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Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Jan. 20, 2023

Lithium Batteries: Don’t Get Burned By Wrong Type

BLUF: Use only 1.5V AA lithium batteries in sights and night vision equipment.

Soldier wearing night vision equipment
Photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur

This article initially appeared in PS 797 (Apr 19), pp.53-54.

Dear Editor,

One of our Soldiers recently loaded six 3.6V AA lithium batteries in an AN/PAS-13C(V)2 MWTS thermal weapon sight instead of the standard 1.5V AA lithium battery. The sight exploded, burning the Soldier’s hands and causing temporary hearing loss. 

Please emphasize to Soldiers that they should always use 1.5V AA lithium batteries in their sights, night vision devices and other equipment unless the item’s -10 TM says otherwise. 

John Gilbert
Milwaukee, WI
Editor’s note: Excellent point, John. 

Since all AA batteries are the same size, it’s critical that Soldiers actually check the voltage listed on the lithium battery. That’s the only way you know for sure you’re using a 1.5V AA. You can’t go by color because both batteries come in several colors. 

Units must make a point to keep 1.5V batteries segregated from 3.6V batteries used with other devices so they aren’t mixed up. If Soldiers are using equipment that does use the 3.6V battery, they should make sure to keep the 3.6V batteries separate in their packs so they don’t accidentally use the wrong battery. 

A warning will be added to the various -10 and -23&P TMs that says: Using AA batteries other than 1.5V will cause damage to this equipment and may explode, causing serious injury to the user. DO NOT USE AA BATTERIES OTHER THAN 1.5V.

Here’s a partial list of sights and NVDs that use 1.5V lithium batteries:
  • AN/PAS-13C/D/E/G thermal weapon sights
  • AN/PAS-35 night vision viewer
  • AN/PAS-36 night vision viewer
  • AN/PSQ-20A/B enhanced night vision goggles
  • AN/PSQ-39 enhanced night vision goggles III
  • AN/PSQ-40 enhanced night vision goggles III
  • AN/PVS-7B/D night vision goggles
  • AN/PVS-14 monocular night vision device
  • AN/PVS-6(V)1/1A/1B/2/3 aviator’s night vision imaging systems
Of course, many hand-held devices also use 1.5V lithium batteries. When in doubt about what battery to use, always check the -10 TM.
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