CR123A Batteries… Don’t Be Fooled by Fakes

     Do you use CR123A 3V lithium non-rechargeable batteries, NSN 6135-01-351-1131, in any of your night sights, LED flashlights, headlamps or cameras?  If so, listen up.

Counterfeit CR123A batteries are being sold to the public.  By counterfeit we mean batteries that look similar in size, shape and color to name-brand batteries such as Duracell, Energizer, Rayovac and others.  These knock-offs may even have labels and logos similar to those on name-brand batteries.

But make no mistake.  The counterfeit CR123As are substandard.  They’re poorly designed and manufactured.  They pose health and safety risks because they can overheat and catch fire or explode when used, transported or stored.  Already these batteries have injured people and damaged equipment.

The counterfeits usually enter the American market from overseas.  They’re often sold at a reduced price on the Internet and at swap meets, gun shows, and electronics and technical shows.

How can you spot a counterfeit CR123A?  Look for:

o label misspellings.

o missing label information.

o blurred fonts.

o altered logos or seals.

o altered or substandard packaging.

o label dimensions different from those of an authentic CR123A.

If you suspect you have counterfeit CR123As, remove them from the equipment, keep them away from other batteries, and return them or dispose of them according to your local SOP.

Order authentic CR123As by NSN through the Army supply system.  That way you can be sure you’re getting good batteries.

Using CR123As

When using authentic CR123As:

o Don’t mix and match fresh and partially used batteries.  They have different capacities.  Capacity is the amount of energy a battery can deliver in a single discharge (normally expressed in ampere hours).  A difference in capacities can cause a stronger battery to charge a weaker one.  That can make the weaker battery overheat, fail, leak, vent, catch fire or burst.

o Don’t use CR123As from different manufacturers.  They may have different chemical properties.  That can lead to a difference in capacities.

o Make sure all batteries used in a piece of equipment have a date code within 6 months of one another.

For the complete story, see CECOM Ground Precautionary Action (GPA) Message 2013-006, Operational: Counterfeit Lithium Non-Rechargeable Batteries, CR123A Batteries.  It’s on the CECOM Directorate for Safety website:


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