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Thread: Unregulated question

  1. #1

    Default Unregulated question

    I have a noob question about batteries, voltage, and unregulated lights.

    I have a 2016 Tikkina, today I noticed the light was getting lower, when I measured the voltage, two of the batteries had 1.14 V and one had 0.79 V.
    1. is the low voltage caused by running the light too low in the past?
    2 .is it dangerous to keep on using this battery?
    3. Should I measure the voltage of the batteries before inserting them, to make sure they are equal?
    thank you

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* hiuintahs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    I have a noob question about batteries, voltage, and unregulated lights.

    I have a 2016 Tikkina, today I noticed the light was getting lower, when I measured the voltage, two of the batteries had 1.14 V and one had 0.79 V.
    1. is the low voltage caused by running the light too low in the past?
    2 .is it dangerous to keep on using this battery?
    3. Should I measure the voltage of the batteries before inserting them, to make sure they are equal?
    thank you
    I noticed that this light uses 3 batteries and as such is likely not entirely regulated.........especially if you notice the light getting dimmer with use. (I'm not aware of whether the Tikkina is current regulated or not). However even a current regulated light will not hit its higher modes once the batteries come close to being depleted.

    The voltage on your cells shows that they are very depleted. If they are Eneloop or NiMh batteries then they are time for recharge. The fact that the battery voltage was different on one of the cells can be normal and nothing to worry about. Usually if all three are of the same brand and new when putting them in, then they will likely be very close to the same voltage as they get used. You don't have to match the cells on a non-lithium ion light. However, on AA or AAA batteries if it takes 3 cells and one is more discharged than the others to begin with, then it will be the one that makes the light look dimmer sooner.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by hiuintahs View Post
    The voltage on your cells shows that they are very depleted. If they are Eneloop or NiMh batteries then they are time for recharge. The fact that the battery voltage was different on one of the cells can be normal and nothing to worry about. Usually if all three are of the same brand and new when putting them in, then they will likely be very close to the same voltage as they get used. You don't have to match the cells on a non-lithium ion light..
    Hope that helps.
    Your reply put my mind at rest, after reading the forum concerning with The dangerous side of batteries, I got scared.
    I do understand now that most of those safety concerns apply not to regular Nimh rechargeables.
    so thank you for clarifying things to me.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Somewhere around 1.1V, the voltage begins to fall rapidly with further use. It's not uncommon for one cell to reach this point slightly ahead of the others, and thus quickly end up at a much lower voltage. With rechargeable batteries, this can worsen with each cycle if drained that far repeatedly.

    It's not generally dangerous, but if they're alkalines, it's time to retire them, both because they're effectively exhausted, and because old alkalines are at elevated risk of leaking and corroding the innards of your light. The two with the higher voltage can probably still serve for a while in a remote control or similar low power application.

    If they're NiMH, your simplest option is simply to be more attentive to avoid discharging them that far again (Normal full discharge is 0.9V, common practice is to recharge by 1.1V, except if doing a refresh cycle). Another option is replace that set of cells in that light with new ones, and find separate uses for the weaker cell and the pair of stronger cells.

    The decline in brightness is subtle with unregulated lights, but you can start to sense it if you have a good sense of how well you can normally see with that light, so you'll know when to check the voltage or recharge.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    Somewhere around 1.1V, the voltage begins to fall rapidly with further use. It's not uncommon for one cell to reach this point slightly ahead of the others, and thus quickly end up at a much lower voltage. With rechargeable batteries, this can worsen with each cycle if drained that far repeatedly.
    butIt's not generally dangerous, but if they're alkalines, it's time to retire them, both because they're effectively exhausted and because old alkalines are at elevated risk of leaking and corroding the innards of your light. The two with the higher voltage can probably still serve for a while in a remote control or similar low power application.
    so the two other batteries are are depleted as well? 1.14 v is also too low?

    (Normal full discharge is 0.9V, common practice is to recharge by 1.1V, except if doing a refresh cycle).
    it is not clear to me what is meant here, sorry, as i said, I am a noob.
    The decline in brightness is subtle with unregulated lights, but you can start to sense it if you have a good sense of how well you can normally see with that light, so you'll know when to check the voltage or recharge.
    if I'll have to take out the three batteries and check the voltage, I might as well just take them out and put in fresh batteries when the light is dimming.
    so to sum up: with an unregulated light it is best to swap out the batteries for fresh ones after I notice the light is dimming.

    thanks

  6. #6

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    I'm still not clear if you're using rechargeables or alkalines, but regardless, I think I can simplify what I wrote to help make things more clear

    1.14V is not too low, but the battery is mostly discharged. 1.1V is a good target in general to recharge or replace (as a really rough ballpark likely over 75% drained for an alkaline disposable, or over 90% drained for an NiMH rechargeable). 1.14V is close enough you might as well do so now. At 0.9V, it's definitely time to recharge or replace.

    With one cell showing below 0.9V, definitely recharge or replace. If these are rechargeable NiMH batteries, going that low regularly may wear out the cell more quickly.

    In short, yes, when you notice the light significantly dimming, swap out the batteries. I'd go ahead and measure the voltage when you do so, and that will help you get a better sense of when to change the batteries in the future.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    I'm still not clear if you're using rechargeables or alkalines, but regardless, I think I can simplify what I wrote to help make things more clear
    I noticed I failed to mention in my opening post which batteries this concerns, they are rechargeable AAA Eneloops ( HR4UTG ).
    the one with the low voltage is from end 2010.
    1.14V is not too low, but the battery is mostly discharged. 1.1V is a good target in general to recharge or replace (as a really rough ballpark likely over 75% drained for an alkaline disposable, or over 90% drained for an NiMH rechargeable). 1.14V is close enough you might as well do so now. At 0.9V, it's definitely time to recharge or replace.

    With one cell showing below 0.9V, definitely recharge or replace. If these are rechargeable NiMH batteries, going that low regularly may wear out the cell more quickly.

    In short, yes, when you notice the light significantly dimming, swap out the batteries. I'd go ahead and measure the voltage when you do so, and that will help you get a better sense of when to change the batteries in the future.
    thank you for clarifying these figures, I'll try to use this new knowledge in dealing with my rechargeables.
    To start with I think it might be a good idea to get all my older batteries and use them for other things, so the newer ones can be used for my lights.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    I do understand now that most of those safety concerns apply not to regular Nimh rechargeables.
    I take from this that you are using rechargeable batteries. Also, AAA batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) are very safe. Alkalines leak and lithium primaries can catch fire if physically damaged, but that's about the extent of it. NiMH are rock-solid and will never do anything dangerous without your explicit intention.

    The Tikkina, as far as I'm aware, is not current-regulated. In fact, I don't think any of the 3×AAA Petzl lights are regulated. The company has been using cheap, outdated electronics for many, many years. Also, forgive me if I go on a rant—this is a pet peeve of mine—but their runtime reporting policy has been exceedingly dishonest if not outright cancerous for the industry. E.g. for this light in particular they claim "60hr" runtime for both the 100 and 150 lumen modes. This is both laughably impossible (there is not nearly enough capacity in the batteries) and nonsensical (an LED can't consume the same amount of energy for a mode with 150% light output). The actual truth is that you get the maximum 150lm on a fresh set of batteries, which then quickly ramps down as they're depleted, and the vast majority of these 60 hours you actually spend within the range of the lowest mode, following an L-shaped output curve. An educated guess would put its actual runtime at about 2–2.5 hours to 50% brightness, and that's being very generous and assuming the half-output is still useful for the task at hand. I remember the days when I was using non-regulated lights, and back then I felt the need to replace batteries long before they were completely drained just because the light was already getting too dim to use at that point. Thank god we've had fully regulated headlamps on the market since, uh... what, 2010? Petzl has had enough budget to get on with the times, yet they choose to deceive their customers instead.

    In short, I would suggest replacing the battery that dips voltage. It's probably faulty and/or has outlived itself. (And then I would also suggest getting a better light, preferably based on a 1×AA current-regulated driver. Thankfully, there's no shortage of those!)
    Last edited by moozooh; 10-11-2017 at 02:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* hiuintahs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Over the years, I've accidentally run a couple of Eneloops a lot lower than 0.79v and dang near 0.00v. I just continue to use them. I put a little mark on them with a Sharpie pen so as to note it in case the performance acts weird in the future, I will have an explanation. But I haven't seen any degraded performance. They seem very resilient to over discharge. I definitely try not to make a habit of it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by hiuintahs View Post
    Over the years, I've accidentally run a couple of Eneloops a lot lower than 0.79v and dang near 0.00v. I just continue to use them. I put a little mark on them with a Sharpie pen so as to note it in case the performance acts weird in the future, I will have an explanation. But I haven't seen any degraded performance. They seem very resilient to over discharge. I definitely try not to make a habit of it.
    My understanding is it's mainly a concern with multiple batteries in series, because if one battery reaches a very low state of charge significantly sooner than the others, then it can potentially experience a voltage reversal due to the interaction of internal resistance and the current the other batteries are forcing through it. An entire set of batteries all reaching very low state of charge roughly simultaneously should be of minimal concern, and as you probably know, a complete discharge to about 0.9V and recharge from time to time is a normal, beneficial "refresh" procedure for NiMH batteries. Battery analyzers do this to each cell individually, not in series, so reversal isn't a concern.

    In this case, linpp does have one battery that seems to be significantly underperforming the other two, which is why I suggested either using extra care to avoid discharging it that low in the future, or else switching to using a new set of batteries in that light, and finding other, less demanding uses for that set of batteries.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unregulated question

    A quick rule of thumb I have been using when looking at three alkaline/NiMH using lights is that unless I can see in print somewhere on the package, I assume it is unregulated, which I'm not going to buy.

    An unregulated light will gradually get dimmer until it is so dim as to be useless, for whatever value of useless you choose. A regulated light will maintain basically the same output levels until the end of useful life of the cell(s). It will then either start to signal that it has reached that state [blinking, etc] or just quiet working. That is the only complaint I have with the Streamlight Microstream. All the versions have been really great little lights, but at the end, they just quit. No warning, just nothing. Situations like that are one of the reasons for our Mantra "Two Are One, and One Is None".
    You don't NEED a parachute to skydive. You DO need a parachute to skydive twice.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Isn't completely powering off without warning considered an atavism in this day and age? Many (most?) modern lights I know step down to a lower level first if they don't warn you otherwise.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by moozooh View Post
    Isn't completely powering off without warning considered an atavism in this day and age? Many (most?) modern lights I know step down to a lower level first if they don't warn you otherwise.
    That's if they have more than one level. The Microstream is a single level light, there is no lower level.
    You don't NEED a parachute to skydive. You DO need a parachute to skydive twice.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by moozooh View Post
    I take from this that you are using rechargeable batteries. Also, AAA batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) are very safe. Alkalines leak and lithium primaries can catch fire if physically damaged, but that's about the extent of it. NiMH are rock-solid and will never do anything dangerous without your explicit intention.
    Good to know these are safe to use.
    but their runtime reporting policy has been exceedingly dishonest if not outright cancerous for the industry
    .
    indeed, a complete fantasy!
    but, I must admit, having used different Petzl headlamps over the years, they are cheap and they are virtually undestructible. I live on a rural property with outbuildings so I couldn't be without a headlamp,and these are so cheap to buy,this one can afford to have several lamps laying all over the place.
    I have quite a few AAA and AA rechargeable Eneloops so I have always plenty of spare batteries in case of emergencies.
    (And then I would also suggest getting a better light, preferably based on a 1×AA current-regulated driver. Thankfully, there's no shortage of those!)
    I just ordered my first regulated headlamp: the Fenix HL50.
    I mainly use these headlamps for getting around in the dark, but also doing emergency repairs if needed. So I expect the HL 50 will be a useful addition to my small collection

  15. #15

    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    but, I must admit, having used different Petzl headlamps over the years, they are cheap and they are virtually undestructible. I live on a rural property with outbuildings so I couldn't be without a headlamp,and these are so cheap to buy,this one can afford to have several lamps laying all over the place.
    I have quite a few AAA and AA rechargeable Eneloops so I have always plenty of spare batteries in case of emergencies.

    I just ordered my first regulated headlamp: the Fenix HL50.
    Speaking of cheap, yet also regulated, Armytek seems to be closing out some of their slightly older, but still excellent lights, at least via their US store. $25 for 1xAA powered Armytek Tiara headlamp, until tomorrow.

    I have one, and while a bit bulky and heavy, it's got rock solid build quality, and I like the way they handle mode selection.

    Just in case you needed an excuse to spend more money.

    Quote Originally Posted by moozooh View Post
    Isn't completely powering off without warning considered an atavism in this day and age? Many (most?) modern lights I know step down to a lower level first if they don't warn you otherwise.
    I learned a new word today!

    I'd call it a desired, but not universal feature. Also, not really a past trait, since the least sophisticated and/or older lights just gradually fade as the battery dies.

    Also, protected batteries can lead to sudden shutoff regardless of light features. In a light either without low voltage protection or where the low voltage limit is lower on the light than on the battery, once the battery triggers its protection, the light doesn't have a choice.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* hiuintahs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unregulated question

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothybil View Post
    A quick rule of thumb I have been using when looking at three alkaline/NiMH using lights is that unless I can see in print somewhere on the package, I assume it is unregulated, which I'm not going to buy.......
    I feel the same way......guilty until proven otherwise. We see so many cheap 3xAAA lights that are unregulated. As an exception, the now discontinued Fenix HL25 was a good well regulated 3xAAA headlamp. Ironically, Fenix discontinued that one but kept the single AA HL23, which is regulated but has no memory. Why couldn't they make that one start on low? I ended up selling the HL23 to a nephew (good deal of course) and opted to keep the HL25. I don't care for the 3xAAA form and slightly added weight but I just couldn't stand starting a headlamp out on high.

    To the OP's choice of a Fenix HL50.....good choice. I have one of those too and when I want something really light (as in less weight ) for backpacking, I take that with the CR123A in it rather than the adapter and AA. You just have to make sure that HL50 doesn't get inadvertently turned on if carrying it loosely in a bag since its one click to turn on instead of the click and hold for a couple of seconds. I carry mine in an Efest battery case.
    post #99 http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...headlamp/page4
    Last edited by hiuintahs; 10-12-2017 at 07:44 PM.

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