Best 18650 these days?

sluflyer06

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Hi there,

I've been abit out of the loop for awhile, still enjoying my numerous lights but realizing my collection of 18650s are really old and heavily beaten, I used to buy AW batteries many years ago, but what are people buying now for protected 18650s?

Thanks :)
 

brachypelma44

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I'm honestly not sure if they still make protected 18650s. The reason for a battery to have protection built in is just in case a flashlight doesn't have LVP, but they pretty much all do now.

Anyhow, for most 18650 lights, the Sanyo NCR18650GA 3500mAh 10A is the best overall IMO.

If you have a really demanding light that needs more than 10A continuous, the Samsung 30Q is 3000 mAh / 15A...it trades away some runtime for increased current.
 

sluflyer06

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I'm honestly not sure if they still make protected 18650s. The reason for a battery to have protection built in is just in case a flashlight doesn't have LVP, but they pretty much all do now.

Anyhow, for most 18650 lights, the Sanyo NCR18650GA 3500mAh 10A is the best overall IMO.

If you have a really demanding light that needs more than 10A continuous, the Samsung 30Q is 3000 mAh / 15A...it trades away some runtime for increased current.
I think some of my lights I still like do not, for example my Elektrolumens EDC-XML-R and my Fenix ACE-G, I don't see any documentation out there that claims these lights have their own protection :(
 

Chicken Drumstick

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Hi there,

I've been abit out of the loop for awhile, still enjoying my numerous lights but realizing my collection of 18650s are really old and heavily beaten, I used to buy AW batteries many years ago, but what are people buying now for protected 18650s?

Thanks :)
I use mostly Samsung 30Q and Samsung 25R. No complaints. No real need for protection circuits. Although occasionally in an older light they are a bit short.

Any quality named brand should be fine however. But depends on what you’ll be using for.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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I'm honestly not sure if they still make protected 18650s. The reason for a battery to have protection built in is just in case a flashlight doesn't have LVP, but they pretty much all do now.

Anyhow, for most 18650 lights, the Sanyo NCR18650GA 3500mAh 10A is the best overall IMO.

If you have a really demanding light that needs more than 10A continuous, the Samsung 30Q is 3000 mAh / 15A...it trades away some runtime for increased current.
Worth noting that in the case of the 30Q it might give up capacity. But not necessarily runtime. It depends on what you using it for.

Eg if you are using moonlight and low. Then most higher capacity batteries will indeed give longer runtimes.

If however you mostly use high and medium outputs. Most higher capacity batteries will sag more and offer the same or less runtime. It only needs to be in the region of 3amps or so draw and the higher performance battery will offer the more stable output.
 

sluflyer06

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I use mostly Samsung 30Q and Samsung 25R. No complaints. No real need for protection circuits. Although occasionally in an older light they are a bit short.

Any quality named brand should be fine however. But depends on what you’ll be using for.
I thought you weren't supposed to over-discharge? I don't believe my lights have their own...maybe it's time to get some new lights?
 

Chicken Drumstick

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I thought you weren't supposed to over-discharge? I don't believe my lights have their own...maybe it's time to get some new lights?
Unless you leave the light on and unattended, I think it is pretty hard to over discharge. 99.9% of the lights available will be massively dimmer when the battery is in need of recharging. It is very very obvious as a user.

Highest risk would be leaving a battery in a light with an electronic switch and letting it drain to very low levels. If this does happen, you can often carefully still bring the cell back to life. Or worse case, throw it away and replace. They aren't exactly expensive in the grand scheme of things.

Protection circuits also often only protect against overload or maybe reverse polarity. They may not protect against low voltage, although many will. However protection circuits are normally only found on the more volatile ICR chemistries. So to gain the "protection" you have to carry something more dangerous in the first place. Generally the IMR and INR chemistries are less volatile and they are usually pretty hard to find with protection circuits.
 

etc

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Stay away from protected cells in a mission critical situation. They suddenly cut off, leaving you in the dark.

I run unprotected Samsungs, the 3500mAh ones, in a 1x18650 Malkoff M61T configuration. For several years now.
 

Monocrom

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Stay away from protected cells in a mission critical situation. They suddenly cut off, leaving you in the dark.

I run unprotected Samsungs, the 3500mAh ones, in a 1x18650 Malkoff M61T configuration. For several years now.
If we're talking something extremely important.... Use primaries. Don't even bother with rechargeables at all.
 

thebarefooter

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I just bought a Malkoff hound dog super and they are out of keeppower 18650’s on their website and a quick google search didn’t bring up any websites I was familiar with selling keep powers. Can anyone recommend quality alternatives?
 

LED1982

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Hi there,

I've been abit out of the loop for awhile, still enjoying my numerous lights but realizing my collection of 18650s are really old
I know this is a mostly off topic rant, but it is in reference to you talking about having old lights. Yeah it sucks when you see that a certain light that you have has been significantly improved. My Thrunite TN32 is still a great flashlight, but damn version 2 blows its doors off in power, and now has higher capacity batteries, and also has a firefly mode that version 1 didn’t have.
 

RWT1405

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Unless you leave the light on and unattended, I think it is pretty hard to over discharge. 99.9% of the lights available will be massively dimmer when the battery is in need of recharging. It is very very obvious as a user.

Highest risk would be leaving a battery in a light with an electronic switch and letting it drain to very low levels. If this does happen, you can often carefully still bring the cell back to life. Or worse case, throw it away and replace. They aren't exactly expensive in the grand scheme of things.

I have no idea how your flashlights are used, but as a Firefighter/Paramedic, there are times that I need to hand off my light, for someone to hold for me/my crew to work, or for someone else to use.

That means at times I do not have control over my flashlights and trust me when I tell you that I will not/do not use anything but protected batteries.

Those of us that actually use our flashlights as tools, and not as a hobby, may have different requirements from you.
 

bluedog225

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100% agree. Only protected. The batteries get switched around and used as needed in a variety of devices. Unprotected cells seems unwise.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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I have no idea how your flashlights are used, but as a Firefighter/Paramedic, there are times that I need to hand off my light, for someone to hold for me/my crew to work, or for someone else to use.

That means at times I do not have control over my flashlights and trust me when I tell you that I will not/do not use anything but protected batteries.

Those of us that actually use our flashlights as tools, and not as a hobby, may have different requirements from you.
Fair dos. Not sure I really follow though. The only risk if you didn’t have the light in your control is it would dim a lot with a low battery. A protected battery will trip and stop the light working at all.

Not sure how I see that being a better solution.
 

RWT1405

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Fair dos. Not sure I really follow though. The only risk if you didn’t have the light in your control is it would dim a lot with a low battery. A protected battery will trip and stop the light working at all.

Not sure how I see that being a better solution.

Let’s see now, you’re in a situation that requires light.

It’s 3am and as dark as the Ace of Spades.

That situation might even be what some folks would consider critical.

You have a choice, a light that will start to dim, giving you warning that it’s going out, so you can make sure you’re not without any light, or you can have a light that just goes dark, with little/no warning.

Which would you choose?
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Highest capacity, I’d go for Orbtronic 3600 mAh cells (when they’re available), 3500 mAh if not available. For cold weather, Molicel M35A (3500 mAh) or Nitecore cold weather 3500 mAh cells.
 

RWT1405

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Fair dos. Not sure I really follow though. The only risk if you didn’t have the light in your control is it would dim a lot with a low battery. A protected battery will trip and stop the light working at all.

Not sure how I see that being a better solution.

Also, I make no claims to being an expert on rechargeable batteries, but I have always understood that unprotected batteries are at increased risk of over charging/discharging.

My understanding has been that protected rechargeable batteries offer me an extra bit of protection, which I am happy to have.

I may be mistaken, but these are my simple understandings.
 

bluedog225

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I thought it was risk of fire during charging that gave the protected cells the advantage. Also no expert but that was the wisdom here a decade ago.

Back then, Panasonic was the go to brand.
 

pnwoutdoors

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... my collection of 18650s are really old and heavily beaten, I used to buy AW batteries many years ago, but what are people buying now for protected 18650s?

A few months ago, I retired all of my old AW batteries and replaced them with new Panasonic NCR18650B cells. The old AW's were getting tired, putting out noticeably reduced light (as compared to new) and weren't lasting anywhere near as long. The new NCR18650Bs allow the Malkoff drop-ins to get back to their full output. These are button-top protected cells. I'm sure there are other good ones out there, but these have impressed me so far.

 
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