"Best" 18650 cells?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    "Best" 18650 cells?

    I have a Zebralight h600 mk 3 or something or other, great great light. I use it mainly as a headlamp and specifically looking for cells that will give it the longest runtimes on high. Again am only concerned with maximum runtime on high.

    I currently have NCR18650B green wrap 3500 mah(I think) and Keeppower 2600 mah, 2 of each. They both are older and have a lot cycles now. If memory serves the NCR's gave noticably longer runtimes than the Keeppower when new but now it seems the Keeppower just edge them out. Also it seems they take forever to charge now.

    Typically I would get on candlepower and read up to educate myself but seems there are so many cells now and vaping is driving the tech. I get lost and figured I'd tap the wealth of knowledge here.

    Also best 18650 4 slot charger for under $20?.

    Also also would be willing to upgrade light if one matches it's light output but runs more efficient or the like.
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  2. #2
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    Not sure which cells would work best in your lamp but the XTAR VC4 is a balance charger that will fit within your budget, I have three of them so recommend with confidence:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    If your cells takes longer to charge they are very likely worn out. Very likely the internal resistance has raised and cells gets warm (ie. energy is transformed to heat) during charge.

    Hard to say which cells are best for you since I don't know what current is needed and how driver works. As a mid point (covers higher current and still have a lot of capacity) I would suggest cells up to 10A, something like Panasonic/Sanyo 18650GA, Samsung 35E, ... Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJDuKyXfrQY
    Choose the ones with highest voltage curve at needed current, but you won't miss choosing either.

  4. #4
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    Good in informative video, thanks.
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  5. #5
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    use the cells zebralight sells

    ZL635 3500mAh 18650 Protected Li-ion Battery (ship to US customers only)

    they develop the driver using these cells


    • Panasonic 10A 3500mAh NCR18650GA cell inside



    or use unprotected Sanyo NCR18650GA 3500mAh 10A 18650
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  6. #6
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    Can't go wrong there but am guessing they're not making those cells? Typically like to pay $6-$8 range from mountain electronics.

    *Doh, I see you listed the cell, nevermind.
    Probably go with those unless there's a more powerful one out there?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Can't go wrong there but am guessing they're not making those cells? Typically like to pay $6-$8 range from mountain electronics.

    *Doh, I see you listed the cell, nevermind.
    Probably go with those unless there's a more powerful one out there?
    powerful does not mean the light will perform the same

    cells all have a unique discharge curve and drivers are designed to detect 'how much is left' via various methods. generic drivers exist a dime a dozen. then the big companies program their own drivers specifically....

    a smaller 2400mah cell can make a driver built for a 3500mah cell think there is more power left than actual, it is based on volts and amps and time. 3500's tend to dip to lower volts sooner than a 2400, but it will hold that far longer...(just one example) so by using a recommended cell [you don't have to, you can use whatever fits and has correct volts], you can expect correct or close to correct run times and battery status indicators
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    powerful does not mean the light will perform the same

    cells all have a unique discharge curve and drivers are designed to detect 'how much is left' via various methods. generic drivers exist a dime a dozen. then the big companies program their own drivers specifically....

    a smaller 2400mah cell can make a driver built for a 3500mah cell think there is more power left than actual, it is based on volts and amps and time. 3500's tend to dip to lower volts sooner than a 2400, but it will hold that far longer...(just one example) so by using a recommended cell [you don't have to, you can use whatever fits and has correct volts], you can expect correct or close to correct run times and battery status indicators
    I more or less grasp that. This is why I'm specifically looking for the longest run time on high vs overall capacity.

    Been into RC/lipo for years but not up to speed on everything 18650. Looking through candlepower seems the vaping thing is driving high capacity discharge rates for 18650 and this is where I start to get into the weeds. Not sure if one those high c 18650's will deliver a longer run time on high or what a reliable cell is in that world.
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  9. #9
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    Im no expert but IIRC those here have basically recommended the high-discharge cells for sub-freezing conditions; for all other use youre probably better off with the regular 3500mAh Panasonics.

    Am sure Mr. Mole would know.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    I have a Zebralight h600 mk 3 or something or other, great great light. I use it mainly as a headlamp and specifically looking for cells that will give it the longest runtimes on high. Again am only concerned with maximum runtime on high.

    I currently have NCR18650B green wrap 3500 mah(I think) and Keeppower 2600 mah, 2 of each. They both are older and have a lot cycles now. If memory serves the NCR's gave noticably longer runtimes than the Keeppower when new but now it seems the Keeppower just edge them out. Also it seems they take forever to charge now.

    Typically I would get on candlepower and read up to educate myself but seems there are so many cells now and vaping is driving the tech. I get lost and figured I'd tap the wealth of knowledge here.

    Also best 18650 4 slot charger for under $20?.

    Also also would be willing to upgrade light if one matches it's light output but runs more efficient or the like.
    Check with Zebralight but I'm thinking that the model you own likely doesn't require 18650's that have a protection circuit built in. The Zebralight that I own has a circuit built into the driver that prevents the battery from over-discharging. With all that said non-protected 18650's are more affordable than cells that include a protection circuit. I buy all my loose cells now from Orbtronic and generally buy only non-protected cells. They sell all the best brands and are based in the US of A ( Fla. ). Orders usually only take a 3-4 days....not to mention very good prices as well.

    Nothing wrong with the Panasonics, I've used them for years. Recently I've been favoring the LG-MJ1's...3500mAh and a good maximum discharge rate which make them useful for when using torches. Sony makes some decent high drain cells as well. I have a few of those as well.

    Twenty dollars for a charger!??? Man, you really don't want a cheap charger. Perhaps the biggest danger when using Li-ion cells is when they are being charged. Believe me, you don't want a cheap charger that may crap out and end up frying one or more of the batteries. I use an Accupower IQ-338 four bay charger. This charger will charge almost any kind of rechargeable cell and can be programmed to different charging levels ( mA.'s ) for each of the bays. It's not the fanciest I'm sure but at $38 I felt it was worth the money ( and I wasn't wrong ). Picked mine up on Amazon.

  11. #11
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    Cat, some brands (XTAR included) are very decend, even when they cost $20 and below. I won't hesitate to use them. Of course for any detailed cell behaviour it is good to have analayzing chargers.

    Anyone interested can check: https://lygte-info.dk/info/indexBatt...gers%20UK.html
    for quality of each tested charger. Just follow poster opinion in Conclusion chapter on each. I have 100% confidence on his opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post

    Twenty dollars for a charger!??? Man, you really don't want a cheap charger.
    I've been using a LiitoKala Lii-500 for about 1.5 years with no issues. ~20 bucks from China. Same functions as the Accupower. Actually, the UI and the layout looks suspiciously similar.

    Who knows, maybe the Accupower is made in the same factory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HollyBoni View Post
    I've been using a LiitoKala Lii-500 for about 1.5 years with no issues. ~20 bucks from China. Same functions as the Accupower. Actually, the UI and the layout looks suspiciously similar.

    Who knows, maybe the Accupower is made in the same factory.
    I think as most people know by now that the Chinese like to clone almost any kind of electronics that tend to be popular and then sell them at a lower price. Who knows, they may indeed be made by the same factory ( or not )

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Cat, some brands (XTAR included) are very decent, even when they cost $20 and below. I won't hesitate to use them. Of course for any detailed cell behaviour it is good to have analayzing chargers.

    Anyone interested can check: https://lygte-info.dk/info/indexBatt...gers%20UK.html
    for quality of each tested charger. Just follow poster opinion in Conclusion chapter on each. I have 100% confidence on his opinion.
    My bad. I forget sometimes how much less stuff can cost when bought directly from China. When I said, "you don't want a cheap charger", I was referring more or less to the cheap two bay chargers that basically only charge the cell and have no other functions. True, I've used those types myself without much problem over the years but one cheap Trustfire two bay charger I owned did almost go up in smoke. That was one of the main reasons why I decided to upgrade.

    The type of chargers you listed look a lot more sophisticated then the type of charger I was referring to. If you can get one of those for $20 then more power to you. Something about some of those Chinese brand names they give them just kind of make me cringe though . That said names are just names. If the stuff works, is reliable and you don't mind waiting for the shipping, then go for it.

    Now as for analyzing chargers I'm sure they have their place but you can drive yourself mad comparing discharge curves at all the various discharge rates. When it comes to that kind of stuff I usually just look at the graphs that others post and even that gives me a headache ( if I spend too much time with it ) .

  15. #15
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    Orbotronic is a legit site for sure. Thanks for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Orbotronic is a legit site for sure. Thanks for that.
    Orbtronic...and yes a great website for the best 18650 type cells. ( other sizes as well ) and as a USA vendor, no need to wait for a slow boat from China.

  17. #17
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    New question here. [email protected] $19.48 & Free Ship

    Anybody here know if these are legit?

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...03OWXFJR&psc=1

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    Hard to say based on pictures. I don't like "Compatible" in the tittle. I could not find wrapping for it at this fraudlent seller either.

  19. #19
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    you know, you should avoid amazon cells unless you get third party confirmation from someplace like CPF or BudgetLightForums that the seller is legit

    stick to places like batteryjunction

    amazon is FULL OF JUNK they can't help it, they are so massive it is impossible to track it all. and the used and repacked/rewrapped lithium market is rife with fraud, since millions of used up laptop packs litter dumps and it costs mere cents to rip them out, shine them up, rewrap and resell and make monster profits, on cells that generally will work long enough so the consumer is not immediately aware

    also this:
    Amazon uses binning storage system, so its impossible to guarantee you will be getting real cells.
    Because even if you pick a reputable dealer on amazon, say that only stocks real Samsung 30Q cells, amazon warehouse will throw ALL samsung 30Qs from ALL resellers into the same bin in their warehouse and ALL orders for 30qs will be picked from this same bin.
    Basically stay away from amazon for batteries or anything that is highly faked/copied.

    there are no 'cheap' legit cells, expect to pay ~9-15 bucks per single 3xxx 18650
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  20. #20
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    Well in the past Ive bought 4-packs of 3400mAh Pannies on Amazon for ~$20 and they all seemed legit, based both on capacity tests with an XTAR and of course my own run time experiences.

    Am seeing these nominal Samsungs all over the place for as low as [email protected]$15.99 right now, FastTech has them [email protected] $22.62 with free shipping too.

    https://www.ebay.com/i/283470223599?...r=584536661687

    From slightly extended delivery times I suspect those advertised on USA sites are all shipped from Hong Kong to California and drop shipped from various places there.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Anybody here know if these are legit?

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...03OWXFJR&psc=1
    Looks like Amazon removed the link.....for whatever reason.

    @Ledoman; the link you provided showing someone selling just the wrappers...that is some scary s...*. I had no idea you could buy such things so easily.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Looks like Amazon removed the link.....for whatever reason.
    Wow and Id had them in my cart from two different vendors (because Amazon said the first one limited sales to a single set per customer) and now theyre both gone, my shopping cart is EMPTY!

    This happened to me once before though with some 900mAh Panasonic AAA eneloops; they disappeared from my cart (and all of Amazon as well) one Friday only to re-appear the following Monday.

    Anyway the supposed Samsungs are still up on eBay.

    So who knows.

    \_(ツ)_/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Wow and Id had them in my cart from two different vendors (because Amazon said the first one limited sales to a single set per customer) and now theyre both gone, my shopping cart is EMPTY!

    This happened to me once before though with some 900mAh Panasonic AAA eneloops; they disappeared from my cart (and all of Amazon as well) one Friday only to re-appear the following Monday.

    Anyway the supposed Samsungs are still up on eBay.

    So who knows.

    \_(ツ)_/
    Seems you just learned the lesson I learned some years ago. When you see an item online that is a particularly good deal you don't tell other people about it UNTIL you actually buy the item yourself and have the purchase confirmed. Otherwise, other people read your post, go to the link, decided they want the item and henceforth the stock disappears with you left holding an empty bag........Been there, done that.
    ( this happened to me on more than one occasion so don't feel bad )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Seems you just learned the lesson I learned some years ago. When you see an item online that is a particularly good deal you don't tell other people about it UNTIL you actually buy the item yourself and have the purchase confirmed. Otherwise, other people read your post, go to the link, decided they want the item and henceforth the stock disappears with you left holding an empty bag........Been there, done that.
    ( this happened to me on more than one occasion so don't feel bad )
    Well the thing is, Cat, the listing doesnt say Currently Unavailable or that the item will be back in stock on such and such a date, it just suddenly disappeared completely from Amazon, poof! Guessing myself that Amazon might either have detected fraud or some kind of shipping snafu (because when I ordered the disappeared eneloops from eBay instead, the item which showed up in Tracking and at my front door was actually a $.99 plastic paint tray liner direct from Home Depot. The real eneloops arrived later on the same day via USPS, without their tracking number ever appearing on My eBay Purchases. Weirdest shopping experience EVER.)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Well the thing is, Cat, the listing doesnt say Currently Unavailable or that the item will be back in stock on such and such a date, it just suddenly disappeared completely from Amazon, poof! Guessing myself that Amazon might either have detected fraud or some kind of shipping snafu (because when I ordered the disappeared eneloops from eBay instead, the item which showed up in Tracking and at my front door was actually a $.99 plastic paint tray liner direct from Home Depot. The real eneloops arrived later on the same day via USPS, without their tracking number ever appearing on My eBay Purchases. Weirdest shopping experience EVER.)
    Yeah, that is weird. I've had stuff disappear from my cart before but usually they give you a reason why ( out of stock, sold out or discontinued item etc. ) You could probably find out by going to their customer service and asking but truthfully I doubt it would really be worth the effort. It would likely just be an added PITA going through the customer service process and then likely no one ( from CS ) knowing what happened anyway.

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