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Thread: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    I have seen regular batteries leak before as a kid (some 25+ years ago), dark (black/brown) substance oozes out of the battery coating everything.

    I have No Name/Unknown brand heavy duty D cells recently leak. I am surprised it is leaking clear white sticky fluid. How come it leaks clear white fluid and not the dark brown substance I saw as a kid? I suppose it depends on the battery chemistry?

    I have some no name brand alkaline AAA cells leak what looks like a powdery white substance.

    When your batteries leak, what do you see? Please share your experiences.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    OK, this is a very unscientific guess. What leaks out is clear. When it contacts steel or copper alloys it turns black/brown. When it contacts aluminum, it turns white. How did I do?

    Dave

  3. #3
    Flashaholic warlord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    very easy...when an Alkaline Battery Leaks it's white and powdery.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    In my experience, alkalines leak clear or dark brown/black, which drys white and powdery.

    Pay particular attention at 4:00 in:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxq9V13UyDs

    Pay particular attention at 4:27 in when the back (right side) of the light pops off. I show the liquid specifically later on:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9be4E6kgWxM

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    If you were to disassemble a heavy duty battery you would find the inside mostly contains a dry black paste, but there would be thin layer of white powder around the outside where the zinc has reacted. There is really no liquid to leak. I think what happens is that once the battery shell corrodes through to the outside the chemicals suck up moisture from the air -- that's when you see liquid around the leak. It might be clear if it's a small leak and darker if it's a big leak and some of the black paste has managed to escape.

    Incidentally I examined one recently and found that the zinc shell was paper thin and pretty much all dissolved by the time the cell was dead. This compares to the heavy duty cells of my childhood where the zinc shell was pretty thick and would still remain even in a dead battery. I guess it's the march of cost cutting in progress.

    Inside an alkaline cell I think the electrolyte paste might be somewhat wetter and more damaging if it leaks. (It's caustic too and not good to get on your skin. If you find a leak clean it up immediately with vinegar, rinse with deionized water and leave to dry thoroughly in a warm place before reapplying power.)

    Incidentally this is just a hypothetical discussion. It's not advising anyone to take batteries apart, especially not alkaline batteries.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    chlorides of zinc and amomnium.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* mwaldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    By annoying coincidence I have a picture to share with you...

    I've been all excited to refurbish my Eternalights, I ordered new membranes from TechAss (he sent them free under warranty, great and quick service) and new Nichia GS LEDs from CPFM arrived yesterday.

    I take apart my first trusty ErgoXray and find this:



    I called Energizer, they're sending me an envelope to return it to them. I applied 4.5V from my bench supply but the light is dead.

    My question is do batteries spike in voltage when they leak? Seems like that wouldn't be possible but something happened in there. It got pretty hot too because the cell wrapper is melted off around the negative terminal of the leaking cell.

    Now I get to see how good Energizer's service is, but I suspect I'll be getting a new Eternalight.
    New Years Resolution 2010: I will neither purchase nor recommend any LED light that is not at least neutral, preferably warm.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    I remember, in the 1960's, when Leak-Proof batteries were introduced.




    Now, they're just trying to "perfect" them.



    _

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* mwaldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    When I get this all worked out all 3 of my EternaLights are getting Lithium AA's...
    New Years Resolution 2010: I will neither purchase nor recommend any LED light that is not at least neutral, preferably warm.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwaldron View Post
    When I get this all worked out all 3 of my EternaLights are getting Lithium AA's...
    Then if they fail they won't just leak, they will explode and burst into flames...

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* mwaldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery Leaks - What does it leak and what does it look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Then if they fail they won't just leak, they will explode and burst into flames...
    What a happy thought...
    New Years Resolution 2010: I will neither purchase nor recommend any LED light that is not at least neutral, preferably warm.

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