XM-L Light Batteries
What makes Geomangear batteries better than the standard batteries sold by companies like Action LED and other Magicshine/Gemini retailers?
I've been an avid follower of this sub-forum for a long time. The only claim that I am aware of is that the Newer Geoman batteries were supposedly better than the original MagicShine batteries. After the voluntary MagicShine battery recall by Geoman many other vendors jumped on the "Better battery" band wagon. As such as far as I know there is no claim of better batteries between the current array of vendors using the MTBReview web site. Once again as far as I know vendors such as those mentioned above are standing behind their product.
Originally Posted by Rucker61
This is not to say that one is not better than the other. Some battery packs use cells with higher capacity. This only means that the battery has longer run time ( not that it is of better quality ) Trying to prove one battery ( or cell ) manufacture is ( or has ) better quality than another would be impossible without the use of a high tech lab. That is because there are more issues besides capacity that determine what battery ( or cell type ) is best.
When you decide to buy a bike light ( or battery pack ) from someone ask the vendor about their batteries. If they are willing to give you good technical information on the battery ( and a decent warranty ) that is usually a good sign. Ask about the voltage, cell count, cell size(type) and cell manufacturer. Knowing these things will help you decide on what light or battery pack combo will best serve your needs.
I really do hope that I am not opening up an old can of worms. Battery wars are very tiring. Know what you're buying and you will not have problems. Just remember that any product can fail no matter how well you think it might be built. That being the case, it helps to buy from someone who will stand behind their product.
Its got what plants crave
The Geoman batteries are supposed to be made by Panasonic where the others are made in some other Asian factory. Both of my cheapo battery packs have failed. I am using one with the newer Panasonic cells now but it's too early to tell how long it will live as I just got it.
I bought 3 sets of the Geomangear 6.0 Ah batteries and I don't even have a Magicshine. I bought them when they were on sale around Christmas. I bought them because I couldn't find a better pack.
I can't say that the Geomangear batteries are better than another brand, because I don't know what's inside the other brands. What I can say is that Geomangear use some of the most powerful and reliable batteries made. Geomangear uses NCR18650A Panasonic brand batteries (6.0 Ah model). These are not cheap Chinese knock offs. Even the plastic used in the housing meets some of the toughest UL flame rating tests for plastic enclosures. Designed and built in the U.S.
I'm a perfectionist, sometimes to a fault. If I was building my own pack, this is how I would do it. Check out the link to their battery pack, read every word and decide for yourself if they haven't put together top quality components.
Edit: Okay, I just did a search on the Action LED products and went to their eBay store to check out the battery packs. I have no idea what's inside their pack. Who knows? Could be good, top quality, average or horrible. My guess is that if it was top quality, they'd want you to know.
Why not email Action LED and ask them what brand of cells they are using? Who knows, maybe they are using a well known, high quality brand of cells. They might be a great deal. Let us know what you find out.
Most of the Chinese light suppliers are using no name Chinese cells in their packs. That's not a surprise. These cells are known for frequently not being able to provide either a long life or meet the mAh ratings stamped on their batteries.
If you really want to know something about 18650 cell batteries, ask the guys/gals that are into high end flashlights. Geez, they practically live and breathe batteries, battery tests, battery reviews, battery chargers.
For the self named "Flashaholics" batteries are their lifeblood. Listed below are just a couple of the battery tests done by the flashlight crazed group. I know, we're a bike light crazed group, but keep reading anyway.
Look atthe Torchy the Battery Boy test of 18650 batteries (the typical size used in packs for lights)
What you're really looking for is how the battery performs under load. In this particular test, 1A (1 amp) is the maximum load the cells were subjected to. Look at which battery was the top performer.
For many lights 1A - 2A loads are typical. The newest XML based lights will sometimes be run at 2A - 3A loads. Even running XPE/XPG multiples, you can reach 3A loads. My last light was a Quazzle double triple putting out 32 watts and it easily hit 3A loads.
Cheap 18650 cells are rated on just 0.2A load testing. That's nothing. Sure your Grandmother can make it across the street (0.2A load), but can she sprint across with a 50lb backpack? (5A load). And, if she could sprint across, will she live to see the day she can make it back and forth, again and again? (longevity)
There's nothing wrong with testing at 0.2A as long as that's not the only test your cells are subjected to. Unfortunately, that's about as far as many of the cheap Chinese brands get.
Now check out this test. This 18650 cell test is a lot more involved. They also use some better quality (more expensive) brands.
Panasonic, AW, Redilast and Samsung are not cheap. In this test only the Panasonic 2900 mAh battery is tested. The 3100 mAh battery that's used in the Geomangear packs may not have been available.
Regarding the Samsung battery that looks like it beats many of the others. It's a little different. All the other batteries are being charged to 4.2 volts. The Samsung model I'm talking about is required to be charged to 4.35 volts. Keep this in mind. While you're at it, start doing Google searches on Redilast and AW batteries. OMG. Not cheap are they?
If you really want see how well made a battery really is, look at how it performs when laboring under a 5A load. This is the olympic weight lifting event for batteries.
The best packs, made with the best cells can handle higher loads easily. These packs are just coasting along, metaphorically speaking. Try this on a cheap pack and visualize Grandma again. If it can handle it, you'll seriously cut into its lifespan.
Here's another company that makes packs for Magicshine, Lupine, etc. Openlightsystems.com also goes to great lengths to show the customer how their packs are made. They make even higher capacity packs than Geomangear.com. What brand of 18650 lithium ion battery do they use? Panasonic. Just like Geomangear. Unlike Geomangear, their battery packs are made in Germany. But they both use top quality Japanese cells.
One thing people generally don't speak about, at least as far as being concerned with the quality, is the PCB. I've always been hesitant about the quality of Chinese electronics. Having the PCB built in the U.S. or Germany makes me a lot more comfortable using high powered packs like these from Geomangear and Openlightsystems.
By the way, if anyone out there can direct me to someone that will sell a U.S. made or just plain non-Chinese made PCB to DIYers like us, please let me know.
Last edited by ThinkBike; 01-17-2012 at 02:09 AM.
Packs made with Chinese cells tend to have cheaper cells, which are more prone to soft shorts and high internal resistance, plus the PCBs that protect against overcharge and over discharge have lower quality components with some suspect settings (too low voltage cut offs usually). You can tell the difference in quality between cheap Uniquefire batteries and expensive Japanese batteries on a hobby charger.
I just built a light for a friend and the Uniquefire cells I had (~2250mAh?) couldn't provide more than 1A per cell in a 2P pack. The NCR18650A cells I replaced them with had more capacity (~3000mAh) and provided the 3A the light needed without breaking a sweat.
Like everything, you get what you pay for
The Gloworm X2 comes with a battery pack using Panasonic cells too.