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Thread: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

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    Enlightened Cpt. Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Yes guy's, I'm a noob. I have looked around but with all the different mfg's and different chemistry available, I am confused.......... help! I don't mind paying for good quality so if any of you want to give me a recommendation on good quality rechargeable 123's I would be grateful. I have lights that use 1, 2, 3, & 4 cells so they need to be able to work / charge / discharge together.

    Thanks!

    Cpt. Thomas
    My prayer to God is a very short one: 'Oh, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' God has granted it. - Voltaire

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    I believe that AW batteries, either the protected Li-ion or the safer chemistry (no protection circuit needed) IMR batteries enjoy the best reputation among CPF members.

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    I have no complaints about my AW RCR123s.

    As far as capacity goes, I have a few different RCR123s on order for the purpose of capacity testing. Once the results are complete I will report them in this forum.

    The batteries to be tested will be...
    AW RCR123 protected 750mah
    AW IMR 16340 (123 size) LiMn unprotected 550mah
    AW LiFePO4 3v RCR123 unprotected 500mah
    Battery Station RCR123 protected 900mah
    And a few primary CR123s as well.

    I'm also open for suggestion of any others to test. I just need a what and a where to get.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    Yes guy's, I'm a noob. I have looked around but with all the different mfg's and different chemistry available, I am confused.......... help! I don't mind paying for good quality so if any of you want to give me a recommendation on good quality rechargeable 123's I would be grateful. I have lights that use 1, 2, 3, & 4 cells so they need to be able to work / charge / discharge together.

    Thanks!

    Cpt. Thomas
    Agreed that AW cells are among the best.

    Keep in mind that rechargeables are not direct replacements. CR123 are a nominal 3.0V. Lithium ion rechargeables are nominal 3.6-3.7V. If your lights aren't built to handle rechargeables, you may damage them. There are LiFe lithium ion cells that are nominal 3.2V but they have lower capacity than the more common ones. Also pay attention to safety considerations if you do end up using any of these rechargeables.
    It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. -- Confucius

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    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    ......I have looked around but with all the different mfg's......
    Hi Cpt. Just a note, I'm not aware of any actual manufacturers of RCR123/16340 size cells that provide cells on a consumer level. That leaves us with companies (and individuals) that obtain cells from the actual manufacturers and wrap the cells with their name printed on the cell, such as AW, Ultrafire, as well as the other "xxxxxFires and others. These companies are distributors, not manufacturers.

    Among the vast number of brands of cells available, usually, you never really know who actually manufactured the cell. Quite often a distributor may provide cells that look nearly identical, but from lot to lot, are actually obtained from different manufacturers. This makes cell performance and consistency a bit of a problem with most brands. This is particularly important when using more than one cell in a series application. In this situation it is very important to have cells with capacities and performance that closely match, otherwise you may run into problems with "venting with flame" incidents etc.

    AW's RCR123/16340 cells are thought by many on this Forum to be the most consistent in performance, as well as usually possessing at least close, to the claimed capacity printed on the side of the cell. Also, when running traditional LiCo cells in series, it is important to use cells which have protection circuits added, to provide an additional level of safety. Using unprotected cells in series applications exposes the user to a much higher risk of a "vent with flame" incident, or explosion, particularly, when recharging the cells after use.

    On a final note, if you haven't already, I highly recommend that you read through the relevant threads in the "Threads of interest" and "Smoke and Fire" threads located at the top of this Forum, if you are unfamiliar with the use and care of Li-Ion cells, regardless of which chemistry you use. Also, the Li-Ion sections found at Battery University are often referenced here on the Forum, and are an excellent source of information, not only pertaining to various Li-Ion chemistry cells, but other types of rechargeable cells as well.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    Hi Cpt. Just a note, I'm not aware of any actual manufacturers of RCR123/16340 size cells that provide cells on a consumer level. That leaves us with companies (and individuals) that obtain cells from the actual manufacturers and wrap the cells with their name printed on the cell, such as AW, Ultrafire, as well as the other "xxxxxFires and others. These companies are distributors, not manufacturers.

    Dave

    Thanks for the info Dave and all the recommendations in general guys. Sounds like the AW's are pretty well liked! I'm only going to buy one battery and I usualy buy in lots so they are at least fairly equal. These AW's appear to come from HK. Are they any US sellers for these? What is a "high" capacity considered for the 123's I'm seeing 500-1000mha...... that's a pretty big spread! Anything better than 1000mha?

    Thanks!

    Cpt. Thomas
    My prayer to God is a very short one: 'Oh, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' God has granted it. - Voltaire

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    I'm seeing 500-1000mha...... that's a pretty big spread! Anything better than 1000mha?
    It is unlikely that Li-ion 16340 cells would have a capacity of 1000mAh, it is much more likely that the people that put their name on the cells and market them are 'exaggerating' a wee bit. AW is pretty good on his labelling and 750mAh is probably about right - the other LiCo cells that claim 900mAh or 1000mah are probably somewhere around 750mAh like the AW cells.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

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    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Heed KiwiMark's advice as far as "claimed" capacity of cells. Under typical current loads that we use in our flashlights/torches, the very best RCR123/16340 cells yield around 650-700mAh. Some of the cheaper cells out there are more like 500-550mAh. Oddly enough, many of these claim a capacity of as much as 2000mAh! Of course under lower current loads, the available capacity of any type of cell is a bit higher, but there are no 1000, or 1200mAh RCR123/16340 cells, in reality.

    Many of CPF's supporting vendors in the U.S. carry AW's cells. Among them Lighthound, and 4Sevens. There are others, as well.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Thanks KiwiMark & Dave.... Will do. Another question now pops into my mind (what little of it is left anyway)? Do the AW ceels have a hi self-dischage rate? How would they compare to my Enloop's?

    Thanks!
    My prayer to God is a very short one: 'Oh, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' God has granted it. - Voltaire

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    Do the AW ceels have a hi self-dischage rate? How would they compare to my Enloop's?
    Definitely lower self discharge than Eneloops, generally Li-ion cells tend to have a very low self-discharge.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    I have lights that use 1, 2, 3, & 4 cells so they need to be able to work / charge / discharge together.
    1 cell light: AW IMR123
    2 cell light: 1x AW17670
    3 cell light: 2x AW17500
    4 cell light: 2x AW17670 or 2xAW18650 (if possible)

    These substitutions above cover a very broad topic and you will need to determine if the somewhat different voltages fulfil you needs. Runtime, safety, and overall reliability in the 2-4 cell configurations will be superior to using RCR123's for the above. I would recommend using the search function for taking a closer look at each proposed configuration.
    In the past we have had a light which flickered, in the present we have a light which flames, and in the future there will be a light which shines over all the land and sea.
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    1 cell light: AW IMR123
    2 cell light: 1x AW17670
    3 cell light: 2x AW17500
    4 cell light: 2x AW17670 or 2xAW18650 (if possible)
    Ah yes. I forgot to mention this solution. The only drawback to this is when using a single larger cell as a replacement for two 123 cells. Sometimes lights will drop out of regulation much sooner, in lights utilizing a "buck circuit", due to the gradual voltage drop that occurs during normal discharging, and the circuitry being unable to compensate, as most lights do not have a "buck/boost" circuit.

    With the Vf of modern LEDs becoming lower and lower however, this isn't so much of a problem anymore. Still, in order to achieve the maximum amount of regulated output from a multiple 123 cell light, it may, in some cases, be better to use RCR123/16340 cells. In lights that use three, or more 123 cells, this typically is not a concern, as the voltage of two (or more) 17500, 17670, 18500, or 18650 cells is usually sufficient in all but some of the multiple die LED lights, particularly when three, or more of the larger cells are used.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    You can find some crappy ones on ebay or stealextreme

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    How about taking samples of all the XXXfire's off dealextreme?

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by LegitBright View Post
    You can find some crappy ones on ebay or stealextreme

    Uh..... no offense but in my opening post I clearly stated "I don't mind paying for good quality so if any of you want to give me a recommendation on good quality rechargeable 123's I would be grateful." because my life and the lives of my men may depend on working equipment . So if you have quaility (not crappy!) recommendations, please feel free to comment on them?

    Thanks,
    Last edited by Cpt. Thomas; 03-20-2011 at 05:28 PM. Reason: addition
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    I think the answer you haven't quite been given here is that the CR123A was never designed to be a rechargeable system. So if you have a simple question: "How can I get rechargeable CR123A cells that replace the single use cells?" then I'm afraid the answer is, "You can't."

    Sure, there are lights that can use various kinds of rechargeable lithium ion cells, but in reality these are lithium ion lights, not CR123A lights. Some lights have the flexibility to use different power sources, many don't. And the ones that do vary in what they can accept.

    If you want a safe, easy, reliable, universal drop-in replacement rechargeable system for lights, then you need to be working with AA cells, not CR123A cells.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    I think the answer you haven't quite been given here is that the CR123A was never designed to be a rechargeable system. So if you have a simple question: "How can I get rechargeable CR123A cells that replace the single use cells?" then I'm afraid the answer is, "You can't."

    Sure, there are lights that can use various kinds of rechargeable lithium ion cells, but in reality these are lithium ion lights, not CR123A lights. Some lights have the flexibility to use different power sources, many don't. And the ones that do vary in what they can accept.

    If you want a safe, easy, reliable, universal drop-in replacement rechargeable system for lights, then you need to be working with AA cells, not CR123A cells.

    Thanks MR. Happy. I'm Army so I know there is no free lunch to be had here and thanks so much for the heads up. I do have some older lights that may or may not be ok and I will have to verify them before I try to use rechargables. Most of the lights and laser desiginators were issued at this time are CR123 powered. My personal lights that I carry because I like them are along the lines of ARC P HO, P1D-CE, Beamshot TD4, a TD10 & SF M600 IR weapon lights, a 4 Sevens Quark RBG and several various CQB/DBAL "combo kill boxes" depending on op's load out. Most, if not all of these will take rechargables with no problem so I think I'm ok there.

    Thanks!
    My prayer to God is a very short one: 'Oh, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' God has granted it. - Voltaire

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Cpt., after thinking over your use situation, I think the best thing to do would be to stick with CR123A cells in those devices which were intended for them. Li-Ion cells were never intended to be used in flashlights/torches. They are really still in the experimental stage for this use. Also, the capacity of equivalent primary lithium cells exceeds that of any Li-Ion cell, so when runtime and dependability is critical, as it may be in your situation, all the more reason to stick with primary cells. Therefore I think it would be wise to use only good quality lithium primary cells in "firstline" equipment. For your personal non crucial needs, Li-Ion cells would probably be OK, but when life and limb are at stake, my recommendation would be to stick with good quality primary cells.

    Dave

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    Enlightened Cpt. Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Primaries are fine when we are in / can get them. The reason I am looking at rechargables is because much of the time we DON'T get resupplied on a regular basis.

    Cpt. Thomas
    My prayer to God is a very short one: 'Oh, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' God has granted it. - Voltaire

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Rechargeable batteries should work fine, depending on the light. What lights are we actually talking about here?
    For my Surefire A2 Aviator I use 2 x 16340 LiFePO4 cells which overdrive the LEDs by MUCH less than the LiCo or LiMn cells would.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    Rechargeable batteries should work fine, depending on the light. What lights are we actually talking about here?
    For my Surefire A2 Aviator I use 2 x 16340 LiFePO4 cells which overdrive the LEDs by MUCH less than the LiCo or LiMn cells would.
    They're already being overdriven....

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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by srfreddy View Post
    They're already being overdriven....
    Exactly, that is why I am reluctant to hit them with 8.4V from 2 freshly charged LiCo cells. 2 x LiFePO4 cells only have 7.2V fresh off the charger and quickly settle down to a resting voltage of ~6.7V, once in the light and running the LEDs the voltage is probably down to 6.2V-6.4V which is higher than from 2 x cr123a cells, but not as high as 2 x LiCo cells.

    I should probably look at changing the LEDs to an Onion ring and then there would be no overdriving going on . . .
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

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    Flashaholic* srfreddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    By the way, some guy Just put some warm LED rings on the marketplace, that run 20ma on CR123, 46ish on 2 RCR.

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    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Thomas View Post
    Primaries are fine when we are in / can get them. The reason I am looking at rechargables is because much of the time we DON'T get resupplied on a regular basis.
    I understand your situation, and if all you have available is CR123A equipment, that does compound the problem. In a serious situation (eg. where the "problem" may be shooting back) however, personally, I'd much prefer the use of primary lithium cells. There are just too many things that can (and do) go wrong with Li-Ions. As I said before, the use of Li-Ion cells in lights is still, for the most part, in the experimental stage.

    Good luck in finding a solution.

    Dave

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Rechargable 123 recommendation?

    Guess I'll wait before switching to rechagables.
    Thanks for the info guys.

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