Back to buying flashlights but disapointed

Hi all, I´ve halted my flashlight hobby for some 2 years (times of the XML-T6) and restarted now.
I was hoping that the 18650 battery had now become the standard power source, being easier to buy and with lots of brands.
Instead, this is what I found out, but please correct me if I´m wrong:

- lots of types of LiIon batteries.

- many of 18650 have diameter larger than 18 and length of 70 mm. !!

- most of the flashlights I chose and wanted require the use of proprietary batteries ! Fenix TK35, some of Nitecores. They state that they need high discharge rate > 8A and recommend a battery of their brand, otherwise they won´t work in turbo. Here there are only 2 sellers of Fenix and Nitecore 18650s but they charge around 35 dollar each.

- according to the reviews I´ve read these days, the new flashlights work on turbo for around 2 minutes and fall to a lower level, in some cases lower than the high mode.

- the new leds from Cree XHP 35, 50 and 70 eat a lot of power.

  • I see that there are now some flashlights that use proprietary power packs.
    Did I miss anything? Are these batteries of 8A easy to find in stores north of Equator Line?
    I live in Brazil and I guess China doesn´t ship LiIons anymore due to air companies restrictions.
    So I´ve bought a Nitecore EA42 (which is very ugly in person, but works well), a Utorch UT01 and a Nitecore EC4S, because the Nitecore site didn´t say it requires special 18650s.
    Best regards

In a pinch, you can get AA lights, and use NiMH cells or even alkaleaks if you’re desperate.

1×AA: Sofirn SP10, Thorfire TK05.

2×AA: Sofirn SP13, Zanflare F2.

4×AA: Thorfire TK4A, Sofirn SF11. Over 1000 lemons, so not bad from an AA-based light!

Most of the single-cell ones will take 14500s, but not the multicell ones.

Sofirn’s SP32Av2 and most 18650 Nitecores that I’ve seen will take 2×CR123A cells, which I’m using in my v2 right now, and ’123s are pretty common. You can get boxes of ’123s from Amazon and the like. PD/FD/mil tend to use ’123s over rechargeables in their lights.

Personally, aside from issues like Nitecore lights needing button-tops vs flat-tops, I never had much of a problem with 18650s unless you get some weirdo light with reeeeeeally tight tolerances.

For 18650s, I tend to stick with 30Qs as a nice balance between capacity and discharge-current. Well, stuck to, as I’m all batteried out at this point and don’t plan on getting any more unless I get a really good deal on a kit vs light-only.

But yeah, when you go pushing the envelope of flashlight performance, it’s up to the mfr to determine The battery(-ies) to use. And oftentimes it might very well be the only one that fits properly is the one the mfr also sells. What a coincidence! :smiley:

Lights with higher maximum output are a thing lately. They require more power, but nothing that I know of from Fenix requires a proprietary battery. 3500 mAh protected cells are usually based on the Sanyo NCR18650GA and usually have a higher protection trip limit. In particular, protected 3500 mAh cells from Keeppower and Orbtronic can handle 8A. These batteries are easy to find in the US and EU. Illumn even sells their own protected LG MJ1 for $6.50, and it’s rated for 8A.

Unprotected IMR cells can handle much more, but do check compatibility, as sometimes big brands like Fenix and Nitecore design for protected cells with a button top, and unprotected, flat-top cells don’t always make contact reliably.

Some companies do use proprietary batteries. A couple Nitecore models are guilty of this, as well as some very popular Olight models with magnetic charging. That’s an automatic no-buy from me.

That’s pretty common, and has been for a while. The Fenix PD35, at a mere 1000 lumens has two timed stepdowns. A lot of newer lights actually use a thermal sensor, so they only step down if they’re actually overheating.

There has been a trend lately to build stuff with very short-lived max modes. The technology to do it has been around for a while; there was nothing stopping manufacturers from driving four XM-Ls from a single 18650 in a pocket-size light and making 3000 lumens years ago. BLF members have been building stuff like that as long as the forum has existed.

What I think has changed is that larger manufacturers have realized that customers will accept this. I just reviewed the Thrunite TH30, which makes 3350 lumens for about 45 seconds. I had a FET triple that would do the same years ago, but it took a while before major brands would go there.

Nitecore now has the TM10K, which is supposed to make 10,000 lumens at power-on. It steps down in 7 seconds.

That they do. They’re actually four emitters on one package, with the XHP70 being equivalent to four XM-L2s or XP-Ls. It can handle roughly four times the power an XM-L2 can, and make four times the output.

Personally, I’d much rather have color quality than crazy output for 2 minutes. The market seems to disagree with me.

1. Yes. There are a lot of sizes for lithium ion cells.

2. Not really if you don’t buy unprotected 18650s, like I don’t.

3. You are very unlucky. Good 18650s in the US cost around 6$US, and some can handle 10A, and even 20A.

Protected 18650s from flashlight sellers are usually extremely expensive, usually 3-4x. Not 6x as in your case. Brazil’s import taxes suck.

4. Yes that is true. Quite many lights do stepdown after a set amount of time even it is cold outside. Some never step down though, like the Convoy L2 and Haikelite MT01, and some do according to temperature, like the BLF Q8.

5. Yes, but they output a lot of power in exchange. And are very efficient below 1000 lumens in exchange.

XHP35 are 4x XPE2s together.

XHP50 are 4x XPG2/XPG3 together.

XHP70 are 4x XPL/XPL2s together.

6. Propriatery battery packs suck, yes.

If you want 18650s inside of lights, I would look at the BLF A6, and Sofirn lights on Aliexpress.

These lights include 18650s capable of 15A+ of current, so they should be good and legal for shipping.

Thanks for all tips.
My disappointment is that during the era of XML-T6 my zoom cheap flashlights worked with the crappy 18650 that came with them. These were sold by street vendors. Even my Nitecore EC25 worked with these crappy batteries. Later I´ve bought a Nitecore E40 from China and a friend in New York brought an E41 for me. Now I decided to buy some more powerful ones and see that they work on turbo for a ridiculous 2 minutes. Any way I´m satisfied with te E42 and the EC4S. The EC4S is working with the old “trustfires” I had.
Hope Cree creates some new leds as they should be: Higher lumens + lower consumption. HEHEHE.

Newer LEDs do exactly that, though many of us in the hobbyist world trade back some of that efficiency for color quality - CRI, and tint that matches our preferences. CRI is very valuable for seeing detail outdoors. Each generation of LEDs tends to be more efficient than the last, and the ability to maintain efficiency at high power is improving as well.

Cree is not the only manufacturer of high-power LEDs. Samsung, Osram, LG, Nichia, and Luminus make high-power LEDs suitable for flashlights. Big flashlight manufacturers seem to prefer Cree, but some of us have been pressuring them to expand their horizons.

To be fair, Cree was always on the bleeding edge of efficacy, first to hit the 100lm/W mark, etc., but new flip-chip designs, while more efficient, also give rise to nasty angular tint-shift, the dreaded “Cree rainbow”. Also makes for some nasty fried-egg beams.

But most newbs just want ∼BRIGHT!∼, quantity over quality.

Given the choice between a high-brightness Cree and a Nichia that’s only 2/3 the lemons, they’ll go for the Cree.

The unwashed masses have spoken…

I had the same problem with batteries.Here in South Africa the branded cells are around 4 to 5 times the price .Then I discovered that Vape shops have all the best high amp 18650 freely available and always at the right price.

Same here in AUS.
Branded ones are exxy here,
So I bought coupla 4 x sets of Q30’s on coupons from Bangood. $31 del.
Same with some protected and unprot, Panasonics.
Soshine 26650’s from Kaidomain?.

If you can find some cheap/on sale, etc. Laptop battery packs.
They vary from 4/6/8 cells each. Buy one or two.
The GOOD laptops always seem to have LG. Sanyo or Samsung when I’ve opened them.
OLDER ones usually give good battery’s too. but individual capacity’s are usually 2200 or 2500.
Fine for std torches. They all fine normally,
I’m still using some after 4+ yrs.

Cree isn’t the only high-lumen option, especially in 3V LEDs. I guess Olight did use something from Luminus recently, but a cool white SST40 isn’t going to get most of us very excited.

The Samsung LH351D can match the output of the XHP35, costs much less, and it’s easier to drive. Of course, I’d prefer high-CRI variants of either emitter, and those do give up output.

Here vapes are not allowed and are sold by obscure private sellers, for very high prices. They mostly sell those 8800 mAh fakes.
Also notebook third party replacement batteries cost around 100 dollars here, so almost no one changes the batteries, using the notebook from the mains.
Best regards and thanks all.

1) Yes there are lots of li-ion batteries, just as with anything else in life. You pick the one you want based on size or capacity.

2) Only protected ones, plenty of unprotected ones are 18x65, and 90% of batteries are unprotected so just buy the right ones.

3) Very few flashlights require proprietary batteries. If they don’t there’s no reason you can’t use other cells that aren’t from that same brand. Just do some research and find out what the best ones are.

4) That’s because manufacturers have been pushing lumens higher and higher. If you want something that lasts longer then just use high or medium and not turbo, or get a flashlight with lower turbo output.

5) Obviously a huge LED that produces tons of lumens uses lots of power. They are still far more efficient than previous LEDs.

6) Very few flashlights use special battery packs, those are usually just super high output flashlights that cost like half a grand. If you don’t want a proprietary battery pack then simply don’t buy those flashlights.

Sorry, but all AA, AAA batteries, 16 gauge wire, 1 inch pipe, 16 inches pieces of wood are equal in their specification. Steels AISI 410, 440C, API 5L grade B pipe all conform to a specification.This is a main reason to the existence of ANSI, ASTM, ISO and all standard associations.
I was thinking the LiIon batteries were headed to become a standard power source for electric devices during the time I stayed absent from the flashlight scene.
I´ve just found 1 minute ago that the “vapers” seem to use only flat top 18650s. Didn´t find out for sure!!! And lots of people ask how to solder a blob on flat tops, what is pathetic. Didn´t get the reason, but this kind of thing leads to confusion and avoids the maintenance of a standard.
I seems even the flashlight hobby forum seems to be decreasing. Very sorry.
Best Regards

Well no.

Not all AA cells and AAA cells are created equal. Trying to pull 1A from an NiMH AA is easy peasy, while pulling 1A with an AA alkaline results in a huge voltage drop, and subsequently, power loss. Meaning not all cells are created equal.

And of course not all battery types are created equal!

You have very high capacity, low-medium power, and medium cycle life, like the NCR18650GA.

You have very high capacity, low power, high cycle life, like the NCR18650B.

You have high capacity, medium-high power, like the Samsung 30Q.

You have medium capacity, high power, like the Samsung 25R.

You have low capacity, very high power, like the Samsung 20S.

They are all of the same size, and are made for different applications.

I don’t want to come across as condescending, but I think the reason you aren’t too happy is that you can’t easily get good lithium ion cells at good prices, huh?

The situation regarding shipments in Brazil is very unlucky IMO.

This is far from true.
You can find plenty of variation in measurements even if they are “standard”.
For example wire gauge will vary completely depending on how good or cheap the brand is, even though they all are supposed to follow a standard.

Knowing the difference between a flat and button top battery is not rocket science. That is not part of the li-ion battery standard.
If learning a bit about a hobby is too difficult, then it probably shouldn’t be your hobby.
The amount of traffic to BLF has been continuously increasing over the years btw.

I’m not aware of any 18650 cells that are longer than 70mm, but some protected ones probably come close to it.

Consider buying used HP and IBM laptop battery packs. lots of good NCR cells in there. check the 18650 battery thread for specifics.

I ended up with more good 18650 A 2900mAh then I can use.

I have 6 used SF18650GR in great shape I sell you for $2 ea plus shipping.

You are correct vapers only use flat tops but always high drain very good cells for our needs.The solder blob is an easy solution to convert flat tops works well tried and tested many times over.

There is a lot of needless mess when it comes to battery formats. Flashlight manufacturers and battery rewrappers deserve all the blame.
Hobby is something that’s supposed to be fun. Asking around “Does battery X work with product Y?” is not fun. Having to buy several sets of similar batteries to work around compatibility issues is not fun.
Learning which battery is larger (or smaller) than average is not fun either.

There’s a standard for 18650: it’s 18x65mm. Adding button tops and protection circuits that change the length is a deviation from the standard. Fortunately, most people who deviate from the standard do so in the same way, so one protected 18650 is usually interchangeable with another unless the light’s power requirements are very high.