UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio and TV Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > General Vintage Technology > Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here)

Notices

Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 4th Sep 2023, 3:44 pm   #101
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 28,159
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I suspect Duracell offer retail chains a very healthy markup, while spending a lot on marketing to maintain brand awareness. Most buyers know absolutely nothing about batteries and just choose what they think of as a 'good brand'. The fact that they cost a lot builds the brand image because of the 'you get what you pay for' fallacy. Meanwhile Duracell invariably claim that any leaking batteries are fakes.

It's really an example of brand prostitution. They didn't used to be like this - 30 years ago they were some of the best batteries you could buy, and that perception is very persistent. Many of us will have acqured electronics with ancient 90s era Duracells inside with no sign of leakage - sometimes they even show a full voltage.
paulsherwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Sep 2023, 6:38 pm   #102
G6Tanuki
Dekatron
 
G6Tanuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 14,108
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I remember Duracell when they were Mallory Duracell. They made Mercury batteries for the US military.

These days their stuff has become cheap tat along with old brands like Goodmans and Blaupunkt and Grundig.

Varta are still big in the Lead Acid battery game, buy a Jaguar or Land Rover or a VW and it will come with a Varta battery.

And last time I looked, Panasonic still have a battery factory in Belgium.
__________________
I'm the Operator of my Pocket Calculator. -Kraftwerk.
G6Tanuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Sep 2023, 6:42 pm   #103
Beobloke
Heptode
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southampton, Hampshire, UK.
Posts: 830
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
I suspect Duracell offer retail chains a very healthy markup, while spending a lot on marketing to maintain brand awareness. Most buyers know absolutely nothing about batteries and just choose what they think of as a 'good brand'. The fact that they cost a lot builds the brand image because of the 'you get what you pay for' fallacy. Meanwhile Duracell invariably claim that any leaking batteries are fakes.

It's really an example of brand prostitution. They didn't used to be like this - 30 years ago they were some of the best batteries you could buy, and that perception is very persistent. Many of us will have acqured electronics with ancient 90s era Duracells inside with no sign of leakage - sometimes they even show a full voltage.
Interestingly, my experience has been exactly the opposite. Going back 20-30 years I never bought Duracell as they were good performers, but I found they were pretty much guaranteed to start leaking once they reached a year or two old.

About 10 years ago they seem to have got their act together and they have been my preferred choice since then.
Beobloke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Sep 2023, 7:02 pm   #104
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

A you tube electronics thing tested various batteries and found the cheapo ones from Lidl beat Duracell!
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Sep 2023, 8:17 pm   #105
jamesperrett
Octode
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Liss, Hampshire, UK.
Posts: 1,879
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Varta started winning UK MOD military contracts over 20 years ago, replacing Duracell. I guess that may have been a special quality product though.
While we weren't MOD, our application (underwater vehicles) was just as demanding and, as far as I know, we used the standard Varta alkaline D cells - although we also used Panasonic and Ray-O-Vac cells. Duracell were not on our approved list after a fairly disastrous experience with their cells.
jamesperrett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Sep 2023, 12:14 pm   #106
Nanozeugma
Heptode
 
Nanozeugma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: London, UK. Bury, Lancashire quite regularly :)
Posts: 618
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I haven't, I confess, read through all the observations made previously in this thread. I am, however, very much aware of the dubious quality of currently available Duracell brand batteries.
I think that times have very much moved on with Duracell, and they rely on people still being under the impression that they are a trusted, quality brand with a price premium to match. That said, I can't recall the last time I saw a Duracell advertisment in broadcast media, online or in print.
I recently resurrected an elderly Philips PM2517X which I had forgotten about and discovered (yes, you've guessed it) four badly leaking Duracell C batteries.
A considerable time later, having ejected the Duraleaks and removed the Potassium Hydroxide encrustation and applied lemon juice to neutralise any residues, I installed four new Varta Industrial Pro C cells.
To my delight, the meter works.
I do hope Varta haven't gone down the path of quality reduction, no problems with any of the numerous ones I've fitted in recent times.
Here's hoping.
__________________
Thermionic Emission, warms the cockles of your tubes.
Nanozeugma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Sep 2023, 10:55 am   #107
DrStrangelove
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: Neath, Port Talbot, Wales, UK.
Posts: 286
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
I suspect Duracell offer retail chains a very healthy markup, while spending a lot on marketing to maintain brand awareness. Most buyers know absolutely nothing about batteries and just choose what they think of as a 'good brand'. The fact that they cost a lot builds the brand image because of the 'you get what you pay for' fallacy. Meanwhile Duracell invariably claim that any leaking batteries are fakes.

It's really an example of brand prostitution. They didn't used to be like this - 30 years ago they were some of the best batteries you could buy, and that perception is very persistent. Many of us will have acqured electronics with ancient 90s era Duracells inside with no sign of leakage - sometimes they even show a full voltage.
Whilst clearing out the "Instrument Store" in work (a.k.a. the room from hell because it was so hot), there were dozens of Thandar frequency counters and DMMs filled with 6 C cells each.

Almost all the 1989 date coded Duracells had leaked & written off the instrument while the Varta branded C cells were all ok, and some had enough ooomph left to operate the instrument.
DrStrangelove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 8:40 am   #108
ppalped
Pentode
 
ppalped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Posts: 106
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

The amount of reports here regarding Duracell are very concerning to me - I wouldn't mind switching from Duracell to another brand but...

I mainly buy Duracell because they are available everywhere, usually with some red price on it in some of the stores nearby, and mainly because historically I don't recall many occurrences of leaking cells - the ones that I recall happened because the appliance holding them was placed in the garage for years unattended, and it didn't happen in all the things I store in the garage - just a couple that I recall.

I recall seeing Varta cells leaking in an unopened package on supermarket shelf for example - of course that this doesn't tell me that Varta is bad, because I don't know the history of the cells that were leaking. It was just one occurrence that I witnessed. I also spotted unused leaking cells here at home from other brands that I usually store when they come with new equipment/appliances - but given the randomness of brands, I never seen leakage in more than one per brand, and not all brands were affected anyway, so again I can't judge them by these occurrences.

So my point is, if I have to switch from Duracell to something else, I'm _almost_ sure that if I dig enough I would find reports about how that brand is horrible.

Don't get me wrong, I'm genuinely concerned about all these reports I read here - I simply can't ignore the fact that with so many people complaining about one specific brand, there must be something inherently true to some extent, even ignoring the history of the leaking Duracell cells being reported.

My problem is that I really don't have any meaningful historical data from other brands, except for Varta - but only in car batteries(Pb), not AA and AAA cells. So it's very difficult for me to try another brand, and if I do, and if these cells leak for some reason and ruin something in circumstances where Duracell never leaked, I would be really pissed of with myself.

Alex
ppalped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 9:22 am   #109
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 8,883
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

The point is, choosing a good battery manufacturer is a minefield. It's not even about choosing a good manufacturer, as sizes from the same manufacturer can vary tremendously in performance and reliability. The reason being that brands continually swap manufacturers to get the best deals, whatever. Which? tests show that for example what was the best AA battery one year is amongst the poorest a couple of years later. So, in my opinion it is pointless being brand loyal in the world of batteries. To 'win' you have to be able to choose the 'best' battery in each size regardless of brand name at the present time. As a subscriber to Which? I am able to keep abreast of the latest trends and just buy accordingly. But stick with a brand? Not for me.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 9:54 am   #110
ppalped
Pentode
 
ppalped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Posts: 106
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
... The reason being that brands continually swap manufacturers to get the best deals, whatever. Which? tests show that for example what was the best AA battery one year is amongst the poorest a couple of years later. ...
If this is the case, then it explains a lot.

Nevertheless, I think that the best way to avoid damage due to leakage is to do a physical and charge level check every few months on all installed cells, and make sure that whatever goes to long/unknown term storage doesn't have any cells/batteries installed.

Alex
ppalped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 10:05 am   #111
ppalped
Pentode
 
ppalped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Posts: 106
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

And just realized that this circled back exactly to where it started - I just read the first post again where you, stevehertz, started the thread exactly with the point of not leaving batteries in equipment not in use
ppalped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 11:57 am   #112
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 8,883
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ppalped View Post
And just realized that this circled back exactly to where it started - I just read the first post again where you, stevehertz, started the thread exactly with the point of not leaving batteries in equipment not in use
Yes, it wasn't me who took it off topic into a brand discussion! Nonetheless such a discussion is always interesting as we have seen.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 3:01 pm   #113
The Philpott
Dekatron
 
The Philpott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Colchester, Essex, UK.
Posts: 4,138
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Currently* Alex, i'm still putting my faith into Alkaline Panasonics (coloured gold or bronze).
They do not have a great capacity, which is a trade-off i can live with in many applications.
No nasties YET, and have been using them for quite a while. Their Zinc Chloride however is inferior, and i've had one or two weep.

*boom boom.

Dave
The Philpott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Sep 2023, 9:11 pm   #114
ppalped
Pentode
 
ppalped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Posts: 106
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Currently* Alex, i'm still putting my faith into Alkaline Panasonics (coloured gold or bronze).
They do not have a great capacity, which is a trade-off i can live with in many applications.
No nasties YET, and have been using them for quite a while. Their Zinc Chloride however is inferior, and i've had one or two weep.

*boom boom.

Dave
I have some Panasonics in the emergency bin (cells I store when they come with new appliances) - as far as I recall, none of them ever leaked, and they are probably well beyond their expiration date by now for sure. I probably should do a cleanup and put whatever is there past the expiration date in the recycle bin though.
ppalped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Sep 2023, 6:17 pm   #115
factory
Octode
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cheshire, UK.
Posts: 1,770
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
I remember Duracell when they were Mallory Duracell. They made Mercury batteries for the US military.

These days their stuff has become cheap tat along with old brands like Goodmans and Blaupunkt and Grundig.

Varta are still big in the Lead Acid battery game, buy a Jaguar or Land Rover or a VW and it will come with a Varta battery.

And last time I looked, Panasonic still have a battery factory in Belgium.
Panasonic have lots of places making their batteries, I've seen Belgium, Poland, Malaysia and China on the packaging.

So far only found one at the end of last year, that had leaked and those were a few years past the use-by date, note: not mine.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_9672a.jpg
Views:	96
Size:	107.0 KB
ID:	284692 Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_9674a.jpg
Views:	94
Size:	71.0 KB
ID:	284693

Also happy to have found the missing JCB branded D cells in a radio, with no leakage, all measured very low voltage.

On the bad side, I found some Sainsburys alkaline AA cells have leaked in headphones I haven't used for years.

And everyone's favourite brand of leaktubes , these were stored out of use (well past their use-by date), all measured good on voltage, two gave between 3A & 5A across the current range on a DMM.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_1551a.jpg
Views:	111
Size:	87.7 KB
ID:	284694

David
factory is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Sep 2023, 11:24 pm   #116
Phil G4SPZ
Dekatron
 
Phil G4SPZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK.
Posts: 4,756
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I have coincidentally just rescued a quartz clock from attack by similar-looking white crystalline deposits that had leaked from an AA battery. The brand was Pro-Elec, sourced from CPC, in-date, and the clock was working when I looked at it a couple of days ago, but it had stopped tonight. I’ve generally found these batteries to be very reliable, but just occasionally one will take me by surprise.

This was a cheap clock, but the last one was an AAA size cell which could have ruined my Sennheiser 450 headphones. I now only use rechargeables in them. They don’t last as long as alkalines, but they don’t leak either.
__________________
Phil

Optimist [n]: One who is not in possession of the full facts

Last edited by Phil G4SPZ; 8th Sep 2023 at 11:28 pm. Reason: Expanded for clarity
Phil G4SPZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th Sep 2023, 9:04 am   #117
The Philpott
Dekatron
 
The Philpott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Colchester, Essex, UK.
Posts: 4,138
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

-May or may not be significant that the Panasonics in customer's eqpt. that David features are badged 'Xtreme Power' which is a name i would probably actively avoid, on the basis that it's asking for trouble. (Fitting a quart into a pint pot)

The ones i have in use are 'alkaline power' and 'pro-power', the latter have a similar colour scheme to those mentioned above, but without the shouty font.

They certainly do come out of a variety of territories.

Dave
The Philpott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th Sep 2023, 11:48 am   #118
stuarth
Heptode
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Heysham, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 684
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I think the biggest difference between AA/AAA cell brands is price (and for some brands, leakage), so aim for paying not much more than 25p/cell for a supremarket or other known brand.

Which magazine, for example, reports run-times for each brand down to 1.0V/cell at 3 different levels of load, High, Medium and Low drain.

Looking at the data, the cells fall into distinct groups:-

Lithium cells, (one brand in particular) are significantly better at high drain, but not necessarily better at low drain.

The majority of Alkaline cells, including all the well known premium brands and supermarket brands including Tesco and Lidl, have similar performance, with run times of six and a half to 7 hours at high drain, 24 to 26 hours at medium drain, and 88 to 94 hours at high drain. A few Alkalines, including Aldi, are marginally better, an extra 1/2 hour at high drain, or an hour at medium drain.

Then there is a noticable gap to a second group at the bottom of the table, including Kodak, which are worse at all levels of load, by about 1 hour at high drain, 4 hours at medium drain, and 10 to 20 hours at low drain. It looks like these cells use a different "recipe" than the others.

The difference between brands within a group is so small that a different batch could move a brand a significant way up or down the table, so it should be no suprise to find to find different reviews having the brands in a completely different order.

Run time differences are small, but the price difference is huge, 26p for the cheapest cells to well over £1 for so called premium brands. There will be some "market stall" unknown name brands which could be very poor, but otherwise just buy on price. Even the ones in the bottom group will be better value than premium brands, and without careful record taking, you may not even notice the difference. Several folk on here are very happy with Kodak, for example.

If you have a local reliable source of cells, the price is right, and they don't have a leaking problem, then go with them. Try a supermarket brand in a high drain device. If they're noticably better (or worse) in a high drain device, the same will probably apply at other load levels where it's less easy to record differences.

My current favourites are the Aldi Active Energy cells, they're at the top of the table for run time, the cheapest at 26p/cell, and out of 150 cells I've examined, I found only one which had leaked (out of 102 Duracells, 17 had leaked). But there is a bit of a but here. Aldi seem to be changing their cell's livery. All the ones I've seen, and the ones in the Which test, were blue and silver. Current stock in my nearest branch are black and gold. The design is the same, it's as if they've just put different ink in the printer, and they're still made in the EU. I stocked up on the blue and silver ones, if they have changed supplier, then, from the available data, is seems unlikely that the new stock will be an improvement on the older stock.

Stuart
stuarth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th Sep 2023, 4:11 pm   #119
ppalped
Pentode
 
ppalped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Posts: 106
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Slightly out of topic, but one remark regarding the perceived trust in cell stability from Marconi engineers circa 1960, was the sturdy housings they designed to hold the PP9's in some of their instruments. You can drink a beer from these containers
ppalped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th Sep 2023, 4:59 pm   #120
The Philpott
Dekatron
 
The Philpott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Colchester, Essex, UK.
Posts: 4,138
Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

The voltage 'slide' of alkalines seems to have led cell/battery comparisons down a slightly silly path in the past- they always seem to base the useful life on the point at which a very low voltage of around 1v-1.1v is reached.

I consider it unwise to keep alkalines in service below 1.3v off load, and some appliances won't even work at that voltage- quartz clock modules can shut down at 1.35v.
I try to discard them at 1.35v off load whenever i find them. Risk management!

Dave
The Philpott is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 4:11 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2023, Paul Stenning.