RCR123 that doesn't suck?

aznsx

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In the light unused, but the light is a new version RRT-01 with the tailcap switch, so there should be zero parasitic drain when off. Happened over only about a week as well.
Roger that. From everything I've 'heard', and In my personal experience, Li-ion cells such as are most commonly used in flashlights, etc., (3.6-4.2V chemistries such as 'ICR/IMR/INR', etc), exhibit an amazingly low / slow "self-discharge" rate over time if they're in reasonable condition. I just checked a couple of such cells which are in good condition, but have been sitting stored fully charged but unused for several years, and they still measure over 4 V (no-load / open-circuit). I consider that a very low (and likely typical) self-discharge rate for a cell in good condition in the context of what you're referring to. If I saw significant self-discharge measured in weeks or months (let alone days), I would retire those cells. Keep in mind that "self" means 'alone / by itself'.

I am not familiar with your flashlight. In my experience in diagnostics (which is what I do for a living), the word "should" is not conclusive / definitive, and is only used when a more definitive, conclusive word does not apply and cannot be used or is otherwise unavailable. The only definitive, conclusive test that I'm aware of to test what you're experiencing is to fully charge the cell (4.2V), leave it sitting on a shelf by itself for (in your case) a week (the time frame you're referring to), and then check the voltage. If it's under 4 V at that time, I would retire the cell. If it's still at least in the 4.0-4.1V+ range, I would assume it is likely OK. It doesn't appear you've done that simple test, therefore that is what I would suggest you do to progress with your diagnostics. That is the only way to eliminate the light as a possible cause of high cell discharge in the short timeframe you're talking about (essentially eliminating it from the equation / test completely). Anything else is essentially non-conclusive. One should only 'assume' in the absence of available facts. You have facts available in a week or less, which is less than half the time since this thread was started. If you have only 1 cell, and have no others to use while the suspect cell sits for a week, I'd recommend you consider picking up 1 or 2 more on general principle. Good 16340 cells cost <$10, you should probably have more than 1 anyway, and if you have more than 1 you'll have a replacement for the 'bad' cell if it indeed proves to be defective. That said, I believe you said you have (at least) 2 other cells that you "trust", so you likely don't need to buy any more to do the proper / required test.

If the cell proves to be defective (the root cause of your problem), you've already gotten some replacement suggestions. If the cell proves OK after that test, that only leaves the light as the root cause, and as that's a fairly popular light with some around here, I'm sure you'll have some assistance available in trying to diagnose / troubleshoot it.
 

N8N

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I haven't tested the "bad" cell, but I HAVE had a much older AW cell in the light since, and it is still working. Not *100%* definitive because I guess there could still be some parasitic draw, just not enough to kill the cell, but if I were a betting man I'm betting that the cell is no good.

I will charge it up, but it will have to wait until I can hang out with it, I'm a little paranoid about questionable Li-Ions since my buddy's shop burned down (the investigators blamed a tech's Snap-On rechargeable flashlight.)
 

aznsx

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I haven't tested the "bad" cell, but I HAVE had a much older AW cell in the light since, and it is still working. Not *100%* definitive because I guess there could still be some parasitic draw, just not enough to kill the cell, but if I were a betting man I'm betting that the cell is no good.

I will charge it up, but it will have to wait until I can hang out with it, I'm a little paranoid about questionable Li-Ions since my buddy's shop burned down (the investigators blamed a tech's Snap-On rechargeable flashlight.)
Definitely baby-sit the suspect cell while it charges (which doesn't take that long with a small cell), then set it on a shelf and wait a week. A tester won't test self-discharge - it takes time, and cannot be verified while in a device.

FWIW, I can't recall ever having a Li-ion cell self-discharge down to a non-functional or low voltage protection limit. If one does, within a reasonable amount of time, it's definitely bad!
 

cave dave

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Good morning

Last night I had to make a field-expedient repair on my car and the cell that was in my RRT01 was stone dead. The thing was I just charged it last week as I had a job site visit Tuesday morning but did not use the flashlight. Fortunately I had two old AW cells in a holder in my laptop bag.

the AWs are literally the only ones that have not let me down. Everything else has only lasted a few uses and then gone very low capacity or self discharged rapidly.

Where can I buy more AW quality RCR123s today?

Could be a variety of issues:

I have an RRT01 and it does not play nicely with Primary CR123 (16340) size cells, a true 16340 is too small for this light. I think they can wiggle around too much and lose contact or never make contact in the first place. It is much happier with 18350 size cells, and I use the extra long kind with a USB port that came with the light. Also the RRT01 can be left accidentally on since it is so darn low or dark with the dial turned down, that you can't tell the tail switch is on. That could also drain the cell.

On the other hand I recently discovered I seem to have a defective Vapcell M11 18650 that I thought was a Convoy S2+ (with shorty tube) that had a vampire drain, which didn't make sense because the Convoy is a regular clicky that should cut off all current. To test this in Aug I charged the cell to 3.8v set it outside the light and its currently at 3.66v. I put a different Vapcell T8 in the Convoy light at 4.03v on 5Sept and as of today it is still 4.03v.

**EDIT** Just tried Primary CR123, Fenix 16340, AW 16340 and none of them would turn on the RRT01. All of the were too short and you could hear the battery rattle back and forth in the tube. Maybe having the extra long 18350 in there compressed the spring permanently.
 
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N8N

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Could be a variety of issues:

I have an RRT01 and it does not play nicely with Primary CR123 (16340) size cells, a true 16340 is too small for this light. I think they can wiggle around too much and lose contact or never make contact in the first place. It is much happier with 18350 size cells, and I use the extra long kind with a USB port that came with the light.

Hm. I didn't remember where I got the cell that was in it but your description makes sense - the 18350 with the USB port as you describe is what I don't trust anymore after finding it dead twice. The first time it didn't really bother me because I figured I hadn't used the light in a couple months, although generally I expect more from Li-Ions. The second time I'd charged up for a job site visit on Tuesday, not used the light at all, then it was dead again when I went to use it the same Saturday evening it was dead.

As I mentioned previously, I had a bad experience with some Olight 16340s as well - one straight up died on me after only 10 minutes or so of use while I was in a very long, unlit service tunnel underneath a building I didn't want to be in in the first place, I ended up using my cell phone to get me back out and get a new cell installed. (I want to say that was not the RRT-01 but its predecessor, a V11R) The ONLY cells I have that I trust in the 16340/18350 format are two AWs that were some of the first cells I bought when I started to look into better-than-maglite illumination years and years ago.
 

Stress_Test

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I just wouldn't trust a battery that's branded with the flashlight company's name, though many of them do it now: Fenix, Olight, Jetbeam, Acebeam, Nitecore, and so on. There's no telling what kind of cell you're getting; it could be the cheapest thing they could find and then they put their fancy shrink-wrap on it.

Those 16340 cells I mentioned are 7 dollars each.

EDIT: WAIT, THESE ARE ONLY 2C DISCHARGE / I'll post again shortly / / I've seen some people here say they like the Illumn site and KeepPower brand. These are $6.50

We're just not talking much money here. It's not worth it to keep messing with a questionable cell, or using 10 year old cells.

Buy a few of the good quality cells (not the cheapest thing out there!) and make a few test runs with them to make sure everything looks good, because anything can fail no matter how reputable.

Once you've run the new cells enough to have confidence, you're good to go for probably another 5 years at least.

And carry at least two lights if you're going into places like long dark tunnels. I've been in places like that numerous times and I had like five lights with me! LOL
 

Stress_Test

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Ok, so it's important to know how much current demand the light has; hopefully the manufacturer might state the minimum discharge requirement for the cell, or maybe you can measure it from the light directly. Or, if the light came with its own cell from the manuf, then check the label and see if it gives a "C" rating, or max amps rating.

Although if those old AW cells will run the light without tripping the safety circuit shut-off, I imagine most any modern 16340 would also work.

Those KeepPower cells from Illumn only state a 2C max discharge, so that's only 1.6 amps.

The Orbtronic page lists their 16340 as max current discharge of 3 amps.

If the light does draw close to, or more than, that amount of current, then you might have to do as others suggested and step up to a larger cell that can handle higher discharge.

Or look for an IMR chemistry that have crazy high C ratings, but others will have to advise you on those because I don't have much experience with them.
 

Stress_Test

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Some interesting tests here:


And this statement in the conclusion caught my eye:

"Low is so low that it's impossible to even see the output"

If you found a cell dead in the light, or near-dead, is it possible it was at this minimum setting, so low that you didn't notice it was on?

Anyway, you could always change to another light for your EDC if you just don't trust this one. No reason to be married to one light and one light only.

For what it's worth, I read a number of negative reviews on the Battery Junction site, and I feel a little spooked towards Jetbeam lights at this point.
 

N8N

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And carry at least two lights if you're going into places like long dark tunnels. I've been in places like that numerous times and I had like five lights with me! LOL

Heh. lesson learned. Had to send a field tech out to a different building at same job site. Asked if he could borrow a flashlight. I handed him one and asked if he had his own, he asked why, I said trust me carry two. About 4 hours later I get a text message "I used to like you" LOL

Seriously, if I hadn't had my cell phone in my pocket that could have been a really bad day. There was all sorts of nonfunctional electric etc. on the wall with covers off junction boxes etc. and all the lights were busted so feeling my way out would have been inadvisable.
 

fuyume

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When someone says "RCR123A" I consider that to refer to a cell with a voltage regulator that limits it to 3 V. Otherwise, it should be referred to as a 16340.
 

aznsx

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When someone says "RCR123A" I consider that to refer to a cell with a voltage regulator that limits it to 3 V. Otherwise, it should be referred to as a 16340.
I hear ya.

To make matters even worse, many also refer to '16340 LFP (LiFePO4) / [AKA] LFP123' cells (3.2V) as "RCR123(A)".

Thanks to all that, "RCR123(A)' has become a completely ambiguous term these days:-( It means nothing (specific) to me when I read it.

I don't even know what the cells you're referring to (relatively new on the market) should be called. (16340 Li-ion 3.0V?). Adding an additional cell type into the mix only made things worse.

It's mess, and I'm not sure it can / will be 'fixed'. In the absence of an accepted convention, it requires that everyone be highly specific when referring to any of these, but of course few cooperate on that practice (which is what I always make an effort to do). The trend with lazy folks these days is exactly the opposite; to reject 'conventions' in general, and to over-abbreviate everything! Welcome to 2023!

EDIT: I forgot about another type of cell often given the 'RCR' slang term. There are 3.7V Li-ion chemistry cells in 16x34 size which output ~3.0V, which is accomplished by adding an internal silicon diode (which has a forward voltage drop of ~.7V) in series with the output. This is of course not voltage regulation, but rather voltage reduction.
 
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aznsx

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EDIT: I forgot about another type of cell often given the 'RCR' slang term. There are '3.7V' Li-ion chemistry cells in 16x34 size which output ~3.0V, which is accomplished by adding an internal silicon diode (which has a forward voltage drop of ~.7V) in series with the output. This is of course not voltage regulation, but rather voltage reduction.

I'm bumping my last post in this thread to correct a serious error which I made (during what I can only hope was a temporary lapse in cognitive ability) when I attempted to edit the post to add an additional type of cell to the list of those often (unfortunately) referred to as 'RCR' cells. If you read it previously and it made no sense, that's good, because it did not make sense as written. Sorry 'bout that! I have corrected it in the above quote.
 

N8N

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Wow, I found two AW 13650s and a 17670 in the console of my old Jeep while cleaning it out to scrap it. Those must have been in there for ~4 years, Jeep parked outside. All were still good. It's like Christmas!

If I could get more of those cells I would, in a heartbeat...
 

orbital

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Wow, I found two AW 13650s and a 17670 in the console of my old Jeep while cleaning it out to scrap it. Those must have been in there for ~4 years, Jeep parked outside. All were still good. It's like Christmas!

If I could get more of those cells I would, in a heartbeat...
+

Wonder if you look even harder, you'll find one of these in your Jeep

 
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