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Thread: need some help on charging 18650's

  1. #1
    Flashaholic mustang90's Avatar
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    Default need some help on charging 18650's

    Sorry for the newb sounding thread, but I have not dealt with the ultrafire 18650 batteries I bought to run in my M1X. I bought an ultrafire 3.7 volt charger to use. My question is, since there is no instructions whatsovever with the charger, how long will it take to charge both cells? There is an indicator light for each cell that switches to red once the battery is in place. It is green when there are no batteries inserted.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Hi mustang90 ,

    18650 cell charging can be a little hazardous .
    I hope you have read the sticky threads at the top of the Flashlight Electronics - Batteries Included, forum.

    Green means , no batteries inserted , or cells fully charged .
    It could take up to 4 to 6 hours to charge them .
    Red light means batteries are charging , may blink green occasionally .

    Do not over-discharge your cells . (meaning below 3.60 volts.)
    If you don't have a digital multimeter , you should get one. (can buy em for $4 )

    Trying to charge an overly-discharged is what can be hazardous.

    Don't leave your batt's in the charger after the light turns green (no more than an hour after green)

    Only charge batteries in a safe fireproof area.
    Do not do anything to directly short the positive and negative terminals of a Li-Ion battery.
    It is advisable to buy only protected cells . 18650 cells store a LOT of energy.
    Read the cautionary safety threads and learn to be safe.
    .
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  3. #3

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    You should read the thread in my signature. It will explain everything you need to know to use li-ion cells safely in your light.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic mustang90's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Thanks for the information! The charger I have is the WF-139 with two ultrafire 18650's. I charged them for roughly 4-5 hours and they never even got warm, nor did the lights ever turn green. I took them off and tested them with a digital voltmeter with a 4.19 volt reading for each cell. I suppose that is charged well enough?
    I just wanted to make sure they were charged well enough without over doing it!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by mustang90 View Post
    I just wanted to make sure they were charged well enough without over doing it!
    You are well advised to do so! Keep a close eye on Li-Ion's when charging them, pay attention to what TMG said, and you'll be OK. They shouldn't be charged, ideally, to over 4.20 Volts, 4.25 at the most. It's not good for the cells. If you go higher than 4.30 Volts or so, it can be dangerous.

    I'm guessing your cells were probably not quite finished charging. I believe 4-5 hrs on a WF-139 is normal, I don't own one however.

    As JBorneu, I think more or less alluded to, you could optionally use a better charger and cells. At the same time, a lot of people have success with them.

    Dave

    P.S. I like your avatar! My Aunt and Uncle were big MacGyver fans. They once told me how "brilliant" they thought he was. I looked at them and said, "Yeah, there aren't too many people than can take a box of toothpicks and a handfull of paper napkins, build a hang glider, and fly 4 people 3 miles to safety, from a second story window.......... in Kansas."

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    Flashaholic Billy Berue's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    I have both the WF-139 and the Pila IBC charger. Both are pretty good at charging 18650's. If you ever need to charge RCR123a's, then be careful with the WF-139, as it tends to overcharge those cells. The Pila tends to be a bit more conservative with its cutoff voltage, which is marginally better for extended cell life (and is safer for RCR123a's to boot). My 18650's typically come off the Pila ~4.15v, where my WF-139 usually cooks them to ~4.20-4.25v.

  7. #7

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by mustang90 View Post
    Thanks for the information! The charger I have is the WF-139 with two ultrafire 18650's. I charged them for roughly 4-5 hours and they never even got warm, nor did the lights ever turn green. I took them off and tested them with a digital voltmeter with a 4.19 volt reading for each cell. I suppose that is charged well enough?
    I just wanted to make sure they were charged well enough without over doing it!
    For my 18650 batteries, it took about 8-1/2 Hrs for charging Ultrafire 3000mAH, ptotected on WF-139 ( the green light is ON).
    After complete charged the cell is measured at 4.17v.


  8. #8
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by NewTech View Post
    For my 18650 batteries, it took about 8-1/2 Hrs for charging Ultrafire 3000mAH, ptotected on WF-139 ( the green light is ON).

    That's one of the reasons I've never owned a WF-139. All three generations have too many inconsistencies. For example, some will charge at 300mA and some will charge as high as 600mA. YMMV.

    The improper algorithm is my biggest problem with them though. Just the same, I have and use a WF-138 for LiFe cells, so.......

    Dave

  9. #9

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    I'v just recieved an item from the internet and it came with an 18650 E SMART 3.7v battery and a pila charger,
    When the charger is in the socket it is green when i put the battery in the charger it turns red as if its charging,
    The thing is its a 4200mah battery and after 12 hours of charging i have took it off charge as it was still on RED and didnt want to over do it.

    However the pila charger has + and - the wrong way as i have to place the battery with the Tit end down for it to work

    Is this correct or wrong ?
    Last edited by biddy79uk; 09-05-2013 at 01:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    First of all there is no such thing as a 4200mAh 18650. The largest currently manufactured is the Panasonic 3400mAh cell. So by definition your cell isn't what it is
    claimed to be. The cells are often 'harvested' from discarded lap top battery packs, and have a 'checkered' reputation to say the least.

    The Charger is probably fine (and wired correctly), but he battery is almost certainly suspect. Do yourself a favor and circular file the current battery. Then buy 18650's from a source that uses Panasonic
    cells. There are lots of them available, you need to decide if you want protected cells or not. In a single cell application protection is not as important as it is in a multicell applications.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic A.O.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Seems like a long time but at 4200mah its a BIG battery (maybe a 26650?)... did you measure the voltage after charging that long?
    Last edited by A.O.; 09-05-2013 at 05:52 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Thanks for your help guys
    I have no way to check the output after charge and the battery is (or says) E SMART 4200mah

    Here it is here the EXACT same battery

    CLICK HERE

  13. #13

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    And what is the situation with the charger polarity, specifically?

    Marked one way and you know it is electrically the other way around?

    Or the cell does not make contact as marked?

    Just trying to be sure you aren't trying to charge the cell in reverse because that will definitely result in an Undesirable Lithium Incident.

    The charger would likely charge at a very low current if you reversed the cell (the charger would see -3.7V and most half decent Li-ion chargers will charge at 10mA or something if the cell is below +2.5V or so; this is to recover slightly overdischarged cells more safely than blasting them will full charge current). So you may have slightly discharged your battery, that's all.

    First things first, if you are using Li-ion and DO NOT have a multimeter, get one! Check voltage! If this cell is not between 3.0 and 4.2, pitch it. Otherwise try charging again and note what the voltage is doing. If going down, flip the cell and fix the contacts. If going up, make sure terminates at 4.20 or less, else dump both the cell and the charger in the garbage!

    Also, the "Pila" charger bundled with a TrashFire cell is kind of suspect. I have to wonder if it is not Pila.

  14. #14

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650'sXNEN49

    Is there anyway i can add a picture of my battery and my charger,
    I think the charger is a cheap clone of a pila TBVH with you....

    Yes toruk the charger has the - on the TOP Side but has the Tit shown on the Top Side too.
    So inevitably i tried both ways the obvious way 1st

    I plug the charger into my European adapter then i place the battery in the charger with the Tit Side "DOWN" then theres a RED LIGHT comes on at the bottom of the charger.
    If i place the charger into a socket with "NO" battery inside the LIGHT turns GREEN
    Then if i put a battery inside the chatger with the Tit Side DOWN the light turns RED as if its charging but after 12 hours of charge i had to take it out as i was skeptable of a accident as the leght NEVER turned GREEN

  15. #15
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650'sXNEN49

    Quote Originally Posted by biddy79uk View Post
    Is there anyway i can add a picture of my battery and my charger,

    Posting photos


    Norm

  16. #16

    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650'sXNEN49

    Here is my charger and thank you NORM



    Image link fixed - Norm
    Last edited by Norm; 09-05-2013 at 04:06 PM.

  17. #17
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by biddy79uk View Post
    I'v just recieved an item from the internet and it came with an 18650 E SMART 3.7v battery and a pila charger,
    When the charger is in the socket it is green when i put the battery in the charger it turns red as if its charging,
    Your charger looks like no Pila charger I've ever seen.

    Norm

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* pobox1475's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    My Pila has two charging bays.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: need some help on charging 18650's

    Get your money back. It seems you have a fake PILA and a suspect battery.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
    There are no problems in life that can not be solved with high explosives or small arms
    Too many new lights to list

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