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18650 Lithium Cell Recommendations: The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Smurf Hunter:
I have a bunch of random "fire" cells.  This is excellent data to have, as I have many 18650 lights around the house.

Same constant 10W discharge test as before, from full charge to 2.8V.  The NiteCores were charged on that same brand's D4 charger at 375mA.

NiteCore NL189  $37/pair    3400mAh    47g

Test Result: Cell #1 - 2.87Ah    Cell #2 - 2.78Ah    Cell #3 - 2.77Ah    Cell #4 - 2.76Ah    Cell #5 - 2.77Ah    Cell #6 - 2.77Ah    Cell #7 - 2.77Ah    Cell #8 - 2.81Ah    82% stated capacity    $6.64/Ah

I'm a little bummed about these results.  They cost a bit more than the Olights but do not perform as well.  Like the Olights, the NiteCore discharge curves are plastered one over the top of the other, so it appears that the company does an excellent job of ensuring consistency.  The first 4 cells are 11 months old, the rest are 6 months old, yet the performance is virtually identical.  Cell #1 had a curve that was identical to all the others, but stretched out that last little bit to get more capacity than the main pack.  Cell #7 had a voltage curve that was slightly below the rest, but then stretched enough at the end to finish with the same capacity as the rest of the pack.

While not as egregious as in the case of the EagTac35s, I do feel a bit ripped off by the $18+ NiteCores when compared to the Eastshine's performance, although most of my 8 cells were discounted by $2-3 by being purchased with either a NiteCore light or charger.  I think buying these cells as part of a bundle is really the only way it makes any sense.  They're certainly solid performers, but there's at least one brand that's better and significantly cheaper.  For me, all my 8 Nitecore cells will be staying in the Fenix TK75, as they're well matched to each other and provide a spectacular run-time in that configuration.

I'm very curious to see how the Orbtronics stack up against my benchmark NiteCores, as they're both cheaper and lighter, but seem to have a better web reputation.

TangsFire  $16 per 4 cells    3600mAh 

So....when this shipment arrived I was a little surprised to discover 4 LingsFire cells, not the TangsFire shown on my Amazon order.  All were exactly like the previous two LingsFires, so I decided to retest all 6 together, especially once I realized that the I'd stopped the previous Lingsfire's at 3V, instead of the the 2.8V.  Also, I mixed up cell one and two's data on the first test, so I'm just going to do it all over for all of them.  As far as price goes, the TangsFires were cheaper per cell than the LingsFires, but I have no way of knowing whether it was a mistake that I received these, instead of the Tangs, or what.  They both sound like something you'd catch in a Shanghai whorehouse and I'm not that interested in having either one to begin with, so I'm not going to pursue it further.

LingsFire  $4-6/cell    3600mAh    44g 

Test Result: Cell #1 - 2.13Ah    Cell #2 - 2.04Ah    Cell #3 - 2.07Ah    Cell #4 - 2.07Ah    Cell #5 - 2.15Ah    Cell #6 - 1.98Ah    58% stated capacity    $2.26/Ah

After tripling the sample size, the performance of these turned out to be more consistent than I was expecting.  Not great, but probably not a horrible choice for the money, either.  For this test, I charged all of them in my FoxNovo charger at 500mA, but then topped them all off for about 20 min prior to testing on my XTAR VP2 at 250mA.  Maybe that made a difference, but with changing the termination voltage from 3.0 to 2.8, in addition to the charging method, it's hard to differentiate.  But I'm curious and will be testing the better cells on the XTAR to see if their performance changes in relation to the D4 charger's results.

I'm running the EagleTac 3400s now, then the Simon and Orbtronics tomorrow.  Very, very curious to see how the Orbs do.

The Simon and Orbtronics are not not disappointing, but too early to tell which is superior and whether the extra cost over the heavier Eastshines is justified.  Can't wait to get home and finish testing.


--- Quote from: FreeLancer on January 06, 2016, 11:08:20 AM ---The Simon and Orbtronics are not not disappointing, but too early to tell which is superior and whether the extra cost over the heavier Eastshines is justified.  Can't wait to get home and finish testing.

--- End quote ---
You are such a geek.   ;)


--- Quote from: Endurance on January 06, 2016, 02:03:09 PM ---You are such a geek.   ;)

--- End quote ---

Takes one to know one.  ;)


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