Choosing an 18650 - battery newbie who doesn't want to buy garbage again.

A

Amatoxin

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Hey all. I have a flashlight (Nitecore P25) and a laser (Wicked Lasers 1.25W Arctic) that both run on 18650 cells, and after the cell that came with my laser died, every attempt I've made to replace them has been sub par. I live in New Zealand, so my options to buy locally are limited, and both times, the batteries that I bought (some no-brand cell I can't identify) could barely run the laser for a minute before it automatically shut off, and didn't fare much better in running the flashlight. (these cells claimed to be 2500mAh, so... something isn't entirely right here). Since I use the flashlight for airsoft, having my light run out of electricity in the middle of a game isn't very desirable. I don't know what to buy that's decent however, and more importantly, where I can buy from that would reliably ship to me (since many vendors I've come across have outright refused to ship batteries internationally). I've looked at the Nitecore batteries and chargers (since they make my flashlight I figured they'd at least work for that), which advertise either a 2,300mAh IMR or a 3,400mAh standard Li-ion option, and they also sell chargers - I'm tempted to simply buy the Nitecore i2 charger and two of the 3400 cells from one of their Asian distributors, but that would be rather expensive. Are they even good batteries/chargers? I really don't want to buy something else that will be functionally useless. Thanks for any help. Will be appreciated.
 
ven

ven

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For run times look at the 3400 mah cells, these are panasonic B cell under the nitecore(or what ever manufacturer) wrapper. Maybe look at the generic pany B cells(green and black), KeepPower are a well priced manufatcurer who uses these pany B cells too.

Better still, sanyo/LG 10a 3500mah cells, these again can be bought in the red wrapper or branded like KeepPower etc. Available protected or unprotected(no PCB for over charge/under discharge ). Nitecore i2 or d2 make a good choice, may find a little slow charging, check Xtar charger options out as well.

:welcome:
 
N

NoNotAgain

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Two things to add to what Ven posted, the P25 light requires a button topped battery. The reverse polarity protection excludes the use of flat top batteries.

If only charging 2 batteries, the D2 will charge fast enough, at least .5 amps for each battery. There are other chargers that can charge at 1 amp, but at a higher cost.

You don't want to purchase any battery that isn't at least 3400mah in today's time. It's pretty much standard.

The only thing to offer is that the P25 isn't a high amperage light so purchasing a battery that capable of 20 amps would be a waste IMO.
 
TinderBox (UK)

TinderBox (UK)

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Dont buy any cells with the word FIRE in the name as in UltraFIRE or TrustFIRE ECT, Far too many fakes and unsafe battery`s

John.
 
A

Amatoxin

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Thanks for the quick advice. I'll definitely get the equivalent to the nitecores in a cheaper brand if it's all the same. I'd prefer to err on the side of protected as a "just in case" - seems that battery bro sells them so that's seeming like an idea. For some reason the laser sucked the garbage batteries dry faster than the flashlight did, which makes no sense as it's rated for no more than 2 watts which should be a load of around 1A... Maybe I was using especially awful batteries. The P25 always refused to stay on the max setting for any more than a few seconds. I'll likely pick up 2 3,400mAh protected cells, and might get the i4 charger from Nitecore since I currently lack a decent Ni-MH charger and have a device that needs 8 Ni-MH to run.
 
Wendee

Wendee

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When I ordered my Zebralight, since they wouldn't ship their batteries to me (I'm not in the US), I had to research which 18650 to buy. I bought Orbronic batteries (from Orbtronic website). I've read many good things about Orbtronic batteries and I can tell you that their customer service (dealing with newbies like me) is A++. You can ask them anything and they're happy to help (I've exchanged quite a few email with them). Shipping was super fast too. They shipped from the USA to me (Canada) so chances are they would ship to you?

I don't know anything about Nitecore batteries but at least you can be sure they would fit and work in your flashlight (since it's a Nitecore).

I have the Nitecore D4 charger and I really like it. I can see what's going on while batteries are charging rather than having to guess (compared to my charger with no display).
 
ven

ven

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Which ZL Wendee? as the new mkIII requires the unprotected size cell with a higher A rating. Iirc the 10a 3500mah is the one they sell for this light.
 
Wendee

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Which ZL Wendee? as the new mkIII requires the unprotected size cell with a higher A rating. Iirc the 10a 3500mah is the one they sell for this light.

I ordered the SC600 mkII (older version). I'm too scared to use unprotected cells. I'm sure I'll be ok using unprotected once I have more experience (this will be my first 18650 flashlight).

I just hope the Orbtronic actually FIT. From CPF posts I read, I thought they were my best bet (and good quality). Why the flashlight wasn't made 1mm longer, I don't understand.

Hopefully I'll know soon. Monday will be 6 weeks since the flashlight was shipped. :)
 
tjh

tjh

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Amatoxin!

I live in New Zealand too and there's lots of reliable places to buy batteries here.

There's Mr Positive's selection of 18650's.

There is also Recharged's site, they have 18650's for example these XTAR 3400 mAh batteries.

I bought my Maha C9000 from Recharged's site, they have excellent customer service and are reliable. I've also ordered a few things from Mr Battery and no problems there either.

The only place you have to avoid is Trademe, almost all sellers there are selling crappy cells. I did find 1 person who is selling genuine Panasonic 18650's, I was sceptical but bought some and put them in my MC3000 and they checked out as advertised!

If you want a hand with anything let me know, I'm based in Napier but am a battery nerd.

Tim
 
A

Amatoxin

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Thanks a lot for the NZ sources, tjh. I'll definitely take a look - easier than waiting the 30 days on Battery Bro. I made the mistake of buying "3000mAh" batteries from Trademe which were even weaker than the one I use from Jaycar. I should probably properly dispose of these before they blow up or something. I'll be in touch if I need NZ specific help - thanks a lot for that.
 
ven

ven

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I ordered the SC600 mkII (older version). I'm too scared to use unprotected cells. I'm sure I'll be ok using unprotected once I have more experience (this will be my first 18650 flashlight).

I just hope the Orbtronic actually FIT. From CPF posts I read, I thought they were my best bet (and good quality). Why the flashlight wasn't made 1mm longer, I don't understand.

Hopefully I'll know soon. Monday will be 6 weeks since the flashlight was shipped. :)

Cool, just pondered if the mkIII , you have done your homework :)
Hopefully not much longer to wait and sure it will be worth it!

Sure a mkIII won't be far behind , the light will warn you anyway and not only that, if you use a light then charge it to have a full battery regular, there will be no issue anyway. To get an 18650 bellow the min recomended voltage takes some doing! Even then if not left for any duration it will charge back up fine! These days the only protected cells in use are just either because i have them to use or the light is better with a longer cell. By that I mean with unprotected cells being around 66mm, they can move about inside the light, protected around 69mm take up any room. One light off the top of my head is the predator pro v2.5! The cell feels loose if not protected....

All my multi cell lights(other than skyway King) have INR cells inside, (touch wood) never had any issue at all, I check the V regular to help learn the light, I charge the cells up after a specific amount of use(light depending as if I have used 30m of moon light mode, I won't top up, if turbo I will if makes sense).

To learn a light I will simply use it for set times and check the V, when around 3.6v I will get a rough idea of V/time it's used and take from there .

:)
 
B

birdman3131

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One thing to look at if you want to bu them locally is if you have any vape/e-cigarette shops in the area. (I dunno if they are legal in your area) They often have good quality 18650's. Do your research on brands though.
 
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granpadave

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Hey guys. Has anyone used any of the bulk buys from AliExpress or similar? I was just having a quick look on there and they have 'genuine' protected Panasonic NCR18650B's with 'Made in Japan' printed on them (assuming that it wasn't just printed in China); 32 pieces for US$129 with Free shipping. This works out at (roughly) NZD$200 for 32 batteries, or about $6.25/battery. There is a downside though, apart from the risk that they are fake, shipping is estimated at 39-60 days. This wouldn't worry me if they were the real deal.

Anyone in NZ interested in a group buy? I've got a dive torch on the way that runs on 6 x 18650 so I'll be hanging onto a few of them plus a couple of single cell torches but that still leaves plenty spare if anyone's interested.

How bout the community in general, anyone bought one of these AliExpress deals? Real deal or fakes? Is it too good to be true?
 
Wendee

Wendee

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Hey guys. Has anyone used any of the bulk buys from AliExpress or similar? I was just having a quick look on there and they have 'genuine' protected Panasonic NCR18650B's with 'Made in Japan' printed on them (assuming that it wasn't just printed in China); 32 pieces for US$129 with Free shipping. This works out at (roughly) NZD$200 for 32 batteries, or about $6.25/battery. There is a downside though, apart from the risk that they are fake, shipping is estimated at 39-60 days. This wouldn't worry me if they were the real deal.

Anyone in NZ interested in a group buy? I've got a dive torch on the way that runs on 6 x 18650 so I'll be hanging onto a few of them plus a couple of single cell torches but that still leaves plenty spare if anyone's interested.

How bout the community in general, anyone bought one of these AliExpress deals? Real deal or fakes? Is it too good to be true?

To be used in a diving flashlight that takes 6 x 18650 batteries? :eek:oo: Yikes! I can't tell you if they're real or not but I know that personally, I sure wouldn't risk it.

I just tried to find the same lot you described on AliExpress but I couldn't. I did find some 18650 where the description says "for panasonic" ("for" and no capitalization) and the cell type says "Panasoni" (no "c"). Because of vendor listings like the one I just saw (spelling errors or scam?), I'm just not comfortable buying batteries from anyone other than a well-known, reputable store.

How does the saying go? "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is"? I hope someone who's bought some can provide more information for you. :)
 
Monocrom

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Best 18650s I've ever used are AW brand. Very reliable. Worst?.... Oh yeah, Ultrafire. Beyond craptacular.
 
G

granpadave

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To be fair the diving flashlight isn't that expensive either a Fandyfire from DX (SKU 417308 if you were wondering)... Will see how it goes. I wanted something with a decent run time, was thinking of getting a standard torch and wiring up an additional external battery but then found that one. It comes with the equivalent Fandyfire 2200mAh batteris but from what I have ready about the ***Fire batteries they are pretty average. I tried to order one that had 3 x 26650's but they were out of stock so I thought bugger it. The 6x18650 is only another $15 or something lets see how it goes. I can always modify it later if it is no good. As long as the housing and seals are ok that is my main concern. The emitters etc. could all be changed out if necessary. I am already running on the assumption that light output will be less than claimed so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

I don't seem to be able to post a link to the page that had the Panasonic batteries on there. Whenever I copy past the link into a new tab it just sends me to the login page. I just searched for "Panasonic 18650 3400" on AliExpress.com then sorted them by highest price and scrolled down a bit. The first ad with that search is for 400 x 18650 batteries! The ad doesn't have spelling errors or any other big red flags like that, seller (XL-Electronic Store if you can search them) has apparently been open for 3 years, 98.2% +ve feedback across almost 500 sales. Just not sure how reliable all those ratings are with AliExpress as I've never used them.

I was also thinking that if it's too good to be true then it probably isn't, that's why I thought I'd ask.
 
A

Amatoxin

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Ended up picking up an XTAR from Recharged. Hopefully it works well. Thanks for the help everyone.
 
Monocrom

Monocrom

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I was also thinking that if it's too good to be true then it probably isn't, that's why I thought I'd ask.


The thing with DX, it's great if you want to play around with cheap bits & bobs to modify lights. That sort of thing. But these types of rechargeable cells are just too dangerous to go the cheap & cheerful route. Almost every case of such cells failing and "venting with flame" (basically exploding) have been the cheap No-name brands made in China. And yes, that goes for any made in China cells with the word "Fire" in it. Cheap, yes. But far from cheerful.

18650s and cells with similar chemistry literally put out toxic fumes when they fail. One well-known and highly respected member ended up with sever medical issues, including lung problems, when one of his lights vented. Years later, he's still not 100% fully recovered. Honestly, it's just best to avoid the cheap junk and Made in China rechargeable cells. Only exception being AW's cells. And that's only because he's a fellow member who insists on incredibly strict quality controls with his cells, which are made in China.
 
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