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Thread: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

  1. #1

    Question Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Hi, all-

    For the last few years I've used a Fenix E12 AA flashlight as a "mouthlight" when I need to use both hands in a dark spot. A piece of silicone tubing around the tail cap makes it easy to hold & AA's are no problem to replace.

    I'd like to get a light that's a little brighter and I was thinking about something like a ThruNite T1 that uses a single 18350.

    Now I'm wondering about the safety risks.

    I read the sticky about safely charging li-ion batteries, but what about issues when using a flashlight?

    I read across the Caleb Joyner mishap and it's gruesome, no doubt.

    There's not a lot of information out there, but I did find this story where they imply that leaning toward his vehicle battery caused the explosion:
    https://www.daily-journal.com/news/l...8795266cd.html

    So my questions are:
    1. What could have caused Caleb Joyner's flashlight to explode? A non-OEM battery? The vehicle's battery? Something else?

    2. Are there any safety risks when charging a flashlight with a USB port? (Micro USB or USB-C)

    3. Am I better off just sticking with a AA flashlight?

    Illuminate me, please!

    Best,

    Chris

  2. #2
    Flashaholic desmobob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    A light like the Klarus AR10 might be the answer for you. It has a swiveling head and magnetic base. I have a similar model that I believe is a Thrunite. Anyway, between the magnetic base and swiveling head, you can usually find a way to have the light stand on its own or stick magnetically somewhere where it can direct light to where you need it. You can find these lights in 18650-powered versions. Some are available in AA as well.

    The other answer is a headlamp. They are wonderful for putting light on whatever you're working on. Now that I have some good headlamps with pure flood beams, I always put one on when working on the car, motorcycle, etc.

    Most small edc AA lights have clips that can be attached at either end of the light, or two-way clips, which allow the lights to be attached to the bill of a ball cap for use as a headlamp. That might be another option...

    I don't feel much danger is involved in USB charging of the newer lights that allow it. If you have a good quality light with on-board battery voltage protection, and/or use protected cells, you have a layer or two of added safety.
    Last edited by desmobob; 10-28-2020 at 06:26 AM.
    ​"What do you carry a flashlight for?!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coatimundi View Post
    Hi, all-

    For the last few years I've used a Fenix E12 AA flashlight as a "mouthlight" when I need to use both hands in a dark spot. A piece of silicone tubing around the tail cap makes it easy to hold & AA's are no problem to replace.

    I'd like to get a light that's a little brighter and I was thinking about something like a ThruNite T1 that uses a single 18350.

    Now I'm wondering about the safety risks.

    I read the sticky about safely charging li-ion batteries, but what about issues when using a flashlight?

    I read across the Caleb Joyner mishap and it's gruesome, no doubt.

    There's not a lot of information out there, but I did find this story where they imply that leaning toward his vehicle battery caused the explosion:
    https://www.daily-journal.com/news/l...8795266cd.html

    So my questions are:
    1. What could have caused Caleb Joyner's flashlight to explode? A non-OEM battery? The vehicle's battery? Something else?

    2. Are there any safety risks when charging a flashlight with a USB port? (Micro USB or USB-C)

    3. Am I better off just sticking with a AA flashlight?

    Illuminate me, please!

    Best,

    Chris
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...9eAnJIz-vYiAf5

    It was a olight t20. Imagine what larger lights can do or lights with multiple cells. Read that inhavent read it all.

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    Last edited by trailhunter; 10-28-2020 at 06:43 AM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Oh so it exploded in his mouth. Shrapnel got lodged in his throat battery manufacturer was Nuon

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    (moving this to Smoke & Fire subforum)
    ... is the archimedes peak

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    I agree with desmobob. If you need hands free frequently enough to put tubing on your light so you can hold it in your mouth, a headlamp is your best solution.
    "It used to be 'Merkwurdigliebe'"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    I 3rd the headlight recommendations.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Manker E03H II is a great light weight (AA/14500) solution to mouth held lights

  9. #9

    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Whoa! I never heard of this. I'm guilty of holding a light in my mouth quite often..mind you almost all my lights are Surfires and Malkoff. I do stay away from the cheaper batteries.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroTurf View Post
    I 3rd the headlight recommendations.
    I have two headlights, one uses 3 AA & the other 2 18650 (and I may re-evaluate using that light as the battery pack sits on the back of my head) & they get a good amount of use.

    The beauty of the Fenix E12 is I can, and do, carry it with me everywhere in my pants pocket.

    It looks like Alkaline batteries aren't prone to exploding like li-ion batteries, especially if I'm using just a single, non-rechargeable, store bought cell.

    Any other opinions on that?

    I would still like to know exactly why his flashlight exploded when it did. Could the car battery have been a factor?

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I have been an avid, slobbering mouthhold flashoholic for more than a few years. I can't say I haven't been warned. MMU-X3, S2 Baton, FW3a, FW4a, FW21pro, D4V2, TM9K, E4K, NSX53, MS03, MT07, EC03, EC50, P60 and KR1 have all been heavily slobbered on by me. The next time I am ambush attacked on the residential street, I will offer it an edc to bite.
    2 Cor 5:6-8

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Someone please remind me, if I ever buy a light from richbuff to first soak it in alcohol before using it in my mouth

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    A similar accident with a two cell CR123A light occurred with an active CPF member out west (screen name escapes me) who thankfully survived. He was briefly carrying the light in his mouth head first, got injuries from the glass lens. Off-brand cells, and cold weather... iirc the light had been sitting in a cold vehicle, so the cause was ambiguous for a few pages of discussion, but I think the consensus was poor brand of cells. 2014? 2015? Someone will remember for me. Shocking incident.


    Edit: found the thread:
    subalpine's story, January 2015
    Last edited by chillinn; 10-29-2020 at 05:30 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    I guess I'm not a big mouth. I've only had Maglight AAs in my mouth with NiMH. Can't imagine biting down on an 18650 flashlight.
    It ain't easy being me, but someone's gotta do it.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    The Olight appears to be a 2X-CR123 light. Anecdotally, this can be a dangerous setup if one cell discharges too low before the other, into a reverse charge situation. I understand that reverse charging a CR123 is what leads to cell failure/rapid venting/explosions. It could have been a fresh battery mixed with a used battery, or poor quality cells where one is exhausted much faster. Luckier people have noticed light output dropping, noises, bulging buttons, etc. and been able to get rid of the light.

    Personally, I moved to single cell lithium lights for this reason. And NiMH don't seem to have this problem with such danger. I am doubtful the OP's cited case had anything to do with leaning into the car battery. While car batteries are known to sometimes vent hydrogen, I don't see how that could set off a sealed flashlight. Whether or not an exploding flashlight could have set off an additional battery hydrogen blast would not be easy to determine, IMO.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by louie View Post
    The Olight appears to be a 2X-CR123 light. Anecdotally, this can be a dangerous setup if one cell discharges too low before the other, into a reverse charge situation. I understand that reverse charging a CR123 is what leads to cell failure/rapid venting/explosions. It could have been a fresh battery mixed with a used battery, or poor quality cells where one is exhausted much faster. Luckier people have noticed light output dropping, noises, bulging buttons, etc. and been able to get rid of the light.

    Personally, I moved to single cell lithium lights for this reason. And NiMH don't seem to have this problem with such danger. I am doubtful the OP's cited case had anything to do with leaning into the car battery. While car batteries are known to sometimes vent hydrogen, I don't see how that could set off a sealed flashlight. Whether or not an exploding flashlight could have set off an additional battery hydrogen blast would not be easy to determine, IMO.
    Do you think olight is at fault for not making this a known danger for this type battery orientation?



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  17. #17
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    What I remember regarding chillennís reference from 2015 was a user wrenched the tailcap back on because of difficulty reinstalling. This detail invoked a theory that possibly saliva (from mouthing repeatedly) was able to enter the flashlight, causing a short. Not trying to say any of this is established fact.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Flashlights in the mouth donít really give me concerns. Now strapping a big old 18650 or 21700 to my head? Now that makes me think twice.
    If i had one day left to live i would want to be at my workplace.Because every day is like a frickin eternity.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic desmobob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by thermal guy View Post
    Flashlights in the mouth donít really give me concerns. Now strapping a big old 18650 or 21700 to my head? Now that makes me think twice.
    I had always assumed if there was going to be some kind of explosive issue with a Li-ion flashlight, I'd notice a whole lot of extra heat first and maybe some other advanced warning like a strong odor. Explode without warning? Yikes...
    ​"What do you carry a flashlight for?!"

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailhunter View Post
    Do you think olight is at fault for not making this a known danger for this type battery orientation?
    I think that is a legal question for a court, which I don't know anything about. I also don't know if this 2-cell failure theory is even widely accepted. But from anecdotes seen here, I am avoiding the 2xCR123 format and imported CR123 cells, avoiding high currents and rundown to cell exhaustion. I check the cells in a few legacy lights to be sure they are the same (ZTS). I use single cell protected LiIons, with 17670 instead of 2xCR123, and 18650 when available. Also AA NiMH Eneloop in other configurations. I don't need super power lights, so this isn't a hardship for me.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic ghostguy6's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangers of holding a flashlight in your mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by louie View Post
    The Olight appears to be a 2X-CR123 light. Anecdotally, this can be a dangerous setup if one cell discharges too low before the other, into a reverse charge situation. I understand that reverse charging a CR123 is what leads to cell failure/rapid venting/explosions. It could have been a fresh battery mixed with a used battery, or poor quality cells where one is exhausted much faster. Luckier people have noticed light output dropping, noises, bulging buttons, etc. and been able to get rid of the light.

    Personally, I moved to single cell lithium lights for this reason. And NiMH don't seem to have this problem with such danger. I am doubtful the OP's cited case had anything to do with leaning into the car battery. While car batteries are known to sometimes vent hydrogen, I don't see how that could set off a sealed flashlight. Whether or not an exploding flashlight could have set off an additional battery hydrogen blast would not be easy to determine, IMO.
    I'm wondering if the flashlights aluminum body could have some how come into contact with the vehicles electrical system. A massive surge of 12 -14 volts with an amperage up to 800 -1000amps could certainly cause the 123 cells to explode. Even the standard 15 amp circuits could do a lot of damage. Its also possible the flashlight body somehow caused a spark that ignited hydrogen off gassing from the vehicles battery or other flammable liquids from the vehicle. The article does not state why he was looking under the hood of his vehicle so we cant say the vehicle was in working order at the time of the incident.

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