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  1. #1
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    Battery pack from cheap Chinese light nearly burns down a guy's house!

    He stopped using an Image 5,000 lumen light because the pack was corroding and bought a SolarStorm. Didn't end well.

    A Cheap Chinese Bike Light Nearly Burned Down this Rider?s House | Singletracks Mountain Bike News

  2. #2
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    That's cheap Chinese battery packs for you. And their cheap chargers.

    Sucks that guys house got gutted. Could have been worse though.



    First thing though is he admits he didn't do any research and we always say NEVER EVER charge any light (except USB) on a walwort charger unattended. And reading that article, he has money and plenty of it. Why take risks when you can obviously afford pricier stuff.



    It was the charger that caused that, and the pack protection failed to cut off charging so charger overcharged the pack and blew it up.



    This is why I keep telling people to stop buying Chinese lights off eBay, especially ones that include battery and charger. THEIR DANGEROUS!



    There's honestly no reason with all the reviews done here and us locating quality packs, that people have to continuously be stupid (not ignorant, they read the stuff here and know better, so stupid) and cheap. Buy what's proven to work and we know is safe. You have money for a bicycle and internet access to be on the internet, you have money to spend the few extra dollars to have a safe battery and charger.
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  3. #3
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    +1^^^

    Well said!! I feel for the guy as I'm sure he's banging his head against what's left of his walls.

    It just perplexes me people riding bikes worth thousands will opt for a $20 bike light set up for off road riding,,,,, then complain that run times, or output isn't what they were expecting. Or in this case loosing their home to fire.

  4. #4
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    Me I could save up for good lights, but since I enjoy tinkering etc, Cheap lights work fine for me. And some are good, just very few have good and safe batteries/chargers
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arebee View Post
    He stopped using an Image 5,000 lumen light because the pack was corroding and bought a SolarStorm. Didn't end well.

    A Cheap Chinese Bike Light Nearly Burned Down this Rider?s House | Singletracks Mountain Bike News
    The story that the guy tells is just "weird". Guy comes home, smells smoke, hears fire alarm going off and can't figure out that something is wrong?

    Anyway, guy says it was the second time he charged the battery . So...was it damaged before he got it or did he do something to it? We don't know. What we do know is if a Li-ion battery is damaged externally ( or if poorly constructed by the factory ) it can catch fire. Usually there is going to be a burning smell before the batteries gets to the stage where it catches fire and explodes. This is why you ALWAYS charge Li-ion cells in a safe place and never leave them unattended for an extended time when charging.

    Summing up, we don't know if the issue was just that the battery was a cheap ( faulty ) Chinese battery or if the battery was damaged during shipping or if damaged by the owner somehow. Crap happens. People burn their houses down everyday with other relatively "safe products" that can become dangerous when either the product fails or someone uses the product in an unsafe manner. People leave food cooking on stove tops unattended. Space heaters sitting too close to flammable materials. Candles burning unattended. The common causes for house fires could fill a couple pages in a book.

    Of course there is always the uncommon; Meth-head has his homemade lab catch fire ( or blow up ) while mixing chemicals. Interestingly, I believe Li-ion batteries are sometimes cut open and used for their chemistry when cooking up meth...or was it crack...I forget now, saw it on an episode of "Drugs Inc." a couple weeks ago. ( no innuendo intended, just relating some facts )

    ( Side note: I'm still wondering why the guy never tried to use one of the fire extinguishers that are required for all residential apartment or condo type dwellings? Where I live they are required to be at least one on every level. I don't live in Fla. though so I don't know their public safety laws. Didn't make a lot of sense to throw water on an electrical fire. I just hope nobody got hurt. )

  6. #6
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    Bummer for the condo owner!

    I have a couple solarstorm lights. At some point, I tested the batteries and they totally sucked (pitiful capacity). I went through all of my batteries and threw out any that were suspect (capacity significantly below rating). On the other hand, I didn't even think about the chargers themselves. I tend to use my RC car hobby charger, but will also just hook them up to one of the many random 8.4v chargers on occasion. Time to rethink that strategy. When charging, I also tend to put the pack in a protective battery safety sack. Not sure if it would have prevented this disaster, but it can't hurt. Time for me to become more comprehensive about my battery procedures. My bike room is directly below my daughter's bedroom. I might have to rethink that situation.
    baker

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    I live in MA and I never heard of a law requiring private residences to have fire extinguishers. I have many of them though.

    Should I charge my Gemini and MagicShine in a charging bag? What about my Macbook Pro and iPhone? Where do you draw the line?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Me I could save up for good lights, but since I enjoy tinkering etc, Cheap lights work fine for me. And some are good, just very few have good and safe batteries/chargers
    Understandable tigris99 as unlike many out there who believe their getting a 5000 lumen light with good battery's/chargers for $20,, you know what your doing. You know how to source a quality battery/charger while using a cheaper head unit to get a decent and safe set up well under $100.

    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.
    If NightFighter gets a new BT21 with a decent connector on Amazon with a good battery, then sure.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    If NightFighter gets a new BT21 with a decent connector on Amazon with a good battery, then sure.
    YES!! A waterproof connector is a must, and NF inconsistent connectors I guess are another part of the problem with cheap lights.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    That's what boggles me,,,,, if you can get a Nightfiter with good battery/charger for say $60,,,that is safe,,,, why to save $30/$40 would someone riding a $3000 bike need to buy that $20 version? Then complain!! Not to mention increasing the risk of fire.
    I have 2 Nitefighter chargers that don't charge....so I guess that makes them really safe.....or maybe not.
    As a former insurance industry guy.....that whole story smells really funky. There's 2 sides to every story...then there's the truth.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    I live in MA and I never heard of a law requiring private residences to have fire extinguishers. I have many of them though.

    Should I charge my Gemini and MagicShine in a charging bag? What about my Macbook Pro and iPhone? Where do you draw the line?
    The guy said he lived in a condo. Usually these are multi-residential. Where I live there are fire extinguishers in the entrance hallways on every level ( floor ). Maybe he meant to say "townhouse". (?)... Anyway, everyone should own a fire extinguisher ( if you don't have one easily available ). Just like having a smoke detector it is a really smart thing to do.

    Not too long ago I came home one day after work and smelled a burning smell in my kitchen. Turned out it was coming from a small fluorescent lamp which is mounted over my sink ( which I always leave on ). The smell was coming from the lamp's ballast module that was going bad and was beginning to heat-up. Burning wires have a particular smell that is easy to ID. Anyway, got rid of that lamp real quick.

    Yep, my own smoke detector is really old. I need to have it checked and it can't hurt to buy another...just in case. BE CAREFUL with the Christmas lights!...one of the biggest causes of home fires.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    I have 2 Nitefighter chargers that don't charge....so I guess that makes them really safe.....or maybe not.
    As a former insurance industry guy.....that whole story smells really funky. There's 2 sides to every story...then there's the truth.
    I'd have to go back and read the thread again, but I thought depending on the vendor where the light was purchased the quality of the battery/charger would be good or poor?

  14. #14
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    The days of the old hot Christmas lights seem over. Unless you have them and don't buy new ones I guess.

  15. #15
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    Stuff like this happens no matter what the electronics.. How many articles have been put out of mobile phones exploding, catching fire, laptops melting down?

    I've had a phone battery short in my pocket a while back.

    I usually never leave batteries (or any device) charging when I'm not home. When my stuff is charging...I'll periodically check on it to see if it's done charging. Always unplug the charger when not charging.

  16. #16
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    I agree the whole story seems to reek of stupidity and then the moral of the story comes across like "don't buy cheap Chinese lights". I'm glad to see the "positive" comments below about people using cheap lights.

    When you buy budget electronics direct from China (well sometimes locally too) you are automatically taking a risk. With that risk comes responsibilities like verifying charger & battery behavior before trusting them. If you're not willing to do this then you shouldn't be buying these products!

    Like tigris99, I enjoy the hobby of tinkering with these lights; that's my draw to them. Sure I could buy 1 or 2 great expensive lights, but where is the fun in that? I draw the line with cheap Chinese packs though!

    -Garry

  17. #17
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    Someone on the electric bike forum tested every 18650 cell from Amazon that was under X dollars. I think X was $3.

    He then returned any that didn't make at least 70% of their rated capacity. He had to return every one.

    Moral - decent 18650 cells cost something like $5 in bulk and $7-8 individually. If you shop for cheaper ones, it is almost certainly going to be a failure. So a six-cell pack for under $45 or so (after their profits and expenses are added) is not going to be good.

  18. #18
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    Forgot to mention that I'm seeing a lot of cheap Chinese power banks being sold everywhere locally. They scare me. I'd never trust those either.

    -Garry

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    ...When you buy budget electronics direct from China (well sometimes locally too) you are automatically taking a risk. With that risk comes responsibilities like verifying charger & battery behavior before trusting them. If you're not willing to do this then you shouldn't be buying these products!...

    -Garry
    Very true. Not to mention even when you think they are working fine it is a good idea to charge them in a area that would not easily catch fire ( or in a container that would not allow fire to spread in a worse case scenaro ).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    The days of the old hot Christmas lights seem over. Unless you have them and don't buy new ones I guess.
    Yeah but even with newer lights the wires will eventually get old as the years go by. And as with all things electrical if bared wires get crossed, broken or exposed, bad things can happen.

    I remember my sister telling me once that she had to stop having a Christmas tree because her cats used to mess with the tree. Last thing you need is for the tree to fall over, short out a lamp and maybe cause a fire. Crap just happens, unfortunately. That's why people are required to have insurance for their homes.

  21. #21
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    Even my Xmas lights are led. So much safer and more efficient

    Things can happen and will if proper precautions arent taken.

    I have lipo bags from rc days. If I need to charge while away, I use it. Their rated to handle a lot more than these packs will generate for heat. Handle up to 6C 30C 5Ah LiPo going nuclear. These liions haven't got crap on those packs.
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  22. #22
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    Time for a link to a thread started years ago after another panic about a battery charging accident.

    And more batteries

    A little bit tongue in cheek, but really, considering the billions of lithium chemistry batteries in use world-wide. I'd be more worried about the neighbor kids playing with matches.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

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    So... the guy realizes there's a fire, and goes in and out a few times to save his "stuff". But it's not until the HOMEOWNER from across the street sees what's going on and then they call 911?

    Well, you gotta have priorities and I suppose being an azzh0le can be one of them.

  24. #24
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    Can anyone recommend a good replacement battery packs, not from China?
    I want to ride my bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtiseddie View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good replacement battery packs, not from China?
    No, but...
    BATTERIES ? Action-LED-Lights

  26. #26
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    The prices of some battery packs from the bigger brands are a complete rip-off so it's no wonder people end up buying that sort of crap of eBay etc

    Not sure how some companies can justify their prices - considering they probably get them made in China also..

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    Because the ppl will pay it and do. Plus qc/warranty, good and proper protection circuits cost more. most branded packs have indicators and all that, long list that blows costs up. But still 150 for a 6cell is stupid
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  28. #28
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    I'm guessing the unfolding hoverboard saga might shake things up a bit for the cheap cells.

    Hmmm, good way to dump cells would be to send out some very nice packs to reviewers then fill the flood of bulk orders with junk.
    Runs out to install a fire extinguisher in the mailbox

  29. #29
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    Anyone know if the higher cost charging bags are actually better than lower cost charging bags?

    Not to replace good charging habits but as an extra edge.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Even my Xmas lights are led. So much safer and more efficient



    Things can happen and will if proper precautions arent taken.



    I have lipo bags from rc days. If I need to charge while away, I use it. Their rated to handle a lot more than these packs will generate for heat. Handle up to 6C 30C 5Ah LiPo going nuclear. These liions haven't got crap on those packs.

    Just answered your question above, I use mine if I need to charge while sleeping or not home.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmcttr View Post
    Anyone know if the higher cost charging bags are actually better than lower cost charging bags?

    Not to replace good charging habits but as an extra edge.
    Not sure , but I have some that look like the lower cost ones. I also have my batteries in ammo cans too just as a second line of defense in case the lipo bags don't work. I hope to never have to test them. Be safe!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtiseddie View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good replacement battery packs, not from China?
    Look, even some USA battery stores sell Chinese cells. It's not about where the packs are assembled it's about the cells themselves. If you get good cells no matter where they are assembled the pack should be fine.

    Read some of the battery threads. New thread was started just a week or so ago. ( The Battery thread; 2016 and beyond )

    Anyway, a pack made with Samsung or Panasonic cells is likely what you want. You can buy them from the Chinese if you know the best places or from the US sellers for as much as twice the cost or more. Check out the options on that battery thread.

  33. #33
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    I'm curious are the Nitefighter lights and the BAK battery packs they come with lumped with the "cheap Chinese" groups?

  34. #34
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    been discussed in their corresponding threads. Answer is yea and no.
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    My experience is only spending a ton if nights reading here and other places, but BT21 is the nicer end of cheap Chinese but still cheap Chinese due to the risk of not knowing what cable you will get, not using a full-feature controller board, having button issues, etc.

    MagicShine is Chinese, but good Chinese, although their marketing department is slipping by overstating lumens, which is putting them at risk of being lumped into the cheap Chinese group.

    People tend to say the BAK is good, but it would be nice for someone to post a capacity test.

  36. #36
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    I did a capacity test on the stock bak pack. Came in right where the pack should be and run time was a couple minutes better than stated.
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  37. #37
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    My 1st post in light Forum. Hi all. Very interesting forum over here. In regards to cheap China lights, is the fire problem only when charging? Or are the battery packs still a danger after being disconnected from charger? I am still using a Nightrider Tri Newt as main, bar mount light, but I bought a $30 helmet light for use on downhill sections. Sing fire SF90, 1200 lumen (seems about as bright as my Tri Newt at 450 lumens).

  38. #38
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    Packs are fine off the charger as long as they arent damaged in a crash or anything that will cause a short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    My 1st post in light Forum. Hi all. Very interesting forum over here. In regards to cheap China lights, is the fire problem only when charging? Or are the battery packs still a danger after being disconnected from charger? I am still using a Nightrider Tri Newt as main, bar mount light, but I bought a $30 helmet light for use on downhill sections. Sing fire SF90, 1200 lumen (seems about as bright as my Tri Newt at 450 lumens).
    +1 on what tigris said above ^^^, with emphasis on the fact that as long as the battery is not damaged ( somehow ) you should be good.. The only other thing that can cause a problem with Li-ion batteries were to be if you stored the battery in a place that got really hot. I had that happen to one of my batteries once when I forgot to bring it in from the car and it sat out in the daytime summer heat during a really hot year. In my case the cells just vented when there was a gas build-up within the cells. Didn't cause a fire but when the cells vent they are no longer usable.

    "The fire problem", as you call it isn't really a problem. It is just a "potential hazard" when the user fails to follow common safety practices. That said many common household products are potential hazards if not handled properly by the user. Most hazards are foreseeable but sometimes they are not so obvious.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker View Post
    I tend to use my RC car hobby charger..
    I have several of the exact light he has..had, plus an X3 model and use the same crappy Chinese batteries. They are hopeless and I've been thinking about replacing them for ages.

    We have a peak-charger for the RC cars and I've thought about using it to charge the batteries but I didn't think it would be safe. Is it? The supplied Chinese charger takes hours to charge the batteries. I hadn't really thought about it blowing them up though!

    This is the output of the peak-charger:
    Battery pack from cheap Chinese light nearly burns down a guy's house!-001.jpg

    I only charge the batteries in the kitchen on a hard worktop but it occurs to me that a simple safety measure might be to put them in a tin. It would a easy to cut a slot for the cable in something like a biscuit tin. With the lid strapped on that should be quite effective at containing an errant battery?

  41. #41
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    On Chinese packs id sat hell no. Not at that charge current. High end cells can barely take that, good chance of venting ot fire pushing Chinese cells that hard.

    Now if your packs were Chinese cells but truly 7000mah capacity or more, then yes you could use that charger. But no way I would on some random, unknown pack.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    On Chinese packs id sat hell no. Not at that charge current. High end cells can barely take that, good chance of venting ot fire pushing Chinese cells that hard.

    Now if your packs were Chinese cells but truly 7000mah capacity or more, then yes you could use that charger. But no way I would on some random, unknown pack.
    Thank you. I'll have to buy better batteries anyway, the Chinese ones are useless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsilvers View Post
    ....
    People tend to say the BAK is good, but it would be nice for someone to post a capacity test.
    Send me a sample and I'll do it like I did/will do for some others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    I'm guessing the unfolding hoverboard saga might shake things up a bit for the cheap cells.
    [/i]
    I've been wondering this myself. I think it will bring more scrutiny to the cheap packs that are brought in. Unfortunately in the case of the "hoverboards" the type of people who buy them aren't going to be as savvy as your average biker, and they will be left on charge for long periods of time.

    I don't think there's a massive problem in using the cheap packs, as long as you're willing to do some modifications to improve the safety.
    I got a balance charger from hobbyking, and soldered some balance connectors to the cheap packs (with help from folk on here to point out my mistake).

    I don't understand why they don't add these from the factory tbh, they are already working in the same area on the battery, and it was pence for me to add them myself, so I don't know how cheap the factory's could get them for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soopahfly View Post
    I don't understand why they don't add these from the factory tbh, they are already working in the same area on the battery, and it was pence for me to add them myself, so I don't know how cheap the factory's could get them for.
    Importance of balancing is often exaggerated too much. Cheap packs might require it more often, but normal cells (even if not specifically matched) performs fine for long usage time without it. And I personally won't expect Chinese makers of cheap packs to add any $0.001 component to them...

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    Balancing isn't that important, a balance tap means no waterproofing which is FAR MORE IMPORTANT. The inside of the pack itself has to stay dry.

    If cells are balanced prior to assembly, they should be fine for a while, especially as long as you dont constantly run it down to protection cuttoff.
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    I do feel like I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet over this balancing malarkey.
    I didn't like the chargers that my cheap batteries came with, and saw this as a better alternative.

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    Thing is not to buy the cheapest batteries/chargers you can get. If people have the money for internet access, be able to order off the internet and all that, THERE IS NO EXCUSE to use "I can't afford better batteries". Especially when quality set ups are available for budget minded people. I could afford it but no way id pay for the overpriced packs either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Thing is not to buy the cheapest batteries/chargers you can get. If people have the money for internet access, be able to order off the internet and all that, THERE IS NO EXCUSE to use "I can't afford better batteries". Especially when quality set ups are available for budget minded people. I could afford it but no way id pay for the overpriced packs either.

    I know what you mean. My lights came with these batteries, and I'm happy to sacrifice them getting a better solution for me. I've got one of those Solarstorm boxes that I'm going to perform some modifications to, running some Samsung 2500mah cells.

    These KD packs are appealing though.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by soopahfly View Post
    some Samsung 2500mah cells.
    So far, I've seen Samsungs in 2400 and 2600 mAh only, with no intermediate variants...

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