With some flashlights that take two CR123 primaries, you have to bore out the inner walls of the body to get an 18650 to fit inside. (Especially the case with SureFire flashlights.) Though a 17670 would fit without having to bore out a light. Which would be a good alternative since boring out the inner walls of a flashlight is not as easy as I made it sound.
Originally Posted by Blerv
Though such cells can be potentially dangerous. Li-Ions are not as inherently safe as NiHM cells. It's best to avoid 18650s and other Li-Ion rechargeables until one is fully knowledgeable about the dangers of such cells, and how to reduce that danger so that the lights which use such cells don't violently vent with flame (basically, explode).
While CR123 cells can also vent with flame, following a handful of basic rules will greatly diminish their potential of venting with flame. Cross-balancing isn't an issue at all. Never mix & match cells. (A good volt-meter helps with that. And isn't prohibitively expensive.) Never mix & match old and new cells in the same light. Never mix & match cells from two different brands. Never mix & match cells that have been used to illuminate, with brand new cells that haven't been used yet.
The last two rules are:
1) Only buy Made in America or Made in Japan cells. No-Name, Made in China, CR123 cells are dangerous junk! Avoid at all costs! (No matter how temptingly low the asking-price might be.) They're just not worth it. If you want to save money on CR123 cells....
2) Buy online from a trusted online shop (Such as Lighthound, Bright Guy, or Optics Planet). Buy in bulk. And once again, only Made in America or Made in Japan cells.
My last bulk purchase was a Case (12) of Energizer CR123 cells from Lighthound. Cost was $16 and a few cents. Compare that to $9 for just one Energizer CR123 cell at any Brick & Mortar pharmacy store. What I spent on those 12 cells online would not even be enough to buy two CR123s from a physical store.
The use of 18650's is a fairly recent movement. Surefire has been making the 6p with CR123 power for decades. It's also convenient they make their own cells to sell for their lights.
Manufacturers these days quickly say if they use 18650's. Most will also take primaries with a bit of rattling. It's good marketing to do this.
Whenever you use multiple cells your chance for mishap goes up. Same thing by using unsafe charging practices and equipment. My problem with primaries is you need a load tester like a ZTS to know actual capacity. Buying brand name products and all that is great until you get a bad cell (or marginal) and put it with a good one.
There aren't many guaranteed in life. Using common sense definitely cuts down on your chances or problems. If things get warm and start hissing get that thing away from ya :).
Yup, I've got one from ZTS. Been using CR123 primaries for years with zero issues. As with 18650s and similar types of cells, a light that takes only one CR123 to run; also reduces the possibilities of mishap.
I'm not a flashlight hobbyist but have a Surefire G2ZX CombatLight as a useful tool that lights things up. It fits conveniently in my left hand while helping support my handgun in my right hand.
Very cool :). I've considered getting one but rarely use primaries except in single-cell applications like you mentioned.
Originally Posted by Monocrom
I like the 4sevens Preon Revo SS but it appears that they don't make it anymore. The Olight seems pretty interesting though. I am also interested in the Thrunite T10S but seems quite bigger than the Revo SS.
Some years back I got hooked on flashlights, mostly the LED models using 2xCR123 cells. I bought some from Streamlight, Inova and Pelican. I bought a variety of other lights including some modded maglites. Instead of having one flashlight somewhere in the house, I had several in my car, one in my briefcase, several around the house, etc. At the end of this time period I bought some of the new maglite LED models. Once I had my collection I stopped buying for awhile, then a year ago I got the idea to buy a new light and bought a Fenix PD32 for my briefcase and a LD01 for pocket EDC. This year I did a little more looking and bought a Fenix PD22. The Fenix PD22 is remarkable- almost as much light as the PD32 but smaller and with one battery instead of 2.
I have a couple of the fairly recent maglite 2D LED lights and they are good for around the house or in the car use, where you don't mind the size. We have 2 around our house now. Today I carry the PD32 in my briefcase and the PD22 in my pocket. I have an Inova X5 and a mini-maglite pro that I use when I am walking around the house at night. The Inova is an old low-tech light with 5 LED's. It doesn't throw very far but around the house you mostly need to light up larger areas, look in closets, under beds, etc. and it works very well for that. The mini maglite pro is a good light- inexpensive, good power, several power levels, batteries available anywhere.
I have bought some of the drop-in conversions for maglites. They are good at inexpensively turning an old crappy 2D light into a usable light, but they aren't as bright as the ones that mag sells now. The ones that I bought for a mini-maglite were also inexpensive but they work very well.
I have an old maglite that was a custom conversion, using a side-emitter Luxeon LED. It doesn't have much throw but puts out a wide beam that is also handy for use around the house.
I got into flashlights with Nitecore and have since ventured into 4Sevens and Olight
3 P1 Preons (Red, Blue, Ti)
2 P2 Preons (Red & Ti)
2 Quark Turbos QB2L-X
1 MiNi Ml-X
I have been wanting to get into the rechargables, but still have 24 or so CR123s remaining in my stock. Maybe next year.
In that type of situation, the ZTS isn't worth it. Meanwhile I'm running lights like my SureFire M6 inca. that takes half a case of CR123 cells to power up.
Originally Posted by Blerv
It's odd.... Have tried to get into rechargeable lights. But tend to find myself in situations in which I'm better off with the intrinsic advantages of primaries. Will never forget the time a new light running off of 2x18650s that I made sure were fully charged up, failed on me completely while walking through a basically pitch black tank farm while I was on the job patrolling it. That could have turned unfortunate rather quickly. Thankfully, I pulled my back-up light to finish up my patrol and get the Hell out of there.
I'm going to have to be more careful with my CR123 primaries. I always use new brand-name cells and don't mix-and-match, etc. Basic battery safety. But I hadn't gone so far as to check each one with a voltmeter before using.
Given that I've been using them for years and have never had a single hiccup - is thermal runaway common on these small cells? I haven't heard too much about it - laptop and cell phone batteries, sure, but CR123s?
Dang, that would creep me out. Being able to run primaries in a pinch is a perk of some lights. They certainly are more available and this example alone shows why they are used by LEO's and troops constantly. Having multiple lights and spare cells is good practice; kudos :).
Originally Posted by Monocrom
It's extremely uncommon. Driving on the highway is far more risky. The examples do tend to be dramatic though.
Originally Posted by phillipsted
A quality laptop battery pack is a group of 18650's wired with safety measures. It's like the most paranoid but safe flashlight user possible :). CR123's are under more strain as well.
Monocrom listed the most ideal way to use these cells. I would venture to guess you won't have a problem. Getting a ZTS for $30 would be a great idea.
My most used cell is a single AW IMR18650. Safer chemistry than lithium cobalt and able to take way more abuse. If I wanted a big runtime champ I would probably get a light that runs off 4-8 AA's and fill it with Eneloops.
I love lights. I have a few Thrunites and have had amazing luck with them working reliably, but I've read of a lot of people having reliability problems.
I've been carrying my HDS/RA Clicky 170 with Nichia 219B almost exclusively since I've gotten it.
It's like having a pet tiger. No matter how long you own it, you're just not going to domesticate it. You can step in that cage for years in order to feed it, on a daily basis; with nothing happening to you. One day, you let your guard down for a second.... And that's all it takes. Same thing with CR123s and Li Ion rechargeable cells like 18650s. Peaceful past performance is zero indication of future performance.
Originally Posted by phillipsted
It's like going to Vegas, playing roulette, and at each such table you see that little vertical electronic board that shows several of the previous numbers that came up during each spin. And you can tell who the really amateur gamblers are because they actually look up at that silly little board and base their bets on the past numbers that came up. Meanwhile, everyone else (including the casino) knows that board doesn't mean $#!%.
Every number has the very same chance of coming up on the very next spin as it did on the previous ones. It's not as though the numbers that came up during the last few spins now all of a sudden are more likely to come up again. Past performance is no indication of future ones. Even if it has been years.
I hear you, Monocrom - and I understand about binomial distribution. My question is this - what is the probability (p) of a pair of name-brand cells going bad due to inherent flaws (not misuse or abuse)?
Since I've never seen one go bad, and never heard of one going bad - how often should we expect them to fail? If (p) is extremely low, then we don't need to worry much - just ensure we don't abuse or misuse our batteries.
Admittedly, the incidents are low. Extremely low with Made in America or Made in Japan quality cells. But there have been a few such documented cases reported over at Candle Power Forums.com (another family-friendly site). With one respected member who is still suffering from heath issues two years after experiencing such a situation. It's important to keep in mind that the chemicals inside these cells are literally toxic. If they vent and you inhale.... Expect health issues for years if not the rest of your Life.
Originally Posted by phillipsted
You can still keep that tiger as a pet. Just never forget to wear your protective gear with plenty of padding, use a pole to push the food towards that tiger; and never take your eyes off him. No guarantees, but you do greatly reduce the likelihood of that tiger snacking on you.
Having fallen years behind in light collecting, I gathered opinions (not least from Blerv) and did some research of what's current. In consequence, I have added in the past year:
a ZebraLight SC52 (1xAA or 1x14500)
a Fenix PD35 (2xCR123A or 1x18650)
a Peak LED Solutions Eiger CRI (1xAAA or 1x10440) (I think I prefer cool white...)
a 47s Atom AL (1xCR123A or 1xRCR123A) (has strong magnet to work with headlamp kit)
a 47s Preon P0 SS (1xAAA or 1x10440) (has strong magnet to work with headlamp kit)
As shown, these new ones can handle the higher voltage of rechargeable lithium cells.
CAUTIONS I FOLLOW:
Confirm the light can take the higher voltages of rechargeable lithium cells. Not all of my earlier AAA, AA, and CR123A lights can do so...
Buy only rechargeable lithium cells having a PCB that protects against short-circuits, overcharging, overdischarging.
Pair (if you must) only rechargeable lithium cells that have the same chemistry AND the same voltage. I use a lithium cell charger that shows the actual voltage of a recharged battery. But I'll use a 19670 (protected 18650) in preference to two IRC123 cells just to avoid possible voltage mismatches (even though, as I understand it, two cells make up the 18650 form factor).
Buy only reputable brands.
ETA: I EDC the dated but perfectly fine Maratac (running an Eneloop AAA) on my pocket dangler and a 47s Preon (running two Eneloop AAAs) between the buttoning of my shirt.
I havent really invested much money in flashlights. Right now I carry a Maglite mini LED. I also have a Duracell 500 light for when i need A LOT of light and a LumenMaster tactical light for no reason except to keep on the "thing" by my couch in my room in case I need it for some reason or another.
You could drive yourself crazy with the calculations. Most that end up going "thermal" don't end up killing people with noxious gases nor even burning/blowing off fingers, at least that I know of. I would rather juggle CR123's than ride a motorcycle in a city if that gives you any idea of relative risk :). Furthermore, if you buy quality brands (like Surefire, Energizer, Panasonic, Duracell and many more) instead of dirt cheap cells (often 25-50 cents cheaper) your risk goes down. Matching same labels and testing true voltage helps further. There is nothing that prevents someone from pulling the batteries from a light and doing a load test perodically...I do this with all my multi-cell lights anyways.
CR123's are fine in low-medium current applications. They are usually manufacturer rated at 1c or about 1.5a. If you want a VERY safe alternative that can take a real beating look at THESE LiFeP04 cells. They are unprotected but the safest chemistry out there. You do have to get a charger that has a lower charging setting though as they top off at 3.3v instead of the normal 4.2v. For all intents and purposes they are replacements for the CR123. If I wasn't going to do what Monocrom does with a ZTS or similar tester, I would go that route.
I've had this focusable Led Lenser P7 which I gave to my brother, nice flashlight only lacking a flat back to use it as a candle. Now in addition to a pair of small ones for the keychain I'm very happy with my Fenix LD20 and the impressive Nitecore EA4. I can only imagine the incredible (maybe laser like the incoming car headlights?) flashlights that will be available in next years.
So even though I lurked the Candlepower forums for a while, I recently browsed their forum in a little more depth and it's definitely overwhelming and intimidating.
I am attempting to narrow my search down and maybe some of you torch gurus on here can help me. I am looking for 2 lights for now.
First light I am looking for would be for me. Looking for a small SS or Ti light. I prefer tail clickys instead of twist. I thought the Olight transformer set was cool but I don't think it comes with a clip. A clip is mandatory for me as I would like to keep it in my pocket and would prefer to have an AA model for the slimmer profile. I have a few in mind but would like some suggestions. Price range would be up to $75 or so.
So far the lights that I like are:
- Thrunite T10S
- EagleTac D25A Clicky Ti
- Olight Transformer set (No clip though argh)
- 4sevens Revo SS (discontinued and not available anywhere)
Second light would be for my girlfriend. I want a light for her to keep in her purse. Again something on the smaller side. I was thinking the Olight S-10 but am not sure if the magnet would be a problem in her purse? I also would like a tail clicky for her but the clip would not be as important to her as it would to me. Color doesn't matter and but something other than black would be a plus. I would like to keep it simple. Price range would be up to $40 or so but preferably less.
So if you have something in mind for both of us please let me know. I would like to research your suggestions. All I ask is that you let me know the brand besides the model as it's easier for me to research. Thank you.