HOW TO: Spot FAKE 18650 Lithium Ion Batteries!  Beware eBay! (UltraFire etc – Flashlight / Vaping)
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HOW TO: Spot FAKE 18650 Lithium Ion Batteries! Beware eBay! (UltraFire etc – Flashlight / Vaping)

hi folks something a bit different for you
today – you’re probably wondering what this big metal box is I have here – I’m
going to talk about batteries today particularly fake batteries on eBay
because it’s rife! Now, whenever I’m experimenting with certain types of battery, ones that are more likely to go on fire or explode, I charge them inside this metal box and
that just gives it a little bit more safety – bit of fireproofing. Now these batteries
I’m going to talk about are 18650 batteries. They’re not very common in the
household sense – you won’t find them in your remote control and stuff like that – your kids toys. However they get used a lot in high-power torches – that’s how I ran
into them – from airsoft using torches on my guns and also they’re coming up in
use for those vape machines that people smoke. Now that’s particularly dangerous
because if one of these explodes in a metal bodied torch it’s no big deal.
If one of these explodes when you are holding it in a little machine, up at your face –
well that’s not so good. Now I bought these batteries off eBay and they were working OK in my torch I noticed the battery life was a little
short but didn’t think too much of it they were doing the job, to some degree.
But I got talking to my friend Martin just recently, and that was what really
sort of got me aware off just how much these are faked and I looked a bit
closer at my batteries and they are indeed completely fake and I’m going to
show you that and how to spot these fakes yourself. Now one of the very first
giveaways on these is the markings on casing itself. The grammar is
laughable on the small print and even has spelling mistakes, you know instead of shelf-life it says sheef-life and another thing the the quoted mAh – that’s the capacity of
the battery – of these is 4200 mAh – and that’s not
the highest I’ve seen on eBay – some are even as high as 8,000 and 9,000. Now the
fact is that’s just ridiculous. They are putting those big numbers on there to
basically sell more batteries, you know, people tend to think the bigger the
number, the better the product. The fact is the leading manufacturers of these batteries – Panasonic, LG, Samsung – they themselves who are put in the proper technology into
these batteries – they are only really approaching the 4000mAh themselves, so if you are seeing cheap batteries, on eBay, at 8000mAh – or basically anything over, say, 3700, you need to be asking questions –
especially if they’re cheap and that’s another indicator as well. If they’re too
cheap they’re going to be rubbish. These batteries, the technology in them does cost money and it really is a case with these that you get what you pay for –
maybe not all the time just because some body charges a high price for their
battery, doesn’t mean it’s going to be genuine, but you can almost certainly
say if it’s too cheap that it’s going to be fake. The next big giveaway is the weight of the battery. Now as I said to get the
power and the capacity into this small package, it takes a lot materials and a lot of technology. Now a genuine 18650 battery always weighs around about 45 grams. You can’t get away from that. If you want that power and that capacity that’s what
it weighs. These cheap ones weigh 25 grams. Now that’s suspicious straight away. There’s no way they can have the capacity and power they claim for such a small weight.
Another scam that they have is old laptop batteries are often shipped
abroad to China and countries like that for recycling. Now they’ll open up
those laptop packs, they will take out these 18650’s cells which are
most commonly inside the pack they will then repackage them, put a new outer
wrapper on them, and sell them back to us at a premium. Now if you check your batteries when you buy them, and they have these dimple
marks top and bottom, that is a classic sign that that battery has been used
already as part of a laptop pack or something like that and broken down, re
packaged and resold. New batteries don’t have those little dimple marks – thats where they weld on the connectors to make up the pack. Now the final test and
probably the most conclusive, is to charge the batteries on a charger that shows you how many mAh it’s putting back into the battery. You’ll find that
these cheap ones don’t take anywhere near the quoted figure when you compare that to a real one the charging time is a lot longer and it
puts a lot more capacity back, in and that makes sense because if you have two different sizes of water jug, and you’re filling them up the bigger one is going to
get longer to fill. If your batteries are charging too quick it can only be one of
two things – you’re either charging them at too high a rate which is not good for
the battery or the capacity is very low, as with these fakes. Now you’ll see a
couple of sparks… or maybe not, I dont know if it will come over on video as I’m prising the
top off and that is just a bit of residual charge in the battery just shorting out.
Now, straight away, if that was a genuine lithium battery, even with a good bit of discharge out of it… there would be much more dramatic sparks and in fact, the whole process I’m
doing here would be a lot more dangerous I wouldn’t even attempt it with a
proper lithium battery, and I’m going to show in a future video
how lithium-polymer batteries can… … literally explode if mis-treated…
but once I’ve got the top off here, you can see that there is no protection circuit
for charge or discharge like it states on the case… when we pull the battery
internals out you can see it’s been crudely taped together, very low
quality, it looks like there is some lithium in there but looks like almost a
film of it… again I don’t know if the camera would have caught it, but you can see the layer tarnishing now that is exposed to oxygen. So there is something in there that serves as a battery – obviously there is – it’s giving 3.7ish volts, and as I said before it does power some devices… but had I attempted this with a proper
lithium-ion battery the results would be a lot more dramatic to the point that I
probably wouldn’t ever actually attempt it certainly not inside and certainly not
without a lot of face protection and stuff like that. So what is the point of this video
– what is it I’m trying to show you well I’ve got two concerns. The first one
and the more minor of the two is that this is a mis-selling issue. The
battery will not perform as it claims, it does not have the capacity it claims because it does not have the quality or the amount of
materials in there, as you saw when I took it apart. The other quite
concerning thing is the battery claims to have short-circuit and discharge
protection – it doesn’t you see that when took it apart – there would normally be a small circuit board on the top of the battery there was nothing. But the more pressing
of my two concerns is the fact that these could be dangerous. We’ve heard of
vape machines and similar going on fire or exploding, and I wonder if this is
the reason that that’s happening. Now if you draw a current on these that you
should rightly expect the battery to take because of the spec it claims, there IS
going to be a potential danger issue there same with charging it. If you charge
these – and a lot of people just charge them in their house – with a battery program meant for charging the battery this CLAIMS to be you could have a house fire on your
hands and that’s just not worth it so always buy these from reputable
online retailers and look out for some of the warning signs that I’ve showed
you Anyway! I hope that’s been useful to you
and if it has been please hit that like button, I would really appreciate it and maybe even subscribe to the channel – I’ve got a lot of good videos coming up and lot of
content planned – but for now, stay safe, and I’ll catch you in the next one! Anyway! I hope that’s been useful to you and if it has please hit that like button, and maybe even subscribe to the channel I’ve got a lot… [interrupted by charger cutting off]


  • Ninth Uranium

    What a load of shite. You know nothing. In fact you know less than nothing ya fat waster. I am one of the sellers of superior quality 10000mah batteries that you slaughter here. Another fact is that they are not made in china, i make them in my bath, along with other cocktails of stuff. Get a shave as well. Scruff.

  • montypythonish

    I've been buying 18650's now for about 5 years for my scuba touches. I've seen a few fakes in my time, cheap batteries are cheap for a reason. You put the vid together nicely and raise some good safety issues so I'm looking forward to you blowing up a proper Li-ion. Keep up the go work.

  • Purple Helmet

    My first ever dislike!!! Surprised it took so long tbh, I don't even like my videos myself 😀

    So, whoever disliked this from Spain, on the 31st Jan, after watching only 2min 46sec… fuck you in the ass hahahahaha

    Analytics are great

  • Gray Anderson

    Fantastic tidy workshop wow!.
    I have a few bad 18650's here and a recent pair I purchased from eBay were the yellow GTF 9800mAh although mine were marked as GiF.
    Yes I knew they were fake and they were only 99p and free post so god knows how much they make them for.
    I bought them just to test and make a prototype phone charger. I managed to make one using a plastic Battery holder for 4 x 18650's. I only used 2 fake yellow GTF (GiF) batteries and a charging circuit and of course a boost converter too and all was going well but these 2 batteries charged the phone to 25% and died a death and that took 2 hours.
    I then used 2 x Efest Japanese 18650's which were £6 each and OMG!!! What a difference in weight and charging of phone times. Charged my phone up just over 2 times and that is great for only 2 batteries (parallel connected). They were only 2500mAh too but that was actually 2550 when tested.
    So go for the Panasonic, Samsung, Eset or any of the Japanese batteries as these are the best and you do have to pay for a good battery but it will last you many many years and will be safe.

    I have actually purchased laptop batteries just to take out the 18650's but.
    The last laptop battery I purchased was a 6 cell (yes there were 6 x 18650's in there) all of which were tested at 2000mAh.
    This was a Chinese produced laptop battery for £7 on eBay but the batteries inside were great.

    Also you will have to get a reputable charger too and please do not charge these with the cheap nasty cheap Chinese Chargers.
    I am not saying all Chinese chargers are cheap because I have a genuine Imax B6 and this was made in China but are one of the best chargers on the market today.

  • Canadian Cutting Edge

    Thanks for posting this video. There are a lot of videos out there about fake lithium batteries but you explain the issues better than most, by far.

  • joecyclewarrior

    Thank you a friend bought some of those fake batteries for my new vaporizer it got very hot did not hold charge omg in the rubbish they go cheers.

  • Tom E

    I started out buying the Ultrafire for my high power flashlights but wasn't happy with the runtimes, so I started buying better brands and doing more research. After a while I bought a battery analyzer, which tests and also charges most battery types and sizes. The Ultrafires all tested very bad. One was labeled as 8000mAh and tested at 340mAh. I threw all the Ultrafire batteries out. The good brands such as Nirecore, EagleTac, Olight, A&W, Samsung, and some unprotected cells I salvaged from battery packs all tested at or even slightly above their rated capacities. Ultrafire may be inexpensive, but why pay anything for garbage? I wouldn't use cheap chargers either. Nitecore Intellicharger is inexpensive but works great for Li-ion and NiMH.

  • basshead

    Not all UltraFire batteries are fake. I have a genuine UltraFire 9900mAH battery that needs over 20 hours to charge with a 450mA charger (20×450=9000mAH)

  • Mary Must

    Thank you so much, really helpful. I brought some 'UltraFire' on ebay & they loose their charge so quickly so started to look for ways to check if they were fake. First & easiest way for me (in the absence of scales) was checking the spelling & heyho same spelling mistake you pointed out (sheef-life!), damn, I've clearly been had!

  • auvideo

    Good Job @Purple_Helmet, why are all big internet sales companies still offering those fake batteries?
    Checked some:, checked, checked all sell incredible batteries.

    But then checked (of all sites) and they seem to have checked their suppliers.
    Nothing more than 4000mAh there it seems?!

    Let's start!

  • Sarcastamus Raconteur

    me and Purple Helmet are in my boat spot light fishing for reds
    me – hey man,turn that torch up so we can catch some fish.
    PH – I've given her all she's got captain.if i push it any harder it's gonna blow!
    me – ROFL

  • spotify95

    Awesome stuff! Are you going to be able to test one of these GTF 12000mAh batteries that are now being sold? They have now broken the 10,000mah limit yet still are probably garbage

  • Fire bug

    have one "Uitra Flrc" rated at 4000. Probably gonna run it over with a car, or charge, then short it and throw somewhere for fun…

  • Purple Helmet

    PMSL you know your video is getting a tiny bit of traction when folks start spamming with eBay links and fake likes to try and boost the comment up… I delete any spam I happen to see so don't waste your time lol

  • prashant utneja

    Awessome Review, Really I liked what you have said and its very informative, I have one question. I have just ordered a vaping machine name Tesla Nano 120W kit, which use 18650 Battery 30A, I am not sure from where I can buy as it is not available in india and on other websites their are many options and I am not able to decide, it would be great if my battery actually have protection, please answer to my please.

  • Spacegoat92

    Thanks mate. It's good to get this info out there! I bought 6 on ebay, thought i was getting a bargain at $2 each for 6000mah. Thankfully no harm done.

  • D PIW

    @8:10 I was discharging a battery to test the capacity and when I heard yours beep I looked down because I was like WTF its only been 30 mins lol.

  • Simon Carsley

    Nice work! Well done for highlighting this issue. Alot of these batteries are used in star wars lightsabre replicas and slot if sabre Smith's here in the UK are ordering them from eBay and Amazon because there affordable to buy in bulk for private seller updgrades but as you have shown there not always genuine and can potential be dangerous. Alot us will use these at conventions where you can be in large crowds of people and if you buy a sabre for your kids if it's a fake and dangerous battery then I dread to think of the dreadful possibilities.

  • BigPinkJohn

    Just come across the fact that these 18650's are massively faked now I have started using them in electronics other than just powering Cree LED torches. Can you give me some suggestions of where to purchase GENUINE ones and maybe a quality charger for them.


  • Scitimar

    I Bought an LED Flashlight that came with an 18650 Ultrafire Cell claims to have a capacity of 4200mAh and the only "that I currently have access to" find out if the thing is charged is to grab a multimeter and test it's voltage the charger has no indicators on it what so ever either.

    You would have no clue if it's even charging

    The only thing written on the battery aside from the biggest logo on earth is " Warning, The voltage of full charge and cut-off Charge is 4.2v and 2.75v. Don't heat,incinerate or reverse polarity"

  • VortexHDGaming

    are these the ones in segways? Im getting one Friday and its very worrying that the battery will be under my foot

  • Angel Torres

    just for laughs I purchase 4 ultrafilre 18650 batteries . I weighed 1 and it was 38 grams . not sure what that means if ts fake or not . I will be testing capacity shortly

  • Calvin Krueger

    Probaby purchased around 8-10 of these crappy batteries. One of the batteries was spelled "UitraFire" and was pretty much empty. Thanks for the video I am still learning the ropes on ebay hahaha.

  • herbsabeast1

    I found 6PCS 18650 3.7V 3800mAh Batteries high-Capacity Rechargeable Battery and Battery Charger. for 10 bucks around 1.60 a piece. thay say they weigh 34 grams

  • Kam M

    Great video, I have 2 ultrafire 4000mah batteries that came with a torch from Amazon, they both have those little dimples on the + end, hadn't noticed them before, and have sometimes left them charging over night. Won't be doing that again. Big thanks.



  • Taunter Atwill

    They don't explode they vent! When in a closed compartment and the gasses can't escape that's when explosions happen. When a short circuit happens (battery in your pocket with loose change or keys) it will vent then the gasses can ignite violently due to sparks caused by these metal objects in your pocket or bag.

  • Joseph Goodchild

    OMG! Just seen these batteries on BBC Fake Britain. I have the same head torch and and two bike torches all with BRC 18650, ALL are fake and potentially lethal. Thanks for the video!

  • TheLotw

    An easy way to spot the fakes is the mah rating, 18650 can only store 3600mah currently. Anything higher is a LIE. Also if they have pics and there are spelling or grammer issues than they are fake. You cannot use weight anymore, because they are adding things to increase the weight… People need to leave BAD FEEDBACK and so people stop buying or ask for refunds (use PayPal) and they will stop eventually or fix their lies.

  • Naren Neelakandan

    I can't get bro …..which one is good ,whether less weighted battery is good or more weighted battery is good

  • Not A Meth Dealer

    I needed some of these batteries for my new tac light, saw all be people talking about issues, so I said fuck it and took two CR123A batteries and put them in where you’re supposed to use one of these.

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