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Thread: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Arrow Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    I'm helping a client find a few new, high capacity 18650s for his 650L Sunwayman T20CS that I sold him. He already ordered 2 NCR18650B's from Amazon, but that didn't work out well, which will be another subject for another thread.

    So, today I looked through Orbtronic's catalog for 18650's, and I found 2 newer batteries that are pretty inexpensive, and have high capacity, but are labeled as 'high drain' batteries. They are, (1). LG INR 18650 MJ1, which is an unprotected, flat top battery listed at 10a continuous current and 3500mah. (2). Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA, also 10a and 3500mah. The LG price is $5.75 apiece and the Panasonic is $7.50.

    Now, my Kanger Drip box 160 ecig has 2 LG 20amp batteries inside, and I realize that 10amp is not really all that high, when compared with most modern high amp batteries of 20-30amp. But regardless, these batteries were specifically labeled as high drain, and made me wonder if there is any benefit or downside to using these batteries in lower drain lights like the Sunwayman T20CS or other lights that don't output more than maybe 650-1000L using 1 18650? Will higher drain batteries of equal capacity to lower drain batteries like the NCR18650B be better or worse in any way in these applications?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    Generally there are significant disadvantages to using high drain capable cells in low drain applications. The highest capacity Li-Ion cells are relatively low drain, 3-4 amps is about the limit for cells like the NCR18650B. Higher currents will result in very significant 'sag' in output voltage with these cells. As long as the current demands of the flashlight stay below 4 amps usually the lower drain capable cells will usually provide considerable more useful life. 1000 lumens from an 18650 is typically around 3 amps. The high drain cells maintain higher voltage for a larger portion of the discharge cycle than their lower current counterparts at higher currents (above 5 amps), so in high drain application (5 amps or more) , you may get more working time even with the lower capacity of the IMR cells. However 1000 lumens at this point isn't high drain, and is well within the capabilities of the NCR18650B, and well below the capabilities of the NCR18650GA cell. The rub is the 20amp and higher capable batteries are often only 2600-3000mah capacity, which is well blow the NCR18650B or GA capacity, so you often looking at 20-30% less run time with the high current batteries.

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    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    GA and MJ1 are fine: good capacity and less voltage sag as the voltage goes down being used for extended time. Isn't that right?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    There is NOTHING wrong with using high drain cells like the LG HG2 or Sony VTC6 in low drain applications. In fact, they have their advantages. For one, they maintain voltage better than lower drain cells. And you can more quickly charge them if you need a fully charged battery ASAP.They might also be more durable than low draw cells at a low current draw (but this is untested). The only disadvantage would be a slight loss of capacity. But I mean SLIGHT - a VTC6 only has about 100mAH less REAL capacity than an NCR18650B. So if you have high drain cells that you use for other things, don't hesistate to use them inflashlights.
    Last edited by StorminMatt; 05-17-2017 at 11:04 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    Honestly, I see almost no disadvantage of using high drain cells in low drain flashlight. My custom flashlight isn't exactly the high drain hardware (1 - 1.4 Amps power), yet I see nothing wrong with it, besides when used easy high drain cells easily outlast low drain cells.
    ****** Custom filtered blacklight flashlight based on both Nichia NVSU233A-U365 and Convoy S2 flashlight host (Pictured in avatar icon) ******

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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StorminMatt View Post
    There is NOTHING wrong with using high drain cells like the LG HG2 or Sony VTC6 in low drain applications. In fact, they have their advantages. For one, they maintain voltage better than lower drain cells. And you can more quickly charge them if you need a fully charged battery ASAP.They might also be more durable than low draw cells at a low current draw (but this is untested). The only disadvantage would be a slight loss of capacity. But I mean SLIGHT - a VTC6 only has about 100mAH less REAL capacity than an NCR18650B. So if you have high drain cells that you use for other things, don't hesistate to use them inflashlights.
    So in other words, if the really high drain Sony and LG batteries(20amp - 30amp) are generally acceptable to be used in lower drain devices like a 647L flashlight, then the 2 batteries I listed should be even more suitable, due to their amp rating of a more moderate 10amps?
    Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    So in other words, if the really high drain Sony and LG batteries(20amp - 30amp) are generally acceptable to be used in lower drain devices like a 647L flashlight, then the 2 batteries I listed should be even more suitable, due to their amp rating of a more moderate 10amps?
    Yes you can. If a cell is rated for even 30 amp it means you can draw 30 amps out of it but it's not a must. You can use how many amps the driver take and that's it. So you can use almost any cell in your light.

    I am using also the ncr18650ga for high drain lights and very low drain they work perfectly in all lights

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    As linear drivers waste extra voltage above what's needed as heat, and high drain cells can maintain a higher voltage on average, at the same current drawn, doesn't a high drain cell lose more energy to heat than a regular cell does, thereby reducing runtime without increasing output?
    -You and others like you might be the reason lights aren't (even) better made.
    -Wider head for even more throw. Wow. That's new.
    -Nope. Not exceeding my expectations. You barely even meet them.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    I would say no harm in using them given you own them but if you are shopping for batteries you are better off prioritizing capacity over drain characteristics for low-drain applications.

    Mike

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StorminMatt View Post
    But I mean SLIGHT - a VTC6 only has about 100mAH less REAL capacity than an NCR18650B.
    And I would bet almost noone is completely exhausting the cell and benefiting from those 100 extra mAh. Of course it depends on the venue, but personally, I always plan on recharging or swapping out batteries if there's a chance I'll be using it that much to get down to 2.5v. Hell, I rarely even get below 3.5v.
    GOOD TINT!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is there any disadvantage to using high drain 18650's in lower drain LED lights?

    My custom flashlights trip out at 3.0 Volts (with warning flashes) as defined by the software on the LED driver I tailored. The batteries don't always come out at 3.0 Volts (unless it's LiFePO4 cell which is a little bit weird but it doesn't matter as both Lithium-ion cell types I have on hand works just fine in my custom flashlights) - both LG INR18650MJ1 and Sanyo INR18650GA rebounds to 3.5 Volts which is basically 0% for all intended purpose, unless I use Moonlight which can run it down to 3.0 Volts (which is not good on cell but fine in a pinch).

    On the other hands, all flashlights with intelligent LED drivers advertising to have any form of battery protections cut out at different rates, some cuts at 3.8 Volts, yet others limbo that low to 3.0 Volts. Which is why it's important to own the voltmeter, or if you prefer, use protected cell (as long as you don't drop the whole thing).

    Lastly, very few high-drain cells have high capacity, however most brand name cells are considered medium-drain which is what I have on hand. Wish 18650 LiFePO4 cells have 2,000 to 3,000 mAh capacity so they would be a bit more useful. Guess I am asking too much from the liFePO4 cells.
    Last edited by Dr. Mario; 05-22-2017 at 06:33 PM.
    ****** Custom filtered blacklight flashlight based on both Nichia NVSU233A-U365 and Convoy S2 flashlight host (Pictured in avatar icon) ******

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