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Old 23rd October 2012, 05:26 AM   #1
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Default Battery Corrosion

Recently I had battery corrosion in two portable test sets, a Goldline ZP1 and a Phonic PAA3. Both were using brand name AA batteries. One unit was stored inside, the other in a garage. Both test sets are used infrequently so they may sit for several months before being used.

If I lived in a perfect world, I would remove the batteries every time after testing and that would solve the problem. However my world is far from perfect so I am looking for a way to prevent corrosion without removing the batteries if possible.

Has anyone found a procedure or trick that will prevent batteries from corroding?
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Old 23rd October 2012, 05:53 AM   #2
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What about lithium AA's?
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Old 23rd October 2012, 11:24 AM   #3
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Short of cryogenics, no.

I am glad to hear I am not the only one who does not live in Perfect.
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Old 24th October 2012, 03:46 AM   #4
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What about lithium AA's?
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Are lithiums less likely to cause corrosion? If so, do you know why?

I was hoping to gain some insight on whether this is caused by batteries leaking or by a chemical process between the battery and the metal contacts.
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Old 24th October 2012, 09:37 AM   #5
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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I'm pretty sure it's the electrolyte eating through the case. You might get some protection by coating the metal contacts with silicone grease.

Some brands seem to be more prone to leaking than others; a supermarket house brand was particularly bad. Japanese batteries like Panasonic and Sony appear to last a long time without leaking.

NiMH cells rarely leak, as far as I know. The Sanyo Eneloop low-self-discharge types keep something like 90% of their charge after a year, so that seems feasible for instruments that only get occasional use. You can find Eneloops sold under other brand names like Duracell, Energizer, and President's Choice; look for "made in Japan" in fine print, and something like "StayCharged" or pre-charged, and white plastic around the positive terminal. One Canadian pharmacy chain regularly puts the "Duraloop" AA 4-packs on sale for as little as $8. Rite-Aid in the US may have similar deals. A search just now found them even cheaper through Amazon:
Amazon.com: Duracell Rechargeables StayCharged AA Batteries, 4-Count: Health & Personal Care
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Old 24th October 2012, 09:32 PM   #6
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Not eating through, but non-gas tight vapor leakage of the electrolyte. Brands do very, but I have had even Panasonic's leak. I won't use Rayovac or RS.
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Old 25th October 2012, 03:24 AM   #7
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Leaking implies a liquid of some form. Lithium primary cells are solid (relative term), so nothing to leak.

I've been using Energizer Lithium (Li-FeS2) AA's for years and have never seen one leak or cause corrosion.

Considering they have lower self discharge than alkalines and don't leak, I don't see a reason not to use them really. New cells can have an unloaded voltage as high as 1.8V compared to the ~1.65V of alkaline, but that's not a problem in most cases.
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Old 26th October 2012, 10:45 PM   #8
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theAnonymous1 View Post
Leaking implies a liquid of some form. Lithium primary cells are solid (relative term), so nothing to leak.

I've been using Energizer Lithium (Li-FeS2) AA's for years and have never seen one leak or cause corrosion.

Considering they have lower self discharge than alkalines and don't leak, I don't see a reason not to use them really. New cells can have an unloaded voltage as high as 1.8V compared to the ~1.65V of alkaline, but that's not a problem in most cases.
Incorrect. It can imply gas. Solids can outgas too. The little silver nickel batteries in watches seem to do OK for years too.

I have only used a couple of the Energizer Li's so no long term experience. Worth a try.
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Old 27th October 2012, 04:54 AM   #9
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After listening to your advice, I did some research and it appears the lithiums don't have the problem with leakage. I just bought 12 lithium AA batteries for $20 which is almost double the price of alkaline. However after spending a couple of hours replacing both battery holders and cleaning up the mess in the Goldline ZP1, a few extra bucks for batteries is a small price to pay.
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Old 27th October 2012, 07:18 AM   #10
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Some of the newer Li compounds are more stable, but a leaky lithium cell is generally a very bad idea. Some of the cheaper (ie zinc) cells use the zinc for the case, so not surprisingly they can develop holes that leak electrolyte. Some better cells use an outer case to enclose the actual reactive chemicals, providing a relatively high degree of "leak proofness".
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