123 Primary Lithium cell info/testing/links

TEEJ

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I just read this tome....huge amount of info.

I did notice the math assumption was wrong at one point in particular:

There was an assumption that (Back then at ~ 16 k members) as CPF had 10 battery failures for ~ 16k members, that that represented a ~ 1 in 1,600 failure rate. (For PRIMARY Lithium cells)

That would only be true if each member had only one battery in their life time. I think its fair to say that most of the members here have had far more than one battery. The stories represented EVER having a problem with a battery in this context.

It seems we have had fewer incidents since 2006, etc....and that either the lights and/or the batteries are built so as to minimize this occurrence, and/or the info on safe handling has reduced the number of incidences due to poor handling procedures, etc.

In any event, it at least seems like Lithium Ion Batteries have become reasonably safe to use when handled properly. NON-Lithium Ion Batteries have had equivalent examples of failure it seems as well, and it seems that batteries in general need to be treated with the proper respect for the package of power they represent.
 
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jomox

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Massive amount of info on this thread thanks.

However now I don't want to order the 123 battery lights I was going to order. Will AA/AAA be the safer route? I am very safety cautious and don't like to take risks (I've lost all my possessions in a fire and nearly died)
 

milkyspit

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Massive amount of info on this thread thanks.

However now I don't want to order the 123 battery lights I was going to order. Will AA/AAA be the safer route? I am very safety cautious and don't like to take risks (I've lost all my possessions in a fire and nearly died)

AA and AAA cells (assuming you mean alkaline) are very safe but also relatively weak, handle low temperature use poorly, and store for only a short time without risk of leakage.

You could run single 123 cell lights... those ought to be quite safe, and you'll have access to more powerful lights with better low temp performance and vastly longer shelf life.

Also, stick with 123 cells made in USA: my personal favorites are SureFire, Rayovac, and Battery Station (which last I heard, are made by Rayovac).
 

jomox

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Thanks for info. I just want to be safe, sounds like just running single 123 batteries would be okay then? I'll make sure to get them made from the US if I do go with 123 capable torches.

With the AA/AAA would be Alkaline yes, but is there any advantage of going mAh / NiMH? (Which would be the safer route)
 

milkyspit

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Thanks for info. I just want to be safe, sounds like just running single 123 batteries would be okay then? I'll make sure to get them made from the US if I do go with 123 capable torches.

With the AA/AAA would be Alkaline yes, but is there any advantage of going mAh / NiMH? (Which would be the safer route)


Nothing is 100% safe in the real world.

That said, 1x123 primary is vastly safer than 2x123 (which in practice isn't necessarily a death trap, either). All the adverse events of which I'm familiar occurred in 2x123 cell configurations, usually when one cell essentially reverse-charged the other due to disparity in their states of discharge. That cannot happen in a 1x123 configuration.

In the AA world, I like the Eneloop NiMH cells very much and they've become the NiMH standard here in the Milky Labs. Great cells. I doubt you'd experience any problems with them. If you go that route, treat yourself to a good charger to take as good care of the cells as possible... doing so will result in better cells, longer runtimes, and far more charge cycles before the cells give up the ghost, so to speak.

Good luck with your choice! Between 1x123 and Eneloop NiMH, you can't go too far wrong either way.
 

jomox

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Thanks for the info again it helps a great deal, just have to decide to go 1x123 or Eneloop NiMH then consider my flashlight options again if going AA/AAA. May just take the risk with 1x123 and just be sensible with storage etc.
 

sidecross

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I have two Nitecore TM11 'Tiny Monster' lights one is run off 4 Eagletac 18650 3100mAh batteries and the othe uses 8 Surefire 123 batteries.

I have a volt meter, the ZTS MBT-1 meter and the knowledge of the risk factor.

In truth I have more fear of being hit by a motor vehicle than having my lithium battery cells blowing up. :)
 

jomox

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I have two Nitecore TM11 'Tiny Monster' lights one is run off 4 Eagletac 18650 3100mAh batteries and the othe uses 8 Surefire 123 batteries.

I have a volt meter, the ZTS MBT-1 meter and the knowledge of the risk factor.

In truth I have more fear of being hit by a motor vehicle than having my lithium battery cells blowing up. :)


This is true, however after reading all the reports here it don't seem rare for things to go wrong with these batteries, but as milkyspit explained above it seems ok with 1 x 123 battery.

On another note would storing them in a steal/aluminum ammo box be safe? They would be in their packaging(If not in a cardboard box thing) and then stored in the ammo box (In which case if one does explode there's no chance of a fire spreading)

Maybe going over the top but for me personally it's the little things that count, as sometimes these little things can have bad consequences (As I've experienced with first hand experience) there's a risk with everything in life but I'm at that stage where I like to take more caution now.
 

sween1911

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My favorite place down the road always has Surefire cells. I went there a few weeks ago for a fresh box, and they only had "Streamlight" branded cells. Are they just as good as the SF cells?
 

Kestrel

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Last I heard, the Panasonic facility in ?GA? makes all the SureFire & Streamlight cells (as well as other branded cells such as Energizer etc), so they should be 100% identical.
 

hermosabeach

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wow- this thread is information overload...

My drawer full of no name batteries are all dead.... I am now deciding between Battery Station and Surefire....
 

james22

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I haven't been able to find what the rough voltage/capacity differential required to create this situation in 123 primaries is. Is one battery being a tenth of a volt lower going to be a significant risk or does it take more?
 

Steve-at-Springboard

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They are the same battery, both made by Panasonic in Georgia. I sell both. Make sure they're fresh (< 1 year old) and you will be getting a good battery. Battery Station date is coded, though. Surefire's expiration date in plain text. Battery Station usually cheaper.

wow- this thread is information overload...

My drawer full of no name batteries are all dead.... I am now deciding between Battery Station and Surefire....
 

cy

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amazing after all these years .. this ancient thread by Newbie is still the standard.
been about a year since I heard from Newbie ...
 

Raymund

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Hey folks,
Im new here and just got into the newer more modern LED lights.
Just ordered a couple of my first LED lights,specifically Inova X5 and XO3 along with a few packs of Surefire 123 batteries.
Sadly came here after the fact to learn more about the 123 cells.
Kinda freaked out now and having second thoughts on my selection.
Are the problems with the 123 cells as bad as what they were years ago?
Any recent or updated info/advice for us green newbies in regards to the 123 cells?
 

SilverFox

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Hello Raymund,

Welcome to CPF.

The first thing to keep in mind is that storing energy has some danger associated with it. The higher then energy density, the higher the potential danger.

Single cell lights present less of a potential problem than lights that use multiple cells. If you use quality cells and don't mix and mach partially used cells you eliminate most of the potential issues. Occasionally a "bad" cell makes it through the manufacturing process but that is rare when quality cells are used.

With a multi cell light a good practice is to change the batteries as soon as the light shows any signs of dimming a little. Never leave the light on to run the batteries completely dead. If the flashlight suddenly heats up, shut it off and remove the batteries. If you want to drain partially used cells, pick up a single cell light and use that.

Those are some basic guidelines to stay safe.

Tom
 

DHart

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Single cell lights present less of a potential problem than lights that use multiple cells. If you use quality cells and don't mix and mach partially used cells you eliminate most of the potential issues.

For this reason, I migrated (with a few exceptions) to lights that take single cells, like using a single 18650, rather than two 16340 cells. And with some exceptions, most of my compact lights these days are wide-voltage, single-AA size lights that take a single 14500, AA NiMH rechargeable, AA Lithium primary, or (if necessary) a AA Alkaline. Just less potential for problems this way and the flexibility to power with the ubiquitous AA primary. When choosing lights that do take multiple cells, going with multiple Eneloop AAs presents significantly lower risk than going with multiple Li-Ions.

As Tom says, if you choose high quality cells and be sure that you closely follow the proper guidelines for discharging and recharging, you should be fine. If you don't want to have to pay such close attention to things such as running down the cells and when/how to recharge, going with Eneloops reduces the potential for problems.
 

Raymund

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Hello Raymund,

Welcome to CPF.

The first thing to keep in mind is that storing energy has some danger associated with it. The higher then energy density, the higher the potential danger.

Single cell lights present less of a potential problem than lights that use multiple cells. If you use quality cells and don't mix and mach partially used cells you eliminate most of the potential issues. Occasionally a "bad" cell makes it through the manufacturing process but that is rare when quality cells are used.

With a multi cell light a good practice is to change the batteries as soon as the light shows any signs of dimming a little. Never leave the light on to run the batteries completely dead. If the flashlight suddenly heats up, shut it off and remove the batteries. If you want to drain partially used cells, pick up a single cell light and use that.

Those are some basic guidelines to stay safe.

Tom

Tom,

Thanks for the additional information.I'll certainly follow the advice here.

One of the things that made me interested in the X5 specifically was the reviews stating that they would still work with nearly dead cells and folks talking about "vampiring the last drop of energy" from the 123 cells with it.Thought that might be handy in a emergency/survival situation etc..I'd hazard to say thats a bad practice in the 123 cell lights?

Looks like the battery and light manufacturers would be more specific about the details involved in regards to the use of 123's in the owners manuals.
Good example,I downloaded the lights owner manuals before ordering,and beyond polarity and the mixing batteries warnings,there was no further guideline in regards to use specific to the 123 cell.

Come to think of it,beyond the basic warnings on all the battery packages and what is mentioned in the lights OM Ive never even researched battery use, specifically online.

So I appreciate all the advice here and glad I found CPF.
 

Raymund

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Hello Raymund,

Welcome to CPF.

The first thing to keep in mind is that storing energy has some danger associated with it. The higher then energy density, the higher the potential danger.

Single cell lights present less of a potential problem than lights that use multiple cells. If you use quality cells and don't mix and mach partially used cells you eliminate most of the potential issues. Occasionally a "bad" cell makes it through the manufacturing process but that is rare when quality cells are used.

With a multi cell light a good practice is to change the batteries as soon as the light shows any signs of dimming a little. Never leave the light on to run the batteries completely dead. If the flashlight suddenly heats up, shut it off and remove the batteries. If you want to drain partially used cells, pick up a single cell light and use that.

Those are some basic guidelines to stay safe.



Tom



Tom,

I know this is going a bit OCD,but would it be advisable to test the 123 cells before use?

Or is just staying with fresh supply name brand U.S. made batteries as far as is really needed for average consumers light use like myself?

Thanks again.

Ray
 

SilverFox

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Hello Ray,

If a battery blew up every day you would see more warnings. This is a pretty rare occurrence but when they go often there is some damage done to people and surroundings. We are trying to raise awareness in an effort to avoid the close calls.

There is no problem testing cells before use but you need a tester that puts a load on the cell to get a true reading. Resting open circuit voltage is not meaningful. ZTS makes a tester for this. I have one and use it frequently and think it is a good investment.

Tom
 
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