Safety Discussion; It’s NOT “just  a flashlight” anymore!

79 posts / 0 new
Last post
slmjim
slmjim's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 02/04/2018 - 17:49
Posts: 537
Location: Derby City - Home of The Louisville Slugger

Interesting thread. I'll be preaching to the choir here, for the most part, but OP asked...

 

Like any powerful tool, high-performance flashlights can be misused.

 

Nighttime in the country. Bubba has a beer in him. Bubba sez, "Hey y'all, watch this"

Or, mean kid/delinquent/bad seed has mommy's kewl new light, prowling the dimly-lit suburbs. Kid sez to companion, "Wanna see somethin' cool?".

Or, someone with truly nefarious intent knows exactly what he's doing.

Meanwhile, tired soccer mom/corporate CFo/CountyJudge is finally on their way home with the kids in the vehicle. Dim dashboard lighting and headlights reflecting from the road have their pupils well dilated for max night vision. They're instantly flash-blinded; hit squarely in the face by said bubba's flashlight brilliance or, worse, by stupid punks strobe. Bubba's idiocy results in simple flash blind. Punk kid's stupidity results in same, plus the disorienting effect of strobe. Nefarious criminal keeps the beam aimed precisely at the windshield, preventing any clear view of the road. Either way, worst case is driver/passenger(s) have a very bad night. They probably live. Or not.

 

Like any powerful object, some measure of responsible intelligence is implied in it's use

In grade school we were evaluated and graded on how well we followed directions. Safety documentation is widely available for LiIon cells. Every loose cell sold to consumers should come with safety instructions, IMHO.

When all else fails, read the directions. Think.

 

Seem to me, devices that don't have reverse polarity protection have a fatal design flaw. Pun intended.

Mistakes happen. The uninformed do get their hands on items of which they only know the basics. "Uhhh... this looks kinda like a battery. Weird lookin' one. Odd place fer a switch, here on the end of this fancy flashlight. Look, it unscrews! I think this weird battery will fit. Let's see if it works!".

We can use our imagination from here.

If we keep buying items that don't have the simple feature of reverse polarity protection, manufacturers have no incentive to remove that flaw.

 

I'm new to the HiPo light scene. It looks to me from a newbie's perspective that we're in a golden age of handheld lighting. Wish I had answers. It'll only take a few sensationalized news stories re: those "assault lights" before things are legislated to our detriment.

"Those weird batteries are dangerous. They don't even sell them a drug stores. The government should get involved".

"No one needs more than 100 lumens!" 

"Those scary black flashlights will blow up! Think of the chirren!!".

"Ban them, before they start making bump-switches and shoulder things that go up!!!".

"Common sense flashlight laws!!!!".

 

 

Smile! It makes others wonder what you've been up to.

Time is more valuable than money.
You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.
Lost time is never found.

zespectre
zespectre's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/10/2018 - 08:08
Posts: 97
Location: Shenandoah Valley

The more I think about this, the more I think that from this point forward, any light that doesn’t have reverse polarity protection is going to be a FAIL in the “Real World Reviews”.

Tonights forecast, 100% chance of dark.

rondohatten
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 08/06/2017 - 14:12
Posts: 25

the tenor of this discussion escalated quickly from flashlight and battery safety into namecalling and psuedopunditry.
shame, really.

ValuseekeR
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/01/2012 - 13:18
Posts: 392
Location: USA

Lots of useful info and considerations here for a li-ion n00b like me, especially the link to the “Safety 101” thread. I guess one benefit of the long shipping from Banggood is I have plenty of time to read up on 18650’s, etc… before my Q8 arrives.

If I can have an old man “Get off my Lawn!” moment, I’ve noticed headlights are getting a bit out of control. I’m much more worried about being blinded by other drivers than by a random punk with a turbo-charged flashlight. People with those HID LED headlights are basically just driving around with their brights on all the time.

/rant off

SoCalTiger
SoCalTiger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2017 - 14:06
Posts: 414
Location: :)

danallen wrote:
What is worst real case of batteries causing a fire or explosion that you know of?

I googled “runaway” light can drew a blank. What is a runaway light?

There are several stories of people specifically being injured by lithium battery flashlights. Permanent damage and disability. There are also stories of flashlights exploding where the operators were fortunate enough that no one was injured. Unfortunately, a lot of these stories have been buried over time. Basically, the worst case scenario is that someone dies, you kill someone else (like a family member) or the rest of their life is ruined. Just Google “flashlight explosion”.

The biggest risks are multi-cell devices where the cells are unbalanced (or become unbalanced over time). Also, using a poor cell or low-drain cell in a high-drain application. Lithium primaries also seem to be particularly vulnerable.

Here is one to get you started. This resulted in permanent disability. This is a sticky on CPF.
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?340028-Flashlight-Exp...

Flashlight exploded in mouth. Permanent damage.
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?396117-Solarforce-Exp...
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/17/flashlight-explode...

Battery exploding on charger:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?431784-LITHIUM-BATTERY-EXPLOSION!!

Explosion in flashlight, doesn’t appear to have any permanent injury:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?280909-Ultrafire-1865...

House fire. 2 stories:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?336248-BOOM
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?326898-My-house-almos...

Surefire explosion:
https://www.ar15.com/forums/general/-/5-951360/?

More:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?333626-My-CR123A-(GOLSTON)-Exploded
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?318976-OMG-i-nearly-lost-my-finger!!
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?122500-Cyclops-Flashl...
https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/topic/132932-anyone-ever-hav...
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?178411-My-flashlight-...

There are also lots of stories where vapers blew up their device in their face. Fortunately, those often involve devices which a higher current draw than most flashlights. Just Google “vape explosion”. One more reason not to smoke or vape.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hECREEYqahg
https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/health/exploding-vaporizer-rip-tongue-trn...

singularity35
singularity35's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 09:58
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines

Lots of people here in my place, especially scooters, with 6-12 led light bars. Enforcement is basically non-existent. Really nasty to encounter on our dark nighttime streets. Flashlight enthusiasts are fighting back. I foresee something bad happening and stupid legislation coming.

We have especially stupid politicians and leo’s like that time a gang used hammers in a mall to smash jewelry display cases to rob a shop. The powers that be decided to ban hammers being sold in malls.

Chuck Roxas

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 18 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18098
Location: nyc
singularity35 wrote:
We have especially stupid politicians and leo’s like that time a gang used hammers in a mall to smash jewelry display cases to rob a shop. The powers that be decided to ban hammers being sold in malls.

Wow.

That is pretty stooopit, even by politician standards. (I thought the US had a monopoly on that.)

Not like they can, ohhhhh, bring their own? Use wrenches? Use bricks?

Like I said… wow.

Facepalm

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

singularity35
singularity35's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 09:58
Posts: 179
Location: Philippines
Lightbringer wrote:
singularity35 wrote:
We have especially stupid politicians and leo’s like that time a gang used hammers in a mall to smash jewelry display cases to rob a shop. The powers that be decided to ban hammers being sold in malls.

Wow.

That is pretty stooopit, even by politician standards. (I thought the US had a monopoly on that.)

Not like they can, ohhhhh, bring their own? Use wrenches? Use bricks?

Like I said… wow.

Facepalm

Haha yah.

Chuck Roxas

varbos
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 02/16/2017 - 07:36
Posts: 655

I do worry about the ubiquity of products using bare 18650 cells and (other li-ions). These cells – even when protected – are not suitable for ordinary consumers.

I don’t like to see enthusiasts recommend lights using these cells to ‘ordinary’ folk. If your buddy or family member asks what light to buy…direct them towards an AA-based light. Keep enthusiast stuff for enthusiasts. Enthusiasts tend to have a little more knowledge and care about the products they use.

There was a guy killed late last year in a flashlight related incident. We don’t know exactly what happened. Apparently he was holding a flashlight in his mouth while looking under the hood. It exploded; severely injuring his brain and breaking his neck.

nqcken
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 10/01/2012 - 18:45
Posts: 476
Location: NE

lots of problems, not so many solutions. in industry in this country, someone does something stupid with a product, they include a warning with the packaging or on the product. that’s why when you buy a microwave oven, you get a booklet with thirty pages of warnings and maybe 2-3 pages of actual instruction.

zespectre
zespectre's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/10/2018 - 08:08
Posts: 97
Location: Shenandoah Valley

varbos wrote:
I do worry about the ubiquity of products using bare 18650 cells and (other li-ions). These cells – even when protected – are not suitable for ordinary consumers.

I don’t like to see enthusiasts recommend lights using these cells to ‘ordinary’ folk. If your buddy or family member asks what light to buy…direct them towards an AA-based light. Keep enthusiast stuff for enthusiasts. Enthusiasts tend to have a little more knowledge and care about the products they use.

This is precisely why I started this thread.
Since I’m known in my circles as “the light guy” I’ve recently had a serious increase in the number of people who want to buy “strong” flashlights for power outages and so forth. They go search on Amazon and are exposed to 2000+ lumen super-lights, 18650 or 26650 cells and the chargers and have absolutely NO idea what it all means because they just wanted an emergency light but have the usual assumption that “more is better”.

I’ve had to do a lot of educating, and in several cases have had to make the decision to steer them towards something a bit less, um, aggressive in terms of lumens and power source(s).

Tonights forecast, 100% chance of dark.

SoCalTiger
SoCalTiger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2017 - 14:06
Posts: 414
Location: :)
Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 18 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18098
Location: nyc
varbos wrote:
I do worry about the ubiquity of products using bare 18650 cells and (other li-ions). These cells – even when protected – are not suitable for ordinary consumers.

That’s why to this day I refuse to let mum have a light with a Li cell of any kind. She was buying those crappy multi-LEDAAA lights, and they all fizzle, blink, don’t turn on, etc. “Because you keep on buying crap, that’s why!”

She wanted me to get her a light, but she leaves them on, face-down, then wonders why all her lights are dead, why the alkaleaks went poopy inside and ruined the carriers, etc., etc.

Those big yellow lights with the 3 1W LEDs, that take the “brick” 6V batteries… same thing. Leaves ‘em on, they end up dead.

So, ya really think I’m going to get her a light that even with a protected cell, would be left to run down overnight? Yuh-huh, that’ll happen…

So I donated my crappy AT01s to her. Bypassed the drivers so they’re DD with the included 3×AAA carriers. Still, the POS switch goes mental and flickers nonstop, and it’s got one of those weirdo tailcaps with the dinky little ballpoint-pen spring sticking out.

And then she goes and on her own buys a Tac-Light… Facepalm

 

I do have to admit, the superficial quality seems nice. Well-lubed threads, nice action on the head zooming in/out, just the right amount of resistance, and an emitter that looks at least like an XM-L2, even if a LB clone.

Beware, though, it’s an always-on light with a momentary-break e-switch in the tail. No half-pressing anything, just click-click-click to cycle through all the modes, including blinkies. Ugh.

But hey, to someone who never had a decent light, it’s Something Else.

I should show her a ceiling-bounce test with the TL vs, was going to say a Q8 but even a C8A/C8F would light up the room like daylight.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

WalkIntoTheLight
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/05/2015 - 10:26
Posts: 2231
Location: Canada
SoCalTiger wrote:
Found the link to the story about the man being killed by a flashlight explosion: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/57252 http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/exploding-flashlight-kills-man/a... http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/man-injured-when-flashlight-expl...

Interesting, but based on that story, it doesn’t sound like it was a problem with his flashlight. It sounds like he touched the car’s battery with a metal light (or perhaps something else) and… well, that would do it.

IMO, 12v car batteries are more dangerous than 4.2v lithium-ion batteries.

zespectre
zespectre's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/10/2018 - 08:08
Posts: 97
Location: Shenandoah Valley
WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
IMO, 12v car batteries are more dangerous than 4.2v lithium-ion batteries.

It’s all about the amp-hours man Smile

Tonights forecast, 100% chance of dark.

SoCalTiger
SoCalTiger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2017 - 14:06
Posts: 414
Location: :)
WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
SoCalTiger wrote:
Found the link to the story about the man being killed by a flashlight explosion: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/57252 http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/exploding-flashlight-kills-man/a... http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/man-injured-when-flashlight-expl...

Interesting, but based on that story, it doesn’t sound like it was a problem with his flashlight. It sounds like he touched the car’s battery with a metal light (or perhaps something else) and… well, that would do it.

IMO, 12v car batteries are more dangerous than 4.2v lithium-ion batteries.

I don’t know if that is the correct conclusion. The original story says that the flashlight was in his mouth.

Quote:
The man who was severely injured when a flashlight exploded in his mouth earlier this week has died.

This is not the first time that a lithium flashlight has exploded in someone’s mouth at any rate.

zespectre
zespectre's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/10/2018 - 08:08
Posts: 97
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Lightbringer wrote:
And then she goes and on her own buys a Tac-Light… Facepalm

Oh lordy

Tonights forecast, 100% chance of dark.

LichtAn
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/08/2018 - 02:37
Posts: 322
Location: Germany

I’m wondering how much time do you actually have, if a battery decides to quit his job. Like do you feel heat building up, do you hear the battery venting,…etc? I have some lights that demand unprotected cells in a 4 battery carrier. This actually makes me think sometimes.

Mike C
Mike C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 01/22/2014 - 08:03
Posts: 2647
Location: Sweden

LichtAn wrote:
I’m wondering how much time do you actually have, if a battery decides to quit his job. Like do you feel heat building up, do you hear the battery venting,…etc? I have some lights that demand unprotected cells in a 4 battery carrier. This actually makes me think sometimes.

Well, I have some experience with that. Check post #23 in this thread: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/36267
I dared open the light up because I trusted the Samsung cells, but I can’t say I was totally cool though… I had opened the window and was ready to chuck it if it started hissing too much.
ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1179
Location: Miami, Florida
LichtAn wrote:
I’m wondering how much time do you actually have, if a battery decides to quit his job. Like do you feel heat building up, do you hear the battery venting,…etc? I have some lights that demand unprotected cells in a 4 battery carrier. This actually makes me think sometimes.

You can Google the thermal runaway temps for lithium-cobalt (rarer these days), lithium-manganese (common) and lithium-iron phosphate (more common in RC hobbies) and see that li-co start running away at ~265*F, li-mn is a bit higher than that and li-fe is in the 300s, IIRC.

You’ll know it when you feel it.

I was once walking around a CVS drugstore with my new Sunwayman M10R (IMR 16340) clipped inside my shorts’ pocket and I feel this burning on my thigh. I keep walking and it gets hotter and hotter and when I stop and pull out the light, it’s on high.

A runaway cell will get a lot hotter and the li-co chemistry will actually start venting with flame, where as the other chemistries don’t have that much in oxidizers, so the ‘flame’ part isn’t as definite.

Chris

LichtAn
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/08/2018 - 02:37
Posts: 322
Location: Germany

I shortened an IMR cell once accidentally for a few seconds and it was already almost too hot to touch. Immediately threw it out off the window. Shocked

turkey
turkey's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 02/18/2018 - 22:23
Posts: 13
Location: Ohio, USA

You’re Fake News; You’re Fake News. It’s fake news folks.

Nobody’s saying it. I don’t understand; people refuse to say it: “RADICAL ORIGINAL POSTING

#MeToo—BlindedByTheLight (Revved up like a deuce, Another runner in the night)

Let’s ban “Assault Batteries”

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 42 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 6901
Location: Central North America

What is Darwinian Selection?:

LichtAn wrote:
I have some lights that demand unprotected cells in a 4 battery carrier. This actually makes me think sometimes.

so, what do you think?

Mike C wrote:
… an incident…

…I learned a few things.


Two springs vanished, only a few traces of them left.

…it’s back together…

so, what did you learn?

WalkIntoTheLight
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/05/2015 - 10:26
Posts: 2231
Location: Canada

SoCalTiger wrote:

I don’t know if that is the correct conclusion. The original story says that the flashlight was in his mouth.
Quote:
The man who was severely injured when a flashlight exploded in his mouth earlier this week has died.

Yes, but I interpret that as he shorted out the car battery with the metal light in his mouth. That could produce over a thousand amps going through his mouth.

It just doesn’t seem realistic that a flashlight battery could blow someone’s brains out and snap their neck. I think he’d have spat out a hot light before it went into thermal runaway and exploded.

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 42 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 6901
Location: Central North America

WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
I think he’d have spat out a hot light before it went into thermal runaway and exploded.

apparently not everyone thinks the way you do:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/17/flashlight-explode...
A Colorado dad suffered third-degree burns to his lip, tongue and throat when a flashlight exploded inside his mouth

placed the flashlight in his mouth while he was using his hands to search for tools in the back of his truck. Within seconds, he says, the flashlight exploded.
Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 18 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18098
Location: nyc
WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
Yes, but I interpret that as he shorted out the car battery with the metal light in his mouth. That could produce over a thousand amps going through his mouth.

Whoops.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

WalkIntoTheLight
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/05/2015 - 10:26
Posts: 2231
Location: Canada

Lightbringer wrote:

Whoops.

Thumbs Up

Sometimes, the final destination will have your name, and might even be desperate enough to use a flashlight to end you!

SoCalTiger
SoCalTiger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/16/2017 - 14:06
Posts: 414
Location: :)
jon_slider wrote:
WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
I think he’d have spat out a hot light before it went into thermal runaway and exploded.
apparently not everyone thinks the way you do: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/17/flashlight-explode...A Colorado dad suffered third-degree burns to his lip, tongue and throat when a flashlight exploded inside his mouthplaced the flashlight in his mouth while he was using his hands to search for tools in the back of his truck. Within seconds, he says, the flashlight exploded.

Yup… like I said, this has happened before. This person was even a CPF member. Here is the thread:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?396117-Solarforce-Exp...

It’s bad to assume that someone will notice and have time to react before something goes catastrophic is wrong. There is also a story I remember reading of someone blowing up an 8×18650 flashlight spontaneously on their balcony. He described basically only having about a second to drop the flashlight before it exploded. If it can happen that fast in your hand then it can happen in your mouth before you even realize it since you are probably holding it with your teeth. I wish I could find the thread, but I can’t.

Mike C
Mike C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 01/22/2014 - 08:03
Posts: 2647
Location: Sweden

jon_slider wrote:
so, what did you learn?

Kind of obvious really, all you have to do is read that post… but Ok, I’ll make it simple for you.
Don’t put a light like that in the hands of a noob.
Good quality cells probably won’t explode.
Put a locking mechanism of some sort so the light can’t be opened like that.
jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 42 min ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 6901
Location: Central North America

I read the post brother, and I agree with your conclusions, which were unclear, to me. I appreciate that you spell them out.
maybe a warning label: If you are not the builder of this bomb, Do not Unscrew, because it will Blow!

on a separate subject

why do flashlights blow up when people put them in their mouth? Is drool shorting them out? or just random that the light blew in that position

and then, when a light blows not in their mouth, its not news?

Pages