Experience From - Chuck Hammonds , Howie Breinan , Steve Simmons , Mike Erickson , Randy Gehrke , George Beinhorn , Steve Simmons #2 , Matt Mahoney , Gordon Chace , Mike Erickson #2, Karl King , Thom Ludwig,

Chuck Hammonds

Subject: Lithium Batteries

John Fowler asked where to find lithium batteries:

I found them at the camera store, since their target market is for flash attachments and camera people are willing to pay more money for a faster recycle time on their flashes. Payless Drugs has them for a dollar cheaper ($4.99 for two) also in the camera section rather than the big battery display.

Jay Hodde asked about battery life:

Someone suggested that the battery life is best if the light is used intermittently rather than a continuous burn. So, rather than find out on the run, I burned up $12 worth of these little hummers in a home test over the weekend.

The lithium batteries burned for almost 8 hours (7:57) in my miniQ40. Unlike with alkaline batteries that just seem to suddenly go dead, the lithium powered light gradually dims. As previously reported, the light is exceptionally bright, more so than with the alkaline batteries, but it seems to start to degrade after 3-4 hours, although still very servicable up into the late five hour and early six hour stage it slowly burns down to just a dull glow at the almost eight hour point.

The weight difference is also significant. 4 alkaline batteries weigh 3.4oz. 4 lithium batteries weigh only 1.9oz, This makes a miniQ40 with lithium batteries weigh in at just 4.0 oz. It really feels like a feather.

It is just a guess, but I think if you alternated between two lights, running each one an hour at a time, you would get even better results. My personal conclusion is that they are worth the extra $$$. Payless has them for $4.99 for two. Anyone know of any discount houses that carry them?

Howie Breinan

Subject: Lithium Batteries vs. Regular AA

I did my own test on AA batteries a couple years back. My test light was a 2-AA yellow Eveready sport light. Don't remember the exact results, but...

Name brand (Duracell/Eveready) and much cheaper drug store brands (Walgreens, CVS here on the east coast) were basically equivalent in burn time. The store brands were as cheap as 25c each on sale, however I did notice some of them have gone bad before their expiration date (I did not keep them under optimal storage conditions, which is a dry, cool, room temp environment). My guess is that the name brands are made with better quality, but that if you get them fresh (still about 4 years to expiration), then they are equivalent.

Lithium did only somewhat better than the alkaline, at most 50%. I think useful burn time was about 3 hours for alkaline, about 4 hours for Lithium.

Lithium is much lighter, but I did not think the expense justified their increased performance and weight savings.

Steve Simmons

Subject: Lithium Batteries

I'd heard of lithiums over a year ago but I'd never read anything about them on the lists, or been able to locate them in stores. I came across some AA size Energizer lithiums about a month ago in the photo section of K - mart and bought some.

They claim to have 3 times the life of regular batteries. So far they've lasted alot longer than the normal Energizers and Duracels which I use to power my AA size flashlights, and the beam is still very bright.

Although most people have never thought of AA size batteries as being heavy, the lithiums are alot lighter, hardly noticable in my flashlight. They are more costly, about 5 - 6 $ for 2, but from my experience so far, they're well worth it.

Mike Erickson

Subject: Lithium Batteries and/or Flashlights

At my first Arkansas ('97) I borrowed an otherwise nondescribt 2 x D cell light from someone at the Powerline aid station right at dusk. As I came to find out, this custom rig (2 lithiums and a krypton bulb) blazed through the night like nobody's business. Most highly recommended.

Randy Gehrke

Subject: Lithium Batteries

Since I have about 3 dozen flashlights sitting next to my 4 dozen running packs, i will let you know what FINALLY worked and works very well concerning flashlights.

I use a 2 cell size D handheld (Ray-O-Vac) with lithium batteries. It is the VERY brightest light that you can get and it lasts for 14 to 18 hours with continuous use. The only real drawback is that it is expensive and the batteries are rather hard to find but REI has them and they are $18.00 bucks APIECE. You also have to change bulbs because it just fries the standard ones. Basically you have to get a 6 volt lantern bulb because the batteries are 3 volts each and you create a 6 volt system. The other drawback is that everyone else follows you.

Bottom line is that i swear by lithium batteries and they last WAY past the energizer bunny.

George Beinhorn

Subject: Lithium Batteries and Maglite Bulbs

At WS97 I dropped at 56mi and used my three mini-maglites for a very long time thereafter with lithium batteries, they do last much longer.

However, and this is a biggie... I was very dissatisfied with the life of those funny little stick-in "bulbs" that the Maglites use. They didn't seem to last very long at all, and I didn't trust myself not to drop them in the dark and lose 'em.

But I don't trust Ray-O-Vacs, Evereadys, et al., either. Sorry, but I've seen too many consumer flashlights flake out under the mildest conditions.

Scott Snyder

Subject: Lithium Batteries

I used a standard two AA Maglite last year @ Leadville and used Lithium batteries. Big mistake. Although the light was quite bright, the bulb burned out soon after I turned it on, and had I had to replace the bulb from the one in the cap. Fine. Next aid station, I pickup a fresh flashlight (with fresh batteries and two fresh bulbs). Both of the THOSE bulbs burned out as well, one in the middle of climbing Sugarloaf (joy), the other just as I pulled into Mayqueen. I think the batteries may be TOO powerful for the standard Maglite bulb.

Needless to say, I'll probably go back to the standard Duracell or whatever.

Steve Simmons#2

Subject: Lithium Batteries

The intensity of the lithiums is a possible con of the batteries but it depends on the type of flashlight used. I can easily imagine that the lithiums might be to much for the small bulb of a mini maglight, but I use Sams Choice AA flashlights from Wal Mart, and the bulbs in those are a good bit bigger than the bulbs in mini mags, and can easily handle the lithiums energy.

As for the flashlights themselves, the Sams Choice flashlights are very light, rubbery and very durable. I've used them through many nights through lots of races last season, and throughout the winter while training for Barkley. I have yet to have a bulb in any of these flshlights lights quit.

I usually carry a mini mag with me on a course that is more remote because I like to go out armed with back ups and also because with a small velcro head strap I can strap on a mini mag for hands free negoticiating of technical terrain.

Matt Mahoney

Subject: Lithium Batteries

The reason that bulbs burn out quickly with lithium batteries is that the batteries are 3 volts, but ordinary batteries are 1.5 volts. That means with 2 batteries that you are putting 6 volts into a bulb designed for 3 volts. Of course it will burn bright! You need to use a bulb designed for the voltage you are putting into it if you expect it to last more than a few minutes.

Gordon Chace

Subject: Lithium Batteries can be either 3 volt or 1.5 volt

I've seen lithium batteries rated at 3 volts, and also at the more familiar 1.5 volts. The 3's that I saw were of D size, the 1.5's were of AA size. Both use lithium but they differ as to the other chemicals present.

Clearly, if you use the 3 then you need to either reduce the number of batteries in-series (often not practical) or swap bulb for one rated twice the voltage (if you can even find one physically compatible).

I just studied the 1.5 AA's via (lots of cute pink bunnies) and see some reasons why bulbs might burn out a little sooner even tho the overall battery voltage seems compatible with alkaline AA's. The lithium has about 0.2 extra volts of "potential" before it is switched on, thus there is a little extra spike during the split second of filament warmup. Some camera manufacturers disavow these batteries regarding the electronics in their expensive products.

Then once the initial spike settles down, lithium and alkaline have very nearly the same voltage for some initial minutes of usage. For the level of power drain typical of flashlights, at about 10 minutes the alkaline has faded by about 0.1 volt. Thus, the alkaline actually runs the light slightly dimmed, and slightly easier on the bulb, for most of its useful life (one to a few hours). The lithium does not suffer that 0.1 volt fade until much later, thus the lithium works the bulb at the full stress of a true 1.5 volts, for more time than the alkaline.

In summary, the lithium is a bit harder on the bulb at the instant of startup, and after about ten minutes it fails to get easier on the bulb.

Mike Erickson #2

Subject: Lithium batteries and/or Flashlights

Check the following site, it appears to be a fairly comprehensive source for lithium (the battery, not the lifestyle) and flashlights from just about every manufacturer ever touted here:

Karl King

Subject: Lithium Batteries

Here's what works for me with the Lithium batteries.

I'll use the 2 AA size Mini Mag lite and a hand-held Ultimate Directions bottle together. With a hand under the bottle strap, take the Mini Mag with Lithiums and wedge it in between hand and bottle. I put the light between the index and middle finger. Especailly when the bottle is full, the mass of the bottle dampens the motion of the hand, making for a more steady light on the trail, compared to holding the lamp by itself.

The only drawback is that you have to remember that when you raise the bottle to drink, the light won't be pointing at the ground any more. This may not be comfortable for those with small hands.

Thom Ludwig

Subject: Recharagable Batteries

"Anybody have any experience with the rechargeable battery pack for a petzel? I was wondering if it was more economical than just buying new batteries. How long does it hold the charge etc...?"
They last about 1/2 as long as new alkalines. They also spontaneously discharge over a couple of months. If you use the light a lot, they are worth the cost, because you save a lot of Batteries.

You also save throwing the batteries into the landfills. But, if you only occasionally use it, or you're going to use it after long storage periods, or you're going to use it in cold weather, then stick with fresh alkalines.