The search for the USB rechargeable AA flashlight

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samgalax
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The search for the USB rechargeable AA flashlight

Hi guys!!

Anyone knows about any AA NiMh flashlight that can be recharged wirth USB??

I need one.. preferably 2x or 4x or 8x AA batteries but… USB recharge is a MUST

Thanks folks..

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hIKARInoob
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I’ve been thinking about this too. My guess that such a light doesn’t exist (I think) is because manufacturers fear people trying to recharge alkalines…

WalkIntoTheLight
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hIKARInoob wrote:
I’ve been thinking about this too. My guess that such a light doesn’t exist (I think) is because manufacturers fear people trying to recharge alkalines…

Yes, that would cause leaks. Also, charging NiMH cells, especially in series, is more tricky than charging lithium-ion cells. So, the built-in charger would likely take up too much space, or perhaps not even be possible for a 4xAA or 8xAA in-series configuration (without a battery pack configuration that allowed for individual cell charging).

Probably too complex to make it worth it, for the very few buyers that would be interested.

hank
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Be practical — get what’s available and known to work rather than holding out for something that doesn’t exist.
4xAA, uses built-in 110v wall plug to recharge:

Anthon
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hIKARInoob wrote:
I’ve been thinking about this too. My guess that such a light doesn’t exist (I think) is because manufacturers fear people trying to recharge alkalines…

I don’t think so, they are rare because AA batteries are very common and you’re bound to find a spare one if you run out of light

Also it’s almost imposible to find an AA flashlight that charges both NiMh and Li-Ion

Danglerb
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Most common failure point on almost every cell phone is the USB charging port.

Still a bit dim

hIKARInoob
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Well, just like the MecArmy and Lumintop single 18650 cell with built-in micro USB charger, it would be nice to have an Eneloop variant.

samgalax
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They do exists but not manufactured any more..

Niteye ec-a12
Klarus rs1a

I can not find the klarus……. only a few on ebay at impossble prices… also the niteye has bad reputation…

I hate li-ion due to dangers.. thats why I dont want usb rechargeable li-ion ones… that are cheaper and easy to find

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Kindle
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It looks like Battery Junction has the Klarus for $48. That is the cheapest I could find it in a quick search.

samgalax
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Shipping to europe + taxes and fees makes it about 100$

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kramer5150
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Doesn’t exist in multi-cell format.

NiMH cells in series shouldn’t be charged as a collective sum. They also can not be charged in parallel (unlike Lithium based chemistry), although I am not exactly sure why. So the design of the light overall would require all cells to be electrically isolated from one another. Its not impossible… just very complex, both physically and electrically.

[EDIT] I stand corrected… Looks like Niteye is taking a stab at it. I would question charging the cells in series though, without the circuit monitoring the cell voltage individually during charging.

https://www.amazon.com/Niteye-EC-A12-Rechargeable-Cree-Flashlight/dp/B01...

Now that I think about it, the design wouldn’t need to be “that” complex. An over-sized light host with an internal 2AA cell caddy design could be used to isolate the cells from one another and monitor cells individually during charging.

WalkIntoTheLight
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kramer5150 wrote:
NiMH cells in series shouldn’t be charged as a collective sum.

Normally, yes. However, 9 volt NiMH batteries have 7 cells wired in series, and they have to be charged that way. It’s not ideal, but it can be done. It does result in shortened life span of the battery, as individual cells are either over-charged or under-charged.

joe1512
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I think you are overestimating the dangers of lithium ion. I mean, you don’t see people dying in droves by exploding cell phones right? And those are 3.7 volt, 3000mAh batteries, about the same as an 18650. As long as you are reasonably careful, you should have no issues, barring some design flaw.

The problem with 1xAAs is that they aren’t really bright enough in comparison. With only 1.2 volts to work with, and fairly limited current draw, its difficult to get enough gas to get a lot of light out of such a small light using NiMH. Granted, they have come a long ways…zebralights are pretty amazing what they do with 1xAA. But still, they are quite pricey.

For just a little bit more size an 18650 has way better power density, and much higher current draw capability and a more useful 3.7 nominal voltage.

You can also get a smaller 16340 or 18350 type light that is a bit shorter but similar power.

kramer5150
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samgalax wrote:
They do exists but not manufactured any more..

Niteye ec-a12
Klarus rs1a

I can not find the klarus……. only a few on ebay at impossble prices… also the niteye has bad reputation…

Curious, Where? bad reputation as in negative reviews?… or something more serious, like severely over-charging NiMH cells? The latter condition can happen when you charge 2 cells in series that do not have exactly the same actual capacity.

FWIW… you can over-charge a NiMH battery and it can vent gasses. Venting expanding gasses trapped inside a water-tight enclosure is a recipe for an explosive condition. Once the gas pressure exceeds the containment limits of the device. The difference is NiMH does not vent caustic, flammable gasses.

samgalax
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I have an old nimh dumb charger that charges the cells in series configuration… and it just… works… but I dont know if that would be good for batteries. Specially for lsd.

However.. I always charge eneloops with smart chargers (dV and dT termination)

The niteye is tempting me despite it os nor 100% what I am searching for…. oh no! Another flashlight for my collection?? XP

I am open to new suggestions. Thanks friends

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samgalax
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kramer5150 wrote:
samgalax wrote:
They do exists but not manufactured any more..

Niteye ec-a12
Klarus rs1a

I can not find the klarus……. only a few on ebay at impossble prices… also the niteye has bad reputation…

Curious, Where? bad reputation as in negative reviews?… or something more serious, like severely over-charging NiMH cells? The latter condition can happen when you charge 2 cells in series that do not have exactly the same actual capacity.

FWIW… you can over-charge a NiMH battery and it can vent gasses. Venting expanding gasses trapped inside a water-tight enclosure is a recipe for an explosive condition. Once the gas pressure exceeds the containment limits of the device. The difference is NiMH does not vent caustic, flammable gasses.

I dont remember exactly were I read about that. I think it was on cpf.

It is related to its internal charging circuitry. Some units had charge problems.. I mean the charge circuit stop working forever suddenly…

I cant remember now. The niteye a12 is not a new light.. it has a few years..

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The Miller
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heheh these are the ways new BLF projects can start.
AA build in charging flashlight, sounds good

RollerBoySE
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The Miller wrote:
heheh these are the ways new BLF projects can start. AA build in charging flashlight, sounds good

4xAA, micro-USB charging and Nichias sounds like the perfect allround flashlight for muggles. I’m sure some flashaholics would like it too, me for example. Smile

samgalax
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When will be available??? Big Smile

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patmet
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BLF AA rechargeable flashlight
+1 on a BLF project for a USB rechargeable AA flashlight, with 1, 2 or 4 batteries. Although us here probably won't either need or want this, it see it as a great item either as a gift to people unaware of potential Li-Ion issues (overcharging, accident, ...) or more simply to be used by children going on a holiday camp or anything similar. In other words taking no risk at all with the batteries/flashlight ...

Hank's 4 AA rechargeable flashlight
Hank, looking at the page your flashlight points too, I don't see any plug or info about battery recharge within the flashlight. Or what did I miss?
https://www.dorcy.com/190-lumen-led-flashlight-yellow

Existing single AA rechargeable flashlights
Now, although there seem to have been, in the past, a few single AA flashlights that could be recharged through an USB port, manufacturers don't seem to produce them anymore. And as much as as AA batteries in serial may present quite an obvious electrical issue for recharging, I'm not sure why it should be such an issue for a single AA - cost put apart. Talking about cost, now that we have very decent rechargeable 18650 flashights under $20 (best example, amongst others : Eagle Eye X2R), I'm not sure how cost would be an issue anymore. And given that micro usb chargers and cables are now widely used, thanks to smartphones, interest seem to be obvious, at least to me ...

So, is anybody aware of an existing, decent and price effective (in short: BLF friendly wink ) single AA rechargeable flashlight?

WalkIntoTheLight
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I think, as others have pointed out, the charging circuit for NiMH is more complex than for lithium-ion. I tend to be paranoid about lithium-ion safety, but in a single-cell format, they should be very safe, especially with good quality cells. Of course they’re used in just about every kind of rechargeable electronics nowadays.

So, I’m not sure there’s really a market for USB rechargeable NiMH flashlights. You can pack almost as much energy into a single 18650 as 4 NiMH cells, and a USB charging circuit is simple and cheap for an 18650.

As much as I like NiMH flashlights, I’d go with a single lithium-ion format if I want built-in recharging.

Otherwise, invest in a basic Eneloop+charger kit, and keep some spares charged for replacement when needed.

DavidEF
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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
I think, as others have pointed out, the charging circuit for NiMH is more complex than for lithium-ion. I tend to be paranoid about lithium-ion safety, but in a single-cell format, they should be very safe, especially with good quality cells. Of course they’re used in just about every kind of rechargeable electronics nowadays.

So, I’m not sure there’s really a market for USB rechargeable NiMH flashlights. You can pack almost as much energy into a single 18650 as 4 NiMH cells, and a USB charging circuit is simple and cheap for an 18650.

As much as I like NiMH flashlights, I’d go with a single lithium-ion format if I want built-in recharging.

Otherwise, invest in a basic Eneloop+charger kit, and keep some spares charged for replacement when needed.


Just a note for those who don’t know: No, you can’t pack anywhere near as much energy into a 18650 as 4 NiMH cells. A good quality NiMH cell packs around twice the mAh at around 1/3 the voltage as a good quality Li-ion of the same size. So, one NiMH cell is 2/3 as powerful as an equivalent size Li-Ion cell. Maybe you were talking about max current draw? Li-Ion does have a definite advantage there. But, a single High-capacity (not high-current) Li-Ion could still lose to 4x Eneloop NiMH in some cases.

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hIKARInoob
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DavidEF wrote:
Just a note for those who don’t know: No, you can’t pack anywhere near as much power into a 18650 as 4 NiMH cells. A good quality NiMH cell packs around twice the mAh at around 1/3 the voltage as a good quality Li-ion of the same size. So, one NiMH cell is 2/3 as powerful as an equivalent size Li-Ion cell. Maybe you were talking about max current draw? Li-Ion does have a definite advantage there. But, a single High-capacity (not high-current) Li-Ion could still lose to 4x Eneloop NiMH in some cases.

Huh?

NiMH (AA Eneloop): 2000 mAh * 1.2V * 4 pieces = 9600 mJ
NCR18650GA: 3500 mAh * 3.6V * 1 piece = 12600 mJ

So a single 18650 cell has more energy than 4 Eneloops me think… I think you reversed the capacity of NiMH and lithium ion.

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DavidEF wrote:
No, you can’t pack anywhere near as much energy into a 18650 as 4 NiMH cells.

Looking at HKJ tests, an Eneloop Pro (2450 mAh), at 1A discharge rate has an energy of 2,982 Wh.
A Sanyo NCR18650GA cell (3500 mAh), at 1A discharge rate has energy of 11,850 Wh.

So yes, a single 18650 can have roughly the same energy as 4 NiMH cells.

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Eneloop%20AA%20BK-3HCC%202450m...(Black)%20UK.html
http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Sanyo%20NCR18650GA%203500mAh%20(Red)%20UK.html

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hIKARInoob wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
Just a note for those who don’t know: No, you can’t pack anywhere near as much power into a 18650 as 4 NiMH cells. A good quality NiMH cell packs around twice the mAh at around 1/3 the voltage as a good quality Li-ion of the same size. So, one NiMH cell is 2/3 as powerful as an equivalent size Li-Ion cell. Maybe you were talking about max current draw? Li-Ion does have a definite advantage there. But, a single High-capacity (not high-current) Li-Ion could still lose to 4x Eneloop NiMH in some cases.

Huh?

NiMH (AA Eneloop): 2000 mAh * 1.2V * 4 pieces = 9600 mJ
NCR18650GA: 3500 mAh * 3.6V * 1 piece = 12600 mJ

So a single 18650 cell has more energy than 4 Eneloops me think… I think you reversed the capacity of NiMH and lithium ion.


Alright, I did get crossed up a bit, but not in the way you think. You’re right, an 18650 Li-Ion does pretty well versus 4xAA NiMH. But, your math isn’t quite right still. The highest capacity Eneloop AA is 2450mAh. So your compare should look like this:

NiMH (AA Eneloop): 2450 mAh * 1.2V * 4 pieces = 11760 mJ
NCR18650GA: 3500 mAh * 3.6V * 1 piece = 12600 mJ

A single 18650 does beat 4xAA Eneloop. Sorry for my confusion. I was somehow thinking about size equivalence when doing my math before. Facepalm

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Pete7874 wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
No, you can’t pack anywhere near as much energy into a 18650 as 4 NiMH cells.

Looking at HKJ tests, an Eneloop Pro (2450 mAh), at 1A discharge rate has an energy of 2,982 Wh.
A Sanyo NCR18650GA cell (3500 mAh), at 1A discharge rate has energy of 11,850 Wh.

So yes, a single 18650 can have roughly the same energy as 4 NiMH cells.

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Eneloop%20AA%20BK-3HCC%202450m...(Black)%20UK.html
http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Sanyo%20NCR18650GA%203500mAh%20(Red)%20UK.html


Yeah, you’re right. Sorry. My explanation is above.

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DavidEF wrote:
Alright, I did get crossed up a bit, but not in the way you think. You’re right, an 18650 Li-Ion does pretty well versus 4xAA NiMH. But, your math isn’t quite right still. The highest capacity Eneloop AA is 2450mAh. So your compare should look like this:

NiMH (AA Eneloop): 2450 mAh * 1.2V * 4 pieces = 11760 mJ
NCR18650GA: 3500 mAh * 3.6V * 1 piece = 12600 mJ

A single 18650 does beat 4xAA Eneloop. Sorry for my confusion. I was somehow thinking about size equivalence when doing my math before. Facepalm

The math is right. The inserted value for capacity is debatable. I only use white Eneloops.

DavidEF
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hIKARInoob wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
Alright, I did get crossed up a bit, but not in the way you think. You’re right, an 18650 Li-Ion does pretty well versus 4xAA NiMH. But, your math isn’t quite right still. The highest capacity Eneloop AA is 2450mAh. So your compare should look like this:

NiMH (AA Eneloop): 2450 mAh * 1.2V * 4 pieces = 11760 mJ
NCR18650GA: 3500 mAh * 3.6V * 1 piece = 12600 mJ

A single 18650 does beat 4xAA Eneloop. Sorry for my confusion. I was somehow thinking about size equivalence when doing my math before. Facepalm

The math is right. The inserted value for capacity is debatable. I only use white Eneloops.


Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that your process was wrong, just the result (due to the difference in cells). I really just didn’t want to be the only one that was wrong. Big Smile

But, the 2450mAh was exactly the one I was thinking of when I first made my assertion, so in the context of this conversation, it’s not debatable (because I don’t want to be too wrong). Wink

Yes, I’m being a bit of a stinker today. But we’re still friends, right? Innocent

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DavidEF wrote:
Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that your process was wrong, just the result (due to the difference in cells). I really just didn’t want to be the only one that was wrong. Big Smile

But, the 2450mAh was exactly the one I was thinking of when I first made my assertion, so in the context of this conversation, it’s not debatable (because I don’t want to be too wrong). Wink

Yes, I’m being a bit of a stinker today. But we’re still friends, right? Innocent

We are absolutely friends Mr. David. Party And trust me, I make mistakes so often it hurts… The only stupid mistake I refuse to make at this moment is to blindly buy the 32000 lumen Imalent DX80, which is verrrrry attractively priced at $220,-. No sir, I WILL wait for some reviews, hehe… (and probably end up not buying)…

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Big Smile Thumbs Up

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there is a reason AA powered lights are not more than 1000 lumens per 4 batteries usually

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