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Thread: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

  1. #1
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    Default Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Does anyone know if lithium AA's (i.e. 1.7V Energizers) are as likely to have rapid venting with flame as lithium CR123's do, especially when used in series? I was thinking of keeping some in 2AA flashlights around the house and in the car for emergencies but if they have the same potential danger as using 2 CR123's in series, then it is not worth it to me. I looked through this forum and didn't see anything on the topic.

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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan_L View Post
    Does anyone know if lithium AA's (i.e. 1.7V Energizers) are as likely to have rapid venting with flame as lithium CR123's do, especially when used in series?
    I previously asked the same question and was told that the Energizer Lithium AA/AAA cells are safe to use in series since they use a different chemical formula than the CR123A primary cells do.

    There used to be another Lithium AA on the market that was sold by Battery Station that did have the explosive venting issue.

    The Battery Station cells were taken off the market in 2006 I believe.

    Someone said in a post last year that they had some Lithium AA cells explode but they never indicated what brand it was and no one here questioned them on it.

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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Lithium primary AA's do have a high energy chemistry like CR123A cells, and they "could" explode in a confined space. Such events seem rather uncommon, but the cells still make me nervous nevertheless.

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Both the AA's and the CR123a chemistry can explode, I've seen many examples of both here and elsewhere. I don't know if one is a bit safer than the other or if they both pose the same risk, but I know they both explode.
    ampdude

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ampdude View Post
    Both the AA's and the CR123a chemistry can explode, I've seen many examples of both here and elsewhere. I don't know if one is a bit safer than the other or if they both pose the same risk, but I know they both explode.
    yes what he said. ^

    what is the current draw your talking about? and what type of curcuit? what is the cutoff or non-operation voltage? that is what could be most important in determining the risk.
    After all the item is designed to USE for stuff, just probably not assumed that it would be used so hard in some things. like high currents , with boost curcuits that dont slow down or cut a break to the cell, and instead increase the current draw. Or already high current draws.

    we all have the mega-mini maxi lumen drain machines with built in heaters, and the lightweights too. the right item the risk would be very small to non-existing, the wrong item the risk much greater, even "out of spec" for the cell right from the start.
    Last edited by VidPro; 04-25-2010 at 10:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by VidPro View Post
    what is the current draw your talking about? and what type of curcuit? what is the cutoff or non-operation voltage? that is what could be most important in determining the risk.
    I was just planning on using them in basic off-the-shelf 2AA flashlights, more specifically the Inova X2 and the 2AA Mini MagLED. I don't know the current draw of those two flashlights, but I don't think they are much more than 500mA.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    the energyser lithium AA have the most problems with currents over 2amps, and temperatures over 140*F, like a car allowed to get to freaking hot inside.
    http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/l91.pdf
    just check out the data sheet, apply the Knowledge that is often the only thing were missing, and then you got everything you need.

    i would say with the items mentioned you will have zero problems, as long as you react (with knowledge) when things dont act as they should.

    if it doesnt work, then something is wrong, dont ignore it.
    (could be a short or too high current)

    if the level changes , then mabey something is wrong dont ignore it.
    (mabey one cell is now dead, or current draw is to high, protection kicks in)

    if one of the cells acts funkey, at least check its voltage.
    (voltage doesnt tell everything, but it alone can still spot things going totally wackey)

    if your going to let an automobile to get hot inside , then dont leave it in the auto, dont put it where direct sun will hit it.

    Prefer not to do "runtime" test with freestanding high power lights , when a nice walk in the dark holding the light (removing the heat) is more fun anyway.

    anyone else using the device, should be given the 3 minute lecture, if they dont like the 3 minute lecture, then give them alkalines

    and when all else fails if you feel a rumbling inside , set it down and run
    Last edited by VidPro; 04-28-2010 at 05:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    I found this article on Lithium Cells and thought it might be of interest ... If it has already been posted then I appologise in advance.

    http://www.electrochemsolutions.com/...ling_Guide.pdf

    I was looking at Class D fire extinguishers and thought that it might be practical to put ordinary household Salt on a burning Lithium cell , but it seems that a copper based powder is better ... I was hoping that a tub of household Salt would have been a handy thing to keep near the Li-Ion charger , as a proper class D fire extinguisher is quite expensive.

    The pages on Hot Cells and on Vented Cells are of particular interest.

    The article is for Primary Cells but it still makes interesting reading.
    .
    Last edited by march.brown; 05-09-2010 at 04:08 AM. Reason: Note on Primary cells added.

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Hello March.brown,

    Sand has been proven to be very effective at putting out a lithium cell fire.

    Early on in Li-Po charging, the RC people rigged up a plastic bag full of sand and suspended it above the battery packs they were charging. The idea was that if a cell caught on fire, it would melt the plastic and the sand would put the fire out. A few tests were done and it seemed to be effective.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Does anyone have a link to an venting incident with 2 lithium primary AA cells? Thanks.

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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Don't short-circuit them.*
    Don't keep them over the rated temperature (140F).**
    Don't eat them.
    Don't try to recharge them.


    *Excessive battery wiggle in a flashlight where the body carries current can damage the cell wrapper enough to cause a short circuit in the rear cell. I think you'd need an unusually sharp battery tube and a paint shaker to do it this year though. Avoid current above 4 amps just out of common sense... The PTC usually kicks in above 2.0 Amps.

    **Excess temperature damages the cell jacket, increasing the risk of short-circuit

    The applications sheet I found cites a thermal switch that limits current above about 90C. A pressure relief vent activates at about 125C.

    If you abuse the cell and it vents, it probably will not catch fire merely from venting. But the stuff coming out is surely not good for your eyes, and it may be flammable. You'd have to get the goods on the battery juice they use, and how it responds to 130C temperatures.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    The applications sheet I found cites a thermal switch that limits current above about 90C. A pressure relief vent activates at about 125C.
    I don't know if the Energizer application manual I have is older or newer than yours (mine is dated "2009-2011") but it states that the PTC operates when the temperature exceeds 85°C and that the vent mechanism operates at ~150°C.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slamfire View Post
    Does anyone have a link to an venting incident with 2 lithium primary AA cells? Thanks.
    This. Reference has been made to accidents, but without citations ... fill in the blank.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    In January, I installed a trio of Energizer Ultimate lithium AAAs in my Maglite XL50, and after three months of moderate use, the light began dropping down to the lower light level after only 10 seconds or so at full brightness. I checked the cells, and found one reading only .7V. I took the prudent action and tossed that cell.

    I wonder what venting/explosion/fire danger might have happened if I continued using that light with that bad cell? I don't plan on testing this possibility, but my question appears to be somewhat similar to the OP's - so I thought I'd get some additional opinions regarding risks from Primary Lithium AAA cells. Many thanks.
    WriteAway

  15. #15

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by fnj View Post
    This. Reference has been made to accidents, but without citations ... fill in the blank.
    I still have questions about whether an Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA is a risky proposition in a ONE cell flashlight that is sealed with an O ring, for example an Olight i3s.

    Is Eneloop AAA any safer than Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA, or a primary Alkaline AAA? Lets say for sake of example, that the flashlight is stored in the glovebox of a car. Bad idea? Worse idea with the Lithium than the NiMh? Alkaline AAA worse than the others?

    What is the safest single AAA battery to put in a light that is stored in a car?
    Last edited by jon_slider; 06-30-2015 at 09:22 AM.
    Want to Buy Eye10 TiC (or I would trade one of my Titanium Rotaries)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Any battery can be dangerous if mistreated, but the paranoia of Lithium AA's is WAY to high in this thread. CR123's in series and rechargeable Li-ion's are responsible for incidences 99% of the time. However, if you follow the rules, you won't have a problem with them either.

    Lithium AA's and AAA's are generally not dangerous at all without doing something extremely stupid.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-vs-hot-AZ-sun

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?277891-Eneloops-in-the-car-in-the-summer
    Last edited by ForrestChump; 07-07-2015 at 05:50 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    NiMH, NiCd, Lithium any, Alkaline all will explode with varying pressures it is just a matter of how they got abused.

    about the only non exploding type is a zinc air or brine battery mainly due to them being open.

    Even capacitors will explode...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Safest is a strip of copper and zinc in a lemon.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    The Energizer L91 lithium AA have ATEX intrinsically safe certification now, can't get a link from phone, but an internet search will bring it up.

    I've not seen that for any CR123A cells, so in my book it's safe enough to have around.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by lunas View Post
    Safest is a strip of copper and zinc in a lemon.
    Tried that. Makes a terrible EDC....

  21. #21

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by WriteAway View Post
    In January, I installed a trio of Energizer Ultimate lithium AAAs in my Maglite XL50, and after three months of moderate use, the light began dropping down to the lower light level after only 10 seconds or so at full brightness. I checked the cells, and found one reading only .7V. I took the prudent action and tossed that cell.

    I wonder what venting/explosion/fire danger might have happened if I continued using that light with that bad cell? I don't plan on testing this possibility, but my question appears to be somewhat similar to the OP's - so I thought I'd get some additional opinions regarding risks from Primary Lithium AAA cells. Many thanks.
    WriteAway
    The critical point that I have not yet seen mentioned is the only real danger comes from mixing and matching live and partially depleted batteries. If you match the set and leave them in the flashlight until dead, you'll be fine. It's when you have a fresh hot live one and a dead one that things can get exciting.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestChump View Post
    Any battery can be dangerous if mistreated, but the paranoia of Lithium AA's is WAY to high in this thread. CR123's in series and rechargeable Li-ion's are responsible for incidences 99% of the time. However, if you follow the rules, you won't have a problem with them either.

    Lithium AA's and AAA's are generally not dangerous at all without doing something extremely stupid.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-vs-hot-AZ-sun

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?277891-Eneloops-in-the-car-in-the-summer
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan_L View Post
    I was just planning on using them in basic off-the-shelf 2AA flashlights, more specifically the Inova X2 and the 2AA Mini MagLED. I don't know the current draw of those two flashlights, but I don't think they are much more than 500mA.
    That's fine, don't mix and match batteries. It'll be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    I still have questions about whether an Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA is a risky proposition in a ONE cell flashlight that is sealed with an O ring, for example an Olight i3s.
    Single lithium battery lights are pretty safe. It'll be fine. No worries. This isn't Ultrafire we're talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    Is Eneloop AAA any safer than Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA, or a primary Alkaline AAA? Lets say for sake of example, that the flashlight is stored in the glovebox of a car. Bad idea? Worse idea with the Lithium than the NiMh? Alkaline AAA worse than the others?

    What is the safest single AAA battery to put in a light that is stored in a car?
    Stored in a car? Never alkaline, never. The risk there is that WHEN it leaks, it will damage your light. Both the Eneloop NiMH and Energizer UL AAA are better choices for a car light.

    In summary, I agree with the FC. The lithium paranoia lately is too much.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestChump View Post
    Any battery can be dangerous if mistreated, but the paranoia of Lithium AA's is WAY to high in this thread. CR123's in series and rechargeable Li-ion's are responsible for incidences 99% of the time. However, if you follow the rules, you won't have a problem with them either.

    Lithium AA's and AAA's are generally not dangerous at all without doing something extremely stupid.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-vs-hot-AZ-sun

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?277891-Eneloops-in-the-car-in-the-summer
    I agree about lithium AA and AAA primaries, but I think American-made CR123s are probably just as safe. I don't consider the risk of any of those to be any worse than not having light in an emergency, because your alkalines leaked or went dead.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1DaveN View Post
    I agree about lithium AA and AAA primaries, but I think American-made CR123s are probably just as safe. I don't consider the risk of any of those to be any worse than not having light in an emergency, because your alkalines leaked or went dead.
    The reason that CR123 (quality made) has low-ish capacity is that they're pretty sturdy actually. There are military specifications for this battery. You'll have to short several of them, mix and match live and dead, or smash them with a rock to have a problem.

    Putting one or more lithiums in backwards in a multicell light is also an (avoidable) issue. Don't do that.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestChump View Post
    Tried that. Makes a terrible EDC....
    i did not say it was the best just the safest...

    Personally i load my car light with energizer ultimate lithium.
    my AAA lights get lithium as well the rest of my collection uses 14500 or 18650 or my new one 26650... Never had an issue i check my cells regularly any cell under 2.8v gets thrown away.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Sam View Post
    The Energizer L91 lithium AA have ATEX intrinsically safe certification now, can't get a link from phone, but an internet search will bring it up.

    I've not seen that for any CR123A cells, so in my book it's safe enough to have around.

    So what I'm reading here in this thread is that (2) CR123A cells in series is a potential problem (unless I misunderstood). I had no idea there were so many potential problems with these batteries. I just ordered a flashlight that will used 2 CR123A cells in series. I may have to rethink this.
    Last edited by Dr. Tweedbucket; 09-30-2015 at 04:59 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    I think some of the concern is overblown - people have been using CR123As in cameras forever (admittedly usually just one). I buy only made-in-USA CR123As from what I hope are reliable sources, and I don't worry about it - I've had a PD35 with Surefire cells on my desk for ages without a worry.

    This is how I think of it: I want a great, high quality, bright light that's going to do certain things that are important to me. That light either runs 2xCR123A, or 1x18650. I can either risk running that light, or switch to a cheapo, dimmer, lower quality, less satisfactory light from the home center. Any light you buy, as an enthusiast who cares about quality and performance, is going to use something besides an everyday alkaline battery. (Even when good lights use standard batteries, you probably want to use something else to minimize the risk of leakage).

    No one thought a deodorant can could explode, until we found out differently around the campfire at Boy Scout camp. I agree with the people who say that if you observe ordinary caution (don't replace one cell of two, be careful how you store and dispose of them) everything will be fine.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Tweedbucket View Post
    So what I'm reading here in this thread is that (2) CR123A cells in series is a potential problem (unless I misunderstood). I had no idea there were so many potential problems with these batteries. I just ordered a flashlight that will used 2 CR123A cells in series. I may have to rethink this.
    If you're going to re-think it, here's a suggestion.

    Put two fresh batteries in there. Leave them in there. Keep using them until they are gone. THEN put in two more fresh ones.

    Don't have a loose drawer full of cr123 in various states of decay, putting those in a cr123x2 light WILL eventually burn you.

    I watch my cr123x2 lights like a HAWK (a hawk with a multimeter.) For cr123, I prefer single cell lights so I can be lazy and not worry. You're going to have to do something EXTREMELY wrong to have a problem with a single battery light.

    All in all, cr123 is extremely safe. Rechargeables have more to go wrong.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Tweedbucket View Post
    So what I'm reading here in this thread is that (2) CR123A cells in series is a potential problem (unless I misunderstood). I had no idea there were so many potential problems with these batteries. I just ordered a flashlight that will used 2 CR123A cells in series. I may have to rethink this.
    I have used my Fenix PD35 with 2 CR123A in the front pocket of my jeans daily for over 2 years before switching to 18650s. Not a single issue!
    Use quality cells and keep the pairs together, never mix partially used ones, and you should be fine imho.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Energizer ATEX certification for L91 and L92 Lithium batteries --



    http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/OEM%2...ons%20_DoC.pdf

  30. #30

    Default Re: Safety of Lithium Primary AA's?

    Quote Originally Posted by B0rt View Post
    I have used my Fenix PD35 with 2 CR123A in the front pocket of my jeans daily for over 2 years before switching to 18650s. Not a single issue!
    Use quality cells and keep the pairs together, never mix partially used ones, and you should be fine imho.
    Cool! Yeah, I ended up using the CR123A in a single application and then got a 18650 for the PD35. The problem now is I ordered a buttontop which fits pretty tight and maybe I should have ordered a flat top instead. ( the website didn't specify ).

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