Regardless of chemistry…
I have one of those infrared motion sensing lights that uses 4xaaa. It has a low battery warning light that just came on today. I took out the eneloops to check voltages before charging, and 3 of them were between 0.8-0.9v which is normal for being depleted, but the fourth was at –0.04. |( Yes, negative. That’s no good… On the bright side, I did get them all recharging again by doing the “channel jumping” trick on my bc-9009. BTW, this is not the first time that I’ve had to use that tactic.
Also, a couple weeks ago I lent my TK35 and chinese 50w HID to my friend for a camping/animal spotting trip in the national forest/jungle. That was my first mistake, giving out flashlights and not going along to supervise their usage :davie: … he is definitely not a flashaholic or as careful (read anal) as I am. Anyways, I got a text from him asking if it was normal for HID’s to just cut out suddenly. I told him probably yes if the battery was too low (even though I personally have never pushed the limit), and that it would probably be a good idea to charge up the battery pack asap. I really have no idea how well designed the circuits are in those things.
Later after the trip, when he returned the lights to me, I checked them over. The HID’s battery pack had been recharged, and it was working fine. sigh of relief The TK35 lit up in low, med, and high, but not turbo. I thought, sweet!, some kind of way to tell that the batteries are getting low. So I pulled out the batts to see how low they were. One was at 3.6v and the other was at 0v. I know you’re probably thinking tripped protection circuit! But that was not the case because the light still lit up on the lower modes, remember? Unfortunately, my second mistake was putting in unprotected cells. I usually have protected Hi-Max’s in it, but I got the request for the lights on short notice and didn’t have time to charge them up, so I put in some fuller unprotected Panny’s thinking they would last longer. I will never do that again…
From my experience, it seems that most of the time, the culprit is the use of multiple cells (and inattention to runtime). Surely, single cell applications have fewer problems with overdischarging. This is why I have been hesitating on the quark deal. I would hate to have to deal with overdischarged cells at that price/quality level. And now that the L3 Illuminations L10 is out, it’s hard not to just get two single cell lights for the price of one 2 cell light (emitters, lumens, and other specs aside). But a quark is a quark! The similarities between the two are they both run on aa’s and have a moonlight/firefly mode. These are the two features I’ve been after recently, mostly because I’ve been looking into lights for long camping trips (weeks) for normal people (non-flashaholics) where runtime is important and there is a risk of overdischarging cells and not being able to immediately recharge them thereby inducing permanent damage. Logically, that means I should go with some L10’s, but for some reason I can’t seem to get over the quark deal.
So how do I prevent overdischarging in the future? In the case of the PIR lamp, there really is no way for me to tell battery status, short of pulling out the cells weekly and checking them, since the warning light is unreliable. But I’m too lazy for that. For the TK35, I wish I had the U2 version with the step-down and low voltage warning. They really should have included that on the original. But, I’ve definitely learned the lesson of using (or not using) unprotected cells in a multi-cell in-series light. Never again… Never again.
When it comes to primaries, I love to squeeze out every last bit of juice. But with rechargables, nimh or li-ion, it really really bothers me when they get overdischarged or when the voltage goes into the negative. It’s even worse, when I can’t recharge them immediately. I can’t help but think about how much I’m killing them. In the end, I guess they’re just batteries. But I still like to take care of my stuff as best as I can. It’s too bad I can’t really trust other people to do likewise. Anybody else feel the same as I do or have a similar frustrating story? I know kriesler has one. BTW, if you made it all the way through this post, thanks for reading. At least it wasn’t as long as one of kriesler’s reviews … I hope it was somewhat enjoyable/entertaining. If not, sorry I wasted your time… I mean you should have stopped reading after the first paragraph! I did warn you didn’t I?