# Batteries Question.

T

#### Talal Itani

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

I would like to know what causes batteries to go bad. I have seen so many
electronic devices with leaked and rusted batteries.

Best Regards,
Talal Itani

D

#### Dave Platt

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,
I would like to know what causes batteries to go bad. I have seen so many
electronic devices with leaked and rusted batteries.

Modern "alkaline" batteries use a liquid electrolyte which
incorporates a good deal of potassium hydroxide ("lye"), a corrosive
alkaline material. Over time, the electrolyte can attack the metal
shell of the battery, or the seals around the upper (positive)
electrode, and leak out.

I've read, in a couple of places, that this corrosive action is
relatively small if the battery is in its "as new" condition and has
not been partially discharged, and that the electrochemical processes
which occur when you draw charge out of the battery have the effect of
starting or speeding up the corrosion of the shell. This seems to
match my experience - alkaline batteries rarely seem to leak when
they're still in their packages, and leak rather more often once they
are partially or completely discharged.

Most equipment manufacturers recommend removing batteries from the
equipment if it's not to be used for a while, so as to reduce the risk
of equipment damage from leakage. If you can't do that - if you
really do need to have the equipment available "on standby" for rapid
use - then it's probably a good idea to swap out the batteries for
fresh ones any time you've used it significantly, and perhaps every 6
months in any case.

battery-powered equipment which is used only occasionally, should be
alkaline batteries. Carbon/zinc batteries have less power per cell
(roughly half as much for the "heavy duty" types), but they're less
expensive, and they use a chemistry with a near-neutral electrolyte
pH. If they "die of old age" it usually seems to be due to the
electrolyte drying out, rather than chewing its way out of its cage
and attacking innocent bystanders

Unfortunately the "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries seem to be almost
impossible to find in retail stores these days... everybody's
carrying alkalines.

W

#### Watson A.Name \Watt Sun - the Dark Remover\

Jan 1, 1970
0
Dave said:
Modern "alkaline" batteries use a liquid electrolyte which
incorporates a good deal of potassium hydroxide ("lye"), a corrosive
alkaline material. Over time, the electrolyte can attack the metal
shell of the battery, or the seals around the upper (positive)
electrode, and leak out.
I've read, in a couple of places, that this corrosive action is
relatively small if the battery is in its "as new" condition and has
not been partially discharged, and that the electrochemical processes
which occur when you draw charge out of the battery have the effect of
starting or speeding up the corrosion of the shell. This seems to
match my experience - alkaline batteries rarely seem to leak when
they're still in their packages, and leak rather more often once they
are partially or completely discharged.
Most equipment manufacturers recommend removing batteries from the
equipment if it's not to be used for a while, so as to reduce the risk
of equipment damage from leakage. If you can't do that - if you
really do need to have the equipment available "on standby" for rapid
use - then it's probably a good idea to swap out the batteries for
fresh ones any time you've used it significantly, and perhaps every 6
months in any case.
battery-powered equipment which is used only occasionally, should be
alkaline batteries. Carbon/zinc batteries have less power per cell
(roughly half as much for the "heavy duty" types), but they're less
expensive, and they use a chemistry with a near-neutral electrolyte
pH. If they "die of old age" it usually seems to be due to the
electrolyte drying out, rather than chewing its way out of its cage
and attacking innocent bystanders
Unfortunately the "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries seem to be almost
impossible to find in retail stores these days... everybody's
carrying alkalines.

It seems thatt he only batteries the 99 cent stores carry are the
zinc-carbon types. Cheap, too, something like four for 99 cents.

D

#### Dave Platt

Jan 1, 1970
0
Watson A.Name \"Watt Sun - the Dark Remover\ said:
It seems thatt he only batteries the 99 cent stores carry are the
zinc-carbon types. Cheap, too, something like four for 99 cents.

I'd sorta hoped that that would turn out to be the case... thanks!
I'll check out a few.

I've found a number of sites on the Internet which do sell the
heavy-duty carbon/zinc variety. One place has Eveready AA cells at
$0.15 (minimum order is 48). I'll have to stock up, one of these days. J #### Jim Yanik Jan 1, 1970 0 [email protected] (Dave Platt) wrote in Modern "alkaline" batteries use a liquid electrolyte which incorporates a good deal of potassium hydroxide ("lye"), a corrosive alkaline material. Over time, the electrolyte can attack the metal shell of the battery, or the seals around the upper (positive) electrode, and leak out. I've read, in a couple of places, that this corrosive action is relatively small if the battery is in its "as new" condition and has not been partially discharged, and that the electrochemical processes which occur when you draw charge out of the battery have the effect of starting or speeding up the corrosion of the shell. This seems to match my experience - alkaline batteries rarely seem to leak when they're still in their packages, and leak rather more often once they are partially or completely discharged. Most equipment manufacturers recommend removing batteries from the equipment if it's not to be used for a while, so as to reduce the risk of equipment damage from leakage. If you can't do that - if you really do need to have the equipment available "on standby" for rapid use - then it's probably a good idea to swap out the batteries for fresh ones any time you've used it significantly, and perhaps every 6 months in any case. I've recently read one suggestion (by a ham-radio operator) that battery-powered equipment which is used only occasionally, should be powered by "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries rather than by alkaline batteries. Carbon/zinc batteries have less power per cell (roughly half as much for the "heavy duty" types), but they're less expensive, and they use a chemistry with a near-neutral electrolyte pH. If they "die of old age" it usually seems to be due to the electrolyte drying out, rather than chewing its way out of its cage and attacking innocent bystanders Unfortunately the "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries seem to be almost impossible to find in retail stores these days... everybody's carrying alkalines. I remember carbon-zinc cells leaking,and that's why manufacturers brought out their policies against leakage. And alkalines will last in standby far longer than carbon-zinc cells. BTW,I see "heavy-duty" C-Z cells in most retail stores. To clean alkaline corrosion,use ordinary household vinegar to neutralize the alkalinity,then rinse and dry. B #### Bob Wilson Jan 1, 1970 0 Hi, I would like to know what causes batteries to go bad. I have seen so many electronic devices with leaked and rusted batteries. Best Regards, Talal Itani So, what exactly kind of batteries are we talking about here? I means what SPECIFIC chemistry? The answer to your question will be vastly different if you want to know about (say) alkaline cells, as compared to (say) Li-Ion cells. Without this information, no one can answer your question. Bob. J #### Jim Adney Jan 1, 1970 0 I've recently read one suggestion (by a ham-radio operator) that battery-powered equipment which is used only occasionally, should be powered by "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries rather than by alkaline batteries. Carbon/zinc batteries have less power per cell (roughly half as much for the "heavy duty" types), but they're less expensive, and they use a chemistry with a near-neutral electrolyte pH. If they "die of old age" it usually seems to be due to the electrolyte drying out, rather than chewing its way out of its cage and attacking innocent bystanders I just gotta say that this sounds completely backwards to me. I've seen many, many items damaged by the old style carbon zinc batteries, and only a very few damaged by alkalines. Part of the problem is that the carbon zinc chemistry uses an acidic electrolyte and acids attack metals. Alkalies generally ignore metals, but there are some exceptions. The other half of the problem is that alkaline batteries are the main product of most battery companies, leaving the carbon-zinc cells as the loss leaders. This means that they will be made as cheaply as possible. No matter how cheaply you can buy carbon-zinc cells, I'd strongly recommend that you not leave them in any device for long unless that device really had to value to you. - M #### mike Jan 1, 1970 0 Dave said: Modern "alkaline" batteries use a liquid electrolyte which incorporates a good deal of potassium hydroxide ("lye"), a corrosive alkaline material. Over time, the electrolyte can attack the metal shell of the battery, or the seals around the upper (positive) electrode, and leak out. I've read, in a couple of places, that this corrosive action is relatively small if the battery is in its "as new" condition and has not been partially discharged, and that the electrochemical processes which occur when you draw charge out of the battery have the effect of starting or speeding up the corrosion of the shell. This seems to match my experience - alkaline batteries rarely seem to leak when they're still in their packages, and leak rather more often once they are partially or completely discharged. Most equipment manufacturers recommend removing batteries from the equipment if it's not to be used for a while, so as to reduce the risk of equipment damage from leakage. If you can't do that - if you really do need to have the equipment available "on standby" for rapid use - then it's probably a good idea to swap out the batteries for fresh ones any time you've used it significantly, and perhaps every 6 months in any case. I've recently read one suggestion (by a ham-radio operator) that battery-powered equipment which is used only occasionally, should be powered by "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries rather than by alkaline batteries. Carbon/zinc batteries have less power per cell (roughly half as much for the "heavy duty" types), but they're less expensive, and they use a chemistry with a near-neutral electrolyte pH. If they "die of old age" it usually seems to be due to the electrolyte drying out, rather than chewing its way out of its cage and attacking innocent bystanders Unfortunately the "heavy duty" carbon/zinc batteries seem to be almost impossible to find in retail stores these days... everybody's carrying alkalines. Many manufacturers claim to replace damaged equipment. I'm currently testing that out with Duracell. Here's my damaged radio: http://nm7u.tripod.com/homepage/leaky.html My intital email contact with Gilette/Duracell was very positive. They claim to be sending me a prepaid label so I can ship the radio to them. We'll see... I have taken the batteries out of everything I don't use daily. ;-) mike -- Return address is VALID. Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below. HP200LX 10MB + MODEM + LEATHER CASE Sony Digital Camera Compaq Aero floppy,ram,battery. FT-212RH 2-meter 45W transceiver. Toshiba & Compaq LiIon Batteries, Test Equipment 30pS pulser, Tektronix Concept Books, spot welding head... http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/4710/ L #### Louis Bybee Jan 1, 1970 0 mike said: Many manufacturers claim to replace damaged equipment. I'm currently testing that out with Duracell. Here's my damaged radio: http://nm7u.tripod.com/homepage/leaky.html My intital email contact with Gilette/Duracell was very positive. They claim to be sending me a prepaid label so I can ship the radio to them. We'll see... I have taken the batteries out of everything I don't use daily. ;-) mike I just hate it when people don't post complete information! You didn't tell us if the radio still works or not! :-] I just called Duracell yesterday about a high end flashlight of mine damaged by their batteries. As it turned out the lady indicated I was a bit past the expiration date (true - guess I need better glasses), but she was, out of good will, going to send me a new flashlight, and a coupon for new batteries. It hasn't arrived yet, but at this point I am impressed! Good customer relations on their part. I suspect I will lean towards Duracell as I buy batteries in the future. Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond J #### jtaylor Jan 1, 1970 0 Louis Bybee said: Good customer relations on their part. I suspect I will lean towards Duracell as I buy batteries in the future. The differences between brands of alkaline batteries are so small that they are dwarfed by the price differences. Duracell will replace your <whatever> happily - they are on their way to the bank with your money and don't want you to even look at another brand. How much does a <whatever> cost? How many batteries that cost$2 each
versus ones that cost 39 cents each wiil it take to buy you a new one?
"Coppertop" - "Titanium" - sheesh, whada buncha suckers.

I rarely buy primary cells anymore as the price/performance ratio of
rechargeables is getting so low.

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
jtaylor said:
The differences between brands of alkaline batteries are so small that they
are dwarfed by the price differences. Duracell will replace your
happily - they are on their way to the bank with your money and don't want
you to even look at another brand.

How much does a <whatever> cost? How many batteries that cost $2 each versus ones that cost 39 cents each wiil it take to buy you a new one? "Coppertop" - "Titanium" - sheesh, whada buncha suckers. I rarely buy primary cells anymore as the price/performance ratio of rechargeables is getting so low. Like you, I use rechargeables more and more these days, but there are instances where an Alkaline battery is a "better fit". In the case of my flashlight that was damaged its primary function is to rest quietly beside the bed until it is desperately need some night when the need is immediate, and one needs to depend on the flashlight working instantly. The flashlight frequently sits unused for great periods of time between uses (it still lights up even after the cells leaked). Much longer than many rechargables would maintain a charge. The correct, or best battery for one application usually isn't the best for another, and the same application with different people's use patterns could warrant a different battery type. This "sucker" will continue to use Alkaline batteries in my "emergency" flashlight. I do however, appreciate your concern for my potential state of unwise financial exposure. :-] Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond B #### Boozo Jan 1, 1970 0 Louis Bybee said: jtaylor said: The differences between brands of alkaline batteries are so small that they are dwarfed by the price differences. Duracell will replace your <whatever happily - they are on their way to the bank with your money and don't want you to even look at another brand. How much does a <whatever> cost? How many batteries that cost$2 each
versus ones that cost 39 cents each wiil it take to buy you a new one?
"Coppertop" - "Titanium" - sheesh, whada buncha suckers.

I rarely buy primary cells anymore as the price/performance ratio of
rechargeables is getting so low.

Like you, I use rechargeables more and more these days, but there are
instances where an Alkaline battery is a "better fit".

In the case of my flashlight that was damaged its primary function is to
rest quietly beside the bed until it is desperately need some night when the
need is immediate, and one needs to depend on the flashlight working
instantly. The flashlight frequently sits unused for great periods of time
between uses (it still lights up even after the cells leaked). Much longer
than many rechargables would maintain a charge. The correct, or best battery
for one application usually isn't the best for another, and the same
application with different people's use patterns could warrant a different
battery type.

This "sucker" will continue to use Alkaline batteries in my "emergency"
flashlight. I do however, appreciate your concern for my potential state of
unwise financial exposure. :-]

Louis--
********************************************

In the last 5 years I've had 6 or 7 items damaged by leaky batteries.
Even have a couple of Duracell AAA cells which expire in 2006 with
a negative reading on the battery tester and multimeter.
All of the damaged equipment had current (before use by dates)dates
stamped on the cells.
Only one of those was caused by me plugging in a PSU to the wrong
socket, the rest were battery faults.

Is the quality control getting slack or are they using cheaper seals etc...?

Never had a leaky battery in the previous 30 years until recently.

Boozo.

G

#### gothika

Jan 1, 1970
0
You could easily convert that emergency light to rechargables.
I've got a couple I did this with.
Just wire in coaxial power jack and use a wall wart to keep the
rechargables in them charged up to peak.
I use the six volt flashlights that normally use the 6v lantern
battery and have subbed various 6v nicad packs(old style 6v batteries
This leaves plenty of room for wiring in the coax jacks.
A 6v 50-100ma wall-wart will keep them permanently topped off and
If your light is the standard 3-6v barrel type you could sub AA nicads
in a cluster as well.
Louis Bybee said:
jtaylor said:
Good customer relations on their part. I suspect I will lean towards
Duracell as I buy batteries in the future.

The differences between brands of alkaline batteries are so small that they
are dwarfed by the price differences. Duracell will replace your
<whatever happily - they are on their way to the bank with your money and don't want
you to even look at another brand.

How much does a <whatever> cost? How many batteries that cost \$2 each
versus ones that cost 39 cents each wiil it take to buy you a new one?
"Coppertop" - "Titanium" - sheesh, whada buncha suckers.

I rarely buy primary cells anymore as the price/performance ratio of
rechargeables is getting so low.

Like you, I use rechargeables more and more these days, but there are
instances where an Alkaline battery is a "better fit".

In the case of my flashlight that was damaged its primary function is to
rest quietly beside the bed until it is desperately need some night when the
need is immediate, and one needs to depend on the flashlight working
instantly. The flashlight frequently sits unused for great periods of time
between uses (it still lights up even after the cells leaked). Much longer
than many rechargables would maintain a charge. The correct, or best battery
for one application usually isn't the best for another, and the same
application with different people's use patterns could warrant a different
battery type.

This "sucker" will continue to use Alkaline batteries in my "emergency"
flashlight. I do however, appreciate your concern for my potential state of
unwise financial exposure. :-]

Louis--
********************************************

In the last 5 years I've had 6 or 7 items damaged by leaky batteries.
Even have a couple of Duracell AAA cells which expire in 2006 with
a negative reading on the battery tester and multimeter.
All of the damaged equipment had current (before use by dates)dates
stamped on the cells.
Only one of those was caused by me plugging in a PSU to the wrong
socket, the rest were battery faults.

Is the quality control getting slack or are they using cheaper seals etc...?

Never had a leaky battery in the previous 30 years until recently.

Boozo.

D

#### dan

Jan 1, 1970
0
What's that Lassie? You say that gothika fell down the old
sci.electronics.basics mine and will die if we don't mount a rescue by
Fri, 20 Aug 2004 19:30:31 -0500:
You could easily convert that emergency light to rechargables.
I've got a couple I did this with.
Just wire in coaxial power jack and use a wall wart to keep the
rechargables in them charged up to peak.
I use the six volt flashlights that normally use the 6v lantern
battery and have subbed various 6v nicad packs(old style 6v batteries
This leaves plenty of room for wiring in the coax jacks.

Look for a SLA lantern battery Part # UB5-6S
At: http://www.batterystation.com

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