CR123 and 18650 Newbie Questions

R

R.ticle One

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Hello everyone.

The light in question may be (as in, I don't have it yet but might soon) a Solarforce L2 with the small body. The emitter, probably a Malkoff M30WLF warm low flood.

Numerous alternative battery choices have been pointed out for me in another thread. However, I am also considering the batteries which wouldn't require the use of a spacer, extension tube, etc., those being primary CR123A or 18650.

The first thing I would like to ask about is risk, you know the :poof: explosion/venting risk.

Assuming I use quality brands of battery, in the aforementioned light body and emitter combination, and only in single battery configuration (just one CR123A or one 18650), am I running any risk of something going kaboom?

Onto environmental fluctuations. I could be using this flashlight in all manners of weather, from freezing subzero cold to scorching hot. Are either of these extremes problematic (particularly regarding the risk factor, and secondarily the performance of the battery)?

And storage: Let's say I spent months in the country in a relatively uninsulated mobile home. I've got my boxes of batteries with me, one of CR123A, one of 18650. The temperature and humidity inside are similar to whatever happens between summer and winter outside. Problematic?

Protected cells: is there such a thing as a protected 18650? And are protected CR123A batteries only found amongst rechargeables? Will this protection feature, err, protect, against said venting and blowing up?

And finally: which brands of CR123A and 18650 do you recommend (and chargers, if we're talking 18650), and good vendors for Canada?

Thanking you kindly for you help!
 
old4570

old4570

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Recommend Protected batteries .
If you run single cell , risk of mishap severely curtailed .

If you buy 1 x CR123A - no real problems .

2 x CR123A = Id rather use a 18650
 
Y

yellow

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venting/explosion most likely happen when charging (+ with too high current AND too long)
protection circuits usually cut the circuit at:
* undervoltage
* overvoltage
* too high current drain
... so with protected one is as safe as possible,
I would not use anything else

As to 18650 / CR123:
CR123 --> long term storage, "easily" available but not much current in cell and very expensive here.
For a single CR123 light, there is no question, for 2*CR123, it is easy:
a single 18650 light is the same size, but houses about 1/3 more power.
Con: only rechargeable, no primary cells.
If one has wall plugs available, there is no question at all.
 
R

R.ticle One

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Hi guys, thanks for the posts. So - I'm definitely planning not to use 2 CR123As together for anything. That much is certain.

I'm still a bit freaked out by the stories of even single CR123As blowing up, but those were mainly cheap Chinese brands, yes? I'll have to read more of them.

So - protected CR123A primaries, in single cell applications are a good bet? Such as:

http://www.defensedevices.com/lithium-3-volt-batteries.html

They say: "[FONT=arial , helvetica]Every CR123A battery incorporates PTC protection and the PTC threshold is set at 5AMPS. The protected Tenergy CR123A batteries prevent excessive discharge that can damage lithium cells and may lead to catastrophic incidents.[/FONT]"

Can I take their word for that?

I'm not certain about using CR batteries that have low juice left in them - I think I've read that if the light gets dim, toss the battery; but what if the light is regulated and the battery simply goes from max-light to no-light at all? Is there a risk in this?

Is it necessary to check the voltage of each CR123A primary prior to putting it into a light?

So - on the whole, an 18650 vs. a single cell, protected primary CR123A is pretty much equal as far as safety goes? Or does the 18650 provide a slightly higher margin of safety?

Thanks again.
 
old4570

old4570

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Protected cells are about as safe as Li-ions can be ATM + They can still vent , but in a more controlled fashion rather than :poof:

Ive pushed my RCR123A's over 1.5A for current draw .

CR123A Primaries were designed to run all the way down , Rechargeable's are not , 18650 seem to be offering less problems , possibly due to the battery being less stressed by high current flashlights .[ 2xCR123A VS 1x18650 ]

Is it necessary to check the voltage of each CR123A primary prior to putting it into a light?
If its 2 x CR123A or more , it might be advisable to make sure there matched , in single CR123A applications No .

Also bear in mind that many of these incidents were the result of possible human error . and possibly not the fault of said battery , butt rather negligence .
So the real question begs , how safe is the operator . We know the battery can be dangerous when abused . Bit like Guns I guess , is the gun dangerous , or is the operator dangerous . ????
 
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R

R.ticle One

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Protected cells are about as safe as Li-ions can be ATM + They can still vent , but in a more controlled fashion rather than :poof:

So venting=no explosion? Or is that dependent upon the light in which the battery is? (Ie, can some lights contain the pressure better than others?)

When a CR123A battery vents, is it still emitting that nasty gas that's hazardous to breathe, or leaking anything you'd rather not want being absorbed into your skin?

CR123A Primaries were designed to run all the way down , Rechargeable's are not , 18650 seem to be offering less problems , possibly due to the battery being less stressed by high current flashlights .[ 2xCR123A VS 1x18650 ]

That sounds good; so if I had a CR123A Primary that had only half its juice left and stuck it in, say, a small Solarforce body with a Malkoff head, that was designed for a single CR123A, the light would use as much energy from the battery as it could, and when the batt.'s dead, it's dead, with no risk of going too low?

Regarding 18650s, I read in one thread that: "Your can also get LiIon batteries with safe chemistry, they have lower capacity, but they can not explode when mistreated. " How do I know what to look for to find this kind of 18650 (if it exists)?


Is it necessary to check the voltage of each CR123A primary prior to putting it into a light?
If its 2 x CR123A or more , it might be advisable to make sure there matched , in single CR123A applications No .
Good! I'm the drop it in and know I don't have to fiddle with measuring it first kind of person.

Also bear in mind that many of these incidents were the result of possible human error . and possibly not the fault of said battery , butt rather negligence . So the real question begs , how safe is the operator . We know the battery can be dangerous when abused . Bit like Guns I guess , is the gun dangerous , or is the operator dangerous . ????

What sorts of human error should I be careful to not commit with lith. batteries? I can think of...don't reverse the polarity, puncture, use obviously visibly damaged batteries or knock-off Chinese CR123As...what else?

I'm still not sure about the use and storage of CR123As in environments where the temperature and humidity can fluctuate a lot over the months, from freezing to hot as hell...by storage I mean both sitting in a box, and sitting (in my case in single battery configuration) in a flashlight.

I see that someone says: "Rechargeable or not, one big benefit of lithium chemistries is shelf life and temperature stability (maybe thats two). In sub freezing weather lithiums work alot better. They also handle summer car interior temps better."

That sounds good - when they refer to the battery stability, is it the safety factor they're talking about, as much as how the battery will perform? Since I could be in a mobile home during the summer, it can get very hot where I'd be keeping my light and batteries.

Thanks so much again for the help.
 
old4570

old4570

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Ok - 3 problems ...

1st one is for all Li-ion batts , mis-matched voltage when using multiple batts.

When one bat has more voltage than the other , and I would hazard a guess here , that it would have to be a reasonable amount or we would have more :poof: going on . One batt [ the one with more Volts ] reverse cycles to the empty or less Volt batt , there by creating a chemical reaction and :poof:

Now protected cells , can detect heat/pressure and before the batt goes :poof: allows the preasure/gases to vent in a controlled fashion ...

My guess , no the vented gases cant be overly healthy , but better than :poof: ...

Now , if you have a bunch of Primaries , stuff can happen , like mixing empty and full cells , now if you do that in the flashy :poof:, thats operator error .

Now if you run a 1xCR123A Flashy , it should not matter what state the Primary batt is in , if it has juice , it will deliver , if its empty , it wont work .

Unprotected rechargeable's is another story , if you run them too low they can be damaged , they probably wont go :poof: , they just wont work as well anymore , but they may develop a resistance to charging , which can cause heat/gas :poof: Overcharging on the other hand , go to far and they can :poof: , if you overcharge just a little , then I would say it depends on the individual cell and its tolerance as to whether any damage is done . Again , damaging the batt may mean it just wont charge , hold a good charge , or it may develop a resistance to charging .

Protected Batts = Protected from over discharge , and overcharge , so safer to use all around .

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5105 LiFePO4

There is plenty of info here on CPF , as for heat and cold , regular batteries cant handle extremes as well , bit like car batteries , too cold / too hot and they lose power , also shelf life is shorter .

Time for bed - I hope this helps .
 
R

R.ticle One

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Thank you for the lengthly explanation!
 
old4570

old4570

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I think a lot of people are being scared by reports of CR123's going up in smoke , when most of the instances may have been operator error .

So its kind of important to keep it in perspective .

Imagine if people were scared to buy GM because 50,000 people died in GM cars last year ? Problem might be , they were speeding , drunk , or on drugs ! and it had nothing to do with the car itself , even though cars are dangerous when abused or mishandled .
:D
 
T

TomBrooklyn

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bit like car batteries , too cold / too hot and they lose power , also shelf life is shorter .
Car batteries are designed for outdoor use, though. How do they do that?
 

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