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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 27th Aug 2018, 2:12 pm   #1
Boater Sam
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Default Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

A cryptic reminder to all after the heat of summer to check all dry batteries in oh so many things.
This is the season when they are prone to leak and ruin your meter, torch, radio, remote control etc. etc.

Time to route out all those Duracells that can leak even before they go flat or their best before date.
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 2:14 pm   #2
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Default Re: Summer fades, Leakers.

Good advice Sam, I'm off to the workshop now to check my stuff.
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Old 27th Aug 2018, 6:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: Summer fades, Leakers.

That's a good reminder, I often get caught out with at least one duff leaking battery in equipment that I've purchased and not got around to checking.

My experience is the GP range of batteries is great but I was shocked to find a leaking AAA cell in a remote control.
I noticed with GP batteries, they changed the gold colour slightly. The older versions are more of a true gold whereas the later ones are slightly more coppery in appearance. My leaking GP AAA cell was one of the older versions. I so far haven't seen a leaking AA, C or D cell made by GP.

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Old 27th Aug 2018, 7:30 pm   #4
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Auntie came today to collect some apples I'd picked off the tree. She brought her faulty LED torch with her, and I found AA batteries with white gunge leaking out. Yes, they were in-date Duracells.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 10:27 am   #5
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I wonder if there would be a market for plastic cell jackets with conducting ends. Or maybe just little "finger cots" to go over the ends which are where most of the damage to equipment occurs?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 4:31 pm   #6
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I have come across isolated examples, eg universal remote controls, small digital camcorders, and battery powered fairy lights, that draw a quiescent current often up to a milliamp when the device is supposedly 'off'. Next stop, the WEEE bin.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 4:45 pm   #7
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herald1360 View Post
I wonder if there would be a market for plastic cell jackets with conducting ends. Or maybe just little "finger cots" to go over the ends which are where most of the damage to equipment occurs?
I would love to see something like this. I actually posted earlier regarding a Heathkit VTVM I am restoring. Unusually a battery has not leaked in this pristine unit and I'd like to keep it that way. I saw some horror stories on the Internet where this was quite disastrous. I have spent two days thinking about this and have come up with nothing so far. The best thing I could come up with so far is running two wires out of the back of the unit into an external battery box and clipping them onto the existing battery contacts thus making sure if it does leaks it doesn't do it inside the unit.

Perhaps I am paranoid however. Should I just schedule replacing the battery once a year?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 5:56 pm   #8
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Maybe every 2 years, then use the discarded ones in a torch of little value?

It's fair to say that the risk can be significantly reduced by not using Duracell AA or AAA in anything that you value. (Until and unless they raise their game- and the general consensus is that this is unlikely)

Dave
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 6:08 pm   #9
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I fail to see the following they get! The TV adverts proclaim that all the Hospitals use them in their monitoring equipment. They fail to mention that they're only used for a few days and then discarded.
Dave, Midwest USA.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 8:36 am   #10
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

My other half laughs at me & my antics in removing batteries from devices, especially in the workshop.

Has saved many a device & precious time in cleaning out the muck!

As mentioned earlier, are we the only ones seeing duff, in-date, Duracells?

Mark
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 10:41 am   #11
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

The puzzle to me is why Duracell’s seem to be so bad.

My survey (checking and counting cells on their way to recycling) shows
Panasonic 201 cells, 3 leaky, 1.5%
Duracell 71 cells, 14 leaky, 20%
Aerocell (Lidl) 60 cells, 1 leaky, 1,7%

So all 3 manufacturers have cells which leak, but out of these 3, one is obviously an order of magnitude worse than the others.

Reviews from a well known consumer magazine show that Duracell’s are amongst the best for battery life at several different levels of drain, but not always THE best, and anyway, the top group are all within a few % of each other, so it’s not that Duracell have some magic trick that gives them more stored charge at the expense of electrolyte leakage. And they cost 4 times the price of some other top rated cells.

In answer to the question in post 10, maybe some folk never use Duracell’s, and others only use Duracell’s, so have nothing to compare them to. I started my survey because I had an impression that Duracell’s were more leaky than others, but it was not until I started cell counting that I realised the extent of the problem.

I only have significant cell numbers for 3 makes. Is anyone else cell counting for other makes? I see a few other makes from time to time, but not enough to be statistically significant, especially if they have low rates of leaky cells.

Stuart
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 11:11 am   #12
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

That recycling trail will miss all the gadgets that have been put into the E-waste bin with the leaked cells still in them.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 6:50 pm   #13
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Hi.

It might be worth adding the GP battery brand to the survey. I have found them to be exceedingly good but as mentioned above came across my first leaking GP cell which was an AAA alkaline type.
I reckon GP batteries would top the charts for leak free performance but it would be interesting to know if any others have encountered a leaking GP made battery. As a guess the AAA types will be potentially the most likely to leak.

Regards
Symon.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 7:13 pm   #14
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I have some 14 year old GPs AAs, none have leaked.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 8:52 pm   #15
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Hi
Taking Chris idea forward.There are available AAA to AA converters
Basically you put an AAA into a plastic case which then turns it into an AA size battery
Loads on eBay
Should protect your gear from battery corrosion
Obviously the down side you will loose capacity
Although the capacity of an alkaline battery compared with an original carbon battery
Probably won't be that different
Cheers
Pete
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 9:39 pm   #16
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

In times-past when I ran a network of videoconference-suites for the likes of the NHS, Courts, Police-service-of-Northern-Ireland etc, I had a spreadsheet that triggered a six-monthly shipping [by signed-for-on-delivery courier service] of new remote-control batteries for each site's TV/Polycom-CODEC gear. Any site whose remote-control batteries failed in-service (resulting in a failed VC session) or whose remotes were damaged through battery-leakage corrosion, well... time for "Contractual penalties" which were never less than 1000+VAT - it's not cheap to get a new remote from Bracknell to Belfast the same working-day.

Batteries are these days really spectacularly cheap! The hassle and damage they can cause when they fail is both annoying and expensive. Better to change well-early than have a set fail in-service and cost you time/money.
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 9:53 am   #17
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I replace all batteries in seldom used or expensive, or safety critical appliances every year, last week in November.

Includes
Smoke detectors
Remote controls
Seldom used torches
Test equipment

Any time of year may be chosen, but I favour the last week in November as the removed cells may be used in Christmas lights or given to the neighbours kids, with a warning that they are to be used and discarded, not stored.

I do not replace energiser ultimate lithium cells on a preventative basis as these seem genuinely leak proof.
I favour Duracell industrial alkaline cells, these are often cheaper than the Duracell retail cells and are hopefully more likely to be genuine.
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 11:01 am   #18
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

I thought Duracell Industrial were ordinary Duracell’s in different livery. I’d be surprised if they were of completely different construction.

The Duracell’s I (used to) buy invariably came from major retail outlets such as Tesco or B&Q, with normal Duracell livery, packaging, and prices, never from market traders, discount, or on-line stores. I doubt mine were fakes.

Stuart.
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 12:17 pm   #19
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Yes, it is generally agreed that Duracell industrial are the same as the consumer branded Duracells, merely being in a different livery.

I favour them over the retail branded cells NOT because of any perceived superior construction, but because I hope that they are genuine.

Duracell are a world wide, well known premium priced brand, sold everywhere and preferred by many consumers, large and small.
There is therefore a huge industry in manufacturing fakes.
I therefore have little faith in them being genuine, even from reputable stores, and certainly not from street markets.

The industrial range are less well known, sold at lower prices, and not intended to be sold retail, HOPEFULLY therefore not worth faking.
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Old 30th Aug 2018, 9:48 pm   #20
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Default Re: Summer fades, leaking dry cells.

Hi

If there is no actual difference between Duracell's retail and industrial range of batteries it would be interesting to hear from their technical department's view on the matter.
I find it difficult to grasp that reputable high street retailers would deal in fake goods, one would think they deal direct with the manufacturer.

Regards
Symon
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