Discussion: specialized batteries & e-switches (FW3A, FM1, Olight, etc)

See also that weird FW3E

Oh yeah, I forgot about that! It’s seen so little discussion here that I forgot it existed. This is exactly the setup that I had in mind.

Zeroair review (a pre-release prototype)
Amazon listing

These batteries are only proprietary because we look at them that way. A short while ago people complained about lithium cells and “weird” 18650 form factors. That is the standard now for flashlights. Look how quickly the 21700 was established.

Also, to get BAT- to the top end, all we need is a separator, a ring and a copper flex cable on the side. we could even convert existing cells.

I like the concept.

You point is valid and I can easily understand the benefits. Aside from some multi-cell battery carriers doing the same I believe CRX even made a light that worked on a similar concept though it required peeling back the battery heatshrink.

First time I’ve seen or heard of that one. Cool :sunglasses:

Yeah, if you search for it on BLF you only find:

  1. this thread
  2. just a few posts in the FW3A thread

I’m shocked there hasn’t been any more discussion on it

No, they’re proprietary because they don’t adhere to an open standard. That’s the definition of the word.
If you want a cell that works with some Olight models you have to buy it from Olight, and it is severely marked up.

Then maybe we/the manufacturers could create a standard around cells where both anode/cathode are on one side. the cells already exist, so something like a “blueprint” must exist. Or were the cells designed and produced only for this one flashlight? (which is possible, I guess?)

I have a couple of Klarus and one Wuben 21700 battery that works in my Seeker 2 pro. I have had a couple of conversations with Olight about their pricey batteries but gave up.

I mean yeah, that would be great, but I can’t really imagine Olight doing that anytime soon. The company has multiple magnetic charging connectors, which don’t all work with all their lights, and no clear way to tell them apart. They’ve made it evident that their last priority is making sure people can buy parts to use their lights, when they could just sell an entire new flashlight marked up to 3 times what it should cost and “on sale” for twice what it should cost.
They have lights that work with standard cells lights that work but won’t charge with standard cells, all the way to lights that won’t even turn on with standard cells. They’re arguably the worst offenders in this space.

This might be feasible with brands like Nitecore who made the effort to launch a ‘21700i’ platform and make it clear when a light uses that cell. If this continues in a year or so, I would agree that this could develop into a sustainable platform as long as their patents don’t prevent other manufacturers from building their design.

That NC 21700i looks like the same basic concept: make ground accessible by the driver. The entire cell casing is there, it’s just covered up by the wrapper. Really shouldn’t be difficult or expensive. I feel like it just needs a banner flashlight or two to make it become a thing.

Just looked up the Nitecore variants:

This appears to be the old version:

And this the new and improved one:

The only question would be: why have anode/cathode on both sides of the cell? Is that for charging purposes?

For single ended magnetic charging, and magnetic switch operations for a weapon light, while not adding additional length.

I’ve seen it with NEBO and Streamlight, IIRC. I’m vehemently opposed to it currently.

The (first) problem is, there’s no standard being adhered to. After that, I start to worry about having +/- so easily accessible so close together. As I recall, for Li-Ion, batt- is most of the actual metal cell exterior, correct? If so, construction of this type of battery could get pretty easy.

I think the real problem here is that each manufacturer sees it as a chance to apply markup to batteries. I can take a $6 NCR18650GA, make it so only the ones I sell fit the light, and charge $15+ for it. Even if it were an open standard, I think we’d still see issues worse than button-top batteries. Already, you can’t always find every cell you want in button-top form, and there’s a chance it won’t be done well (high resistance) or cost a fair bit more than the bare flat-top cell.

Funny, because the FW3E is longer than the FW3A. Because the battery got longer :person_facepalming:

It’s not that difficult to make one.

I own zero flashlight with built-in battery and I’m even less interested with expensive proprietary batteries even if there would be a standard. I’m still using 10 years old 18650 and 16340 flashlights. How long proprietary battery models last ?
I’m pretty happy even with simple clicky UI (like bistro), Anduril UI is nice but I can live without an e-switch so what such olight or nitecore flashlights could offer for now except a new UI to memorize and being captive to a brand ?
“Revolutionary”… :person_facepalming:

The olight 21700 battery is 31.95€ on olightstore.de by the way.

One reason this tech might be slow to take off is the safety issue. It’s much easier to short when both poles are at one end

I agree on this one.

so the new cells could have “hidden” anode/cathode under a plastic disc where spring-loaded pins slide in once the battery is seated inside the flashlight. (dreaming out loud here).

Not so long ago the R50 was sold, and now there’s not even a battery for it to use internal charging. If I buy such a light, I take into account a short lifespan or reduced functionality after that time. I love Olights, but I buy them only at low prices, like that S1RII for 20 EUR at amazon DE last year.

Making a standard is easy. Getting people to follow it, though, is a different story… especially if we want it to last.

I want to be reasonably confident that an item I get today will be able to use batteries produced several decades from now… so I generally won’t even consider buying items which require proprietary cells. That mostly limits the options to big popular standards like AA, 14500, 16340, 18350, 18650, 21700, and 26650.

Instead of changing the battery to get rid of the inner tube, how about we change the light? There are other ways to get rid of the inner tube. Maybe a thin ribbon instead of an entire tube?

Or at least, if the solution must be battery-oriented, how about approaching it as a single-cell battery carrier instead of a new type of battery? That’s pretty much what Olight and Nitecore do, except that the “carrier” doesn’t allow the user to swap the cell inside.

… or get someone to develop a ‘cell cap’ so we can utilize existing cells for this tech