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Thread: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

  1. #1

    Sigh Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    I'd been using my Fenix PD20 for about ten minutes. It was hot but nowhere near to being to hot to hold. Suddenly, there was a fizzing sound and a smell of burnt electronics. The light became too hot to handle and I dropped it leaving it hanging from it's lanyard. Another second or so and the rubber cover on the switch ruptured and smoke billowed from the back of the light!! The light remained to hot to handle for 20 minutes or so!

    Anyone had this? Was it the light or the battery and can I expect to get a new light? I've had the light for 3 months.

    I don't know if it could have happened if it was not switched on but if it had blown up when in my pocket, I would have been seriously burnt!

    Can anyone recommend a safer replacement??
    "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    What a bummer. Glad you're OK. What kind of battery were you using?

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* qip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    most likely the battery vented out , did you try cleaning it up again and put a new battery in there to see if it lit up again, when you got the fenix it came with spare boot cover so if you dont wanna waste time in shipping / return etc i think its a quick clean and boot switch job you can do yourself

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Valpo Hawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    What kind of battery was it?
    The only easy day was yesterday... now go run!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    1. What battery where you using? CR123A or RCR123? What brand?
    2. Please post photos
    3. If you inhaled any of the smoke, please see a doctor
    Resistance is futile...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Thanks for the concern. Battery was a Tenergy. It's got PHOTO written on it. Is that a problem??
    "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tadbik View Post
    Thanks for the concern. Battery was a Tenergy. It's got PHOTO written on it. Is that a problem??
    That could be an issue. Were these new batteries or batteries that have been stored for some time before use?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jp2515 View Post
    That could be an issue. Were these new batteries or batteries that have been stored for some time before use?
    Bought them with the light in March this year. I always thought that these lithiums explode when two batteries are used and they are at different voltages. How does a single battery flashlight explode?
    "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tadbik View Post
    Bought them with the light in March this year. I always thought that these lithiums explode when two batteries are used and they are at different voltages. How does a single battery flashlight explode?
    I'll leave it up to the experts to elaborate further. There could be a chance you got a bad battery.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    If you're still here,

    GET AWAY FROM THE FUMES.

    hydrofluoric acid is a very very bad stuff that comes from the batteries.. there was a whole thread about lunarmodule gettting HF poisoning.. not fun

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Tenergy is not a quality/trusted brand; using a cheap 123 cell even in a one-cell config is a gamble, and as is reported here from time to time, it looks like another lost out.

    In the future, stick with only high-quality USA/Japan-made cells such as Sanyo, Panasonic/Surefire, Duracell, etc. Search for some 123 comparison test threads before buying again.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Holy! I'm glad you're OK.

    As mentioned please take some pictures. Light and battery (if anything is left), or pictures of identical battery.

    It's actually important to find out if the light still works. You can remove the tailcap and just short the new battery to the case to see if it will light.

    If the light no longer works, it could indicate that the electronics failed and shorted out the battery which could cause it to vent as you describe.

    If the light works as normal with a new cell, then it definetly points to a battery issue.

    Again, glad to hear your OK. It is scary to think if it was in a pocket, or not even being held you would not have noticed it.

    Thanks for reporting, these reports are important.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    To sum up:

    Thanks for all the help/tips. I've read a number of threads on exploding lithiums and I am a lot wiser for the experience! It seems to me that this incident was caused by using poor quality batteries and the fact that the PD20 doesn't dissipate the heat well. The Tenergy battery just got too hot and vented.

    I've dumped my remaining stock of Tenergy's (in a properly marked trash for batteries!). I didn't have that many and probably just bought them to try them out. I have for years used Battery Station CR123A without incident and I'm going to assume that its not by chance that 1 in a batch of 20 Tenergy's exploded.

    Just ordered a new batch of U.S. made from Kevin at Bat. Station.
    Last edited by tadbik; 07-19-2009 at 01:04 PM.
    "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by StandardBattery View Post
    Holy! I'm glad you're OK.

    As mentioned please take some pictures. Light and battery (if anything is left), or pictures of identical battery.

    It's actually important to find out if the light still works. You can remove the tailcap and just short the new battery to the case to see if it will light.

    If the light no longer works, it could indicate that the electronics failed and shorted out the battery which could cause it to vent as you describe.

    If the light works as normal with a new cell, then it definetly points to a battery issue.

    Again, glad to hear your OK. It is scary to think if it was in a pocket, or not even being held you would not have noticed it.

    Thanks for reporting, these reports are important.
    I can't even remove the battery, it seems to have welded itself in! I've e-mailed the seller to see if they'll change the light but I won't trust the old one even if it works. I'm due to fly to the U.S. on Friday and this would have been my EFC (every flight carry-on! ;-)
    Just think of the damage that could have been done in a bag!! I've ordered a Nitecore EZ to replace the Fenix.
    "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tadbik View Post
    I can't even remove the battery, it seems to have welded itself in! I've e-mailed the seller to see if they'll change the light but I won't trust the old one even if it works. I'm due to fly to the U.S. on Friday and this would have been my EFC (every flight carry-on! ;-)
    Just think of the damage that could have been done in a bag!! I've ordered a Nitecore EZ to replace the Fenix.
    Uh oh. Try tapping the tube against the desk and see if it will come out. Might be the battery body expanded when it vented. You can also try removing the head and tail and push the battery out with a stick.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    As this seems to be a failure of the cell rather than the light, I'm moving the thread to the Batteries "Smoke & Fire" section.
    Resistance is futile...

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tadbik View Post
    I always thought that these lithiums explode when two batteries are used and they are at different voltages. How does a single battery flashlight explode?
    Cheap, Made in China, p*ss poor Q.C. cell.

    StarHalo hit the nail on the head.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  18. #18

    Rant Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    and yet i have had over 1000 recharge and discharge cycles with my Tenergy 900mah RCR123;s, and they have been discharged down to protection circuit cutoff every time. Still using them, run em down , charge and discharge 4 - 10 times a day. I find it hard to believe that other battery makers have not experienced a few ruptured cells here and there....lets quit this whole Tenergy is crap BS, because i could give you many examples of people using Tenergy WITHOUT ANY ISSUES WHATSOEVER....

    sorry to hear this happened to a new light. I would suggest contacting Tenergy directly or send in the light. Their customer service is TOP NOTCH.
    MY EDC: JETBEAM M1X - it replaced 8 other lights.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix PD20 Blew up!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman5 View Post
    and yet i have had over 1000 recharge and discharge cycles with my Tenergy 900mah RCR123;s, and they have been discharged down to protection circuit cutoff every time. Still using them, run em down , charge and discharge 4 - 10 times a day. I find it hard to believe that other battery makers have not experienced a few ruptured cells here and there....lets quit this whole Tenergy is crap BS, because i could give you many examples of people using Tenergy WITHOUT ANY ISSUES WHATSOEVER....

    sorry to hear this happened to a new light. I would suggest contacting Tenergy directly or send in the light. Their customer service is TOP NOTCH.
    Yeah, I could give you lots examples of crappy products that work out fine some of the time for some people, but the fact remains that despite YOUR experience with ONE type of Tenergy cell, their products in general have proven over and over to be..... crappy.....

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