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

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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.

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.

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.


--- Quote from: Greekman on January 28, 2018, 06:16:42 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.

--- End quote ---

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. 

  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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