Are there any advantages to older, lower capacity cells?

StorminMatt

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The other day, I got a couple of NCR18650GA cells from Illumination Supply. When I got these cells, I couldn't help but notice the prices of these cells vs older, lower capacity cells. While the NCR18650GA goes for $5.99 a cell, downgrading to the older NCR18650B will cost you $5.50. In other words, you're saving a measly 49 cents by going with a lower capacity cell that can't deliver as much current. The NCR18650BD and NCR18650BE are both lower capacity cells by 300mAH, yet they both cost more - $9.25 and $8.99, respectively. And then there's the NCR18650PF. It's cheaper than the GA by a buck a cell. But this hardly seems worth it considering that its capacity is lower by 600mAH. All of this makes me wonder, are these older cells that seem inferior on the surface to the latest offerings actually BETTER in some way than the latest cells (which all cost about the same, regardless of brand)? Is there actually a good reason to buy these cells (and possibly even pay MORE for them) when the newest cells are as reasonably priced as they are?
 
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ven

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IMO matt, lower mah dont suffer as much voltage sag as higher mah cells(all things equal other than mah). Quicker to top back off, other than that i like a happy medium. High drain with decent mah as i am not one to run them right down to benefit from the full mah anyway. 3000 or 3500mah honestly does not make enough differences in my uses to pay a lot more for the 500mah. So light depending and use, will go towards the cell/s type for that light. Think i just have 4 3500mah 10a GA cells( good few LG 3500mah though), most of mine are 3000mah or less! Demand, the hybrid chemistry along with their rating also plays a part in the mark up of the cell/s. vtc5 (if you can find genuine) still command a hefty premium this side(could be brand/rep and limited amounts available or all of these factors).

Out of your examples and pricing, the GA's do seem to be the better choice generally for flashlight use. Vape use would want a higher drain cell(usually anyway) than the 10a . My uses come to around 7a vaping, I would not use a GA cell though.......... bit too close for me and prefer the LG 20a . These cost a little more, but saving a couple of £ or so to get the GA does not come into the equation for me.

No doubt, if someone imports 1000 or 200, the price will reflect an increase by the seller with paying a little more per cell than in higher quantities. Again demand might show GA cells are a better seller today than the pany B's, so may import more GA's which the cost per cell would be less due to this one factor alone..............just thoughts.
 

ChrisGarrett

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I'm looking for 4x18650s for my Tomo V8-4. I'm settling on 'cheap, but good enough' vs. 'kick ***.' Going from $7-$6>$5, or $4.75 is what this project needs, so something like the NCR-Bs vs. the GAs seem prudent.

Now, the problem becomes one of 'age.' These older cells are older and who knows how long they've been sitting around, so buying some NCR 2900s for $2.50 might not be the safer play, if they've aged for 3-4 years.

Cells are like food, you should try and buy fresh stuff when possible.

Chris
 

CuriousOne

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One vaping website has AW IMR 18650 2000mAh for $1.99 ea. They claim, that these cells are genuine. Ordered couple of them, will check how do they perform and let you know.
 

HKJ

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One vaping website has AW IMR 18650 2000mAh for $1.99 ea. They claim, that these cells are genuine. Ordered couple of them, will check how do they perform and let you know.

May be correct. Some people say that a company in China has registered AW and it is not Andrew Wang who sells the original AW batteries.
It is some time ago I was told that, by somebody that wanted me to review their AW batteries (We agreed not to do it).
 

vicv

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Ven is spot on. Personally I don't like the ncr18650b cells. I had a couple. Only one now and I think I'll be recycling soon. The problem is these higher mah cells have pretty bad voltage under load and all that capacity is below 3.5V under load so they can't maintain regulation for long and dim incandescents quickly. In a 2 cell buck regulated 3V led light they'll give incredible runtime but not many lights like that and not many people want a 2x18560 light that runs a 3V led. They also don't do well with deep discharges. My recommendation if you're not stuck on a protected cell get a high mah hybrid cell like a Samsung 30Q or LG hb2. Both are in my opinion the best 18650 on the market and you can get them for under $5 a cell. They'll give more useable runtime even though the mah is less. And they are much more robust and will handle deep discharges much better if you accidentally leave a light on too long. I had an aw3400 that sat for a bit just under 3V and after a recharge had under 1000mah left
 

StorminMatt

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Ven is spot on. Personally I don't like the ncr18650b cells. I had a couple. Only one now and I think I'll be recycling soon. The problem is these higher mah cells have pretty bad voltage under load and all that capacity is below 3.5V under load so they can't maintain regulation for long and dim incandescents quickly. In a 2 cell buck regulated 3V led light they'll give incredible runtime but not many lights like that and not many people want a 2x18560 light that runs a 3V led. They also don't do well with deep discharges. My recommendation if you're not stuck on a protected cell get a high mah hybrid cell like a Samsung 30Q or LG hb2. Both are in my opinion the best 18650 on the market and you can get them for under $5 a cell. They'll give more useable runtime even though the mah is less. And they are much more robust and will handle deep discharges much better if you accidentally leave a light on too long. I had an aw3400 that sat for a bit just under 3V and after a recharge had under 1000mah left

My question wasn't whether higher capacity cells are worse in some way than IMR cells. It is whether the latest high capacity cells are in some way inferior to older high capacity cells (which are now lower in capacity). The fact that you don't get much of a price break on them (vs newer cells) has me wondering.
 
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ven

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Generally i would say cells today are a lot better than a few years ago with respectable A ratings and mah. The old vtc3 and vtc4(still have and use the latter) are good cells, the vtc4 can still hold its own today other than the 2100mah capacity. It still has its uses though................But with the "hybrids", kind of get the best of both worlds.

The pany B is such a well known and respected cell, people know what they are getting so i presume that plays a part(be them a little old now) in the cost. Other than very high drain applications(the minority in the bigger picture), the B's have got it well covered even now imo.
 

StorminMatt

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Generally i would say cells today are a lot better than a few years ago with respectable A ratings and mah. The old vtc3 and vtc4(still have and use the latter) are good cells, the vtc4 can still hold its own today other than the 2100mah capacity. It still has its uses though................But with the "hybrids", kind of get the best of both worlds.

The pany B is such a well known and respected cell, people know what they are getting so i presume that plays a part(be them a little old now) in the cost. Other than very high drain applications(the minority in the bigger picture), the B's have got it well covered even now imo.

True. But when they cost $5.50 vs $5.99 for a GA at Illumination Supply and $8.10 vs $8.45 for a GA at Mountain Electronics, there better be SOMETHING about them that justifies paying almost as much for them as a cell that (at least on paper) is better in virtually every way. Now if you could get them for maybe 60% of the cost of the GA, then I could see buying them for lights that don't need that extra current draw or slight extra capacity. And this says nothing of the 3200mAH NCR18650BD that actually costs MORE than the NCR18650GA.

All of this brings up another point: Is Panasonic still actually MAKING these cells? Because if they aren't, then you would think vendors would be closing them out for a song.
 
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StandardBattery

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If your buying protected cells then I think the B can be had for a bigger differential and then you are generally not trying to handle the higher drain and they save a chip on the board. We are lucky in the US that the GAs can be had at such a great price. For flashlights right now they are just a great, near perfect, battery. For the most part though I still like to use protected cells and rarely (if ever) need really high drain. I'm using GA in the MK34, and Q30 in the X7 both unprotected, but the X7 really should have protected batteries so I'll need to monitor them closer. If I had not already ordered the button-top Q30, I would have used GA in the X7 since the driver seems to drop the Turbo-S mode quite early limiting the max current it will even attempt and with the 2S2P configuration the drain per cell is not likely really that high. Now if the light is modified....
 

vicv

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I wasn't trying to compare high drain to high cap cells exactly. My point was that the newer hybrid cells have just as much if not more useable capacity while performing better during the whole discharge with a more robust and safer chemistry at a cheaper price. The only downside is no protection circuit. And the NCR B cell is highly respected but I honestly can't see how. My opinion only though I've only had two but neither performed well. Just look at hjk's comparator and select it against any of the 2500+ mah hybrid cells even at lower drain rates like 3A. Now if you're only looking at the top capacity cells like the GA vs the NCR B then I'd say the GA is worth the extra just for the fact it should be a physically newer cell
 

StandardBattery

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I'm not saying buy the B cells in fact i'm saying GA is the one to get. However if someone is buying protected cells then they may find they can get a few B cells with protection at maybe a noticable saving over rewrap of the GA with protection.

I'm not comparing GA to Q30 either, just saying the GA has an operating range that makes it suitable for a wide range of lights, even some lumen monsters.

Generally for my EDC light, i'm not using high levels very often so the current requirements are very low, so i favor capacity. At the time the B cells were released there was a lot of crap cells out there, and some of the better ones were not readily available from regular sellers since commercial use in battery packs were taking most of the supply so the B was the quality cell available with or without protection with a higher capacity and lower price than the AW batteries at the time. It has served people very well so it got a good deserved reputation. Now people buy it on price for the most part and because they are comfortable/familar with it as the available supply today is very different which is why it sells at the current low wholesale prices. Yes it is quite possible neew supply is not being made, but due to industrial use and supply contracts it is possible there still is new production. I don't see an issue with the date of the batteries at this time.
 

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