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#52283 - 08/21/19 11:42 AM Batteries and flashlights
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I never realized how many people were enamored with flashlights until I started researching them. It's a flashlight, right?

Well, given that we live in a time of manufactured crap, it should come as no surprise that a small Maglight was a defective product. Of course, it was a surprise to me, because I want everything to work. I have two Maglights, a big and small. The small one was powered by two AA batteries. Within six months of using it, it wouldn't come on, and I couldn't get the batteries out. These were Duracell alkaline. My neighbor, who has a degree in chemistry and runs a metal shop, told me he has had the same problem with small Maglights, compelling him to throw them away. He said you can't get the batteries out because they swell. He also said the batteries leak. I doubted my batteries were old enough to leak. But I don't know. Something happened. They were stored in a kitchen cabinet.

So I'm done with Maglights and decided to find batteries for long term use that won't leak. According to current wisdom, Energizer Ultimate Lithium is the way to go (they don't leak and they last long), so I ordered some with a flashlight. I have wondered for some time why flashlights are black. They ought to be white, so you can find them in the dark. Same with pull chains. I didn't find any white flashlights that appealed to me, but I did find one made by Pelican from Batteries Junction that glows in the dark. We'll see.

I don't use batteries very often, though a lot of people seem to. It's a terrible waste. For my book light, I use rechargeable Eneloops. For power outages and everyday use, I need to have a reliable flashlight or a few. It doesn't have to be blinding or qualify as a weapon. It simply has to work.
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#52285 - 08/21/19 01:27 PM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: deniro]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
FWIW, I like Varta batteries. In my experience, they last longer than Duracell and others that I have tried. They are available from several sources but I generally order from Idaho Camera. Their service has been very quick and personalized. (I have never seen Varta available in stores.)
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#52288 - 08/21/19 03:16 PM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: jchuzi]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
I picked up an LED flashlight in the auto parts store. After two years, it's still on the same battery it came with. I use it every night for a couple minutes. You can't adjust the beam like a MagLite, but it does the job. It was under £5.

I also have a Mini-Maglite. I use Duracell rechargeable batteries in it. I dread having to find replacement bulbs for it. They cost more than the LED flashlight.
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#52289 - 08/21/19 03:25 PM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: jchuzi]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I have had the best luck with Ray-O-Vac but I believe that is due to the fact my local supplier, Batteries + Lights, has a very high turnover in alkaline batteries so they are almost always straight from the factory fresh. But yes alkaline batteries do swell and they do leak especially if they are stored in a high temperature environment. I literally dug two alkaline batteries out of a test device the other day that had completely ruptured and the only thing readable on the outside were the words "guaranteed not to leak". 🤷‍♂️

I often rely on flashlights and keep several around the house, shop, and camper. All of those that I own today are LEDs, and all but one have built-in NiCad or Lithium Ion batteries. Rather than toss them in a drawer, as I was inclined to do with replaceable battery lights, I generally keep them somewhere convenient and charging (a great use for old iPhone chargers). After four or five years of this my flashlights are always charged, have never shown any signs of swelling, never leak, still last hours longer than any alkaline battery ever did, and are orders of magnitude brighter. I am particularly fond of those that have both a beam and work light mode, and so far I have never found myself in a position where any flashing red or white light would have been useful — but if I ever did need that it could literally be lifesaver.
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#52291 - 08/22/19 01:29 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: deniro]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: deniro
...it should come as no surprise that a small Maglight was a defective product. Of course, it was a surprise to me, because I want everything to work. I have two Maglights, a big and small. The small one was powered by two AA batteries. Within six months of using it, it wouldn't come on, and I couldn't get the batteries out. These were Duracell alkaline. My neighbor, who has a degree in chemistry and runs a metal shop, told me he has had the same problem with small Maglights, compelling him to throw them away.

I've got a 2 x AA Maglite that I"ve been using for maybe 15-20 years with no issues; I've used only Duracell alkalines with it and never had a problem with either the light or the batteries.

A 1 x AAA Maglite that I bought for my keychain was a piece of garbage...close to non-functional.

I've got two grooming appliances that I keep in my bathroom, which gets extremely humid from lack of ventilation when I shower; I've used a Duracell AA in one and a AAA in the other, and while the sealed (AA) one has never given me a problem, the battery in the unsealed (AAA) one leaked and ruined it. I now take the battery out between uses. (I must admit that I allow years to pass without checking their batteries.)

As for Duracell AAs, I noticed a while back that they not only weren't lasting as long as they had under identical use conditions, but that they no longer fit snugly in my Maglite, rather they rattle around audibly. Talk about product degradation!

A professional photographer I know told me that Duracells weren't giving him as much life as they used to, and that he's switched to Energizers, which he's found to last longer. I bought Energizer AAA Industrials, but they pose a judging problem, because they last so long in the devices in which I use them that record-keeping would be almost meaningless. When I run out of Duracell AAs I'll replace them with Energizers, maybe the Ultimate Lithiums you mentioned, and will then be able to judge performance.

I don't recall the last time I saw Ray-O-Vacs, which may very well be on the wall right next to the Duracells and Energizers in the store, but I've never noticed them, and I've never even heard of Jon's Vartas.
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#52292 - 08/22/19 01:56 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: freelance
I also have a Mini-Maglite. I use Duracell rechargeable batteries in it. I dread having to find replacement bulbs for it. They cost more than the LED flashlight.

I bought some eneloop rechargeables, and the first thing I read when I VERY UNcharacteristically looked at the instructions was a warning to NOT use them in sealed environments, which is what I took my Maglite to be, sooo...

I just took a look on eBay UK, and replacement bulbs for a 2 x AA Maglite are going for 3£ (about $3.50), while the best price I found on eBay US was $5, and the best price on Amazon was almost $6, so you've got nothing to complain about.
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#52293 - 08/22/19 03:19 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: artie505]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Ha! I have always got something to complain about. Perks of being an OAP.
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#52294 - 08/22/19 03:22 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: freelance
Ha! I have always got something to complain about. Perks of being an OAP.

Heck, I've been a complainer all my life, so as a pensioner, the perk I want is someone to listen.
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#52296 - 08/22/19 04:18 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: artie505]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
I guess like me you've found that it's much easier to complain that it is to find someone who will listen.
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#52297 - 08/22/19 04:25 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Finding people who understand that complaints benefit them IS awfully difficult, but I've done OK lately with a couple of restaurants that (at least make believe they) appreciate the feedback.

In general, though, you're on the mark!
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#52300 - 08/22/19 05:55 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
When alkaline batteries get old enough, they leak, whether they are in a "high temperature environment" or not.

They should not leak within a year or two. My frame of reference is longer due to my age. It would take many years for a battery to leak. But given that everything made today is crap, maybe it is possible for alkaline batteries to leak earlier than they used to.

All the more reason to avoid alkaline batteries. Just make sure you get the right kind of Lithium.
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#52301 - 08/22/19 05:59 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: artie505]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
"Don't use in sealed environments."

What does that mean? Every battery compartment is a sealed environment. Every drawer. Every house. Every pocket.
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#52308 - 08/22/19 09:35 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: freelance]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: freelance
I picked up an LED flashlight in the auto parts store. After two years, it's still on the same battery it came with.


I think the cheap OEM batteries that come in TV remote controls with new TV sets last forever. I had a pair carry on for over 7 years of daily use. Admittedly TV remotes are not high demand electronics (or are they?), but that is a long time. Do these (often Asian, judging by the writing on the batteries) manufacturers know something? wink
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#52313 - 08/22/19 03:50 PM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: deniro]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: deniro
"Don't use in sealed environments."

What does that mean? Every battery compartment is a sealed environment. Every drawer. Every house. Every pocket.

Those are my words, not a quote.

Drawers, pockets, etc. are not "sealed;" a Maglite IS more or less sealed.

On the other hand, though, I just found this on the Maglite website:

"Bottom line, if you are willing to tolerate a possibly significant decline in flashlight performance, there is no reason you can’t substitute rechargeable NiMH batteries for (non-rechargeable) alkalines."

Maybe the eneloops (the ones I bought, anyhow) require(d) ventilation, and maybe I overreacted to what I read, but it would cost me too much money to find out the hard way that my interpretation was correct.
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#52314 - 08/23/19 07:21 AM Re: Batteries and flashlights [Re: artie505]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: artie505
I just found this on the Maglite website:

"Bottom line, if you are willing to tolerate a possibly significant decline in flashlight performance, there is no reason you can’t substitute rechargeable NiMH batteries for (non-rechargeable) alkalines."

I'm guessing that their mention of "possibly significant decline" refers to the big drawback with NiMH rechargeables - as they sit they continuously decline in power and you need to remember to pop them into the charger once in a while. Murphy's Law, being what it is, means that just when you need the flashlight most.....

I've been following the thread with interest as I have two Maglites (the small one and the large one that takes 2 D cells. I have owned them so long I can't recall when I bought them. Suffice to say at least 20 years.

I've only used akalines and have never had an issue. The battery brands have varied depending on what was the best "name brand" buy at the time - currently EverReady and Panasonic.


Edited by ryck (08/23/19 07:23 AM)
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