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Thread: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

  1. #1

    Default Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Hey everyone,

    Just thought I would pass this along to any new people to the board. About a year ago I bought some Ultrafire 3000mah 18650's off ebay for about $3 ea shipped. They turned out to be about 2250mah but for the price I didn't complain too much. So about 6 weeks ago I ordered some more some protected and some not, 2 separate sellers on Ebay. I got out my Imax B6 charger and did some discharge tests at 1A and1400mah was the best. A couple where dead and some came in at about 70... yes 70mah. I opened them up and this is what I found. NONE of them match!
    Clearly recycled, old spot welds where ground off. The unprotected batteries where not even 18650's they had some weird thick plastic cover to make them thicker.
    These things could be really scary in a multi cell flashlight! I did get a full refund from both sellers, so if you get any fakes by all means ask for a refund and let other people know, these batteries are to dangerous to play around with.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    This is why Redilast and AW batteries come so highly recommended!

  3. #3
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    What your seeing is pretty much normal for cheap Chinese cells, I doubt they are fake.
    Norm

    Quote Originally Posted by xxllmm4 View Post
    I opened them up and this is what I found. NONE of them match!
    Clearly recycled, old spot welds where ground off. The unprotected batteries where not even 18650's they had some weird thick plastic cover to make them thicker.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    This is why Redilast and AW batteries come so highly recommended!
    No kidding, brands you can actually trust! This adventure has actually prompted me to import our own batteries, they should be here in a few days

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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    What your seeing is pretty much normal for cheap Chinese cells, I doubt they are fake.
    Norm
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  6. #6
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarboy View Post
    Originally Posted by Norm What your seeing is pretty much normal for cheap Chinese cells, I doubt they are fake.
    Norm
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    x3

    Sounds about right for UltraFire. As I just mentioned in another thread, you never know what you're going to get with the "Fire" brands, as well as a lot of the others. Their suppliers change almost daily. It's only the wrapper on the cells that stays the same. Actually, those sometimes change too!

    Dave

  7. #7
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Fire brands are "like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

    Norm

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    I would love to try and track down some real Ultrafire 3000's if such a thing exists. But I fear I would have better luck tracking down Bigfoot (no offense to Bigfoot believers )

    There is at least one test where the ultrafire 3000 did quite well, maybe they got a Panasonic 2900 recycled in the mix? http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/Battery%2018650%20UK.html

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by xxllmm4 View Post
    There is at least one test where the ultrafire 3000 did quite well, maybe they got a Panasonic 2900 recycled in the mix? http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/Battery%2018650%20UK.html
    I do not call 2400-2500 mAh for a battery rated 3000mAh "quite well", but it looks like that is the expected capacity for that cell, I got the same the this year with a new batch of cells.
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    I do not call 2400-2500 mAh for a battery rated 3000mAh "quite well", but it looks like that is the expected capacity for that cell, I got the same the this year with a new batch of cells.
    Actually yes I would say they did quite well, their near the top in all the tests. As advertised? No not even close. and thanks for doing the tests! Have you done any testing regarding life expectancy?
    Last edited by xxllmm4; 06-17-2011 at 03:57 AM.

  11. #11
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by xxllmm4 View Post
    Actually yes I would say they did quite well, their near the top in all the tests. As advertised? No not even close. and thanks for doing the tests! Have you done any testing regarding life expectancy?
    If it was marked 2400 or 2500 it would do fine, but when it is marked 3000 it is way below specs. It also has a rather high internal resistance.
    I have not tested anything about life expectancy.
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    It also has a rather high internal resistance.
    I would think a new battery that started out with a high internal resistance would be prone to a short like.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* bshanahan14rulz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    some sonys and maybe sanyos? Sony Fukushima us18650gr rated at 2.2Ah, IIRC.

    Still, what the hell? They have a big barrel of random batteries, both name brand and generic rejects or something? and they just put the wrappers on them.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    They have a big barrel of random batteries, both name brand and generic rejects or something? and they just put the wrappers on them.
    Yeah pretty much looks that way. BTW one of them was a Sony US18650VT their supposed to be good for 15A discharges. But their not JUST rejects, they are used. All of them had tabs pulled off or ground off. On one of the DOA cells the protection board was not even spot welded to the battery. They missed it!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    I always wondered what happened to the LiIon batteries I put in the recycle bins. I did hear they get sent to China for recycling. I thought that meant taking them apart for the rare earth elements inside, not putting a new wrapper on them and selling them back to the US on ebay.
    Light is the activity of what is transparent - Aristotle

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    The "FIRE" in the name IS the WARNING and it means it !

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    I always wondered what happened to the LiIon batteries I put in the recycle bins. I did hear they get sent to China for recycling. I thought that meant taking them apart for the rare earth elements inside, not putting a new wrapper on them and selling them back to the US on ebay.
    I prefer this type of recycling instead of finding these recycled products in the food chain !

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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by BoarHunter View Post
    I prefer this type of recycling instead of finding these recycled products in the food chain !
    hope you're just joking.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* jasonck08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Most of the cells are in the picture are recycled Sanyo, and then I see a couple Sony cells there. I'm not sure about the one that says 1617.

    Not too surprising... you get what you pay for.

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    I always wondered what happened to the LiIon batteries I put in the recycle bins. I did hear they get sent to China for recycling. I thought that meant taking them apart for the rare earth elements inside, not putting a new wrapper on them and selling them back to the US on ebay.
    Oh but they are getting $3 per cell "recycling" them this way.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    I bought some AW cells and I got what AW said he was supplying. They cost more, but they are exactly as advertised. I'm not too sure that it is cheaper to buy cheaper products - most of the time you just pay the cheaper price and then the dearer price to replace them with what you should have bought in the first place. AW cells should be good for hundreds of charges and ~ 3-5 years of use, they really don't work out to be very expensive at all. Cheaper cells will often clap out on you within a year, even if they work OK when you first get them - pay more and get some quality 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!

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* mvyrmnd's Avatar
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    Default

    I think that this shows the difference between 'cheap' and 'inexpensive'. These batteries are cheap.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* jasonck08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Do everyone on eBay a favor and leave that seller negative feedback (even though they refunded you). What they are doing is not only unethical but is also dangerous and could lead to someone getting hurt!

    I would also report the auction to eBay (report counterfeit product) and also give eBay staff a link to this thread.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    I do not call 2400-2500 mAh for a battery rated 3000mAh "quite well", but it looks like that is the expected capacity for that cell, I got the same the this year with a new batch of cells.
    They have been tested at over 2900 mAh: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...72#post2884072

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    What your seeing is pretty much normal for cheap Chinese cells, I doubt they are fake.
    I know of the common misconception on CPF is that there are factories all over China that slap on random X-fire labels and that there is no "real" Ultrafire or "Trustfire" but It's still completely wrong.
    Last edited by mfm; 06-19-2011 at 04:45 AM.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by mfm View Post
    I know of the common misconception on CPF is that there are factories all over China that slap on random X-fire labels and that there is no "real" Ultrafire or "Trustfire" but It's still completely wrong.
    Nobody ever said these companies don't exist, or are not "real". If nothing else I personally have quite a few cells that I could show pictures of, as proof they exist!

    There are Li-Ion manufacturers all over China. China is by far the largest producer of lithium ion cells in the world, that's a fact that cannot be disputed. There are literally hundreds of Li-Ion cell factories in China.

    It's also pretty well known that the various xxxxxFire labels and such are just that, labels, that are "slapped" on cells originating from these factories and other sources by various distributors (not the manufacturers) such as UltraFire. The manufacturers don't "slap" these labels on, distributors such as UltraFire do. They can put their label on whatever cells they want, from whoever they source their cells from. This apparently includes recycled cells, as well.

    It's not as big a mystery as many think it is, although exact details of sourcing and such, is likely to remain a mystery. If I were xxxxxFire, I sure wouldn't want to make this information available, for obvious reasons. And in China, they are under no obligation whatsoever to make this information available to the consumer, unlike in most other countries.

    I also want to make it clear that not all cells from China's Li-Ion cell manufacturers are low quality. Many are quite good. In most cases however, the cells that distributors such as UltraFire get from these factories are ones that didn't make the grade for battery pack making, and/or are "seconds". These cells are sold off at a considerably lower price, and this is reflected (usually) in the distributors pricing of their cells.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    I always wondered what happened to the LiIon batteries I put in the recycle bins. I did hear they get sent to China for recycling. I thought that meant taking them apart for the rare earth elements inside, not putting a new wrapper on them and selling them back to the US on ebay.
    You get what you pay for, still this is crazy!
    Definitely report that ebay seller and leave a negative feedback. What these guys are doing is careless, even though everyone buying "3000 mAh" batteries for 3$ each doesn't deserve much better. If an offer sounds too good to be true, you should try to find out if it is.

    This should be made a sticky in my opinion, to protect new guys that lack the experience to recognize you just don't get a 3000 mAh cell for a few bucks, and to remind all others of what dangerous crap is around.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Having done business in China - if you find a good quality suppler stick with them, but still audit them.

    I think I'll bookmark this so that when I see a post "What inexpensive cells are good?" I can point him this way.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Uh oh...just bought a pair of protected ultrafire 14600 from batteryjunction....go me worried now

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Quote Originally Posted by cdrake261 View Post
    Uh oh...just bought a pair of protected ultrafire 14600 from batteryjunction....go me worried now
    you mean 14500, do you? Never heard of 14600s.
    I don't think batteryjunction sells obviously fake and not working stuff like the batteries discussed above, but be aware that even real ultrafire batteries are still very low quality and will not last long in many cases. It probably saves you money in the long run to buy better quality.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* tre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    This is pretty scary. Another reason to stick with AW or Redilast.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Ultrafire 18650 battery warning

    Apparently only certain Ultrafire batteries are new. This guy did a load of tests and posted a useful reference guide. I used this to pick the best Ultrafire batteries.

    http://www.torchythebatteryboy.com/p/batteries_21.html

    It certainly is underhanded of Ultrafire to repackage old cells as new and not make this clear. I wish I could afford AW cells as there look great...

    I can hardly believe anyone would fake Ultrafire products, they would just make their own like ScorpionFire, or FireyFire :-)
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