rechargeable batteries


September 2, 2010, 04:12 PM
What are some thoughts on rechargeable batteries for your weapon and self defense lights? Quite a few of my accessories and flashlights use 123 batteries. Granted, I don't practice a whole lot using weapon accessories or flashlights, just about 3-4 times a year.


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Jim Watson
September 2, 2010, 05:36 PM
I have a flashlight that came with rechargeable 123s. The first set lasted two cycles, the replacements one. I bought a different brand of battery and charger locally, which seems to do ok. But I think I would limit the rechargeables to practice and utility, and keep a fresh set of Lithium batteries for carry. The rechargeables have a lower capacity and some self-discharge, so there is not as much light per cycle as with throwaways.

I have a couple of cheap fake tactical lights that take regular alkalines. The one I leave in my shooting bag for the occasional low light IDPA match came up flat the other day, with very little use. Either it self discharged or something in the bag leaned on the switch and ran it down.

September 2, 2010, 06:42 PM
If I were to make the switch to chargeable, I would cycle the batteries bi-yearly. I do this to my loaded mags and the lights are somewhat close to mags so it would be convenient. I'm just trying to get away from buying a 12-pack of 123's every year.

Good point to have a couple of new 123's even if I chose to go with the rechargeables. I could always just run the nice Lithium 123's in my HD weapons.

Onward Allusion
September 2, 2010, 07:06 PM
I personally would not use rechargeable in any weapon mounted or HD flashlight unless you're going to recharge them on a regular basis. The NiMH and NiCad batteries lose charge over time and NiCads also have memory issues. The Li-Ion rechargeables are pretty good but they still lose charge over time and take a few charges to reach maximum power. If you let a Li-Ion go for too long, they become totally dead with no way of charging.

I stick with Lithium photo batteries in the lights/lasers and keep a couple of extra sets on hand.

September 2, 2010, 08:15 PM
be very careful. Rechargeable LI-ion batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts and if used in a light that expects primary (non rechargeable) batteries which are 3 volts you can damage or ruin the lamp/led. There are 3 volt rechargeable LI-ION batteries but some light manufacturers don't recommend them. I would check with the manufacturer. I know Surefire doesn't want them used.

You also cannot use a charger for NI Cad or NI MH batteries for Lithium Ion batteries. . It must be specifically designed for Lithium Ion batteries qnd should have a circuit that shuts down the charge at 4.2 volts, not trickle.If you want rechargeable NI MH look at Eneloop batteries

Buy protected Lithium Ion batteries if you decide to use them. They have a circuit in them that prevents overcharge and discharge below 3 volts, which can ruin the battery. I like AW brand Lithium Ion

Jim Watson
September 2, 2010, 09:23 PM
My Digilight, mentioned in post #2, was set up for the 3.7 v rechargeables.
When Digilight could not furnish usable batteries and then folded up entirely, I got a set of the 3V. They work but the light is perceptably dimmer. That's ok, the incandescent should last a lot longer and I only use it as a utility light.

September 2, 2010, 10:34 PM
Nice info here guys. I'm gooing to check and see what battery voltage the manufactures suggest. I'm getting the feeling I should just use the standard 123's and use the rechargeable ones for range useage.

Kepp the info and experiences coming...

September 2, 2010, 10:47 PM
I was going to get the rechargeables, but when I found I could get a 40 pack of the regulars on Amazon for a buck each I went for it. They have been good for me, can't tell the performance from the expensive brand name cells.

September 2, 2010, 10:48 PM
i'm guessing if your light had 2 cr123 batteries in it the bulb voltage is 6 volts. so using 2 3.7 volt li-ion batteries will damage the bulb/led. you can use 2 3 volt versions of the lithium ion cr123 if the manufacturer allows it.. be advised these 3 volt batteries have a voltage reduction circuit that is very inefficient and wastes power given off as heat. so the maximum current and resulting run times are less than primary (non rechargeable) cr123 batteries.

Super J
September 8, 2010, 11:39 PM
I have never had any good experience with rechargeable batteries lasting for any significant time before they start discharging

Just buy the batteries that you need in bulk

September 8, 2010, 11:45 PM
Have you tried Lithium Ion? Mine last almost a long as regular Lithiums, have no memory effect, can be recharged 1000 times, and only lose 10% of their charge a month. Only problem is a lot of LED lights use 3 volt batteries and a lot of Lithium Ions are 3.7 volts, which can ruin a 3 volt LED. There are workarounds however.

September 10, 2010, 01:05 PM
I just ordered the 40 pack from amazon like advised above. $40 bucks and free shipping. The reviews that were listed and given here sealed the dealfor me. Thanks to all for the input

September 11, 2010, 04:29 PM
I drilled out my P6 to use 18650 protected rechargeable batteries. IIRC it is important to use the "protected type", though to be honest the reason escapes me. These are a bit larger in diameter (hence the drilling of the battery compartment) and a little heavier than two CR123s but actually improve the longevity and can be recharged (they are Li-Ion). I bought them from a fellow member here, Jimdo, and they have been doing well. I would recommend this option, if you want to use rechargeable type batteries.


September 11, 2010, 06:11 PM
Protected Lithium Ion batteries prevent overcharge and drainage below 3 volts, which can ruin the battery. I only use protected Lithium Ions. It also reduces the chance of a fire or explosion, New batteries are much safer than the older ones, but protected batteries are safer. Some of them don't have the button on the positive terminal so make sure they will work in your device

Make sure the charger you buy cuts off at 4.2 volts and does not continue charging Very important.

I like the Pila charger. Best thing out there right now besides a full blown hobby charger

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