Flashlight Explosion

NorCal707

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Dec 26, 2008
Messages
77
Location
Windsor, CA
If your CR123s are expired, I'd recommend disposing of them in the proper manner. I don't think I've read a single account of an explosion, vent with flame, or any other mishap occurring with expired CR123s in the decade I've been on CPF. Then again, a community full of enthusiasts means that such cells rarely if ever come even close to their 10-years shelf life just sitting around. Still, I think of lithium batteries as having a pet dragon around. They can be docile. Even dependable. But you never forget their ability to belch toxic flames under certain circumstances. No reason to take chances with expired cells.


Thanks - wish I had found/read this thread before I bought all those cells. At least I'm only out .50 cents a cell.

Do you guys have any recommendations on a decent quality but lower cost single CR123 LED flashlight to use those old cells up with?
 

Illum

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Apr 29, 2006
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13,052
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Central Florida, USA
I use a ThorFire KL02. Its a single cell light with a diffused dome and a twist on/off operation. It has no switch and the LED is operated only by an SMT resistor. It is a battery crusher unfortunately so take care.

I try not to use driver based lights in battery burners, because of the driver tries to maintain output it will pull more current as cell voltage sags. It could turn into a dangerous situation of the cells are old. With a resistor light, output gradually dims but then last a really long time. Of my 5 or so KL02s, two will turn itself on and one was a dud until I unscrewed the dome and reseated the PCB board. They are about $7+free shipping from amazon so I wasn't expecting much. They put out alot of light, and alot of glare, but hang it upside down in your shower stall or on a bookshelf and it puts out plenty of light.
 

tsask

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Oct 6, 2005
Messages
1,758
I like those CR123's from BattJunction. That 'double stacked' 2 pack seemed like a 'almost fool proof' way to use 2 CR123s safely.I was planning on giving a couple of those 2 packs with an O-Light S-2 as a gift because I though a 18650 LiON and charger was too complicated for a 'non'-flashaholic'. I will now use/keep those '2 packs' as an emergency power source only.
 

shipwreck

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Apr 15, 2010
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Flashlight City
After seeing this thread, back when it started, I totally switched to 18650s or 17670s. As someone a few posts up above posted - the TRL1 is one of the few lights that this won't work for, however.

I have two TRL1s, and that is the only light I use primaries for. I do not know if two 16340s would exceed the voltage and fry the LED on a TRL1. Plus, 16340s don't last very long.

But otherwise, I use rechargables. In fact - I just swapped out one light to a Fenix TK16 on one of my guns, from a TRL1.

I have wondered what happened to the original poster since his last post
 
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Smegheaaad

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Aug 28, 2016
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49
Location
Honolulu, HI; a Brit abroad
At the risk of looking like a stereotypical noob, this thread has always creeped me out. More specifically, hydrofluoric acid creeps me out.

I took semiconductor classes at Uni, and the labs were some of the most interesting I've ever had. We did some very basic processing to create some of the most fundamental semiconductor structures (transistors, etc.) on Silicon, which involved the usual process; growing a silicon oxide layer, applying resist, photolithography, and then etching. After you have your pattern defined by a layer of resist, etching of the underlying SiO2 layer is done with hydrofluoric acid, and everything that was drummed into us about HF game me the willies. Undergrads never handled the concentrated stuff, but even the diluted stuff we used was very, very scary.

Not only is it often immediately painless, but fluoride ions permate skin rather easily, and has an affinity for calcium, i.e. your bones. Worse, however, is the way that it also forms various soluble salts that not only end up in the bloodstream, but which eventually disassociate again resulting in more fluoride mayhem all over the place away from the initial exposure site. It really is unimaginably horrible stuff, and my skin used to crawl when I was anywhere near it.

I know it's been stated already, but it's probably worth hammering home that all lithium ion batteries are an HF risk when they're opened. It's not just the primaries; rechargeables are also a risk, (albeit a low one with quality cells).

If you look at the MSDS sheet for any battery from any manufacturer, they don't go into too much detail on a cell's composition; certain parts of the breakdown of ingredients by weight are often listed as confidential, as most don't want to give away any proprietary secrets on electrolytes, etc. However, they do invariably state that one possible side effect of an opened cell is a release of hydrogen fluoride, which becomes hydrofluoric acid in moisture.

For example, Home Depot (of all places) has a copy of the MSDS for an older Samsung INR 18650. Page 2 gives a percentage breakdown of stuff by weight, and nothing in the datasheet looks particularly concerning, up until the head of page 4:

HAZARDOUS DECOMPOSITION PRODUCTS
None (during normal operating conditions). If cells are opened, hydrogen fluoride and carbon monoxide may be released.
It really does make me wonder if most of the folks that open these cells up for youtube videos, etc. really know the risk they're taking...

The other thing I've had stuck in my mind for well over a decade now is how differently LiIon cells are viewed. In a past life, I worked at Motorola PCS, and amongst the array of things I worked on, I was involved in the handset software that looked after battery charging on the GSM side of the business. When the transition to lithium ion occurred for mass-market products, the initial prevailing wisdom was that the cells were only really a risk when charging, and they were generally safe otherwise. As a result, the company put effort into the battery packs and handsets both to attempt to prevent charging counterfeit batteries and to allow the legal side of Mot. to go after counterfeiters (though the results weren't massively successful). It wasn't until later when there were millions of phones out in the wild that the first reports of venting and combustion started coming in. Thankfully, the vast majority of the cases I heard of were with 3rd-party batteries, many of which had either non-existent or ineffective safety circuitry in the battery pack. There were some Mot. batteries that went up, the majority of which were angered badly by being crushed, etc.

Anyway, I've lurked for years, and this is one of the threads I always told myself I'd post to if I ever registered and it was still active. I know it's some 4 years late, but I've always been massively sorry to hear that you were hurt, JNieporte.
 

see level

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Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
261
Location
By the ocean under the volcano
So, is this the same kind of fluoride that is put in everyone's drinking water?
At the risk of looking like a stereotypical noob, this thread has always creeped me out. More specifically, hydrofluoric acid creeps me out.

I took semiconductor classes at Uni, and the labs were some of the most interesting I've ever had. We did some very basic processing to create some of the most fundamental semiconductor structures (transistors, etc.) on Silicon, which involved the usual process; growing a silicon oxide layer, applying resist, photolithography, and then etching. After you have your pattern defined by a layer of resist, etching of the underlying SiO2 layer is done with hydrofluoric acid, and everything that was drummed into us about HF game me the willies. Undergrads never handled the concentrated stuff, but even the diluted stuff we used was very, very scary.

Not only is it often immediately painless, but fluoride ions permate skin rather easily, and has an affinity for calcium, i.e. your bones. Worse, however, is the way that it also forms various soluble salts that not only end up in the bloodstream, but which eventually disassociate again resulting in more fluoride mayhem all over the place away from the initial exposure site. It really is unimaginably horrible stuff, and my skin used to crawl when I was anywhere near it.

I know it's been stated already, but it's probably worth hammering home that all lithium ion batteries are an HF risk when they're opened. It's not just the primaries; rechargeables are also a risk, (albeit a low one with quality cells).

If you look at the MSDS sheet for any battery from any manufacturer, they don't go into too much detail on a cell's composition; certain parts of the breakdown of ingredients by weight are often listed as confidential, as most don't want to give away any proprietary secrets on electrolytes, etc. However, they do invariably state that one possible side effect of an opened cell is a release of hydrogen fluoride, which becomes hydrofluoric acid in moisture.

For example, Home Depot (of all places) has a copy of the MSDS for an older Samsung INR 18650. Page 2 gives a percentage breakdown of stuff by weight, and nothing in the datasheet looks particularly concerning, up until the head of page 4:


It really does make me wonder if most of the folks that open these cells up for youtube videos, etc. really know the risk they're taking...

The other thing I've had stuck in my mind for well over a decade now is how differently LiIon cells are viewed. In a past life, I worked at Motorola PCS, and amongst the array of things I worked on, I was involved in the handset software that looked after battery charging on the GSM side of the business. When the transition to lithium ion occurred for mass-market products, the initial prevailing wisdom was that the cells were only really a risk when charging, and they were generally safe otherwise. As a result, the company put effort into the battery packs and handsets both to attempt to prevent charging counterfeit batteries and to allow the legal side of Mot. to go after counterfeiters (though the results weren't massively successful). It wasn't until later when there were millions of phones out in the wild that the first reports of venting and combustion started coming in. Thankfully, the vast majority of the cases I heard of were with 3rd-party batteries, many of which had either non-existent or ineffective safety circuitry in the battery pack. There were some Mot. batteries that went up, the majority of which were angered badly by being crushed, etc.

Anyway, I've lurked for years, and this is one of the threads I always told myself I'd post to if I ever registered and it was still active. I know it's some 4 years late, but I've always been massively sorry to hear that you were hurt, JNieporte.
 

degarb

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Joined
Oct 27, 2007
Messages
1,989
Location
Akron, Ohio
Hmm.... Need HF acid to properly etch a tub, if ever you decide to epoxy (we urethane or polyester top coat). . Had HF which was a decade old, so mixed it with h2o and killed some grass with it. Probably 1996 for my last countertop and tub job. . Good job, then, was $400 in materials. . The cheap home kits yellow in a few months, in my experience.

I have been using hydrochloric for rust removal for years, as phosphoric acid and ospho is slowwwwwwwe and hardly effective. . I found it is super easy to neutralize with sodium bicarbonate, then rinse, then leaf blow dry. Far cheaper and faster than sand blast. . Though I would never use on rust that goes through to back side of the metal, car under sides-surfaces which are too iffy on getting that bicarbonate into. . The metal will rot, if not neutralized. . But hydrochloric acid very effective stuff on rust.

I think they gave us a lye neutralizer for our tub kits. . Need respirators when using acid. . I never had a problem neutralizing hydrochloric acid. . Nor neutralizing lye with vinegar. . Lye is indispensable in removing paint from painter clothing and brushes. . And as salvation army prices are rocketing I am planning to bring back the practice of lye soaking my paint clothing and a quick scrub before the wash. The danger is that the acids and bases are totally painless until it is too late. . Back in 1990 I learned the hard way, burned my knees with lye saving a few hundred dollars of paint overalls, by spending 20 minutes scrubbing them after soaking in lye. Learned importance of protection and neutralization, and how painless the damage occurs.
 
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Marc_in_NS

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Sep 23, 2016
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I just read the entire thread, this ought to be mandatory reading for anyone using batteries. Very good source of "common sense" information. Thank you , OP, for sharing. Members as well for the priceless information.
 

Illum

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Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
13,052
Location
Central Florida, USA
I like those CR123's from BattJunction. That 'double stacked' 2 pack seemed like a 'almost fool proof' way to use 2 CR123s safely.I was planning on giving a couple of those 2 packs with an O-Light S-2 as a gift because I though a 18650 LiON and charger was too complicated for a 'non'-flashaholic'. I will now use/keep those '2 packs' as an emergency power source only.


I don't know if they changed it or not, but several cases of explosions documented on CPF concerns these battery sticks. As cells age they lose capacity and becomes unbalanced. In a high current light, the cell in the series with the least capacity depletes first and is then reverse charged from the surrounding ells. This causes the depleted cell to act like a volatile resistor. Years back user NewBie I think ran a series of controlled tests to demonstrate how a 2-cell stick that had a 40+% capacity difference can lead to an explosion.

I make my own battery sticks, but once awhile I tear them down and test individual cells on the ZTS load tester. Over half of my "sticks" became unbalanced after it is drained halfway down. This occurs for streamlight, rayovac, and energizer. I was never able to attain a steady repeatable test pattern for early Duracells, so I never bought that brand.
 

Bourbon City

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Joined
Jul 15, 2017
Messages
24
I have a ThruNite TN36. I bought and receive a ThruNite -MCC-4S Charger with four 3400 mAh 18650s. I charged the Batteries and installed them into my TN36. One of the Batteries did not snap in easily so I pushed a little harder. These Batteries would not work Correctly in my TN36. When I removed the Batteries, I noticed one of the Batteries had a portion of its cover scraped off the positive. I've used Flat Top Batteries in my TN36 with no issues. The Thrunite Batteries are not Flat-Top.

I don't know if the problem is with the Batteries, or the Battery Cartridge or both. I plan on contacting ThruNite but have not yet done so. Should I not use the ThruNite Battery with part of its cover gone in fear of it exploding? I've never had this problem before with any of my ThruNite Products.

I look forward to your thoughts. Thank you.
 

hiuintahs

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Sep 12, 2006
Messages
1,840
Location
Utah
Probably need to use different batteries in the TN36 as you've noted. Meanwhile I'd rewrap the battery with the damaged wrapper. A little info on doing it:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?356063-Rewrapping-a-battery

You can get these on Ebay. They are not very much money. I'd probably stay away from the 72mm pre cut ones as I think they will be too short for a protected battery. Probably better to get a roll and cut to the length as needed. I use a heat gun but I think a hair dryer would work. Heat shrink needs to be 6 mm longer than the length of the battery so that they wrap 3mm around the ends.
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...0mAh-18650-batteries-too-wide-now-retrofitted
 
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