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What's the deal with CR123's?

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by mightywombat, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. mightywombat

    mightywombat Loaded Pockets

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    So, I was standing in line this Christmas at Best Buy and I looked at the batteries on the last minute panic purchase display and found myself wondering the following: What are the benefits of a CR123? They have a higher voltage, sure, but they cost ten times as much. What's the good side? Why not just get a AA flashlight that takes the same batteries as all your other electronics? Explain?
     
  2. Flying Dutchman

    Flying Dutchman Loaded Pockets

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    A CR123's higher voltage allows it to provide a higher drive to the LED. It's been said, don't know if its true of modern science, that a single CR123 will do the same as 2xAA, leaving you with less weight & less mass in your EDC light. They also discharge differently. A CR123 light burn at max brightness until it is simply done, as it has the capability to discharge more power in less time than it would take the other cell (AA) to do the same amount of power. AA/AAA Lights will burn dimmer & dimmer until they are depleted.
     
  3. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    I think all the CR123s are Lithium, also. Better function in cold weather, longer shelf life. I don't remember seeing any Alkaline CR123s but I could be wrong.

    I still feel you get more bang for the buck with CR123s.
     
  4. tonester

    tonester Loaded Pockets

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    cr123's do not cost 10x more than AA if you purchase online. For example I can get a pack of 24 cr123's at BJ for 98 cents each plus shipping. Are they surefire name brand? No, but they function almost as well.

    Just like a Benchmade mini griptilian... Am I going to go to Bass Pro Shops and pay full price which I think is $98 or am I going to look online for a way better deal?
     
  5. mightywombat

    mightywombat Loaded Pockets

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    Well, scientifically speaking one CR123 provides 3v which is twice what one AA puts out. I don't know about the discharge rate of the CR123 but I really can't get over the price point and the concept of having to carry special backup batteries for just one piece of equipment.
     
  6. Flying Dutchman

    Flying Dutchman Loaded Pockets

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the convenience & ease of access is there with AA/AAA. The performance is there with CR123. Same can be said for most any product on the market. There is always a premium product that costs more, but has its stipulations as well.
     
  7. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Theres also quite a few lights that can use the best of both worlds (random example)

    Like said earlier, when storing for prolonged periods, using under cold temperatures or when you just need massive output from your light go with CR123s. If you need cheap easy accessible cells, go alkaline. However, if you decide to go rechargeable the regular available batteries (NiMH chem) lowers the useable voltage even more (1.2v) so in that case it might be worth it to start using RCR123's (3.7v nom) because thats one of the nicest voltages you can get from a cell with a friendly size as long as your device can handle this high voltage!
     
  8. tonester

    tonester Loaded Pockets

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    I carry both a cr123 light as my main and a marratac aaa as my backup. I definitely think its always good to have best of both worlds. But the cr123 does out perform the AA. Heres a list of some benefits for me at least.

    - more compact
    - less weight
    - more output(brighter)
    - longer runs times
    - longer shelf life

    So it is worth it to me to pay a little extra for a premium battery cell. I would use the example the AA is like a Toyota Camry, dependable but not high in performance, then the cr123 is like a porsche, more compact and more performance.

    And like I said before if you shop around its not hard to find great deals on cr123's.
     
  9. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    You have to remember the fact cr123a power lights are originated from days of incandescent bulbs where 99.9% are direct driven, and a time when it's either cr123a or alkaline/crappy Nimh AA, so the higher voltage and discharge current makes a much brighter light.

    Even now it offers many benefits that's mentioned above, and for us folks living in the north, the only thing that'll keep working after mercury dips below freezing.
     
  10. Six String

    Six String Loaded Pockets

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    You can buy CR23s in bulk from such vendors as Battery Junction for about $1 each. And for real performance, consider 18650s in rechargeable form.
     
  11. R1-Dave

    R1-Dave Loaded Pockets

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    +1 to what most of the others have said. I get Surefire 123's in bulk for cheap. I also have Tenergy rechargeable 123's. They work great and are fairly cheap.
     
  12. Dizos

    Dizos Loaded Pockets

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    Many of us have way more than just one flashlight. I, for example, have a headlamp, an EDC pocket flashlight, a high power thrower and various utility lights. Then my wife also has a few flashlights. The advantage of lithium cells over alkaline are discussed above and bulk CR123's are actually cheaper than lithium AA or AAA's. Stocking AA's, AAA's and CR123's is not a problem for me.
     
  13. peichor

    peichor Loaded Pockets

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    I think you have to look at it a different way. Are you the kind of person that needs instant access to a battery from a gas store, cause your light just died. Or are you the type of person that is usually over prepared. Surefire CR123 batteries have a 10 year shelf life, and I have tested this claim. Purchased online, in bulk, for me these are much better deal than AA 's. Like already said smaller, brighter, last longer, full voltage discharge output untilled dead, no gradually dimmers, long shelf life. AA 's cost less now, but if you look at how many more you buy for the same running time, it's no contest. I keep a few at home and in my pack. Never an issue. There's a real reason LEO and military use these and not AA 's.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk
     
  14. Riggs

    Riggs Loaded Pockets

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    As this thread is already here (sorry if i highjack) can someone give me some info on CR2 batteries? are they related to CR123's? i'm only asking because i'm currently awaiting a CR2 powered light and working my way through a bottle of jack, and quite frankly cant be bothered to look it up lol.

    Peace and happy new year to all!!
     
  15. Lightnig

    Lightnig Loaded Pockets

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    Wasn't that long ago I could get a 12 pack of Surefire or Streamlight 123's locally for $2.00 each (Canadian), but that recently went up to $2.50 each.

    But, I did find that they also sell bulk lots of the Surefires, price is back down to $2.00 a cell, Unfortunately, I'd have to buy the entire lot of 400 Cells to get that price... :eek:
     
  16. CheepSteal

    CheepSteal Loaded Pockets

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    When comparing CR123A primary lithiums to alkaline AA cells, CR123A wins in every aspect (in higher output devices) except price point. (ie. Alkaline AA's a cheaper)
    When comparing CR123A lithium primaries to AA lithium primaries, the AA lithium cells equal CR123A in most respects except mainly in the 'size/weight:power' ratio. But, keep in mind that AA lithium primaries generally price higher than CR123A per cell.

    Disregarding any debate about rechargeable solutions, the bottom line seems to be:
    CR123A is a better cell than AA for occupations where size/weight is limited and you need for things to be bright, working and compact.
     
  17. Gnarly
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gnarly Loaded Pockets

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    AFAIK, the only negative about RCR123A's is: they don't ever grow up to become 18650's! which have a serious 'gas tank'.

    18650's & RCR 123A's are my absolute favorite....if I didn't own a few ZL's that still use AA's, I'd be outta the AA business.
     
  18. ckc123

    ckc123 Loaded Pockets

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    Don't forget that there are rechargeable Li-ion versions of most standard alkiline batteries.

    14500 ( 3.7V x 750mAh-900mAh) = AA (1.5V x 1800-2700 mAh)
    16340 (RCR123a) (3.7V x 1000 mAh) = CR123a (3Vx1500 mAh)
    18650 (3.7V x 2500mAh -3000mAh) = 2 X 16340 (2xRCR123a)
    10440 (3.7V 500mAh) = AAA (1.5V x 1000-1200 mAh)

    CR123A - 3.0v * 1.5Ah = 4.50Wh
    AA - 1.5v * 2.7Ah = 4.05Wh

    There is a slight advantage of a CR123 over a AA, but the price/availability is not worth it.

    There are other advantages that a CR123 battery has over alkaline cells: capacity, discharge curve, operating temperature, and shelf life.

    Most rechargable Li-ion batteries are 4.2V right off the charger which can be a problem is the device you are putting them in are not designed for the higher voltages.

    Some versions of the Li-ion come in "protected" and "unprotected" modes.. where the battery has a circuit board which will protect it from high drain, shorts, and running it too low.(but this reduces the mAh as the space is used up in the same form factor)

    The reason CR123/CR2 batteries are so expensive is that they were originally designed for high end camera's like SLRs. and where only used in small amount 2 at a time etc. Not popular and not a high demand.. They eventually started to be used in flashlights which got them to be more popular, but there was not a matching drop in price.

    if you are looking for use in a flashlight, check out the Li-Ion batteries which are rechargeable.. a lot cheaper to run.. Also. a lot of flashlights that take the 10440 and 14500 also can take the regular alkaline so you get the benefits of starting with a higher voltage Li-ion, but can put in regular easy to find batteries if you run dry.

    For EDC. the 10440's dont' last that long on a bright flashlight (eg 200+ lumens and a 10440, only last about 10 mins..)
     
  19. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    That's way too high. Alkaline won't have nearly that much ah, and Nimh won't have the voltage. Even then any Nimh with 2700mAH are those craps that lose half the charge after a day. Best case scenario eneloop 1.2v * 2000 mAH = 2.4 WH.
     
  20. tinker gnome
    • In Omnia Paratus

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    Happy new year to all!

    Riggs, consider the CR2 the small brother of the CR123, just as an AAA is the smaller brother of an AA battery. So CR2 and Cr123 use the same chemistry (lithium primary cell), but the CR2 has a lesser capacity. There are also lithium-ion rechargeable versions of the CR2, called RCR2 or 15266. More info here in post#1.

    Hth

    Best regards,

    Wolfgang