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Thread: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

  1. #1

    Default Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    My father in law bought 2 flourescent coleman lanterns model 5348-700 shown here http://flashlightsunlimited.com/relanterncamp.htm. They have been since discontinued. They never really served his purpose though. He bought them for when the power goes out. They have a 6volt 4Ah lead acid battery. They would never be charged when he needed them and now thae battery won't take a charge. I'm sure in the past he probably charged them for a week or so the day after a power outage then put them away till the next outage which by then the battery had drained to the point they were useless. I would like to replace the battery with probably a lithium (maybe AA?). Any suggestions on battery replacements. It doesn't have to be rechargeable since the rarely get any use. I want a long shelf life. I would consider a rechargeable but am concerned about the hazards of overcharging a lithium. They may not be pulled off the charger until I visit again. So it needs to be very low maintenance. I'm not sure 4 Ultimate lithiums would provide enough umph for long enough to make it worthwhile or maybe I can wire 2 sets of 4 in parallel?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* was.lost.but.now.found's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    So you're willing to build a primary (non rechargeable) battery pack? That sounds like a lot of work for very little gain. Use it once for a long power outage and you have a new pack to build. If you do that I'd also make sure and disable the charger so no one accidentally tries to charge it. To get 6V out of lithium primary would only need 2 CR123s, so that's bound to involve some soldering at a minimum.

    In terms of making a rechargeable substitute pack, if you're changing the chemistry then you have to change the charger. That is, substituting for a NiMH or li-ion chemistry will need a new charger that applies to that chemistry's charging properties. The only option you might have using the same charger (and this is a big maybe which other's liek SilverFox would need to weight in on) is to use Ni-Cad as both SLA and Ni-Cad can be trickle charged. Either way, Ni-Cad does not have low self discharge so it's not ideal for this use either.

    Personally, I just don't see it as worth the effort. But each to his own.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    The charger and battery pack come out of the compartment completely. I can pick up a 4AA battery holder a radio shack for less than a buck. So I can easily wire in 4 AA energizer ultimate lithiums that can be replaced as necessary. My question is will 4 AAs provide enough current for long enough compared to the lead acid battery. The tech sheet on the energizer battery says the AA has a 1.5Amp so if I combine 4 of them do I get enough to run the latern for say 6 hours or would it be only like 20 minutes. My concern about using say an 18650 rechargable which ultimately would work best is that it does require some care in recharging.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    On that page you link to, I see they are selling a dropin replacement battery for $12. By the time you buy 8 lithium primaries, parts, and then spent all the time building it and disabling the charger, you're going to have more than $12 invested if you factor in your time. But then I guess you're still back to: if he's just going to abuse it, then that won't work.

    Certainly changing the battery chemistry to a different rechargeable isn't something you want to tackle, for the reasons was.lost.now.found just gave.

    If it was me though, I'd just give him a different light -- one that can take standard sized batteries without him having to take the thing apart just to change batteries.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* was.lost.but.now.found's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    If my math is right, you said the SLA in there now is 4AH, and the lantern is spec'd at 10hrs runtime on high. That's a 400mA draw. Energizer's data sheet indicates roughly 7-10 hrs at that draw depending on if it's constant current or not. Battery Guy's Ragone Plot seems to be in line with that figure as well. If my math is correct then that seems to surpass your best expectations.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    The original didn't work so replacing it isn't going to work any better. Rechargables are probably not the best way to go. The bottom has a door that opens that would allow you to change the batteries easily. Once you remove the original battery, charger and car charger there is a lot of room. I could put in 4 D cells if I wanted to. I just can't easily find lithium D cells. I don't want to use akalines because of the shelf life and leaking possibilty. You are right I could buy better replacements but then he would feel like he wasted his money. Just switching to AAs the cost to switch over is minimal other than the cost of the batteries. Which would be the same if I bought a new light.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    I've got a Coleman 4D cfl lantern and I tried running (4) 2000mAh rechargeable AA's in it with AA to D converters as a test. Run time was only an hour or 2, and with D's, the runtime is 10+ hours. AA's do work, but runtime is very short and not that useful for a power outage when you need it most.

    Given that a new Coleman 4D cfl lantern can be found for $10 - $20, it's probably better to just get a new lantern IMHO.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* was.lost.but.now.found's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    Quote Originally Posted by lumenosity View Post
    I've got a Coleman 4D cfl lantern and I tried running (4) 2000mAh rechargeable AA's in it with AA to D converters as a test. Run time was only an hour or 2, and with D's, the runtime is 10+ hours. AA's do work, but runtime is very short and not that useful for a power outage when you need it most.

    Given that a new Coleman 4D cfl lantern can be found for $10 - $20, it's probably better to just get a new lantern IMHO.
    OP has already stated several times he does not want to use alkalines because the sole purpose of the lantern is to be thrown in the back of a closet and wait for the next power outage. Alkaline are not recommended for long term storage.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    hmm, if AA's lithiums are required, then (2) 4 cell holders wired in parallel (8 batteries total) will give 3Ah of capacity. That should give runtime close to 6 hours since lithiums have more oomph than rechargeables...

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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    Quote Originally Posted by lumenosity View Post
    ......since lithiums have more oomph than rechargeables...
    A bit OT here, but I suppose "oomph" is a subjective term. When considering the total Watt hours available at lower currents, you are correct and the lithium cells are superior. Personally, I consider the amount of Watts a cell is capable of, as it's "oomph" factor. Here a cell such as the eneloop outperforms the Ultimate lithium cell by a factor of two, or actually a little better, when substantial current is involved. It's all in how you look at it I guess, and in Dave H's application, the lithium's would likely run the lantern a tiny bit longer.

    As for the lantern problem, I guess the "proprietary" battery compartment size forbids the use of a 6 Volt lantern battery. I rarely buy anything that uses a "proprietary" anything, because of this. I know and understand why you don't want to use an alkaline battery, or cells, but that'd be the most practical way to go if you could, but.......

    Dave

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    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    Not to be retro or anything, but Coleman usually designs the charger to trickle charge the SLA, which means: leave it plugged in. Or recharge it when you recharge your unused nimh cells. Many colemans are meant to be left plugged in and turned on; they stay off that way, but come on automatically in the event of a power failure. What more could you ask for? You could check with Coleman about these features and see if they apply to your lanterns.

    I would just get another SLA; they are cheap, and really dependable, with no mods necessary. Just a consideration.
    The Phaser: A nice EDC with great throw; heat and runtime can be issues.

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    I would say fix it up for alkaline D cells, but leave the batteries out of the lights just put them close to them so in an outage you can insert them and go. You are not going to get any decent runtime at a decent cost without going with larger batteries, AA batteries won't cut it unless you wire up 12-16 in series/parallel which becomes a mess in itself. SLAs are decent but must be charged after using which I think.... he didn't do. You have to charge SLAs every 6 months or so else they self discharge and perish over a long time. I don't recommend SLA based lights for anyone that rarely uses them because most will forget to keep them charged. As for D cells leaking, you can replace those old lanterns with 9watt cheap ones for $9 at walmart they are nothing really special IMO.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    That Coleman lantern uses a GP 640 SLA battery. There are many replacements available on the Internet.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman latern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Case View Post
    That Coleman lantern uses a GP 640 SLA battery. There are many replacements available on the Internet.
    OP already said he was looking for an alternative to SLA.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    I know he did. Just suggesting he might want to reconsider.
    The Phaser: A nice EDC with great throw; heat and runtime can be issues.

    Best Diffusion Film!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaserburn View Post
    I know he did. Just suggesting he might want to reconsider.
    from what I gathered reading here, the last power outage the SLAs were not recharged at all and most likely even if replaced after used in a power outage they would again be neglected. Unless you can find them locally those batteries will cost about $5-$10 plus shipping to replace. buying two of them off ebay the cheapest I estimate is about $24 which would go buy 2-3 sets of batteries for them (alkaline D cells). I have alkaline D cells in one 8D twin tube rayovac lantern and have thought about converting it to SLA but till I use up the batteries I have barely used in the 3 years i have had it sitting there I don't see a reason to. If power outages happen once every 2-3 years and last 4-5 hours and the lantern can run 12 hours off D cells chances are alkalines could leak before used up, SLAs could go flat before you would discharge enough to drain them alone just one time (without recharging). As I mostly use AA based lighting in outages now the big D cell lanterns just sit around gathering dust.
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  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    All true. I was thinking he'd leave the SLA lantern plugged in 24/7 trickle charging. That's a tried and true emergency setup, used in zillions of buildings around the world. And the SLAs would last many years in that way, and always be fully charged for casual or emergency use.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    from what I gathered reading here, the last power outage the SLAs were not recharged at all and most likely even if replaced after used in a power outage they would again be neglected. Unless you can find them locally those batteries will cost about $5-$10 plus shipping to replace. buying two of them off ebay the cheapest I estimate is about $24 which would go buy 2-3 sets of batteries for them (alkaline D cells). I have alkaline D cells in one 8D twin tube rayovac lantern and have thought about converting it to SLA but till I use up the batteries I have barely used in the 3 years i have had it sitting there I don't see a reason to. If power outages happen once every 2-3 years and last 4-5 hours and the lantern can run 12 hours off D cells chances are alkalines could leak before used up, SLAs could go flat before you would discharge enough to drain them alone just one time (without recharging). As I mostly use AA based lighting in outages now the big D cell lanterns just sit around gathering dust.
    The Phaser: A nice EDC with great throw; heat and runtime can be issues.

    Best Diffusion Film!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaserburn View Post
    All true. I was thinking he'd leave the SLA lantern plugged in 24/7 trickle charging. That's a tried and true emergency setup, used in zillions of buildings around the world. And the SLAs would last many years in that way, and always be fully charged for casual or emergency use.

    If the lantern charging system was set up to trickle charge. There is a chance it just charges using a walwart to a certain voltage and instructions limit the charge time. (let it charge X hours). I have found some of the SLA based chargers to have walwarts that remain hot even after the SLA should be charged these I would have to say probably are not trickling along.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    I have found some of the SLA based chargers to have walwarts that remain hot even after the SLA should be charged these I would have to say probably are not trickling along.
    And I have plenty of wall warts that remain hot with absolutely nothing connected to them on the DC side. Doesn't mean anything, except that they are crappy inefficient wall warts.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Quote Originally Posted by core View Post
    And I have plenty of wall warts that remain hot with absolutely nothing connected to them on the DC side. Doesn't mean anything, except that they are crappy inefficient wall warts.
    that's true also but you would think they would cool down some when in trickle mode.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Thanks for all the info. I picked up a couple of 4 AA battery holders at Radio Shack. Wiring was minimal. I put in 4 Energizer Ulitmate Lithium AAs. So far I have run time tested them at over 4 hours on high and still going strong. I will let you know the final results when the AAs finally give out. But even at 4+ hours I think I have my solution. These laterns will work for a whole evening and more on one set of batteries. Additional batteries can be stored without fear of losing charge even if its 5 years to the next power outage. I am also giving them a couple of extra LED laterns I had sitting around that have run times of up to a week. So they should be set. By the way a side note when I looked at the tech sheet I inadvertenetly looked at the advanced lithium not the ultimate, the ultimated are actually rated 2 AMP not 1.5.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave H View Post
    Thanks for all the info. I picked up a couple of 4 AA battery holders at Radio Shack. Wiring was minimal. I put in 4 Energizer Ulitmate Lithium AAs. So far I have run time tested them at over 4 hours on high and still going strong. I will let you know the final results when the AAs finally give out. But even at 4+ hours I think I have my solution. These laterns will work for a whole evening and more on one set of batteries. Additional batteries can be stored without fear of losing charge even if its 5 years to the next power outage. I am also giving them a couple of extra LED laterns I had sitting around that have run times of up to a week. So they should be set. By the way a side note when I looked at the tech sheet I inadvertenetly looked at the advanced lithium not the ultimate, the ultimated are actually rated 2 AMP not 1.5.
    if it is a 6v CFL lantern I doubt it is drawing much over 900ma off the battery on both 6watt tubes. I would guess it is drawing about 400-500ma off one tube. If they use 2 of these I would be tempted to setup one for lithium AAs and the other for alkaline D cells and just leave the D cell one empty but have the D cells nearby in case of a long outage the D cells have 2-3 times the capacity of the lithium AAs and cost 2/3 as much so in effect you are getting 3-5 times the runtime for your dollar vs a chance of leakage that would be negated by keeping the batteries out of the lantern.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Ok the AAs died at 6+ hours. These should serve the purpose. I can load the laterns with the lithium AAs and hand them over. They will be put away until the next outage could be 6 days or 6 years. I know they will be ready to go. As you mentioned there are lots of alternatives however they require more than turning the switch on. I am pretty sure my father in law can change the batteries but I can't guarantee he will have them on hand. Being that these are hardly ever used cost is not much of a factor. Thanks for everyone's input.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    Please make sure you disable the charging circuit. Even if you lecture him to not charge it people can be forgetful.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Substitution battery for a coleman laNtern?

    The charger is gone completely.

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