Are my Panasonic NCR's real or fake?

After deciding to make the plunge into high-quality batteries, I read Old4570's posts on his journey with the Panasonic NCR's and the Sanyo 4.35 volt cells, I decided to take the plunge. I agonized Panasonic vs Sanyo, obviously choosing Panasonic, but I'm still not sure which is superior when charging to 4.1x volts. These are supposedly Panasonic's proprietary Lithium Nickel Cobalt rechargeables. I forget the chemical formula, but the special feature is the use of Nickel, hence, I assume, "NCR" (nickel colbalt rechargeable)--again, reasonable assumption, though the main ingredient is still good ol' Lithium.

Anyway, I ordered a 2-pack of 18650's from HK Equipment on Ebay. They were shipped in a complementary 2 x 18650 plastic case for safety. I have some concerns.

- There name "Panasonic" is found nowhere on these batteries.

- The wrapper does not extend all the way to the back of the batteries. There is a little of the cell wall exposed at the back, which could lead to a short (particularly dangerous in multi-cell usage--just another reason I'm not comfortable with multi-cell lithium-powered flashlights).

- Inkjet writing is visible BELOW or THROUGH the wrapper (I assume that writing is on the bare metal).

- They're made in Japan and sold from China (that didn't add up to a cynical friend of mine; I was less concerned)

The pics: (nevermind the "1" I wrote using a marker--I label all my cells)

Most of all, is this a safety issue? The other cell looks 100% exactly the same, including that little scoop out of the wrapper at the negative end, next to "Made in Japan". I'm considering wrapping some electrical tape around the end to completely insulate it. But that will create drag in the battery tube, possibly interfering with twisty/momentary switches (which I like, and they need all the voltage and free movement they can get). And electrical tape doesn't seem to hold well. My 'cynical friend' then suggested 'paint' as an insulator. (Comments welcome.) So far, I haven't had a flashlight flash on by itself when bumped. But, considering these are unprotected, I'm extra cautious when and how I use them (I will try to keep it that way).

I did some WWW Image searches for NCR18650 and get other cells which look exactly like mine.

I also found this one which looks slightly different but still has the characteristic incomplete wrapper at the (-) end:

My cynical friend said, If Panasonic is proud of what they make, why would they not put their name on their product, even if it wasn't intended for view by general consumers?". I had to admit I had no answer to that.

How could I know if these are real or fakes? They are performing fine, by the way--but I am not sophisticated enough to subject them to tests, nor do I think I'd want to, at the price I paid.

Thanks in advance.

The thing is, the manufacturers don't expect retail customers ever to see these. When you are welding them together in packs, the shrink-wrap is better completely clear of the base. Saves potential plastic contamination of the welds.

Given consumer safety laws in Europe/Australia/US these are never going to be retail items so branding is not an issue. And might increase costs by a nano-cent for the ink. When you make enough of them, such added costs are significant.

If they don't self-discharge noticeably over a week or two, then they are probably OK cells. Whether they are Panasonics or not is harder to check.

Quick tests - check the voltage daily over a week compared to some other 18650. Remember, protected cells have a small self-discharge to power the protection circuit.

Check current on some heavy draw light - the Manafont XM-L dropin is good for this. The lower the internal resistance, the higher the current delivery and usually the better quality the cell is.

Better cells will usually hold their voltage under load better than worse ones. If it can still deliver anywhere near 4V on a 3A load it is a pretty good cell.

Hopefully Matt will chime in with more information.

I would wrap them in kapton tape-they could short against a battery tube, and're pretty screwed if that happens. The wrapper looks genuine, although I'm not sure about the see throughness of them...

>My cynical friend said, If Panasonic is proud of what they make, why would they not put their name on their product, even if it wasn't >intended for view by general consumers?". I had to admit I had no answer to that.

Well panasonic name is nowhere to be found on their capacitors either and they are a retail item (of excellent quality) Nothing strange for panasonic...

could you give an update on how your NCR18650 from hkequipment are going? Are they preforming well and properly? There's been a few posts on cpf where these cells from hkequipment are not performing properly.

You may be able to contact Panasonic, and ask them if their is a way to check if they are legit.

I saw "real or fake" and thought I was in the wrong forum...

it is not uncommon for OEM manufacturer to leave their product unbranded, since there is no marketing value unlike those in consumer(end-user) market. I have unbranded Sanyo pink 18650.

Dont worry about the wrapper ... The entire body is - (negative) in a 18650 , its only at top that the + (possitive) is exposed ... So it wont short ... Not from a tear in the wrapper or a bit being exposed .. Though the light might turn on , but the inside of the tube (flashlight) should be anodized , helping to avoid such .

Yes the Panasonic is a little fragile [ designed for laptops , not flashlights ]

Panasonic always labels their cells, but very thinly.

I was surfing the hkequipment website again for panasonic ncr18650. Their photo of the panasonic 2900, is different from before. The new version seems to have a button top as well.

Hi, hopefully my first post will be a useful one but will most likely raise more questions than it answers :quest:

I recently purchased 10 NCR18650 cells from a merchant on Aliexpress, and assumed they were manufactured by Panasonic.

The wrappers look similar to those in the last image of the first post with the exception of a larger black 'stripe' at the positive end.

I have two Turnigy Accucell 6 chargers and have been running 1 of these cells through some charge/discharge cycles. The Accucell 6 terminates discharge at 3.0V and only allows a maximum of 1.0A discharge current. I have been discharging at 1.0A and have run 5 charge/discharge cycles so far.

Comparing to the test performed by HKJ they seem reasonably close but slightly under performing. Looking at his graph:

I have had capacity/mAh results ranging from high 2500's to low 2600's which seems to correlate reasonably with the 3.0V line on HKJ's 1.0A discharge curve.

Interestingly I have been cycling a new Xtar 18700 2600 mAh cell in the other charger simultaneously as a sort of synthetic runtime comparison. The Xtar cell consistently returns capacity results in the 2480-2490 mAh range at the same discharge current and the same cut off voltage. I have swapped chargers between runs in case of any unit specific bias but have noticed no significant difference. The Xtar cell is very close to the NCR at 1.0A load.

I too would like to know if these NCR18650 cells are indeed genuine but at this point it seems difficult to determine for sure.