Testing the 14500 IMR – AW vs. Lighthound

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mitro
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Testing the 14500 IMR – AW vs. Lighthound

After many months of testing cells and not getting consistent results, I think I’ve ironed out most of my issues and wanted to share some results.  I figured that this comparison may be of use to some people, so why not start here.

So here goes nothin… Wink

 

The Cells:

AW IMR 14500

Lighthound IMR 14500

 

Equipment:

My wife’s old laptop

A second-hand West Mountain Radio CBA II with “Pro” software upgrade (calibrated so that the voltage under load read by the CBA matches within .01v of the DMM)

An Irwin Quick-grip clamp that’s been modified using a couple bolts covered in thick copper foil to which the leads to the CBA are soldered

LOUSY cheap DMM with a battery that’s on its way out (upgrading soon)

 

Areas of Uncertainty:

The CBA reads high when the cell is idle. The software can correct the voltage, but only under load. The graphs all start out north of 4.2v but the cells never read that high with the DMM.

The DMM. OK, I’m lazy and haven’t gotten an acceptable one yet and don’t even have a spare 9v in the cupboard. Once I get something I can trust, I won’t be concerned with either of these things.

I wish these tests were run with new cells, but comparing them to earlier tests, they appear to be performing “as new”.

 

The Testing:

Regardless of the cutoff recommended by the manufacturers all of my “3.7v” cells are tested to 2.8v.

Both cells were charged @ 1A and then again @ 0.4A to top them off.

Hot off the charger the cells measured the following (with DMM):

AW - 4.17v

Lighthound – 4.16v

Both cells are being tested with 1.5A.

 

The Graphs: (click thumbnail to open image in new window)

1.5 amp discharge


 

3 AW IMR 14500 and 1 Lighthound IMR 14500 @ 3A

AW IMR 14500s at 4.8 amps

 

Tested Capacity @ 1.5A:

AW #1 - 648mAh

Lighthound – 655 mAh

 Tested Capacity @ 3.0A:

3 AW cells- 600+mAh

Lighthound – 255 mAh

Tested Capacity @ 4.8A:

AW  - 296mAh -  335mAh

Results:

Well you decide. It’s a pretty even race at 1.5A. Personally I’d rather have the Lighthound IMR, but both perform well. (EDIT: I'm not sure now. It really is a toss up)

 

Notes:

I only have one of the Lighthound cells, but I have 3 AWs. The Lighthound cell is slightly newer and has had a few less cycles, but neither cell has been abused. I plan on doing further testing on these cells (various loads) but I’m open to requests and have some other cells I’m anxious to get to, so I can’t make any promises. Thanks for reading and I’d appreciate any input you can give me on how I can improve my tests or what cells to test.

Edited by: mitro on 03/31/2011 - 23:49
srfreddy
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You want to try higher currents? The AW are rated MUCH higher for current. 

Piers
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Do AW have an online shop you can buy from? I've seen the threads on CPF but that seems a rather silly way to do business and even more so with the recent problems.

mitro
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srfreddy wrote:

You want to try higher currents? The AW are rated MUCH higher for current. 

I'm basing the tests off of how I use these cells. I frequently use them in a Mini AA which draws about 1.4-1.5A on a fresh cell. I will test them at ~3A.
srfreddy
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Pook wrote:

Do AW have an online shop you can buy from? I've seen the threads on CPF but that seems a rather silly way to do business and even more so with the recent problems.

 

Lighthound and Overready stocks them. I wouldn't go on everready though-to many tempting expensive stuffs. 

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LMRWink

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

mitro
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Yikes... I can't verify the health of this cell, but I just did a regular (LiCo) AW 14500 and the results were pretty pathetic. This is a 1.5 year old cell but hasn't been abused, so I'll have to check more of my AW14500s.

Capacity @ 1.5A - 311mAh

 

Graph:

brjones
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mitro wrote:

Personally I’d rather have the Lighthound IMR, but both perform well. (EDIT: I'm not sure now. It really is a toss up)

Well, considering the Lighthound version (BDL brand?) is half the price... I'm pretty happy I went with the Lighthound version. I wonder if they're the same cell, with normal variances. The overall capacities are strikingly similar.

 

Considering Lithium Manganese rechargeables/LMR/LiMn is primarily used to be driven hard and safely, I'd love to see a test a 3.0 amps. Let's face it, the main reason someone would be debating on these, would be to power some specie of XM-L, preferably at 3 amps, in a very small package Wink . Maybe then we'll see where the rubber meets the road.

 

Great writeup Mitro. I consider this a big validation for the Lighthound/BDL cell, which was recently disparaged by one user on the "IMR???" thread in the historic "LMR vs IMR" debate, in which I pretty much disagreed with him on all counts, and now I can prove him wrong on that final point I couldn't back up, and therefore didn't push back on. The AW sags a bit less, but again, who knows about variation.

 

I would expect Lighthound to be careful about the less-known cells he sells, but it's good to see evidence of the same.

 

Sidenote: I've since noticed that the letter "L" is transposed for the letter "i" on just about all my lithium cells, even normal Lithium Cobalt Rechargeable (LCR)/LiCo. Just about all of them say "iCR" (first letter left intentionally lower-case to ensure differentiation), only they then go and write theirs all upper-case, WITH the serifs. Wouldn't be so bad if they didn't include the serifs on the i's. And yes, even the BDL brand has "iMR"printed on it like the AW brand. Apparently the whole of the Asian lithium rechargeable battery industry doesn't know the difference between "i" and "L". [That last statement would probably get me censored on CPF, btw. And yet, it's true.]

- Circumcision, regardless gender, by definition causes sensation loss, and thereby usually causes difficulty later in life. Oppose amputation of children's genitals. ALL children. http://tinyurl.com/haszs6o

srfreddy
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mitro wrote:

Yikes... I can't verify the health of this cell, but I just did a regular (LiCo) AW 14500 and the results were pretty pathetic. This is a 1.5 year old cell but hasn't been abused, so I'll have to check more of my AW14500s.

Capacity @ 1.5A - 311mAh

 

Graph:

 

You should really only be draining those at 1.2 amps max. Even then, its pretty bad for the cell. Its like discharging a 18650 at 5+ amps. 

mitro
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srfreddy wrote:

You should really only be draining those at 1.2 amps max. Even then, its pretty bad for the cell. Its like discharging a 18650 at 5+ amps. 

They are rated 750mAh. So 1.5A is 2C.
srfreddy
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Rated is key. No LiCo 14500 gets 750mah- 16340's get 550ish, 14500 get 600 ish. 

Piers
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Sadly the Lighthound P&P charges are terrible on small orders Sad

mitro
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srfreddy wrote:

No LiCo 14500 gets 750mah-

Tell that to the 2nd battery in the database. A good, new quality 14500 should be over 700mAh.
srfreddy
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mitro wrote:

srfreddy wrote:

No LiCo 14500 gets 750mah-

Tell that to the 2nd battery in the database. A good, new quality 14500 should be over 700mAh.

 

@.5 amps. I might of gotten 14500 numbers mixed up, they might be 700mah. But 16340 are about 30-50 mah lower than 14500. 

mitro
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How is the true capacity of lithium ion battery rated? Isn't it using a 0.2C discharge like NiMH? (edited for clarity)

 

Here is that AW (LiCo) 14500 discharged @ 0.5A:

It only managed 640 mAh, but seems pretty healthy. It looks like small LiCo cells don't have much purpose in my collection.

 

3 amp discharges tomorrow. Smile

brjones
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Pook wrote:

Sadly the Lighthound P&P charges are terrible on small orders Sad

No, they aren't. Why no example? LH shipping charges start around $3, which is far lower than many online merchants, including domestic flashlight dealers. What was your quote? Then again, Noodles knows of an ecigarette dealer who will ship AW cells for $1.50 shipping (up to a certain number of cells).

 

I don't see much point in making a purchase of one BDL 14500 from lighthound, though. DON'T you need some extra crap you've been putting off buying? (Free shipping over $75! lol),

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14500- 16340 batteries just score the rug.  LMR will just barely kick the amps (depending on the quality) just a bit in this batt. size. So it's not all abot the mAh.  I guess. 

Here in the US get AW LMR to play with.

http://www.supertmanufacturing.com/id75.html

The Giggle Loop

moviles2
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why the test are only at 1.5 amp?

 

we use imr batteries when we need  too much highter currents

brjones
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He'll be testing 3amp soon, possibly tonight. I think he mainly wanted to first test to see what, if any difference the batteries would show. Best to start slow, I guess. But yeah, 3 amps (and beyod, chuckle) would be more appropriate to see, but he knows that also. Remember this is his stuff though and these drain tests are hard on batteries. Then again, he mentioned his 14500's aren't of much use to him... >)  <---- (BTW, why don't my 'devil horns' show up?)

- Circumcision, regardless gender, by definition causes sensation loss, and thereby usually causes difficulty later in life. Oppose amputation of children's genitals. ALL children. http://tinyurl.com/haszs6o

uncajesse
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Could people stop saying that the word "Lithium" starts with the letter i ??

 

Nice review just the same.  I need to get me a few decent LMRs some time.

Don
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uncajesse wrote:

Could people stop saying that the word "Lithium" starts with the letter i ??

 

Nice review just the same.  I need to get me a few decent LMRs some time.

 

I sympathise, but I fear that you've lost that battle.

There's a southern suburb of this town called Footdee which is called "Fitty" by everyone (Including me). Originally it was called Futty, but some Victorian idiots thought that sounded indelicate and renamed it Footdee which immediately became Fitty.

 

Swimming against the tide is fun, but it tends not to get one anywhere...

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

mitro
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Do you all really have so much free time that you find it necessary to argue about a series of letters on some batteries to entertain yourselves? I don't give a flying fig if its supposed to be an L or an I. The people who sell them call them IMRs. Apparently you all know one thing that they don't.  With that and a dollar you can get a cup of coffee. Congratulations.

moviles2 wrote:

why the test are only at 1.5 amp?

 

we use imr batteries when we need  too much highter currents

Because in cells this size 1.5A IS a "high current". Regular 14500s sag more and have the same OR LESS capacity at currents approaching (or exceeding) 2C
mitro
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Unless the particular Lighthound IMR I have is sub-par, this graph shows the clear superiority of the AW cells at this discharge rate. I decided to run these cells down to their recommended cut-off since the cells would quickly bounce back due to the high drain rate.

 

The Lighthound IMR falls on its face here, delivering only 255mAh before dropping below the recommended 2.75v cut-off. The AWs are, in my opinion, awesome. All of them delivered 600+ mAh at 5C! They are recommended to go as high as 8C, where the LH one is only recommended up to 5C.

 

These aren’t the results I was hoping for (and I’m sure some of you, as well), but I have to admit that I’m impressed by the AW cells.

 

Graph:

3 AW IMR 14500 and 1 Lighthound IMR 14500 @ 3A

uncajesse
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Don wrote:
Swimming against the tide is fun, but it tends not to get one anywhere...

True.

Piers
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brjones wrote:
No, they aren't.

 

You should probably check where in the world people are before making statments like that.

Piers
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Don wrote:
There's a southern suburb of this town called Footdee which is called "Fitty" by everyone (Including me). Originally it was called Futty, but some Victorian idiots thought that sounded indelicate and renamed it Footdee which immediately became Fitty.

 

I used to live in Altrincham, which is pronounced Altringham. It was spelt wrongly in The Domesday Book and has been spelt that way ever since.

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brjones wrote:

Pook wrote:

Sadly the Lighthound P&P charges are terrible on small orders Sad

No, they aren't. Why no example? LH shipping charges start around $3, which is far lower than many online merchants, including domestic flashlight dealers. 

I think the rates you're quoting only apply for destinations within the U.S.Smile

For those of us who live elsewhere different and much higher rates apply. I find the one pound flat rate package (about $13.00) works best for me. A nice feature of the LH checkout process is that it shows the weight of your purchase to two decimal places. Based on that weight indication I have added or subtracted a cell or two from my order, trying to get as close to the one pound limit as possible without exceeding it.

mitro
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Final test with the AW IMRs only:

 

Graph:

AW IMR 14500s at 4.8 amps

Capacity @ 4.8A - 296mAh - 335mAh

 

The variation between cells shows when you push them to their limit. I wouldn’t push them this hard in a light so this test is purely academic. In fact I doubt I’d ever use them at 3A. All of my use of 14500s is under 1.5A so I could be entirely happy with the Lighthound cells for a small EDC like a Quark Mini.

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brjones wrote:
Sidenote: I've since noticed that the letter "L" is transposed for the letter "i" on just about all my lithium cells, even normal Lithium Cobalt Rechargeable (LCR)/LiCo. Just about all of them say "iCR" (first letter left intentionally lower-case to ensure differentiation), only they then go and write theirs all upper-case, WITH the serifs. Wouldn't be so bad if they didn't include the serifs on the i's. And yes, even the BDL brand has "iMR"printed on it like the AW brand. Apparently the whole of the Asian lithium rechargeable battery industry doesn't know the difference between "i" and "L". [That last statement would probably get me censored on CPF, btw. And yet, it's true.]

Your conspiracy theory is WAY off, for starters R doesn't stand for Rechargable but for Round type. It's the I that stands for "Lithium-Ion [Rechargable]" (or correctly, i for Lithium-ion). It's not supposed to be "L" for "Lithium" since that is incorrect and could be any other number of lithium chemistries.

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mfm wrote:

Your conspiracy theory is WAY off, for starters R doesn't stand for Rechargable but for Round type. It's the I that stands for "Lithium-Ion [Rechargable]" (or correctly, i for Lithium-ion). It's not supposed to be "L" for "Lithium" since that is incorrect and could be any other number of lithium chemistries.

This thread has attracted a lot of CPF-like assholeness/negativity uncharacteristic of BLF. I ask all to know that out and stick to the good stuf and leave out the jerk part. It's not welded onto your personality, even if it's in you. I suggest (if it helps) you write down your insult, go big too, then just delete it, and leave only the on-topic part.

 

As a student of conspiracy theories, I take it as an insult that you'd call my surmisement such. In fact, if you even know what a conspiracy is (look it up), my description would qualify as the opposite of a such a thing. Call it an "ignorance theory" or "incompetence theory", "herd mentality" theory, but no need to get jerky--and inaccurate at the same time. I'm always willing to learn. Your assertion is that I stands for Ion, and R stands for Round. What does the C stand for then? I freely admit that I was surmising a translation, but it made a lot of sense. Are you saying it's purely a coincidence that "iCR" is Lithium Cobalt Rechargeable technology, and ALSO 100% coincidence that so-called "iMR" is Lithium Manganese Rechargeable? And what does the R in RCR2 (rechargeable CR2's) stand for then? Because CR2's are already round. How about Panasonic's NCR? Just a coindience again, that the proprietary feature of that line of batteries is Nickel, in addition to cobalt and of course lithium?

 

And since I'm freely admitting I'm basing my assumption on the pure logic and strength of the coincidence of the above examples, care to back yourself up as to what you're actually basing your assertion on? (There's a lot of insult surround this, by people who don't back themselves up, I've noticed, nor admit when they're wrong.) There's nothing wrong with assumptions, but they should be disclosed, and the logic behind them solid. Your assertion that ICR stands for "lithium [something ?] round" seems wanting, and you did not bother to explain what "iMR" would stand for either. You neither backed yourself up, nor pointed out that you were only assuming either, nor did you seem to notice that your assertion did not fully define the acronym you seemed to think you were authoritative on.

- Circumcision, regardless gender, by definition causes sensation loss, and thereby usually causes difficulty later in life. Oppose amputation of children's genitals. ALL children. http://tinyurl.com/haszs6o

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CR2 is the name for a size of a primary cell: the 2 means that its 1/2 the height of an A cell, the CR stands for.... cylindrical. 

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