2012 Battery test/review summary

Wurkkos

HKJ

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[SIZE=+3]Battery test/review summary[/SIZE]

The full comparison can be found on my website.

DSC_0536.jpg


I am working on a large LiIon battery test, this test contains mostly 18650 cells. Each tested battery is posted as a separate review with curves and data for the battery. This article will compare the results of these tests, but I will only include some of the results.

I do not plan to do many updates to the text of this article, but because the charts are fetched from my server they will be updated frequently. All the batteries I have tested will be included, and sometimes also for unpublished test/reviews that might be only partial done, these reviews will be published later when they are finished. This does also explain why a battery can be present in some charts, but not in other.

Because the charts will be updated I will not comment on how different batteries compares to each other in this article, that might not be valid after the next update of the charts.

Note: The picture above does show a sample of the batteries I am testing. At the time of publishing this article only half of them have been tested, but when I am finished many more than shown will have been tested.



[SIZE=+2]18650 battery charts[/SIZE]

CapacityTop.png

CapacityBottom.png


The first chart is the capacity at different current draw. To measure this capacity I have discharged the batteries down to 2.8 volt at the specified current rates (some batteries cannot handle 5A current draw and will not show a 5A bar).

CapacityTo3.6Top.png

CapacityTo3.6Bottom.png


Some lights cannot drain the battery down to 2.8 volt, but need considerable more voltage, especially to get full brightness. In the above chart I have measured the capacity drained when the battery is down to 3.6 volt, again at different current. Batteries that has a lot of capacity when measured to 2.8 volt does not necessary have that when measured to 3.6 volt, especially at high current drains.



Edit:
Curves removed, they was getting way to messy, please use the battery comparators (links below).


Instead of showing the capacity of the battery, it is also possible to show how long time the battery will last at the 1A current draw.

CurrentTop.png

CurrentBottom.png


The batteries has a specified current, this current is the recommended maximum drain on the cell. If this specification is missing, it can usual be assumed to be 2xC, i.e. a 2400mAh battery will have a specified current of 4800mA or 4.8 Ampere. These assumed values are not shown in the chart.
Batteries with a PCB protection also has a trip current, this is at a higher value than the specified current. In my opinion 30% up to 50% above the specified current is best.
The "Protection trip" will be missing for unprotected batteries and because my test equipment is configured to starts at 3 ampere batteries with "Protection trip" below 3 ampere will also be missing.

LengthTop.png

LengthBottom.png


The 18650 specifications means that a cell is about 65 mm long, but protected batteries are longer, because a protection circuit must be added and sometimes there is also added a button top. Not all chargers and lights can take the longest cells.


Links
Index to specific brands: AW, Efest, EnerPower, Keeppower, TrustFire
Index to comparators: 18350/16340/14500/10440/etc., 18700/18650/18500/17650/etc.




[SIZE=+2]Simple battery selection guide[/SIZE]

This is a very simple guide in how to select the best battery for different types of flash lights, using the charts shown above.
Remember always to check if the light supports the length of the battery (See length chart above) and shape of the positive nipple (See test/review of battery).
The current estimate assumes that the leds are driven at full power.


It is strongly recommended to use protected batteries in most light both for safety and for long battery life (Any battery discharged to much take serious damage).



[SIZE=+1]Lights with 2x18650 batteries in series[/SIZE]

DSC_5779.jpg


These lights will usual use a buck converter to adjust the voltage, this means that a XR-E, XP-E is 0.5A, XP-G is 0.7A, and a XM-L is 1.5A. With two batteries in series the light can use all the capacity in the battery, while staying at full brightness. I.e. the "Discharge, capacity" chart is the one used here.
For 0.5A current, look for the batteries with the longest green bar, they will give most runtime.
For 0.7A current, look for the batteries with the longest green and blue bars, they will give most runtime.
For 1.5A current, look for the batteries with the longest blue and cyan bars, they will give most runtime.



[SIZE=+1]Lights with 1x18650 batteries or 2xCR123 batteries[/SIZE]

DSC_8407.jpg


These lights will usual use a buck converter, but typically have trouble maintaining full brightness when the 18650 battery voltage is low. For current XR-E, XP-E is 1A, XP-G is 1.5A, and a XM-L led will need 3A.
To find the battery that maintains the highest brightness for the longest time use the chart "Discharge, capacity down to 3.6 volt"

For 1A current, look for the batteries with the longest blue bar, they will give most runtime.
For 1.5A current, look for the batteries with the longest blue and cyan bars, they will give most runtime.
For 3A current, look for the batteries with the longest yellow bar, they will give most runtime.

Note: These lights will sometimes be fairly safe with unprotected batteries, especially with cell that can be discharged down to 2.5 volt.



[SIZE=+1]Lights with 1x18650 batteries and linear driver (7135 chip) [/SIZE]

DSC_8296.jpg


In this type of light the current in the led is the same as the current drawn from the battery. These light need as much voltage as possible to maintain regulation. For current XR-E, XP-E is 1A, XP-G is 1.3A, and a XM-L led will need 3A. if it is possible to count the number of 7135 chips in the driver, it is very easy to calculate the current. Each chip is 1/3 ampere, i.e. 3 chips is 1 ampere.
To find the battery thats maintain the highest brightness for the longest time use the chart "Discharge, capacity down to 3.6 volt"

For 1A current, look for the batteries with the longest blue bar, they will give most runtime.
For 1.3A current, look for the batteries with the longest blue and cyan bars, they will give most runtime.
For 3A current, look for the batteries with the longest yellow bar, they will give most runtime.

Note: These lights will often be fairly safe with unprotected batteries, especially with cell that can be discharged down to 2.5 volt.



[SIZE=+1]Other lights[/SIZE]

For other lights a tailcap current measurement can help with establishing the current draw.
Or use power calculations to estimate current: For each led add the watt together: XR-E and XP-E is 3.5W, XP-G is 5.4 W and XM-L is 10 W, divide sum by number of batteries and by 3.7, the result is the current.
An example for A 3 XM-L light with 4 batteries: 10+10+10->30 watt, 30/4/3.7 -> 2 ampere from each battery (It does not matter if they are series or parallel).
Use the "Discharge, capacity" for lights with two or more 18650 cells in series or the "Discharge, capacity down to 3.6 volt" for lights that only works on a single 18650 battery or uses a couple of 18650 in parallel.



[SIZE=+1]When mostly using low modes[/SIZE]

For low modes it is the 0.2A red and 0.5A green bar that is most interesting. To see which one, use a tailcap current measurement. For currents below 0.2A it is fine to use the 0.2A bar, lower current draw will not change the rating of the batteries significantly.
 
Last edited:

kosPap

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Re: Battery test/review summary

CapacityTo3.6.png


Some lights cannot drain the battery down to 2.8 volt, but need considerable more voltage, especially to get full brightness. In the above chart I have measured the capacity drained when the battery is down to 3.6 volt, again at different current. Batteries that has a lot of capacity when measured to 2.8 volt does not necessary have that when measured to 3.6 volt, especially at high current drains.
hmm.....does that mean that the Spark batts are not cutout for high drains?

And what about the AW, Redilast & Callie's 3100. Since they all have the same batt inside where does the difference in Callie's comes from? The protection circuit?
 

HKJ

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Re: Battery test/review summary

hmm.....does that mean that the Spark batts are not cutout for high drains?

The Spark is not really good at 5A if you want the highest possible voltage, but at 1A-2A it is very good.


And what about the AW, Redilast & Callie's 3100. Since they all have the same batt inside where does the difference in Callie's comes from? The protection circuit?

Voltage under load can be affected by the protection circuit, but also by the age and manufacturing batch/plant of the cell.
The capacity at low loads is only due to cell variations and has nothing to do with the protection circuit.
 

candle lamp

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Re: Battery test/review summary

Wow. Excellent review summary. Thanks a lot for your informative test result & effort. :goodjob: :twothumbs
 

Rokron

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Re: Battery test/review summary

Real nice work. When I need to know something about 18650 cells, this is where I'll come. Thanks for the dedication.
 

RBWNY

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Re: Battery test/review summary

Great report!

Is the Intl-Outdoor NCR (3100) cell related to (or the same as) the Panasonic cell I've seen for sale online? These say PROTECTED on them, but the Panasonics I've seen don't appear to indicate if they are.
 

HKJ

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Re: Battery test/review summary

Great report!

Is the Intl-Outdoor NCR (3100) cell related to (or the same as) the Panasonic cell I've seen for sale online? These say PROTECTED on them, but the Panasonics I've seen don't appear to indicate if they are.

They are for sale at the intl-outdoor online shop, but not at the current time, because the owner is working on a new batch with higher protection trip current. Like all the other 3100 batteries they are based on the Panasonic NCR18650A cell.
 

space-cowboy

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Re: Battery test/review summary

Best independent battery/charger reviewer period !


Question:

When you will be able to post test results for NCR18650A 3100mAh Panasonic bare cell.
It is important because top performers such as AW use this cell. It would be interesting to see performance results of this Panasonic cell without protection circuit.
 

HB021

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My trustfires (2400) can't handle over 2,5A nor can the Ultrafire 3600mAh(2400 real). I have about 40x... Don't know how yours can do 5A? I even removed the protection circuit but still around 2,5A.
I bought some 2600mAh Sanyo and they seem to handle up to 5A though :)
 

loquutis79

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So looking at the chart for "Discharge Capacity Down To 3.6v", can I assume that while the AW 18650 3100mAh are the first pick for my Fenix TK35 and TK21, the Fenix PD32 I want next would be better served by the Trustfire or Spark brand of comparable specks?
 

HKJ

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So looking at the chart for "Discharge Capacity Down To 3.6v", can I assume that while the AW 18650 3100mAh are the first pick for my Fenix TK35 and TK21, the Fenix PD32 I want next would be better served by the Trustfire or Spark brand of comparable specks?

No.

The TK35 uses two 18650 and this means the 2.8 volt chart (The chart without volt specification) and there it is the 3100 batteries that are best, AW or other.

TK21 and PD32 uses a single 18650 and that is the 3.6 volt chart. At max. they will probably use around 1.5 ampere, i.e. somewhere between the blue and cyan bar. This means that the Spark 2600 will give longer runtime at max. brightness (TrustFire 3000 will also, but there might be variation between batches).
 

HKJ

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Added some (18650/17650) EagleTac batteries to the chart.
I have also tested the smaller EagleTac batteries (16340/14500), they will no be included in this chart, but can be found as stand alone reviews.
 

space-cowboy

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Added some (18650/17650) EagleTac batteries to the chart.
I have also tested the smaller EagleTac batteries (16340/14500), they will no be included in this chart, but can be found as stand alone reviews.


Way to go HKJ ,

more reviewed batteries and chargers always better.
 
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