SO MUCH FOR THE CLAIMED TEN-YEAR SHELF LIFE!

Nebula

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My wife likes to say that I complain about everything. Not true. I complain about most things. One thing I rarely do is complain publically about a product. Well that is about to change. My reason is simple. I relied on a recommended product (Titanium Lithiums) for use in emergency situations and the they let me down. First, let me say that I have always been a fan of the Titanium branded AAs and C cell NiMHs. Still am. I hope that MattK continues to carry the NiMHs as I will continue to buy them.

With that, I purchased 9, CR2, and 6, 123 Titaniums for long term storage (emergency needs) less than a year ago. I tested all of these batteries upon arrival. Without exception, all tested 100%. This weekend I decided to test everything again. One of the 9 CR2s tested at 80%, three at 20%, and five at 10%. Three of the 123s tested at 100%. The remaining three tested at 10%. These batteries have been stored in Amodotech cases alongside more than a dozen Streamlight and half-a-dozen SF Lithiums. The SL and SF Lithiums, which were purchased months before the Titaniums, ALL tested at 100%. [For referrence, the testers used were the ZTS mini and full size models].

So much for the claimed ten-year shelf life. This makes the Titanium branded Lithium batteries totally unacceptable in my book. Have you had similar experiences with the Titanium brand? Is the much touted ten-year shelf life real (for any Lithium battery), or is it just marketing hype?


Kirk K
 
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TOOCOOL

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Well I'm no expert but I believe the 10 year shelf life, does not mean they will be 100% after 10 years there is a % loss every year but My memory fails me as to what that amount should be ???
 

Illum

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some brands, such as streamlight, actually has production dates printed on their cells, it may be likely that your cells are an older batch but new and unused before you got your hands on them:candle:

second, 10 year shelf life doesn't mean after 10 years has passed that the cells would still retain 100% of its energy, as with all cells a constant [or varying] rate of discharge can be observed [assuming you have right tools] depending on the methods of storage, temperature differences, etc.

third, since the ZTS can be somewhat unpredictable at times, have you tried testing multiple times per battery and see what the average is? I've had cells stored around 70F that tested around 40% but most tested around 80% when I warmed them to room temp [around 78F].

hope this helps :)
 

marinemaster

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I guess you get what you pay for. I never had this problem with 5 years old in storage Surefire and Panasonic 123 batteries. There IS A REASON other brands are cheaper. You just found out.

Chris
 

Nebula

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Correct. It does not mean 100% @ 10 years, but I do believe that it should mean more than 10% after ONE year. Don't you?

Well I'm no expert but I believe the 10 year shelf life, does not mean they will be 100% after 10 years there is a % loss every year but My memory fails me as to what that amount should be ???
 

Nebula

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some brands, such as streamlight, actually has production dates printed on their cells, it may be likely that your cells are an older batch but new and unused before you got your hands on them:candle:

second, 10 year shelf life doesn't mean after 10 years has passed that the cells would still retain 100% of its energy, as with all cells a constant [or varying] rate of discharge can be observed [assuming you have right tools] depending on the methods of storage, temperature differences, etc.

third, since the ZTS can be somewhat unpredictable at times, have you tried testing multiple times per battery and see what the average is? I've had cells stored around 70F that tested around 40% but most tested around 80% when I warmed them to room temp [around 78F].

hope this helps :)


I could not agree more. That said, I tested them upon arrival. All cells tested at 100%. Less than one year has passed and now the majority of these cells are down to 20% or less. Yes, I know that the ZTS is not perfect. That is why I used two different ZTS testers (with fresh batteries) and tested each cell 3 times, rested for 10 minutes and retested.

Some additional facts: The location where all cells are stored is in a humidity controlled finished basement with an average temp of 70F. Logic dictates that the SF and SL cells would suffer the same fate experienced by the Titanium's were the storage location to be a factor. Nevertheless, assuming that temperature affects the Titaniums is 70F too low for storage?
 
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Illum

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no idea on that....I've never used titanium cells before:candle:

I don't have a temperature/humidity controlled room of anything at my disposal....all my cells are in plastic bags and left in the chilling compartment under my water dispenser
 
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Marduke

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Testing them isn't 100% reliable either. You can test them several times and get 3 completely different results of, say, 50%, 80%, and 40% for the same cell.

For long term storage, I only trust name brand. Cheap cells get used right away in non-critical applications.

BTW, lithium cells theoretically loose 1-2% capacity per year at room temperature, but cheaper cells will have a greater change of internal resistance, which can skew your capacity results, their their performance characteristics in high-drain applications.
 

paulr

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I've been wondering about this shelf life issue too, since the claims have always sounded like hype to me. I do notice that I have some Titanium 123's that are a year or so old in my Streamlight TL3 and when I turned it on recently, the light was dim for the first few seconds before coming to normal brightness. Someone (Silverfox?) explained this as a passivation layer that had built up inside the cell getting burned away, and said it happens fairly commonly especially with cheap cells. That could be affecting your test results. I also have a couple of Titanium CR2's that I put into a modded light that supposedly runs at 1.5A to the led (which would mean about 0.9A from the cells) but am sure it's getting nowhere near that much power. I don't know if it's the light or the cells causing the discrepancy and I've been meaning to try it with some other cells but don't have any on hand at the moment.

Finally until recently Fenix-store was selling rather old Energizer 123's (exp date 2012, so at least 5 years old). I can't help wondering if any self-discharge rates vary from cell to cell, meaning these might now be in differing states of charge. So I'm only going to use them in single cell lights.

I just bought a bunch of Streamlight ($1.40 @ qty 10) and Duracell ($2.17 @ qty 6) cells from Lighthound which should be enough to last me a while. I figure I can't go wrong using Streamlight cells in my TL3. I'm going to stick with Duracells in more expensive lights.
 

UnknownVT

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I've been wondering about this shelf life issue too, since the claims have always sounded like hype to me. I do notice that I have some Titanium 123's that are a year or so old in my Streamlight TL3 and when I turned it on recently, the light was dim for the first few seconds before coming to normal brightness. Someone (Silverfox?) explained this as a passivation layer that had built up inside the cell getting burned away, and said it happens fairly commonly especially with cheap cells.

This may be slightly off-topic -
but I wonder if this kind of behavior could possibly contribute to the likelihood of Li batteries exploding?

Exploding Batteries

ROAR of the Pelican (CR123 Explosion during use, firsthand account)

My flashlight exploded
 

Lightguy27

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Well ALL cells lose power in storage, (even in Ideal conditions). However the cheaper made the battery, the more they will lose. Even Surefire says that their batts will be at 80% after 10 years. And if you think about it, even if the Surefire cells were four dollars a peice!! (actually about $1.75) it would still be better to buy those cells for what your spending on replacing cells. (I only buy surefire cells for any 123a light). So you can still buy the cheaper cells for use with in a couple weeks, but for emergeny, buy 12 surefires for 20 bucks and be done with it. I do this every year to prepare for hurricane season. (look where I live) :thumbsup:!!! So I dont think that it's hype to last a long time, but all cells do lose power, no matter how good. Some are just better than others.
 
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UnknownVT

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Well ALL cells lose power in storage, (even in Ideal conditions).
So I dont think that it's hype to last a long time, but all cells do lose power, no matter how good. Some are just better than others.

This is very sensible -
and yours is a very good strategy -
but it does show you do not put your entire trust in advertized shelf life either.

This following is not picking on you -
I think some may be missing Neula's original point -

I don't think for a moment anyone here thinks that any lithium battery retains 100% their capacity at the 10 year mark -
the claim of 80% after 10 years is - quite frankly - pretty darned good......

I feel Neula might be :hairpull: -
because he has reported a number of cells at 10% after only ONE year -
can we all at least accept that those cells cannot even remotely live up to a 10 year shelf life claim?
(unless of course paulr's suggestion above is actually giving these low results?)
 

Lightguy27

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Well thanks for the kind words VT :). In the case of those batterys I agree with you, those cells do not and cannot live close to ten years. Some however do have that incredible ability.(Surefire's) I prepare every year with batts and am pretty knowledgeable about it, so my advice to Neula and anyone else looking to store batts for extended periods and for emergencys, is that it would be better to buy Surefire's, Or Duracell's but not discount low quality cells. (Even cells that work great as soon as you buy them because 10% after a year is rediculous for even simple alkaline cells!!)
 

bfg9000

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The claim is only good if it's confirmed by independent tests ;)
The claim is good if they'll stand behind it with a warranty! Amondotech claimed 2% self-discharge rate per year but only warranted them for 90 days.
 

Lightguy27

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First of all, not even Surefire's quite amazing customer service and warranty will replace ten year old batteries :(, and really they shouldnt have to. And Surefire isnt one to lie or "improve" on their stats. The military uses their stuff and Surefire isnt about to lie to the military. I believe surefire and I dont think that supposedly unbiast independent research is needed. But if you want to wait ten years to find out once and for all then I would like to see the results.:thumbsup:

I guess Ill be waiting along time for that!!:popcorn:.........
 
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Elliot

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How long have mass produced CR123A cells been around?

I tend to be very skeptical of longevity claims when it comes to new products based on developing chemistries in actual comsumer products. My prime example is all those good people who back-up their important data unto recordable DVD's. You can read much more about this at cdfreaks: http://club.cdfreaks.com/f33/ . This messed me up pretty good last year.

Elliot
 

VidPro

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hey dont forget that there were some old lithiums, that showed a low voltage untill they were USED , mabey elements in them had become different, but they still had power. after they were loaded, they came back to life, and were capable of almost as much life as any other cell.

i wouldnt assume that its safe (as a disclaimer) but i wouldnt rule out that it might wake up when you take away its snooze button :)

the ones that were tested, would have shown Auful on a DMM, or on a quick load battery tester like ZTS (or whatever), untill they had a load applied to them for say 3-4 minutes.
 

Nebula

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snip .......

I feel Neula might be :hairpull: -
because he has reported a number of cells at 10% after only ONE year -
can we all at least accept that those cells cannot even remotely live up to a 10 year shelf life claim?
(unless of course paulr's suggestion above is actually giving these low results?)

Vincent - Yes, that is precisely what has me concerned about the Titaniums. I have always expected an annual "normal" loss of 2%-5% (even with my SFs). Even as math challenged as I happen to be, I can see that my cells have far exceeded what one would (or should) expect as "normal." Normal in this case assumes proper storage.

It is interesting that several have mentioned that the cells may need to be used to "wake" them. I may try a couple of them to test the theory. Trouble is I really don't want to risk a good light, my body, or home. :green:

Kirk
 

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