Beware Alkaline Cells

dafeichu

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Some devices will say in the manual to only use lithium primaries. One is my daughters insulin pump. It uses a single AAA. These pumps are very expensive and ya sort of don't want it failing for health reasons due to a leaking battery so spending a bit more on a battery is not a thought.

Another device is the meter I use at work. It uses 4xAA. It's not a fluke but up there in price, about 8 or 9 hundred, and it's used in all sort of temperatures so why increase the chance of ruining test equipment with cheaper batteries. I have noticed compared to our old meters which used two 9V and one D-cell, that I have to replace the batteries more often. Sometimes the cells did leak in our old meters, which cost around $1500, so uptime is saving money even though we pay more in batteries.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I"m wondering if he is using eneloops in the BP monitor or regular nimh cells. I do think eneloops can hold a slightly higher voltage for longer after charged than regular non LSD cells can which could be the difference perhaps.
 

TechGuru

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Not new, but haven't been here in some time...

Alkalines are forbidden in my house. Maybe a bit rash or irrational to some, but I have developed a pure hatred of them for the fact that I have lost devices to them over the years, and rarely to the credit of my own thoughtless forgetfulness. I've had new Alkalines leak and kill lights after a month.

I use eneloop rechargeable AAs and AAAs for daily use, and lithium AAs and AAAs in kits or glove-boxes, in which case the lights go long periods without being used.

I did read somewhere not too long ago that 1.2V NiMHs drained too quickly for some applications and it puzzled me, because they seem to last a long time in the lights I use on a regular basis. Recently, I had to purchase a blood-pressure reading kit and got the one that pumps up the cuff and gives you an LCD reading. NOW, I get it. A set of four NiMHs last TWO readings in that monster, but they are perfectly adequate for all my other uses.

I'm sure the extra .3V in Alkalines are of extra benefit in some applications, but I just won't take the chance. The aggravating part is that many new devices come with complementary alkaline cells, which I remove immediately or just don't install, and chuck into the "dead cell repository" (plastic coffee can) to save for the annual recycling event. Trouble with that is that as of this spring, they no longer accept alkaline cells for recycling and recommend you "toss them into the trash, because a few won't ruin the world."

I've been using the same eneloop NiMHs since 2011 and 2012, over and over and have not thrown one out yet or purchased any new ones, so they are also cheaper in the long run and more convenient. I never run out of cells.

Just curious, where do Carbon-Zinc fit in?

Also, what would be best to use in a 3 D-Cell flashlight since Lithium's don't come in D...
 
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Jeff H

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I"m wondering if he is using eneloops in the BP monitor or regular nimh cells. I do think eneloops can hold a slightly higher voltage for longer after charged than regular non LSD cells can which could be the difference perhaps.
I'm using eneloops in mine. They're fine in everything else; lights, lanterns, remotes, clocks...
 

Jeff H

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Just curious, where do Carbon-Zinc fit in?

Also, what would be best to use in a 3 D-Cell flashlight since Lithium's don't come in D...
If you're asking me, I have no idea about carbon-zinc. haven't seen one in years. Also haven't used a D or C cell in years myself. It's all CR123A, AA, AAA, one 18650 and a diminishing number of coin cells here.

Hopefully, someone else will have a better answer.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Just curious, where do Carbon-Zinc fit in?

Also, what would be best to use in a 3 D-Cell flashlight since Lithium's don't come in D...
CZ or heavy duty batteries are about 1/3 the useful capacity of alkaleaks. It is only under a rather light load
that they are probably closer to half I think. They leak too and it is often more of a mess than alkaleaks are as it tends to be runnier and more acidic I believe. The one minor advantage of CZ batteries is likely they aren't pushed to the limit of capacity thus you may find them leaking less often overall. I only use CZ in throwaway stuff myself.
As for what to use in 3D cells.... fashion an adapter for lithium ion based batteries you only need 1 battery or several wired in parallel perhaps. Personally I just recommend retiring old C/D cell stuff especially incans and spend time working to save up a few bucks and buying a nice 18650 or 21700 light and be done with them. It may be a costly decision in the short run but over time the money saved on alkaleaks plus smaller form factor plus a lot better performance will pay off.
 

idleprocess

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Just curious, where do Carbon-Zinc fit in?
The absolute bottom of the market - even so-called "heavy duty" or "super heavy duty" varieties. I'm surprised that they're still available.
  • Upsides: cheap, lightweight
  • Downsides: low capacity, low current, brief shelf life, subject to destructive corrosion in addition to leaking
In spite of their cheapness I'd be amazed if they're even competitive with alkalines on a dollars per nominal watt-hour basis.
 

Lynx_Arc

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The absolute bottom of the market - even so-called "heavy duty" or "super heavy duty" varieties. I'm surprised that they're still available.
  • Upsides: cheap, lightweight
  • Downsides: low capacity, low current, brief shelf life, subject to destructive corrosion in addition to leaking
In spite of their cheapness I'd be amazed if they're even competitive with alkalines on a dollars per nominal watt-hour basis.
For very low drain devices they are competitive if you get them dirt cheap. I buy them for my cheap HF multi meters as I often forget to turn them off and it is cheaper to kill a HD cell than an alkaleak a they cost about $1 vs about $4 for an alkaleak 9V cell. As much as alkaleaks can be trusted the shelf life of both is about the same.
 

fivemega

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Just curious, where do Carbon-Zinc fit in?
Trash can.

Also, what would be best to use in a 3 D-Cell flashlight since Lithium's don't come in D...
These will let you use any AA battery (including Lithium AA) in D cell flashlights.
You will need 3 of them and 9 batteries for best performance.
 
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Chickensfloat

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View attachment 16644

View attachment 16645
Neither of these old batteries have leaked yet.
They went out of date 80 years ago.

Alkaline batteries leak sometimes. Sometimes tires go flat. Sometimes shoes come untied. Sometimes a toaster burns the toast. If you keep check on each one there are rarely and surprises.
I also have 2 dead double a batterys that came out of mt great grandfathers camera. Never leaked. These are rayovacs, but modern double a ive had leak new, drained, or partly discharged. Some never leak not till i tossed it anyway. Weather a cell is full or not i never leave any in any flashlight unless i use it at least once aweek. I got sick of braking out the white vinigar so i retied all my non lithium lights, and or converted them to a brighter led and 18650s cause i have a ton of reclaimed ones.
 

Chickensfloat

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I
I also have 2 dead double a batterys that came out of mt great grandfathers camera. Never leaked. These are rayovacs, but modern double a ive had leak new, drained, or partly discharged. Some never leak not till i tossed it anyway. Weather a cell is full or not i never leave any in any flashlight unless i use it at least once aweek. I got sick of braking out the white vinigar so i retied all my non lithium lights, and or converted them to a brighter led and 18650s cause i have a ton of reclaimed ones.
Dont think the newer batterys are built aswell as they used to. Tgere was a time a car battery, shocks, even water pump were all rebuildable. Now its all throw away. There was a time a fridge lasted 60 years. Now they last 5 to 10. Flashlights also at one time had replaceable bulbs, thankfully the goods far outweight the bads.
 

snakebite

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nicd and nimh are very unlikely to leak unless abused or poor quality.
i have nimh d cells from 98 that are still good.
but those are panasonic oem for honda.
most nicd or nimh leaks are minor and do little damage.
 

snakebite

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carbon zinc and zinc chloride are only good in very low drain devices.
and if you can get then cheap or free.
dollar tree cheapies do fine in low drain led lights.
and that class of lights is mostly disposable anyway.
in an emergency those may be all you can get.
as for $to wh i have never compared.
best $-wh i have seen is 18650 from free laptop packs.
and those are even less likely to leak than nicd or nimh.
 

xxo

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I have seen several old NiCads leak but the only NiMH I have had leak was a AAA eneloop that vented about a drop of liquid after it was over discharged.
 

abeazar

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I too have had it with Alkaline Batteries - while they may state they last for 10 years, they don't last that long in Flashlights without leaking. I have been able to salvage a few Flashlights after lots of time cleaning them and adding Vaseline to stop future corrosion after leakage.

I now only purchase IKEA NI-MH AA and AAA Batteries. These IKEA batteries sell for $7.99 for a four-pack of AA 2450 mah batteries and $6.99 for a four-pack of AAA 750 mah batteries. The IKEA batteries appear to be rebranded Eneloop Pro for the AA and rebranded Regular for the AAA - the IKEA batteries are produced in the same manufacturing plant located in Japan.

The mah is slightly less for the IKEA brand so I figure they are 2nd's, but for the price, who should really care? Regarding an AA to D Adapter, on Ebay, you can get a three to one unit mentioned above or a Panasonic unit that totally encloses the AA battery - https://www.ebay.com/itm/383926039889. The three to one also work great - you can use from one to three batteries in each unit, while if you place three batteries in one, you may have to use a small screwdriver to pry them out for recharging.

Stick with Ni-MH AA and AAA - stay away from Alkaline and thereby protect your stuff from leaky Alkaline Batteries.
 

TechGuru

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carbon zinc and zinc chloride are only good in very low drain devices.
and if you can get then cheap or free.
dollar tree cheapies do fine in low drain led lights.
and that class of lights is mostly disposable anyway.
in an emergency those may be all you can get.
as for $to wh i have never compared.
best $-wh i have seen is 18650 from free laptop packs.
and those are even less likely to leak than nicd or nimh.

Ya I have two old yellow Rayovac Workhorse 2D flashlights that I converted to LED with some cheap low power single LED's that I use carbon zinc in (mainly for the savings in weight). They can runs days (maybe even weeks).
 

Chickensfloat

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nicd and nimh are very unlikely to leak unless abused or poor quality.
i have nimh d cells from 98 that are still good.
but those are panasonic oem for honda.
most nicd or nimh leaks are minor and do little damage.
Ive only had 2 leak. Both cheapy brand, sat dead , and also were older than the hills. Got em when i was 5 and didnt leak till about 10 years later. Others i had never died or just quite taking a charge
 

UFO

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should rename them duraleaks
Ain't that the truth. Duracell alkaline's leak more than any other brand I've ever used. And I made sure I was buying them from a reputable dealer. I've had those cheap alkaline's that come with a TV remote last longer and never leak.
 

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