Aliexpress Liitokala “Samsung 30Q” Li-Ion Cell Review

Preface

I was in need of 18650s recently, and there was a great price on these Liitokala 30q cells at Aliexpress.  I like 30q cells, and I like good prices, so I bought 8 of these cells.  There was a bunch of discussion on BLF and places regarding whether these cells are “real” or not.  Read on to find out!

As always, click for bigger images!!!


Official Specs (from the listing!!)

  • Model: ICR18650-30Q
  • Type:  Li-Ion 18650
  • Nominal Capacity:  3000mah(2900-3000mah)
  • Nominal Voltage:  3.7V
  • Weight:  45g±1g
  • Rechargeable Battery:  Yes
  • Rechargeable Times:  Up to 500 times
  • internal resistance:  ≤50mΩ
  • Limited Charge Voltage:  4.2v
  • Working Voltage:  2.75-4.2V
  • Size:  65.5mm x 18.5mm (Diameter)
  • Place of Origin:  South Korea

And here’s a spec sheet from Samsung themselves.

Price

I paid  $22.30 for eight of these, but it looks like the price has gone down a bit since I purchased.  Now, 10 can be had for $22.65!!  These were being sold specifically by liitokala Factory Store.  This review pertains only to cells from liitokala Factory Store!!

aliexpress.PNG

Short Review

These cells feel like real 30Q cells.  They look like real 30q cells.  They’re high quality in appearance.  However, they fail on the testing side of things for being real Samsung 30q cells.  But.  But, they aren’t bad cells for high capacity low current cells!  Note that the listing specifically says they’re good for E-cig use.  I would absolutely not use these in e-cigs!!

Long Review

Package

The package I purchased included cells in a plastic case, like the one seen below (I have a bunch of these, I honestly can’t remember which one specifically these cells arrived in.)

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_01.jpg

It’s a nice little case, made for only 18650s, and fits 4 perfectly.  There’s a metal hook on the back, and the lid latches closed snugly (and is easy to open.)

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_02.jpg

Build Quality

As I said above, these cells have a very good build quality – they look and feel just like the real thing.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_12.jpg

They even have a LiitoKala QR code, which accurately delivers the user to Liitokala.com.cn.  This is not a proof of authenticity, however.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_13.jpg

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_04.jpg

It’s probably at exactly this point where head scratchers will begin head scratching….

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_03.jpg

That’s right, these “30q” cells have a four leg positive terminal.  Unfortunately this isn’t something that’s pictured or stated in the spec sheet (as far as I noticed), but genuine 30q cells have a three leg positive terminal.  Hmmmmm….

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_05.jpg

Size

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_06.jpg

Testing

Being that these cells are from Aliexpress, and knowing that …. that might not be the best place to buy high current cells, I was wary of testing these cells at high currents.  Still they seemed to live as I increased the current tests, so I went on.

I’ve tried to keep the scales similar, so over time the charts will be generally comparable.

Click these for biggie sized!!

Discharge tests

Hour discharge time doesn’t tell us much.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_14.png

The minutes test gives us some much needed detail regarding the high current tests.  While the time of 8 minutes for 15A or 4 minutes for 20A is not necessarily unheard of, look at that voltage drop.  Immediately when the load hits, the voltage drops to a staggering <3.2V.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_15.png

Capacity

Here’s another decent indicator that these cells might not be genuine.  The specification for these cells is a discharge to 2.5V, at 0.2A.  I’ve not even discharged them to 2.5V, and the capcacity is already well over the rated 2950mAh.  Not an insignificant difference either – in every test by HKJ, these cells tested below 3000mAh.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_16.png

Energy

Another issue can be seen below, with the Energy graph.  On a good cell, these values would be at least somewhat close.  Again comparing to HKJ’s values, which were all within a couple of Wh of each other – these on the Aliexpress cell are over a massive range, from around 3Wh to over 11Wh.  This is probably due to a much higher internal resistance than specification.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_17.png

Bounce

This is a new section, and I added it just because I think it’s interesting.  “Bounce back” is what the cell voltage does when the cell rests after a discharge. Interestingly, after heavy discharge rates, the cell bounces back higher.  This corresponds to a discharge amount of less energy, and does mean that there’s energy left in the cell.  So if I selected the cell with the highest bounce back (ie the cell that was discharged at the highest current), then discharged it to 2.8V at 0.2A, I’d still find that there was a lot of energy still in the cell.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_18.png

Charge test

Still working on the best format for this chart. I’ll likely start charging at 1.5A, 2A, and 3A when applicable.

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_19.png

Power, Constant

zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_20.png

Internal Resistance

As can be seen on the chart below, the IR for this cell is much too high.  I think the IR should be something like ≤ 26mΩ.

30q_ir.png

Conclusion

While I don’t like these being called 30q cells, I do think they’re fine for low current needs.  The capacity is good, and the cost is very low.  I don’t like them being misrepresented so that alone is probably a “don’t buy” from me, but still, 3000mAh for $2.25 per cell is a good deal.  Just don’t use them over 3 to 5A discharge or so.

Note that the listing specifically says they’re good for E-cig use.  I would absolutely not use these in e-cigs!!  These were being sold specifically by liitokala Factory Store.  This review pertains only to cells from liitokala Factory Store!!


Up Next

Hope to wrap up the Nitecore TUP soon, and possibly some other things this week too!!

Notes

  • These cells were provided by me, having purchased them with my own money.  Not even for review!  I just bought them because I needed cells.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for these cells, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

1 thought on “Aliexpress Liitokala “Samsung 30Q” Li-Ion Cell Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *