Best cell to use in a flashlight stored in a car???

campingnut

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
446
Location
In the Redwoods just North of the Golden Gate
Well, I think the title speaks for itself, but here I go...

Currently, the emergency lights that I leave in each of the cars have lithium primaries in them. This has been working, but once these are depleted, I would like to replace them with rechargeable cells.

My first thought is to put Eneloops in them, but I was not sure if the extreme temperature changes would kill the cells. I live in N. California so the winter lows are usually in the upper 30's to summer highs in the 100's. I wanted to hear what the CPF community had to think on these two questions:

1. What is the best cell to store in a car?
2. What is the best rechargeable option?
**Please be specific about both type and brand***

Thanks for the replies. :popcorn:
 

VidPro

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Messages
5,441
Location
Lost In Space
i use li-ion and lithium most, but only because i dont ever use them :)
and i was so freaking TIRED of the stupid alkalines and old school ni-cd and ni-mhy being DEAD , I mean not even a dull yellow glow dead, a not turn on i am ticked off now dead. If i ever actually needed the thing that just sits in the car, and could save my life someday.

With the li-ion i am taking the risk of it dying before ever getting a full lifecycle. but i used primo LG cells, and every test years later, the thing is still ready to go.
I prefer rechargable for only one reason, i can maintance it, instead of toss it. Ya never really know how much power a primary has untill it dies when your using it :)
i had to make sure that there was ZERO parasitic draw, (Hard switch or lockout) in the flashlight, and i have to keep the car cool, and them in a cooler places in the car, being in california.

neither of these will freeze out on me either, they may not work as fast in extreeme cold, but they will still work good.

my other choice would certannly be some sort of LSD cell, especially if i was going to use it more often, but the electrolyte in the ni-?? batteries can freeze much sooner. good choice for california, I replaced the c-d lights with accuevolution, and they hold out for 1 year at a time, even used.

i would have more Ni-mhy LSd in the cars IF it had existed when i set them up last, the LSD stuff could have save me from having to MOD stuff into li-ion operation.

Lithium, I use minimally, and although they are not "best" and are high priced, it is usually E2 energyser lithium.
alkaline, no way, no how , not ever again :)
 
Last edited:

campingnut

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
446
Location
In the Redwoods just North of the Golden Gate
I prefer rechargable for only one reason, i can maintance it, instead of toss it. Ya never really know how much power a primary has untill it dies when your using it :)

I agree, every cell in my house is rechargeable.

i had to make sure that there was ZERO parasitic draw, (Hard switch or lockout) in the flashlight

I EDC (sometimes two lights :candle: ), so I tend to keep the cells in a ziplock out of the light to keep the tension off the springs and to protect from any parasitic draw.

alkaline, no way, no how , not ever again

I completely agree, I have had way too many electronics ruined from alkalines.
 

Battery Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Portland, Oregon
I go with Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA cells in my car flashlights, and I keep a spare pair in the car as well because, as VidPro pointed out, you never know how much charge is left in those lithium primary cells.

If you want to go with rechargeables, then lithium-ion will work. Keep in mind that storing a lithium-ion cell above about 60-70 degC (140-158 degF) will cause significantly faster aging that will result in permanent capacity loss and increased internal resistance. Try to keep the flashlight out of direct sunlight in as cool of a location as possible. Also, charging the battery to 4.0 V or 4.1 V instead of 4.2 V will help greatly to improve longevity in this application.

Cheers,
BG
 

campingnut

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
446
Location
In the Redwoods just North of the Golden Gate
If you want to go with rechargeables, then lithium-ion will work. Keep in mind that storing a lithium-ion cell above about 60-70 degC (140-158 degF) will cause significantly faster aging that will result in permanent capacity loss and increased internal resistance. Try to keep the flashlight out of direct sunlight in as cool of a location as possible. Also, charging the battery to 4.0 V or 4.1 V instead of 4.2 V will help greatly to improve longevity in this application.

Cheers,
BG

I never considered Li-ion for the car as I thought they were just too fragile of a chemistry.

I am wondering if anyone knows how Eneloops hold up in a car environment? Does Li-ion hold up better than an LSD NiMH? :thinking:
 

VidPro

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Messages
5,441
Location
Lost In Space
Does Li-ion hold up better than an LSD NiMH? :thinking:

would depend entirely on the quality of the cell.
if i put the average ultra-china piece of junk li-ion in the car, it would have to be checked way more often, and tossed out regularly, might as well use primary IF the use of the "car light" is not high. If the use of the light is high, then i only have to worry about comming back to the car in flames :)
in the same sence
if i put these blasted dura-sell and energyser NON-lsd 2500s and other various high cap ni-mh cells in the car, i could not Trust them to maintain thier charge over time. Depending on thier age and cycles and how they were treated. Even today there is MANY high-cap ni-mh cell items that would leave me high and dry , just like 10 years ago. so it has to be a very good high longevity rechargable, anything else wont cut it.

the Eneloop thing discharges faster in high temps.
the eneloop discharges faster than a good li-ion in most temps.
the li-ion will have more energy available then the eneloop after parked in the car for 1 year, but i wouldnt call the ammount significant they will both pull off LSD. and it depends (again) on any protection that might do a teeny tiny drain of the li-ion.
it is likely the eneloop 2000 version, could outlive in Time even the best li-ion, not enough time to tell yet.

Then
all that changes 100 percent, if your car has no heat protection and the cell can get to 140*+F , in some hot climate, or reverse that and i am in the midwest in a snowstorm at -20*f. I would prefer that the li-ion not get extreeme hot, and that i didnt have to Need ni-?? in extreeme cold.
and
if the "wetness" in the ni-mh cell item freezes and thaws and freezes and thaws, which would be somewhere below freezing, then i wouldnt trust it , the solvent in the li-ion is going to go much lower in temps before it actually freezes. that Contraction expansion damage, from huge temperature swings.
 
Last edited:

campingnut

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
446
Location
In the Redwoods just North of the Golden Gate
would depend entirely on the quality of the cell.
if i put the average ultra-china piece of junk li-ion in the car, it would have to be checked way more often, and tossed out regularly, might as well use primary IF the use of the "car light" is not high. If the use of the light is high, then i only have to worry about comming back to the car in flames :)
in the same sence
if i put these blasted dura-sell and energyser NON-lsd 2500s and other various high cap ni-mh cells in the car, i could not Trust them to maintain thier charge over time. Depending on thier age and cycles and how they were treated. Even today there is MANY high-cap ni-mh cell items that would leave me high and dry , just like 10 years ago. so it has to be a very good high longevity rechargable, anything else wont cut it.

the Eneloop thing discharges faster in high temps.
the eneloop discharges faster than a good li-ion in most temps.
the li-ion will have more energy available then the eneloop after parked in the car for 1 year, but i wouldnt call the ammount significant they will both pull off LSD. and it depends (again) on any protection that might do a teeny tiny drain of the li-ion.
it is likely the eneloop 2000 version, could outlive in Time even the best li-ion, not enough time to tell yet.

Then
all that changes 100 percent, if your car has no heat protection and the cell can get to 140*+F , in some hot climate, or reverse that and i am in the midwest in a snowstorm at -20*f. I would prefer that the li-ion not get extreeme hot, and that i didnt have to Need ni-?? in extreeme cold.
and
if the "wetness" in the ni-mh cell item freezes and thaws and freezes and thaws, which would be somewhere below freezing, then i wouldnt trust it , the solvent in the li-ion is going to go much lower in temps before it actually freezes. that Contraction expansion damage, from huge temperature swings.

Thanks for the great information. I almost exclusively use Eneloops and AW protected li-ion cells. I am thinking about running an experiment and putting one of each in my car for six months to see which fairs better :whistle:
 

Gregozedobe

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
922
Location
Canberra, Australia
Thanks for the great information. I almost exclusively use Eneloops and AW protected li-ion cells. I am thinking about running an experiment and putting one of each in my car for six months to see which fairs better :whistle:

If you aren't using the light much then what is the problem with using lithium primaries ? Seems to me that they will be more likely to work properly than rechargeables over long times (12 months+) without attention. And if you aren't using them then you aren't depeleting them so they aren't being thrown out. If you do use the lights frequently then I'd be leaning towards eneloops because they are a bit safer.
 

Battery Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Portland, Oregon
Campingnut

How do you intend to use the flashlight kept in your car? Is this an "emergency" light that will be used very infrequently, but needs to work when you grab for it? Or is this a frequently used (at least once every couple of weeks) flashlight?

If this is an emergency type light, then definitely go with the lithium primary batteries and throw a couple spares in the glove box just to be safe. I will typically pull the lithium batteries out of the car flashlight and replace them with new batteries every year in the fall after the heat of the summer has done its worst. I then use the batteries that were in the car in other devices around the house. That way I can guarantee that my emergency lights have reasonably fresh and charged batteries.

If you are going to use the flashlight relatively frequently, then go for rechargeables. In this case, either eneloops or high quality lithium-ions will be fine. Both are going to age faster stored in the car. You will probably see noticeable capacity loss and impedance rise in the first year. Be sure to use a flashlight that has a low light mode. This will help mitigate impedance rise in the battery due to accelerated aging or low temperature use.

Also, do NOT buy a charger that runs on DC and charge your battery/flashlight in the car. Charging hot batteries can be dangerous. Let the temperature of the battery cool to ambient before charging.

If it was me, and I wanted to use rechargeables in my car flashlight, I think I would choose eneloops, but I would also keep a 4-pack of Energizer Ultimates in the glove box just in case the eneloops are dead when you need them.

Cheers,
BG
 

campingnut

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
446
Location
In the Redwoods just North of the Golden Gate
How do you intend to use the flashlight kept in your car? Is this an "emergency" light that will be used very infrequently, but needs to work when you grab for it?

Yes, this is a backup/extra light as I EDC.

If it was me, and I wanted to use rechargeables in my car flashlight, I think I would choose eneloops, but I would also keep a 4-pack of Energizer Ultimates in the glove box just in case the eneloops are dead when you need them.

I think I am going this way. I know they have an advertised shelf life of ten years, how long would you expect the ultimates to last in a car? 5 years?
 

Battery Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Portland, Oregon
I know they have an advertised shelf life of ten years, how long would you expect the ultimates to last in a car? 5 years?

The rule of thumb is that the degradation rate increases by a factor of 2 for every 10 degC increase in temperature. I think that the Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA cells are rated at 15 years at 21 degC. Storing them at 31 degC would drop that to 7.5 years, and storing them at 41 degC would drop it to 3.75 years...etc...

The problem is that the temperature of your car fluctuates quite a bit, which makes predicting kind of hard. I think that it is safe to say that you easily have 1-2 years of vehicle storage, depending on your local climate, and still get good performance out of those cells.

Cheers,
BG
 

Battery Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Portland, Oregon
BG - Thanks for the info. This will give me a good idea of what to expect. :thanks:

Just keep in mind that those aging rates are "rules of thumb", so they are only estimates. Also, they only hold true so long as a secondary degradation mechanism is not activated. For example, the 2X aging rate per 10 degC is a reasonable estimate for lithium-ion cells up to about 60-70 degC, at which point the lithiated graphite begins reacting with the electrolyte and the aging rate increases rapidly.
 

pck50

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
16
It all depends on what kind of a battery it may take.
If its a Size AAA, AA, C, D, 9 volt. = Would Highly recommend Duracell Ultra, Eveready Lithium, or if its a C123a = I would only recommend a SoShine 700mah 3.7 volt Rechargeable which have an amazing Power and wicked lasting capability.

Additionally recommend SoShine cells for sizes, 10440, 14500, 17650. 18650. AAA, AA, and more.

Best of Luck
Wishing you a Great day.

PETE
 

jayflash

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 4, 2003
Messages
3,909
Location
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
I practice what Battery Guy recommends and use primary lithium cells because my car lights are used only for emergencies. LiIons have less capacity and cost more so I don't use them. I'm hoping that the Energizer Lithiums will degrade less from the wide temperature fluctuations than Eneloops might. My car's interior can range from a minus 15F to over 100F degrees.

Keeping spares follows the "two is one" philosophy and may be handy for an unexpected, extended, need.
 

SilverFox

Flashaholic
Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Messages
12,449
Location
Bellingham WA
My Pelican Big D light uses a lead acid gel cell and it has been doing very well in my vehicle over several years...

Tom
 

Battery Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Portland, Oregon
If its a Size AAA, AA, C, D, 9 volt. = Would Highly recommend Duracell Ultra, Eveready Lithium, or if its a C123a = I would only recommend a SoShine 700mah 3.7 volt Rechargeable which have an amazing Power and wicked lasting capability.

Eveready/Energizer lithiums are only available in AAA, AA and 9 Volt. Which Duracell Ultra's are you referring to? In Europe you can buy Duracell Ultra Lithium AA cells, but in North America they are not available. I am not aware of anyone who offers a 1.5 V lithium C or D cell, but would love to learn if such a beast is available.

Cheers,
BG
 

VidPro

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Messages
5,441
Location
Lost In Space
Eveready/Energizer lithiums are only available in AAA, AA and 9 Volt. Which Duracell Ultra's are you referring to? In Europe you can buy Duracell Ultra Lithium AA cells, but in North America they are not available. I am not aware of anyone who offers a 1.5 V lithium C or D cell, but would love to learn if such a beast is available.

Cheers,
BG

you know about the SAFT lithium primary D sized batteries, they are 100% for backup and slow stuff, medical backup and mabey military for something.
There is at least one cell item in D size, that has just enough speed , that it could be usefull for some lights.

With these "backup" TYPE of larger lithium cell items, if you start using them at higher currents they cannot deliver the capacity, but there is at least one with major capacity and Some speed, when you figure from the graphs the capacity when using at that speed, it might be usable and blow away an alkaline

ultralife also has C&D lithium primaries that claim to do real speed with capacity also.
http://ultralifecorporation.com/download/70/

most of this stuff requires full "hasmat" type of shipping, due to the grams of lithium .
 
Last edited:
Top