Batteries have become necessary everyday use products since they emerged many years ago. Since then, many rechargeable and non-rechargeable battery chemistries and designs have been produced. Some of the commonly used battery types include zinc-carbon, alkaline, Nicad, NiMH, and lithium batteries. Each of these chemistries can also be classified into subtypes according to certain features or characteristics. CR123A and RCR123A are examples of such subtypes.
What are CR123A Batteries?
CR123A batteries are high-power cylindrical primary batteries with lithium-based chemistry [usually lithium manganese oxide: LiMnO2]. They usually have a nominal voltage of 3V, a height, and diameter that should be in the range of 34mmx17mm, and a nominal capacity that can reach 1500mAh and more. The usually button-top CR123A batteries are designed to be extremely light and can easily cope with huge discharge currents. They are easy to store and have a shelf life of up to 10 years.
The International Electrochemical Commission [IEC] uses the letters CR to indicate the lithium chemistry of CR123A batteries. Specifically, the C represents Chemistry while the R is short for Round [an indication of the mostly cylindrical nature of these batteries]. 123A means one battery that has two-thirds the size of a standard A battery. It is not compulsory that the letter A must always be included [The A battery is not used anymore]. CR123A batteries are usually non-rechargeable.
What are CR123A Batteries Used For?
The earliest CR123A battery was meant to be used only on cameras because its high current capacity helps ensure sufficient power for a camera’s flash and motor drive. However, with continuous innovation, usage scope has since expanded to include a lot of other high drain products such as:
- LED flashlights
- Home and office automation
- Light meters
- Smoke detectors
- Lighting equipment
- Cordless drills
- Tactical equipment, etc
What are RCR123A Batteries?
Like their CR123A counterparts, the rechargeable CR123A or RCR123A batteries are also mostly cylindrical lithium-based battery chemistries [usually lithium-ion] used in several applications. However, they have a higher nominal voltage capacity that ranges between 3.6-3.7 volts. RCR123A batteries are regarded as rechargeable versions of the mostly non-rechargeable CR123A batteries though their higher voltage means that users should be careful to determine whether their device will be compatible with such an increased voltage.
Many RCR123A batteries have a diameter of 16mm and a height of 34mm and are therefore referred to as 16340 batteries. A large variety of 16340 batteries have a lithium carbon-oxide [LiCoO2] chemistry. The 17340 version has a diameter of 17mm and a height of 34mm. They can be recharged with li-ion smart chargers.
What are RCR123A Batteries Used For?
Like CR123A batteries, RCR123A chemistries can also provide sufficient power for a variety of products, including high drain devices like:
- Arlo cameras
- LED flashlights
- Video game consoles
- Cordless vacuums, etc
Charging RCR123A Batteries
RCR123A and other lithium chemistry batteries are often high-energy but lightweight in nature. Because of this, care should be taken to ensure they are charged with high-quality chargers to avoid unpleasant consequences such as fire incidents or battery explosions that can arise due to overcharging or overheating.
Some features to look out for when searching for a high-quality charger include built-in voltage/overcharge protection, a thermal sensor, capacity for battery testing as well as both charge and recharge capabilities, if possible.
CR123A VS RCR123A Batteries
As noted above, both CR123A and RCR123A are mostly cylindrical batteries with lithium chemistries. However, apart from the former being usually non-rechargeable and the latter being rechargeable, there are a number of other differences between both battery types. Some of these differences are highlighted below.
CR123A batteries have a much higher maximum capacity [1500 mAh and higher] than RCR123A batteries [800 mAh or a bit higher]. Usually, the higher the capacity of an RCR123A battery, the lower its maximum drain. However, some products claim to be capable of both high capacity and high drain. Be sure to get as much information as you can [including buyer reviews] about such products before investing in them.
As noted earlier, CR123A batteries have a significantly lower nominal voltage [around 3.0V] than RCR123A batteries [around 3.6V-3.7V].
3.Initial Charging Conditions
Due to safety concerns, producers of RCR123A batteries often distribute them to consumers with only a 50% charge and then ask that the batteries be fully charged before first use. This is different from CR123A batteries which come fully charged and ready for instant use.
CR123A batteries boast a shelf life of as much as 10 years [or more] while the highest quality RCR123A battery will have its initial charge depleted by between 10% to 30% after being stored for a year.
Because they are largely non-rechargeable, CR123A batteries discharge just once, after which they have to be properly disposed of and replaced. In contrast, an efficient and high-quality RCR123 battery can reach up to 1200 charge/discharge cycles if charged with an appropriate charger and operated according to the product maker’s instructions.
A typical RCR123A battery is designed with several forms of built-in protection that may include overcharging protection, over-discharging protection, maximum discharge current protection, overvoltage protection, overheat protection, and short-circuit protection, among others. Though you may not find all these protections in every RCR123A battery unit, their lithium-ion chemical composition makes it imperative that they should be designed with at least charging/discharging and thermal protection.
However, whether RCR123A or CR123A, do not disassemble these batteries, subject them to high temperature, keep them close to fire, short circuit them or abuse them in other ways.
Can You use RCR123A to Replace CR123A?
Yes, it is possible to replace CR123A batteries with RCR123A batteries. However, before such a replacement, be sure to find out if the device you are using the battery on can cope with the higher voltage of an RCR123A battery. You can determine this by reading any usage instructions on the body of the device and/or studying the device’s user manual, if available. Otherwise, you can visit the website of the device manufacturer to search for the information/make an inquiry or seek other professional advice.
Noted that RCR123A batteries have a higher voltage rating (3.7V) than CR123A batteries (3V), so they may not be compatible with devices that are designed specifically for CR123A batteries. It's always best to check the device's user manual or specifications to ensure the proper battery type and compatibility.
Where to Get the Best Quality CR123A and RCR123A Batteries?
Because they have a sensitive chemical composition that includes lithium, it is very important to obtain both your CR123A and RCR123A batteries from a reliable manufacturer. One battery maker you can trust when it comes to high-quality CR123A and RCR123A batteries is EBL.
Whether you want to power your cameras, flashlights, smoke detectors, security systems, cordless drills, and other devices, EBL has a variety of quality CR123A/RCR123A batteries and chargers that will suit your needs.
For instance, the company presently stocks the following CR123A and RCR123A batteries:
EBL 4 Pack CR123A Lithium Battery [2400mWh with Micro USB Cable]
- Safe protection against over-charge, over-discharge, over-voltage, over-current, and short-circuiting
- 2400mWh high energy capacity for a longer working time for your devices
- Steady voltage
- No memory effect
- Can be recharged up to 1200 times when fully or partially drained.
- Operates in temperatures ranging from -40°F to 140°F.
- Advanced USB smart charging design
- Easy storage case for a pack of 4 batteries
EBL 16340 RCR123A Rechargeable Li-ion Battery [750mAh; 3.7V]
- 4/8/16 packs 16340 Li-ion battery
- Ultra long-lasting Li-ion batteries manufactured with premium raw materials and high-density cell technology
- Can be recharged up to 1200 times when fully or partially drained
- Longer life & economical
- Doesn't contain Hg/Cd/Pb, so will not pollute the environment
- Ideal replacement batteries for CR123, CR17345, K123A, VL123A, DL123A,5018LC, SF123A, and EL123AP
- Great for high-power demand devices such as flashlights, Arlo cameras, toys, etc.
EBL CR123A 3V Non-Rechargeable Battery [1600mAh]
- 4/16 packs CR123A lithium batteries
- Uses an advanced lithium cell core with high power density for high performance in high-tech devices, such as flashlights, digital cameras, camcorders, toys, smoke detectors, and more.
- 1600mAh high capacity, and 3V constant for a longer than other brands
- A lower self-discharge rate that
- ensures up to 10 years life span
- No Leakage & Safer to use
- Non-rechargeable replacement for batteries like 123, 123A, BR2/3A, CR123, CR123A, CR123R, CR17335, CR17345, DL123A, EL123AP, K123, K123A, K123LA, L123A, RCR123, SF123A, VL123A, VL123A, 5018LC
- Ideal for a variety of devices including flashlights, digital cameras, light meters, and lots of other popular photo equipment.
- Explosion-proof design
If you frequently use battery-powered devices such as those mentioned above and others, then you should often have a need for CR123A and RCR123A batteries. But while CR123A and RCR123A batteries are both lithium-based, some significant differences exist between them. Because of these differences, ensure you either read any user instructions on your device’s body, study any manuals that come with the device, visit the manufacturer’s website or consult an expert to determine device compatibility [with both models] before replacing a CR123A battery with a higher voltage RCR123A battery. If you are searching for high-grade CR123A and RCR123A batteries, then our brand EBL is highly recommended.