I just ordered a couple of more AA and AAA battery caddies (review), to keep my NiMH rechargeable batteries organized, and do you know what I saw? The same company – Storacell – also makes PowerPax battery caddies for 18650-sized rechargeable batteries.
I know some of you like to use 18650 batteries for flashlights and other such devices. How do you keep your batteries organized? I don’t know how well these PowerPax battery holders work on 18650-sized batteries, but they work beautifully well on AA and AAA batteries.
When the positive terminal is up, I know the batteries are fresh. When batteries are drained and need to be recharged, they’re replaced in the holder positive-down.
After so many incidents with Rayovac alkaline batteries, and hearing that other brands leak just as much these days, I invested in a lot more rechargeable batteries, for everything from the TV remotes to certain kids’ toys. So, with more batteries floating around, I need a couple of holders to hold spares.
I like PowerPax products, as you could probably tell from my previous post. I posted about them earlier than that even, with a short post way back in 2011.
These holders are made in the USA from a hard and durable plastic (ABS?). I’ve taken them travelling, and they’ve just been perfect. You can buy them in several colors, although the color choices depend on the style and battery count.
The 18650 battery caddy can hold 4 cells and is priced at $5.95 (via Amazon). You’ll want to check out the Storacell website for more color options.
I’ve purchased all of my PowerPax products from Amazon, and yesterday placed a fresh order at Amazon and another at the Storacell website due to a pricing advantage on certain styles, even with having to pay shipping.
Amazon’s color options seem to be purple, orange, and clear.
Price: $5.95 and up
Buy Now via Amazon: Purple
Buy Now via Amazon: Orange
Buy Now via Amazon: Clear
Buy Now via Storacell
I’ve got a bunch of these too, and think they’re great. And most of mine have been through cycles of deep freeze, and they’re all still fully intact. No damage of any kind to any of them from any cause.
I like the combination caddy options. It would be nice to have one that did 2-4 AA and AAA as well as 9v. I could toss that in my datacom bag for one centralized battery storage spot for my test and tracing gear.
You could, perhaps, get away with creating your own combination caddy “Block” for this purpose. Whether it be double-sided heavy duty tape, glue, or some sort of permanent system, I’m not sure these are complex or fragile enough to stop you from simply putting them together in the combination you need.
I use rechargeable batteries at least 75% of the time. Eneloop for AA and AAA and various manufacturers for my 18650 batteries. I have been purchasing generic plastic battery holders online that have a hinge lid, work great and cost less than these. I can also insert the batteries upside down in the generic holders. I keep a Nite Core Digital Charger among my cordless tool chargers that is always available to charge any type of rechargeable battery. Picking whether to use a rechargeable battery for me is based upon usage of the item. Electric toothbrush gets rechargeables. Emergency flashlight gets NiCads, moderate to frequent usage flashlights and items also get rechargeables. The only thing I haven’t figured out is when certain items exclusively state to NOT use rechargeables?
Some devices have voltage regulation or might otherwise require a specific input voltage. Milwaukee’s AA Rover LED light can’t switch to high brightness mode with recharegables due to the voltage being too low.
Rechargeable batteries often measure 1.2V nominal, and alkaline batteries 1.5V. When talking about a 4x AA or AAA device, that’s a difference of 4.8V vs. 6V.
Other times, fitment might be an issue. I recently purchased a product that calls for C batteries, and rechargeables don’t fit, even with adapters, they’re just a little too tall.
I’ve been using 3 of the 18650 holders since they first released them in that size. They’re all still going strong. They do put a little wear on the wraps, but rewrapping batteries once a year is worth it to me.
I have a 25 round shotgun shell case that I use to hold the majority of my 18650s. They’re $5-$7 on amazon. I also keep a few of the 2 cell cases that the cells often ship with when you buy them.
I’ve bought several of these, as well as batteries, from Illumination Supply. Great prices on all their products but will need to pay shipping unless buying $75 worth of stuff. https://www.illumn.com/batteries-chargers-and-powerpax-carriers/battery-carriers.html
Invest in a 3D printer and learn how to use it. Eventually you will have all kinds of plastic crap like this for pennies on the dollar.
This one is a great starter and has excellent reviews and community support.
There are cheaper ones available as well.
This topic has been broached a few times here as well.
Though it doesn’t delve nearly as deep as i’d like when considering 3D printers as actual tools.
Just a personal opinion here, and I will leave it simply as that… an opinion only, not a fact that everyone should adhere to knowing….
…I genuinely believe 3D printers are still unused often enough to be commonly considered “Tools” in the traditional sense. Though I believe, as you may also, that they do indeed count fully AS tools themselves, I am not sure the common tool user has enough access to them for it to have crossed over in their minds into A TOOL or A COMMON TOOL realm as they see it.
I don’t support this opinion with statistics, or in any way surveyed by other opinions. This is not something I have observed conclusively, or been told by others, nor is it something the top 3D printer companies have come out as having said it.
This is purely instinct I am speaking from. Now, I personally WOULD consider a 3D printer a tradional tool, as much as I would consider a lathe, mill, impact driver, or saw. It simply belongs in a generation of tools we, as a species, are relatively new to. In the same way that Farmers used to think a Tractor-Drawn form of any harvesting or soil tilling mechanism was more Vehicle than it was Farm Equipment, the common Tool user still sees a 3D printer, perhaps, as a class of equipment that doesn’t quite apply to their work. We are just now getting into the more common usage of things built to manufacture things in the User space, rather than the Industrial space. CNC and Laser Printing machines that are small enough to fit in a home environment are just as new in this “Generation” of tools as the 3D Printer, and fit, similarly, in the class of price that limits who can own one. Certainly a luxury item for those who are very serious about using them, but not something that can be picked up as an add-on item while grabbing a pack of screws or a replacement hammer. So they aren’t as common in workshops yet to be considered a natural part of one.
I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that there will be a day when young enough people have grown up using these class of small-scale prototyping machines, that when they go out and buy their power tools and shop supplies, they will include things like 3D printing fillament and Laser-Cutting mediums in their shopping lists for any given project. I just don’t believe that day is quite here yet. I would absolutely LOVE to be one of those generations to own this class of tools, but I believe I may still be slightly too old to be counted among that generation of tool users. I don’t believe I’m that far off in that age cutoff line, but I do believe that line skews a few years off for me. Perhaps someone only 5-10 years younger than I am will be counted among those who add this new generation of fabrication tools to their list of necessary supplies? I’m not sure.
And, on a side note, I believe it is them who will look at these battery holder designs as you do, and see it as a 3D Printer job, rather than a purchase. Therein lies another barrier to this situation. Once a design in plastic is released in a market where everyone can simply print their own, business plans can fail. We may be at the far end of the time when these kinds of containers, holders, and other unique designs, continue to be manufactured at all. A business that specializes in plastic parts may well be replaced by the home DIY market quite easily, and that financial burden is a large factor in why there has been such a slow rollout of home manufacturing tools such as these.
Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts like that.
I think you hit the nail on the head on almost every point made.
One thing I will heavily counter though is age being a factor for cut-off.
The simplicity with which these types of machines have been designed for speaks volumes about the designers and programmers who want to get people of all ages into learning them as easily as possible.
I started messing with 3D printers as a hobby about 5 years ago and have seen first hand how easy it has gotten. My first year was trying to figure out what g-code was and how to configure ports on my computer while the fledgling .stl sites were barely a thing. Now GUI’s and refined machine designs make clicking a start button one of only a handful of steps. 3D printers are so much closer to being as readily available as your everyday printer/copy/fax machine over the last few years.
There is no reason for older people to shun learning a new technology. Reliance on the “next generation” to bring about normalizing new tech is what causes such huge gaps in knowledge when it comes to everyday items. I grew up with the start of the internet and am one of those people that gets constant calls for help when ANYTHING new comes out and older people in my life don’t know what they’re doing. Some may say I’m cynical or salty about this, but it has been 25 YEARS and I still help people with the basics. The only things that take more than 25 years to learn are things that you don’t want to learn.
Sorry if I sound like i’m venting, I appreciate your stance on the topic and I think you make valid/well though out points, age is just a thorn in my side.
Side note, you may find sites like this interesting.
https://openbuilds.com/ Under the builds tab.
I made my first CNC machine for $1,200 with directions and help from people on here.
The cost is ~75% less than buying a cnc shark/commercial CNC machine at the local woodcraft, rockler, etc.
Though mine has a work area of 40″ x 40″s instead of the 12″x 12″+ that they carry and allowed me to make a full set of custom cabinet doors saving thousands of dollars and being able to do designs that only the highest of skilled woodworkers could do by hand.
I’ve 3D printed multiple attachments and prototypes and one machine is capable of using a 2+ HP router, co2 laser, and plasma cutter with minor setup changes.
I would highly encourage anyone to look and see how approachable these technologies have become.
Actually, Chris, I ENTIRELY believe and agree with you there. I think you may have misconstrued my comment about Age as meaning the wrong thing.
I don’t mean understanding the technology, or the ease with which it is used. For THAT, I’m already of the right age, I’m 38. I see no real barrier beyond financial to using these new technologies.
What I MEAN with the age difference is ATTITUDE toward what constitutes a “Necessary Supply” at any given shopping run. Though I do not automatically think “Oh, wait, I gotta grab a 3D printer while I’m out!” or “Oh, while I’m here at Home Depot grabbing wood screws, I’m going to go over to the lumber section and grab some plywood to do some laser cutting with!” I believe someone SLIGHTLY younger than I am, maybe 5 years, at most 10 years, has a MUCH more likely impulse to think the opposite way. They may have bought, or built, one of these machines, and when THEY go shopping they think NOTHING of picking up supplies for them as being any different than picking up screws or a new battery for their drill.
I, on the other hand, am still on that weird border between common adoption of the new generation of tools, and major investment IN the new generation of tools.
I don’t have a laser cutter, or 3D printer, or a CNC of any sort… I kinda can’t afford it… I understand them just fine, and I am COMPLETELY there with you with the annoying tech support questions from peers and family members alike. But, I JUST missed a window where there was enough wealth to spare to invest in them. This has nothing to do with learning the tech, since I’ve WANTED these things much longer than they’ve seen their prices drop for level of investment.
ANYONE who owns a tool, of any age, knows conclusively that they have to pick up supplies to feed it while they’re shopping for supplies of any kind. But I’m of an age where the 2008 financial crisis actually had an impact on my buying power for a time. someone a few years younger than I am may have still been in schooling for the trades, and emerged from that schooling in time to get into the new generation of tools early, as a part of an apprenticeship of some sort. But, I was on a different career path all together, my finances were pinched, and there was just this TINY window where I should have switched before it al happened, but had no choices.
I still learned about them. I stil want them. But, I don’t think of picking up the machines or the supplies as trivial things, unlike someone who may be slightly younger, and already own one.
Does that make a little bit of sense? I assure you, I am not saying I’m incapable of using the machines. I am simply saying, given all the financial, social, and other variables in life, I sit at a point where on market’s bubble burst, and froze me to a certain generation of tools being “Common” for me. Just a few years, not more than a Decade younger, and that same bubble would have been visible to a person still in school, and they could’ve pivoted from the industry I entered, and joined the ranks of the new generation of tools as soon as they got out of school, making picking up supplies for them just as trivial as picking up wood screws, batteries, or a wooden beam for a project is for me.
It’s about how trivial you think shopping for the supplies are, not how trivial the tool is to use. I apologize if I didn’t make that clear.
Those are nice for a quick way to store spare 18650’s while mobile: in the truck, camping, tool bag etc. I have simmilar types for AAA, AA and 18650 (I like them) but for storage at home for a lot of them look into ammo storage boxes. I have a ton of the AAA and AA nicad rechargables. So those little 4 strip plastic strips are cost prohibitive.
MTM makes a few nice ammo boxes for about $5-7 and they hold 50-100 batteries each. Look for the blue semi transparent (non conductive and will contain the battery chems if you have a leak) with the snap top closure. They have a grid pattern of individual cells to hold them. I have the blue ones in .223cal/5.56mm those fit AAA. The 30-06/.270 ones fit AA. 12ga will fit 18650’s. I only use the AA adapters for C and D size. To my knoledge there are no civilian bullets that would match up to a C or D size battery. D size is 33mm. So I guess buy the strip holders for those sizes?
Anyway for AAA, AA and 18650’s those cases are a better/cheaper storage solution in my opinion.
Ps anyone else bummed out the Amazon rechargable nicads are apparently NOT rebranded enelop’s any more.
I haven’t bought alkaline batteries for about 20 years now (apart from a type C for a clock). My first battery rechargeable device was for 2Mp Epson digital camera back in 2000 and I haven’t looked back since.
I use the plastic boxes that the 18650s come in but there’s no proper way to orient to indicate the charge state so I like this idea. I suppose I could just insert a red plastic disk if they need charging.
Anyway, thanks for the heads up on these.
Storing 18650 batteries? You guys haven’t even covered selecting/buying/charging 18650s or even any devices that use them and now i’m supposed to already be storing them?
Just kidding. I have been using 18650s in as many devices as i can find for well over 10 years as their energy density is vastly superior to NiMH; i sure wish more devices used their form factor.
The sleeves you reviewed are a more useful design than that of the molded snap cases whose inferiority has already been covered above.
Please include more 18650 tech where possible.
Personally, I’m still very new to individual 18650 Li-ion battery tech, or at least flashlights and what-not that are powered by them. It’s something I’ll look into.
What prompted this post was a combination of 1) I was ordering some more AA and AAA-sized 19650 cells, and 2) I’m very conscious (and understanding) that many of those who regularly use 18650-sized cells object to proprietary tech such as Milwaukee’s RedLithium USB flashlight and worklight tech. So, I figured this would be a helpful post just for them.
Her’s a charger i’ve found to be reliable (have not used linked battery pack) — there are many super-bright LED flashlights/headlamps/lasers out there and a few USB battery packs, cheap-looking rotary fans, pi power supplies, maybe some scopes,,, but few options beyond those that i’m aware of (or within my area of interest)… most devices use proprietary flat LI batteries and most 18650 (and other) devices are hard-wired. Li-Ion flavors coming in so many different flavors (26650 22650 18650 18490 18350 16340 RCR123 14500) probably dooms adoption of any single form factor.
Personally, I would love to get some 18650-based flashlights, but I don’t know where to buy them. I’m not sure what brands are safe, but would assume Samsung, LG, etc.?
Searching on Amazon pulls up a long list of Chicom no-names, with no recourse whatsoever if their battery burns you house down. I don’t trust them at all and it doesn’t look like the main players sell much to end users, or I just haven’t fou d where they are sold. Officially, that is.
With rechargable lithium-based batteries, I only buy name-brands, through authorized dealers. If the battery catches on fire, you have a legitimate company to deal with.
Also, if name-brand lithium batteries are bought outside non-authorized dealers, I would imagine the company would be able to wash their hands of any responsibility. It also greatly inreases the chance of counterfiets.
Any thoughts on where folks can buy _good_ 18650s from authorized dealers?
Made in Japan
Ultrafire has been my go-to. I prefer single-mode so i don’t have to cycle through the the dimming and SOS modes. A simple on/off works best for me.
Already posted a charger – my early days with 18650 where trepidatious as i too was concerned of fire and only no-name fast-chargers were the norm. I would place the charger in a skillet on the stove and only charged when i was going to be around the house for the entire charge cycle. Hundred of charge cycles later and the advent of the Nightcore brand has made me comfortable enough to let them charge overnight.
liionwholesale and illumn are the only vendors I use.
As to brands of cells: Molicell, Samsung, LG, Sony. They are all manufacturers of cells, not purchasers of some mystery cell out of China.
Sure fire and streamlight make great lithium LED lights but using 18650 them selves, I would pickup a Nitecore light. I use their charger and batteries or ones salvaged from laptop packs with no issues. If I have worries about a certain brand of batteries when charging them, I place the charger on a chunk of transite(asbestos board) .
good LED on a lightning deal at amazon