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CR123s keep failing

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by Justinicus, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Justinicus

    Justinicus Loaded Pockets

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    Have any of you good folk had problems with the lifespan of your CR123s? I have two flashlights in that caliber, specifically purchased to allow me to keep them as backups due to the claimed 10yr shelf life of CR123s. I have a Fenix P3D and an iTP A1 (I think... stainless 1xCR123... goinggear no longer sells it, it seems). I hardly ever use them... I picked up a 2xAA Olight so that I wouldn't run through the more expensive 123s so fast, but it doesn't seem to have helped at all! Every six months or so, I'll pull one out for a quick light, and I can always count on it being in the batteries-are-almost-dead pseudo-strobe mode. I'll replace them and all will be well... use it a few minutes, then a few months later, repeat cycle. I don't think I've ever gotten more than about 15 minutes of run-time, on any mode. The Fenix is supposed to last almost two hours on "turbo", can't remember the iTP's claimed runtime (but I'm positive it's a lot more than 15 minutes).

    Up 'til now, I've always bought Streamlight lithium 123s from Amazon, which according to my research both on Amazon and CPF, are supposed to be quality cells. I'm all out right now, so I can't check, but I'm reasonably sure they come with a good expiration date (It's been about 18 months since I bought a 12 pack, so I can't remember beyond a reasonable doubt). The stockpile is kept in good conditions -- 68-70 degrees F, always in the shade. The ones in the lights fluctuate with my bag, but I don't spend any more time in the heat than I have to. I've never pulled a light out to find it illuminated, so I don't think they're getting any "use" while put away.

    Am I doing something wrong? Do 123s not really have a good shelf life?
     
  2. PeaceOfMind

    PeaceOfMind Loaded Pockets

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    Not sure about your particular lights, but a lot of lights will drain a bit of power while off, depending how they're designed. That could contribute to this if it's the case with yours. I've never had a cr123 go bad in storage.
     
  3. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    Keep your CR123s out of your lights until you need them.. (just keep them near by) or in many lights (Zebralight for example) you can untwist the head/tail from the body with the battery still in to disable the light (disable the connection) until you need it.. Lots of devices have Parasitic energy draw where they pull a little bit constantly. This will drain your batteries pretty quickly..

    This is another reason I have a mixture of batteries.. I keep about 20 surefires around in a case, and I use RCR123s for my active lights. Saves a bunch of money.
     
  4. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    CR123 cells should have a great shelf life. Are these results based just on this one batch of Streamlight cells? Streamlight makes good cells, but you could have gotten a bad batch or the cells could have been mishandled prior to you getting them. If I'm not mistaken, it is also possible to get counterfeit CR123 cells, though I haven't heard of the Streamlight brand being counterfeited.

    Neither of the flashlights you listed should have any parasitic drain, so I would imagine that it is a problem with the cells themselves.
     
  5. AB.AlexB

    AB.AlexB Loaded Pockets

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    Parasitic drain, bro.
     
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  6. Justinicus

    Justinicus Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, my stored batteries all seem to have been fine. Only a problem when they're sitting in the lights. Might be worth experimenting with disabling the connection.

    Jag-engr, they're from two different purchases, but both from Amazon. I just looked up the orders... one was a six-pack in 10/2009, and the other was a 12-pack in 5/2011. Both sold BY Amazon, so I guess it's possible they're from the same manufacturing batch. Maybe I should try another supplier... where do you guys get yours?

    Kripto, does anyone make a "smart" RCR123 charger? I messed around with 14550s (I think... the close-to-AA size) from China, and the only chargers I could get had no auto-shutoff. I had to know how much charge they held and time the charge cycle myself so as not to burn the house down. Not hard when they're fully dead, but then I learned that you're never ever supposed to drain Li rechargeables all the way, so it was always a guessing game.

    thanks for the feedback!
     
  7. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    They probably shouldn't be parasitically draining while outside of the light stored as mentioned. Usually I'll save them for emergencies like Kripto mentioned. On that basis they store quite nicely compared to alkalines.

    I would just head over to like Battery Junction and buy half a dozen Duracells or something of that nature (Surefire, Panasonic, etc). Maybe that batch of Streamlight cells are marginal, maybe they are old. I don't know but have no experience with that brand of cells. :)
     
  8. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    I really don't think it can be parasitic drain, guys. He's using them with a twisty (iTP A1) and a mechanical clicky (Fenix P3D) - both of those lights will break the electrical circuit path when turned off.

    The two possibilities that I see are:
    • defective cells (most likely)
    • the OP (or another member of his household) is using his flashlights more than he thinks he is
     
  9. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    Justinicus likes this.
  10. fresh eddie fresh
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    fresh eddie fresh Loaded Pockets

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    I always use Surefire CR123s and never had a problem with storage... even in a E1L I leave in my car.
     
  11. mcnair55

    mcnair55 Loaded Pockets

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    I just bought a 10 pack of 123,s,checked the expiry date before purchase and it is 05-2022.

    I have the ITP A1 and after using it i back it off more than normal just to make sure there is no contact.
     
  12. Blitzwing
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    Blitzwing Loaded Pockets

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    I get surefires from lowe's and never had a problem or short run life in any of my lights..
     
  13. keith1234
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    keith1234 Loaded Pockets

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    I picked up Surefires at Lowes about a year ago all were on clearance for $3 a 2 pack. I also buy from Battery Junction last order was Energizers 24 for $36 I think and no problems with them .
     
  14. defuse kit

    defuse kit Loaded Pockets

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    I've never had a problem with parasitic drain with my Surefire flashlights. I leave a G2X Pro in the trunk GHB. I check it every so often, but it's probably been a year and a half and it still lights up strong every time.
     
  15. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    I'm getting roughly a month of approx. 5 min. a day use before replacement on my Surefire 123s, probably half of that in excessive cold. All bought in 2 packs at Lowes... I find them very reliable batts, with good long life. Sounds like a bad batch of batts from Amazon to me.
     
  16. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    I agree with those who've suggested faulty batch of batteries. Using a variety of 123-powered lights over the years, both 1- and 2-cell, have never had the experience you describe.
     
  17. J0rdan

    J0rdan Empty Pockets

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    I agree that it is probably the batteries. I have not had any problems with the shelf life of surefire Cr123s in my lights or in separate storage. I have a surefire 6p,G2, and G2X Pro and I just make sure that the tailcap does not make a connection before stowing them in my bag.
     
  18. keith1234
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    keith1234 Loaded Pockets

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    I've got some 4 sevens 123s I bought a couple of years ago when I bought one of my lights and I have them in my Quark Mini's and they are still in good shape even though the lights get minimal use. I agree it sounds like a bad batch.