CR123 exploded!

DocArnie

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I already posted this at Messerforum.net and I think I should share it with you guys, too!
Yesterday I heard a loud noise from my brother's room, as if something fell to the ground (hard to describe). I was curious, went to him and saw that his 6V Wolf-Eyes with LED-tailcap had exploded. Only the tailcap was damaged. I think he's lucky that he didn't use his other tailcap which is more rugged and wouldn't have let the pressure out that easily. So noone was injured, but the tailcap is toast.

enjoy:
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Just for the record: The batteries were not dead, but low enough that the xenon bulb wouldn't work. The batteries were still good enough for the LEDs in the tailcap, that's why he left the batteries in the flashlight. He never changed their position and they were both new when he put them in.

I think I should get him a Fenix now. It's my fault that he got this pipe-bomb in the first place. Be careful with lithiums!
 

FlashCrazy

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Wow....I'm glad nobody was injured. Like you said, if the original tailcap was on there, it probably would've been a more forceful explosion. Can you give us some more details as to how the light was used right before the event? Was the light used right before it happened? (as in running down the batts until the Xenon lamp wouldn't light up) and then a few moments later it blew up. Or were the batteries run down just from previous uses, and the light wasn't used for a few days and then decided to blow up?
 

DocArnie

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FlashCrazy said:
Or were the batteries run down just from previous uses, and the light wasn't used for a few days and then decided to blow up?
This is the case. The batteries were only good for the LEDs but the flashlight hadn't been used that day.
I was under the impression that it's OK to suck the batteries empty with low-power LEDs. I recall lots of people talking about using almost empty cells in their Inovas until they are really empty.
 

Spydie

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KDOG3 said:
Hmm, I see they were batterystation brand cells - again.


I've got two Battery Station cells in my rugged and well designed B42.....that I also edc in my trouser pockets........could you please tell me more about the problem with the Battery Station cells, or am I on route here to speaking in a higher pitch? :awman:
 

270winchester

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surprise, surprise, there was extensive testing done by a few long time CPFers on the BS cells and they can be shorted when in series.

glad no one was hurt.

don't use BS cells in multi-cell lights folks, it's happened numerous times before!!!!!!
 

DocArnie

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Needless to say, I lost my trust in lithiums. I'll use my last 25 of them in my single-cell light (should be safer than a 2xCR123 light), then I'll switch back to Alkalines and NiMHs and won't look back.
My father has a SF E2E at work for emergencies. Maybe I should get him Surefire-cells, turn it into a single-cell light or replace his light as well.
I don't care how rare these accidents are. It happened here 100%.
 

FASTCAR

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I had an explosion last year...also used B.S. blue 123s
Took out a Surefire


I will say the owner took care of me and was a great guy.
 

shadowbuds

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These accidents seem so rare yet when we almost forget about them... they come back to haunt us :candle:
 

MacTech

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Well, to be fair to BatteryStation, this problem is not limited to their cells, it's happened to Titaniums, Streamlight cells, heck, i remember someone posting it happening to SureFire cells as well, it's not limited just to BS cells, and BS has been more than upfront and honest with the CPF community

I've used BS cells in my 2 cell lights, even with my high-drain P61 SF lamp assembly, no problems yet, then again, i *do* match cells with my ZTS meter and check them periodically

treat lithiums with respect, make sure you match voltage in each cell, don't drain the cells to nothing in an incan, and you *should* be safe

don't single out BS, it's not exclusive to their cells, however it *does* seem to be more common with the inexpensive non name-brand cells than it does with the major makers
 

DM51

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The OP says these were new cells that hadn't been touched, just run down until the LA didn't fire up any more, just the tailcap LEDs.

Unless there was a short, which doesn't seem to have been the case, it looks like it was the batteries.

DocArnie, what LA were you using? Was it a stock WE 6v? Can you give any other details that might be useful? For example, did the light get hot at any stage?
 

65535

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Is there any chance that the xenon was still "powered" it would basically act as a short circuit on the cells, which wouldn't make it glow but it would keep taking power out of the cell. I can see no logical explanation for this, cells rarely ever just blow up, usually it's overdrained cells, I would rather assume that this was user error rather than the fault solely on the batteries. I have never had a problem with any battery I have ever used. Nimh's lithium primaries, Nicds, alcaline, Pb Acid, need to get me some lithiums, probably go the unprotected high capacity route for my U2.

but I digress :shrug: who knows exactly why these batteries went.
 

DocArnie

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DM51 said:
Was it a stock WE 6v?
Yes.

DM51 said:
Can you give any other details that might be useful? For example, did the light get hot at any stage?
I don't think so. That day the light stood in the shelves all the time. My brother says it might be that he used the LEDs in the afternoon for a very short time. The accident was at night. The batteries were low for a few weeks.
 

DocArnie

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65535 said:
Is there any chance that the xenon was still "powered" it would basically act as a short circuit on the cells, which wouldn't make it glow but it would keep taking power out of the cell. I can see no logical explanation for this, cells rarely ever just blow up, usually it's overdrained cells, I would rather assume that this was user error rather than the fault solely on the batteries. I have never had a problem with any battery I have ever used. Nimh's lithium primaries, Nicds, alcaline, Pb Acid, need to get me some lithiums, probably go the unprotected high capacity route for my U2.

but I digress :shrug: who knows exactly why these batteries went.

If I can follow you, do you mean that it might be possible that the tailcap was tightened for constant xenon-light? I can assure that this wasn't the case.
It has happened before that cells just exploded. I can see no user error here.

The cells were not totally empty. You know that if lithiums can't keep an incan running anymore, it's still enough for hours of LED-light. But my brother didn't use the LEDs for hours. Since the batteries were too low for the xenon-bulb, he used them for an hour total at most.



You also can't expect users to run tests on their batteries. If this is really necessary - why didn't I get warned by the manufacturers and dealers?
 

Radio

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MacTech said:
Well, to be fair to BatteryStation, this problem is not limited to their cells, it's happened to Titaniums, Streamlight cells, heck, i remember someone posting it happening to SureFire cells as well, it's not limited just to BS cells, and BS has been more than upfront and honest with the CPF community

I've used BS cells in my 2 cell lights, even with my high-drain P61 SF lamp assembly, no problems yet, then again, i *do* match cells with my ZTS meter and check them periodically

treat lithiums with respect, make sure you match voltage in each cell, don't drain the cells to nothing in an incan, and you *should* be safe

don't single out BS, it's not exclusive to their cells, however it *does* seem to be more common with the inexpensive non name-brand cells than it does with the major makers

It has NOT happened to Duracells. These are the only 123's I will use. You can not put a price on safety. Don't skimp on your cells.
 

Ralls

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Has this EVER happened with single cell 123 lights? I ask because I am considering getting the new Novatac light when it is released, but I mostly use lights that accept AA NiMH's.
 

ghostguy6

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Radio said:
It has NOT happened to Duracells. These are the only 123's I will use. You can not put a price on safety. Don't skimp on your cells.
It HAS happened to Duracells. I think its safe to say it has happened with every brand of cells out there. The only reason I can see for the increased number of incidents with BS cells is because the majority of us use them and report the failures. How many non-CPF people do you think are out there that have had failures with other brand name cells that we dont hear about? Im sure there are several BS has gone to great lenghts to insure their cells are safe and has even volunteered thier time to test every cell before it goes out the door.

Code:
You also can't expect users to run tests on their batteries. If this is really necessary - why didn't I get warned by the manufacturers and dealers?

Most flashlight manufaturers do include a warning in the fine print, even when using alkaline cells.
 

elgarak

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It has happened to all brands. That most reported incidents are BS cells is just because BS has a killer deal, and is the most common brand.

I am not aware of ANY incident where cells just so exploded. All incidents I know of have happened IN lights (or just after removal from them), not in storage, and in all cases the switch status was undetermined (my gut tells me they were left ON for extended periods, either by faulty equipment or sloppy operators).

Considering that, given that the batteries were too low to fire the Incan, there is no outside indicator to determine between incan off or on (the LEDs turn off in BOTH cases), except for the operator making sure he turns the tailcap the right way. I would file this incident under sloppy operator -- the batteries, rundown, should not have been left in the light. (If the incident has happened as described, that is.)
 
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