Review: XTAR 3100 mAh 18650 battery

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Budgeteer
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XTAR 3100 mAh 18650 li-ion battery with PCB


TEST RUN

 

http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/5796/dscn3164t.jpg

 

Impressions:

I recently recieved two of these form szwholesale.com. Since it is based on panasonic cell it's gotta be a winner. We know they reccomend using a very low 2,5V cutoff for the protection PCB on these particular batteries. On these, discharging to 2.5V is deemed safe and even encouraged by the manufacturer. XTAR's 3100 mAh are pretty much onto these specs and employing the panasonic reccomended protection pcb scheme. The battery is pretty much like all the others. No fancy flames or other stupid things printed on them just the industrial/minimalist/professional type of sticker on a otherwise elegant black shrink wrap. "nipple" top so no issues fitting them in various application, dual/multiple serial config flashlights or just generally sizewise.

How does it perform? Well, i don't fancy expensive discharge equipment to test right to the last mA available. Plenty of others on our beloved forum that can do that. Smile I decided to run them like i did with XTAR 2200 and 2400 and 2600 mAh verions a while ago. The cells were both charged using a XTAR MP1 charger. Strangely enough both left the charger at 4.22V. Since other batteries usually terminate charge at 4.19-4.2V on the same charger these seem to indicate they have very little internal resistance which is a good thing.

http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/7271/dscn3166ux.jpg   http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/5345/dscn3169h.jpg   http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/3064/dscn3171q.jpg

Test setup:

L2 body with XM-L drop-in powered by KD 2.8A (8x7135 AMC) driver. A 12x12cm PC fan blowing onto the flashligh, a timer and DMM.

I was able to finish the measurement with the usual batteries in under a hour and a half. Not this time. Turned out pretty hilarious. In the 5h+ watching the flashlight slowly dims my wife asked me quite a few times: Err, dear... what did you say you were doing, again? 2h are long gone dear...

Since resistance is futile i told her that i rather not bother her with technicalities and just let me do it. Smile So how it did?

Splendidly. 2h of very good output, 1h of not so bright output and gradually on the 5h+ the emitter was moonmode bright. I even took some time to watch it painlessly. Took a measurement the battery and still it maesured 2,59V. Left it for an hour more to glow and it reached 2,58V. Switched to another light and left it on another 30 min and got 2,57V still. At this rate it would probably glow for 2 days more before reaching 2,5V and cutoff would kick. Too bad i really wanted it to see it shuts. The second sample went the same way and i went to 4h before quitting. No way of telling if these batteries at same level of charge have the exact same mAh capacity but it is pretty palusible. Compared to the next best thing i have the XTAR 2600 mAh with a quality sanyo based inner core this one provide considerably more juice.

Due to 2,5V cutoff, you are goona wait a loooong time before the protection kicks in. At least in a single 18650 flashlight. It's the capacity king atm. No problem with high current (tested up to 4,1A, a direct driven dropin).

Verdict:

Solid, normal sized, extreme capacity 18650 protected battery with good PCB and panasonic cell. Ability to discharge safely to 2,5V. This is one of the best in the market atm for sure. Price wise i believe XTAR will as usal provide some great pricing but without cutting quality. There is not much more to say. If someone is going for the XTAR S1 or other triple 18650 or other high drain application these should be on your shortlist for sure. Make no mistake it's not a trustfire, uranusfaire, fandyfire, ultrafire, pants-on-fire affair. This is a quality offering with a best in class panasonic cell in it along with a dedicated suitable protection PCB. For the budget oritented the price might seem a little on the high side. Well it can't be otherwise as these are as good as li-ion can get in early 2012 and as such comes at a cost.

Anyone wanting a best in class 18650 should look for these as it will be priced probaly less than other quality offerings or at least competitively. So no con's? Pretty much so if i'm realistic these do as much as you can possibly ask them to do today.

P.S: I want a dual serial or triple parallel 18650 light now! Smile

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Budgeteer
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Feel free to ask if i missed

Feel free to ask if i missed anything. Smile

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ChibiM
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Are they available ofor the

Are they available ofor the market? I cant find them on szwholesale.com ..

price and link (when possible) would be nice

Budgeteer
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I suspect a group buy offer

I suspect a group buy offer is coming soon on BLF.

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Kokopelli
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Nice and honest review.
Nice and honest review. Thanks Budgeteer. I really want to test those Panasonic 3100 but hearing bad experiences with the other blue protected ones I kept myself aside. I guess this is the one to get. I hope they have a budgetary price tag on them. Will be looking forward to the group buy.
Volk
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How's the size, preferably

How's the size, preferably compared to XTAR's 2600 batteries. The 2600's I bought are so thick I can't use them in my most used lights which mean they spend most of their time in a drawer.

Budgeteer
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I like them. The other

I like them. The other favorite cells are XTAR 2400mAh or 2600mAh (the sanyo based one) pretty much these are all i have and use in the 18700 - 18650 form factor. Got rid of the others. Have a few ultrafire 14500 and 16430 and some eneloops AA. I keep my drawer rather "clean". Smile I really like XTAR batteries and chargers as these are truly the best around at price asked and still well within budget. I've sold more than 20 MP1 charger units alone and i'm pretty confident they are a fantastic and safe unit. I must get a WP2 ver II one of these days. I like the new features. I have the old one however which serves rather well but termiantes at 4,16V which i find it an non issue. I have left batteries in it for over a day and never got charged over that voltage.

Size wise same as the 2400 mAh. A mm shorter or so than the 18700 2600 mAh. Funny thing as i never had issues fitting them everywhere. On the contrary i often put a few rounds of electrical tape on to stop them rattle in the various somethingFire i have around. Shock Thicknes is the same as the 2400 and 2600 i have.

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Volk
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Thanks for the information.

Thanks for the information. Strange about size, seems I'm the only one having trouble with the thickness of the batteries.

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I've noticed one complaining

I've noticed one complaining about the thickness of the 18700's sanyo based before. Unsure if it was you. The only battery i had trouble with was a Trustfire grey protected 16340. A true piece of junk, the flames are alot better. Anyway the second sample made it through the night in moon mode. Reached 2,53V lol and still would not give up. First time ever i saw an XM-L emitting 0.1 lumen. Smile Fun tho. I do not like the idea of protection kicking at 2,5V but this is mailny to the general feedback we got using early generation of li-ion which many disliked (playing safe) to discharge below 3V many also upped that to 3,6V (around 3,2V on load probably). In single 18650 flashlight i don't see much point in going as low as 2,5V at least not if you don't have a good buck/boost driver which can get every penny of energy out of it. Such drivers are quite rare in budget segment however. I wish they were not.

Now we have state of the art batteries for our hobby, excellent emitters, hosts and all but drivers are still lurking in the stone age era at least in budget segment. Good drivers can indeed be found around, but the price is quite alot more than a very decent budget XM-L flashlight. We want cosntant current drivers at budget price. I believe i'm not the only one. Nothing however indicates the availability of those in the near future. A pity.

I guess many of us would gladly pay 8-10usd for a 17mm driver buck/boost 3-8,4V providing 3A, 1A, 150ma or perhaps something close to that. Runtimes would be greatly affected but with batteries such the XTAR 3100 mAh i would not mind at all, actually i never bothered since CC was always a feature i missed in budget segment. Such battery can probably provide around 1h of full 3A to the led. Pretty impressive for such a rather small battery.

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ergotelis
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Budgeteer wrote:I guess many

Budgeteer wrote:

I guess many of us would gladly pay 8-10usd for a 17mm driver buck/boost 3-8,4V providing 3A, 1A, 150ma or perhaps something close to that.

At the current moment i think it is impossible to build something like that for flashlight use! Except if $200 price seems logical, it wouldn't be possible to cost less!

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How bout 2A then? 1A is

How bout 2A then? 1A is doable for 8-11usd - shining beam has one.

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fvdk
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ergotelis wrote:At the

ergotelis wrote:
At the current moment i think it is impossible to build something like that for flashlight use! Except if $200 price seems logical, it wouldn't be possible to cost less!

Unless I am wrong, isn't this exactly the kind of driver that is used in the Zebralight SC600?

ergotelis
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fvdk wrote:ergotelis wrote:At

fvdk wrote:

ergotelis wrote:
At the current moment i think it is impossible to build something like that for flashlight use! Except if $200 price seems logical, it wouldn't be possible to cost less!

Unless I am wrong, isn't this exactly the kind of driver that is used in the Zebralight SC600?

No, sc600 can't go higher than 4,2V. It is not the same thing. It is still an excellent driver, a very expensive too, this is mainly the reason for the high cost of sc600.

The sc600 driver works as a linear regulator for Vf higher than the voltage of the led(like 7135) and then as boost converter , if the battery can't feed the led in direct drive.Adding a boost converter would cost rather much.

The only real buck boost regulators i have seen(might be some others too) is from quark 2*cr123, 3-9V operating voltage that gives ~1amp to the led(i am not sure) and on Armytek predator, maybe the best circuit around, that works from 3V-8,4V and gives 1,5amp to the led.

Generally, i haven't seen any (only) boost converter that gives more than 2amp on the led!!!

Wish someone circuit manufacturer of these two companies could comment on the difficulty of building such a driver!

 

So far i haven't seen real buck boost regulator of more than 1,5amp. If someone else knows, please update my knowledge,thanks!

Volk
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Budgeteer wrote:I've noticed

Budgeteer wrote:

I've noticed one complaining about the thickness of the 18700's sanyo based before. Unsure if it was you.

 

Probably was me, I've been complaining about it a couple of times now. I'm just disappointed that such a great battery won't fit my lights, especially since they aren't the most expensive flashlights with the tightest tolerances. They doesn't fit my Eastward YJ J01 and just barely in my Ultrafire WF-500, both inexpensive lights.

But the same goes for the Hi-Max 2600 so...

 

Oh well, lets hope these turn out to be a better fit.

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