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Thread: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

  1. #1

    Exclamation CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Budget 18650 batteries are usualy in the neighborhood of 2000mah give or take. Some are also reused rewrapped laptop batteries sold as new. This applies to ultrafire and trustfire branded batteries as well as some others. The 2 brands mentioned are the most likely to have false claims.

    Currently there is no commercialy available 18650 that is over 3100mah. The true 3100mah 18650 cells are pricey compared to their counterparts with false claims. (3100mah last time I checked)

    Cree is an LED manufacturer. Their LED's are installed in the most common budget flashlights you will see. Cree has datasheets available online for you to look at the real specs of the LED.

    The majority of current budget lights are installed with a cree XML-t6. This LED is rated at 1000 lumens when properly driven. When you see a flashlight seller that advertises more than 1000 lumens with a single XML-t6 you are being lied to. Also note this amount of light will not make it out the front lens of the flashlight. Consider heat, driver, budget battery, poorly designed host for heatsinking, budget lens.

    I hope this will help some people make an educated purchase on their next budget light. I like the budget lights but also believe you usualy get what you pay... not always.
    "It's a dark absorber not a flashlight !"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Thanks for taking the time to post this info..! Its very helpful when considering a new light.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    A budget light is what it is,made to sell at a price.Most lights are bought by users who have no wish to know who Cree or An Other is.As long as light comes out of the other end jobs done.

    But your words on here are important for people like us as we do want to know about Cree etc.

    Well done.

  4. #4

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    Thats some cold hard truths but thanks from us newbs.

    Personally I'm still trying to sort out all the facts from fictions...

    I see things this way-

    Factory or dealers site < cpf member review
    Last edited by hellraiser; 01-12-2012 at 11:07 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Well ... I see it this way:

    Most "premium" flashlight makers are charging a premium price for their products, and those products are often over-engineered (and consequently over-priced) for the kind of casual use most of us subject them to. In fact, most high-end flashlights on the market today are engineered for use as "tactical" lights for military, law enforcement and emergency services personnel. Like with a Mercedes car, most of us don't really need the degree of strength and quality that's baked into those lights, but some people like the cachet associated with them and are willing to pay the price to "drive" the best.

    In fact, most budget lights use Cree emitters, as stated, so the main desirable component is there. If the body of the light won't quite stand up to Taliban gunfire, the threads aren't ISO 9000 quality, the soldering is a little gobby, and the anodizing won't pass SOCOM standards, it really matters very little to most of us. What matters is that the price is low enough to allow us to have 3 or 5 of them for the price of one of the premiums.

    Now, the batteries are an area where we have to be educated and a bit careful, since misuse or defective products can cause problems. But as long as we deal with reputable sellers and manufacturers we should be safe. And I don't label Ultrafire and Trustfire batteries as automatically suspect.

    So I view budget lights more as "mainstream lights" than as inferior lights. But I don't drive a Mercedes, either.

    .
    .
    Last edited by Mike_TX; 01-13-2012 at 02:31 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    The statement I made is based on years of U.S. customers being misled, lied to, and taken advantage of by sellers that wish to make a profit based on ignorance of what the truth is. The truth stands till they all clean up their acts. One label does not erase all the lying, cheating, misleading that has taken place. I put this out there as a word of caution to inform buyers. A claim of 3000mah which when the actual cell is closer to 2600 is still a big difference and misleading regardless. A + or - of 100 mah is more acceptable than 400 especialy when the seller does not disclose the truth. A seller can advertise the cell will be within a specific mah range however these sellers BLOAT their lumens and mah ratings through the roof and they know it. There is no defense for it. Sellers are dishonest and choose to be in hopes to sell their products. I put the truth out there as a word of caution.

    Sellers claiming 1600 lumens from a single xml-t6 = Does not exist. Sellers claiming 4000mah from a single 18650 = does not exist commercialy. In your statement of defense for sellers 3000mah vs 2600mah, is this an accptible range of error to consumers? I think not, so why allow them let alone defend them to advertise such flase claims?
    Last edited by Norm; 01-28-2013 at 09:35 PM.
    "It's a dark absorber not a flashlight !"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Quote Originally Posted by 51coronet View Post
    The statement I made is based on years of U.S. customers being misled, lied to, and taken advantage of by sellers that wish to make a profit based on ignorance of what the truth is. The truth stands till they all clean up their acts. One label does not erase all the lying, cheating, misleading that has taken place. I put this out there as a word of caution to inform buyers. A claim of 3000mah which when the actual cell is closer to 2600 is still a big difference and misleading regardless. A + or - of 100 mah is more acceptable than 400 especialy when the seller does not disclose the truth. A seller can advertise the cell will be within a specific mah range however these sellers BLOAT their lumens and mah ratings through the roof and they know it. There is no defense for it. Sellers are dishonest and choose to be in hopes to sell their products. I put the truth out there as a word of caution.

    Sellers claiming 1600 lumens from a single xml-t6 = Does not exist. Sellers claiming 4000mah from a single 18650 = does not exist commercialy. In your statement of defense for sellers 3000mah vs 2600mah, is this an accptible range of error to consumers? I think not, so why allow them let alone defend them to advertise such flase claims?
    I'm not defending dishonest claims, but I somehow doubt the average buyer can discern between 3000 and 2600 mAh of battery capacity. What they do know is that they get a battery that powers their lights for a given amount of time for a LOT less than comparable "name brand" batteries. You might look at it like the difference between alkaline and Nicad batteries - they're both the same size, but one works better than the other one. Similarly, pricey name brand batteries may work better than Chinese batteries, but if the lesser-priced product gets the job done, who's quibbling over capacity ratings? You get what you pay for.

    Lumens ratings are the same. As soon as you accept that they're exaggerated, you realize you can use them as a relative guide to output ... i.e., a claimed 1000 lumen light is likely to be a good bit brighter than a claimed 300 lumen light. And frankly, most people just know that a light is bright or dim, so it's not a life-or-death deal.

    All this stuff is a "buyer beware" issue. It's like buying at a market in Mexico - you might not always get exactly what you think you're getting. People need to educate themselves and be informed buyers.

    .
    .

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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_TX View Post
    I'm not defending dishonest claims, but I somehow doubt the average buyer can discern between 3000 and 2600 mAh of battery capacity. What they do know is that they get a battery that powers their lights for a given amount of time for a LOT less than comparable "name brand" batteries. You might look at it like the difference between alkaline and Nicad batteries - they're both the same size, but one works better than the other one. Similarly, pricey name brand batteries may work better than Chinese batteries, but if the lesser-priced product gets the job done, who's quibbling over capacity ratings? You get what you pay for.

    Lumens ratings are the same. As soon as you accept that they're exaggerated, you realize you can use them as a relative guide to output ... i.e., a claimed 1000 lumen light is likely to be a good bit brighter than a claimed 300 lumen light. And frankly, most people just know that a light is bright or dim, so it's not a life-or-death deal.

    All this stuff is a "buyer beware" issue. It's like buying at a market in Mexico - you might not always get exactly what you think you're getting. People need to educate themselves and be informed buyers.

    .
    .
    There actually might be a 3100 mAH out there. In my informal tests with CBA III 1.5a down to 2.8v (more than 10 of each battery, except TrustFire R&B I only have two).

    TrustFire R&B 3000 = 2000 mAH
    TrustFire gray 2500 = 1900 mAH
    AW 2900 = 2700 mAH
    AW 3100 = 2900 mAH

    If we test the AW 3100 at 0.1c to 2.75v we might actually see near 3100 mAH. Thoughts?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Quote Originally Posted by HIDC View Post

    If we test the AW 3100 at 0.1c to 2.75v we might actually see near 3100 mAH. Thoughts?
    This is a really important point. Capacity is dependent on discharge rate. I actually think that the poor quality control is a bigger problem for consumers. A light that is DOA simply because of poor connections is a problem that is seen all too often.

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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    Quote Originally Posted by HIDC View Post
    There actually might be a 3100 mAH out there. In my informal tests with CBA III 1.5a down to 2.8v (more than 10 of each battery, except TrustFire R&B I only have two).

    TrustFire R&B 3000 = 2000 mAH
    TrustFire gray 2500 = 1900 mAH
    AW 2900 = 2700 mAH
    AW 3100 = 2900 mAH

    If we test the AW 3100 at 0.1c to 2.75v we might actually see near 3100 mAH. Thoughts?
    Power/Discharge rate depends on concentration of unreacted chemical inside cell(this is an analog, Li-ion is slightly different)
    When the cell is being discharged, concentration of these thing decrease so max available current decrease
    Thats why when discharge rate increase, capacity decrease
    If you discharge it at really really low rate, let say 0.0000000000000000000000000000000001C
    Then concentration would not be a limiting factor anymore and you get your true capacity reading
    Crossover with chemistry and physics
    mAH = It can deliver rated capacity for one hour
    Larger capacity = more juice inside
    Like Li -> e + Li+ Each time the equation runs, one electron is given out
    Using maths we can calculate capacity by measuring how much stuff theyve added to the battery
    The capacity may be a calculated one instead of tested one(Of course these cells may be surplus and the capacity was bluffed)

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caution budget battery and lumen claims : Tidbit

    I will keep my eyes open when I go to buy anything on ebay.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by 51coronet View Post
    Cree is an LED manufacturer. Their LED's are installed in the most common budget flashlights you will see.
    AS WELL AS installed in most ANY light - because CREE simply offers the best led(s)
    (since they overtook their competitor Luxeon's makes in ~2004, when they entered the "Cree revolution" with their XR-E model)
    ((later XP-G, followed by XM-L))


    ... just because some posts here could mislead to the finding, that "a Cree led" is an indicator for a "bad" budget light
    when in doubt: buy both

  13. #13

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Just my .02... We've been brought up to be consumers. I read somewhere that the word 'consumer' was created to describe the gullible... those who believe... unquestioning!!! Here's some humor about this problem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ut93YYZu8 And the iNet is bloating with growing mis-information.

    Ok! Here is my suggestion to eliminate budget battery woes...


    • surf over to eBay and buy Laptop Battery 'pulls'. Four (4) days ago, I picked up an IBM Thinkpad T20; T21; whatever for a BEST OFFER of $4 with $4.95 S/H for a total of $8.95. Yesterday, I received the battery pack that contained 6 X CGR18650HGL PANASONIC (GREEN) Li-ion cells rated at 1800mAh.
    • The day before yesterday, I asked the woman in the IT dept (where I work security) if she was throwing out any laptop batteries. "Hello!!!!!" She remembered seeing a pack in the recycle bin. "Viola!!!" I harvested 6 X ICR18650-22F SAMSUNG (PURPLE) Li-ion cells rated at 2200mAh from that Dell Inspr...whatever. The mAh numbers above came from the manufacturer product spec sheet - verified. And, Samsung and Panasonic are a couple of the heavy hitters out there.
    • The usual culprit in a battery pack is the one cell that took a vacation... leaving the rest high and dry.


    In my example above, there was one dead PANASONIC cell in the green lot and in the SAMSUNG lot, all cells are working just fine. So, with this "Hit" or "Miss" ratio, why would anyone tie themselves up in a 'tizzy' or care about mAh claims and budget battery woes? With four (soon to be five) torches in the stable, I could run a fresh cell for a month and swap it out for another cell... while repeating this cycle for the next two years off of a base of 11 cells I 'harvested' from laptop 'pulls' and the four (4) alleged 3000mAh ones I bought off eBay to get started.

    I've deliberately forgotten the Politician's name who said - and I paraphrase - the equipment our soldiers use (a co-relation to the value of a soldier) is based on the lowest Contractor BID. Anyone care to dig up the statistics on the V22 Osprey - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Boeing_V-22_Osprey? How many lives has this abomination claimed since it was put into service... the latest tragedy being a few months ago - April 2012... It's STILL in service. Go figure...

    I called my local County recycling facility and asked about the stock of laptops and laptop batteries they had in-house. The response was "We have quite a bit of laptop batteries in here." So, when I pretended to be an elderly retired Engineer building an RC kit for my grandson... and needing some of the 'turned-in' batteries packs to harvest the Li-ion cells, the woman said "Sorry Sir. I can't let you have any of these battery packs." So, I asked her why! Was it a Li-ion Federal EPA restriction? Her response was, "No Sir. It's part of the County's revenue stream, Sir."


    I think I'm becoming a Lumen junkie!!!

  14. #14

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Quote Originally Posted by QuePsi83 View Post
    Just my .02... We've been brought up to be consumers. I read somewhere that the word 'consumer' was created to describe the gullible... those who believe... unquestioning!!! Here's some humor about this problem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ut93YYZu8 And the iNet is bloating with growing mis-information.

    Ok! Here is my suggestion to eliminate budget battery woes...


    • surf over to eBay and buy Laptop Battery 'pulls'. Four (4) days ago, I picked up an IBM Thinkpad T20; T21; whatever for a BEST OFFER of $4 with $4.95 S/H for a total of $8.95. Yesterday, I received the battery pack that contained 6 X CGR18650HGL PANASONIC (GREEN) Li-ion cells rated at 1800mAh.
    • The day before yesterday, I asked the woman in the IT dept (where I work security) if she was throwing out any laptop batteries. "Hello!!!!!" She remembered seeing a pack in the recycle bin. "Viola!!!" I harvested 6 X ICR18650-22F SAMSUNG (PURPLE) Li-ion cells rated at 2200mAh from that Dell Inspr...whatever. The mAh numbers above came from the manufacturer product spec sheet - verified. And, Samsung and Panasonic are a couple of the heavy hitters out there.
    • The usual culprit in a battery pack is the one cell that took a vacation... leaving the rest high and dry.


    In my example above, there was one dead PANASONIC cell in the green lot and in the SAMSUNG lot, all cells are working just fine. So, with this "Hit" or "Miss" ratio, why would anyone tie themselves up in a 'tizzy' or care about mAh claims and budget battery woes? With four (soon to be five) torches in the stable, I could run a fresh cell for a month and swap it out for another cell... while repeating this cycle for the next two years off of a base of 11 cells I 'harvested' from laptop 'pulls' and the four (4) alleged 3000mAh ones I bought off eBay to get started.

    I've deliberately forgotten the Politician's name who said - and I paraphrase - the equipment our soldiers use (a co-relation to the value of a soldier) is based on the lowest Contractor BID. Anyone care to dig up the statistics on the V22 Osprey - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Boeing_V-22_Osprey? How many lives has this abomination claimed since it was put into service... the latest tragedy being a few months ago - April 2012... It's STILL in service. Go figure...

    I called my local County recycling facility and asked about the stock of laptops and laptop batteries they had in-house. The response was "We have quite a bit of laptop batteries in here." So, when I pretended to be an elderly retired Engineer building an RC kit for my grandson... and needing some of the 'turned-in' batteries packs to harvest the Li-ion cells, the woman said "Sorry Sir. I can't let you have any of these battery packs." So, I asked her why! Was it a Li-ion Federal EPA restriction? Her response was, "No Sir. It's part of the County's revenue stream, Sir."


    I think I'm becoming a Lumen junkie!!!

    Awesome suggestions. I don't use 18650's, but upon reading your post I walked 3 steps to my trash can, pulled out an old laptop battery, chopped away a bit to reveal some info, hit the google machine and found I had...drumroll...

    6 LG 2600 mAh 18650's. They're obviously junk to me, I don't use 'em. It's still interesting to see!

    If anyone want's 'em you can PM me. I'll send the to anyone who will PP me the cost of shipping. The battery would no longer hold a charge so AT LEAST one is bad. I slightly damaged the wrapper on one trying to extract them. Crazy.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Like most newbies, when I got into this hobby and specifically into Li-Ion torches, I looked for and bought the highest capacity cheapest batteries I could find. Turned out at the time it was UF3000 mAh cells. I now know through reading and experience that these are total crap. I have 6 of them, bought 2 at a time, and they don't even match each other in looks when you examine them closely. Quickly learned that they can stick a shiny new wrapper on anything. Lipstick on a Pig comes to mind here.

    I have since taken to only purchasing cells that have been thoroughly reviewed (HKJ, Benckie and some others) and stick to reputable sources that have been verified by other forum members. That being said, if you get them from the right source, some of the TF cells are quite good. Not my first choice, but good nonetheless.

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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    The DX 18650 SKU: 26248 is pretty impressive, I own 2 and have ordered 4 for other people and they match up in capacity to my AW 18650 (rated at 2600mA). Together they can easily put out 20W to a halogen bulb. I have never actually taken a laptop battery apart, but i have 2 sitting around and I will try it later. The AW 18650 was $15 by itself and it was well worth it, but I can not tell the difference between it and one of these and therefore can not justify spending any more on another AW. Have any of you revived a Li battery by wiring it up in parrallel and jumping it off? I have done it twice when the battery has dropped bellow the point at which it can be charged by a charger, and it seems to work very well.

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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    I took apart the two laptop batteries I have and got 8*Samsung18650-22f, and 6*LG 18650 2200. It turns out that the one large cpu battery that went out had 12 total 18650 cells and since it was 3 clusters of 4 in parallel I wound up losing 4 cells to one bad one. Thank you for this information I was needing a couple extra cells, although I have already ordered 2 more.

  18. #18

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Quote Originally Posted by langham View Post
    Have any of you revived a Li battery by wiring it up in parrallel and jumping it off? I have done it twice when the battery has dropped bellow the point at which it can be charged by a charger, and it seems to work very well.
    How exactly do you do this? I have several old laptop batteries and I'm considering scrounging them for cells, but they won't take a charge, so I suspect one or more cells are bad.

    Swamp7cat

  19. #19
    Flashaholic langham's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    I had one that had 3 sets of 4 in parallel and another with 3 sets of 2 in parallel. They are soldered to a small piece of sheet aluminum and wired up. Typically the dead cell will also kill the one next to it. If you get them quick enough then you can wire a freshly charged 18650 in parallel with the dead one that isn't broken and it will get it to a V which is high enough to charge it. Sometimes this works other times, not so much, but worth a try. Most chargers will not charge bellow around 2V so you need to get it above this, about 30 sec. in parallel should do just fine. If the cell is bad it will simply slowly lose charge over time as seen by multi meter. I took the case apart with a dremel being careful to not go much past the outside cover. You can tell where the batteries are, and the other side is the circuitry. You may want to order some protection circuits though as you will remove all battery protection when you remove the cells. Good luck! You can pm me with any difficulty or further questions.

  20. #20

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Cool, I'll dig those battery packs out and see about opening them up. Hopefully the cells will be serviceable!

    Swamp7cat

  21. #21

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    amazing helpful info, either way!
    now to dig up my own, old laptop battries...

  22. #22

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    I would consider updating Post #1 of this thread because Panasonic now makes a 3400mAh battery and more than one good company has sold them with protection. Orbtronic sold them protected on their website (now sold out), I think I remember seeing ones protected by Keeppower in pictures.

    I also found some German Enerpower+ 3400mAh protected panasonics available NOW as of this post in the ebay store harvestmoonglory for like a bajillion dollars.

    Redhans

  23. #23

    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Is there any demonstrable test that can be used to test the capacity of our new batteries to know whether or not they are reused or just falsely advertised junk?

  24. #24

    Default CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Without industry standards or government oversight, someone would need to spot check every brand (which hkj is approaching). In the mean time, the the reliable option is not taking the risk (buying from a reliable brand).
    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 10-17-2012 at 07:47 AM.

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    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhans View Post
    I also found some German Enerpower+ 3400mAh protected panasonics available NOW as of this post in the ebay store harvestmoonglory for like a bajillion dollars.
    Hello??? GERMAN batteries, German made things always cost a bazillion dollars

  26. #26
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    NCR18650B is made in Japan
    PVC sleeve made in China
    PCB ?? - Made in Germany?
    Top button?


    All those cells are assembled in China, and nothing wrong with it.

    Iphone is assembled in China - correct?

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    Quote Originally Posted by space-cowboy View Post
    NCR18650B is made in Japan

    PVC sleeve made in China
    PCB ?? - Made in Germany?
    Top button?


    All those cells are assembled in China, and nothing wrong with it.

    Iphone is assembled in China - correct?
    It was meant more as a joke than anything else

    The Enerpower batteries are assembled in Germany. I don't think any of the components are actually made here.
    Since they are assembled in Germany and are rather expensive one could assume that the quality of the workmanship especially considering the isolation of the return wire on the outside of the battery should be very good, but only taking apart a cell from them will actually prove this.

    Another thing to note: the pcb in the Enerpower 3400mAh batteries allows up to 7A (~2C) discharge, which is basically perfect.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic langham's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    What kind of lights are you guys using that require such ridiculous power sources? I have always liked the fact that size also adds a little bit of wow factor in the brighter lights. I have conceived making a 100W halogen powered light, but it uses 12 18650 cells and at that power approximately 2.3A discharge from any single battery at a time even dead. That would give me at least an hour even on some crappy 2200mAh cells. The only thing I can conceive using those expensive cells on would be a very nice high powered laptop, and even then it would be a little pricey for my tastes. Good luck with making something that discharges those kinds of amps I have seen some pretty crazy stuff happen when you get too much power out of too small of a package though. One guy exploded his balcony.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic Epsilon's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    5A of a single cell is very usefull in overdriven xml applications. 7a cutoff is then more than enough, there are cells with 10A cutoffs, which is just not needed. the voltage has dropped to 3v by then.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic langham's Avatar
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    Default Re: CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

    The curve for light output vs. current is useless above 3A and just reduces the life of the led dramatically. Why would you do that? The heat dissipation alone would be obscene and call for a light that was at least big enough to house 2*18650. Now an SST-90 could be understandable, but even then the size of the head of a light that uses an SST-90 or multiple XML emitters would be large and bulky and in no way would you save anything by running the light on a single 18650. Beside all of that the smallest 5A driver I have ever seen is very large, much too large to use in any single 18650 host I have seen. If you are talking about running a 4*XML with just 2 18650 cells I would say that is still unwise because in a light that is that bright you don't need to be able to carry it around as your EDC. All in all, just get a multiple cell host and stop trying to spend way too much money on batteries they do wear out after a while no matter how expensive they are.

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