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Thread: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

  1. #1

    Default 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Having restricted myself to AA eneloops for my lights because I was a bit scared of using lithium cells, I now decided to go with these stronger batteries.
    Lynx_Arc explained some things and helped me decide in this thread


    I have decided to buy the Fenix HM61R.
    This has built in charging, which I want.

    A few questions regarding batteries:

    I want to buy a second battery so I can have it as a spare, just as I do now with AA batteries, have a spare in my pocket so when I am on the job I can just exchange batteries and get on with it.

    The battery which comes with the light: Fenix ARB-L18-3500 18650

    Or I can buy the Fenix ARB-L18-3500U 18650 battery with micro-USB-port, 3500 mAh


    It occurred to me that buying the battery with the USB port will give me more flexibility because I don't have to use the light to charge this battery, am i making the right assumption, or would charging with the light be a better,safer quality?

    Any advice is very welcome.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Ridiculously overpriced batteries. Get yourself a button-top Samsung 30Q or Sanyo GA for a quarter the price. All you're paying for is a Fenix plastic re-wrap. If the flashlight can take flat-top cells, then skip the button.

    I'm not a fan of built-in charging ports on batteries. Waste of space, and less safe than even a cheap basic charger. Pick up something like an Xtar MC1 charger for $5.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    I agree... 24 Euros? I guess that is close to $24 give or take 10% you could get 2-3 batteries without the USB circuit for the same price or 1-2 batteries and a decent quality charger for about that. I would take the advice of WITL and get a separate charger either the one he is suggesting or search for charger threads out there to get one that suits you. I have an Opus BT-C100 that works well but it cost me about $12 and probably has a few extra features that may not be needed that the Xtar may not have. You can find single cell chargers that take micro USB input which would work the same (but take more space).
    I don't know about that model of headlamp but my HL60R has a spring on the + end of the circuitry and can use button or flat top cells. I prefer flat top cells because they can be used in a lot more things and some chargers can be a tight fit with the additional button on top.
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    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Two separate but related thoughts: First, a built-in charger contributes nothing toward the headlamp's purpose, and is just another failure point. Second, having a charging circuit built-in to a cell makes no sense if one is talking about using more than one cell on a regular basis. As Lynx Arc said, a built-in USB circuit just takes up space in a cell, and usually at the expense of capacity, and second, you are in a sense buying a charger every time you buy another cell. There are plenty of single cell chargers available that aren't that much larger than the cell they are charging, and you gain the ability to charge other size cells as well.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Some single cell chargers offer a power bank feature too that may be helpful to some people.
    I will add that I probably wouldn't buy a USB lithium ion cell due to the cost of is not competitive with a stand alone charger and a known quality cell while the cells with built in charging you have to research them or tear them apart to tell who makes the battery part.
    One thing that I've been sort of eyeing is a USB magnet charger but I may just make one of them instead out of a cheap power bank circuit and wires soldered to magnets instead of spending $10 for one.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    @ WalkIntoTheLight
    Get yourself a button-top Samsung 30Q or Sanyo GA
    these are unprotected, should a noob like me not go for protected cells?
    on the thread "Protected vs unprotected 18650 batteries ?' there seems to be no consensus.
    for single use, protected might be overkill ?
    I'm not a fan of built-in charging ports on batteries. Waste of space, and less safe than even a cheap basic charger.
    right, this answers my question regarding charging on the battery.

    @Lynx_Arc
    One thing that I've been sort of eyeing is a USB magnet charger
    kreisl in the writeup about this light is very satisfied with this charging method.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    After many years of charging all sorts of batteries... I'd say charge OUTSIDE the device. If the battery blows up or vents chemicals it does not turn your light into a bomb.

    That said... I would not charge lithium near highly flammable items if possible. Nicd/nimh are no problem though.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    After many years of charging all sorts of batteries... I'd say charge OUTSIDE the device. If the battery blows up or vents chemicals it does not turn your light into a bomb.

    That said... I would not charge lithium near highly flammable items if possible. Nicd/nimh are no problem though.

    so this is exactly why I was reluctant in the past to go the lithium route, too complicated...........
    so please help me out here, I'm getting really confused now; these batteries are literally everywhere, in all sorts of devices, from toothbrushes to laptops and mobile phones.
    most of these devices have built-in or in-line chargers, my camera is charging as I speak, sometimes I forget about it and it is charging overnight.

    As I wrote earlier, I want a second spare battery to carry around for when it's needed.

    but here is where the confusion comes in: instead of just using these lights and batteries as a dumb consumer, I apparently have to adhere to a number of safety measures.
    in what is REALLY the ideal storage voltage of li-ion batteries there is a discussion about the exact voltage which these batteries should be stored at, and how to get to this voltage.
    and another thread about this subject I read:
    I'd say that if you'd like them available for use in the next 3 months or so, just store them fully charged. For anything you have in rotation, fully charged is fine.
    so here's my question:
    1. can I just buy this light, charge it regularly so it stays more or less fully charged?
    2. Can I fully charge a spare battery and have it laying around for perhaps a few weeks
    can I do the above with out huge safety consequences?

    or do I have to study all these technical requirements, learn how to use a digital voltage meter, and discharge my spare battery to the required voltage?

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    For a piece of equipment that includes a battery or battery pack. The mfg has probably taken steps to ensure that charging does not cause problems. I would trust it to a high degree.

    For your use, a single cell is the least probably the most safe. Series charging/discharging can be a problem regardless of cell chemistry.

    In practical use... I'd be careful during charging and not worry about it too much. I WOULD buy name brand 18650 cells, or any cell for that matter especially lithium-based.

    Ideal storage is for cell longevity not safety. Unless it's in storage for many months I would not worry about it. You're chasing pennies and life is measured in dollars.

    Buy the light, charge it, use it, recharge. Li-ion self discharge is really low, low enough to not worry about topping up... not like nimh.

    Yes. I keep 3 18650 cells ready to go for use in bike lights and 18650 flashlights.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
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    Flashaholic* RetroTechie's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    so here's my question:
    1. can I just buy this light, charge it regularly so it stays more or less fully charged?
    2. Can I fully charge a spare battery and have it laying around for perhaps a few weeks
    can I do the above with out huge safety consequences?

    or do I have to study all these technical requirements, learn how to use a digital voltage meter, and discharge my spare battery to the required voltage?
    Like turbodog said: as long as you buy quality cells, and charge in a decent charger, having cells sit 100% charged is a cell longevity issue. Not a safety issue. So yes if you find that easier, you can charge a cell 100%, leave it sitting like that for months, then use. No problem.

    Personally I take a different approach: when I know I will need some Li-ion powered equipment shortly, I charge the battery beforehand at whatever time is convenient. Like the evening before, or in the morning when it's needed in afternoon or evening. But then after use, I just leave battery sitting as-is. Possibly for months if it's something that I use only occasionally. If during use it got discharged only to 90%, too bad, battery will be at a high(er) voltage for a while but no problem. If it got discharged down to say, ~20..80%, then... perfect storage voltage. If I ran it empty all the way, I usually pop it into a charger for 15..30 mins., pull it before done, and store battery like that.

    In your case, if you use headlamp daily (and it helps pay your bills?), you could do something like:
    a) Buy a couple of spares so have for example 3 cells to work with.
    b) Always have one of those charged at 100%.
    c) If you go out, pop that one in the headlamp & you're ready to go. Take a spare cell + charger, and at the job site pop spare cell into the charger.
    d) By the time you empty a cell, spare cell will be done charging. If you don't empty one, whatever... just remove from headlamp, and the one freshly charged will be your next sitting-ready-at-100% for tomorrow's job.

    Best rotate cells such that only one or 2 sit at 100% charge at any given time, with the rest somewhere between 'empty' and full. Or toss in a few more cells, and have 2 cells ready at 100%.

    In short: buy quality cells & charger, and don't worry about it. It's not exact science, and having cells sit 100% charged for extended periods of time is NOT a safety issue. If you still worry, perhaps you want to invest in a voltmeter and/or charger that indicates voltage, so that you know what state cells are in. But again that's not a necessity.

  11. #11

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    first off, I really appreciate the time and effort you guys put into educating a beginner.
    I wouldn't say I'm extremely dense regarding technical issues, but here I was really confused about all the, I thought, conflicting opinions.
    I hadn't realised the storage issue is about longevity and not about safety.
    I have a much better perspective now on using lithium batteries.
    Thanks Retrotechie for the very practical list.
    If you still worry, perhaps you want to invest in a voltmeter and/or charger that indicates voltage, so that you know what state cells are in.
    I'll do that, I have a Panasonic BQ-CC65 charger for my Eneloops, this gives me some info about battery state as well.

    I'm looking at several chargers, the xtar x2 seems to tick all the boxes.
    I prefer a mains charger, and this one also has some info on the display I believe.
    But I'm open to suggestions.



  12. #12
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Don't fret about the safety of lithium-ion too much. I used to be quite paranoid too, and stuck with Eneloops. But eventually, I got over it. Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere.

    Just don't be dumb. Don't carry loose batteries in your pocket, where they might get shorted on some spare change. Don't stick them in a charger and then leave for work. Don't use them if they have ripped wraps. Etc. People get into problems when they do dumb things. Oh, and make sure to buy quality cells from a reputable vendor. There are several. Stay away from Ebay.

    For a single-cell light, protected cells don't really get you anything. They serve more purpose in a multi-cell light.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Protected cells have a double layer of shrink wrap. Between the layers is a conductor that runs the length of the cell. It's needed for the protection circuit.

    Pro: protected cells won't over discharge. over discharge can damage the cell and lead to fire upon recharge.

    Con: if shrink wrap is damaged, the extra conductor can short circuit against the light body and lead to fire.

    My takeaway... unprotected are safer due to no short circuit danger, BUT you must NOT over discharge them. So that basically means single cell lights are only acceptable.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

  14. #14

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    first off, I really appreciate the time and effort you guys put into educating a beginner.
    I wouldn't say I'm extremely dense regarding technical issues, but here I was really confused about all the, I thought, conflicting opinions.
    I hadn't realised the storage issue is about longevity and not about safety.
    I have a much better perspective now on using lithium batteries.
    Thanks Retrotechie for the very practical list.

    I'll do that, I have a Panasonic BQ-CC65 charger for my Eneloops, this gives me some info about battery state as well.

    I'm looking at several chargers, the xtar x2 seems to tick all the boxes.
    I prefer a mains charger, and this one also has some info on the display I believe.
    But I'm open to suggestions.

    It is nice to have a charger that you can adapt to car and mobile use as some chargers can operate off AC or DC input. My Opus BT-C100 has an AC adapter that is a 12vdc input to the charger and a micro USB 5V input so I have 3 options to power it by. Although not overly efficient it allows for you to even use a power bank to charge batteries with it. The power bank mode may be useful to some but to me it is not needed as I have power banks to spare. If you are only going with an AC charger (mains) they make 2 and 4 cell chargers also but to be honest as inexpensive as most 1 cell chargers are it isn't a waste of money to later buy a second charger when you need to charge more batteries at once. I would definitely avoid blindly buying any charger that either nobody you trust recommends or that you can't read good reviews about preferably in forums like this one is best as you don't get overloaded with possible false positive reviews that don't give you a heads up about things that are wrong or may go wrong with them. I've not use the Xtar chargers but I would consider them a good bet as many here in the forum have said good things about them they sound like a great value for the price.
    I will again reiterate the first time you get any new chargers/batteries of any type be overly attentive on the first use of them as even though you get high quality items there is always a small chance something can go wrong in manufacturing and quality control. the chance is minimal such that after you verify things work properly you can then relax and enjoy. If you have a voltmeter it may be wise to "test" the first cell off any charger after it completes to make sure it charges correctly. Voltage may vary depending on the charger and meter used to test it so don't get overly concerned if the voltage is a little off as long as it isn't out of range then you should have no problems and your experience should be optimal.
    IMO lithium ion has a potential to be more dangerous but quality components and easy to acquire knowledge will minimize it to be extremely worth the rewards vs safer technology that struggles to compete head to head. I have a lot of cheap 18650 flashlights and power banks and other devices and none of them have had any issues that are of concern. The more I rely on lithium ion the more most of my nimh and alkaline based stuff gather dust it is so much better.
    Last edited by Lynx_Arc; 07-11-2020 at 09:03 AM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    @ Turbodog
    unprotected are safer due to no short circuit danger, BUT you must NOT over discharge them
    I get the reasoning about unprotected being safer in this case, although I'm not sure if that is appropriate in my situation,
    if I'm doing some work wearing my headlamp I sometimes go outside in the daylight and forget to switch off the light, then when I need some light again I notice that the light has stepped down significantly.
    Know this shouldn't happen, but alas, it does.
    So in this scenario, using an unprotected cell might be unsafe?
    In my case it might be a good idea to use protected cells, I am used to being careful walking around with batteries, my Eneloops are always in their plastic container so I guess there would be minimal chance of damaging the protective layer.

    @lynx arc
    the Opus BT-C100 is out of stock in my area, so I looked at some alternatives, and checking out the reviews of these chargers.
    I will again reiterate the first time you get any new chargers/batteries of any type be overly attentive on the first use of them
    good idea, I'll do that.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Depends on headlamp. Some will recognize li-ion and cutoff. This usually requires a fully charged cell be inserted so it can recognize cell type.

    I run protected cells an all my stuff. I do keep an eye on the 2nd shrinkwrap layer. It also makes for a tighter fit in _some_ lights.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

  17. #17

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    Depends on headlamp. Some will recognize li-ion and cutoff. This usually requires a fully charged cell be inserted so it can recognize cell type.

    I run protected cells an all my stuff. I do keep an eye on the 2nd shrinkwrap layer. It also makes for a tighter fit in _some_ lights.
    On the hm61r the light does not switch off.
    When the battery level is detected critical for currently used output, the battery level indicator will flash to remind. Replace the battery or recharge the lamp as soon as possible.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    If you're going the lithium-ion route, it might be wise to also get some quality lights. For example a Zebralight headlamp has built-in low battery protection, and will shut off if it gets too low. Actually, most lights these days will do that, even inexpensive ones. Personally, I wouldn't use a lithium-ion light that didn't. Not that it's dangerous when discharging, but it can be when recharging if you don't first check the voltage. Of course, a decent charger will prevent you from recharging a dangerously low cell, too.

  19. #19

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    @ Turbodog

    I get the reasoning about unprotected being safer in this case, although I'm not sure if that is appropriate in my situation,
    if I'm doing some work wearing my headlamp I sometimes go outside in the daylight and forget to switch off the light, then when I need some light again I notice that the light has stepped down significantly.
    Know this shouldn't happen, but alas, it does.
    So in this scenario, using an unprotected cell might be unsafe?
    In my case it might be a good idea to use protected cells, I am used to being careful walking around with batteries, my Eneloops are always in their plastic container so I guess there would be minimal chance of damaging the protective layer.

    @lynx arc
    the Opus BT-C100 is out of stock in my area, so I looked at some alternatives, and checking out the reviews of these chargers.

    good idea, I'll do that.
    I am sure the Fenix Headlamp shuts off to prevent overdischarge as quality 18650 lights have that built into the circuitry but not always a given. [Edit] If it doesn't, my lamps blink when they get too low in power and it is not hard to miss it. If you are worried about accidentally turning it on you can lock it out easily by turning the cap some.
    As far as the Opus it is only a suggestion there are a myriad of choices from several manufacturers out there you just need to make choices like do you want nimh charging also, power bank, what power inputs, charging rates... special features like analyzing/testing, compactness, I would say the $5 Xtar if you can get it cheap may suffice you for the time being if you are in a hurry it is cheap enough to throw away when you get another one at that price.
    Last edited by Lynx_Arc; 07-11-2020 at 04:14 PM.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    If you're going the lithium-ion route, it might be wise to also get some quality lights. For example a Zebralight headlamp has built-in low battery protection, and will shut off if it gets too low. Actually, most lights these days will do that, even inexpensive ones. Personally, I wouldn't use a lithium-ion light that didn't. Not that it's dangerous when discharging, but it can be when recharging if you don't first check the voltage. Of course, a decent charger will prevent you from recharging a dangerously low cell, too.
    I'm looking at zebralights right now, quite a few choices, I started out choosing a light with built in charging, I will have to give this up when choosing a zebra.
    built in low battery protection which shuts off the lamp is safer than a blinking light.
    Last edited by linpp; 07-11-2020 at 05:18 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    I am sure the Fenix Headlamp shuts off to prevent overdischarge as quality 18650 lights have that built into the circuitry
    according to the documentation it doesn't shut off but blinks.

  22. #22

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    according to the documentation it doesn't shut off but blinks.
    Yes I edited that. It doesn't bother me as my other headlamp blinks also when low.
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    HKJ here on the forum and/or on his web page has miles of reviews of cells. chargers, and I think charger/powerbank combos. Worth checking out.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  24. #24

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothybil View Post
    HKJ here on the forum and/or on his web page has miles of reviews of cells. chargers, and I think charger/powerbank combos. Worth checking out.
    yes I did look at his page, I find it quite overwhelming, what would be good if I got some recommendations for 18650 and a good reliable charger combo.
    But maybe I'd have to open a separate thread for this.

  25. #25

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    yes I did look at his page, I find it quite overwhelming, what would be good if I got some recommendations for 18650 and a good reliable charger combo.
    But maybe I'd have to open a separate thread for this.
    From what is widely available in the USA, I have always had good results with Xtar and Nitecore chargers, Sony and Sanyo 18650 cells.

    Sent from my LG-V520 using Tapatalk
    I got nothing else to say...

  26. #26

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    here is an update:
    mainly thanks to your explaining the technical ins and outs of lithium batteries, and of course the safety aspect, I am now confident I can safely operate these batteries.
    My initial choice of the Fenix headlamp has evolved into a Zebralight.
    The reason I chose this one is because it has an actual shutoff when a low voltage is reached.
    and also because of the proven quality of this brand, my zebralight-h50 from 2008 is still in perfect order, although I must admit it doesn't get much use anymore.

    This is what I bought today:
    Zebralight H604d XHP50.2 Flood 5000K High CRI Headlamp
    I asked advise from NKON about which protected batteries to use with this light,the told me protected was not necessary because the light itself has built in protection.

    They recommended LG INR18650-HG2 3000mAh - 20A or Samsung INR18650-30Q 3000mAh - 15A ,so I bought a couple of each.
    I think it might be a good idea to purchase a charger which has testing ability,i am looking at Zanflare C4 or the Opus BT - C3100 (V2.2)
    until I figure out which one would be best I will use the little charger I bought today as well.
    Nitecore UI1 USB battery charger.
    Cheers

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* RetroTechie's Avatar
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by linpp View Post
    built in low battery protection which shuts off the lamp is safer than a blinking light.
    Depends on what you use the headlamp for...

    In some situations, a headlamp that switches off to protect the battery from overdischarge, could be far more dangerous than a headlamp that dims or starts blinking. Think people climbing in caves, mountain biking at night, people working on oil rigs, miners, etc. In such a situation, better damage a cell & keep seeing something (be it vaguely or flashing) than be totally in the dark just when it counts.

    Replacement cells are cheap - accidents often are not.

  28. #28

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroTechie View Post
    Depends on what you use the headlamp for...

    In some situations, a headlamp that switches off to protect the battery from overdischarge, could be far more dangerous than a headlamp that dims or starts blinking. Think people climbing in caves, mountain biking at night, people working on oil rigs, miners, etc. In such a situation, better damage a cell & keep seeing something (be it vaguely or flashing) than be totally in the dark just when it counts.

    Replacement cells are cheap - accidents often are not.

    sure, in these situations it could be dangerous to lose all illumination at once, I, however, use the headlamp mainly in work situations where it's never completely dark, so no problem for me.
    As I wrote earlier, having no shut-off after running to low might be a risk in my situation.
    If I move to a well lighted area or outside and I forget to switch my headlamp of, which has happened several times, I'd rather have the light being shut-off.
    this has happened to me with a AA eneloop, perhaps not too good for the health of the battery, but no safety risk.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    I have several Zebralights. You won't be left in the dark from a low battery. It steps down as the battery voltage gets low. The final step-down is to low (a few lumens), and that runs for several more hours before it finally shuts off completely.

    I suppose the only way you might be surprised, is if you normally only use the light on low. In that case, it would just shut off when the voltage reaches around 2.7v. But you would have to run the light for more than 2 weeks straight before you drained the battery on low!

    If you don't know the state of your battery before you go out, do a quad-click. It will blink out the battery charge (from 1 to 4 blinks). It's not a perfect measurement, but it's close enough.

  30. #30

    Default Re: 18650, charge in the headlamp vs charge externally trough mini USB?

    I have several Zebralights. You won't be left in the dark from a low battery. It steps down as the battery voltage gets low. The final step-down is to low (a few lumens), and that runs for several more hours before it finally shuts off completely.

    I suppose the only way you might be surprised, is if you normally only use the light on low. In that case, it would just shut off when the voltage reaches around 2.7v. But you would have to run the light for more than 2 weeks straight before you drained the battery on low!
    the Fenix HL 50 I use gives about 150 LM and runs for about an hour and a half before stepping down.
    So I hope to use the Zebra at a bit higher lumen and longer runtime, I got no need for very low or Turbo.
    As it is now, factory settings, I have three for me unusable modes, turbo, mid which is too low and low.
    So I'm going to figure out how to get to these intermediate steps, I found How to program Zebralight SC600 mark iv. so I guess I'll find a suitable set of levels.

    If you don't know the state of your battery before you go out, do a quad-click. It will blink out the battery charge (from 1 to 4 blinks). It's not a perfect measurement, but it's close enough.
    yes I used this when it arrived, the battery was fairly empty, as it should I believe for transport.

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