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Thread: Best battery chemistry for cold temperatures

  1. #1

    Default Best battery chemistry for cold temperatures

    I have TK20 and L2D that will be left in a non-garaged cars in upstate NY. Temperature goes to -10F (-23C), sometimes hits -20F (-29C).

    I did a search on this board and found the following thread:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=200591
    Is the information contained in this thread is still curent/correct?

    Energizer e2 lithium AA L91 -40C to 60C
    Sanyo Eneloop AA - Discharge - 0 - 50 degC
    Alk Energizer E91 AA -18C to 55C (0F to 130F)

    Should I leave Eneloops & 2700 AA usage to warmer months and pick up e2 for the in-car flashlights?

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    For below 0F, Energizer L91's are the best (only) choice.

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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    The Energizer Lithiums not only survive extreme temperature differences best, but they also last longest when stored/not in use. Alkalines aren't known for storage longevity, and Eneloops' self-discharge rate climbs parallel to ambient temperatures. A lithium battery in ideal conditions will last 15 years; in alternating extreme conditions it will easily outlast the average length of ownership of a car..

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    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    One thing I should point out is that Eneloops will handle storage at that temperature just fine. But if you need to use the light at that temperature, you will get poor performance.

    L91's are best all around because they can be used and stored year round, from very cold to very hot.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Best prices for Energizer e2 Lithium (aka L91) are at Sam's Club, followed by Fry's - go to their Camera section, not their Battery section, batteries (exact same brand and type and expiry dates) are cheaper at the Camera section and then followed by Walmart.

    Don't buy from anywhere else as these are expensive (by my standards) everywhere else.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Thanks for the answers!

  7. #7

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    I don't get the walmart recommendations for batteries all the time, around here they are the most expensive place to buy batteries (most expensive for groceries but thats another thread). Sams will be the cheapest, then all the decent stores, then walmart and radio shack.

    I've found eneloops to be acceptable at low temperatures, though we don't have sustained below zero, usually just a few days at a time, they may be worth testing out and see how they work for you. As someone said the self discharge parallels temperature, hot temps in the summer they discharge faster but winter they slow down.

  8. #8

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Can somebody point me to the battery testing procedures? I may put some eneloops in a freezer for a while just to test them.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    I don't get the walmart recommendations for batteries all the time, around here they are the most expensive place to buy batteries (most expensive for groceries but thats another thread). Sams will be the cheapest, then all the decent stores, then walmart and radio shack.

    Depends where you are I guess. I find the most expensive Energizer e2 Lithium (L91) batteries are from groceries and CircuitCity.

    Fry's Camera section's battery prices are pretty goor $12.99 for a pack of 8 Energizer e2 Lithiums, very close to Sam's Club prices by only 50 cents if you do the calculations.
    EZCR2;D10;6PL;FENIX T1,P3D,P2D,L2D,L1D,L0D,LD10;PTApex;ZebraL H30;RR K2 3AA hlight;RR Nightfire 2C;Xponent 1xCR2 hlight;MyoXP;Xponent 4AA hlight;6AA & 9AA M*g Hotwire;2D MagLED Lux;4D MagLED NiteIze;3D MagLED Rebel

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    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by ltiu View Post
    Depends where you are I guess. I find the most expensive Energizer e2 Lithium (L91) batteries are from groceries and CircuitCity.

    Fry's Camera section's battery prices are pretty goor $12.99 for a pack of 8 Energizer e2 Lithiums, very close to Sam's Club prices by only 50 cents if you do the calculations.
    That's actually better than Sam's Club prices. $1.62 vs $1.67. Maybe the "50 cents" was a typo and should be "5 cents"?

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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Marduke View Post
    That's actually better than Sam's Club prices. $1.62 vs $1.67. Maybe the "50 cents" was a typo and should be "5 cents"?

    OK, you got me there.

    The Fry's I am talking about is the one at:

    http://shop2.frys.com/isp/southhouston.html

    Go to their Camera section and look for batteries there.

    Don't go to their Battery section, batteries at their Battery section are more expensive.
    Last edited by ltiu; 09-19-2008 at 10:08 AM.
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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by odessit View Post
    Can somebody point me to the battery testing procedures? I may put some eneloops in a freezer for a while just to test them.
    Do not try to charge or discharge Eneloops below 0 C/32 F though. At those temperatures the gas recombination reactions may not work fast enough and the cell will not work properly. Possibly in extreme cases it might even vent.

  13. #13

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    cheapest L91 is on Ebay, about 1 frn /each

    I wonder if CR2 lithium is also as good storage wise as L91

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    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by etc View Post
    cheapest L91 is on Ebay, about 1 frn /each

    I wonder if CR2 lithium is also as good storage wise as L91
    The L91 chemistry (lithium iron disulfied) stores better than CR2/CR123 chemistry (lithium manganese dioxide)

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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by etc View Post
    cheapest L91 is on Ebay, about 1 frn /each
    Yes, eBay will always have the best prices, watch out for the expiry dates though. Some L91 being sold on eBay are old.
    EZCR2;D10;6PL;FENIX T1,P3D,P2D,L2D,L1D,L0D,LD10;PTApex;ZebraL H30;RR K2 3AA hlight;RR Nightfire 2C;Xponent 1xCR2 hlight;MyoXP;Xponent 4AA hlight;6AA & 9AA M*g Hotwire;2D MagLED Lux;4D MagLED NiteIze;3D MagLED Rebel

  16. #16

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Mine are mostly 2012 or so.

  17. #17

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    NiMH won't really work below freezing, or will operate poorly.

    Last winter I was using a B&D VPX mini-saw, around -10C (give or take)
    It actually seemed to work very well, not much power loss.
    So I would assume that the VPX light would work just fine (saw uses much more current).

    So I would go with Lithium, rechargeable or not is your choice.

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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by odessit View Post
    Can somebody point me to the battery testing procedures? I may put some eneloops in a freezer for a while just to test them.
    That is not really cold enough for a winter test. Most freezers are set for approx 0 F if that.

    You could get some realistic results using dry ice in a cooler. Just wrap the dry ice in news paper first - can get down to about -20 F without too much trouble.
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    accidental double post
    Homebuilts - "BREEZE" RCR2 sidexside, "Tornado" 4 x 18650 side x side, Streamlight SL20x LED module (Custom BST Feeler Thread)

  20. #20

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by bob_ninja View Post
    NiMH won't really work below freezing, or will operate poorly.

    Last winter I was using a B&D VPX mini-saw, around -10C (give or take)
    It actually seemed to work very well, not much power loss.
    So I would assume that the VPX light would work just fine (saw uses much more current).

    So I would go with Lithium, rechargeable or not is your choice.
    B&D is the key here, remember B&D are targeting consumer grade tools so the quality of the batteries they use is pretty low end so you can't say all NiMH's behave as them. Its like saying all NiMH's self discharge fast because Energizer 2500's do.

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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    B&D is the key here, remember B&D are targeting consumer grade tools so the quality of the batteries they use is pretty low end so you can't say all NiMH's behave as them. Its like saying all NiMH's self discharge fast because Energizer 2500's do.
    OK...so B&D are believed to be low quality, yet their products work well in testing. All products cannot be assumed to behave the same as B&D, so other more expensive and higher quality products may not work as well as B&D...?

  22. #22

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    You said to now use rechargeable though even though your BD worked OK, what I'm saying is B&D uses the low end cells so better quailty cells will do even better so NiMH should work fine.

  23. #23

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Eugene,
    I don't understand your point at all.
    My statement is simple:
    NiMH type batteries from ANY brand don't work well below freezing.
    Lithium type batteries from ANY brand work much better below freezing and tend to maintain a good performance, as well as above freezing temps.

    B&D VPX is just an example of my own experience. In fact, VPX uses VERY good and high quality A123 cells which I found to work very well even at -10C or lower. So VPX is an example of Lithium working well below freezing.

    One winter I tried a flashlight using standard AA NiMH. In fact I loaded 9 charged cells, so it had plenty of juice. After about 5 min light diminished and then light died. I could clearly see low temperature degrading cell performance. I didn't even try any of my NiCd powered tools.

  24. #24

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Sanyo advertised good cold weather performance on the launch of Eneloops. Unfortunately there is no data, no white paper, to quantify this. More recent NiMH tech seems to do better in the cold than older cells. I, myself, have discharged Eneloops at 0 F and saw a minimal performance drop. I wasn't able to reliably test any lower and I'm not sure how reliable my 0 F test was either due to localized heating from cell discharge with minimal air flow packed amongst the food in my freezer

    I've also run better tests in the 20 F range with minimal performance drop. The cells hold up well in the cold from my experience...

    There is no danger in discharging them below freezing. Just don't charge them below freezing.

    I say, give 'em a try and see how they do. Do report back and tell us about your experience. Keep a lithium cell on hand as a backup.
    Last edited by BackBlast; 09-23-2008 at 06:00 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Good idea
    I haven't tried my Eneloops yet, so I'll try them this winter.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    LEDs do better in the cold (all the way down to -80, as far as has been tested) and batteries do better in the heat (up to about 120, no higher), good luck figuring out how to coordinate that one..

    But the OP was asking about batteries for a car light, and Energizer Lithiums definitely do best in storage and temperature extremes.

  27. #27

    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Yeah, I know testing is tricky.
    Still my goal/aim is much more modest.
    Few years back I used an ordinary LED light with 9 AAs, forget which brand NiMH cells (likely around 2000 mAh).
    Light started working as normal, then after about 5 min started flashing a warning and shortly afterwards shut down. So it is not a question of how well cells and LED work or not, but if they'll work at all. At least for me.

    This winter I would like to use the head light when clearing snow. The typical temps are in the -20C to 0C range. This light uses AAAs, so I'll try Eneloop AAAs and different power levels.

    I would be happy if the light worked at all, even if I got a shorter run time. I only need an hour or so at the minimum.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Quote Originally Posted by bob_ninja View Post
    This winter I would like to use the head light when clearing snow. The typical temps are in the -20C to 0C range. This light uses AAAs, so I'll try Eneloop AAAs and different power levels.
    The light should work fine, with 30 mins to an hour less runtime, not an issue if you're only using it for an hour.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: AA battery for cold winters (up to -20F) in a car

    Definitely stick with lithium cells for car lights. After having countless D and AA Maglites leak in my cars over a 10-15 year period, I've switched to exclusively lithium powered lights in all five of our cars, either AA, AAA, or 123 cell lights, and I've never had one leak in the 5-6 years since I've switched. Great cold-weather performance, and when I fire up a light that has been sitting in a glove box with little or no use after two years, it works.
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  30. #30

    Default What is the best battery chemistry for seriously cold weather?

    I live in a place where the winters routinely reach 20 below, sometimes further down. In addition to my EDC, a Nitecore D10, I would like to keep a light or two in my car.

    Basically, there are two usage scenarios here.

    1. The light which will generally be in my pocket or close to my body. Common sense says that light will probably stay warm enough to just keep using Eneloops all winter, or it can be warmed up in an internal pocket. Tell me if I'm wrong here, or if you have a better approach.

    2. The light which will be stored in an emergency kit in the car. The batteries and electronics in this light should be able to withstand repeated (daily) freezing without going totally dead. What are my options here? Lithiums?

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