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Thread: Fire Foxes IV FF4

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by BVH View Post
    Just curious why you want to use protected cells in this when full battery protection is already incorporated into the carrier?
    Does the carrier put the batteries in series or parallel?

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Series

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpaul320 View Post
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    So does the carrier have a protection IC that monitors the voltage of each cell to ensure none of them get below ~2.8V? Or does it just monitor the entire pack's voltage and assume the cells are perfectly matched and will discharge uniformly and stay balanced?

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    My guess is it monitors the packs total voltage but I am not sure- maybe another owner can chime in?

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    Default Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpaul320 View Post
    My guess is it monitors the packs total voltage but I am not sure- maybe another owner can chime in?
    Correct. My FFIII (for the brief time I owned it) cut off at 12V - leaving all cells at ~3V.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by mvyrmnd View Post
    leaving all cells at ~3V.
    Maybe, if the cells are well matched (internal resistance & capacity) and the carrier has equal resistance to each cell.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Maybe, if the cells are well matched (internal resistance & capacity) and the carrier has equal resistance to each cell.

    Full battery protection is already incorporated into the carrier per BVH in post #21. I'm guessing that "Full" mean individual cell protection but BVH could give details. I believe it's dicussed in the FF3 thread as well.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Clarification - I don't know if individual cell protection is incorporated into the carrier.
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  9. #69
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Maybe, if the cells are well matched (internal resistance & capacity) and the carrier has equal resistance to each cell.


    Mine were all new cells. If you're running Li-Ion in series you really should be using well matched cells to save yourself from

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    There are almost no multi-cell lights that monitor/balance each cell individually...ZL S6330 for example. The rest rely on YOU using cells with the same internal resistance, state of charge, etc.


    For some high amp lights, especially when the lights don't have cut-off regulation, etc, I might use IMR's instead of std li-ions to both maximize the amp support and reduce the


  11. #71
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    If it doesn't have individual cell monitoring I'm probably back to my original thought that I wouldn't use this light with unprotected cells. I was under the impression that the carrier monitored the voltage of each cell and would shut off output voltage in the case of a cell short. At lease with individual cell protection you're provided that last measure of protection especially in the case of temperature monitoring. Hopefully the FF4 won't have the carrier spring issue that risked tearing the battery wrapping. Maybe this is already the case but I would think the FF4 would be designed from the outset with the ability to use a wide variety of the latest, high capacity, protected cells.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    For some high amp lights, especially when the lights don't have cut-off regulation, etc, I might use IMR's instead of std li-ions to both maximize the amp support and reduce the

    TEEJ thanks for the IMR recommendation u gave me! I notice IMR batteries don't say 'Protected' on them, so do I have to worry about running them down too far? You say IMR won't go 'Poof', that's great that they won't explode but can I still ruin them if I run them till failure in a light without cut-off regulation?

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    ..................... I was under the impression that the carrier monitored the voltage of each cell and would shut off output voltage in the case of a cell short.
    Paul, IIRC, the carrier does provide "Short Circuit" protection. Maybe not for individual cell internal shorts, but cumulatively for external shorts and it will provide the same reaction - to shut down output upon short circuit detection - (most likely a high Amp draw sensor). And realize that even a fully protected cell - if "internally" shorted, will continue to burn/smoke/vent because the protective circuit cannot have any effect on an internal short. The carrier also provides over discharge protection, again cumulatively but if you are using good Panasonic cells, chances are pretty good if they are charged in the same charger, they will end up at a voltage very near one another when the carrier cuts off. If the carriers' circuit is cutting off at 12 cumulative Volts (3 Volts per cell) under load, then I think even with some differences between cells, it would be fairly difficult to run any one cell down below 3.3 recovered Volts - well within the safe operating range of Lithium Ion cells. Even if one ends up at 3.0, it's still fine. Lastly, a good charger is going to provide over-charge protection. So what has been gained by using "protected" cells? I ask this genuinely because I'd like to hear from others more knowledgeable than myself. I can think of one thing - If you were to scrape the cell wrapper upon inserting or removing and it shorts, then maybe the individual cell circuit would trip.
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  14. #74
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    TEEJ thanks for the IMR recommendation u gave me! I notice IMR batteries don't say 'Protected' on them, so do I have to worry about running them down too far? You say IMR won't go 'Poof', that's great that they won't explode but can I still ruin them if I run them till failure in a light without cut-off regulation?
    As with most cells, if you over discharge them, it at least shortens their life.

    With IMR's in direct drive lights for example, when they are noticeably dimming, I end the cycle assuming they are running down. If the light has cut-off circuitry, it will typically turn off before over discharging the cells.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Ok thanks, easy enough i wouldn't wanna keep running it when it was dimmer anyway

  16. #76

    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by BVH View Post
    So what has been gained by using "protected" cells?
    In practice, what I gained was interchangeability of the batteries with other lights that need protected cells.

    Cutting the batt carrier springs had no apparent effect on performance and allowed me to NOT buy 4 new unprotected cells to run the light, saving about $45.

  17. #77
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by BVH View Post
    . So what has been gained by using "protected" cells? I ask this genuinely because I'd like to hear from others more knowledgeable than myself. I can think of one thing - If you were to scrape the cell wrapper upon inserting or removing and it shorts, then maybe the individual cell circuit would trip.

    I know that you always inquire genuinely, and it's normally me gleaning knowledge from you...haha!

    Well, IF it has Short Circuit protection that's a different story. This is good! Whether that's voltage triggered, as in the case of cell suddenly dropping to 0 volts, or high amp draw triggered as in the case of a cell delivering less voltage but pulling way more current than it's supposed to. My only reservation would be the verification of the carrier's short circuit protection. No doubt, the fact that it's "only" a four cell light, working within a rather shallow voltage range greatly minimizes risk. Likewise, the electrical path of the carrier itself IIUC, would eliminates the possibility of a reverse charge situation. And as you stated, using high quality cells and chargers takes care of the starting voltages.

    I once had a unprotected Sanyo cell that would actually charge and read over 4.1V at rest but when a 1.0A load was applied, it would drop to under 3.0V and start to get hot. I'm not even sure exactly what was happening but I suspected an internal short that was occurring only under load, something I didn't even know was possible on a single cell. When the load was removed, the cell would cool and the voltage would rebound. A battery circuit would prevent this from happening. IF the FF3/4 carrier has this protection and it's verifiable, that's good enough for me. IF it's uncertain that it has short circuit protection I'd "feel" much better using protected cells. "Feel" being the operative word, based on my very basic understanding.

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    I tried taking out the 4 tiny set screws that hold top of holder circuit board and contact plate out. They look to be 1.3 or 1.4mm hex, but they were already stripped when I started. No way to verify the level of specific protection without seeing what's under that battery holder "hood," but I would seriously doubt it is all that sophistocated beyond open circuit. Certainly once you get inside the head of the light it is just a +/- contacts, and that's more likely where the overdischarge protection that BVH reports is controlled from.

    No question that IMR gives another level of non-protected reassurance. Despite being an ardent protected Lithium Cobalt chemistry proponent, this is one light that I'm going balls to the walls with the non-protected green Pannies. I stop running when body gets hot, and don't push it beyond the dimming--except once during Hurricane Sandy when a tree crashed into the bedroom, and high wind driving rain, leaves, glass all over what used to be our master bedroom, I had bigger fish to fry. So far using the same 4 cells, and at least 20 run cycles, the voltages continue match after charging, and after coming out of the light once discharged. Lowest voltage I have gotten them down to is 3.3V. I watch these cells carefully, including any wrapper damage leading to a dead short into the body tube. I realize I would feel better if they were protected or IMR's, and like BVH posed, your charger should be doing balance tap charging to eliminate that risk.

    There's not likely as much risk with such a high quality cell, and if you take the time to verify starting and ending voltages and don't push the light to extreme temps/exhaustion cutoff, I'm reasonably comfortable even though these are Lithium Cobalt and used in series.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Lips posted that it does not have individual cell protection. The carrier also isn't going to get any longer. Apparently, Fire-Foxes thinks that the >8A startup current draw it too high for most protected cells.

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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Lips posted that it does not have individual cell protection. The carrier also isn't going to get any longer. Apparently, Fire-Foxes thinks that the >8A startup current draw it too high for most protected cells.
    They would be correct I think.


  21. #81
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    They would be correct I think.

    But there are high quality protected cells that would be fine under those conditions, and frankly speaking non high quality unprotected 18650 cells aren't keen on high amperage discharge loads either.

    Fire-Foxes is saving a little money by not taking the cell protection as far as they could. But, since they're located in China they're pretty well isolated from any legal issues related to their decision. I'm really interested in the FFIV, but I'm not sure I can get over the battery situation. You either give up run time to use safer IMR cells. Roll the dice with unprotected cells, or modify the battery carrier and risk physical damage to protected cells squeezing them in and out of the light.

    I'm not aware of any mainstream consumer electronics gear that uses multiple Li-Ion cells in such a cavalier manner and they aren't using the cells as harshly the FFIV does.

  22. #82
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    But there are high quality protected cells that would be fine under those conditions, and frankly speaking non high quality unprotected 18650 cells aren't keen on high amperage discharge loads either.
    That's the thing that really "gets" me. As you stated, "Fire-Foxes thinks that the >8A startup current draw it too high for most protected cells" but is that really the case? They've designed the light around this notion however I feel as if 8A wouldn't really be a problem in the case of most of the current generation protected Pannie's. Even 2900mah generation cells are tripping at 3.9 - 5.8A I suspect that today's 3400mah cells have their protection circuits set to around 6.8A.



    LuxLuthor
    I tried taking out the 4 tiny set screws that hold top of holder circuit board and contact plate out. They look to be 1.3 or 1.4mm hex, but they were already stripped when I started. No way to verify the level of specific protection without seeing what's under that battery holder "hood," but I would seriously doubt it is all that sophistocated beyond open circuit. Certainly once you get inside the head of the light it is just a +/- contacts, and that's more likely where the overdischarge protection that BVH reports is controlled from.

    No question that IMR gives another level of non-protected reassurance. Despite being an ardent protected Lithium Cobalt chemistry proponent, this is one light that I'm going balls to the walls with the non-protected green Pannies. I stop running when body gets hot, and don't push it beyond the dimming-
    Thanks for trying Lux. I do appreciate you digging into this for us. The protection circuitry isn't really all that different from today's, high draw LED's like the TM26, TK75, and others. The only difference is that all of those manufacturers specifically say to use ONLY protected li-ion cells. In taking this position, they're moving the light from hobby grade to nearly fool proof. FireFox has basically waved that last fence of protection essentially saying, "here ya go, hope you know what you're doing!" Fortunately, I suspect that every person on the order list is a light junkie and they understand lithium cobalt safety. I'm perfectly cool with that actually (other than it doesn't match my preference) and I could never be accused of being a safety Nazi, unlike LuxLuthor...lol. I say that with admiration for your knowledge on this subject, buddy.

    With that stated, I would have preferred that FF simply made the light 3-4mm longer and designed it to use 67-70mm protected cells. They've already increased the head length and diameter in the FF4, so what would have been the big deal with making the battery and carrier another 3-4mm longer in order to make it compatible with the most popular cells? I say this with the assumption that any quality, protected, four cells should be able to handle the 8A start up load, however it is speculation since I've no way to prove or disprove this notion, or even if the start up load is actually 8A.
    Last edited by Patriot; 04-07-2013 at 08:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    That's the thing that really "gets" me. As you stated, "Fire-Foxes thinks that the >8A startup current draw it too high for most protected cells" but is that really the case? They've designed the light around this notion however I feel as if 8A wouldn't really be a problem in the case of most of the current generation protected Pannie's. Even 2900mah generation cells are tripping at 3.9 - 5.8A I suspect that today's 3400mah cells have their protection circuits set to around 6.8A.

    I say this with the assumption that any quality, protected, four cells should be able to handle the 8A start up load, however it is speculation since I've no way to prove or disprove this notion, or even if the start up load is actually 8A.
    The Keeppower 3400's don't trip until 11.5A per HKJ's review. Their 3100's trip at 10.8A. AW 3100's trip at 9.3A. All signs point to the there being a fair selection of protected cells that will work just fine.
    Last edited by Stereodude; 04-06-2013 at 07:52 PM.

  24. #84

    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Looks like I'll be clipping the springs, sanding the sharp burr off,and slightly folding the end of the spring down like I did on the FF3.

    If you do these things perfectly without removing too much material, and insert the batteries from the bottom just right (only half inserting the bottom of the battery so the top has a better approach angle to clear the top terminal) then protected batteries should work well with the FF4 - current concerns not withstanding.

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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    "I tried taking out the 4 tiny set screws that hold top of holder circuit board and contact plate out. They look to be 1.3 or 1.4mm hex, but they were already stripped when I started."

    A couple of months ago I took mine apart so that I could tighten the carrier posts back up that had gotten loose. They thread through little brass nuts inside the heart of the carrier. It was hard to do with the allen head screws being so small. Mine, fortunately, weren't stripped.

    There was some electro-gizmo stuff in there that I dared not touch and I had no idea what I was looking at. I wish I'd taken a picture while I was in there.
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  26. #86
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    The Keeppower 3400's don't trip until 11.5A per HKJ's review. Their 3100's trip at 10.8A. AW 3100's trip at 9.3A. All signs point to the there being a fair selection of protected cells that will work just fine.
    There you go! This is enough proof to me that Fire-Foxes either just assumed that protected cells wouldn't work or knew protected cells would work and chose to design the light for unprotected cells for other reasons. My opinion is that the better route would have been to design it with protected cells in mind, just like the 4 x 18650 multi-LED lights available to us. I'm not complaining about it because 'it is what it is' but I can't help but to ask the "why" question when trying to dig at the root of these issues.

  27. #87
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    I can't explain their thinking without being in their heads, but they don't operate in a litigious crazed society. As such, it would make sense to assume people buying these lights are more knowledgeable and careful than your average K-Mart/Walmart flashlight shopper. I can see a logic in saving additional design feature expenses (they already invented their holder, with all the molds and assembly equipment), a preference for reduced form factor size, and their assuming that most lithium cobalt dangers come from charging which should be done externally with a quality balance tap charger. They throw in a couple of generic safety protections, and they're good to go for their intended customer. I can imagine in their target markets that most of the LiCo 18645 cells alone do not recommend 8A drain; nor would they have PTC's that allow 8A protection before tripping open. Listing Keepower & AW's brands is an extremely small share of the available ICR-18650-P market.
    Last edited by LuxLuthor; 04-07-2013 at 05:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    ...and that's a great point Lux. I can't really guess what a 4mm longer tube and carrier would have cost. Even it if wasn't a lot it would have cost something. They've really managed to keep the price down which is a huge bonus for this light. FF3 owners span from very satisfied to ecstatic so it makes a certain amount of sense to leave things as is. The FF3 was obviously a marvelously performing light at a great price. It's seems the FF4 will follow in its footsteps, even if not matching perfectly to every enthusiasts wishes.

  29. #89
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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    ...and that's a great point Lux. I can't really guess what a 4mm longer tube and carrier would have cost. Even it if wasn't a lot it would have cost something. They've really managed to keep the price down which is a huge bonus for this light. FF3 owners span from very satisfied to ecstatic so it makes a certain amount of sense to leave things as is. The FF3 was obviously a marvelously performing light at a great price. It's seems the FF4 will follow in its footsteps, even if not matching perfectly to every enthusiasts wishes.
    A big push is to be compact in size. It may be as simple as being more compact if it only had to fit shorter cells.

    It may be no more complicated than that.


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    Default Re: Fire Foxes IV FF4

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    A big push is to be compact in size. It may be as simple as being more compact if it only had to fit shorter cells.

    It may be no more complicated than that.


    Yeah, I certainly believe that's possible, especially in the case of the FF3. What LuxLuthor touched on makes a lot of sense as well.

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