Author Topic: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly  (Read 57901 times)

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #120 on: March 18, 2016, 07:15:33 PM »
Here's how I'm re-wrapping my cells and adding a couple extra layers of protection.



The cell on the far left is the original Orbtronic 3400mAh cell that is based on the Panasonic NCR18650B, which looks like the cell next to it once the wrapper is removed.  Notice the bare positive lead going down the side of the cell, although it can be a bit hard to see with the glare off the highly polished Panasonic canister.  The cell laying on its side shows the layer of Kapton tape (prior to trimming the excess hanging off the positive end) I placed over the positive lead strip, which also overlaps the thinner strip of Kapton underneath and protects more of the negatively charged canister on either side.  I feel much better having the positive lead strip securely fastened down with the Kapton and less likely to get snagged or broken if the outer wrap is compromised.  The Kapton is resistant to soldering heat, unlike the PVC, which cracks and melts at relatively low temps.  Some care is needed when shrinking the PVC so that you don't apply too much heat for too long, it doesn't behave like typical electrical shrink tubing and changes shape almost immediately, conforming around the cell with just a few seconds of low heat.

After applying the Kapton tape, I then shrink a precut red PVC wrapper around the cell, reattach the Orbtronic label and a custom-made one from my label printer that lists the underlying cell, date of purchase, and number.  A clear PVC wrapper is then shrunk over the red wrapper and labels, providing an extra layer of protection. You can see the clear wrapper being slipped onto the middle cell, with the final product standing next to it on the right.  The cell just fits into the narrowest of my lights with this many layers. 

The blue cells are similarly wrapped Orbtronic 3500mAh and the color change really helps to differentiate between the two Orbs, as well as the other black wrapped brands.  The replacement wrappers are almost as tough as the original ones from Orbtronic and I can find no difference between the three different brands I've purchased, even the colors are identical.  The precut versions are more convenient and fit the protected length cells perfectly.  Given how many of my cells suffered damage in normal use, I think it's probably a good idea to have some extra wrap on hand to protect against freaky short circuit events where the negatively charged canister could contact positively charged cell components.  If there's a tear in the original wrap, it just makes sense to replace it immediately and not take any chances.

Offline Greekman

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #121 on: April 29, 2016, 08:29:19 AM »
Just saw that..nice work!
yuo bring a new meaning to stripping

Offline StockDog

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #122 on: May 17, 2016, 06:27:37 AM »
Thanks for the info. 

I'm converting over to rechargeable so.  I am also converting some lights over to led power and some of the 16xx series batteries. 

Ultimately I want to have batteries on charge in all vehicles and all floors of the house. 

Offline Greekman

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #123 on: May 17, 2016, 09:43:46 AM »
freelancer, i just noticed that you double shrink.
Doesn't this amke them too thick for some devices.
(though the aftermarket transparent wraped cells can also be considered double wrapped)
what is your sleeves thickness? I know the transparent is the thicker of them all, but what about th red one compared to the original manufacturers shrinkwrap?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #124 on: May 17, 2016, 12:16:42 PM »
freelancer, i just noticed that you double shrink.
Doesn't this amke them too thick for some devices.
(though the aftermarket transparent wraped cells can also be considered double wrapped)
what is your sleeves thickness? I know the transparent is the thicker of them all, but what about th red one compared to the original manufacturers shrinkwrap?

What I did is overkill on multiple levels, and I didn't do all of them that way. All my devices fit the Orbtronics wrapped per my pictures above, some just barely, though. If necessary I can slice off the outer clear wrap and still have a safely covered cell. The original wrap from Orbtronics is a tiny bit thicker than the wraps I've found. While I haven't measured, the clear pvc wrap shown in the picture above is roughly the same thickness as the colored wraps, as near as I can tell.

There is a thick and pliable clear wrap that I tried that is mostly unusable in lights, which was disappointing, given how much extra durability it afforded. For some custom applications it would be superb.

In the future, for applications where I need to minimize thickness, I will consider extending the layer of Kapton tape over the positive lead strip around the entire cylinder, skipping the labels, and using a single PVC wrap over that. Kapton is really thin, but it's apparently not great at resisting abrasion, plus it's expensive and requires a lot more effort to apply and trim.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #125 on: January 28, 2017, 03:47:50 AM »
It's been awhile and most of the tested cells have found new homes with family members.  I kept the Orbtronic 35 cells and added to the Orbtronic 34's to get to a total of 12 cells, with the only other protected cells I kept being the EagTac 35s.  Of the non-protected cells that were tested, I still have a couple NCR18650B's, the MJ1's, as well as the salvaged Sony VT and generic Black cells.  I use the EagTacs the most in EDC lights, and the Orb34's live in the three cell holders of a big Fenix light that doesn't get used much.  All the protected cells have been charged at least once since testing, but all have sat for at least 6 months, some almost a year, since last charged.

Carl's Tenergy D-cell thread woke me from my stupor this week and I've been pulling NiMH cells from every nook and cranny, checking them with a ZTS MBT-1 pulse load tester (a very handy tool that I wish I'd purchased years ago), and then throwing them on an appropriate charger.  For all but the Eneloop AA's and the Centura D's, the rate of self discharge was severe, with some of the D's so deeply discharged that they wouldn't register on the ZTS.  The Eneloops and Centuras were in the 60-80% range. 

Then I had a horrible thought.  What's happened to all those 18650's over the last 6-9 months, how badly have they self-discharged?  Turns out, nothing happened to them.  They're all registering 100% on the ZTS (and yes, I did test them on the correct 18650 circuit), except for two cells that were 60%.  One was the #3 Orb34, while it's remaining 11 flashlight mates were all 100%.  I threw them on the charger and they registered 4.05 - 4.10V, except for the 60% cell, which was 3.65V but charged normally.  The only other low cell was the #5 Sony VT, which was a bad cell from the beginning of testing, so no big surprise.  I don't know why the one Orbtronic drifted so low compared to the others.  Maybe I got mixed up during the last charge session and it didn't actually get on the charger, who knows.  Looking at the data, it has not been a problem cell, so we'll just have to wait and see how things go.

Not having any long-term experience with these cells, I was expecting to see at least something along the lines of Eneloop rates of self-discharge for some of these cells, and I certainly was not expecting to see 100% state of charge ZTS test results across all brands and types.  Is that what other people are getting with their 18650's?  Can you really charge an 18650 cell, stick it in a light, leave it in a car for two years and still have better than 50% state of charge?  It just seems too good to be true.

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #126 on: January 28, 2017, 04:22:37 AM »
Great information FLancer,I have found older low name or no name (with fire in the name usually) cells often lose capacity
while on the shelf and usually relegate them to devices I use every day like flashlights and solar charged walkway lights to 'milk'
what life I can out of them. I do buy SANYO ,EFEST,TENERGY,PANASONIC with little worry and ,for now,use price to deside which cell I buy
as capacity is often over inflated and any between 2200 and 3200 MAH are acceptable for my needs.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #127 on: January 28, 2017, 07:58:22 AM »
Good stuff FL.  Thanks for the update.

Can you really charge an 18650 cell, stick it in a light, leave it in a car for two years and still have better than 50% state of charge?  It just seems too good to be true.
Yes it does seem too good to be true, but I tend to believe your results.  Just looked at the 4 LED "remaining power meter" on a jump pack that I last charged about 6 months ago, and it read 3-of-4.  Will try to give is a more extensive test later this weekend.

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #128 on: January 28, 2017, 11:06:09 AM »
Fantastic info so far, 18650's are great batteries. I use unprotected cells because I get them free. I use old laptop batteries and tear them down for the cells inside. I've been using these cells for over 10 years and they are still holding up.

Dangers of unprotected 18650 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzEHsJVZhA 4.5 minutes long and features Freelancer's favorite brand of battery, The Ultrafire.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #129 on: January 28, 2017, 05:59:03 PM »
OK, I have read this entire thread off an on over the months, but I am not a battery nerd or even "tourist". FreeLancer, can you give a top three brand/model rating for recommended buys?  It seems the Orbtronics or Panasonics are pretty sound?  I get confused with the capacity ratings, construction pros/cons, heat ratings, etc.  I'm willing to pay for good, durable batteries that perform.  What do you recommend?  Do they all need to be re-wrapped?

Thanks a bunch for all your analysis and photos.  I wish I could sort it all out on my own but of you have a tip sheet that would be a great help.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #130 on: January 28, 2017, 07:36:17 PM »
OK, I have read this entire thread off an on over the months, but I am not a battery nerd or even "tourist". FreeLancer, can you give a top three brand/model rating for recommended buys?  It seems the Orbtronics or Panasonics are pretty sound?  I get confused with the capacity ratings, construction pros/cons, heat ratings, etc.  I'm willing to pay for good, durable batteries that perform.  What do you recommend?  Do they all need to be re-wrapped?

Thanks a bunch for all your analysis and photos.  I wish I could sort it all out on my own but of you have a tip sheet that would be a great help.

No problem.


My safe and simple recommendation for the typical new user (LED lights, not vaping) would be to go to Orbtronic's website and buy a couple Orb34's, which is what I call their protected 3400mah Panasonic NCR18650B cells, and the excellent little XTAR VP2 charger

The default charge setting on the VP2 is 0.25A, which minimizes heat generation in the cell for both safety and longevity.  Personally, I only use the XTAR VP2 or VP4 chargers, as they are the only one's I've found that charge at 0.25A.  I would love an 8 slot charger capable of 0.25A, but I haven't found one.  A nice bonus with the VP2 is the ability to power a USB device from an 18650 cell in off grid situations.  The VP4 does not have this USB feature, so I think it's a probably a better second charger to acquire when you need more cell capacity later on. 

Don't worry about re-wrapping the Orbtronic cells, they are perfectly safe and durable just as they are.  I did it because I removed the original wrapping to see what was hiding underneath, and then I made the decision to go belt and suspenders in regards to safety when re-wrapping them.  In my case, it also helps me differentiate between the very similar looking Orb 34 and Orb35 cells.

That's what I would do if I was starting from scratch again. 

The other chargers I used for this testing are not bad, but I think the VP series chargers from XTAR are better.  Any of the other protected cells based on the NCR18650B cells are not bad, and you shouldn't turn them down if they fall into your lap, but the Orbtronics perform better and are typically cheaper.  I was skeptical of Orbtonics at first, but the entire experience with multiple purchases has been first rate.

In my opinion, quality protected 18650 cells combined with good chargers are impressive in both performance and safety.  I wish everything I own that takes more than 2 AA cells, or the big C or D cell devices, could run off them.

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #131 on: January 28, 2017, 08:29:09 PM »
I agree, Xtar makes good chargers. I have the MC2 and VC2. I also have a Thrunite MCC-4

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #132 on: January 29, 2017, 12:45:16 AM »
Ah, excellent summary FreeLancer.  You rock-- this is fantastic information!

So far I just have a couple of LED lights that take one or two of these batteries.  But they seem like much better for anything over 2 AA size.  I've been reading the thread on the Ham forum here about what you guys are doing to fab 12v battery packs out of these.  That would be super handy for less than car battery size needs.

Thanks to all who have helped push ideas out there and the many hours and dollars FL put into this effort and shared.  I wish I could hit a +10 good post button.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #133 on: January 29, 2017, 12:48:44 AM »
Fantastic info so far, 18650's are great batteries. I use unprotected cells because I get them free. I use old laptop batteries and tear them down for the cells inside. I've been using these cells for over 10 years and they are still holding up.

Dangers of unprotected 18650 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzEHsJVZhA 4.5 minutes long and features Freelancer's favorite brand of battery, The Ultrafire.

Are you talking about laptops that are not working and you salvage workable batteries?  Or, do you mean laptop batteries that have "died" but by disassembling the pack you are able to bring one or more cells back to life?  If the latter, then the same thing be done with cordless tool batteries, can they be broken down and brought back to working condition with the right charger or something?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #134 on: January 29, 2017, 02:39:12 AM »
then the same thing be done with cordless tool batteries, can they be broken down and brought back to working condition with the right charger or something?

In my testing, the batteries that are listed as Sony VT or VT3 came from Makita battery packs that were rejected by the charger due to a single cell being faulty, so I disassembled them and they seem to work great.  The same thing with the Black cells in my data, those came from a USB pack that had a broken switch and all work fine.  Be very careful taking the packs apart, though.  These cells have so much power that can be released almost instantaneously, so plan the process out ahead of time so you don't short anything out while taking everything apart.

I've used these recovered cells bare in several single cell flashlights and have been unable to discharge them below the minimum voltage that might damage the cell, or cause recharge problems, so I think it's probably ok to do that in that application.  I would not run salvaged unprotected cells in two or more cell lights because I have been able to under-volt one of the cells below the minimum, while the other cell remained ok, which might possibly ruin the cell or cause issues during charging.  So any lights using more than one cell should probably be protected.

Although, the XTAR VP2 is able to safely trickle a severely under-voltaged cell back to some level of reasonable health, which I did successfully with one of the Sony's from the Makita pack, so that's another nice feature of that charger that may allow you to get some use out of salvaged cells you might otherwise discard.  When one of my Makita packs shows the first sign of flaking out on me again, I'm going to try to isolate the bad cell while it's still in the pack and see if I can resurrect it before the safety switch gets flipped and the charger won't attempt to charge it anymore.

From his pictures, it looks like Roknrandy has quite a variety of cells, including what look like a bunch of Sony's, so he probably has some tricks up his sleeve, too.  Those Sony's are great for high current applications, not so much for large capacity, but really a great cell when you need that kind of power.

Offline Greekman

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #135 on: January 29, 2017, 02:18:58 PM »
Are you talking about laptops that are not working and you salvage workable batteries?  Or, do you mean laptop batteries that have "died" but by disassembling the pack you are able to bring one or more cells back to life?  If the latter, then the same thing be done with cordless tool batteries, can they be broken down and brought back to working condition with the right charger or something?

see this...
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?246699-Tutorial-Laptop-Battery-Pack-18650-Extraction

somewhere in there there is info of the evaluation of the extracted cells.

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?246699-Tutorial-Laptop-Battery-Pack-18650-Extraction&p=3138924&viewfull=1#post3138924

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #136 on: January 29, 2017, 07:10:43 PM »
Great post Greekman! That's exactly how I do it. I still have 25 or 30 battery packs laying around I eventually need to tear down and add the batteries into my collection.

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #137 on: January 30, 2017, 01:27:30 PM »
I bought a dozen orbtronics after the first part of this review and leaned on them heavily for my 430 mile hike this summer for cell phone charging. I was never disappointed in performance, only in the fact that I lost a couple batteries and charger on the hike. Somebody else I'm sure was thrilled at the trail magic.

One odd discovery is how quickly these are killed in super cold temperatures. When I put my dogs out after dark to take care of business I use a 600 lumen single 18650 light to give them some light. I set it on a fence post and when it's below 5f, in five minutes the light will be very dim and in ten minutes it'll be out. Once it warms back up, it's fine, but they don't like the cold temperatures despite all the heat the led itself produces.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #138 on: June 30, 2017, 09:58:20 PM »
No problem.


My safe and simple recommendation for the typical new user (LED lights, not vaping) would be to go to Orbtronic's website and buy a couple Orb34's, which is what I call their protected 3400mah Panasonic NCR18650B cells, and the excellent little XTAR VP2 charger

The default charge setting on the VP2 is 0.25A, which minimizes heat generation in the cell for both safety and longevity.  Personally, I only use the XTAR VP2 or VP4 chargers, as they are the only one's I've found that charge at 0.25A.  I would love an 8 slot charger capable of 0.25A, but I haven't found one.  A nice bonus with the VP2 is the ability to power a USB device from an 18650 cell in off grid situations.  The VP4 does not have this USB feature, so I think it's a probably a better second charger to acquire when you need more cell capacity later on. 

Don't worry about re-wrapping the Orbtronic cells, they are perfectly safe and durable just as they are.  I did it because I removed the original wrapping to see what was hiding underneath, and then I made the decision to go belt and suspenders in regards to safety when re-wrapping them.  In my case, it also helps me differentiate between the very similar looking Orb 34 and Orb35 cells.

That's what I would do if I was starting from scratch again. 

The other chargers I used for this testing are not bad, but I think the VP series chargers from XTAR are better.  Any of the other protected cells based on the NCR18650B cells are not bad, and you shouldn't turn them down if they fall into your lap, but the Orbtronics perform better and are typically cheaper.  I was skeptical of Orbtonics at first, but the entire experience with multiple purchases has been first rate.

In my opinion, quality protected 18650 cells combined with good chargers are impressive in both performance and safety.  I wish everything I own that takes more than 2 AA cells, or the big C or D cell devices, could run off them.

I've taken your advice based on all the testing you did and so far am amazed with the 18650s.  I have bought all Orbtronic 3400 protected cells, but am thinking to start getting the 3500 high drain ones for future purchases.  Combined with various Fenix flashlights/headlamps this makes for a very powerful combination.  I was so sick of headlamps that start to go dim after 2 hours.  I should be able to run the HL60 headlamp at a midlevel setting equal to the highest on my AA/AAA headlamps and have it last 10 hours instead of 1-2 hrs.  I've only run it almost 4 hours so far and not a flicker of weakening.

If I come across anymore battery packs I will try to recover some of these but relegate them to non-critical chores and experimenting.  I can't believe how many packs I have given away/recycled in the past not knowing there were likely useable/recoverable cells inside!  For critical tasks like work or emergency I want a known power source like the Orbtronic, but for casual use it would be great to score some free ones even if most likely much less capacity.  Thanks for all your detailed testing and write-ups.  I am glad I gave the 18650 a go and plan to concentrate on just these and Enloop AA for all my radios, lights, and other devices as much as possible.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #139 on: October 18, 2017, 01:23:09 AM »
One was the #3 Orb34, while it's remaining 11 flashlight mates were all 100%. 

I don't know why the one Orbtronic drifted so low compared to the others.  Maybe I got mixed up during the last charge session and it didn't actually get on the charger, who knows.  Looking at the data, it has not been a problem cell, so we'll just have to wait and see how things go.

It's been 9 months since last charged and I pulled those same 12 cells and tested them on the ZTS.  All were 100%, except for #3 again, so there's obviously something faulty and I need to take it out of front line duties.  The voltage plummeted to 1.6V and wouldn't even register on the ZTS, but the VP2 revived it.


My NiMH D cells didn't fair well, again.  Half the Tenergy cells discharged lower than 0.25V, the same with the Powerex.  The Centura low self-discharge cells did great, hitting 80% on the ZTS tester.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #140 on: January 26, 2018, 11:21:44 PM »
I’m up in Oregon at my mom’s place and spent a good chunk of the day changing out batteries in clocks and flashlights and sorting through her battery box. I forgot that I’d given my brother a light with 5 cells and the Foxnovo charger to leave at her house. She’s been using the light fairly frequently in short bursts for two years and noticed it seemed dim lately. I pulled the cell out and discovered it was one of the cheapo Lingsfire cells of unknown provenance, stuck it on the charger and got a reading of 3.6v. Another 4 cells were in a box and all still had voltages above 4v and two were topped off in about 5 minutes and the others took 30 minutes.  The 3.6v took a few hours, obviously, but I’m seriously impressed that any rechargeable cell could have faired so well after 2+ years sitting in a box.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #141 on: January 28, 2018, 05:48:39 AM »
I've been running mostly 18650 based LEDs for a while now (all Orbtronics in the cycle though I have some unprotected Panasonics in reserve).  Haven't had an issue with any of them and they all seem to last forever.  I have about 8 lights and 24 batteries. I am so used to AAA and AA lights needing to have batteries replaced frequently that the 18650s are amazing.  I never heard about them until you started this thread. Thanks for the inspiration.

I still use Eneloop AA and AAA for some non-critical LEDs and they perform well, but obviously not in the same class as the 18650.

Offline Greekman

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #142 on: January 28, 2018, 06:16:42 AM »
FreeLancer,
your data shows a 10% loss per year, which is double what the Good cells do.
Thus we are talking about even greater shelftime!

BTW you did good job with your mother's light. Wish I could persuade my father to go away from the 3AAA cheapie and go to the 2AA Lithiums I gave him.

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #143 on: January 30, 2018, 01:21:09 AM »
BTW you did good job with your mother's light. Wish I could persuade my father to go away from the 3AAA cheapie and go to the 2AA Lithiums I gave him.

I drove to the coast to my dad’s today and spent most of the time upgrading his old computers to SSDs, which is always a kind of mind blowing experience the first time you reboot, but I digress.  Anyways, at one point I needed a headlamp to peer into a crevice and he pulled out his cache of cheapo 3AAA lights and went through three of them before he found one that hadn’t corroded.

On the bright side, wicked step mother rolled up with the super bright EagTac that was in the box of lights and 18650s I’d had my brother drop off with them a couple years ago. I really liked that light, but it was too bright and too hot, so I decided to keep its dimmer siblings for EDC duty, instead. 

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #144 on: January 30, 2018, 04:29:02 AM »
  I also have had that problem as about the only 'work' one can do with most of these lithium powered lights is peeling paint and exploding moths.

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #145 on: January 30, 2018, 05:32:56 AM »
  I also have had that problem as about the only 'work' one can do with most of these lithium powered lights is peeling paint and exploding moths.

Don't most 18650 lights have 4-5 brightness levels?  I have all Fenix, but what I've seen of NiteCore and Olight and EagTac it seems they all have levels of lumens (except for the very small AAA).  Mine are all max rated at 900-1,000 lumens but most of my work is done with 150 or sometimes 350-400 lumens. Although they have very low starting level at 5-10 lumens, if I only need that then I rarely pull out the 18650s and just use my pocket AA light.

I did use the 900 lumen level recently when my grandsons bottle rocket school experiment ran into the dark hours.  We needed every bit of light possible to watch the trajectory and locate the corks 50 ft or more away.  Of course there was rain as well which seem to soak up the light like a black hole.

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Re: 18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly
« Reply #146 on: January 30, 2018, 06:04:54 AM »
  I am sure some do but I am not going to pay $50 to $100 or more for a flashlight and I only get the $10 to $20 lights and very rarely over $20 so the option for a close quarters light is to opt for much smaller single AA or AAA lights for when I need hands on work ,rather than paint peeling power. I find that headlamps that include a 10 Lumen of so level best for work and 300 Lumens for walking in dark areas or lighting up the back yard for my dog who is scared of the dark.