Thank you HKJ, with your informative reviews on batteries & chargers, really appreciate your great work, as you help us to have ease of mind using Li-ion in the flashlight
My list of flashlights, chargers & batteries
youre doing such a great job man, thanks!
HKJ thanks for the thorough evaluation and very objective approach.
HKJ thankyou for all of your help I really appreciate it. I have ended up purchasing a sunwayman t40cs, redilast 18650 3100 batteries and the pila charger.
One of the most usefull threads for our battery needs, thank you HKJ - used this to get 8 new inti-outdoor 3100 18650's for my SR90 - Callie's 3100's won't fitt to fat.
Last edited by Glenn7; 04-12-2012 at 08:00 PM.
All Keepower 18650 batteries has been added. It might be necessary to press F5 to reload the charts.
Note: for Keeppower 2800 and 3000 only the 4.3 volt charging is present, to see the 4.2 volt curves use the comparator.
Thank you HKJ for doing this testing...
It saved me from spending money on several different brands of batteries trying to find a brand good one.
Thanks HKJ...your page is the first place I go before buying new LiIon batteries. The new charts are really useful as well...helps one decide what load is going to be put on for the best battery for it.
Many thanks HJK for a great resource. I don't know how you guys find the time but I'm glad you do! Being relatively new to high-powered lights and Li-Ion cells I have a lot to learn. Info like this is invaluable man!
I do have a question though; where is the best place to find info about cell diameter?
I have seen numerous posts about oversized cells (>18mm) not fitting into certain specific flashlights. I know you can't possibly answer every question about what cell brand/model will fit what specific light but is confusing when I read one review that says for example, that Xtar cells won't fit the TN Catapult V3, and then another that lists the Intl-Outdoor cells as being the exact same diameter (18.5mm)
How on earth does one make a purchase "sight unseen" as there are so few "bricks and mortar" shops here in Australia actually stocking and selling the stuff I am interested in.
All I can think to do is make posts asking if anyone has used Model X cell in Model Y flashlight but I'm sure those kinds of questions could clog up the forums really fast.
I'm pleased to hear that Intl-Outdoor seems to be a reputable dealer based on some comments in this thread. I was looking at purchasing from there but because the prices were so good, I wondered how I could go about making sure they weren't fake, salvaged or otherwise less than perfect cells? So far all I can do is search and hope someone has discussed the products/vendors I am looking at already.
Keep up the great work and thanks again.
Hi, Thanks for the test...Have you considered doing cycle/durability testing on these batteries?
I am very curious how long will the capacity last for cheaper (*Fire...) and expensive ones (sanyo, panasonic). I am going to do this testing myself (well I don't have charger yet but it is in my short-term plans :-) ) because I am very curious about this. Of course I can't afford many battery models and expensive charger (probably with multiple outputs/inputs to cycle more batteries at once) so it would be awesome if someone with your equipment and experience does it.
Also It would be great to test how charge/discharge voltages affect battery-life (charging to 4,2V vs 4,1V, discharge to 3,0V vs 2,5V etc...storing half-discharged or fully charged...)
Cycle testing takes a long time and ties up a good charger for the duration. In the radio control world there are folks who do it but they are lucky in some respects as current draw from the typical RC device (am thinking electric aircraft) is quite high so the discharge cycle is relatively short in duration. Li-po packs can also be charged at quite high rates many times "C".
If you were to do a cycle test at the various light discharge rates commonly found (not those relative few extreme output light users) in our lights ( some < 1A, some at 1A, some at 1.5A, some at 3A) and at the charge rates most use (frequently well under 1A) to simulate average use, performing hundreds of cycles would take many hundreds of hours per cell.
Anecdotally it does appear the better cells deliver better performance over more cycles.
Unless you need to buy hundreds of cells for hundreds of lights and thus have a meaningful budget to apply to cell purchases, why obsess over this anyway? Buy known good cells and be happy. The price delta between really good and questionable is not so large as to prevent anyone buying a flashlight from enjoying both peace of mind and an expectation of long cell cycle life.
The U.S. Army has done this; somewhere back in my posting history - might have been lost in the great crash, dunno, can't remember if my thread recovery tool recovered that thread - I started a thread that posted their results and IIRC the ensuing discussion was interesting. Unless the best applicable knowledge has changed since then the bottom line for me was the best cell cycle life could be obtained by avoiding charging fully. I don't believe it is known whether faster aging is a result of merely hitting max charge voltage (nearer 4.2V) or whether it is a factor of how long the cell stays there. I speculate that aging accelerates by hitting 4.2V or thereabouts given the U.S. Army cycle tests would not have left the cells in that state for an appreciable amount of time.Also It would be great to test how charge/discharge voltages affect battery-life (charging to 4,2V vs 4,1V, discharge to 3,0V vs 2,5V etc...storing half-discharged or fully charged...)
I'll find that thread and post some discharge tests of cells I've been using actively over the past two years. My bet with myself is that they still perform quite like new, as they still come up to the same voltages I recorded when they were fresh out of the box, as measured coming off the Pila, +/- a hundredth of a volt. None are suffering significant sag after sitting 24 hours post charge.
If you really want to obsess over this (I have been guilty of this at times myself) you could mark some cells and treat A as "normal", always charging fully, and B, C, D... as a low charge voltage specimens - purchase a hobby charger that is able to adjust the CC/CV parameters to complete at 4.0 or 4.1V. If the somewhat reduced runtime isn't an issue for you, maybe in three or five years you'll discover a pattern. Whatever you notice might not stand up to scrutiny given the small sample size but it may be interesting nonetheless.
Or you could just buy good cells and enjoy the light they help deliver.
For a while I was tracking every charge but gave up on that. As a result of the thread mentioned I did decide to change my charger's termination voltage to 4.1V for cells in regular use. Spares I don't intend to use for awhile I leave sitting at a lower storage voltage. If my PL8 is busy and I need to recharge some cells I don't sweat it and pop them on the Pila charger and let it terminate normally. Has more careful than usual treatment helped extend their cycle life? I've no idea.
Last edited by tandem; 04-18-2012 at 10:35 AM.
The problem with diameters is that it varies between batteries, even the same type. I always uses the largest diameter I can find on the two batteries I test.
Some of the reason for variations in diameter is the label and the connection strip inside the battery. When they are placed over each other you get the thickest battery. But I do not believe that this explain all tolerances, there must also be variations in the thickness of the heat shrink used.
One charge/discharge cycle is about 7 hours at 1A, doing 100 of these will be about a month.
And the result would not be the same as a typical usage pattern, there there is also some storage time at full voltage, that will degrade the battery.
As I said, I am going to run a test with few cells from Panasonic, Sanyo, Sony, and few *Fire cells to test cycle life - typically I imagine running 10charge/discharge cycles(chargers limit...don't have it yet but it is ordered), swap battery-->run 10cycles-->swap battery...I know It will be a long term run (1A charge and discharge) but it is my obsession :-D And I want to know which brand is better (and how much sux *fire cells....because honestly - they have half the price and quite good capacity (compared to branded ones)...not very good current capabilities but it is not necessary in all applications). I read many opinions that Panasonic batteries are much better than Sanyos etc...
Even incomplete results after for example 6months can show interesting data..
However- I am still not sure how to run the "4,2V 4,1V 4,0V test"
A) Include these batteries in first test and just cycle first to 4,2, second 4,1.. and maybe third to 4,0V
B) make separate test where batteries are charged to desired voltage and left ~14days left alone and than re-cycled.
What do you think is better? Personally I would choose B because it more reflects standard usage - cell is charged to 100% and left sitting in torch, laptop etc..
Also how to measure capacity with "lower voltage battery" (I would like to know maximum capacity and not just capacity at 4,0V)
In option A
-->every X cycles (~25) run one cycle to 4,2V and mark capacity - I think it won't compromise results significantly.
In option B
--> every month before battery discharge run charge to 4,2V and then run discharge and mark capacity.
Panasonic cells can't be better than Sanyo.
Panasonic owns Sanyo, ergo, Panasonic *is* Sanyo.
As for tests... if your goal as stated "reflects standard usage" you'll be testing cells non stop for years and it'll probably also be years before you see any useful patterns emerge... but perhaps a shorter period of time for HouseFire brand cells.
Edit: If you want to reflect normal usage, you'll probably have to do something like:
- charge fully
- program your charger to do a discharge at 800ma for a couple minutes. Then a 4 second interval to simulate accidental blinding yourself. Then no activity for a week. Then 1 minute looking for lost keys. Then 2 hours walking home along dark trail. Etc. Recharge. Lose flashlight in drawer of hell. Find a year later find it still mostly fully charged. Etc.
What is normal usage anyway?
Last edited by tandem; 04-18-2012 at 02:59 PM. Reason: add implausible story
Well If Panasonic owns Sanyo so why are they manufacturing under both brands different products?
It looks like they are owned by Panasonic but they are still manufacturing in their old factories... Maybe later they will merge into one.
For example there is sometrhing about panasonics and sanyos: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?p=614680
Normal usage - well I'm not 100% flashaholic. I am more interested in batteries in general and specially in laptops and electronics like this. So normal usage is sitting 100% charged for few days and when discharged down to almost 0% and again recharged to 100% and repeat...At least it will demonstrate degeneration at various voltages. I am interested mainly because few people asked me how they should set power manager in their Lenovo laptos. It allows you to change charge thresholds - So you can charge only to 80% and increase battery lifespan (at least Lenovo claims it). And I would like to confirm this and how much will it help.
czAtlantis, you should start up a new thread and leave this discussion out of HKJ's.
OT but on your topic: I have my Lenovo Thinkpad X220 set to charge only below 80%. The U.S. Army study convinced me.
HKJ , what you think about the panasonic 18650 3100 mah and 2900 mah , would you be doing test on them ?
I think I recall seeing your bar graph a few days ago, it's a good start but unfortunately that's only half the information we really need as buyers.
I guess now all we need to do is somehow convince all of the flashlight manufacturers to include the battery tube's internal diameter in their specs!
so pretty much according to the charts callies customs 3100's are on par with or slightly better than AW's 3100's ?
Thanks HKJ...for this informations. And for other in your page. All are very useful
Added a LG 3000mAh cell and AW 2600mAh battery.
The LG is very interesting, it has a high voltage for a LiIon cell (Because it is a 4.35 volt cell) and the capacity and energy will in many application be more than a 3100mAh cell:
i can't wait to see you review the orbtronic cells. i just found out about them thanks to CPF and they look like an amazing deal. i'm one state above them so it should be insanely awesome to have a source for li-ions like 3100 mAh Panasonics and so forth that actually ship domestically and get here in UNDER two weeks, you know?
The LG cells looks very promising for high drain lights such as the TM11.
But do you know what would be the best way to charge them? I currently have the i4 charger, Hobby charger setup and pila charger. But I doubt any of them would fully charge to 4.35v.
Thanks for your input.
Where did you get the Ultrafire 4000mAh 18650s? From their website it appears the highest capacity 18650 they make is 3000mAh.