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Thread: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Lith's

  1. #1

    Default Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Lith's

    I acquired a PAK-LITE several months ago and I remembered testing it using an Energizer Lithium Advanced 9V. Turned the switch on and timed its useful "good" output to about a day and a half. "Good" referring to output down to about 50%.

    Recently I acquired 3 more PAK-LITES and a handful of Energizer Lithium Advanced 9V's for backup. Since the PAK-LITE comes with a 9V alkaline included, I sacrificed one and tested, also on high. Two days pass. For some odd reason "good output" maintained longer.

    Seemed fishy because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom about lithium vs alkaline. So I did a test setting up two PAK-LITES 1 using Alkaline and 1 using Lithium and seated them each into a Fenix diffuser.

    March 10 9:30AM to start





    (The above shot is a bit overexposed, they aren't this bright.)

    And here we are March 11 8:00PM about 35 hours later
    Alkaline on the left lithium advanced on the right





    Again this is the PAK-LITE on its high setting. We know the PAK-LITE's infamous run times are based off its low setting.

    So perhaps the Lithium's aren't so great for higher draw applications? Or maybe I should be using Energizer Lithium "Ultimate"?

    Energizers marketing literature:




    The Lithium Advanced cells (obviously by its chemistry) feels kind of light compared to the alkalines. Appears there isn't much chemistry inside either. Lots of air and plastic.




    There's an "industrial" version of the Energizer 9V Lithium cell on Amazon that has rounded corners, are a bit more expensive and labeled "LITHIUM" (whereas the Energizer Advanced are labeled "PILE LITHIUM"). I wonder if the industrial cells are actually heavier. Would make sense.

    Either way I feel a bit cheated given the Advanced lithium 9V's are pricey at close to $7 each.
    Last edited by ledmitter_nli; 03-12-2013 at 10:17 PM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by ledmitter_nli View Post
    The Lithium Advanced cells (obviously by its chemistry) feels kind of light compared to the alkalines. Appears there isn't much chemistry inside either. Lots of air and plastic.


    I figured this would be the case, three Sub-CR2s stacked on top of each other. Some at one point even speculated lithium AAAAs.

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    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    The "Ultimate" is the only Energizer lithium that counts; the other problem is that this is not a high-drain application - 30+ hours continuous runtime is a very modest draw, and alkalines last longer than Lithiums in low-drain applications.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Interesting - would have never thought a alkaline would pull ahead.
    And I should get some of those Pak-Lites. I have enough 9v alkaline batteries and not many things demanding them. Even have a few cheap NiMh 9v
    Been awhile since I've seen those Pak-Lites... actually forgot about them till this post... reminder - get Pak-Lites.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by gradio View Post
    Interesting - would have never thought a alkaline would pull ahead.
    And I should get some of those Pak-Lites. I have enough 9v alkaline batteries and not many things demanding them. Even have a few cheap NiMh 9v
    Been awhile since I've seen those Pak-Lites... actually forgot about them till this post... reminder - get Pak-Lites.
    Agreed. I think a good alkaline will pull ahead of a substandard lithium.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Is it a mAh thing? Do they list it for various batteries? I'd rather rotate the batteries more often and know they will work longer compared to letting a battery sit for ten years but only work a bit when needed. Very interesting and thanks for the experiment. My Pak-Lite is sitting here right now. It's a great utility light with tons of potential for various applications.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    It appears Energizer Lithium "ULTIMATE" does not exist for 9V. "ADVANCED" is their only consumer lithium 9V product offering.



    The only other step up is their industrial Lithium 9V's.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    For a lot of cheaper lights with no/bad regulation it's not uncommon for lithium cells to burn faster than alkaline cells.

    Like StarHalo said, alkaline batteries are great for low drain applications like remote controls and smoke detectors. I remember reading a review on a light 4 or 5 years ago that mentioned NiMH and Lithium cells died faster than alkaline batteries in a certain flashlight (can't remember which one) and the reviewer speculated it was because the higher internal resistance of the alkaline battery served as a sort of built-in control for the battery.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalDep View Post
    Is it a mAh thing? Do they list it for various batteries?
    Energizer Advanced Lithium LA522 9V battery is ANSI-1604LC; the LC stands for Lithium Cylindrical cells. It is rated at about 750 mAh to 5.4V at 25 mA load.

    Energizer Alkaline 522 9V and Energizer Industrial EN522 9V batteries are both ANSI-1604A; the A stands for AAAA cells (but the cells used are actually slightly smaller than standard AAAA cells). Duracell Coppertop MN1604 9V battery is also ANSI-1604A. They are all rated at about 600 mAh to 4.8V at 25 mA load.

    The problem must be that the lithiums are outputting higher power in the unregulated application.
    Last edited by Yamabushi; 03-11-2013 at 09:58 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    I wonder how Ultralife and Tenergy would fare against a quality alkaline. They're much higher mAh rated.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by tam17 View Post
    I wonder how Ultralife and Tenergy would fare against a quality alkaline. They're much higher mAh rated.
    Ultralife U9VL-J-P is rated at 1200 mAh but the test parameters are different (pulsed discharge through fixed resistance not constant current discharge).

    I've never heard of a Tenergy 9V lithium primary. If you mean the 9V li-ion rechargeable, it's only rated at 500 mAh.

    EDIT: Interestingly, the Ultralife U9VL-J-P is the only lithium battery approved for my 9V smoke detector (meaning it was tested to last at least one year). Although the Energizer alkaline is approved, the Enegizer lithium is not approved.
    Last edited by Yamabushi; 03-12-2013 at 05:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    I think that pak lites are not regulated right? The one with the lithium has an output that is surely higher than the one with the alkaline because of its chemistry that allows it to pump more with direct drive therefore also lowering its runtime.

    Just look at those mis informed individuals on youtube that posted runtime tests using 2xAA flashlight(unregulated) one with lithium and the others with alkalines. You can easily see the output of the light with the lithium is much brighter than the alkaline ones. then at the end, the light with the lithium only lasted like maybe 4 hours while those with alkaline lasted twice as much. They are then saying that the alkalines are much powerful but they failed to noticed that the higher output caused by the lithium ones made the runtime significantly shorter.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by Yamabushi View Post
    I've never heard of a Tenergy 9V lithium primary. If you mean the 9V li-ion rechargeable, it's only rated at 500 mAh.
    There is a Tenergy "ER" 9V lithium primary, rated at 1200mAh. Not listed as available at their website, though.

    Cheers

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    Default Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Lith's

    Alkalines work better than lithiums on low draw devices. That's because of the linear discharge curve of the alkaline compared to the S shaped curve of lithiums.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    I have not once heard the discharge curve of a primary alkaline cell described as "linear."

    Could you please explain?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    March 13 1:30AM about 60 hours later:

    Still on the high setting. Exposure compensated to represent what I see.





    I'd say the alkaline on the left is about 30% as bright from the start, the lithium about 5% and flickers on occasion. The alkaline just keeps going.

  17. #17

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    This is interesting, glad I didn't splurge for the pak lite ultra with lithium battery though I'd be curious which lithium 9v pak lite supplies, bet it's a good one.
    The only thing wrong with pak lites is that you can't order ten packs without batteries for say 50$. Everybody should have one, I'd give them away to every one I know if they weren't a bit pricy.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Incidentally the PAK-LITE's still on high on both cells have settled into a battery vampire like leaching mode. Just a long, steady slog of a burn at about 15% - 20% for the Alkaline and 5%-7% for the lithium. The lithium flickers.

    About 112 hours from the start on March 10 9:30AM. Going to chuck the batteries soon after this post.


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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Keep the alkaline running; if you look at the runtime curve for a standard Mag, it gets down to about 25% and then steadies out for the long haul. It might just be in its first few rounds..

  20. #20

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Keep the alkaline running; if you look at the runtime curve for a standard Mag, it gets down to about 25% and then steadies out for the long haul. It might just be in its first few rounds..
    Yeah another thread was posted where the alkaline settled down and then ran for months. Not going to bother

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li



    I'm this close to place my order for pak-lites. I did have some reservations about putting a lithium 9V in those, but they do state runtimes 2-3 times longer with an Ultralife lithium compared to a duracell alkaline. I don't really plan on using lithium batteries in it, but who knows, I might want to hide one in a BOB at some point...

    -Are these 2 pak-lites the same model? Some are brighter.
    -Perhaps you had a bad lithium battery?
    -It would be interesting if you could re-do the test but switch the battery types to the other pak-lite
    -Has anyone else done this test?
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    I have 4 of them. Two ordered from Lighthound. Two from Amazon.

    There are variances in output for each + or - a lumen. Each one has a slightly different bluish tint shift. Maybe a ~2 lumen difference between the lowest performing and highest performing pak-light.

    Other than that, they are basically the same. I doubt it's a bad Energizer Lith. I've seen these results before with 1 battery. That's why I'm testing again (see 1st few lines in 1st post). I'm even seeing low end run time weirdness with lithiums testing AA's vs a lithium 3400mAh 18650 and a 70 lumen Malkoff dropin
    Last edited by ledmitter_nli; 03-15-2013 at 09:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    There isn't anything anomalous about the test - in a low drain application, the lithium will regulate itself nicely and then drop sharply in output to zero, while the alkaline will drop sharply at the start and then settle at a low output for longer than the lithium's total runtime.

    The general rule for long term storage with alkalines is to keep it in the packaging; store your Pak-lite with an unopened 2-pack, freshness and redundancy.

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    Default Re: Disappointment: PAK-LITE (aka 9V Light) runs longer on high using Alkalines vs Li

    +1 for ULTRALIFE. Those batteries last for-freaking-ever.

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