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3500mAh league: Sanyo NCR18650GA, Panasonic NCR18650GA, LG MJ1, Samsung INR18650-35E

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    3500mAh league: Sanyo NCR18650GA, Panasonic NCR18650GA, LG MJ1, Samsung INR18650-35E

    Hi guys! I’ve got 4 3500mAh batteries from top manufacturers and I’ve tested and compared them. I think it’s interesting not only for me, but also for you, the guy who is reading this:)

    For those who prefer watching than reading I’ve made the video version of this test:

    The cells were bought from Queen Battery, a Chinese supplier of genuine batteries, who specializes mainly on EV and eBike market. Queen Battery has a branch in Europe, but they also work with customers from Americas, Russia, etc…

    As always, I've tested with ZKETECH EBC-A20 and a self-made battery holder. It's a PC-connected battery tester supporting 4-wire measuring and discharging at up to 20A.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	100_9607.jpg Views:	1 Size:	114.8 KB ID:	52415
    I've followed all the prescriptions of the IEC61960-2003 standard concerning battery's capacity measurement. Before each discharging cycle each battery was charged at standard current mentioned in its datasheet to 4.2V (cut-off at 0.1A, which is the lowest supported by EBC-A20). Before each discharging or charging i've held a 1-1.5hrs pause. The environment temperature was 20-25°C (21-23°C to be honest).

    Discharge cut-off voltage was 2.5V for Sanyo, Panasonic and LG and 2.65V for Samsung (following their datasheets). Discharging currents were 10A, 8A, 5A, 2A and 0.2C which was 0.67A for Sanyo and Panasonic and 0.68A for LG and Samsung.

    I’d like to mention, that Sanyo and Panasonic are the same company now and I use different brands just to distinguish Japanese made NCR18650GA marked as SANYO from Chinese made NCR18650GA which doesn’t have brand marking but is designed in Panasonic style. So let’s start!

    Sanyo NCR18650GA

    This cell’s marking is SANYO L NCR18650GA 7401. The “L” means that it was made by Sanyo Energy Higashiura Co. LTD, Japan. Here is its datasheet.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	sanyo.jpg Views:	1 Size:	66.4 KB ID:	52416

    The main specs:
    Rated capacity: 3300mAh (0.67A discharge at 20°C)
    Capacity (min): 3350mAh (0.67A discharge at 25°C)
    Capacity (typical): 3450mAh
    Discharge cut-off voltage: 2.5V
    Max continuous dischage current: 10A
    Standard charging current: 1.675A (I’ve charged at 1.68A due to EBC-A20’s resolution restrictions)
    Max charging current: 3.35A
    Charge end voltage: 4.20V ± 0.03V

    Here are the results I’ve got:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	sanyo-798px-final.png Views:	1 Size:	21.9 KB ID:	52417

    As you can see, at 0.2C (0.67A) it gave out 3491mAh / 12.64Wh which is much more than the typical capacity of 3450mAh declared in the datasheet. The results at higher discharge rates are:
    2A: 3351mAh / 11.88Wh
    5A: 3323mAh / 11.27Wh
    8A: 3286mAh / 10.76Wh
    10A: 3295mAh / 10.60Wh

    Almost 3300mAh at 10A! And the curve has no sudden falls. I think it’s a brilliant result, bravo Sanyo!

    Panasonic NCR18650GA

    This guy is the twin brother of Sanyo. The wrapping is in traditional Panasonic style and has “Made in China” and D 75051W markings.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	panasonic.jpg Views:	1 Size:	74.4 KB ID:	52418

    The cell was made in Suzhou, China, at Panasonic’s new battery plant. It shares the same specifications and the same datasheet with Sanyo NCR18650GA, which is not a surprise as far as they have the same model number.

    The Chinese NCR18650GA showed the following results:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	panasonic-798px-final.png Views:	1 Size:	21.8 KB ID:	52419

    At 0.2C (0.67A) it gave out 3448mAh / 12.53Wh - exactly the same capacity which is mentioned as “typical” in the datasheet. It’s lower than the Japanese one’s result, but still a great one. At higher rates:
    2A: 3305mAh / 11.69Wh
    5A: 3295mAh / 11.13Wh
    8A: 3286mAh / 10.73Wh
    10A: 3250mAh / 10.31Wh

    The results are a bt lower than those of the Sanyo, but the difference is not critical. Sanyo’s results can also differ from cell to cell, so the main thing is that it complies with the datasheet’s typical capacity. At 8A there is almost no difference and at 10A the difference is only 45mAh.

    LG INR18650 MJ1

    This battery is made in South Korea (I guess) and the wrapping has the following marking: LGDBMJ11865 P274I301A1. The datasheet is here.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	lg.jpg Views:	1 Size:	53.1 KB ID:	52420

    The main specs:
    Capacity (nominal): 3500mAh (at 0.68A discharge)
    Capacity (minimum): 3400mAh (at 0.68A discharge)
    Discharge cut-off: 2.5V
    Max continuous dischage current: 10A
    Standard charging current: 1.7A
    Max charging current: 3.4A
    Charging end voltage: 4.20V ± 0.05V

    The standard charging and discharging currents are a bit higher than NCR18650GA’s, but the cut-off voltage is the same.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	lg-798px-final.png Views:	1 Size:	21.9 KB ID:	52421

    At 0.2C / 0.68A the capacity was 3384mAh / 12.32Wh which is lower than the minimum declared in the datasheet. Not a good start for a heavyweight player. The results at higher rates:
    2A: 3275mAh / 11.62Wh
    5A: 3258mAh / 10.98Wh
    8A: 3208mAh / 10.39Wh
    10A: 3205mAh / 10.09Wh

    I can’t call these results great or even good. Maybe they could be good if the cell was marked as a 3400mAh one, but for a 3500mAh cell it’s a fail. Surprisingly the results at 8A and 10A are almost identical.

    Samsung INR18650-35E

    This cell is also South Korean and it is marked INR18650-35E SAMSUNG SDI 2G25. Here is its datasheet.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	samsung.jpg Views:	1 Size:	63.5 KB ID:	52422

    The main specs:
    Capacity (min): 3350mAh (at 0.68A discharge)
    Capacity (typical): 3400mAh
    Discharge cut-off: 2.65V
    Max continuous dischage current: 8A
    Standard charging current: 1.7A
    Max charging current: 2.0A
    Charging end voltage: 4.20V

    Pay attention to the discharge cut-off voltage – it’s higher than that of others. Max charging current is only 2A which is slightly higher than the standard charging current and significantly lower than 3.4A allowed for Sanyo/Panasonic and LG. Max continuous discharge current is limited by 8A, but I have tested it at 10A for comparison.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	samsung-798px-final.png Views:	1 Size:	21.8 KB ID:	52423

    At 0.2C (0.68A) the second Korean guy shows 3488mAh / 12.63Wh even having discharging cut-off at 2.65V! I want to remind the result of Japanese made NCR18650GA with 2.5V cut-off: 3491mAh / 12.64Wh – the difference is only 3mAh / 0.01Wh!!! Bravo Samsung! The results at higher rates:
    2A: 3384mAh / 11.90Wh
    5A: 3317mAh / 11.08Wh
    8A: 3248mAh / 10.47Wh
    10A: 3205mAh / 10.14Wh

    At 10A it’s slightly higher than the LG MJ1, but don’t forget that the Samsung’s max discharging current is 8A and the MJ1 was discharged to 2.5V.


    Looking at the heroes one by one is interesting, but more interesting is to compare them. I will not compare at 0.2C because the “0.2C” is not the same for all 4 batteries.

    So let’s start with 2A:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	2a-dischg-798px-final.png Views:	1 Size:	19.2 KB ID:	52424
    Samsung continues its surprises! Even with 2.65V discharge cut-off it managed to overtake the Sanyo NCR18650GA! Sanyo is the second, Panasonic – the third and LG is the last. The difference between Samsung and LG is 109mAh / 28Wh.

    5A discharge:

    Sanyo takes over Samsung thanks to it’s 2.5V discharge cut-off voltage. The battle between Samsung and Panasonic for the second place is lost by Samsung because although it has higher capacity (3317mAh vs 3295mAh), Panasonic has higher energy: 11.13Wh vs 11.08Wh. So Samsung is the third and LG is the fourth as expected.

    8A discharge:

    The two NCR18650GAs showed the same capacity, but the Japanese one has 0.03Wh more energy given out, so the first place is occupied by him. The third is Samsung’s nimble 35E and LG is… yes, the fourth.

    10A discharge:

    Sanyo proves that he is number one and there can’t be another opinion. The difference between Japanese and Chinese NCR18650GAs is 45mAh / 29Wh. Panasonic is the second, LG has lost the third place to Samsung despite its specs.


    The Japanese made NCR18650GA’s triumph was not a surprise for me, but the brilliant show by Samsung was! Nevertheless, Sanyo NCR18650GA is the number one, Panasonic NCR18650GA is not the same but very close to its Japanese bro and is the number two. Samsung showed an exceptional performance at 0.2C and 2A but at higher discharge rates Panasonic was better. LG is the outsider of this division. It’s not a bad battery, but the competitors are better.

    The prices (without shipping) at the moment of purchase were the following:
    Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA: US$3.70
    Samsung INR18650-35E: US$3.10
    LG INR18650 MJ1: US$3.10
    For the latest pricelist, shipping rates and discounts drop an e-mail to (Queen Battery’s sales manager). They can also make battery packs on demand.

    You can also check out my YouTube channel with reviews of battery chargers and other stuff. The Miboxer C4-12 (3.0A x 4 slots) review is coming soon. Subscribe to not miss the new reviews.

    I'm a newbie on ElectricBike forum and I’m looking forward to read your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments!:)
    Last edited by thunderheart; 12-08-2017, 11:40 AM.

    Thank you for posting this very useful information here. In spite of one cell doing slightly better than another at any given test, I am continually happy to see how name-brand authentic cells are all actually fairly close in all of the important areas. Just five years ago, anyone announcing that there was an 18650 cell coming out that provides a full 3300-mAh under a 10A load would have been laughed at. Now? We almost take it for granted. We are truly living in the golden era for electric bikes.



      Many thanks for your comprehensive review.

      I'm just in the process of having a 14S10P battery pack made and wanted to know which cell I should choose, so finding your post was very timely.

      I've gone for the E35 which coincidentally was the cell recommended by the battery maker.



        Way to make a great impact as a newbie here ! Thanks!!
        Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.


          Hi guys! Thanks for warm welcome!
          I'm going to publish a test/comparison of three high drain 20650 batteries soon. I think it's not as interesting as the 3500mAh battle, but nevertheless... Maybe it will be useful for someone:)


            a detailed test, thanks


              Maybe slightly off topic, but wasn't sure it warranted a separate thread either. I've heard that a new cell is imminent with 3900 ah. Anyone here know anything?


                I am a newbie here too. Nice test there! In the first picture you also have a picture of that Boston Power Swing 5300. Did you test that too? If so it would be nice to see the results on that too.


                  Hi headrc! Yeah, i did test the Swing 5300. Here it is:


                    My first impression looking at the charts was that they are all good and not much difference between them. Do the differences indicated make a huge difference is real would use?

                    I’m a real world chart guy, but not in electronics. I’m a 100% financial/stock chart guy, with a good 40 years of staring at them...


                      Originally posted by Rider View Post
                      Do the differences indicated make a huge difference is real would use?
                      No. The results are too close to feel any difference IRL. Maybe after 300-400 cycles the difference would be not so little, who knows...
                      Last edited by thunderheart; 2 weeks ago.


                        Here's a good video showing the interior guts of the Boston Power style of cell. It "looks like" two 18650 cells inside one metal case, but it is actually one large "oval wound" cell. Fast forward to 9:44


                        edit: removed faulty info I had posted about heat and charge rate, see below...
                        Last edited by spinningmagnets; 1 week ago.


                          Thanks Thunderheart. That is an excellent review on the Boston Power battery. Looks interesting to me. Where did you find they got hot at a 10 amp charge Spinningmagnets?
                          Last edited by headrc; 1 week ago.


                            Cell gets hot at 10A....Go to youtube

                            $3 eBay 4750mAh Boston Power Sonata Lithium Cells

                            and fast forward to 6:50...for some reason the link I added above doesn't work right.


                              Ok thanks, I had watched that video previously and forgot about that. However, that is not the Swing cell by Boston Power. It is the Sonata. The Swing has a recommended fast charge of 10A whereas the Sonata fast charge recommendation is 8A. Sonata spec sheet Swing spec sheet Of course I have not seen a test like what Jehu did on the Sonata for the Swing but it looks like Thunderheart has done some extensive testing on it.
                              Last edited by headrc; 1 week ago.