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Thread: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

  1. #61

    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    No-load voltage would tell you very little. Measuring "flash amps" - checking the available amps using a multi-meter - would be useful. As for how close, no one knows, but obviously the closer the better.
    Quote Originally Posted by lowatts View Post
    I wonder if matching new cells by no load voltage would eliminate this risk, and if so, how close they have to match?
    The shadows are darkest during the day.

  2. #62
    Flashaholic Barefootone's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
    My hypothesis still is that these events happen near the end of the batteries' lifetime (Question to Barefootone: How old were the batteries? Could they have been near the end of their lifetime?), and that there's a high demand of current from the load during this time.

    In the case of Incans, this high current demand stems from the lower resistance of the metal filament when cooling down during dimming.

    Now, as I understand this, in both cases when such an event happened with an LED light, it was a REGULATED light. The problem here is that the regulator demands more current towards the end of the battery runtime to keep the power to the LED up.

    Still, I think in order for the battery to 'vent with flame' a lot of things must come together. Such as, you need a slightly pre-damaged cell. And a regulator whose cut-off point is too far (all circuitry has some variability -- even if a circuit design is safe and sound, two real circuits based on that design might have slightly different characteristics).

    Maybe part of the problem is our preference for flat regulation with LOOONG runtime?

    Re: HF. Yes, that's a bad chemical to work with. But there's no need to get paranoid over the HF coming from damaged CR123As. First off, not all CR123A chemistries contain F that can form HF. Second, the amount of HF that can form from a cell that contains F is fairly low.
    Hi Elgarak,
    To answer your question of how old the battery's were. I'm not sure how long the BS battery's were in the Aleph 1. I can tell you that the battery's were matched since they were from the same date code stamped on the bottom of both battery's. I had been using the Aleph 1 on a number of occasions on different days leading up to the failure with no indication of trouble.
    I've had a conversation with Kevin Falkner at Battery Station and I will relay this information in another post to this thread.
    Jeff
    ~ I've lived to see another sunrise ~
    ><(((•>
    ~ To love and be loved there is nothing else ~

  3. #63
    Flashaholic Barefootone's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Hello All,
    Well since the demise of my Aleph 1 I've had an education about CR123A batteries from all the posts to this thread and from Kevin at Battery Station.
    Kevin and I had a conversation on the phone today and he was most gracious. Kevin told me that they are well aware of the problems with CR123A batteries and not just their batteries, but with other brands including SureFires.
    First off, Kevin told me that the intended use of CR123A batteries is for cameras which I knew, especially since I have a camera that uses them. I don't know this for a fact, and this is pure speculation on my part, but the use of CR123A batteries in flashlights and other equipment may have came along when designers found the usefulness of the size of the CR123A plus the 3 volt power source . Kevin told me that the BS CR123A batteries have been redesigned with a new electrolyte and it has a lower power level. Also the internal parts of the BS CR123A have been changed to stainless steel instead of aluminum which will burn. The battery manufactures are all grappling with this serious problem.
    As for me my eyes have been opened and then some and I will proceed with the use of CR123A batteries with respect and due dilligence with regard to their use.
    Jeff
    ~ I've lived to see another sunrise ~
    ><(((•>
    ~ To love and be loved there is nothing else ~

  4. #64

    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Hi guys,
    I too have recieved communications from Kevin at Battery Station and he has offered to pick up the expense of getting Jeff the new components required to get the light operational. He also mentioned to me that the chemistry and composition of these batteries is changing as Jeff has already commented. He told me that the new designs will result in batteries that don't have the power levels of the previous batteries. For the sake of safety, I personally consider this a price worthy of payment. With the newer and more efficient LED's, actual performance and run times need not suffer as the LED's can perform to yesterday's levels of performance at lower drive and power requirements than yesterday.

    Kevin is a stand up guy and backs his product all the way. I have already commited to picking up the tab on Jeff's components and I thanked Kevin for his offer but passed on taking him up on it.

    Knowing Wayne and Cindy, it may be very difficult getting them to even give me a bill in the first place!

    Fortunately, no one was hurt here and we all have had an additional wake up call!!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  5. #65

    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    That's the attitude we need to get into people's heads. CR123As don't need to be feared, but they do need to be respected. We tend to become blasé about anything we use all the time. Try holding a match to rubber cement some time. They don't write EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE on the label because they're bored. I'm just glad that this turned out to be a painless incident.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barefootone View Post
    As for me my eyes have been opened and then some and I will proceed with the use of CR123A batteries with respect and due dilligence with regard to their use.
    The shadows are darkest during the day.

  6. #66

    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    FWIW, and without any intention of claiming that this is the cause of the Aleph incident in question here, I share the following anecdotes:

    Ever since reading Newbie's results, I have been testing every battery on a ZTS from Lighthound to be sure it had the charge I expected. I have been VERY careful with multi-cell lights, and only use batteries that show 100%. I run batteries in multi-cell lights down to only about halfway, at which point they go into single cell lights.

    Maybe a year ago, I ordered one batch of 36 Battery Station batteries, and they ranged from 40% to 100% on my voltage meter when new! Doing the math there puts you into a possible danger zone less than halfway through the anticipated cycle. Needless to say, this is the last time I tried to save money on batteries. Cheap brakes and tires, anyone?

    [Insert comment: I am pleased to see that Battery Station has responded to the problems with changes in the design of their CR123A. I think I will respond to this positive news by giving their new product a chance and ordering a test batch. Personally, I wish them all success with a positive rollout of an improved product, and am impressed with this responsiveness.]

    I have checked over 100 new SureFire batteries and every single one has read 100%. No exceptions. I check each battery at least 3 times and sort them into boxes by percentage (I sort used ones from the multi-cell lights too). The meter varies widely in what it reports, so I keep checking until I get a few consistent readings in a row.

    This raises something of a gray area for me. If I buy off-brand batteries, do not check them, get mixed voltages in a pair of new batteries, and have a reverse charging incident, is it user error? Ostensibly not, but it's arguably a case a dedicated user can avoid. Should this trouble be necessary? Definitely not. My experience has led me to have a high degree of faith in SureFire batteries, but do I trust their track record enough to stop checking? No.

    The one thing these anecdotes of mine can conclusively add to this thread is that relying on batch numbers to conclude that they were "matching cells" is a fallacy.

    I think these lights and batteries are safe the way we use them. But I don't intend to be the 1% (or probably much, much less) who has a problem if there is anything I can do to minimize my risk. Safety first!
    Trees don't grow on money either.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
    In the case of Incans, this high current demand stems from the lower resistance of the metal filament when cooling down during dimming.

    Now, as I understand this, in both cases when such an event happened with an LED light, it was a REGULATED light. The problem here is that the regulator demands more current towards the end of the battery runtime to keep the power to the LED up.

    Still, I think in order for the battery to 'vent with flame' a lot of things must come together. Such as, you need a slightly pre-damaged cell. And a regulator whose cut-off point is too far (all circuitry has some variability -- even if a circuit design is safe and sound, two real circuits based on that design might have slightly different characteristics).

    Maybe part of the problem is our preference for flat regulation with LOOONG runtime?
    That's my thinking too. High current draw is definitely involved here, both when fresh and when the weak cell starts to go under.

    So, what is the nominal (fresh) current draw where risk becomes significant? 1C? We have no incidences involving L4's so far (the LuxV is underdriven in these lights, so I'd expect the fresh current to be around 1C with these, and they drop out of regulation fairly quickly -- they don't try to suck cells down to nothing), yet here is an Aleph LuxV going off, which is an L4 on steroids. Does anyone know the maximum current that goes into the regulators on these lights just before they fall out of regulation?

    The two factors to look for here would be: current draw when new, and loading characteristics as cells drain. A light with over 1C draw on multiple cells when fresh that *increases* load as cells die, for whatever reason = danger!

    It might be handy to hook these lights up to bench power supplies set to the voltage of fresh cells, then graph current draw as the voltage is incrementally dropped to simulate cell drain.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Souptree, that is an excellent post - thanks.

    The comments by BatteryStation are completely inadequate, IMO. We all know CR123As were originally intended for photographic purposes, and sustained high-current usage was not originally envisaged. The point is, however, use of these batteries in flashlights and other applications is now common. Companies like Surefire have reacted accordingly, by making sure their specs and quality control are much tighter.

    Companies with good QC don't get this many failures, and it is no good BS or others ducking behind the excuse that "These cells aren't really supposed to be used like this." Good grief, it is what they are selling them for! It is 100% up to them to make sure their products are fit for purpose.

    Now I suppose I’d better go and put on an asbestos suit and take cover.

    Resistance is futile...

  9. #69
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Has there even been any reports of a SF 123a cell venting like this? I can't remember reading of one...so it seems they have a great track record with this type of cell....which comes back to doing the quality control.

    Another question that seems a better solution, given the number of these being used is if there can be a saphion type development for disposable cells....or maybe start making more lights that can use those type of safe Lithium chemistry rechargeable voltages and sizes. The rechargeables also have a reasonably long shelf and stable voltage...not like disposables, but the tradeoff on safe chemistry and less battery pollution seems to make sense.

  10. #70
    Flashaholic lucio's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    can things like this happens without any warnings, even without any flickerings?
    in lights where flickering is normal at the end of the battery life span that would happen anyway with no advice

  11. #71
    Flashaholic Barefootone's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by souptree View Post
    FWIW, and without any intention of claiming that this is the cause of the Aleph incident in question here, I share the following anecdotes:

    Ever since reading Newbie's results, I have been testing every battery on a ZTS from Lighthound to be sure it had the charge I expected. I have been VERY careful with multi-cell lights, and only use batteries that show 100%. I run batteries in multi-cell lights down to only about halfway, at which point they go into single cell lights.

    Maybe a year ago, I ordered one batch of 36 Battery Station batteries, and they ranged from 40% to 100% on my voltage meter when new! Doing the math there puts you into a possible danger zone less than halfway through the anticipated cycle. Needless to say, this is the last time I tried to save money on batteries. Cheap brakes and tires, anyone?

    [Insert comment: I am pleased to see that Battery Station has responded to the problems with changes in the design of their CR123A. I think I will respond to this positive news by giving their new product a chance and ordering a test batch. Personally, I wish them all success with a positive rollout of an improved product, and am impressed with this responsiveness.]

    I have checked over 100 new SureFire batteries and every single one has read 100%. No exceptions. I check each battery at least 3 times and sort them into boxes by percentage (I sort used ones from the multi-cell lights too). The meter varies widely in what it reports, so I keep checking until I get a few consistent readings in a row.

    This raises something of a gray area for me. If I buy off-brand batteries, do not check them, get mixed voltages in a pair of new batteries, and have a reverse charging incident, is it user error? Ostensibly not, but it's arguably a case a dedicated user can avoid. Should this trouble be necessary? Definitely not. My experience has led me to have a high degree of faith in SureFire batteries, but do I trust their track record enough to stop checking? No.

    The one thing these anecdotes of mine can conclusively add to this thread is that relying on batch numbers to conclude that they were "matching cells" is a fallacy.

    I think these lights and batteries are safe the way we use them. But I don't intend to be the 1% (or probably much, much less) who has a problem if there is anything I can do to minimize my risk. Safety first!
    Souptree,
    Very good dissertation, much can be learned from comments like yours.
    As I said in this thread earlier and I quote myself "As for me my eyes have been opened and then some and I will proceed with the use of CR123A batteries with respect and due diligence with regard to their use".
    I for one will be purchasing a ZTS Mini-MBT battery tester and all my CR123A's will be put to task. As a matter of fact I talked to ZTS today on the phone and they offer CPF members a 10% discount (Coupon code 301105). I'm also going to stay away from battery's made across the pond.
    To my way of thinking to protect ourselves a battery tester can probably save a catastrophe in the making for any CR123A user. At least provide us with some margin of safety with each cell's power level so you can match a pair to put into a 2x123 light or a larger cell light. Also as it's been mentioned by others to use the lock out mode on our lights to disable them and take the battery's completely out if the light is on the shelf for storage.
    I feel like I've been , but I guess it was time for me to vent instead of a CR123A venting it's fire on me and I thank God for not being hurt believe me it was a close one .
    Jeff
    ~ I've lived to see another sunrise ~
    ><(((•>
    ~ To love and be loved there is nothing else ~

  12. #72
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    Default Re: My Aleph 1 Exploded and cought on fire.

    I don't use enough CR123s in a year. SF batts it is.

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