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Thread: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

  1. #1

    Default 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    I am new to this forum, so please bear with me if my questions seem rather naive.

    This topic has been addressed in past years on this topic, but I believe current technological advances and price adjustments might affect previous responses.
    I recently obtained some old school lantern battery powered flashlights with red flasher requiring a square top 6 volt lantern battery with spring terminals (908) and am having trouble determining which battery would best suit my needs. I will probably be using these flashlights infrequently as emergency lighting and on camping trips. I am looking for cost effective and inexpensive power. My first thought was to use rechargeable sealed lead-acid batteries rather than than using stock alkaline units. Even though they would require ongoing maintenance, I thought they would provide a better value considering their extended life. Now I am considering using a lantern adapter unit requiring 4 D cells but have no idea what type cells would be best suited (alkaline?, rechargeable NiCd?, NiMH?, Li-ion?). Further confusing are all the videos on YouTube showing the contents of various brands of lantern batteries as 4 "F" cells, 4 to 6 "D" cells, or 32 "AA" cells! (I'm wondering if I can modify the adapter to accept rechargeable F cells). I am now frozen with indecision. I need 3 lantern batteries total. I am not looking for the brightest light, longest lasting, or most inexpensive, but a good balance overall. Weight is not an issue.

    As I see it, my options are:

    Heavy Duty Lantern battery - $5 local
    Alkaline Lantern battery - $8 local

    4D-to-Lantern adapter - $6 eBay
    Rechargeable NiCd D battery - $4 ea. local (approx.)
    Rechargeable NiMH D battery - $5 ea. local (approx.)
    Rechargeable Li-ion D battery - is this even available for this application? They seem kind of rare.

    Rechargeable SLA Lantern battery - 6 V 4.5Ah or 5Ah - $15-$20 eBay

    Plus whatever other ideas you may think of.

    Any quality differences between the SLA brands? Anyone I should NOT buy? Some are quite critical of their competition.

    Interstate's Power Patrol SLA0916
    Power Star DE650-S (PS50-6T) PS6-5ST
    Universal Power Group UB650F (D5897) Universal Power Group D5697
    Douglas Guardian: DG6-4
    Powersonic: PS-650
    UBC: UB6-6
    Universal Battery: UB5-6S (D5697)
    UPG: UB5-6F
    Chloride SPUL
    Douglas DG4E
    Jasco RB650L
    Kung Long WP66S
    Leoch DJW6-4.5S
    Moultrie Feeders MFHRB6
    Newmax FNC650
    Technacell EP64021, TC640, TC64021
    Tempest TR5-6B
    Universal Battery UB650S
    SLA6501

    Any assistance will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    If you can source Alkaline Lantern batteries for $8, and want the lanterns for infrequent use, I would look no further than that. Alkaline F cells last should ten years or more.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    I think your deciding factor needs to be how often would you use up (deplete) the battery in a light. If you are talking longer than 2-3 years then an investment in an alternative battery may not add up as well as perhaps using up a battery every year or so.
    If you are using up a battery in 6 months definately consider at least the 4D adapter, I have a lead acid 6v lantern battery but don't use it as I don't use 6v lanterns with LED lanterns that outperform them using smaller batteries I can recharge.
    I have only one 6v lantern left with a 4D adapter in it and a spare 4D adapter sitting around unused and do not plan on replacing the batteries in the light when they die as the cost and minimal usage I have replaced it with a lighter 3AA LED light that can run for over a day and sports a nicer beam.
    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.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    i dont use my lantern battery lights enough to put money into them. they hold a LOT of battery, unlike other things, and the batts are somewhat doubble contained, having a cell in a box, so i have not seen a leakage problem, have seen one go bad, but was not a big problem. they just work even with a big OLD alkaline in them.
    with led now to many lights will do what it did , and run on half that battery.

    would not , no way, do SLA for them, when you say emergency and sporatic, SLA have to be maintanced, and if you cheaply maintance them might as well throw them out.
    SLA does not do deep discharges well, so it really is best for emergency lights , that stay charged all the time and have proper maintanance curcuits, which is completly doable.
    but a rolled LA like the hawker which i think you can get in a Fcell, is not at all like a normal LA battery, it should work ok if you must go lead.

    F cells :-) cool. but even a great LSD Dsize ni-mh should be ok. but not a ni-cd because then your back to maintance again.

    you say emergency and camping, and mabey what 10 bricks over 10 years? heavy duty or alkaline.
    but if you really want to get creative, then if you build it , you will know how to deal with it. and being creative is always fun and interesting, just not inexpencive.

    using D holders for them has that "survival" advantages of being able to parse them out to other items, and use chemical mix (survival) D cells, and a more standard cell than 4Fs or even a lantern battery. So having Ds in them and other things USING D would be usefull.

    li-ion a D cell that would truely last 10 years would be minimum $50 x 4 , way to much costs for less use, unless you needed major output, and were using them more regular.
    but Li-FE type li-ion , that might live longer and be more comperable to a simple easier to deal with D-nimh cell. again the normal D or d rechargable would have more possible uses.
    both of those you would have to rearrange the voltage , and/or modify something, or waste power in some curcuit or something.

    they are now making some interestingly large Zinc-Air batteries, that are activated (sort of one time) when you depackage them and let air into them.
    (sometimes they CALL them Fuel cells, and sure they are a fuel cell, but not in the same catergory, but you can find them sometimes by searching for fuel cells)
    they are not normal sizes, so they have various odd uses like emergency charging cell phones and all. with the kinda space you got , if only for long term emergency, that would have to be the wildest most different thing. and the longevity of that just parked sealed could be better than anything.
    See, with these thing you got enough space to mix up your own battery formula :-)
    Last edited by VidPro; 04-16-2011 at 01:41 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    Quote Originally Posted by MustXcape View Post
    Rechargeable NiCd D battery - $4 ea. local (approx.)
    Rechargeable NiMH D battery - $5 ea. local (approx.)
    Be careful choosing rechargeable D sized batteries as all of the ones I've ever found at B&M stores are really AA rechargeables embedded in a D-sized shell. Look at/for the mAh rating of at least 9000mAh to be sure that you're getting a true D-sized rechargeable. Also, some batteries are sold without so much as a mAh rating on the package, but, you can usually tell that it's an AA battery wrapped in a D shell (or even a C-cell, for that matter) because the battery will be about half the weight of a true D rechargeable. NiMH AA rechargeables have reached about 3000mAh in capacity and manufacturers are putting these into C and D-sized shells for consumers to purchase, figuring that most of them won't be able to tell the difference.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* angelofwar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    I've been using the Remington Branded r/c 6Volts from Wally World, and they so far have been reliable. I have left one in a lantern with a nite-ize drop-in, and it's held it's charge in my vehicle for 2 months now.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    IIRC these cells, together, are about the size of a 6v lantern battery, doublecheck your dimensions and what the lantern can take carefully.
    http://www.batteryspace.com/LiFePO4-...te-38.4Wh.aspx
    Plus, obviously the battery terminals arent in the right spot so tweaks might have to be made for that.
    LiFePO4 is touted as having a good lifetime, but I'm unsure of the self discharge characteristics.

    However 12AH isnt as much as an alkaline primary would be, but thats usual for primary/secondary cells. (I.E. AA alkaline is 3AH, or 3.6WH and a 14500 Li-Ion is 900mAh, or 3.3 WH). If you dont need high power, and want it to be ready after you let it sit... I'd say an alkaline primary would be the best, order a bunch and keep them somewhere relatively cool (In the basement... not in the attic) The main cells are in a wrapper which will help contain leakage, and if youre feeling proactive, put the lantern cells in a plastic bag before you put them in the lantern to aid in containment if it leaks.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    I use an adapter and alkaline D cells for one of my lanterns which receives intermittent/emergency use. Shop the sales for fresh D cells. RayOVac often sells for ~ 50 -75 cents each. In other lanterns seeing more frequent and longer use, I've always used high capacity NiCd and now NiMH cells. They cost about $10 each. Unless you plan to use the lantern regularly that $40 - $50 for rechargeables will buy many alkaline D cells or about 6 or 7 lantern batteries.
    I'm absolutely certain that I need another flashlight.

  9. #9

    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    Than you to everyone who responded to this post. You have brought me a more realistic, objective view of my needs.

    Whenever I obtain a new acquisition I have a tendency to repair/refurbish it and look for ways to upgrade it. In this case I envisioned using a rechargeable SLA with 12/6 VDC and 120 VAC chargers and a solar cell array backup system (It's my survivalist/emergency preparedness side talking) while keeping the classic look. I was motivated by the resurgence in popularity for this battery type for automatic wildlife (deer) feeding systems and widespread availability of the battery and its accessories. As most of you stated, this system is rather impractical from a fiscal and total use standpoint,

    I will go with a standard alkaline lantern battery (I had no idea they could have such a substantial shelf life) and obtain a lantern adapter as a backup. I will pursue a separate system for emergency use incorporating LED systems technology.

    Now to determine which stock lantern batteries use "F" cells. (I'll try to determine that using the manufacturers specification data sheets).

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    Quote Originally Posted by MustXcape View Post
    Than you to everyone who responded to this post. You have brought me a more realistic, objective view of my needs.

    Whenever I obtain a new acquisition I have a tendency to repair/refurbish it and look for ways to upgrade it. In this case I envisioned using a rechargeable SLA with 12/6 VDC and 120 VAC chargers and a solar cell array backup system (It's my survivalist/emergency preparedness side talking) while keeping the classic look. I was motivated by the resurgence in popularity for this battery type for automatic wildlife (deer) feeding systems and widespread availability of the battery and its accessories. As most of you stated, this system is rather impractical from a fiscal and total use standpoint,

    I will go with a standard alkaline lantern battery (I had no idea they could have such a substantial shelf life) and obtain a lantern adapter as a backup. I will pursue a separate system for emergency use incorporating LED systems technology.

    Now to determine which stock lantern batteries use "F" cells. (I'll try to determine that using the manufacturers specification data sheets).

    Thanks again.
    Coleman sells a nice 4D to lantern battery adapter for about 5$ I bought 4 last year they are a quality adapter for a very reasonable price. I like having more than one way to use my lanterns and 6v spotlights. I even modded my Bright-Star Haz location 2 battery spotlight to use my streamlight litebox head and lamp after i swapped it for the LED E-flood on one on my Liteboxes. I was tired of the old school 6v flange bulb, now with the 8-watt lamp from the litebox its like having a mini litebox that can use 6v batts or D's when needed.

    batteryjunction started carrying Rayovac F-cell Alkaline lantern batteries

    http://www.batteryjunction.com/rayov...-6v-fcell.html

    getting hard to find F-cell batts, I'm picking up a few this week to have a cpl spares

    use code EARTHDAY2011 for 10% off but dont wait it ends tonight midnite

  11. #11

    Default Re: 6-volt Lantern Battery Substitution/Modification/Replacement?

    Thanks! - I'm on it.

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