Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiFePO4 any good?

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,079
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Okay, I'm looking at some 3.7 V 750 maH protected RCR123's from AW. Those seem nice, but won't work on everything.

I'm curious about the 500 mAH LiFepO4 (unprotected) from AW. Are these the best choice for stuff that takes normal 123's? I'm talking single cell, flashlights, so nothing that will blow up at 3.7 V, I just want to retain all modes and stay in a lower (safer) operating voltage most of the time.

Are these the best choice? AW doesn't seem to sell protected 3.0 V RCR123's anymore. I see them on lighthound, but am trying to avoid the insance shipping costs from there.

I've looked around a ton of threads, looked at Tenergy and Powerizer 3.0 V rcr123's and I'm still not sure.

Are these AW cells the best choice? Is life really at 500 maH? If so, I assume I will get a lot more life out of the 3.7 V cells, but at higher voltage of course. Is there another good, longer lasting choice? (I think you only get 1/3 the runtime of primaries with these cells right?).

Ugh, soo many choices...
 
Last edited:

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,079
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

:bumpit:

Hmmm, no one has any thoughts? Mostly just wanted to see more feedback on the AW LiFepO4. Seems pretty good but capacity (due to different chemistry) seems a bit low.
 
Last edited:

mudman cj

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 14, 2005
Messages
1,827
Location
Where corn and pigs are grown unimpeded by trees
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

I think I know how you feel Gunga. I just went through the same process of trying to decide which rechargeable type to go with to run my Jetbeam C-LE at 3V. I finally decided that I preferred the LiPO4 because the chemistry is safe, they can handle 2A reasonably well, and although they are not protected, they can withstand being discharged down to 2V. I noticed that Tenergy 3V cells have discharge protection that kicks in at 2.5V. By that point you have damaged the cells anyway.

One problem with unprotected 3.7V Li-ion batteries is when you use them in devices intended for 3V, you can't tell the battery is depleted until it is also very deeply discharged. Of course, this logic only applies to flashlights that were not made to boost 1.2 or 1.5V to 3+, so this may not matter for you.

What I didn't like about 3V rechargeables with the more common 3.7V chemistry is that about 1 Watt is consumed by the internal circuitry to step the voltage down and this energy is converted to heat. I wouldn't install a heater inside of a Li-ion battery for multiple reasons...

And as far as capacities - AW's cells have the same usable capacity as the other cells from what I have read. I will look for the data...

Comparing their use at high currents (2A), the LiPO4 actually hold voltage better than the CR123s in SilverFox's testing. The LiPO4 can hold over 2.5V for the first 300 mAh, while 3.7V CR123s can only hold about 3.25V for that proportion of their discharge. Why is data from 3.7V cells relevant to 3V batteries? Because the 3V battery uses the 3.7V chemistry.


OK - here is the data for the LiPO4 cells, but I am having difficulty finding test data for the others. I recall reading from user experiences that they had about 500 mAh of usable capacity, but data would be better...
 
Last edited:

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,079
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Interesting aboutr the usable capacity. So a 500 maH AW cell should have simlar usable capacity to a 750-900 maH Li-on? COuld be possible based on the conversion circuitry.

I'm planning to use these cells in: Jetbeam C-LE (3 V only), Lumapower M3 (can handle 3.7 V fine), perhaps a Fenix L1D if I ever get a CR123 body, and perhaps a Rexlight if it comes and does not suck (also can handle 3.7V) and I get a cr123 body. I'm deciding between something like this, or some protected 14500s and/or rcr 123s.

So, I dunno, lot's of possibilities. I'm having fun, but I don't think I want to carry this many lights in inventory, so would rather sell off 1 or 2 and try and get batteries that can work with most of my lights.

Ugh, it's too bad the Ultrafire w138 and w139 chargers don't overlap too well. I suppose the w138 is decent since it can charge all of these cells, but I'm not too keen on the method for charging 14500 (wires and alogator clips, not good for explosive tendencies). I'd love it if the w139 could charge the LiFePO4 cells.

I could stick to primaries, but for some reason, I would rather have guilt free lumens. Yes, primaries last much longer, but with all the messing around, you never know how much life is left in them!

Ugh, too much money and choices...
 
Last edited:

mudman cj

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 14, 2005
Messages
1,827
Location
Where corn and pigs are grown unimpeded by trees
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

Yeah, the conversion circuit lowers the capacity by consuming as much as 1 Watt. Apparently Tenergy inflates their capacity ratings - they would have to have an actual capacity of 1200 mAh to deliver 900 mAh at 3 watts with the circuit using 1 watt, and when have you seen a 1200 mAh CR123? AW's ratings are what you can expect to get in most uses.

The funny thing about my decision here is that I ended up deciding to put off the decision until I had some 'extra' money sitting around and instead I stuck in a primary. It's still not dead...:sssh:
 
Last edited:

winston

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
294
Location
Just above DC
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

I don't have an answer, but I certainly admire the question.

It seems that AW cells are de rigueur at CPF, but it also seems that no one battery can be ideally suited to every situation. Unfortunately, if you need a battery to work in many different devices, you run into the inconvenient limitations of the technology, and have to make trade-offs.

Some factors to consider: 6v incandescent bulbs don't usually tolerate the 7.4v supplied by two 3.7v cells. 9v bulbs handle 11.1v even worse. LEDs are more forgiving, but some people have recently been reporting problems with SSC emitters when they apply too much voltage. If a voltage-regulation circuit is used on my flashlight, I can use any voltage within a specified range without harming the light. I'm not even going to ask about semi-regulation. :shrug: Another question unique to the individual is: "How often am I going to be able to charge these batteries?" If it's going to be a while in between charges for batteries that get used quite heavily, you'll need higher-capacity cells. Add limitations on maximum current draw, IC protection, and tons of other variables that have escaped me, and your brain can start to hurt.

In conclusion: if anyone figures out what batteries gunga should choose, I'd like them to figure my battery needs out next. :candle:
-Winston
 

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,079
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
He he he. Yeah, I've spent several hours wandering the forums, and have a decent grasp of the info, but I'm still not much closer. I do want protected or LiPO4 tho.

Protected cells are great, but if you keep running into shutdown mode, you will damage the batteries anyways, so the protection doesn't seem as cool as I thought.

The LiFePO4 seems cool, but limited capacity is a bummer. At least the lack of protection is not too much of a problem. Perhaps it will be easier when to tell you need to charge also (more pronounced dimming?)

I guess the main issue is the size and voltage thing. Perhaps it would be best to get some of LiFePO4 RCR123's, and wait for AW to produce some in the 14500 size, then I could use them in most anything. 3.7V is cool and brighter, but I can only use it in some of my lights. After paying a decent amount per light, I'd rather not have costly batteries that can only work in 1 light.

Oh, and while unprotected Li-on can be cheap, but I'd rather stay way from that can of worms...
 
Last edited:

stonehold

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
170
Location
Phoenix
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

I've been using these Ultralast cells for a few months, without any problems, in all my lights that use cr123a's. They come off the charger at about 3.3v. I got them at Frys' simply becaues they were there and so was I and I needed something. At $25 for the charger and 2 cells it's a little steep but still cheaper than primaries. The company web site provides almost zero info but here's the link to it.

http://nabcorp.com/pdf/ul_photolithium.pdf
 

LuxLuthor

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
10,629
Location
MS
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

As far as I can tell LiPO4 cells are in their infancy. Because of their safety, I believe these will take over a significant portion of the Li-Ion market as they are improved. I'm just starting to research them.
 

xiaowenzu

Banned
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
637
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

The best brand of RCR123 protected cells are from Maha rated at [font=arial,helvetica]2300mah+[/font]
moby_crv3_outfit.jpg

here's the review from world famous site: (scroll to bottom)
http://www.steves-digicams.com/nimh_batteries.html
 

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,079
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Interesting, now trying to decide at this point if it's worth it to go LiFePO4 or just to play with some cheap unprotected RCR123's from Kaidomain or DX.

I think 2 unprotected RCR123's from Kai are $4.5-6.5 (no name or unknown name brand). The nano charger for 3.0 V cells is $6.5 (I don't know if this works properly for these cells since I've heard you need a specific charger for specific battery, these are not mentioned in the specs). Total price is $10-12.

A LiFePO4 setup from AW/Fenix store is about $27-8 for a dual bay/dual voltage charger and 2 batteries.

Tis quite a bit more, and since these cells are brand new chemistry, I wonder if it would be better to wait?

Still deciding...
 
Last edited:

hank

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Messages
1,561
Location
Berkeley CA
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

I'm waiting.
Heck, the past year or so, by the time my primary cells wear out, there's always better LED available.
 

winston

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
294
Location
Just above DC
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

Now the questions would be: Can the DX cells handle 2C discharge, and can you use a cheapie nano charger with the AW safe cells? :popcorn:
-Winston
 

jumpstat

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
2,418
Location
Ampang, Malaysia
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

I too am looking at a solution as I invested in a KL4 head recently. All I have is 4xR123s 3.7v 750mAh Prot and 1xLC16340 3.7v 600mAh Un-Prot. And of course the Surefire primaries. KL4 don't take kindly to 2x3.7v, so I can't run it in the 2 cells setup unless I use Primaries. looking at AW's LiPo batteries, looks ok but unprotected and 500mAh doesn't look much. Only option left now if I want to run the KL4 on a 2cell body is to invest in the 17670 or just be patient and wait like everybody elso hope that somebody out there comes out with a better solution.....
 

bridgman

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
425
Location
Bowmanville, Ontario Canada
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

EDIT -- post changed to say LiFePO4 not LiPo, see warning below. :ohgeez:

I think the idea is that the LiFePO4 batteries don't need protection, at least not for safety reasons. I imagine you still need to make sure you don't overcharge or over-discharge them to avoid damaging the battery but the chemistry is described as being inherently safer than Li-ion.

It seems to me that a LiFePO4 14500 would be worth making if only for the Fenix L1D-CE ;)
 
Last edited:

Gimpy00Wang

b0rk, b0rk, b0rk
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Messages
841
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

Be VERY careful NOT to confuse [size=+1]LiPo (aka: Li-Poly, Lithium Polymer)[/size] with [size=+1]LiFePO4 (aka: Lithium Iron Phosphate)[/size]. While LiFePO4 are a much safer chemestry compared to [size=+1]Li-Ion (aka: Lithium Ion)[/size] -- LiPo's are even more volatile compared to Li-Ion. Most LiPo cells have a fairly soft & think casing,

Anywho...yep...LiFePO4 have a lot to offer, but I noticed the term "LiPo" being used a few times and I'd hate for someone to mis-handle those bad boys. :) I keep/charge my LiPo's in containers specifically designed for LiPo's. I treat my Li-Ion's with similar, but a little more relaxed care.

- Chris
 

matrixshaman

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
3,410
Location
Outside the Matrix
Re: Best 3.0V RCR123? AW LiPO4 any good?

Thanks for making that clear Chris - I hadn't paid too much attention to these two new chemistries and I think I'm in the group that would likely have confused those two.
 
Top