.

95 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

CRC
CRC's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 31 min ago
Joined: 06/11/2021 - 23:30
Posts: 83
Location: Canada
.

Flashaholic Status: Muggle

Edited by: CRC on 07/05/2021 - 19:10
Truck
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 09/13/2017 - 08:15
Posts: 129

I think there are “off the shelf” lithium products than can be used by beginners, all the big name brands have lights that can be used out of the box without knowing too much. They also come with a good manual, a built-in charger often and all the help you can find online on their websites. Many newer lights even have many features that won’t allow customer induced problems like wrong polarity, etc.

However, this hobby is a fairly complex one. there are so many small, big, medium flashlights with various types of batteries, drivers, and emitters – it might take a while to get your head around it.
But because flashlights and LEDs are such a complex topic, they’ll keep you interested even years into it. Flashlights are one of the few areas I am still attached to, even though I started more than five years ago. Many other hobbies were dropped already, but you’ll always need light.

For batteries there are many resources online, e.g.
https://batteryuniversity.com/
https://www.batteryjunction.com/

edit: Welcome to BLF!

Truck
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 09/13/2017 - 08:15
Posts: 129

Stay on BLF, read as much as you can and you’ll find what you are looking for. This community is a much better one than other forums or hobbies. I have so many hobbies and you’ll always find the aggressive, negative attitude sometimes.
BLF is more peaceful, it seems.

JaredM
JaredM's picture
Offline
Last seen: 14 hours 44 min ago
Joined: 10/31/2011 - 13:33
Posts: 1956
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I think “knowing what you don’t know” is very important. You asking these questions in the first place suggest that you have the capacity to safely operate these lights with some studying and asking of questions.

You don’t have to become an electrochemical engineer before owning a hotrod flashlight. Basic dos and don’ts plus a few diagnostic techniques and basic equipment will put you well into the realm of competent.

raccoon city
raccoon city's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 41 min ago
Joined: 10/06/2010 - 02:35
Posts: 16476
Location: रॅकून सिटी Palm Desert CA USA

I hope you have fun here, CRC!

Cyclic redundancy check?

(Nah, can't be--that's too weird.)

115_milla

Rdubya18
Rdubya18's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 10/28/2018 - 18:42
Posts: 476
Location: Ohio

Welcome CRC . – what JaredM said.

flydiver
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 25 min ago
Joined: 06/19/2013 - 19:16
Posts: 1277
Location: Seattle, WA

You are doing well to have gotten this far. You don’t HAVE to learn anything, and be as ignorant as most people are out there. Prior to lithium batteries the ignorance about NiCad and NiMh was, and IS, just as lacking.

It can be complex, but some basics can take you a long way. Then you can continue from there should you decide to.
BatteryUniversity is encyclopedic, but pretty well organized and you can read about particular topics as you need them. I used it a LOT to start. They lack particulars, but that’s what BLF is about.

Personally I think the core of this is not the light, the ‘end product’, but the battery, the driving force. Strongly suggest you start with that. The danger is in the batteries, less than the light. You don’t have to know ‘everything’. Some fundamentals are critical for safety, and function.
Lithium Ion Battery Safety 101….. https://budgetlightforum.com/node/45314

Unless you decide this is ‘too much’ and go dead simple with safety proven lights with USB charges, then consider a good charger too. That is a subject all to itself, but there are outstanding reviews here, best on the web.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

sarge12
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/31/2020 - 08:13
Posts: 319

What you need to know about batteries is not that hard to learn….how to choose a battery for your device, and what to do, and not do to use them safely. Why cheap re-wraps can be dangerous. What is the continusous discharge rate of a battery, and why it matters. When it is best to not store lights with batteries installed, and some circumstanses when it is ok to do so. What are the chemistries used for Li-ion batteries, and why ICR is more dangerous than IMR, INR, or hybrid…mainly avoid ICR batteries which are much more volatile. Marrying cells for use in multi-cell devices, what that is and why it matters, along with how to handle their divorce when 1 in the married group goes bad. How and when to re-wrap a battery…it is easy, cheap, and necessary, needing only wraps, end insulators, and a hair dryer. I have over 200 li-ion batteries as we speak, and they can be, and have been used safely. Most mishaps involve the uninformed doing something to use their battery in a way it was never designed to be used. The Olights are indeed fairly idiot proof, but other lights can be much more powerful, and further throwing, but learning about battery safety is needed to venture into that arena safely. Some lights recommend protected cells, and some don’t, but those should be handled with care. My recent Wildtrail is an example of that. It uses 3×21700 high discharge rate cells, which can be safely used, but do not store cells long term in the carriage if the light will not be used for weeks. All this is readily available on the internet, and a guy named Mooch has extensive testing on most batteries, and his tests will indicate the best batteries for the job. Avoid super cheap re-wraps from dubious sellers, no telling what cheap battery they put under the wrap.

slmjim
slmjim's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 1 min ago
Joined: 02/04/2018 - 17:49
Posts: 418
Location: Derby City - Home of The Louisville Slugger

As you learn cell basics, you'll get more comfortable with them.

As a suggested starting point, I suggest focusing on 'protected' cells.  They're labeled as such.  'Protected' means they have a tiny circuit built into them that prevents being discharged to a voltage low enough or overcharged enough to be considered a risk.  The protection circuit adds a millimeter or two to the length of the cell, making compatibility with a very few lights questionable.  Almost all protected cells are button top, but not all button top cells are protected. If in doubt, ask.

Built-in charging is becoming more common in lights.  Even so, investing in a good charger capable of cell diagnostics will be a solid long term investment.  Very good chargers can be had for under $50.00.

The pool of LED lights and knowledge is huge.  Much safe fun can be had in the shallows.  Advanced enthusiasts here on BLF are denizens of the deepest environs, writing driver code & hand making complete hot rod lights from scratch or even scraps.  But, they seemingly always surface to throw a beginning member a life preserver when needed.

Lots of good suggestions upthread for basic education.  Take the time to read, treat cells with some respect and, have fun.

 

slmjim

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.

djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 5 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 17864
Location: Amsterdam

Unfortunately the hotrod flashlight development started here on BLF (about 10 years ago), where we love diving into the details, also of batteries. It led to the consensus that you are supposed to know about battery safety if you are going for a hotrod, or else you are an idiot. The first hotrods were made by hobbyists on BLF (and a few at CPF and TLF) and were completely unsafe, but when actual chinese flashlight manufacturers picked up making hotrods, battery safety was still not priority for them because they were targeted at hobbyists anyway, who are aware of li-ion battery safety.
But nowadays, some higher-end manufacturers (like Olight) do attempt to make their flashlights both high-performing and idiot-proof.

Hank33
Hank33's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 11/22/2019 - 16:00
Posts: 982
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

I’m wondering about something similar actually. Has anyone here actually dissected a battery up till the oozy chemical sludge part? What color is it? Is it like peanut butter? Does it burn skin? I don’t see many post from people operating on the battery?
Would be nice to see the parts and chemicals in there. Just need googles, gloves and tools. This way one can see the actual item powering all our fancy flashlights. Yes…battery sludge is your friend! Smile

flydiver
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 25 min ago
Joined: 06/19/2013 - 19:16
Posts: 1277
Location: Seattle, WA

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

Hank33
Hank33's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 11/22/2019 - 16:00
Posts: 982
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
flydiver wrote:
Yes. Disassembly of cheap 18650 battery

Cool! Tell you the truth, I’ve seen and know very little about inside battery…until now. Smile
Woah never knew it has paper wrapping in em. Always thought of them like toothpaste tube. Just paste and couple of metal piece. Hmmm maybe I’ll open one up this weekend! Big Smile

manithree
manithree's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 01:08
Posts: 559
Location: Orem, UT, USA
Hank33 wrote:
I’m wondering about something similar actually. Has anyone here actually dissected a battery up till the oozy chemical sludge part? What color is it? Is it like peanut butter? Does it burn skin? I don’t see many post from people operating on the battery? Would be nice to see the parts and chemicals in there. Just need googles, gloves and tools. This way one can see the actual item powering all our fancy flashlights. Yes…battery sludge is your friend! Smile

Watch this episode of Nova:
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/search-for-the-super-battery/

From vigorous venting to watching an 18650 manufactured, it’s pretty interesting. So are the youtube videos.

Hank33
Hank33's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 11/22/2019 - 16:00
Posts: 982
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
manithree wrote:
Hank33 wrote:
I’m wondering about something similar actually. Has anyone here actually dissected a battery up till the oozy chemical sludge part? What color is it? Is it like peanut butter? Does it burn skin? I don’t see many post from people operating on the battery? Would be nice to see the parts and chemicals in there. Just need googles, gloves and tools. This way one can see the actual item powering all our fancy flashlights. Yes…battery sludge is your friend! Smile

Watch this episode of Nova:
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/search-for-the-super-battery/

From vigorous venting to watching an 18650 manufactured, it’s pretty interesting. So are the youtube videos.

Nice! And from PBS too. They always have awesome shows! Smile

zoulas
zoulas's picture
Online
Last seen: 8 min 34 sec ago
Joined: 06/01/2020 - 08:35
Posts: 1653

Easy to learn, Easy to outgrow. The hobby can be as much or as little as you want it to be.

slmjim
slmjim's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 1 min ago
Joined: 02/04/2018 - 17:49
Posts: 418
Location: Derby City - Home of The Louisville Slugger

CRC wrote:
Thanks for all the responses guys. And I apologize for wasting your time. I'm just going to have to accept that this is a hobby WAY over my head.

Helping a budding enthusiast is never a waste of time.

 

"Whether you believe you can or you can't, you're right."

Henry Ford

 

And, it's not over your head if you just wade around in the shallows.  Lots of good stuff there.  One of the worst mistakes is to be your own limiting factor.

 

slmjim

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.

CR888
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 56 min ago
Joined: 01/13/2021 - 08:31
Posts: 279
Location: Australia

sarge12 wrote:
What you need to know about batteries is not that hard to learn….how to choose a battery for your device, and what to do, and not do to use them safely. Why cheap re-wraps can be dangerous. What is the continusous discharge rate of a battery, and why it matters. When it is best to not store lights with batteries installed, and some circumstanses when it is ok to do so. What are the chemistries used for Li-ion batteries, and why ICR is more dangerous than IMR, INR, or hybrid…mainly avoid ICR batteries which are much more volatile. Marrying cells for use in multi-cell devices, what that is and why it matters, along with how to handle their divorce when 1 in the married group goes bad. How and when to re-wrap a battery…it is easy, cheap, and necessary, needing only wraps, end insulators, and a hair dryer. I have over 200 li-ion batteries as we speak, and they can be, and have been used safely. Most mishaps involve the uninformed doing something to use their battery in a way it was never designed to be used. The Olights are indeed fairly idiot proof, but other lights can be much more powerful, and further throwing, but learning about battery safety is needed to venture into that arena safely. Some lights recommend protected cells, and some don’t, but those should be handled with care. My recent Wildtrail is an example of that. It uses 3×21700 high discharge rate cells, which can be safely used, but do not store cells long term in the carriage if the light will not be used for weeks. All this is readily available on the internet, and a guy named Mooch has extensive testing on most batteries, and his tests will indicate the best batteries for the job. Avoid super cheap re-wraps from dubious sellers, no telling what cheap battery they put under the wrap.

You say it’s not safe to keep batteries inside a light long term & refer to your WT-90 as it has 3×21700 high discharge cells. Does that then mean my Olight Marauder-II is a ticking time bomb? It too has inbuilt 3×21700 cells. What about laptops, phones battery packs for tools etc?

CR888

CR888
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 56 min ago
Joined: 01/13/2021 - 08:31
Posts: 279
Location: Australia

I think people love to think their hobbies are ‘dangerous’. I think quality flashlights and quality cells are pretty safe these days if you don’t do anything majorly stupid.

CR888

Hank33
Hank33's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 11/22/2019 - 16:00
Posts: 982
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

But on a larger scale, lithium batteries can be quite dangerous. I heard when a Tesla’s on fire, it takes at least 2 hours to put it out! It also has to be submerged in water after the fires out for another few hours! Shocked

ShyOne
ShyOne's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 6 min ago
Joined: 08/08/2019 - 23:23
Posts: 371
Location: Cortez, FL Cuchara, CO Homeport..AL

CRC wrote:
Thanks for all the responses guys.
And I apologize for wasting your time.
I’m just going to have to accept that this is a hobby WAY over my head.
What?? Are you serious??? Shocked

Just because you are overwhelmed as a self professed beginner DOES NOT mean you can’t learn simple basics.
You can learn them QUICKLY…. IF YOU WANT TO.

That part is up to you.

Don’t give up so quickly.
Ask questions, most people will be glad to answer & help you with anything.

You can decide how deep you wish to delve into the hobby.
But the basics are really no big deal.

Hang in there…. ✅

Correllux
Correllux's picture
Offline
Last seen: 28 min 57 sec ago
Joined: 04/27/2019 - 22:23
Posts: 187
Location: USA

Welcome to the forum!  Lights are pretty cool these days aren't they! 

Don't feel overwhelmed.  While the details of flashlights can actually get pretty technically complex, you can learn as much or as little of all that as you want to, and you really don't have to know a ton to enjoy the lights or the hobby. 

The biggest thing is the power source, yes, and while accidents are possible I wouldn't rate it as necessarily an extra-high risk.  I think it's less so than what we see these days with laptops and phones and larger devices that use multi-cell battery packs like e-bikes and scooters such (and a little with R/C cars and drones, etc).  The lithium ion cells we use just need a little respect and a little understanding - a little more so if you pick lights that use multiple batteries instead of singles.  The old (and still somewhat popular) CR123 small lithium metal batteries are considerably more dangerous if something goes wrong but the lithium ion that we typically use poses a lot less risk.  Still must be respected, though.

Basically we just have a lot more energy packed more densely into a small package than we do with alkalines or NiCd/NiMH rechargeable cells.  A lot of people aren't aware of it, but even little 1.5 volt silver oxide watch batteries can present a decent risk of fire, too, but they don't pack a lot of punch.  So...just being aware of polarity when you put batteries into a light does become more important maybe (especially if you buy a light that doesn't have polarity protection).  If you make an oops, chances are that nothing bad will happen, or maybe it'll just ruin the components in the light and kill it, but it's possible that a bad situation with the battery can occur. 

And next comes choosing a well-made and reliable charger.  That's easy and not terribly expensive, but it's important just as it is with other electronics.

And then, in operation, trying not to discharge the cells tooooo deeply into an area of "overdischarge."  That generally just kills a cell or reduces its lifespan/energy but it can also present some risks of fire or venting pressure in some situations.  Something to be aware of but you don't need to be afraid of it, and you can read more about all that when you feel like it.  Some lights have low-voltage cutoff where the light will quit before a cell can be discharged so far, and that's a smart feature to look for, but if you don't mind the slight mental effort involved in staying aware of battery run time and such, it's not a necessity.  Most of us notice a drop in performance and will recharge the batteries long before they reach low voltage states anyway.  It's just a different way of thinking and awareness than we're used to with throwaway primary batteries.  With alkalines and other lower-energy batteries, they just quietly die and maybe leak & corrode your flashlight metal, but they have little safety risk (and of course far less potential for brighter lights).

Have a read through some of the wiki articles made years ago.  Some good stuff there and it's easily digestible, although a bit dated and not so updated.  Also open up all the subforums on this site and glance at the stickied posts at the top - some already shared here for you but there are lots that are worth reading even if they're ten years old and they'll help you understand quickly. Most of this isn't so hard really until you want to start replacing your own emitters and learn about the electronics of drivers.  A lot of people never go down those roads and that's perfectly fine!  And some people don't learn about the techy things until they've enjoyed flashlights for several years when they finally spark an interest there. 

Wiki:  https://flashlightwiki.com/Main_Page

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 min 45 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 15000
Location: nyc
CRC wrote:
I’m just going to have to accept that this is a hobby WAY over my head.

Not at all. Considering how many damnfools buy 10,000,000lm lights with 9990mAH 18650s, and manage to stay off the evening news, it’s nothing inherently “unsafe” anymore than buying a car with 10-15gal of highly flammable liquid is.

Just use common sense like not sticking the filler-spout into the gas-tank with a lit cigarette dangling out of your mouth, and you should be okay with a car. Don’t leave a Li cell in a light and store it in your car in summer when temps can hit 160°, and you should be okay, too.

Most lights that have on-board charging don’t do stoopit things like overcharging, but it’s nice to check anyway. Ie, charge it ‘til the light turns green, pull the cell and immediately measure it to make sure it’s not over 4.20V. Next charging, let it sit overnight and repeat the measurement to make sure it still doesn’t keep charging after it’s ostensibly finished.

Do that, and you’ll be ahead of the game and doing more than probably 99% of all owners of Li-powered lights.

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

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 min 45 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 15000
Location: nyc

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
— Yoda

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

sarge12
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/31/2020 - 08:13
Posts: 319

CR888 wrote:
sarge12 wrote:
What you need to know about batteries is not that hard to learn….how to choose a battery for your device, and what to do, and not do to use them safely. Why cheap re-wraps can be dangerous. What is the continusous discharge rate of a battery, and why it matters. When it is best to not store lights with batteries installed, and some circumstanses when it is ok to do so. What are the chemistries used for Li-ion batteries, and why ICR is more dangerous than IMR, INR, or hybrid…mainly avoid ICR batteries which are much more volatile. Marrying cells for use in multi-cell devices, what that is and why it matters, along with how to handle their divorce when 1 in the married group goes bad. How and when to re-wrap a battery…it is easy, cheap, and necessary, needing only wraps, end insulators, and a hair dryer. I have over 200 li-ion batteries as we speak, and they can be, and have been used safely. Most mishaps involve the uninformed doing something to use their battery in a way it was never designed to be used. The Olights are indeed fairly idiot proof, but other lights can be much more powerful, and further throwing, but learning about battery safety is needed to venture into that arena safely. Some lights recommend protected cells, and some don’t, but those should be handled with care. My recent Wildtrail is an example of that. It uses 3×21700 high discharge rate cells, which can be safely used, but do not store cells long term in the carriage if the light will not be used for weeks. All this is readily available on the internet, and a guy named Mooch has extensive testing on most batteries, and his tests will indicate the best batteries for the job. Avoid super cheap re-wraps from dubious sellers, no telling what cheap battery they put under the wrap.

You say it’s not safe to keep batteries inside a light long term & refer to your WT-90 as it has 3×21700 high discharge cells. Does that then mean my Olight Marauder-II is a ticking time bomb? It too has inbuilt 3×21700 cells. What about laptops, phones battery packs for tools etc?

That olight has protected batteries!!!! Most multi-cell battery flashlights require the use of protected cells, and from what I understand laptops have protection circuits on each cell too. The WildTrail carriage will not accept protected cells, so yes, if the light will be stored for an extended period, remove the cells for greatest safety. If not, and one cell has an internal short it can do bad things even if off. As far as I know…almost every Olight uses protected cells….even most single cell lights they sell are protected.
BurningPlayd0h
BurningPlayd0h's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 34 min ago
Joined: 06/22/2018 - 02:16
Posts: 1764
Location: MN

Personally I don’t think you need to know a lot about batteries to buy just about any light you want. If you aren’t what you need you can post here or on r/flashlight and someone is sure to help you very quickly.

ShyOne
ShyOne's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 6 min ago
Joined: 08/08/2019 - 23:23
Posts: 371
Location: Cortez, FL Cuchara, CO Homeport..AL

CRC…. Here are a couple of links that should help you understand some basics (& more) about batteries, LiIon especially.
Take your time & read them, if you have questions please ask. Help is available. ✅

Honestly… it IS NOT all that complicated. Wink
…….
Lithium-ion battery safety 101
https://budgetlightforum.com/node/45314
Read intro here at Battery U.

START HERE on Battery University

sarge12
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/31/2020 - 08:13
Posts: 319

We should have made sure that fish was in the boat prior to scaring him off. He might have been a future flashaholic. At least let him have the thrill of shining a light in someones window a mile and a half away first. Then he would be hooked.

djozz
djozz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 5 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 17864
Location: Amsterdam

We were not that scary were we?

sarge12
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/31/2020 - 08:13
Posts: 319

djozz wrote:
We were not that scary were we? !{width:8%}https://media.tenor.com/images/2f42299b276efc947550635d215f3ee1/tenor.gif!

I may be….once for a drivers license photo my contacts were bugging me when they took the picture. I took one look at it and my eyes bugging out and thought…serial killer. Now I am almost a recluse since becoming disabled, and often go weeks, or even months without leaving home. I now have the look and profile of a psychopath. I know I am not one, but did psychopaths want to be a psycho? Did they just totally snap? I sometimes worry about me just suddenly becoming what meets my profile. I think the license photo even got me out of at least 1 ticket. Cop1 says to cop2, he looks like a psycho, should we arrest him? Cop2 says, I agree he does, but if we let him off he has no reason to kill us. The picture was that bad, and everyone I showed it to agreed.
EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 21 hours 36 min ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2165
Location: Ohio
CRC wrote:
Unfortunately I’m looking at a few specific flashlights that arent geared for the begginer it seems. Thanks for the reply and links

What lights are you interested in?

Are you concerned about the batteries themselves (like safety related) or how the whole electrical system works together? Many responses here are just talking about the batteries, but I think you are taking about the whole system including driver and LEDs, which can be more confusing and complicated.

Here is a starting guide for different driver types.
https://budgetlightforum.com/node/33820

Pages