Batteries: Part 1 – Li-Ion 18650 Cells

This starts part 1 of a series we will be doing here on WavReport all about batteries. This past month I was on location mixing a feature film, I found myself using Lectrosonics UM400a, and one thing was becaming very apparent… we used a TON of akiline 9V batteries. It truly was sinful! It also didnt help that we had 7x Lectrosonics R1a on set. So in this series about batteries I want to research and present to you the readers alternative opinions to the wasted world of Akilines. 

Some of this series will be easy stuff anyone can do like switching to AA rechargables (IKEA Laddas will be revisited.) Other post will be full advanced soldering for readers who like a challenge.

But for this first post I want to talk about the 18650 Li-ion cell. This is the most popular lithium battery in the world and it shows up everywhere! You probably have dozens in your house and didn’t even know it. These are now used in LED flashlights, vape pens, external USB cellphone batteries, cordless vacuums, cordless power tools, etc! I bring up this battery because Zaxcom’s new handheld microphone runs on one 18650 cell for 14+ hours and I scored a free 18650 cell at the Trew Audio Open House yesterday. Here is a fun video on how to score one for yourself and build a charger for it.

This cell and charger turned out to be pretty good. While it may not be pretty it actually charged up my 18650 cells higher the Tenergy 18650 dual charger I bought from Frys Electronics. The Tenergy only charged up my cells to 4.06 volts but this cheapo hack charged up the cells to the max limit 4.2 volts. This is critical because when we talk more about 18650 cells in near future it is very important that all our cells start out matching in voltage and capacity. 

Keep coming back for more in this series. Leave a comment below if you have questions you want answered in future post. 

About the Author

Andrew Jones is a location sound mixer based in Los Angeles. He started in the TV and Film industry in 2004. You can email him at


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