Wow. Thanks for all the responses and sorry for not replying soon.
I think "SilverFox" pretty much described it all. I will try to answer some of the question and added a little more detail:
- I know the danger of mixing new and old batteries, I am pretty sure I didn't do that.
- Although I will be surprised if there was a mixed band, but I cannot be sure.
- One of the explored batteries is a SF as you can recognize it from the label; I cannot id the other as there wasn't much there left.
- IIRC, the other 2 batteries (Duracell and DP) were not in any flashlight, they were just loosely in the box.
- So far the only 123 bands I used were Surefire, Duracell, Energizer and DP. If I did mixed the band, it will be among these four bands.
- I bought some Universal recently but haven’t use them yet. Anyone know if they are protected?
- We hardy use the PM6. We mainly use LEDs. The reason my wife use it was she can’t find the Firefly she normally use.
- The wife said she used the PM6 earlier in the day to help clean our dog's ears. She said the light went dim after a while so she turned it off. She turned it on again after a minute or so and it was bright again. She put it back to the box after she was done with it.
- As seen in the posted picture, there are 4 plastic boxes in the cabinet. The PM6 was in the far right box (box#1).
- I believe the explosion caused the tail cap flied through box#1 to box#2 and continued to box#3, changed the direction a little, went through the box and hit the cabinet door hard. Like SilverFox said, a little more force and there might be a hole on the door. I later found the tail cap sitting in box#3.
- The UKE 2L actually was snapped into two. The lamp assembly was completely destroyed. I guess the tail cap or the body hit it.
I think that about it. let me know if there is other question. I have more pictures but not sure if they will do any good.
Luckily, I didn't put my favorites lights in the same box. Other than the damage on the door, I "only" lost 2 chargers, 2 lights and few other inexpensive items.
Dang! Just discover this post and can hardly imagine this happening!
I am glad no one gets hurt, and it didn't happen when it was close to your wife/puppy...
Could someone give a good educated guess at what really did cause this explosion? Will batteries taken out of the light prevent this from happening?(gas buildup?) And is it battery type specific or flashlight specific incident?
No offense to the brand involved, but I did have 2 sets of SF 123 drained itself dry overnight in a G2Z(which are from the same box of 12), and I never did use those batteries again.
Just my shot at a little CSI: If there were loose cells in a box with anything metallic against which they could short; that might be the beginning of the big bang. They could have started a fire that set off the Pelican or alternatively somehow ignited the Pelican. I've shorted batteries, not CR123s, and it's not pretty.
Also were there any scorch marks on the UK 2L? There might have been multiple ignitions.
The Pelican getting brighter after a few minutes off is typical of battery recovery IIRC.
Glad nobody was hurt. Just about anything can be dangerous under the right conditions.
I noted a TSA comment above, I hope this doesn't lead there. They've already made things silly.
Glad you and your family and house are all ok RY3... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Not sure about the PM6, but I know that my UKE2L usually produces a light 'pop' whenever I open up the bezel. While it may not be the cause, but the pressure buildup from inside the 2L might have been one of the culprits for the 2L breaking in two as well? Anyway, I open up my 2L occassionally to 'release' the pressure a little... Another thing to note is also that Lithium cells and water are known to be a dangerous mix, so be careful when handling them too!
Hope we find the actual cause of it somehow or rather....
I recall from AR15.com this sort of thing being reported happening with Lisun CR123As in a flashlight and also with a 6P I believe inside a pouch activated. One had a Z32 bezel and the other also had a snap fit Lexan lens.
I have locked out the tailcap of all my flashlights that I have that run on CR123. Dunno if this would reduce the risk of explosion, but at least I know that the circuit in the light is totally cut off.
Thanks for the update. Glad the damage was minimal.
My initial guess about the cause appears to be totally wrong. You will see damage like this when you abuse rechargeable cells, but in this case it occurred with primary cells - scary...
When a primary cell shorts out, the temperature circuit is supposed to open, and if it does not work, the manufacturer hopes the separators will rapidly melt removing any potential and rendering the cell inert. The vent is supposed to relieve the pressure build up in a controlled way.
In this case, it appears that the cell shorted out and the thermal cut out did not function. The cell heated up rapidly and the vent was unable to control the relief of pressure. As the reaction continues, the end of the cell pops off, nasty stuff comes out, and ignition can occur due to the high temperatures involved.
This is not supposed to happen… but as you can see here, on occasion it does.
I believe RY3 should contact SureFire and report the incident.
I believe everyone should have and maintain a healthy respect for the power supplies we use to fuel our lights. There is a lot of energy packed into that little CR123 cell, and we keep demanding higher capacity cells.
If you are interested in another layer of protection, we can take a tip from the RC community.
They store their Li-Poly cells in a Sentry fire document box. I believe they are around $25 at Target and Wal Mart. Holes are drilled into the box to allow rapid gas venting. The box is kept in a safe place with the vent holes pointed away from combustible surfaces.
The Brinks cash box has also been used. Once again vent holes are needed because the rapid gas build up will pop the latch and the lid will fly open. The Brinks box is not insulated, so it must be kept off of combustible surfaces as well as the vent holes pointed away from such surfaces. Partitions can be utilized inside the box to try to isolate sections, but the boxes are not that expensive so people are purchasing several, spreading out their cells amongst several boxes.
Our passion with performance and reducing bulk requires that we handle high energy density devices. When things go bad, the potential for damage is greater due to the high energy density.
All of the sudden the leaking Alkaline cell stuck in the battery tube doesn’t look all that bad…
I'm very sorry to hear about your very unfortunate accident. Luckily it's not worse. I'm glad to hear nobody was injured, and your house is mainly intact. Thank goodness something easily combustable wasn't near it and burning down your house.
This could have just as easily happened on an aircraft, or while a person was carrying it.
Welcome to the dangers of 123 Lithium cells. Some people demand NiMH due to the danger associated with Lithium.
Seems like a great reason for the public to start demanding protection circuitry in flashlights to prevent over discharge, requiring pressure vents built into the flashlight, flashlight makers to limit the rate of discharge, temperature shutdown/throttle back circuits, amongst a whole host of other things that could be done.
The PM6 is rather bright, so it would be obvious that it was left on, and as you said your wife turned it back on, it lit up, and off and put away, so rather likely it was not left on.
I've seen 0.062" thick sheet aluminum split open from Lithium cells exploding, it was even in an unsealed box, unfolding the box in the process, ripping the aluminum loose from eight screws, sending the cover into the sky, just like there was a stick of dynamite inside the box. Everything inside was black and somewhat charred, like it had been flamed.
Lithium Cells are something that should not be taken lightly. As they become more popular, events like this seem to be happening way too often.
Notice how the vent didn't work very well on one of the cells, and how the top case seal is rolled open, blasting it's contents out of the cell. Rather ***Violent***.
BTW, that piece of wrapper up in the top right corner with the red showing through it, sure looks like a <font color="red">SureFire </font> cell wrapper...
Having read ry3's update and in particular that the light dimmed,was left and then used again could suggest a force discharge, the voltage of the battery will be forced below its design capability this can lead to leakage or rapid venting. Also exhausted batteries should never be left in equipment as they are much more prone to leakage than unused batteries, I assume the light was plonked back in the cupboard once the batteries packed in.
Everybody is O.K, and that is good!
I think that the lights need to be shipped to the manufacturers, with an explanation of what happened.
They may not tell you what happened, even if they know, but with the lifetime warranties from both companies, you may get new lights. It is worth a try. Those things are EXPEN$IVE!
It would be nice to get an explanation, but with litigation the way it is, unlikely.
We have lots of expertise here on the forums, but the people that make the things have (hopefully) the ways to find out what happened, and need to know about things like this.
My own thought is that perhaps your loosely-stored batteries may have shorted, overheated, and set the whole chain off. possibly fueled by a small hydrogen discharge. Be safe, and let us know what the results are.