Why would you want to replace your 123A batteries with
rechargeables? In a word: cost. Over the long run, if
you use your 123A powered light regularly it will be
less expensive to use rechargeable Rechargeable have
been used as a low cost alternative to alkalines for
a long time, but the rechargeable 123A battery has been
elusive. The Pila batteries, although not a perfect
rechargeable 123A solution, will serve the purpose for
a number of folks.
In use, the batteries and charger are very straightforward.
First, plug in the charger. Next, drop in the batteries,
paying special attention to the polarity. Polarity is
indicated on both the charger and the batteries. If
you are charging the 150 size batteries, first screw
in the battery length adapters to the + side of the
charger, then drop in the batteries. The two LEDs will
turn red indicating the batteries are charging. One
or two batteries can be charged at at time. When the
LEDs turn green, your batteries are charged!
Lithium Ion batteries are the "next generation"
of rechargeable They hold a charge longer, have very
high discharge capability, and are very lightweight.
Overcharging or overdischarging can result in serious
consequences, but the Pila batteries and charger are
designed with safeties to prevent either condition from
A full recharge of two batteries takes 3 hours.
There are a few important things you need to know when
going about replacing your 123A batteries in your 123A
lights with the Pila batteries:
First thing is that the Pila batteries are only about
3.7 to 4 Volts each. So as a result you will be driving
your 6V bulbs at around 4V and your 9V bulbs will
be driven at around 8V. The result is reduced output
from your lights.
If you will be using the Pila batteries in a Surefire
6V light that uses a P60 lamp module, I would recommend
getting the Pila 3.7V lamp assembly which can act
as a direct replacement for the P60 lamp. The Pila
lamp is designed to run at the lower voltage.
If using the Pila batteries in another 6V incandescent
light you may want to try to find a matching bulb
that runs at 3.7V. Otherwise the output starts out
the same as if you were using partially depleted 123A
batteries. I found them all to be dimmer, but tolerable.
I have been told that underdriving bulbs could shorten
the lifespan of the bulb. I have not yet been able
to test this.
The only 9V light I have successfully tried the Pila
batteries in so far is the Surefire M3 and output
was reduced but not by very much. The M3 was able
to throw a very white light and very bright beam (using
the standard lamp assembly - high output not tested).
Reduction in throw was less than 10% per my meter
readings. Keep in mind that I do not know how long
that level of output would be maintained.
The Surefire M3 requires that a spring be inserted
into the head of the light which will rest in-between
the spring on the lamp and the body of the light.
Just drop it in and screw on the head with the lamp
in the reflector. The spring gives more clearance
for the 150S (300S) batteries and allows the switch
If you will be using the Pila batteries in a Luxeon
Star LED or 5mm LED flashlight, you will also notice
diminished output. It's not too bad really, but
noticeable when directly compared with 123A batteries.
Underdriving Luxeon Star LEDs or other LEDs will NOT
harm the LEDs. In fact it will help extend their already
Several Luxeon LED flashlights have regulator circuits
in them and the circuit will compensate for the lower
voltage. Specifically, the Surefire L4, KL1, KL3 run
very well on the Pila rechargeables. Reports from third
party individuals are that the Pila batteries work well
in the Surefire L5 and L6.
COMPATIBILITY TABLE MOVED HERE
Comparison Tests: (More will be added as time
Comparison test of Streamlight TL-2
/ Scorpion / NF-2 (all use same reflector and bulb):
|2 x 123A
|Pila 168S (600S)
So output was reduced by a little more
than half using the Pila batteries and the stock bulb.
More reason to search out a 3.7V bulb that fits your
current 6V light if using Pila batteries in place of
two 123A cells.
NOTE: I have also tried using a
Streamlight Stinger bulb (3.6V) in a Streamlight TL-2,
Scorpion, and NF-2 with the Pila 168S (600S). This actually
works quite well. Overall output was at about 4000,
so you still lose about 30% over the stock bulb with
123A batteries. Since the Stinger bulb is a little longer
than the normal bulb, the focus is a bit off, but you
can focus it to a very acceptable spot and the switch
works as normal.
Comparison test of Pelican M6 LED:
|2 x 123A
|Pila 168S (600S)
So using Pilas you get about 63% of the throw and about
72% of the overall output of using 123As. Battery capacity
is about the same between the Pila and the 123A's so
I would expect similar runtimes, but at decreased brightness
levels as indicated above.
Comparison test of Surefire L4:
|2 x 123A
|Pila 168S (600S)
Yes, identical output as a result of the regulation
circuit inside the L4.
What I Liked: "Guilt free lumens",
easy and fast charging, protection circuits in the batteries
and charger, reduces battery costs in the long run
What I Didn't Like: Does not run
lamps at full power, diminished output - but surprisingly,
not that big of a difference to the eye. The M3 on two
150S (300S) cells showed a reduction in throw of less
Other Things I Noticed: The 150S
(300S) batteries are just long enough to prevent them
from working in some 3 x 123A battery lights.
Conclusions: Great for regulated
Luxeon Star 2 x 123A lights. Works well in unregulated
Luxeon Star lights with slightly diminished output.
Works well in the Surefire M3 with standard lamp. In
Surefire lights that take the P60 module you can replace
it with the Pila module for better output with the Pila
batteries. For other incandescent 6V lights you may
want to consider replacing the bulb with one which is
designed for 3.7V.
Please Note: Runtime performance
of the Pila batteries in these lights has not been tested.