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FYI - Potential safety issue with CR123A lithium batteries...

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by bigfoot, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

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    Please see the link below for a thread on CPF regarding safety issues with CR123A lithium batteries. It appears that mixing cells when one is more discharged than the other can be a hazard. The sky isn't falling, but it was definitely an eye-opener and something to at least be aware of.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=114455&page=1&pp=30

    :yikes:
     
    kkay likes this.
  2. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    Allow me to add some more reading material so people are more familiar with the potential dangers of using lithium-based cells.

    This Lunarmodule's account of exploding 123's in a Pelican M6. This thread has *loads* of info.

    This is NewBie's thread on li-ion safety(notice li-ion and primary lithium batteries are different chemistries, I'm just sharing here because both are used in flashlights and people need to be aware of the potential dangers).

    Here's NewBie's dissection of a 123 cell. Do not attempt this yourself, BTW - you risk explosion. I post this for information purposes only.
     
  3. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    I can't believe I hadn't see the dissection thread until now. Thx, GreenLED!
     
  4. Concept

    Concept Empty Pockets

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    I started on Newbies thread but it isn't light reading I tell you what.

    I think I'll do it in installments!
     
  5. Concept

    Concept Empty Pockets

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    Codeman

    Whats your Avatar???
     
  6. scríbhneoir
    • Administrator

    scríbhneoir Uber Prepared
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  7. Uncle Zungle

    Uncle Zungle Loaded Pockets

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    That dissection thread from CPF is very interesting :)
     
  8. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks, scríbhneoir!

    I think NewBie's work on both primary and rechargeable 123's has been a tremendous benefit to all who read those threads. I don't always agree with NewBie, but the amount of work and fanastic knowledge that he's shared with everyone has truly been a public service.
     
  9. Edwood

    Edwood Loaded Pockets

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    Good to know.

    Although I'm not too worried about mixing cells with my U60XRGT. ;)

    -Ed
     
  10. tvodrd

    tvodrd Empty Pockets

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    All of the testing on CPF can be condensed to the existing warning label on commercial Lithium cells: Don't mix new ones with used ones or they can go boom! <--- A paraphrase, as the exact wording varies between brands. Even the cheap import cells carry the warning. Doing so with an O-ring-sealed, metal flashlight can result in blowing an end off and venting flame!

    Folks in the know test their new cells with a tester that applies a load to the cell prior to useing them in a multi-cell light. The SF Beast takes 20 123's and if one were to be defective/under capacity, and be reverse charged by the others and decided to "vent with flame," I have no doubt it would cook-off some adjacient cells. Pretty scary!

    Larry
     
  11. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    Codeman - Wow, look at all these trees.

    tvodrd - yes, but it's still just one forest.

    Codeman - good point.  Thanks for the KISS reminder! :bow:

    I picked up a ZTS tester from BatteryStation a while back. I've had 2 cases where cells that had been sitting in lights for several months were mismatched, so it was a good investment right from the start.
     
  12. knightrider

    knightrider Empty Pockets

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    Same here - got a ZTS tester right after I started reading the threads on mismatched batteries in 2 cells. Don't want any of my lights wrecked because of this - or getting hurt either. I have yet to get a cell in a set that is not at 100% when I test it. But it is a good thing to check all batteries before installing.
     
  13. Goldtanker

    Goldtanker Empty Pockets

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    I picked one up(ZTS) about a month ago just because I wanted a more accurate tester. Now it has even more value!
     
  14. tvodrd

    tvodrd Empty Pockets

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    I too use and recommend the ZTS for Li primary cells going into multi-celled lights. Linky.

    Edit: They have several models and can mod them for the 1.5V Li primaries that Energizer sells. I linked their cheapest model, which is the one I bought.

    Larry
     
  15. jafo

    jafo Empty Pockets

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    This sort of thing is why I don't run Lithium batteries in my helicopters, boats, cars or planes, nor anything else I can run off NiMH cells.

    Yes, you can run them, and they provide superior energy density. But if you don't watch yourself, they WILL bite sooner or later. I know several folks in the RC community that've lost expensive SUVs, garages, even houses, when a charging LiPo battery went "woof".

    I have enough agravation in my life. I want battery-powered stuff to be simple, point and click, with simple, easily available batts. I also want it to be a good value for the money-- so you won't find any flashlight over $50 in my mits... so take this as you wish. My EDC lights are a $15 3AAA LED job from Lowe's [Task Force brand- knockoff of a LEDLenser unit], a LEDLenser Taclight, and a Coast 3LED job. Can't recall the name of that last. Certainly not the brightest lights around, but far superior to incandescents.

    Also run 1 each 2D and 3D MagLights with LED upgrades, mounted one on each front door of my Jeep and Blazer- 3D on the driver's side in event I need light or a persuading tool on short notice, the 2D on the passenger's side for backup lighting or for my spotter. Yeah, they cost about $50 or so to outfit, but since I bought the lights 10-20 years ago, I think I'm running a pretty good dollar/servicelife ratio.

    Sorry, got long-- should probably go post my EDC loadout, huh? :D
     
  16. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    Is the Lithium mod for all Energizer 1.5V Li cells, or just AA's?
     
  17. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    Just so we're all on the same bandwagon, primary lithiums do not have the same chemistry as lithium-ion (li-ion), and both of these are different from li-po chemisty.
     
  18. tvodrd

    tvodrd Empty Pockets

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    My tester uses the same terminal for CR123/Cr2/CRV3, another for 1.2V NiMH cells, and another for 1.5V Alkalines. I suspect their mod would work for both the AA and AAA Energizer lithiums. I understand the mod is special order and one could ask when ordering. There's more info in the battery safety threads on CPF.

    Larry
     
  19. jafo

    jafo Empty Pockets

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    correct.

    though it's apparent they all have the same problem-- VERY susceptible to inbalance in charge state, particularly under heavy charge/discharge cycle.


     
  20. Nightwatch

    Nightwatch Empty Pockets

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    Is the same danger present for single cell lithium lights?