CR123 safe operating current

ScottsoSmith

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I've seen a number of comments throughout this forum indicating that it could be unsafe to draw more than 1.5 amps continuously from a CR123. I recently acquired two SureFire lights - an EDCL2-T and an E2T-MV Tactician. Both lights use 2 CR123s in series, and both lights draw more than 1.5 amps. One one hand, it seems SureFire would be risk conscious and not sell products that are likely unsafe. On the other hand, I greatly value the expertise on this forum.

Any thoughts regarding this discrepancy?
 

Kestrel

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US-Mfg CR123's, matched use, same expiration date; things should be fine.

The old Silverfox battery data should still be the bible for these, showing total energy vs current draw for all the 'manufacturers' back then; he tabulated up to 2 amp draws (at least, IIRC); so you're able to see how they start to fall apart at ~2 amps and beyond.
 

aznsx

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I've seen a number of comments throughout this forum indicating that it could be unsafe to draw more than 1.5 amps continuously from a CR123. I recently acquired two SureFire lights - an EDCL2-T and an E2T-MV Tactician. Both lights use 2 CR123s in series, and both lights draw more than 1.5 amps. One one hand, it seems SureFire would be risk conscious and not sell products that are likely unsafe. On the other hand, I greatly value the expertise on this forum.

Any thoughts regarding this discrepancy?
No real thoughts on discrepancies between cell specifications and specific manufacturer designs. I only deal with published manufacturer-supplied specifications / data, and am only familiar with those provided for the cells. All I know is that this is the manufacturer specifications which Energizer supplies for this specific cell of theirs. It states:

Max Discharge:
1500 mA continuous (3500 mA pulse)

The 'pulse' rating is for low duty cycle / intermittent / short duration loads, and is quite a bit higher than the 'continuous' rating. I believe that tends to involve periods of something in the 10-15 second range (likely at ~ 50% duty cycle (on/off), although one would have to get that specific definition from something typically referred to as 'application notes / guide' (which I don't have a link to for this specific cell (only for their L91 lithium primaries, which are a different animal). Lacking that, I assume a value of ~15 seconds for max output / load.

This is the type of spec sheet, which I generally adhere to if possible with all cells (and other equipment, for that matter) when available. Also keep in mind that this could well vary by cell manufacturer, and some may be rated higher, although I believe most are in range with this. One would need to check the manufacturer-specific spec / data sheet to verify those values:


I have no official guidance on the impact of exceeding manufacturer specifications on cells, only that I personally avoid doing so by any significant amount (which might exceed the spec 'tolerance').

Most of my uses for such lights fall roughly in line with what's considered 'pulse' / short duty cycle operation when operating at Max output level, so I'm comfortable with current draw of (in this example) 3.5A for such short duration loads with cells such as these.
 

Kestrel

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The old timers here might recall that the high-output lamp assembly for the SureFire 12Z pushed the 4xCR123's so hard that SF's design relied on the cells' PTC triggering actual thermal shutdown. We'd have to get a specific current citation from Size15, as most of my crowd were going in the LED direction around the time I started here. At the time that light was being produced, there weren't any China-mfg cells to speak of, so SureFire had the confidence to push US-mfg cells far harder than we've pretty much ever done since then.
 
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