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General Gear Discussion The General Gear Discussion forum is for the discussion of traditional and lightweight (ultralight) backpacking gear that is not covered in other Practical Backpacking™ forums. [Please post about Backpacks, Shelters, Sleeping Gear, Backcountry Kitchen (Food, Stoves) in those respective forum areas.]


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  #1  
Old 12-21-2014, 12:28 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Batteries / Battery Removal - Leakage

Do you remove disposable batteries from your devices (headlamp,...) when they are not going to be used for a while?

I do my best to remember to do so, but recently I had some Duracell batteries leak in one of my lights. I don't use this particular light too often, so I forgot to remove the batteries. This reminded me to remove batteries from my other devices that I don't plan to use for a while.

While it's not as bad as the batteries (AA, AAA,...) that I used when I was growing up, I'm still amazed at how fast batteries can leak.

I've found that Energizer Max Alkaline Batteries don't leak when I leave them in devices for prolonged periods of time as do Duracell batteries that I've been buying in bulk packs from a local big box store.

Reality

P.S. See also the thread: Tip to Recall Battery Requirements for Electronic Devices (Headlamp, GPS,...).
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:21 AM
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tonto tonto is offline
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In The Dark

Like you I often forget to remove the batteries when storing a devise long term.
Here's a tip to fix things when they go wrong.
I had a set of AAA's leak in a head lamp a while back.
I was going to throw the lamp out,
But, remembered my high school chemistry.
An Acid will neutralize an Alkali and visa versa.
A Q-tip dipped in white vinegar handily swabs and cleans the contacts
I let the lamp dry out then put in a new set of batteries.
The thing worked like a charm.

Here's another thing I do on the trail to prevent accidental battery drain.
Flip one of the batteries before packing or putting in your pocket.
If the device accidentally turns on it won't kill the batteries.
Just remember to flip the battery back before dark.
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2014, 10:16 AM
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philman philman is offline
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I must admit that I'm horrible about keeping tabs on my batteries when devices go unused for a period. I recently made a decision to standardize on AAA for headlamps and pocket lights for the simple reasons of ease of battery replacement due to my hand tremors and I only wanted to worry about carrying one battery type...If for some reason I'm left with one good battery my pocket light should still function (assuming the bulb hasn't failed). In the process of going through several headlamps after switching pocket lights I just elected to pull the batteries out altogether. A couple of the headlamps go unused for long periods anyway as they are for my wife and/or daughter so I figured it's better to be safe than sorry.

Any thoughts Reality on why the Energizers may be less prone to leakage? I've always just grabbed the standard Duracells. Just curious.

I've read elsewhere that reversing the polarity in some devices will cause the device to fail. Any idea if that's true?
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:40 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonto
Here's a tip to fix things when they go wrong.
Thanks for the tip, tonto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philman
Any thoughts Reality on why the Energizers may be less prone to leakage? I've always just grabbed the standard Duracells. Just curious.

Other than the Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries, I've generally used Duracell. But lately I've switched over to the aforementioned Energizer Max Alkaline Batteries.

From what I understand, the Energizer Max batteries have better seals. Energizer calls it "Power Seal Technology, which now holds power for up to 10 years while in storage..."

They are also the first mercury-free battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philman
I've read elsewhere that reversing the polarity in some devices will cause the device to fail. Any idea if that's true?
Yes, it's true for some devices that do not have built-in reverse-polarity circuitry protection.

Recently, I've purchased electronic devices that had descriptions stating they had this protection.

It's a real thing and worth looking into - and good reason to ensure that batteries are correctly installed.

Reality
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2014, 12:48 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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For true EDC items like my Gerber Tempo flashlights, I leave batteries in them all the time. Of course, the keyring lights are getting used all the time, so I replace batteries long before they are tempted to leak.

For the GPS, headlamp, and Fenix E21 that I reserve for backcountry use, I always remove the batteries at the end of the trip, usually before I start for home. I use Lithium AA or AAA's in these, and so don't bother to refridgerate them. I store them in a ziplock bag I carry in my emergency kit bag and leave them in the bag. That way they are always there when I need them (and always protected from moisture), even if I don't remember to put them back in when I first start a trip.

I, too, have fixed battery operated devices with a baking soda slurry and rinse. If the device is merely corroded some (like the terminals on a car battery can get) I can usually fix it. If the batteries actually leaked or exploded, probably not.
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