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Thread: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

  1. #1

    Default New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    Hello,

    I've been browsing the forum all day and I can't believe the awesome community here on CPF. From what i've read, I'm just like all the other guys/gals that introduce themselves. I'm the guy who has a LED maglite in every car and every other room in the house, just b/c that's the best they have at the places I frequent. I never knew there were so many people that loved flashlights! haha.

    Thanks to the "Best of 2010 Budget lights" thread I have decided to pull the trigger on some budget lights just to get my feet wet.

    I was mainly interested in a "WOW, look how awesome that flashlight is" piece just to have and show off. I occasionally do some 4-wheeling, so a light with a nice throw will come in handy every once in a while. After browsing some more I saw how cheap the listed pocket lights are so I figured I'd try one of those as well.

    So here's what I plan to buy almost immediately, let me know what you think, or if there's anything in the same price ranges that would suit me better.

    Trustfire Tr-1200 3x18650
    Trustfire Tr-801 1x18650
    Akoray K-106 1xAA

    I will be keeping only one of the smaller pieces, as I plan to give whichever one I prefer less to my brother.


    MY biggest concern is making sure I get QUALITY 18650 batteries and charger that will last year down the road for when I decide to purchase some really nice lights! I have never used them before, so what brands do you like and where do I get them? Links? I want to buy 8 batteries if the price is right. THANKS!

  2. #2

    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    Hi ZW

    Glad you found CPF

    I am no expert and many others would be better to get information from on here but for Li-Ion 18650s and the like AW brand are the best out there but not cheap. That many 18650s will run you a hefty sum if you are on a budget. There are others that are very close though but prices for protected Li-Ions tend to run around 9-10$ or more. The Solarforce brand are rated pretty darn good, I have a cpl myself and never had a problem with them.
    Keeping Li-Ion "topped off" is an imprtant habit to adopt to maintain their peak performance. The WF-139 charger is a good budget charger but many recommend better chargers like from PILA but once again those are very expensive. But if you are gonna have that many batts. to maintain maybe it's the route to go. I have always considered Li-Ions to have a finite life and expect to get maybe 2 years of life from them ? I know they do start to lose capacity over time and in things like cellphones and laptops they last around 2 years but in those devices they are not treated very well either. I dont know if I would look at them as a long term investment persay as in 5 years from now you will still be geting 100% from them. With todays flashlights the demand on batts can be very severe. Maybe putting a little more into the lights and cutting back on the number of LiIons for now is a better route?

    Its always a tough decision when you have to balance funds and trying to get the best quality and what you want. You might want to consider some other lights that might run a little more money but will be of much better quality and still function reliably in the long run. sometimes a difference of only $10 can make a big difference in quality .

    LightHound is a great source for Batteries and lights and accessories. Their CS is top of the heap also


    Good luck with your quest and have fun!!
    Last edited by purelite; 06-07-2010 at 05:40 AM. Reason: added

  3. #3

    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by purelite View Post
    Hi ZW

    Glad you found CPF

    I am no expert and many others would be better to get information from on here but for Li-Ion 18650s and the like AW brand are the best out there but not cheap. That many 18650s will run you a hefty sum if you are on a budget. There are others that are very close though but prices for protected Li-Ions tend to run around 9-10$ or more. The Solarforce brand are rated pretty darn good, I have a cpl myself and never had a problem with them.
    Keeping Li-Ion "topped off" is an imprtant habit to adopt to maintain their peak performance. The WF-139 charger is a good budget charger but many recommend better chargers like from PILA but once again those are very expensive. But if you are gonna have that many batts. to maintain maybe it's the route to go. I have always considered Li-Ions to have a finite life and expect to get maybe 2 years of life from them ? I know they do start to lose capacity over time and in things like cellphones and laptops they last around 2 years but in those devices they are not treated very well either. I dont know if I would look at them as a long term investment persay as in 5 years from now you will still be geting 100% from them. With todays flashlights the demand on batts can be very severe. Maybe putting a little more into the lights and cutting back on the number of LiIons for now is a better route?

    Its always a tough decision when you have to balance funds and trying to get the best quality and what you want. You might want to consider some other lights that might run a little more money but will be of much better quality and still function reliably in the long run. sometimes a difference of only $10 can make a big difference in quality .

    LightHound is a great source for Batteries and lights and accessories. Their CS is top of the heap also


    Good luck with your quest and have fun!!

    Wow, thanks for the detailed response purelite! I have alot to learn in the battery department it seems. Being a beginner and for the above applications should I run protected or non protected? How much of a difference in brightness and runtime will I see between a 2200mah and a 2400mah? Should I only settle for the biggest mah possible?


    I just figured my lights would take 4x18650 and I would buy 8 just for backup, and be ready to expand my collection with the addition of more lights down the road? If the upkeep is too much, I don't want to get in over my head! lol

  4. #4

    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    I do get long in the tooth sometimes.

    I am not familiar with those flashlight models so maybe I am not really qualified to comment. BUT if you are running multiple Li-Ions in a light you should go with Protected cells!!! Unless you go with something like the AW IMR cells. These cells are unprotected and supposedly wont vent or explode if over discharged and are design for high current draw and multi-cell applications. But, with unprotected you run the risk of overdischarge which can ruin the cell for good. If the flashlight has some form of circuitry to accomplish that is good but shouldnt be relied on 100% especially in a cheap light. Will you have problems with the light and cheap unknown Li-Ions? Probably not . How many laptops are out there being used every day with god knows what kind of batts in them using only temperature to monitor the battery pack? Its just the safer way to go with protected quality batts but if you cant afford it then you do the best you can. Thats what I do with the Solarforce brand. I had some IMRs from AW but sold them because I didnt want to have to always be worrying about overdischarging them and ruining them. They are about $12 apiece!!!

    You wont notice that much of a difference between 2 cells with a 200mah difference , well I never have. alot depends on the ability of the battery to handle the demands of the light it's in and the quality of the cell and its ability to actually maintain a certain capacity over the long haul. Batteries are also alot like flashlights. The makers claim the biggest capacity for their batts just like they claim the biggest output for the led/light. Not many actually live up to the claims. If you do a search in the battery section of CPF you will eventually find some good reviews on different batts. There is a definite difference between brands!!! AW is the best . There are a cpl others who run a close second . I think Trustfire is ok in general but not many praise them on CPF and I havnt ever tried them myself but they are easy to obtain from alot of dealers.. There is a general consensus on CPF that a certain level of batt maintenance is strongly urged to include checking voltages of individual cells and such. You can get a volt meter pretty cheap also. I have found the newer WF-139 chargers to work just fine also . but those dont give you any info about the cells themselves

    Gettting an extra set isnt a bad idea at all. especially if the light only takes those specific batts. Then you can change out cells and not be left in the dark and if you have a cell go bad you have replacements on hand
    I have come to the conclusion that the best setup is a light that can handle 2-4 battery configurations . That way I dont get left in the dark when my rechargeables are all used up or die and I have some options depending on my wallet and the situation at hand.
    Right now that is SF 6p with an A19 1 cell extender running 2x18500 AWs . I can take off the extender and run 2 primaries or 1x18650 if desired.


    Dont let it all scare you off. Just be informed and you are good to go . I have spent/lost alot of money learning the hard way and if you can do a little homework here you can save yourself alot of headaches. everyone here has been thru it .

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* LukeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZW99GT View Post
    Being a beginner and for the above applications should I run protected or non protected? How much of a difference in brightness and runtime will I see between a 2200mah and a 2400mah? Should I only settle for the biggest mah possible?
    You want protected. There will be no difference in brightness, but larger capacities will last incrementally longer.

    I can't speak to the other lights, but I have a TR-801 and it's pretty bomb-proof. The only gripe is the lack of a lens o-ring, but one can be added.

    I put a 2-mode driver board in my TR-801 so I can switch between high, which is about 220 lumens and lasts about 2 hours, and low, which is about 60 lumens and lasts 16 hours. Sixty lumens is enough for almost every light-shining need I have, and because of the way the eye works, and 220 lumens only looks to be about twice as bright as 60.

    I have 4 of these (2 sets) and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. I charge them with a WF-139, which are carried by about every light-related website, including dealextreme. These 18650 cases are also handy.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    At this very moment, I can recommend you three 18650's:

    1. on top of the list: AW 18650-2600mAh. AW is the most trusted brand here, but they don't come cheap. However, voltage retaining capabilities, voltage sag under heavy load are all excellent.

    2. Wolf Eyes 18650 (LRB-168A IIRC) in 2600mAh. Not cheap either, but known to be good as well.

    3. Then, finally, ONE good 18650 from DX: The Trustfire "true 2400mAh". This one I tested to have actually 2343mAh. That comes very close to the claim indeed. Also, these hold their voltage quite well. They cost less than $9,- per SET of TWO!

    Chargers? The well-known DSD charger is one of the few SAFE cheap chargers, as it fully switches off when charging is complete. It doesn't have the right (CC/CV) charging method, but it's not too bad.

    I still use those el-cheapo Trustfire TR-001 chargers, which I modified for an exact output voltage of 4.200V.
    This one, however, DOESN'T switch off when the LED's turn green. As soon as the LED's turn green, you need to remove the cells and turn off the power. Advantage is, this charger actually DOES have a proper CC/CV algorithm so it will charge the batteries FULLY. The above test with the Trustfire batteries was done after I charged the battery-under-test with one of these chargers.


    Timmo.

  7. #7

    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    AW 18650's are by far the best, especially in high drain lights.

    If your light is drawing less than 1.5A per cell then you will find sku. 20392 (Red and Black Trustfire) cells on DealExtreme to offer almost as much capacity at a cheaper price.

    These cells are the best on DX by far capacity wise, do not be fooled by the misleading labels on other cells. However, they can not provide the high current draw needed in lights such as the P7 single 18650 lights on DX which pull up to 3A, for those you will have to buy the real deal AW 18650 cells.

    Also, I would certainly give the Akoray K-106 a miss unless you can source the original 3-mode programmable version which is much better quality to the point where it may as well be a completely different light and manufacturer. Instead I would take a very close look at sku. 33550 on DX (Uniquefire L2 XP-G) the ratings may be lower, but they are a lot more accurate than the way over inflated ratings on the P7 lights.

    Basically the XP-G light will give you roughly 75% of the light (which will actually not appear noticable to the human eye much at all due to the way the eye adapts to increased levels of light) but 300% the runtime of the high draw P7 lights.

    Or, you could look at a reasonable quality light, the iTP A3. This runs on AAA cells and is of much higher quality than any of the light you have so far specified, it can be found for roughly $20 at shiningbeam.com, but believe me for the quality difference it is well worth it.

    Also, if you run it with li-ion 10440 cells (also available on DX) then you can get over 200 lumens out the front of this tiny little keychain light, quite possibly one of the biggest wow factors you can experience in a size to output ratio of any light available!

    However if you do run a light that small at such high an output make sure not to do so for more than 30 seconds to a minute or it can and quite probably will overheat and shorten the lifespan of the led, possibly quite significantly. Although I haven't heard of anyone actually doing it yet

    Oh, and

  8. #8

    Default Re: New guy with prospects and 18650 ?

    Thanks for all the battery and charger info guys!!!! I'm really excited now that i know what's going on with them. I am ready to place a DX order now! Has anyone every paid the extra $XX.XX for the upgraded shipping on DX? I've been reading alot of threads and it seems some wait 4 weeks while others wait just 1. I would gladly pay the little extra to be in the 1 week catagory.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedForest UK View Post
    AW 18650's are by far the best, especially in high drain lights.

    If your light is drawing less than 1.5A per cell then you will find sku. 20392 (Red and Black Trustfire) cells on DealExtreme to offer almost as much capacity at a cheaper price.

    These cells are the best on DX by far capacity wise, do not be fooled by the misleading labels on other cells. However, they can not provide the high current draw needed in lights such as the P7 single 18650 lights on DX which pull up to 3A, for those you will have to buy the real deal AW 18650 cells.
    Thanks for the info, I'm gonna try out those trustfires for now and then order the AW's when I grab my next set of lights.

    How do I know how many A my lights will draw per cell?


    Also, I would certainly give the Akoray K-106 a miss unless you can source the original 3-mode programmable version which is much better quality to the point where it may as well be a completely different light and manufacturer. Instead I would take a very close look at sku. 33550 on DX (Uniquefire L2 XP-G) the ratings may be lower, but they are a lot more accurate than the way over inflated ratings on the P7 lights.

    Basically the XP-G light will give you roughly 75% of the light (which will actually not appear noticable to the human eye much at all due to the way the eye adapts to increased levels of light) but 300% the runtime of the high draw P7 lights.
    From what i've gathered doing a search around here I can still get the original 3 mode programmable from Kaidomain.com. I am going to also try out the L2 XP-G! It looks like an awesome light. I want to grab a few of the little guys just for now to see what i like, and for the $20 range, it's a small investment.

    Oh, and

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