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Thread: Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

  1. #1
    Enlightened Celest's Avatar
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    Post Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

    So on flashlight forums in general, it seems that protected cells are considered to be the best option. And yeah, they are best for series configs or if you absolutely need to run your light down until your battery is empty or your have a light that is prone to shorting (the horror stories from my lurking on other forums are quite scary). But personally, I have some concerns about protected cells, which I only use in devices that absolutely require them either for fitting or if I deem it electrically necessary. In my opinion, it is an extra risk to have a little circuit always attached to the cell. At any moment, something can fail short circuit, overheat or whatever even in storage. Someone in a post on BLF brought it up (post #9 in I prefer that when I remove my cell from my light, it has nothing electrically connected to it unless it is in the light or charger. Unlike consumer devices with their (usually) reliable protection circuitry, you don't know what you're getting unless you buy super expensive high end flashlight brand batteries (Olight, etc...) that can often cost more than any of my lights ever did. Not to mention I've seen complaints of parasitic drain killing protected cells. I recently got a Gearlight S1200 which explicitly warns in the (rather useless to experienced users like me) manual to use protected LG, Samsung, etc... batteries if you use 18650s instead of AAs. I have not had any issues safety or overdischarge wise yet (it gets noticeably dim when the cell's resting/no-load voltage is 3.0-3.1v, and unusably dim by the time it gets down to 2.7v). I use an unprotected Samsung INR18650-30Q (one of my all time favorite cells for hobby use of any kind, closely seconded by the 25R) just fine and after a while got a feel for how charged the battery is based on brightness after playing with my meter a bit. Short of the flashlight itself shorting out (extremely unlikely), the lack of protection (which can equally fail short if something goes wrong) is a total non issue unless you are an average joe (although in that case just use AAs so you don't gotta worry about Li-ion safety). Thoughts?

    Hot link removed.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bullzeyebill; 03-08-2021 at 10:18 PM. Reason: BLF hot link removed.

  2. #2
    Unenlightened ranger85's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

    Thank you for this post, this is exactly why I joined this forum to find out pertinent info and tips and tricks.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

    I use protected cells in all my devices that do not have it built-in. Still have a couple of old Fenix E-series lights that require them. I only use protected Keepower 18650s (3500 mAh, with Panasonic cells) and haven't noticed any parasitic drains or other ill-effects. The protective circuit adds to the IR and price, but for low drain, unprotected devices they are the optimal solution IMO.
    Nowadays, many devices have a protective circuits and don't require the use of protected cells. I'd rather buy a protected device and run it with unprotected cells than vice versa. Let's don't forget the price as well, the protected ones are nearly double the price.
    Last edited by NiOOH; 03-02-2021 at 04:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Enlightened Celest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

    I mostly use protected devices too. This light is the only one with no protection that can fit both protected and (unofficially) unprotected cells. The IR is a major factor as this particular light is kinda sensitive to voltage drops too.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Why I prefer unprotected cells when possible

    I've always used and buy protected cells. All the various lights I have don't have their own protection and if two or more are used. The device cannot control or protect the cell from going when no cell has gone before. So to speak, blow up due to internal failure.

    Each unto their own but as smart as on might be. Its not possible to know how far you've run the cell down to and that is a key requirement in healthy cells management brought up years ago here!!! Over discharging is the worst thing likely you can do, and can happen repeatedly without the protected cap. couple of bucks well spent.

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