Trustfire Flames letting me down.

36 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio
Trustfire Flames letting me down.

Im still new to flashlights and especially Li-Ion cells so im kinda confused about this.

A few days back i got an order from DX and one of the 14500 TF Flames came reading 0.00v and within 20 minutes later i found one of my 18650 Flames reading 0.00v also. I know the 18650 hadn't been used more than once or twice and never over discharged. So i hit both with some voltage in a charger and they came to life.

Today i test the 18650 on my Hyperion 720i and it wont hold no more than 250mAH, I cycle it 5 times at .5 amps with no luck in reviving it. I then got to test out my newly fixed light i put a new driver and emitter in and it doesn't fire with 2x 14500 cells. I test the cells and it was the one DX sent me that was at 0v was again non responsive. I may cycle it tonight a few times if you think this will help?

Can it be the protection circuits kicking in and cutting the cell off? I can remove that and try it unprotected.

I have a good amount of Panasonic 18650 2400mAH cells i got from a guy here that are great, So im not to worried about those. But what would be a good replacement quality and price wise compared to the TF Flame cells? $5 a cell isnt bad, $15 a cell is horrible imo. But i may be able to get some good prices on 14500's of higher quality and not such a high price since that cell is usually alot cheaper.

So any suggestions from the China connections on replacement cells? Or if i want higher quality will it have to be the AW's , EX Cells, KalliesCustoms? 

 

Edited by: DasFriek on 07/08/2011 - 22:36
pounder
pounder's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 01/20/2011 - 16:43
Posts: 1788
Location: Ontario

sounds like a bad cell ( s ) to me..i've had TF grey's do this to me..never the flames though..charge it up and put a muti meter on it..check voltage every 2-3 seconds..if it drops consistantly from 4.2v all the way to 3v then 0v it is a bad cell that will not hold a charge..get rid of it immediately..with Chinese QC you never know what's going to happen..this is a major concern with low cost cells..

2100
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 05/28/2011 - 10:28
Posts: 4512
Location: SINGAPORE

I just got a pair of 14500 last week TF Flames, also from DX.  No issue, its good on both low powered Q5 and high powered XM-Ls at 1.7A.

Perhaps can try the bestinone.net IMR 14500s.  600mAH and it was tested to be very close to that so capacity's great, performs well naturally since its LiMn so you can suck any amount of current from it safely.  Really cheap too, 7.80/pr shipped with registered mail.

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3366
Location: Land of Oz

Protection circuit may have tripped ...

Toss it in the charger and see if the light goes red [ charge cycle ] , might take a few tries ...

After light goes red check voltage ..  If bellow 3v you can charge but monitor the cell for signs of heat , if it gets hotter than mildly warm , the cell may be damaged ..  

You can let it cool , and try again , some times the cells come good  ..  

Lower current charging is better in such circumstances , as higher current may make the cell warm [ false alarm as far as a damaged cell may be concerned ]  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Im gonna hit them with my Pila charger and see how that goes and do a discharge on the Hyperion. The Pila brought them back from 0.00v the last time, But it didnt last long before they started this last round of issues.

Last resort ill pull the PCB off both and try them unprotected. 

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3366
Location: Land of Oz

Faulty Protection Circuit ?  or bad cells ?  

 

This is sounding interesting ..  From DX you say .   Hmmm , have the bad TF cells reached DX ?  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Zeros
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 5 days ago
Joined: 07/07/2011 - 15:31
Posts: 76
Location: Philadelphia, PA

I take it that this is not common for TF flames?  Are they the best recommended batteries?

Volk
Volk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 03/07/2011 - 20:21
Posts: 264
Location: Sweden

I bought a pair of TF Flames 18650 from KD a couple of months ago. One of them arrived reading 0 volt but took charge without a problem, probably just a tripped protection circuit I thought. But when I tested it about a week later it read 0 volt again and it had just been laying on the shelf. I tried to cycle it a few times but I couldn't make it hold a charge.

The other cell works but it only delivers 1,5 amps to my XM-L light while my green unprotected UltraFire and my AW 2900 delivers 2,5 amps. The cells looks the same as the pictures on DX so I guess they are "genuine". Genuine crap cells...

 

From now on I will only buy quality cells such as AW and XTAR 2600.

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Ive not been into the flashlight hobby long enough to test the longevity of anything, But these two different TF Flames are the first items ive had die for no reason.

I just pulled out the Fluke meter as i put both cells in my Pila charger last night with hopes it may have some magic it could work.

Flame 18650: I charged to 4.2v and is now down to 4.13v and im pretty sure it wont hold any capacity once i run a discharge cycle on my Hyperion. Most likely this cell is toast as last tested showed it at 250mAH capacity.

Flame 14500: Was also put on the Pila and it came back to life once it was hit with juice, But is back too 0.00v this morning. Ill be removing the PCB protection on this cell to try and revive it.

On a side note, The 14500 cells that came in this last order earlier this week are much larger cells than the first ones i got. But i think those came from Ebay.

Ill slowly be replacing these Flame cells with higher quality ones when i can. I have a bunch of Panasonic 18650 cells so im ok on them, But i only have Flame 14500's. Im really disappointed as from what ive found while researching the web that the Flames were the highest quality Chinese cells available.

bushytails
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/11/2011 - 21:53
Posts: 167

I have six trustfire flames, 4 14500s and 2 18650s, all work the best of all the cells I've tried... 

Could be you got defective cells (quality control is often lacking), or maybe they sat on the shelf for too long and self-discharged too far, hence reading 0.0 on arrival.

If you just got them, report to DX that they're defective, and they'll get another pair in the mail, probably within a few days.

--Bushytails

E1320
E1320's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 03/30/2011 - 05:26
Posts: 3369
Location: New Hampshire

I have over 40 18650 Trustfire Flames all from DX I have only had 3 out of those with problem. I got a two of the bad protection circuit ones they work fine as long as you don't pull more than one amp and one with a cooked protection circuit that I took off and it works fine. I got 2 unprotected ones from Manafont that deliver 4.5amps to my UF980L.  I have about a dozen of the Trustfire flame 16340s from DX only one DOA that I was not able to revive. I have about a dozen 14500 Trustfire flame 14500s from DX not a single problem with any of them. To me that is pretty good quality for cheap Chinese products.

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

CheapThrills
CheapThrills's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 07/02/2011 - 10:45
Posts: 3552
Location: Suomi
2x 18650 flame and 2x 14500 flame have served well. BUT these are not a recent buy, so quality of these could be going down... Suggestions, Solarforce? Basic choice of AW? Something else
DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

I know DX may replace the one cell or at least refund me, But its not worth the hassle. I dont hold it against them anyhow.

As to further investigate the issues i pulled the wrapping off of both cells. The Flame 14500 was reading 0.00v before and now 4.196v, So im pretty sure the protection system went bad. Im gonna cycle it on my Hyperion and make sure its good to go. Now here comes the part that irks me, Its a 750mAH cell they relabeled at 900mAH. Its clearly printed right on the side.

The 18650 cell seemed odd, I couldn't find no PCB anywhere. It turns out the cells from Ebay that i bought were all unprotected. This was one of my first flashlight related purchases so i took for granted that these would be protected. But that doesn't explain why the cell died.

If i switch to another brand i know it will be more expensive so ill just have to see what i need and can afford at the time i buy more cells.

BTW the Flame 14500 with the PCB removed is doing fine while being cycled so it must have been the PCB that was the issue, The 18650 is junk tho. 

Vectrex
Vectrex's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 6 days ago
Joined: 05/01/2010 - 15:39
Posts: 2776
Location: Gemany (according to my Black Cat)

Alternatives could be Hi-Max (review) or Xtar 2600 (review) batteries.

Thanks for all the battery stuff old4570 btw...

agenthex
agenthex's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: 07/14/2010 - 04:49
Posts: 3070
Location: Merica

Do lithiums even go to 0v? That's basically a short so either the batteries are FUBAR (which doesn't seem to be the case) or the protection circuit is jacked.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

I think your right as they shouldn't ever read 0v. As the 14500 cell i tested after removing the protection PCB tested out to: Dishcharge 784mAH and Charged 765mAH

As for the 18650 cell all i know is it would only hold a charge of 250mAh, So its been junked. Why it died i don't know, My chargers wont over charge and ive never run the cell in a light that didn't have built in voltage protection. That is my Olight M20s Warrior. 

Im not to pleased TF listed this cell as 900mAH when its clearly stamped 750mAH under the pretty flame wrapper. 

dobermann100
dobermann100's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 04/30/2011 - 23:57
Posts: 151
Location: Philippines

Got 4pcs protected 14500 flames a few weeks ago from DX, they all came in at between 3.8v to 3.85v. Gave 2 to a friend for his e-cigs - he says the 2 are longer than his older flames and run out faster too.

While mine does seem a tight fit for my TF SA-2 and UF C3, but I can't really tell since this is my first time using 14500s.

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3366
Location: Land of Oz

The cells should not read 0.0v  = Usually protection circuit problem ..

If you pull of the protection and they do the same thing - yeah recycle the cells ..

Ive had a few with faulty protection circuits , once removed the cells seem to work ok . 

One has to wonder if these are the counterfeit Flames .  ? 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Id say no.

My first set is smaller and will fit in a 4xAA battery case, But these dont fit in it. Despite me being upset of the 750mAH marking on the cell under the wrapping, It did do 760-780mAH under very light testing at 4.16v down too 3v so had i pushed the cell it would have done 900mAH+ easily. Both sets are protected cells, But they cant be the same ones underneath.

The unprotected 18650 that died i bought off Ebay 6 weeks ago, And i bought 4 and the other 3 work great and test out to perfect specs.

I think im gonna chalk this up to bad luck, That 18650 was slowly going as i noticed it only holding 4.13v for a few weeks. But it should have held up to the 1.5A tests i ran on it im doing to all my cells and keeping records of. As long as nothing else flips out and keels over ill stick with the Flames, As they have been good up until this. 

bushytails
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/11/2011 - 21:53
Posts: 167

People have gotten counterfeit *fires on ebay...  It's a sad comment on chinese industry when people are counterfeiting brands that are themselves counterfeits...

If DX is shipping them though, that'd be annoying...

--Bushytails

2100
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 05/28/2011 - 10:28
Posts: 4512
Location: SINGAPORE

bushytails wrote:

People have gotten counterfeit *fires on ebay...  It's a sad comment on chinese industry when people are counterfeiting brands that are themselves counterfeits...

If DX is shipping them though, that'd be annoying...

--Bushytails

 

They may not be 100% counterfeits per se, just very lowly specced batts. They still work in a P4/Q5 which is the majority in which the masses in China can afford...few bucks light, you probably would not notice the drop. Actually that is already high-end, when I was in YiWu which is sort of the distribution centre for 70% of EVERYTHING common/commidties that you get in Americas/Europe, there are much simpler stuff there for the locals.  Because that place is for "commoners", Shenzhen is more for electronics and apparels.

With a high powered cutting-edge light that the rest of the world plays with...woah.   The might have come out from the "true trustfire appointed factory"....same line/same workers.  Why is it so much lowered in performance?  Someone paid the line to do it, everyone....perhaps the workers do not even get the share, just act on "manager's orders".   1 single run of 5000 batts - a lot goes to the manager.  $1 cost price per batt becomes 20 cents per batt.  I'd be surprised if there is much lithium inside.  This happens when you have the "connection", everything works on connection in China.

Like that Sky Ray STL-V2 and Fandyfire STL-V6 (coz Fandyfire STL-V2 became the 3 x T6), prob from the M3X line.  LOL!  Even the models are mixed up, so they just conveniently choose a higher number.

The few times I've been to China, there are many rich man/woman who comes out to play.  Audi S8, Merc S500/600 zooms by so regularly that it makes me as a SG citizen "blush". Have you been to a luxury restaurant in which 1 dozen man and woman whose job is just to stand there at the entrance, look pretty and bow to you and say "Welcome"?  Or they light fireworks, BIG mofo 1.3G firework cakes (very illegal in USA I think), to welcome you? But at the back end, there are so many "peasants" that their saliva spit alone would make us drown.

Life is cheap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9uuIa5GAAI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LNAQJb8bi8&feature=related

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Well the 14500 with the bad pcb and low marked cell came from DX, This one was much larger the set i bought off ebay weeks earlier. But it checked out spec wise and if pushed too 2.5v on a discharge would easily max +900mAH capacity.

I have or should say "had" 4 unprotected cells from ebay and the guy sold them with a charger deal from a USA location for $30 and another $10 for a second set of 18650's. That matches and almost beats DX prices from a USA seller. So very possible they are fakes, But i can test them today and see how the other 3 are doing.

My cells see little use since im so new to this and have about 7 flashlights ive acquired in 6 weeks and have no legit use for them except i just enjoy them and pray the electricity goes out so i can play with my toys. Ill test all 3 from the batch i got from that USA seller which are all btw all unprotected, But that was my fault for being a newb and not knowing they made Flames in both varieties.

 

2100- China is a world away from the USA and most likely imitates a time in our past when we were industrial giants like China has become. Cool fireworks, But thats crazy close to many flammable things and a person here would be arrested before they even stopped and sued for damages i couldn't even imagine.

Ill post back some capacity graph tests of the other three 18650's. 

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Ive got really bad news for myself, All 4 18650 cells i bought off Ebay cant even hold a charge to handle 1.5 amps for more than a few seconds and under a few minutes at .5 amps.

Im testing the 2 TF Flame protected cells i just got from DX and the first one is handling a 1.5 amp discharge just fine. Ill post those results later as they will take a while to finish the cycle, But the results look promising.

I used a few of the cells with no issue that i could see, But the charger tells me different. Im gonna stick each cell with a full charge into a single 18650 light and see how long it lasts. Ill charge all 3 cells on my Pila charger so i cant blame the Hyperion for any odd reason.

Cell #1 @ 1.5amps

 

 

Cell #2 @ 1.5amps  

 

Cell #3 @ 1.5amps

 

Cell #4 @ 1.5amps

 

Cell #4 @ .5amps  

 

This cell was tested when i first got the charger, I never tested the unprotected ones above until i decided to do a cycle test on every Li-Ion cell i own. Cell #5 is in the Hyperion now and is doing fine just like the one below. Note i didnt have a temp probe when i ran this one.

Cell #6 @ 1.5amps  

bushytails
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/11/2011 - 21:53
Posts: 167

So, to make sure I'm understanding you right...  the DX trustfire flames are good cells but one had a bad protection board, while the ebay trustfire flames are garbage?

--Bushytails

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Kinda confusing as i originally started the thread with issues on a 14500 and 18650 cells that were both TF Flames.

The 14500 was from DX order i just received and was larger than my older set and both were protected cells, It came to a conclusion the PCB protection was bad and once stripped the cell works great. I will add that under the Flame wrapper the cell is clearly marked 750mAH and not 900mAH as the wrapper claimed. But my tests showed that if i did run the cell down too 2.5v it would in fact do 900mAH, But stopping at 3v it was still over 750mAH. Its still a good cell for $3 each at DX.

 

Secondly is the issue with the 18650 cells i bought 6 weeks ago from an Ebay seller, I bought 4 total and all were unprotected due to my lack of knowledge. But i know i didnt abuse any of these as i only had one light that runs 18650 cells and i keep 2x Cr123's in it for high power bursts. I just got 2 more 18650 protected cells in from DX the same time i got the new 14500's. These have proven to be legit and great!

I finally got around to testing all my cells as i bought 10 Panasonic 18650's that i had been charging and testing each cell. This is when i found the first of these bogus Flames that couldn't handle even a .5amp discharge. Ive since tested all four and none will hold a charge worth anything. They did seem to do fine in a light when i used one during a black-out at my house. So im recharging each cell in my Pila and then will test them in a single cell 18650 light. That should minimize the hazard of 2 cell operation.

 

Summery:

1. TF Flame 14500 from DX had a bad protection board and labeled 750mAH under wrapper, But still very usable.

2. Four TF Flame 18650 unprotected cells i bought off ebay are junk and cant hold a charge, FAKES!

3. ALL DX cells i bought are just fine. 

bushytails
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/11/2011 - 21:53
Posts: 167

There's lots of fakes on ebay...  consider these wonderful fake ultrafires:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/2619

DX shipping bad cells would seriously suck, as the flames are the best (and almost only) budget option for high-current cells...  but if it was just a bad protection board, that's a minor problem.

I wonder if these fakes are the cause of some of the other bad reports about trustfires I've read?  I think a few of them were ebay.  I'm going to have to make a point of never buying ebay cells...  the only ones I've gotten on ebay were some of the UF 3000s, half of which were DOA, and all likely are fakes like the ones above.

If your 18650s are toast, feel like cutting the wrapper off and seeing what you find?

--Bushytails

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

Cell #5 just ran its discharge cycle at 1.5 amps and started at 4.2v and ended at 3v for a capacity of 2337mAH, Had i taken it down to 2.5v like most people do in tests the cell would be in the 2500-2600mAH range.

 

Ill never buy another li-Ion cell off ebay again as that was an expensive lesson.

Since both DX Flame 18650's tested out very well ill buy them from now from now on. Im waiting for these cells to charge on my Pila and im gonna test them in my Olight M20s as its the only single 18650 cell light i have, The other one is a double cell. But yes ill take the wrapper off if they fail this last test, I had one yesterday i took the wrapper off before i threw it away. That was the first one i found that started all this. It was just a alluminum case with a few numbers on it and nothing i could discern any meaning from. Put ill post a pic of one if i have to dump them.

BTW i wasnt thinking when i threw the one away, Ill drop the next three off for recycling like i should have done the first time. I was just so upset i wanted it out of my sight. 

Volk
Volk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 03/07/2011 - 20:21
Posts: 264
Location: Sweden

And I have to admit that my working cell isn't as crappy as previously stated. I did a new test on my XM-L light and got around 2.5 amps on this cell to, same as my other batteries. Don't know why I got low readings before but at the moment I'd say it's an OK cell. The other one still sucks though...

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

You may need to strip it and take the protection PCB off like i had to do with my 14500 TF Flame.

Im not afraid of unprotected cells as im OCD about my hobbies and id never let a cell run too low, And none of my chargers would even allow a cell to overcharge even if i tried to make them do it.

Im just gonna stick with TF Flames from DX and other Chinese shops and stay away from EBAY on any Li-ion cells. Whats bad is almost all my NiMH cells came from Ebay also and ive had no issues, But those are harder to copy due to retail packaging and most are from retailers inside the USA.

DasFriek
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/26/2011 - 16:26
Posts: 294
Location: Ohio

I did my last test on a random cell of the 3 remaining fakes cells, The 4th was pitched yesterday when i found out it was junk. These ill recycle like i should have done.

For the final test i put a random cell in my Olight M20s that uses single cell 18650's for safety as 2 cells that are junk running together could be a dangerous situation if one runs into meltdown and vents.

The light lasted 29 minutes before my 2x AA SolarForce L2r was more than 2x as bright as the M20. Normally the M20 beats the heck out of the L2r due to its lower cells.

At the end i took a tail reading on high at .39 amps and i put my 2x cr123 cartridge back in and it put out .73 amps and they are not new cells and have over an hour on them already. The Flames final voltage when pulled was 3.77v and this light doesn't pull to hard with an R5 led in it. 

So ill be junking all three, And im considering contacting the Ebay seller about his fake crap cells hes selling. Im kind of busy atm, But i will get you guys pic's of the cell with the wrapper off. Most likely tomorrow tho.

 

(Edit) I just pulled the wrappers on all 3 and none matched at all except in size and shape, Numbers and markings were all different and i found old solder points under the caps they spot welded on. But these were rather well cleaned compared to other desolder jobs ive seen on some fakes. The bottom plate they spot welded on has a raised center that will allow the plate to fit the outer edges flush so they didnt have to remove the old spot welds fully. I tried to leave a top tab on so you could see the old spot weld spots and the same with the bottom. My best guess is none were even made in the same plant looking at the markings and codes.

 

 

 

 

 

bushytails
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/11/2011 - 21:53
Posts: 167

Take a look at the ultrafires in the thread I linked to above...  exact same thing.  Not a single cell matches out of the six he got.

That's conclusive proof they're counterfeits, as the real trustfires are consistent.  Might even be the same factory as the UFs above...

--Bushytails

Pages