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Cheapest and best 18650 battery charger

For those who know me even in the slightest, you'll know that I have a penchant for a decent torch. Those enlightened individuals will know that that the best bang per buck in terms of luminescence are the Cree led chips.

My fascination with flashlights started with a curiosity to see what night time off road cycling would be like. However the pre-requisite for this is having enough illumination to have enough fun and unfortunately the UK retail proposition runs into hundreds of pounds if you want a decent light output. So facing this problem I did what any rational person would - turn to Chinese ebay sellers. Sure enough they came through an a torch that is unbelievably bright together with a battery and charger for less than £10 posted!

Dodgy Chinese wares

Trouble is that you get supplied with doggily cheap batteries - you know the ones airlines are afraid of exploding or catching fire! Along with an equally looking dodgy charger with a non-UK plug which needs an adapter. I wouldn't have previously been bothered but after a spate of deaths some years back and the fact that two potentially suspect items will be used together I decided look for an alternative option.

My search didn't actually get far - I couldn't seem to distinguish what would be a reputable product or not. It was not until an unrelated search for a power bank I hit upon the solution.

The problem with power banks is the same with the Lithium Ion batteries which power the Cree flashlights - cheap Chinese batteries are just that cheap rubbish. Most over claim their capacities and you'll be looking to get a few uses out of them before their retained charge plummets and soon after that they stop working completely. 

Uniross 18650

After my initial 18650 battery gave up the ghost I decided to invest in a reputable brand, this is actually harder than it sounds - the only one I could find is made by Uniross. After a bit of testing this little beauty is coming up trumps and is only a reasonable-ish £3.95

Hunt for a power bank

My hunt for a power bank started on Amazon, after a little bit of deliberation I decided to look elsewhere based on the mixed review. So next up was ebay. After endlessly trawling I came across this fella:

Bingo, this is what I needed - Specific details in the austion description were sparce though. were sparceA bargain at 99p.

My RaspberryPi2 lasted 4.5hrs running off the power bank.


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