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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!

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Old 25th May 2021, 4:05 pm   #81
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Interesting that people have found Varta OK. I bought some recently from my local B&Q, for my Bosch electric screwdriver which only gets occasional use. (4 AA)

After only 1 month and very little use, the screwdriver stopped running and I found the batteries were leaking heavily. Won't be buying them again. I normally use the cheapo ones from Lidl's and have never had any problems.
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Old 25th May 2021, 5:16 pm   #82
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I rate Varta as good is this respect, but i have seen two of their AAA's leak. One was in a batch of many hundreds of 'in date' cells still in their wrapping, the other was in a remote control that demands a small quiescent current from it's cells. I find this low trickle to be a problem for some alkaline AAA's- they don't like it up 'em, for some reason.

I would check the electric screwdriver itself for issues (if it hasn't been killed)

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Old 25th May 2021, 5:42 pm   #83
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

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I would check the electric screwdriver itself for issues (if it hasn't been killed)

Dave

Luckily I spotted it in plenty of time and it has been fine since.
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Old 25th May 2021, 5:43 pm   #84
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I agree with others about very low current draw seeming to be an issue for alkalines, in remote controls etc. I still happily use Zinc batteries for this application. Never had a problem with them.
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Old 25th May 2021, 8:52 pm   #85
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Coincidentally I have just had a blue Varta AA that was in a Maglite torch leak. Fortunately the leaky one was at the screwed end cap and corrosion wasn't bad enough to prevent removal. They were well within date and "Made in Germany".

Last edited by emeritus; 25th May 2021 at 8:52 pm. Reason: typo
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Old 25th May 2021, 9:54 pm   #86
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

About zinc-carbon batteries, I haven't seen any for sale in years here in Sweden. Even the cheapest odd brands are alkaline now.
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Old 27th May 2021, 10:39 am   #87
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I don’t use zinc-carbon anymore, just Alkalines (with some Lithium AA’s as backup to NiMH for a digital camera). I used to use Duracell for high drain applications, and cheaper brands for everything else, but then I saw the light.

Well, 2 lights really, one was that Duracell’s seemed more likely to leak than other brands, the second was that the discount supermarket own brands (Aldi were best, Lidl not far behind) had very similar run times to the premium brands (according to a consumer magazine, and my own experience in some heavy use applications), but at 1/4 or 1/5 of the cost (25p/cell).

On leakage, I have been checking used cells for leakage for several years now, and found 17% of Duracell’s had leaked (1 in 6) vs less than 2% for Lidl, Aldi, and Panasonic cells (less than 1 in 50). I’ve seen a few other brands, but not enough cells for a statistically significant conclusion (actually, none out of a small number of cells had leaked), but leaky Varta cells have been mentioned on here a couple of times - has anyone used enough Varta cells (a few dozen?) for comparison?

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Old 27th May 2021, 10:02 pm   #88
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I brought some Agfa Photo branded zinc/carbon AA batteries from local Boyes which were terrible for leaking, especially towards the end of the battery's life. Although it wasn't a major lost, I made the mistake of leaving them in a cheapo battered transistor radio I had in my shed over winter. When the radio wouldn't work this Spring, checked the battery compartment and they leaked so badly you'd of thought the radio had be sitting at the bottom of a pond for years.

I'm trying some of the Poundland Kodak Xtralife Alkaline AAA's currently with my personal FM radio I have for when I'm on my walks. These ones have a 10 year guarantee which expires 08/2030(mfd 08/2020). Alright so far no leaks and lasting well, that is using the radio 4 to 5 times a week at an hour at a time for the past 2 weeks, still on the first of 2 AAA's.
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Old 28th May 2021, 8:48 pm   #89
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

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I'm trying some of the Poundland Kodak Xtralife Alkaline AAA's currently with my personal FM radio I have for when I'm on my walks. These ones have a 10 year guarantee which expires 08/2030(mfd 08/2020). Alright so far no leaks and lasting well, that is using the radio 4 to 5 times a week at an hour at a time for the past 2 weeks, still on the first of 2 AAA's.
I have always found the Poundland Kodak Alkalines to be excellent batteries.
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Old 29th May 2021, 3:01 pm   #90
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I've always found over the years that Asda Alkaline do not seem to leak/ have a comparable £ for £ value with most of the best (considering they were used in test kit which could be left on), so I always bought two sets of each. Otherwise, for remotes in the house I buy pound land/Aldi rechargeable(NI MH of course as they are 1.5v)
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Old 28th Aug 2023, 12:20 pm   #91
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Thread re-opened by request.

Cheers

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Old 28th Aug 2023, 3:26 pm   #92
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Thanks Mike.

Previously i was rather on the fence regarding Varta alkalines (mainly blue, with silver and yellow print on the sleeve) however having found another AAA that's leaked well within 2027 date (and barely used) they are definitely to be avoided, in the smaller sizes at least.

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Old 2nd Sep 2023, 7:45 pm   #93
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

I've been using (mostly) AA and AAA from duracell for so long, that I don't remember using any other brand, at least by choice. I also use some spare cells that I store when they come with some new equipment.

Also, for a very long time, I've been reading horror stories about duracell and how they are very prone to leakage - I always wondered if I got lucky so far, or if I'm not using enough batteries.

I'm not saying that they don't leak, as I recall seeing leaking cells - but these events were so rare and I use them for so long, that I can't identify myself in the stories I read.
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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 10:09 am   #94
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

The triggers in a lot of cases appear to be excessive ambient temperature cycles, and appliances than sneak out a few uA or mA from their cells to maintain a memory even when the thing is supposedly switched off. Affects AAA the worst, but AA still need watching.

It occurs to me that my voltpen (that had Vartas in) may have a small current drain 'full time'- I'd better check.

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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 3:55 pm   #95
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Yes, it makes sense to me that the environment conditions surrounding the cells would play a big role - any temperature changes will inherently expand or compress the chassis and seals, so the more the temperature oscillates and the higher (or lower) it peaks, the less time it will require for gaps and cracks to occur - this is most likely the reason for the leaky cells I found so far.

But I don't understand, and doesn't make much sense to me, is why a small current flow will also cause leakage. Is there a reasonable technical explanation for this that anyone can share?

Alex
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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 4:50 pm   #96
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

A small current flow will eventually flatten the battery, which may promote leakage
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Previously i was rather on the fence regarding Varta alkalines (mainly blue, with silver and yellow print on the sleeve) however having found another AAA that's leaked well within 2027 date (and barely used) they are definitely to be avoided, in the smaller sizes at least.
I'm very sorry to hear this. The Varta alkaline plant in Germany used to be a quality manufacturer - Varta started winning UK MOD military contracts over 20 years ago, replacing Duracell. I guess that may have been a special quality product though.

Are Vartas still made in Germany, or has production been contracted out to some Chinese outfit?
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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 5:59 pm   #97
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
A small current flow will eventually flatten the battery, which may promote leakage
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Previously i was rather on the fence regarding Varta alkalines (mainly blue, with silver and yellow print on the sleeve) however having found another AAA that's leaked well within 2027 date (and barely used) they are definitely to be avoided, in the smaller sizes at least.
I'm very sorry to hear this. The Varta alkaline plant in Germany used to be a quality manufacturer - Varta started winning UK MOD military contracts over 20 years ago, replacing Duracell. I guess that may have been a special quality product though.

Are Vartas still made in Germany, or has production been contracted out to some Chinese outfit?
That's the way the battery manufacturing market seems to work, you never know which factory is going to be producing your favourite brand. And it's why the Which? reports vary and change every time that they do them. Your favourite battery one year is a poor one next time. Sad but true.
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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 6:33 pm   #98
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

-The few AA Varta i still have in service are Made in Germany. All the AAA are binned now so can't confirm.

Dave
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Old 4th Sep 2023, 9:14 am   #99
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
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A small current flow will eventually flatten the battery, which may promote leakage
Right! That makes sense - a flat battery is a disaster waiting to happen. I was interpreting the failure due to a small current flow in a different way - now it makes sense.

Thanks Paul!

Alex
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Old 4th Sep 2023, 3:20 pm   #100
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Default Re: Leaking batteries. A reminder, a warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
A small current flow will eventually flatten the battery, which may promote leakage
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Previously i was rather on the fence regarding Varta alkalines (mainly blue, with silver and yellow print on the sleeve) however having found another AAA that's leaked well within 2027 date (and barely used) they are definitely to be avoided, in the smaller sizes at least.
I'm very sorry to hear this. The Varta alkaline plant in Germany used to be a quality manufacturer - Varta started winning UK MOD military contracts over 20 years ago, replacing Duracell. I guess that may have been a special quality product though.

Are Vartas still made in Germany, or has production been contracted out to some Chinese outfit?
Varta is the only battery maker in Germany and they only make batteries there. (Bosch vehicle batteries are also made in the Varta factory, and apart from the branding, are the same batteries). Varta is based in Ellwangen, Germany where it employs around 2,000 people.

It's one of the world's oldest manufacturers of lead-acid batteries, founded in 1887 and famously supplied the Luftwaffe with batteries for submarines during World War II. Since 2002, Varta has been owned by Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Under their ownership Varta has grown to become the largest manufacturer of lead acid batteries in the world, though I don't know where they stand with AAs and AAAs:

https://www.tayna.co.uk/brands/varta...rld%20War%20II

Varta alkaline batteries have a stated ten-year shelf life.

https://www.globalofficesupplies.co....-4906620414--4

It's disappointing to hear that others have had hassles with them. I've never had one corrode, but I can't say that about Duracell.

I've got a pocket microscope which I keep in my desk draw. I don't use it often, and when I do, it's only briefly, so the batteries last along time. It used two AA cells, and when I wanted to use it a couple of days ago, it didn't light up. When I opened it, the two Duracells had leaked and made a real mess. Fortunately, they hadn't corroded the battery contacts too much.

Given this thread, I wished I'd kept them to add pics to this thread, but they went to the recycling Bin at Waitrose. Same thing happened a while ago with a pocket-sized 'Maglite' torch I kept in my car glove box. That time it was two AAAs, so badly corroded that they were totally seized up in the torch, which was a write-off.

I don't know what Duracell's market share is, but it must be substantial.

They're omni-present in shops and supermarkets, and they're not cheap either.
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