Molicel/NPE P26A 18650 Liion Cell Review

Today I have another cell review for you!  It’s a cell from LiionWholesale (and only Liionwholesale.com).  These are the Molicel/NPE 18650 cells, and spec-wise they competes with the VTC5A.  Read on for testing!

As always, click for bigger images!!!


Official Specs

Here’s a link to the product page!  I’m linking liionwholesale.com directly, because they’re the exclusive US distributor of Molicel/NPE!

Price

These start at $5.69, and price breaks start after 2 cells.  Buy them at LiionWholesale.com!

Short Review

These guys hit their rated capacity, and seem to have no trouble at the max-tested 20A.  Recommended!

Long Review

Package

I received two of these, and so they shipped in a plastic LiionWholesale.com plastic box.  

Build Quality

No complaints about the build quality here.  The wrapper is nice and snug, and installed perfectly.  

Size

These are just a shade shorter than the GA shown below.  Also note the positive terminal of that GA – the Molicel has a little less protrusion.

Testing

Here’s some testing of the Molicel P26A.  I only tested up to 20A, though the max claim is 35A.  Based on the temperature and 20A performance, the cells can certainly handle higher than 20A!

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

Discharge tests

Capacity

Many of the tests are over 2500mAh, and the cells certainly hit the rated 2600mAh. 

Energy

Bounce

Bounce is good on this cell, with everything over 7A or so not bouncing back to much above 3.3V.  That indicates a good performance at these higher currents.  

“Bounce back” is what the cell voltage does when the cell rests after a discharge. After heavy discharge rates, the cell voltage bounces back higher when discharge is stopped.  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 voltage (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. 

Here is why I think it so interesting about “Bounce.”  A poorly performing cell will bounce back higher after high discharges.  That’s because the IR is higher, and because the cell performs much worse under high loads.  So a good performing cell will bounce back much less because it’s much more capable of high discharge.  At high discharge on a capable cell, more of the energy makes its way out of the cell!  Hence less bounce. 

I more or less figured this out on my own, so I welcome discourse about this topic.  Until I hear it’s wrong, I propose this as a new metric for cell quality!

Charge test

Power, Constant

Temp

Internal Resistance

Most often (read: always), internal resistance is mentioned as a spot value.  In truth, the IR changes over time.  Due to cell age and cell heat among other things.  A graph of IR is interesting because it can show, for example, when a cell begins to “die” – at which point the remaining energy will be “harder” to extract.  This is when the IR spikes.  In the graph below, that’s around 750-800mAh.  These graphs are also useful for determining if a cell would be good for a hot-rod flashlight, for example.  

Conclusion

These cells are good performers with low IR, and low Bounce.  They should function well in high drain flashlights!


Notes

  • These cells were provided by LiionWholesale.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  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

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