cheap seats -
    - It is interesting that the light and cells were installed and transported recently. Various industries have quite extensive testing to "replicate" shipping vibration to various locations, and it is not a subtle test. It involves extensive shock and vibration. Many items are known to have been redesigned or specially packaged to deal with the results.
    - The combination of a stiff spring and shipping vibration "could" be a factor or co factors.

    Not directly related, but similar to above suggestions, I designed the seal on my project light to "vent" both passively and actively, mostly because of my fear of R Li Ion cells. Still, every time this happens, it makes one wonder if there is something else that can be done to reduce the stress on the cells. (while at the same time of course, wanting a brighter, smaller light)

    Seconding some other comments, it is possible that your cuts contain items other than glass. If they contain stainless steel for example, infection is common and needs to be treated. If they contain chemicals from the cells, you "might" get some relief by neutralizing it with a mild acidic solution (like soda pop or dilute vinegar.)
    Homebuilts - "BREEZE" RCR2 sidexside, "Tornado" 4 x 18650 side x side, Streamlight SL20x LED module (Custom BST Feeler Thread)

  5. #95
    Flashaholic* MSaxatilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunar,

    Man that really sucks! So sorry to hear about your incident. I hope everything is well and please take care of your self.

    Horrific story. Scary as hell!

    MSax

  6. #96
    Flashaholic OldGreyGuy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Get well soon lunarmodule, cheers to Batterystation for their response.

    I think I'm going to have to make a slight variation to my "only two flashlights" rule to make it a "only two single cell flashlights" rule, although I note that I had subconciously done this already.
    I'm not a flashaholic, flashaholics go to meetings!

  7. #97
    Flashaholic* nakahoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lm, As everyone is saying, thank god your allright. I dont wish this to happen to anyone, and its very scary that this could happen when not pushing your lights to any uncertain levels. I am, in a way, glad that the person this happend to is a very dedicated member to the forum, and that you were able to tell us, and show us your story. If this story helps 1 person, its worth you telling it. I hope this doesnt have to happen again, but if it does, maybe it will happen to someone reading this post, and hopefully they will chuck that instant grenade mod as far away as possible.
    Also, people saying that they are going to take all their batteries out of their lights, that might create a situation of more loose batteries that have been used, and harder to keep track, especially those with multiple 2 cell light. Hope your foot heals Quick, and i hope you get a responce from pelican. It would be nice if they diddnt try to protect their image, but try to protect the customer.
    Hopefully they will do as BatteryStation did.

    -bobby

  8. #98
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    I got home and just read this thread. First, glad the damages weren't worse, and hope Lunarmodule's heel heals rapidly!

    Before reaching Bernie's post I too had the question of whether the light could still be on with one of the cells being "reverse charged?" Will 3V light a PM lamp at all? (I don't have one to try.)

    Hydrogen explosion? Hydrogen requires oxygen to burn/explode. There is only a few CCs of air inside the sealed light, and only ~22% of that is O2. As I recall, after a small confined H2-O2 "event," the resulting water vapor rapidly cools resulting in a partial vacuum in the container.

    I have witnessed several "vent with flame" events under "controlled" conditions- think BBQ coals + dead cells + safe distance + door window between me and them. The "vent with flame" seems to me to be way too violent to be the result of being fed with atmospheric oxygen!! Think oxy-whatever blow torch, and it roars. I had one go bang as it blew the front crimp, and then "blowtorched."

    Our O-ring sealed, aluminum lights would indeed make "pipe bombs" if filled with match heads or gunpowder! When ignited, the pressure will rise until something mechanically fails, like the switch, tail cap threads or the window. Fortunately, aluminum is pretty ductile and unlikely to throw shrapnel like a grenade! (Cast Iron CR2, anyone? )

    Hopefully, we will get some science behind these incidents so we can better understand the real risks and mitigations! Providing vents is all good and well for preventing the launching of projectiles, but the flame is also going to exit that vent, and I hope it isn't in my front pants pocket when it does!

    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  9. #99

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

    I donít know how anybody could tell if it was the batteries or the flashlight. I think a specialist would have to see the light first hand. Maybe you could trade the wreckage to Batterystation or Pelican for a new flashlight. I would think they would want to know what happened, even if they were not the one at fault.

    Get well soon.

  10. #100

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

    The Pm6 is not at fault, it is the batteries... BUT, the fact of the matter is that the Pm6 cannot take defective cells as well as other lights can.

    -David

  11. #101
    Flashaholic* Coop's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Scary stuff LM... Glad you're ok!
    ... Never underestimate the power of human stupidity ...

  12. #102
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    WOW Steven... glad you're okay!!! Your package shipped out this morning. Hope you enjoy it more than that PM-6
    McCree XR-19C | Ti PD UVIJ | PD-UX1K | 27LT X-Cree Mod | Ti- ExoLion #14 | Aleph 3 WWOT | Milkyspit L1 | TnC: HyperLux V's, KeyLux N-Cell/AAA's | Orb RAW U-bin | Space Needle II Clone's | Surefire: 622, Nice and Green L2 Hotwires: HA-III Mag11 | Cmaccel Finned HA-III ROP 550/1300

  13. #103
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    LM -

    I too am glad to hear you're OK.
    Definitely get your foot treated.

    Thanks for posting this. To me it is a sobering reminder that we all need to be careful with whatever battery types we use.

  14. #104
    Flashaholic* Delvance's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule, i'm glad you're ok and the damage is temporary. Get well soon and if anything feels funny, go to a doctor for a checkup.

  15. #105

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexGT
    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
    I think this is certainly worth investigating. As was pointed out earlier, if one cell had been faulty and discharged more rapidly than the other leading to "reverse charging", the light would have dimmed noticeably. (This actually happened in my 7AA-in-Mag2D ROP when a defective AA cell fell to 1.0V when the others were all at 1.3V).
    Last edited by lexina; 06-07-2006 at 09:01 PM.

  16. #106

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

    man this thread is the scareist thing ive read in a while.i realy had no idea lituims could do that .wierd how ya learn something like that
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  17. #107
    *Flashaholic* Icebreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule -

    Thanks for the warning thread. My sympathy for your experiencing this injury and pain. Hopefully you've flushed out the wounds. As has been noted there was probably some toxic stuff delivered with the glass shard projectiles.

    Larry -

    I put on some work gloves, a jacket and some safety glasses.

    I fetched my black PM6 with stndrd tailcap that has been used a little and has Battery Station cells that are about two years old in it.

    I did not measure the voltage of the batteries.

    I removed one of the two Battery Station batteries and replaced it with a dummy.

    I replaced the tailcap and screwed it on until the lamp lit.

    Surprisingly it was not orange at all. It was white. However it was emitting about half the light it would with 2 cells. I let it run for about 7 seconds.

    I measured the voltage on the cell that was used in the test and got 2.94V. I measured the other cell and got 3.03V.

    I reloaded both cells and ran the light for 12 seconds. I removed the cells. The one used in the dummy test is now 2.90V and climbing (reconstituting itself). The cell not used in the dummy test is now 2.92V and climbing.

    It's as if one cell has "borrowed" some voltage from the other considering that they were .09V apart after the dummy test and now are only .02V apart. More likely the second use just caused them to recover similarly.

    For a control, I fetched my focusable PM6 with stndrd tailcap and measured the cells. This light has been used less than the other has but also has two-year-old Battery Station cells in it. They measured 3.12V and 3.14V. I ran that light for about 20 seconds. Those cells now measure 2.94V and 2.96V and climbing.

    I was a surprised that one cell produced a white light albeit not nearly as dense as two cells produce. I'm not sure this was of any help because a cell experiencing reverse polarity may not conduct as well as a dummy cell. I don't know.

    Here's a long shot possibility:

    As Bill W. mentioned, we are driving these cells quite hard, much harder than the cameras they were originally designed for. After driving them hard they reconstitute (voltage recovery). A whole chemical process takes place that I won't attempt to explain (because I couldn't).

    What if we have two CR123 cells that both measure 3.28V out of the box. We install these cells in a flashlight and use (abuse) them. One of the cells is flawed in its chemical equilibrium and doesn't reconstitute nearly as well as his roommate. We use the light again and the resulting reconstitution differential becomes more pronounced. This pattern continues through subsequent usages until one time when we use the light the flawed cell freaks out and his roommate, trying to do the job of both cells, reverses the former cell's polarity causing him to experience a fiery end of life event. His roommate cannot escape and blows his top also.
    The oldtimers are forever bound to the universe of flashlights. They reside just above the torch lit stratosphere where the good photons pass by. As these oldtimers locomote on their appointed ways, occasionally an unusual glimmer from below catches their attention.

    They may give a nod or a word.

  18. #108
    Flashaholic* NAW's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    I know this ain't going to be the last when batteries fail miserably. For those who own cr123 batteries, good luck (including myself)!

    Hope the pain is less intense for you now Lunarmodule.

  19. #109
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Kevin (BatteryStation) asked me to post a thread about passing around a ZTS tester so everyone can check their cells to make sure they are good.

    I will start something in the pass around section. If you are interested, check there.

    Kevin will send the tester to the first person, and they will be responsible for passing it on to the next person and so on.

    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...

  20. #110

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

    I seem to recall that hydrofluoric acid could be one of the decomposition products of a venting lithium battery. Can anyone confirm? Hydrofluoric acid is nasty stuff and can result in delayed injury as the fluorine migrates into the body. If there's any chance you came into contact with it (like on your foot?), I'd seek medical attention and alert them that you may have been exposed to hydrofluoric acid.

    http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic804.htm

  21. #111

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiessling
    Hans ... we *do have* a Li-Ion safety sticky ... ... but we're talking primary cells here.
    I know ... I got the terms mixed up, what I wanted to suggest is a sticky on the safety issues involving primary cells as well.

    Sorry about that.

    Hans

  22. #112
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    That's some crazy stuff man! Glad to see that you weren't too seriously hurt
    in that incident. Take care and have a quick recovery!

  23. #113

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nubo
    I seem to recall that hydrofluoric acid could be one of the decomposition products of a venting lithium battery.
    Correct. Lithium manganese dioxide cells can produce hydrofluoric acid. See Duracell's MSDS for their LiMnO2 cells:

    http://www.duracell.com/oem/Safety/pdf/2031_4.pdf


    In the event of skin exposure to a leaking battery:

    If battery is leaking, irrigate exposed skin with copious amounts of clear, tepid water for at least 15 minutes. If irritation, injury or pain persists, consult a physician.

  24. #114
    *Flashaholic* mdocod's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    so as a result of this thread- I decided to test some cells that are in my Nuwai luxV light (3x123)... I noticed it dimming a bit in usage tonight- so I was curious as to how equalized the cells were....

    results:
    cell1: 2.73V
    cell2: 2.73V
    cell3: 2.76V

    this is open cicruit testing of voltage... obviously- these are pretty close to dead anyways(had a lot of use on them in an incan before transfer to LED light)... but I did some more testing...
    cell1: ~3.5A
    cell2: ~0.7A
    cell3: ~3.7A
    these tests were conducted into a short accross the DMMs current measuring....

    funny how all 3 cells could be at about the same voltage, but 1 of them, is significantly underperforming... I am going to toss all 3 of these cells and test some more to use...

    I have noticed similar phenonemon when testing brand new cells from various distributors... some of them will dump a 10A load no problem for a second, others will only do 2 amps.... that is a major variance in cell performance for "new" cells and has me worried...

  25. #115
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    I have seen the batteries in question in this thread referred to as:

    CR123
    R123
    123
    CR123A

    And possibly other labels. As someone who is not familiar with these batteries, are all of the above names referring to the same thing, or are there differences between them? If they are the same thing, why all the different names, it's sort of confusing?

  26. #116
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Lunarmodule, glad you are on the mend from this scary event, it's a real wakeup call to the rest of us! I'm really happy the injuries were relatively minor. Thanks Kevin for your quick response, too!

    daloosh

  27. #117
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    WOW.... just found this thread.

    sure sorry to hear this happened, glad your injuries was not worst...

  28. #118
    Flashaholic Rando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    Let's face it. The problem IS with the Pelican M6. It is a dangerous, unsafe light. There can be no other explanation. These lights need to be gone over and completely redesigned with safety in mind.



    For those wishing to get rid of their dangerous M6, PM me for my mailing address.




    In all seriousness though, Lunar, let me add my name to the list of well wishers.

    Batterystation, I'll be buying my next (and all subsequent) shipment of lithium cells from you. I really do respect a business that steps up to take care of a problem.

  29. #119
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, underwear change required)

    LM : Wish you well. Sorry to hear these kind of rare accident happening to one of us here.


    mdocod : Comparing voltage is not a foolproof way to match cells as shown from your test. Even batteries from the same batch will have different internal resistance due to production tolerance or various reasons. With different internal resistances, they will perform differently even when under the same discharge conditions. I match my cells by comparing voltage and internal resistance. They'll have to be within a certain range before I 'll use them in pairs/series. Cells match this way will behave with more consistency and more predictable.










    Quote Originally Posted by mdocod
    so as a result of this thread- I decided to test some cells that are in my Nuwai luxV light (3x123)... I noticed it dimming a bit in usage tonight- so I was curious as to how equalized the cells were....

    results:
    cell1: 2.73V
    cell2: 2.73V
    cell3: 2.76V

    this is open cicruit testing of voltage... obviously- these are pretty close to dead anyways(had a lot of use on them in an incan before transfer to LED light)... but I did some more testing...
    cell1: ~3.5A
    cell2: ~0.7A
    cell3: ~3.7A
    these tests were conducted into a short accross the DMMs current measuring....

    funny how all 3 cells could be at about the same voltage, but 1 of them, is significantly underperforming... I am going to toss all 3 of these cells and test some more to use...

    I have noticed similar phenonemon when testing brand new cells from various distributors... some of them will dump a 10A load no problem for a second, others will only do 2 amps.... that is a major variance in cell performance for "new" cells and has me worried...

  30. #120

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

    The full name is CR123A. The first thing to go when typing that is often the A, with the CR next in line. R123 usually refers to rechargeable lithium-ion cells which are a different chemistry from the lithium disposables. I normally abbreviate them 123A, saving R123 and RCR123 for unprotected and protected li-ion respectively.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lightmeup
    I have seen the batteries in question in this thread referred to as:

    CR123
    R123
    123
    CR123A

    And possibly other labels. As someone who is not familiar with these batteries, are all of the above names referring to the same thing, or are there differences between them?
    The shadows are darkest during the day.

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