Beware Alkaline Cells

Wurkkos

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
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.
Alkaleaks are a bad investment as when 25% or more of them leak on you before expiration and another 25% of them leak barely a few years after that and another 25% leak after you have had them in a device and forgot about them 10 years later. Most of my leakers lately have measured close or more than 1.5v which means I pretty much lost 95% of the power in them to leaks vs usage.
 

jtr1962

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
6,283
Location
Flushing, NY
With LSD NiMH cells being in existence now for about 15 years, I'm wondering why alkalines are even still being sold. Invariably the ones made today leak. If you're lucky they won't destroy the device they're in when they do, but it's still a hassle cleaning up the mess. They really have no advantages in terms of voltage or current capability over LSD NiMH. The capacity is marginally higher, but only in low-drain applications. And in the long run they cost far more to use.
 

aznsx

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
248
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
I'm using eneloops in mine. They're fine in everything else; lights, lanterns, remotes, clocks...
Just curious - I think you said alkalines aren't allowed in the house, but your BP checker only runs 2 cycles on Eneloops(?). Are you swapping / recharging them after every 2 tests, or perhaps using an AC power supply instead? I have one (Omron) and the specs say:

"! - Use only 4 AA alkaline or manganese batteries with this device. Do not use other types of batteries."

I already tend to adhere strictly to battery recommendations in T&M (test and measurement) equipment specifically, which I consider the Omron to be.
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
With LSD NiMH cells being in existence now for about 15 years, I'm wondering why alkalines are even still being sold. Invariably the ones made today leak. If you're lucky they won't destroy the device they're in when they do, but it's still a hassle cleaning up the mess. They really have no advantages in terms of voltage or current capability over LSD NiMH. The capacity is marginally higher, but only in low-drain applications. And in the long run they cost far more to us
Lack of support for eneloops and quality chargers from the "green" lobby in washington. The battery companies make a fortune selling alkaleaks that is why they quit making chargers that charge single batteries per channel as the 2 batteries per channel a lot more quickly ruin batteries which greatly discourages people from buying them. If they could get by with running cell phones on alkaleaks they would be doing so also.
 

idleprocess

Flashaholic
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
6,124
Location
dfw.tx.us
Lack of support for eneloops and quality chargers from the "green" lobby in washington. The battery companies make a fortune selling alkaleaks that is why they quit making chargers that charge single batteries per channel as the 2 batteries per channel a lot more quickly ruin batteries which greatly discourages people from buying them.
I suspect the shortsighted average consumer plays a role as well.

About a decade ago I was talking to a coworker who was complaining about their electric bill. Swapped all of their incandescent bulbs for CFL, complained about what they cost relative to incandescent and expected to see a huge decrease in their bill. Two major problems:
  1. This was May to June when air conditioning season really kicks into gear
  2. They were on an average billing plan thus would have seen perhaps 1/12th of the difference on the next bill
I think that for a powerful majority of consumers when it comes to low-involvement purchases, whatever assessment of overall cost goes on largely ends at that upfront purchase price.
 

jtr1962

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
6,283
Location
Flushing, NY
Lack of support for eneloops and quality chargers from the "green" lobby in washington. The battery companies make a fortune selling alkaleaks that is why they quit making chargers that charge single batteries per channel as the 2 batteries per channel a lot more quickly ruin batteries which greatly discourages people from buying them. If they could get by with running cell phones on alkaleaks they would be doing so also.
It's been ages since I bought a NiMH/NiCd charger (i.e. I have 4x MH-C9000s, 3x BC-900s, plus a few others but I'm surprised they're still making that 2 battery per channel junk. I'm guessing that's what they bundle with their batteries when you buy a battery/charger combo? Sounds like we need to get the word out what to buy if you want decent quality stuff. The green lobby are the first people who should get behind it.
 

TechGuru

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
108
Location
TEXAS
Lack of support for eneloops and quality chargers from the "green" lobby in washington. The battery companies make a fortune selling alkaleaks that is why they quit making chargers that charge single batteries per channel as the 2 batteries per channel a lot more quickly ruin batteries which greatly discourages people from buying them. If they could get by with running cell phones on alkaleaks they would be doing so also.

It's been ages since I bought a NiMH/NiCd charger (i.e. I have 4x MH-C9000s, 3x BC-900s, plus a few others but I'm surprised they're still making that 2 battery per channel junk. I'm guessing that's what they bundle with their batteries when you buy a battery/charger combo? Sounds like we need to get the word out what to buy if you want decent quality stuff. The green lobby are the first people who should get behind it.

There are plenty of single battery per channel chargers on the market.

 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
I suspect the shortsighted average consumer plays a role as well.

About a decade ago I was talking to a coworker who was complaining about their electric bill. Swapped all of their incandescent bulbs for CFL, complained about what they cost relative to incandescent and expected to see a huge decrease in their bill. Two major problems:
  1. This was May to June when air conditioning season really kicks into gear
  2. They were on an average billing plan thus would have seen perhaps 1/12th of the difference on the next bill
I think that for a powerful majority of consumers when it comes to low-involvement purchases, whatever assessment of overall cost goes on largely ends at that upfront purchase price.
People just don't think, electric dryers, heat pumps, etc. I worked at a place where the woman that owned the business was a tightwad and she decided to buy electric heaters to save on bills in the winter. The problem is we have some of the cheapest natural gas prices here and she essentially switched from natural gas to electric heating. Needless to say her electric bill went up a lot more than her gas bill went down and people were shivering. I had to cut off the fingertips of gloves to type on the keyboard my fingers were so cold. She put away the electric heaters after that for good.
 

jtr1962

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
6,283
Location
Flushing, NY
People just don't think, electric dryers, heat pumps, etc. I worked at a place where the woman that owned the business was a tightwad and she decided to buy electric heaters to save on bills in the winter. The problem is we have some of the cheapest natural gas prices here and she essentially switched from natural gas to electric heating. Needless to say her electric bill went up a lot more than her gas bill went down and people were shivering. I had to cut off the fingertips of gloves to type on the keyboard my fingers were so cold. She put away the electric heaters after that for good.
If you're going to go with electric heating, to me the only feasible way is a heat pump (geothermal is better but costs more) AND couple it with enough solar panels to cover your average use. The same system will double for cooling in the summer, and have greater efficiency than most regular A/C systems. The panels will pay for themselves after a few years. The heating/cooling system might take longer but the point is eventually you'll reach payback. After that you're essentially heating and cooling for free.

The way natural gas/heating oil prices seem to be heading the equation will be more in favor alternatives than in the past. But not straight electric heating.
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
There are plenty of single battery per channel chargers on the market.

Yes, but the majority of alkaleaks being sold are in local stores where there are pretty much none and finding eneloops locally is almost impossible if you want good nimh cells. In other words most of the nimh batteries and chargers are way inferior to what they should be selling.
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
If you're going to go with electric heating, to me the only feasible way is a heat pump (geothermal is better but costs more) AND couple it with enough solar panels to cover your average use. The same system will double for cooling in the summer, and have greater efficiency than most regular A/C systems. The panels will pay for themselves after a few years. The heating/cooling system might take longer but the point is eventually you'll reach payback. After that you're essentially heating and cooling for free.

The way natural gas/heating oil prices seem to be heading the equation will be more in favor alternatives than in the past. But not straight electric heating.
I think the problem we have is too many people don't see the great payback on energy efficient and rechargeable batteries and go with cheap and disposable, it is very easy to pop in fresh alkaleaks than having to deal with a charger and the occasional bad cell. Without an analyzer often most people get a weak/bad nimh cell in the mix that spoils everything. I've had AA nimh cells go so bad that the capacity didn't even make 100mah from originally around 2000mah or so. What would help sell rechargeables is a sort of trade in and battery check service that you can bring in batteries to be tested and the bad ones get replaced for a low price such that lazy people can have decent performance without the hassle.
 

TechGuru

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
108
Location
TEXAS
Yes, but the majority of alkaleaks being sold are in local stores where there are pretty much none and finding eneloops locally is almost impossible if you want good nimh cells. In other words most of the nimh batteries and chargers are way inferior to what they should be selling.

Ya the only NiMh I ever see in major B&M stores are the Energizers and the Energizer charger/battery combos.

The one exception: https://www.batteriesplus.com/battery/rechargeable/aa/nickel-metal-hydride

I sure miss RadioShack...
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,589
Location
dayton oh
i tell anyone shopping for a nimh charger to look only for ones with individual channels.
all my 2/channel chargers went in the yardsale a long time ago.
i suspect this design was intentional to wear out the rechargeables prematurely as owners of devices with odd numbers of cells resorted to putting a charged cell in the load to make it work.
today there is no reason not to use rechargeables.
except laziness?
 

aznsx

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
248
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
i tell anyone shopping for a nimh charger to look only for ones with individual channels.
all my 2/channel chargers went in the yardsale a long time ago.
i suspect this design was intentional to wear out the rechargeables prematurely as owners of devices with odd numbers of cells resorted to putting a charged cell in the load to make it work.
today there is no reason not to use rechargeables.
except laziness?
<<<i tell anyone shopping for a nimh charger to look only for ones with individual channels.>>>
....Yes, which is easy enough even I could do it. Examples are several different Panasonic units with individual slot control such as BQCC17 like the two I've used for years, which are inexpensive and favorably tested / reviewed @lygte. No reason to buy 'junk'.

<<<today there is no reason not to use rechargeables>>>
....aside from perhaps several examples of devices cited here and elsewhere, such as 'Jeff H's blood pressure checker, and others which do not do well with NiMH voltage levels. Those do exist.

<<<i suspect this design was intentional to wear out the rechargeables prematurely>>>
...or, just to be a little anti-conspiracy theorist, perhaps also cost and desire to hit the lowest price point, as price drives sales in some user segments. That's not a good excuse, but may be a reason.
 

fuyume

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
181
In my experience, leakage of alkaline cells is rare, and almost never catastrophic. I've had leaks, yes, but they are extremely infrequent, and a few minutes of cleanup is generally all it takes to recover. I use lithiums in devices where temperature, weight, or battery life outweigh cost concerns. Everything else gets alkalines, and it's almost never a problem.

If alkaline batteries leaked as often as CPF members profess, they would not be the dominant battery technology.
 

fuyume

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
181
I don't see alkalines leaking as much as I used to, but they're terrible for other reasons as well. Hopefully when the patent runs out for lithium iron oxide cells, other companies will start making them and alkalines will get phased out as they are worse than every single way
If there ever was a patent, it is long since expired.
 

fuyume

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
181
Correction: the most recent patent covering Energizer Lithium Iron Disulfide primary cells expires in 13 months, on 2022-11-15.


The original patent expired in 2012:


Futher update: Apparently the latest patent is this one, expiring 2023-11-12:


How much of these subsequent patents are really applicable is something for better engineers than I.

My initial statement was based on the fact that Energizer Lithium primary cells have been on the market for about 30 years, and patents only last 20 years.
 
Last edited:

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
10,833
Location
Tulsa,OK
I wouldn't put it past Energizer to come up with another patent before that expires to again keep anyone else from manufacturing lithium primaries anywhere near as good as them.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
14,955
Location
My own little Idaho
In my experience, leakage of alkaline cells is rare, and almost never catastrophic. I've had leaks, yes, but they are extremely infrequent, and a few minutes of cleanup is generally all it takes to recover. I use lithiums in devices where temperature, weight, or battery life outweigh cost concerns. Everything else gets alkalines, and it's almost never a problem.

If alkaline batteries leaked as often as CPF members profess, they would not be the dominant battery technology.
Well said.
 
Top