Surefire 123a Shelf Life

doctordun

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I have a box of Surefire Reds that are past their 10 year shelf life.
When I test them with my ZTS Pulse Load Battery Tester, they all show 100%.
Just how long can I really expect these to last on the shelf?
Should I consider replacing them? I don't use primaries that ofter and keep them for emergencies.
 

ChrisGarrett

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There have been some informal tests done with 10-12 year old quality cells and IIRC, they were at 80%-90%, so don't pitch them in the rubbish bin, quite yet.

Chris
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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They should last up to 20 years, with some loss of capacity.

But if you don't use primaries, you should probably just keep some 18650's for emergencies. Charge them to 80% (around 4.0v), and they'll last for many years on the shelf. Top them up every few years. Or, just use them normally, and keep a supply of rechargeables always ready-to-go as you cycle through them all.
 

john61ct

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If they show a mAh capacity rating, a CC load test on a sample one will show their State of Health
 

xxo

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Probably best to use them in single cell lights, since they may not match each other as well as they did when they were new. The good news is that they won't leak like expired alkalines are prone to do.
 

Daniel_sk

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I have just unpacked a Surefire A2 from the original packing after 14 years - I pressed the button and the light works as if it just left the factory :). I am not sure about the remaining capacity but as other have mentioned they are fine after 10 years with only maybe 5-15% capacity lost.
 

Stress_Test

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I have tried out some Surefire cells that were marked with an expiration date of 2018. For two of them, they wouldn't power a Quark on high mode. It would drop back to medium after a few seconds.

The voltages checked out ok, they just wouldn't deliver the current.

If you plan to rely on them for emergencies, it'd be better to get fresh replacements and use up the old ones in non-critical applications.

I've been looking to restock and found that Home Depot has a 12-pack of Streamlight batteries for a good price, though they have to be bought from the website since the store doesn't stock them where I am.
 

Stress_Test

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Probably best to use them in single cell lights, since they may not match each other as well as they did when they were new....... .

:thumbsup:


+1 to this!


Just a couple weeks ago, I pulled a Streamlight Polytac out of my backpack for a function check (I keep it there as a simple backup). Probably hadn't used it in a year. I hit the switch and instead of 100+ lumens, I got maybe 5. Imagine if that had been an emergency situation!! I had other lights of course, but STILL!

I took the batteries out (two 4-7s brand of 123a) and checked them with the voltmeter. One still showed about 3 volts, the other had plummeted to something like 1.5v, and that was without load. With the light switched on, it was probably near zero. If I had left the light running very long, that probably would've resulted in one of those explosions you read about around here. The 3v cell would still power a single-cell light, the other would not.

Both those cells were reading 3 volts back when I installed them. Not sure the exp date but there was a faint "16", so 2016 is probably about right.

I just wanted to echo the above, and say don't put those old cells in a multi-cell light!
 

john61ct

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What is this 123a?

Scammers piggybacking off the excellent rep of A123 (now Lithium Werks, aling with Valence / Super B)

??
 

xxo

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+1 to this!


Just a couple weeks ago, I pulled a Streamlight Polytac out of my backpack for a function check (I keep it there as a simple backup). Probably hadn't used it in a year. I hit the switch and instead of 100+ lumens, I got maybe 5. Imagine if that had been an emergency situation!! I had other lights of course, but STILL!

I took the batteries out (two 4-7s brand of 123a) and checked them with the voltmeter. One still showed about 3 volts, the other had plummeted to something like 1.5v, and that was without load. With the light switched on, it was probably near zero. If I had left the light running very long, that probably would've resulted in one of those explosions you read about around here. The 3v cell would still power a single-cell light, the other would not.

Both those cells were reading 3 volts back when I installed them. Not sure the exp date but there was a faint "16", so 2016 is probably about right.

I just wanted to echo the above, and say don't put those old cells in a multi-cell light!


This is particularly dangerous with Chinese 123's which often don't have PTC's and other safety features that USA cells have. Chinese 123's are also less consistent and generally poorer quality to begin with, there have been some law enforcement warning bulletins regarding this.
 
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