Sunday, December 28, 2014

AA & AAA vs Lithum & Li-Ions for Preparedness?

Berneck said…
I’ve been moving away from li-ion batteries this year. The technology is there now for AA lights. With the exception of very high lumen output, there’s really no need for the CR123/18650 lights anymore. And, the very high lumen lights are rarely needed.
Anonymous said…
No love for Lithium Ions? Yes, the 4x AA lights are getting pretty impressive, but I still prefer a single 18650; comparable runtime/output in a smaller lighter package for both the battery and the light, and a single spare 18650 is less annoying than 4xAA IMO…
Oh, there’s love for Lithim Ion batteries. I’ve found that 16340 batteries don’t always work very well in my CR123A lights but still, I sure like them and in all these years 1xCR123A types have been the flashlight I’ve carried the most, even in Argentina where they are even harder to come across an more expensive. So sure, I guess that makes a strong case for them. Also, my night table light for when things go bump in the night is a +1000 lumen 18650, again, a powerful flashlight that fits such role very well.
BUT, and here’s where I have to be honest with myself and my readers, I still make sure I have a 1xAAA with me at all times. In a worst case scenario where my house keychain is all I have to work with, I’ll have an Olight i3S 1xAAA light.
The way I see it no matter what you do you should always have at least one AA or AAA light, and if you’ll carry just one, make that one a AA or AAA. If you have a second light make it whatever you want, expand into a powerful, potentially tactical-use light, but first cover the basics. Why a keychain AAA instead of say, a keychain CR123A which would work on standardizing my battery use? Because I know that in a worst case scenario I’m far more likely to come across AA and AAA. If after a large scale disaster I have to get by with whatever I have in my pockets, I know that in some hotel TV remote control, some old toy, somewhere I’ll find at least one old AA or AAA with some juice still left in it. If I can find fresh batteries, then its not hard to get well over 100 lumens out of a single AA EDC flashlight.
Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White
Its nice to have options, so I have lights that work with all of the batteries mentioned so far and then some. I like having those options and each works great within its specific role. But if you want to simplify your logistics you can have a core setup working exclusively around AA and AAA. These days you can have an EDC light, a headlamp, a keychain light and a powerful tactical flashlight all running on AA batteries. With a few rechargables you’ll feed those puppies practically for free for years to come.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Anonymous said...

Agree 100%. If the day comes where you cannot get a new AA or AAA... it will be a very rough world. A relatively small supply chain disruption can get rid of the more exotic battery sizes. If the battery factory is running, no matter how impaired... it will be cranking out AA and AAA's as fast as it can.

Anonymous said...

The problem as I see it is as long as all the stores are open it is easy to buy the more expensive batteries and having 3 or 4 or 5 different batteries for your various needs is nothing more then an inconvenience. But once the SHTF even in some minor ways and I cannot get five diffrent kinds of batteries and stores are out of what I need I will wish I had decided on a single battery (the AA) and had rechargables with a solar charger for them. So make your choice and live with it.

Berneck said...

Ha! Thanks for quoting me! I would like to add that there is a nice compromise for some who are commited to the lithium-ion batteries. There are some lights that will accommodate a RCR123/16340, but will also take an AA battery with an extention tube. However, the extension tube is only valuable if you have it with you....

An even better solution is going with a light that can handle 14500 batteries. They are basically the lithium-ion "equivalent" to an AA, and put out the same power as an RCR123 or 16340. (A word of caution, only use 14500 in lights or electronics that are specifically designed for it. Lithium-ion batteries are much more powerful, and will destroy electronics, if not used properly)

I carry an Eagletac D25a with a 14500 battery. It puts out 500+ lumens on high! In a pinch I can stick an AA in there and get a respectable 200 lumens on high.

Like you, Ferfal, I carry an AAA light on my keychain at all times, also. Currently, I use the Thrunite Ti3. It's almost exactly like the Olight i3s, but it's a little brighter and about $5 cheaper. I give the Olight as gifts, because they come in cool colors, and start out at the very useful medium level. I find that is good for people who are not used to twisty lights, and cycling through the modes.

As for the high lumen lights, I still have an 1100 lumen Eagletac18650 on my nightstand. However, I recently bought a Nitecore EAX, that uses 8xAA batteries. It puts out a whopping 2000 lumens on high, and performs better than many multi-18650 lights. 8 Eneloops are much cheaper than 3 or 4 high quality 18650 batteries. The only drawback is the size. It's not something that is pocketable, but neither are the multi 18650 lights.

As I mentioned, recent advances in the technology warrant a second look at the AA lights. I too, only used CR123/18650 lights for many years, but saw the shortcomings in not having a common battery type. I kept a couple of crappy AA lights around just in case. Now, however, I have pretty much replaced every level of lithium-ion light I have had with an AA or AAA equivalent and havent looked back.

One last light to mention is the Thrunite Neutron 2A V2. It's a 2xAA light that puts out 800 lumens on high!
With decent run times. It can also break down to a 1xAA/14500 if needed. However, there have been some production issues with this light, so I would not recommend it at this time. I have one and am very impressed with it, but the electronic switch has some issues. I only mention it because I think it's at the forefront of what we can expect in the near future in terms of output from AA lights. We are not far from a good 1000 lumen 2xAA light.

As some like to always state, all things being equal, you will get a longer run time out of the lithium-ions, but in a true SHTF situation, I'd rather have the comfort in knowing I can replace the more common AND much cheaper AA battery type. I speak from experience...

Homespun Revolution said...

I like the 9 volt Blocklites. I got tired of the problems I had with lights on my keychain, and it's nice and small on a beltpouch. They last for DAYS even on high power, so no big deal if it gets switched on by accident. We had a power outage and I put one in my kids' room as a nightlight all night (I had to put it in the closet and crack the closet door... it was too bright in the room itself). You can buy Lithium 9 volt batteries if you want. And if your battery ever dies, you can probably find a smoke detector somewhere that has a 9 volt battery in it you can borrow. If there is a hurricane or earthquake and everybody buys all the AAs and AAAs, I think I will still be able to find 9 volts batteries. Just don't pay too much for them; the price can very a lot depending on where you buy them from and in what quantity.