Flashlight Explosion

Wurkkos

hugodrax

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Well I learned something new. I had no idea that cr123 batteries could actually go into a failure mode that liberates one of the most deadliest acids known to man. I know about HF, it is extremely dangerous. I did not know that such an incident can occur with those batteries.

Why is there no warning notification that if thee batteries fail they can liberate HF gas, and to leave the vicinity immediately on any incident?

This makes no sense.
 

Dogdare

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While tragic, this has been an eye opening read, and should be a mandatory read by everyone on this forum. While I don't post here much, I do a lot of research on this forum, and while I've read a lot about the 'dangers' of these batteries it was never really put it into perspective until I read this thread.

I have been standardizing to rechargeable, protected 18650's and while it makes me feel a little better, I have to admit I now have a certain level of uneasiness about those as well. I know I have a one or two 4 Sevens flashlights that run off of single CR123s, and one or two 4 Sevens that I at least used to run off of two CR123s. When I get home today, I'll make sure that I've switched over to 18650's any flashlights that can use two CR123s.

Best wishes to JNieporte in his recovery, and for having the courage to post his life changing experience here so that others can avoid his situation.


Herb
 
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magellan

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El Camino,

I'm a newbie and only just saw this thread. All I can say is holy bejesus as I have asthma too and I suspect this level of exposure would kill me.

I am rethinking my battery/flashlight modus operandi at this point and am pretty sure I will switch back to AA lights from RCR123A's. My Nitecore EC1 is my EDC light which I love but not enough to risk my health. And I just bought a bunch of lights that use RCR123A's and 18650's, including a Nitecore Tiny Monster which uses four 18650's, and I also bought 4 Panasonic Orbtronics cells. Damn.

While I'm not expecting a protected lithium to go postal in my pocket and blow my huevos off I have asthma as I said and know a bit about HF gas and that scares me.

<<edit>>

I just saw newbie's post that it is only the primary lithiums that are the problem. So it looks like I only need to get rid of them, which I will do forthwith.
 
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magellan

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<<This makes no sense.>>

It does make no sense.

I only just recently learned about the HF gas hazard from reading the book, Batteries in a Portable World, which I can recommend. It explained that if a lithium cell is recharged too fast or overcharged the HF gas that evolves builds up and does not have time to be reabsorbed. I knew about the dangers of HF gas but didn't connect it to the batteries until now. This is truly eye opening.

I mean this is sorta like "remember the Hindenburg." We don't build rigid airships using hydrogen anymore because of the dangers. Now everyone who carries a flashlight with one of these batteries in their pocket is sorta carrying a "mini Hindenburg" in their pants. I never expected to see it that way.
 

Xacto

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After reading through the thread, I try to believe my own mantra "I only use Duracells with matching "Use before" dates, I am safe" since I just prefer the 2xCR123 size (and plan on getting an Elzetta Charlie 3xCr123 light with the AVS head soon).

One thing I wonder about the unfortunate incident that happend to JNieporte - could it be that the HF gas could not escape the basement and hence had a very high concentration? Is HF lighter or heavy than air?

@ JNieporte
my best wishes for your health issues.

Regards
Thorsten
 

magellan

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Hello Jseyfert3,

Welcome to CPF.

The HF is a problem with primary lithium cells. Rechargeable Li-Ion and Li-Po cells do not have this concern.

Tom



I only have a few primary lithium batteries; most of what I have is rechargeables, but I plan to get rid of the primaries forthwith.
 

cejnr

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Firstly, best wishes to JNieporte in his recovery. A very unfortunate incident indeed. Thank you for sharing your story with others so that we may take more precautions to avoid this happening again.

I am in the process of looking for my first "propper" LED light for search and rescue use. This site, and members stories/reviews have been a great help in gathering information to help point me in the right direction to select the right product. This particular thread has made me aware of an issue I certainly wasn't aware of as a newbee. So thank you for sharing your story and adding to my list of "DO NOT WANT" features in a new light.

I do wonder how many people out there are using these CR123s and are blissfully unaware of the potential hazzard they're playing with.
 

RetroTechie

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Welcome to CPF, cejnr! :wave:

I have this small titanium body 1x AA light on my night stand, currently with a lesser known brand Li-ion (14500) in it. Which could cause a nasty explosion if that battery were to fail in a catastrophic way.

Yet I sleep soundly. Why? Because I checked out that lesser known brand. Turns out they do have ISO900x quality certificates, which basically means that manufacturer knows what it's doing & has its production under tight quality controls. I also check the charge level of that 14500 battery regularly. And if that light were to behave eratic at some point in time, I'd toss it away from me, and be sure to wait a while before having a closer look.

In short: life means taking risks. Preferably, low and/or calculated risks. So it's a good thing to have resources like CPF to inform you of some those risks out there. But still...

Bottom line: no risks, no life. :D
 

Norman

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I believe the danger is primarily with cells at different voltages in a multi-cell light. There's very little danger with a single cell light.

As for the cell itself, how sure are you that the cell is genuine, or is some East Korean manufacturer putting Panasonic/Made in Japan labels on their product? I know that the US Air Force has grounded planes after finding counterfeit parts. If they can do it in a supply system that intentionally documents and follows almost all the components in it's equipment from manufacture to disposal, how can you be so sure of the authenticity of your cell?

Is the ISO9000 claim genuine? Have you verified the manufacturer's ISO documents, and checked their certification is current? ISO9000 is no guarantee that the product is high quality. It merely means that your procedures are documented and reproducible. High quality companies will be willing to prove their products are high quality by documenting their procedures. Mediocre companies will view it as the cost of doing business. Or at least put the ISO logo on their product. That will probably work for 2-5 years, at which point they can offer to get certified rather than pay a fine.

Have you seen the troubles with the GM ignition switches? It took a decade to do a recall. Isn't GM ISO9000 certified? I guess there isn't a time requirement for safety recalls in their procedures. Besides, it could be cheaper to spend a few hundred thousand to pay off a few dozen families, rather than paying a few tens of millions to actually fix the problem.

I think the last post from JNieporte was back on September 29 in this thread. Anyone seen a more current update?
 

speedy1979

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I bought my first LED flashlight shortly after 9/11 to carry for emergencies. An Inova X5 which uses 2 CR123's. I used it during the August 2003 blackout, and while it probably seems laughable now (in comparison to my Nitecore EC25) at the time I thought it was greatest thing since sliced bread. Years went by and I upgraded to more powerful torches most of which used CR123's. In all that time I never knew that CR123's released a chemical used to etch glass. :eek:


My prayers are with the OP.
 

magellan

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Norman,

JNieporte's last post was 9/29/13, essentially at the the beginning of the flu season. I have asthma and always get early flu shots, but still, the flu season can be, shall we say, an exciting time for me as the flu shots aren't 100% accurate although they are pretty good and really a lifesaver for people like me. What I'm saying is that if he got a real flu bug in his condition it could have been very dangerous for him. I hope not but it's a possibility. But it may be why we haven't heard from him since.
 

JNieporte

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I get the flu more than once a month. There are three strains you can get every year, and I normally end up with them all at different times. I tried the flu shot three or four times, and every time it made me even sicker than when I get the flu, so I pass on them now. I've been really busy with doctor appointments and hospital visits, some of which are still an after-affect of the title of this thread. I'll say that I'm not as bad off as I was when this started, but I'm still not back to where I was beforehand, and I probably won't be.

I've bought Titanium Innovations batteries since this event happened, and everything was fine. I have near 100% confidence that this won't happen again, and I use their cells in all of my CR123 lights (all two of them). Thanks for all of the warm wishes.
 

TEEJ

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I get the flu more than once a month. There are three strains you can get every year, and I normally end up with them all at different times. I tried the flu shot three or four times, and every time it made me even sicker than when I get the flu, so I pass on them now. I've been really busy with doctor appointments and hospital visits, some of which are still an after-affect of the title of this thread. I'll say that I'm not as bad off as I was when this started, but I'm still not back to where I was beforehand, and I probably won't be.

I've bought Titanium Innovations batteries since this event happened, and everything was fine. I have near 100% confidence that this won't happen again, and I use their cells in all of my CR123 lights (all two of them). Thanks for all of the warm wishes.

Take care buddy!

Hopefully, the PRIMARY message that your are trying to convey is that unmatched (primary) CR23 or old/damaged ones, etc, are the main concern, not just CR123 as some seem to be reading it as...

As HF spill kits are available, I think its a great idea for those of us who use these cells to:

1) Remember to run outside and get fresh air/NOT stare at the fulminating/smoking cells, etc. (RUN!!!!)

2) Let things air out enough to be "clean" before reentry.

3) Use a HF spill kit if impacted/See Dr, as appropriate.



Otherwise is like reading your warnings about how you were filling your car with gasoline while smoking, and it blew up/caught fire....and deciding not use cars that take gasoline....instead of heeding the warning to not smoke while fueling.

:D
 
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funkychateau

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I get the flu more than once a month. There are three strains you can get every year, and I normally end up with them all at different times. I tried the flu shot three or four times, and every time it made me even sicker than when I get the flu, so I pass on them now. I've been really busy with doctor appointments and hospital visits, some of which are still an after-affect of the title of this thread. I'll say that I'm not as bad off as I was when this started, but I'm still not back to where I was beforehand, and I probably won't be.

I've bought Titanium Innovations batteries since this event happened, and everything was fine. I have near 100% confidence that this won't happen again, and I use their cells in all of my CR123 lights (all two of them). Thanks for all of the warm wishes.

I contracted the flu from a shot taken in 1973, and as a result avoided the shots for many years. Then I learned that, somewhere in the interim, flu shots standardized on a "killed" rather than a "weakened" virus, and no longer posed the same threat. I started taking them again about 10 years ago, and have had no further issues. And I seem to have been well-protected.
 

Monocrom

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I contracted the flu from a shot taken in 1973, and as a result avoided the shots for many years. Then I learned that, somewhere in the interim, flu shots standardized on a "killed" rather than a "weakened" virus, and no longer posed the same threat. I started taking them again about 10 years ago, and have had no further issues. And I seem to have been well-protected.

Shortly after getting a flu shot two years ago, I got the flu the very next week. Apparently it's harder to "kill" a flu strain than it appears.
 

inetdog

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Shortly after getting a flu shot two years ago, I got the flu the very next week. Apparently it's harder to "kill" a flu strain than it appears.
Or you are just unlucky or the virus was already active in your body before the shot.
Was it determined whether the strain you got was one of the two or three included in that year's shot?
 

Monocrom

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Or you are just unlucky or the virus was already active in your body before the shot.
Was it determined whether the strain you got was one of the two or three included in that year's shot?

Well, that's the other thing.... What's the point if someone guessed wrong about which flu was showing up that year?
 
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