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Thread: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Thinking In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I dont yet own a FL that runs on more than 1-123, so I dont yet have the option of using an 18650. I could buy RCR123's, but so far I just buy inexpensive 123's from batteryjunction for $1 - $1.45 apiece, and they last a good while. But I'm considering which 18650 light to buy now, while flip-flopping on whether to buy a Sunwayman Ti+ first. There are too many choices, not too much money.

    I'll probably buy the 18650 light first, and I'll have several battery options then. I could keep buying 123's, or buy an 18650 charger and batteries, or buy RCR123's and a charger. I'll need to make a choice of which to get and use. I will always have 123's lying around, so that'll probably be the back-up option.

    Which batteries do you run your 18650/123 flashlights on mostly? Can you list the advantages of 18650' vs. RCR123's? Will most of these lights also handle 16340's?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Seems that many prefer 18650's...

  3. #3

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    In lights which I use frequently, I generally use 18650's but for lights which are set aside and only used for emergencies, I prefer 123's.

  4. #4

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    I dont yet own a FL that runs on more than 1-123, so I dont yet have the option of using an 18650. I could buy RCR123's, but so far I just buy inexpensive 123's from batteryjunction for $1 - $1.45 apiece, and they last a good while. But I'm considering which 18650 light to buy now, while flip-flopping on whether to buy a Sunwayman Ti+ first. There are too many choices, not too much money.

    I'll probably buy the 18650 light first, and I'll have several battery options then. I could keep buying 123's, or buy an 18650 charger and batteries, or buy RCR123's and a charger. I'll need to make a choice of which to get and use. I will always have 123's lying around, so that'll probably be the back-up option.

    Which batteries do you run your 18650/123 flashlights on mostly? Can you list the advantages of 18650' vs. RCR123's? Will most of these lights also handle 16340's?
    It also comes down to not having to carry multiple power sources for me. In my case, I have NV gear, illuminators, lasers, and red-dot sights that use 123's so I use RCR123 in all my gear and lights.

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    Flashaholic* archimedes's Avatar
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    Default

    Probably obvious, but make sure to understand the very different voltages among those cells and combos you list above ... ie, just because they "fit" doesn't mean it's necessarily safe ( from )
    IF 2 = 1 THEN 1 = 0

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    Buttrock Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    The light they'll be in matters a lot as to what makes sense, in addition to if OTF Lumens, or runtime, are your priorities.

    A good example is the Klarus XT11, on RCR123's, it a LOT brighter, even on step down, TurboBB measured ~ 850 L OTF.

    On 18650's, its stepped down to more like 500 L, with a turbo max of ~ 600 L as spec...for an 18650

    I get a few hours on 18650s, and ~ 1/2 hr or so on RCR123's....so I can burn short and bright like fireworks...or long and less bright like a camp fire.


    For the Surefire Fury, the light is ~ the same brightness on primary or rechargeable 123's, despite the added V of the RCR's but runs longer on the primaries as they have higher mAh. The light is regulated so as to give the same output regardless of the v in that range.

    The Klarus XT11 is not regulated to limit brightness, and the added voltage allows a lot more light output...but the RCR's now provide LESS mAh than the 18650.

    So the XT11 18650 makes sense for runtime, and the RCR123's make sense for more OTF.

    For the Fury, RCR's make no difference in performance, have a lower runtime, but, save a FORTUNE on buying an endless supply of primaries to use the light.




    So, the answer is "It depends".

    Last edited by TEEJ; 04-21-2012 at 01:29 PM.

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    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    18650 with primary 123's for backup if a light is being carried.
    Almost all lights are kept with primary 123's in them the rest of the time, especially emergency fallback lights.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evltcat View Post
    It also comes down to not having to carry multiple power sources for me. In my case, I have NV gear, illuminators, lasers, and red-dot sights that use 123's so I use RCR123 in all my gear and lights.
    Unfortunately, my stuff isnt all consistently powered by the same batteries. My lasers are powered by AAA's or AA's. My red dot is powered by a large flat battery, my 3 LED flashlights are powered by 123's, AA's, and AAA's. I guess one way to look at this would be that I can always find batteries that will run at least something that I own! I dont have NV ge3ar, because I had bionic eyes installed a few years ago, and I got the NV option with them....

  9. #9

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    Unfortunately, my stuff isnt all consistently powered by the same batteries. My lasers are powered by AAA's or AA's. My red dot is powered by a large flat battery, my 3 LED flashlights are powered by 123's, AA's, and AAA's. I guess one way to look at this would be that I can always find batteries that will run at least something that I own! I dont have NV ge3ar, because I had bionic eyes installed a few years ago, and I got the NV option with them....
    Well, you can try for your most important gear to be on the same cells. I have the AA extenders for my Suwwayman lights so they can use them too in a pinch.
    I'm jealous! I sooo need Bionic Eyes!!!
    Last edited by Evltcat; 04-21-2012 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Speeeling!

  10. #10

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    18650s.

    It's safer to use a single-cell than have multiple cells in series. I'd hate for one cell to run down faster than the other and reverse charge and go boom!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Agree with Fireclaw18, after reading some of the stories about venting, I decided to run applicable lights with 1x18650 instead of 2xRCR123. Also, runtime increases on majority of my lights when using 1x18650. There are some lights / dropins that may benefit from the extra voltage but I don't particularly need that and prefer the extra runtime instead. Also, I fine it easier to carry around a couple of spare 18650's in tubes than a bunch of RCR123's even thought I have SF spares carriers. I only use primary 123's as backup.
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    Flashaholic* davyro's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I use 123 rechargeables mostly but if i use one of my bigger lights that don't need 6V i'll use 18650 rechargeables & i've always got spares fully charged as everytime i by a light i order double the batteries needed so i've always got a spare.

  13. #13

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    18650's are the choice for me unless it's a car flashlight that will sitting in hot & cold weather then I use the CR123.

  14. #14

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I know some lights prefer 2 RCRS, I like a single 18650 with the ability to run CR123s or RCRs.

  15. #15

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I like 18650's for use lights, and CR123's for harsh environment (car) and emergency lights/backup batteries. keeping a dozen 123's around is cheap and they have a very long shelf light. I have been in several extended blackouts, and narrowly missed a few (last year was rough weather wise here, blackouts extended to nearly a week on several occasions). In that situation its nice to have a reserve of primary cells since they hold a charge in storage better than rechargeables.

    For regular use I can't bring myself to use primary cells, even if they are inexpensive, I see little dollars shooting out the front of my lights when i turn them on. Can't explain it.

    -- Adam

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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I'm running two CR123's because I don't like my lights to blackout without warning when they are spent, and left in the dark.
    If I ran rechargeables I would never run 2xRCR123, I'd do 18650 for safety reasons, or I'd use LiPO4.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    HighLanderNorth,

    As a general rule of thumb, single cell usage is more safe than doubled up cell usage. Like all other seasoned CPFer's have stated, primaries ie CR123's are better held up in terms of durability to weapon recoil and adverse weather, environmental conditions. General to moderate times of usage without the emergency or tactical, combat required X factor, the 18650 lithium ion rechargeable batteries is better suited everyday.

    SPC smith

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    Flashaholic Theatre Booth Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    After reading some of the horror stories about exploding lights as a result of multiple cells with differing capacity, I made a vow to only use single cell lights. For edc use, I go for single 123 cells and now the 18350 for my new JetBeam lights. I do have a couple 18650 cells for my 18650 Zebralight flood and really want to get a thrower that uses the 18650 cell (that is my next light to research & add to the collection).
    Brian

    After getting an HDS, other flashlights seem much less relevant (Except for some of the really special lights found on CPF!)
    When things are really dark, a dim light for a long time is much better than a blinding light for a short time.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I use 18650. Most power and most runtime.
    happens

  20. #20

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    For lights that I use around the house regularly, on walks, and for EDC under normal conditions I use primarily 18650s. Now for Team activations, such as those which are likely over the next 48 hours due to a surprise late season snow storm, I will go to 123A primaries. That way if I have to change batteries in the field I do not have to worry so much about where that 18650 is, plus I know that the lights all have fresh cells that do not need to be topped off.
    Alan
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    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    i like using cr123, especially for single cr123 lights because i dont usually plan on using them for long periods of time on higher levels.

    for my work lights which are used on high mode, and for extended periods i like 18650s. with Cr123 as backup

    for house/emergency lights i load them with 1 or 2 cr123.

    18650 are the only rechargeables that i regularly use. i dont like other rechargeables because capacity compared to 18650s just seems so lacking.

  22. #22
    Enlightened bronzet's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I use 18650s most of the time and also use RCR123 specially on my 3 cell lights like Jetbeam RRT15 and MD3.

    But i also stock up on primaries and use them mainly for my EDC and weapon mounted torches.

  23. #23

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Personally, ALL my lights run on rechargeables, regardless of size.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic Lighteous's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Quote Originally Posted by guiri View Post
    Personally, ALL my lights run on rechargeables, regardless of size.
    I'm in the same camp as Guiri. The only deviation from the use of rechargeables is the use of primary CR123's in the flashlights I keep in my car ready for an emergency.

  25. #25

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I'd go so far as to sign a petition to prohibit use of NON rechargeable batteries. Do you guys have any idea how many batteries are thrown away each year?

    By the way, I started doing this 20-30 years ago. Sure, you can't always do it but if it were possible, I did and now, I will NOT buy a light
    that will NOT run on rechargeables.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    My circumstances are slightly different than most others. I travel extensively in my work, and often find myself in places where lithium primary cells are considered exotic. I therefore carry a universal charger for just about every species and voltage of li-ion cell known to man. In addition, I keep at least one light capable of using all of the most common primary cells, from the humble AAA and AA cells, to those exotic camera batteries sold at fine stores everywhere for $5 each. It's not that I'm paranoid, it's just that experience with commercial power outages in far flung places has instilled in me a bone-deep understanding of the Boy Scout motto. Be prepared. That noted, I prefer the 18650 cells for their power to offer extended runtimes.
    Last edited by DaveTheDude; 04-23-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I love the 18650 took me a while to get the charger and some good cells. But makes a bigger difference.

    I like the like being able to take CR123 in case of power outage etc I can have fresh cells. But everyday use the 18650 wins.
    ARC AAA Limited Edition,Fenix 1LP,MagLite 4-D,Dorcy,LED Keychain Light,Ebay 32 LED flash light,Dorcy 1W Metal Gear(now my dads),ALX-654C,XtremeLite 5W Luxeon 4-C,MXDL 3 watt,12 led,blacklight (ebay),peakAA 3 Led HI-Power,dorcyIncad 2xAAADorcy Incad 2xCC

  28. #28

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveTheDude View Post
    It's not that I'm paranoid...
    No, of course not...

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I bought an ZL SC-600, so I had to go with the 18650. I picked up two EagleTac 3100s and an WP2 II charger and threw the second ET in my Fenix PD32. "Guilt Free Lumens" and all.

    I just received a Xeno E03, so I'll be getting some 14500s soon and if I get the Sunwayman VR-10, I might get the extender to run a 14500, or the 16340s.

    I keep primaries and NiMH batteries, like the LSD Eneloops, GP ReCyKos and Imedions, so I figure that I have my bases covered.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  30. #30

    Default Re: In your 123/18650 lights, do you prefer 123's, 18650's, or rechargeable RCR123's?

    I prefer 18650 over the other battery options for the following reasons:
    - I like to use my lights for no reason at all so I prefer rechargeables (18650 > 2xcr123)
    - I enjoy the runtime of 18650 batts over 2xrcr123 (18650 > 2xrcr123)
    - I'm afraid to use rcr123 or cr123 in series (18650 by a mile)

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