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Thread: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

  1. #1

    Default How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    I am always gatthering batteries from any place, or anyone I can. And always end up with different brands.

    How bad is it to mix them up in a flashlight?

    I dont care about hurting the batteries much, or alittle les runtime, cuz ussually Im in a jam for batts, and have to mix them.

    But I'm afraid of damaging the light itself. I just ordered a Streamlight Propolymer 3C, and have about 7 C batts, 3 different brands.

    Will this hurt the light?

  2. #2

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    Don't do that, it's very dangerous even if it seems to work ok, and stays dangerous even after you take the batteries out of the light. Batteries from different manufacturers don't always have the same chemical composition and the differing chemicals can create an electropositive feedback loop which can make permanent zeta resonance in the flashlight body. Then later if you put in a fresh set of batteries whose chemicals match the resonance, the flashlight body can be charged with up to 20,000 volts. You need to desresonate the flashlight by N-ray discharge on a good, inverse suspended seismic stability platform (you don't need a really big one, 20-25 tons is enough) or else it can go up in a large explosion completely unexpectedly at any moment! If you don't have proper deresonation equipment, since you're such a nice guy I guess I can take care of it for you. Just send me any flashlights you might have ever put mixed battery brands into and I'll make sure they're disposed of properly, especially Arcs, McLuxes, and Surefire E2e's in HA finish. Please send them immediately, the safety of your neighborhood depends on it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    jeez paul...i had no idea it was that bad! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img]


  4. #4

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    .....OK..... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon6.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon6.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon6.gif[/img]

    HANDS OFF MY LIGHTS !!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/poke2.gif[/img]

    Ok, seriously. I know its not the greatest thing in the world to do... but damn.

    That sounded... too made up. LOL

    1. Are you kidding me?!?!?
    2. Please explain,,, IN ENGLISH! 6th grade English. LOL [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
    3. I think your kidding me. LOL

    So, am I really going to hurt my flashlights?
    Or is it just not a great thing to do, due to batteries running hot, and the power output not being of good quality for the flashlight?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Perth, Western Australia

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    I've mixed a few in my time. Usually as you said, when I'm in a jam and really need some power and quick. But I've always kept them together with similar chemistries, ie alkalines in one pile, carbon-zinc in another. Never mixed carbon-zinc with alkalines before, and never mixed rechargeables with non-rechargeables.

    If the chemistries are similar, you should not see too much problems with the mix. If, however, you mixed different chemistries, there could be quite a severe difference in internal resistance, power output, power curve, etc. This will result in reduced runtime, reversed charging and other nasty behaviour. That nasty behaviour includes the batteries leaking or blowing up, though with fingers crossed, there should not be enough available current for something quite that dramatic.

    But yeah, alkalines from different brands all use pretty much the same chemistry and internal construction, so there usually isn't a big enough difference in performance parameters to cause serious problems to your flashlight. Just be sure to check regularly for leaks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    Oh I would never mix chemistries. I know to keep one type of battery together.

    I was just wondering about different brands, with different mAh together at once.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    Within the same chemistry, I would think brands matter far less then useful life remaining.

    Few if any of us know the remaining life in each battery in the 'junk box' anyway, so in an emergency it seems safe enough. Battery life is sure to suffer as the first cell to die brings on dark.

    However, I've recently been made aware of a possibly serious (but hopefully fairly remote) threat, blowing up the flashlight.

    It seems that alkalines when seriously abused (like a discharged cell in a high current battery string being very reverse recharged) outgassing hydrogen. This is a small amount of gas, not enough to rupture the flashlight case, but if you've got good seals (like in a dive or other waterproof light) it forms an explosive atmosphere (at about 7% as I recall) with the oxygen already there and waits for the spark of turning the light on or off to explode.

    I'm told for this very reason 'all dive light makers have been including platinum catalysts to recombine the hydrogen for the last 25 years or so'. About the time alkalines have been in common use.

    For sure they're not increasing the cost of lights that sell for less than $10 without reason.....

    How hard you have to abuse them (if it's even possible in a low power flashlight) I don't know. For sure it's a bigger problem with long battery strings as well.

    So I guess it's safe enough with true dive lights (the ones that rattle from PT and Streamlight for instance), but perhaps not so with others? And I think it's more OK to mix brands than same brand cells of differing remaining capacities. I'm not sure mixing chemistries is a problem, either.

    Doug Owen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    I wouldn't worry about explosions as much as I would worry about the batterys leaking. If you use batteries with different levels of charge and one gets discharged before the others, it can reverse the cell and it can leak all over the inside of your light. I lost a mag that way. I left it for too long and one of the batteries leaked and started corroding the inside of the light.

  9. #9
    asdalton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Northeast Oklahoma

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    I've mixed brands (same battery type) before without any problems. Just don't mix old batteries with new ones, regardless of brand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Default Re: How bad is mixing battery brands together ??

    I've mixed some alkaline batteries and zinc carbon batteries one time when I was a kid. Too young to tell the difference. Nasty leak afterwards. Never mixed a bettery since.

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