CR123 "Shelf" Life


Newly Enlightened
Mar 3, 2004
Kansas City, MO
I keep a UK 2L in the glove box of my cars. They have been there for about 4 years without any use other than an annual check. This time I found both of the lights had nearly dead batteries.

I thought the claimed shelf life was 10 years. Clearly, this is not the typical or ideal "shelf". In the midwest, outside temps reach over a 100 degrees in the summer (maybe 140 in the car with the windows up) and below 0 degrees in the winter.

The batteries were Duracell CR123s. I replaced them with batteries from the same lot, purchased 4 years ago, and the lights seemed to be at full intensity. The replacements have been stored in a 70 degree basement.

I didn't really expect to get 10 years, but 4 years surprised me. I was expecting closer to 7 years. I thought the self discharge rate was about 2% per year. I'm assuming that the temperature extremes shortened the life.

What sort of shelf life have you seen from your lithium backup lights?