what is the deal with Akaline leakage?

ragweed

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
711
Location
USA
I have had one Maglight destroyed by alkaline battery leakage. Is there any warning or what to watch for? Is there any way to prevent it? Thanks!
 
Last edited:

madmook

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Messages
149
Location
SoCal
Some will say that alkaline leakage is a matter of WHEN, not IF.

So... I would only resort to using alkalines out of necessity.

Otherwise, rechargeable nimh batteries or lithium primaries are the way to go.
 

Mr Happy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
5,390
Location
Southern California
I have had one Maglight destroyed by alkaline battery leakage. Is there any warning or what to watch for? Is there any way to prevent it? Thanks!
Always put freshly purchased batteries in the light. Replace the batteries as soon as the light becomes dim. Only keep the batteries in the light while you are using it. Always remove batteries from the light before you put it away.
 

tylernt

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
268
Reports of leakage here on CPF seem abnormally high based on my experience. The only alkalines that have leaked on me are dead ones, so as long as you remove or replace them when they start to run down, the danger seems low IMHO. Of course they'll run down all by themselves eventually, so infrequently used devices are more at risk.

Also... if you mix fresh batteries and low ones, the fresh ones will eventually drive the others in reverse which I imagine leads to rapid leakage, so be careful there too.
 

cckw

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
123
I had a mag light ruined by charged Energizers recently. They were far from dead, but had been in the flashlight by my bed for over a year.

I have an unopened 4 pack of Duracell aaa with one leaking.

Seems to be more of this in the last couple of years.
 

Robin24k

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 8, 2009
Messages
2,024
Location
Washington, USA
I wonder if professional grade alkalines would be any better?

I don't know how much help this will be, but I put a rolled up piece of paper inside my D-cell Mags to prevent the batteries from rattling. It's probably better than nothing though.
 

SilverFox

Silver Moderator,
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Messages
12,449
Location
Bellingham WA
Hello Ragweed,

In addition to the above situations that may cause an Alkaline cell to leak, you also have to be aware of storage conditions.

I was advised by Duracell that batteries in lights that are kept in vehicles should be changed out yearly. It seems the temperature changes between summer and winter can cause the cells to leak.

Tom
 

kramer5150

Flashaholic
Joined
Sep 6, 2005
Messages
6,328
Location
Palo Alto, CA
There is no way to tell. They can leak Brand new in the package just as readily as when in service.... either case is with no warning.

Best prevention is avoidance. Eneloops (or rebrand) would be my suggestion.

I had a brand new Kirkland duracell rebrand leak just sitting idle on my keyboard. It was only a week old, it slowly leaked on my keyboard and dissolved the silver paint down to the plastic.

dsc01851g.jpg
 

Turbo DV8

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 5, 2006
Messages
1,464
Location
Silicon Valley
I had a brand new Kirkland duracell rebrand leak just sitting idle on my keyboard. It was only a week old, it slowly leaked on my keyboard and dissolved the silver paint down to the plastic.

Is that the culprit sitting there? If so, I believe Duracell rebrands for Kirkland, not the other way around?
 

SilverFox

Silver Moderator,
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Messages
12,449
Location
Bellingham WA
I just found an old Princeton Tec 2 AA light that I had tucked away. When I opened it up the Duracell batteries were bulging and just starting to leak. The light worked fine, but I thought I should take a look, just in case.

Caught this one "just in time..."

Tom
 

Black Rose

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
4,628
Location
Ottawa, ON, Canada
I have gone years without an alkaline cell leaking, but recently I've had several depleted AA cells in my plastic battery recycling container become crystaline entities (Kirkland & Duracell).

I know depleted cells are more likely to leak, but I've never had depleted cells do this before.

In the past I've kept depleted cells (including ones from the same package that have now leaked) in that container for over a year before accumulating enough to take in for disposal.

All of my cells are stored in a cool location.

Now that I use LSD NiMh cells for everything but clocks, my alkaline cell usage has dropped significantly.

I just checked my remaining supply of alkaline cells for clocks and they are all still OK. Hopefully they will stay that way until I can use them all up.

Oddly enough, a set of Duracell D cells that I found last month with a best used date of January 2002 are doing fine.
I guess being stored near the cold basement floor helped them.
 

WDG

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I've lost two Mags to leaking alkies, plus remotes, clocks and other items. One Maglight was so bad I couldn't get it open with pump pliers.

The "state of the art" in alkalines is why I now run Eneloops in everything I can, including clocks.
 

Sub_Umbra

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
4,748
Location
la bonne vie en Amérique
Poor handling is an unseen cause of leakage in alkalines. If a case (or a pallet) of them is dropped they may leak at a later date. Some time back a CPFer who worked in retail reported a batch of new alkalines leaking in their original sealed packaging on a rack on the sales floor.

While I haven't been stung more than a few times by leakers, I am very careful. I only buy cells from a company that really sells lots of them -- I figure there's a good chance that workers at a specialty supplier will handle them better than a part time kid at a drugstore or a seven-eleven... I buy Procells in AAA, AA, C and D from a specialty house and it has worked out very well for me.

I use secondary cells for nearly everything but still have to slowly rotate through my alky emergency stash. They sit around for about 4-5 years before they are used in rotation. I've been doing this for a long time and I haven't lost any in storage so far.
 
Last edited:

carbine15

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
1,986
Location
Slaughter, WA
I've lost two Mags to leaking alkies, plus remotes, clocks and other items. One Maglight was so bad I couldn't get it open with pump pliers.

The "state of the art" in alkalines is why I now run Eneloops in everything I can, including clocks.

They shouldnt even sell alkalines in Texas.
 

WDG

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Fort Worth, TX
They shouldnt even sell alkalines in Texas.

The curious part was that this particular light wasn't in a vehicle. It was inside next to the bed, so it was in a fairly cell friendly environment, from a temperature/vibration standpoint. Guess I should have checked it more often. :(

I didn't think about contacting the manufacturer for replacement, at the time. Maybe if more folks did that, the manufacturers would devote more R&D to the leakage problem. They probably sell enough now that they don't have to, though. Oh, well. It's Eneloops all around for me, thank you Sanyo!
 

Sub_Umbra

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
4,748
Location
la bonne vie en Amérique
The curious part was that this particular light wasn't in a vehicle. It was inside next to the bed, so it was in a fairly cell friendly environment, from a temperature/vibration standpoint. Guess I should have checked it more often. :( ...
Even though I've had few leakers they have ALL occurred under conditions that would be considered "cell friendly." This is what causes me to suspect improper handling on the part of the shippers, warehousers and retailers in some of these cases. Unseen damage.
 

Mr Happy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
5,390
Location
Southern California
Unseen damage.
Or a reduction in manufacturing standards? Consider that 40 years ago heavy duty cells were manufactured with a thick zinc shell and a simple cardboard wrapper. The zinc was so thick it would maintain cell integrity without any reinforcement. If you take a cell apart today, the zinc shell inside the steel case is thinner than paper...
 

Sub_Umbra

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
4,748
Location
la bonne vie en Amérique
Or a reduction in manufacturing standards? Consider that 40 years ago heavy duty cells were manufactured with a thick zinc shell and a simple cardboard wrapper. The zinc was so thick it would maintain cell integrity without any reinforcement. If you take a cell apart today, the zinc shell inside the steel case is thinner than paper...
I agree fully. As I see it, one problem exacerbates the other. The endless competition between brands to see who may cram the most capacity into their cells has resulted in cells with universally thinner shells and separators rendering them more and more prone to damage from drops and shocks in transit, storage and handling before they even get to the purchaser. I think we're probably pretty much on the same page on this.

This ever increasing fragility is why I'm only buying alkys from specialty houses that have chosen make batteries the major part of their overall sales. My hope is that they are more fussy about how their people hump them around. It's worked for me so far.
 
Last edited:
Top