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#171866 - 04/23/09 12:26 PM CR123 storage in devices ok?
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK
I'm currently rebuilding my medium PSK which basically lives in any pack I use in the wilderness or marine environments.

I'm switching over to CR123 for all my battery needs (i.e. Greatland laser and flashlight). I will also be storing a 5 pack of CR123's within the PSK.

Would (or could) there be any damage to the devices if they had batteries stored within them? Would it be best to have the devices battery-less then when you need them pop some in and your good to go? If I put batteries in them, then I would have 3 more (2 for the light, 1 for the laser) and that much more power usage (granted there is constent battery drain).

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#171871 - 04/23/09 01:04 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Kris]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
If your flashlight takes 2 CR123 cells you could reverse the second cell so that the -ve base terminals are back to back, then store the cells internally in the flashlight. CR123 cells normally have plastic covering the outside circumference of the -ve base. Storing them this way will isolate each cell inside the flashlight making it virtually impossible for accidental turn on. If using a single CR123 cell flashlight/LASER then it probably would be a good idea not to store a cell inside the flashlight/LASER as it could accidentally be turned on.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (04/23/09 01:05 PM)

#171874 - 04/23/09 01:12 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Kris]
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Generally, you shouldn't store anything electronic with the batteries in it for a long period of time.

With that said, my gear is stored with the batteries in it, but I do go through everything twice a year to make sure it's all ok. As long as I do that I've never had a problem. To be extra safe I put a little piece of paper or plastic over the positive terminal of the battery to prevent it from completing a circuit in the device and potentially draining power.

With that said, I do find that CR123 batteries, and lithium batteries in general, are very good at sitting in devices unused. They don't seem to leak like alkalines sometimes do, and they don't seem to drain themselves out over time. (at least not as quickly)

#171878 - 04/23/09 01:47 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Paul810]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Firefighters put a piece of heavy paper between the terminals.
Storing one battery upside down can lead to corrosion and a
ruined flashlight in some types of batteries.

#171879 - 04/23/09 02:17 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: clearwater]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
I would suggest heavily AGAINST messing around with reversing polarity on CR123s. There have been reports of those batteries exploding when stressed.


Some good info here on experiences. My own have been that there are pretty basic steps, but it should be ok to store items with batteries.

1. Don't mix a new and partially used CR123 - this seems to be the one most frequently associated with explosions.
2. Surefire packages their lights with batteries in the flashlight, and the tailcap unscrewed enough to prevent accidental activation. I can only assume this is a safe way to store them.
3. I would personally avoid reversing polarities, just to avoid any potential for messing with current flow. Some sort of barrier (paper, tape, etc) between the 2 batteries would be my preferred method, if #2 above wasn't used.

#171880 - 04/23/09 02:23 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Kris]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Hi Kris,

I use 2 cell CR123 battery flashlights at work and have never had a problem with leakage. My EDC flashlight is used often so the batteries are changed frequently, but my backup light may only be changed once a year?

I have seen older CR123 powered flashlights melt through lens and pouches when accidentally turned on in storage.

For lights with tailcap switches you often can put a coin (Looney or Toonie in Canada) in the bottom of the pouch to prevent the switch being accidentally pressed. Then you always have money for coffee also.

How's the family Kris, must be hectic with twins?


#171881 - 04/23/09 02:23 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Kris]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
You mentioned a wilderness and marine setting. If you think you can envision the possibility of needing these items quickly, in a very bad situation like a heavy storm at sea, then trying to fumble with loading batteries into your laser flare or flashlight, or trying to reverse the batteries or pull out a piece of paper between the cells, could be a real issue. If you're not thinking of situations like that, then there's no harm in simply storing the batteries outside the device.

Some electronics draw a tiny current to keep the electronics powered up, similar to how your TV constantly draws power so it can detect the remote control signal (Unfortunately, I can't imagine life without a TV remote control anymore... frown ). In that case, keeping the batteries separate might help if you're just going to store the item indefinitely without checking on it. But if you're going to make the habit of swapping the batteries, say, arbitrarily, once a year when you check your PSK, just to be safe, then I wouldn't worry about it and just leave the batteries in the devices. I wouldn't worry about lithium CR123's leaking in your devices in storage.

Some devices also can be turned on accidentally in storage from a bump or shifting around, like in your pack, which means the battery could be drained when you really need it. So, some devices that are easily turned on might require something more drastic like pulling out the cells or putting paper between them. For some things, like some flashlights, you can simply unscrew them a turn or two to prevent electricity from flowing even if switched on accidentally. If you might really need a flashlight in a hurry, carrying it this way would be preferable to reversing a cell or putting paper between the cells IMHO.

#171895 - 04/23/09 05:26 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Arney]
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK
Sounds like there isn't a major issue with keeping cr123's within devices for long periods of time. I'll go with this approach and just check on them twice or more a year. I was hoping for this response!


Family is doing great. Couldn't have asked for better boys. Last night both slept 6 hours strait at the same time (first night this happened). They will be 3 weeks old tomorrow, so not doing too bad ;-)! I know this will change tomorrow when all heck will break loose for the full night, but for now, trying to enjoy getting some sleep (been a rough few weeks). Thanks for asking!


No need to access these items quickly... there are other items in the pack (or bag) that are the 'first line'. This is more like a modular psk that takes the functionality of the pack i'm using and increases my chances of surviving. I jump around bags a lot so this is a very modular approach to keeping the same stuff with me.
"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#171903 - 04/23/09 05:51 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Kris]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas

I recently sold a 2004 Acura that was purchased in 2003. The day of purchase I placed a SureFire 2 cell (CR123) light in the center console. When I cleaned it out (this month), my wife advised me she forgot it was in there as it was NEVER used. Screwed down the tail cap and as the man said.... Let there be light! One look inside and it looked brand new.

Don't sweat it, but it does not hurt to unscrew the tail cap enough the on/off button does not work. That is how I carry all of my lights (all are SureFire).

In a few years, it will also keep little hands from ruining your battery budget!!!!!
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#171911 - 04/23/09 10:26 PM Re: CR123 storage in devices ok? [Re: Desperado]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Funny Story,

Not battery related but linked to Desperado's last comment.

Twelve years ago I was selling a used 1.5 x 4 Bushnell riflescope to my hunting partner for $50.00. The scope was in great shape, I left it on the kitchen table at home, my partner was to pick it up while I was at work and leave me the cash.

My partner called me at work and said that the scope was broken, I said "no way" it was fine this morning!

I get home to find that my then 3 year old son had found the scope and thought it was a flashlight. When it would not "turn on" he screwed the eyepiece off and stuck his fingers or something small into the tube, breaking the reticule crosshairs! My wife found the eyepiece/tube on the floor, put them back together and put the scope back on the table for my friend.

I wrote a note to Bushnell with the story hoping they could fix the scope but I got a reply saying "Sorry, scope was out of production and warranty"

Sorry to hijack your thread for a moment Kris, but these are the things you have to look forward to (x 2)!

I would not trade it for anything.


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