It is quite distressing to open up a long unused item to put in new batteries to use it again only to find the battery compartment full of corrosion or battery leakage. Cleaning up the item is sometimes impossible, but always difficult. It is possible to avoid this situation, however. One way to avoid it is to remember to remove batteries before storing a device. Obviously if batteries are not in the device, they cannot leak in it. Another way is to get batteries that are less likely to leak.
What causes leaking?
Batteries contain chemicals that react with each other to provide electrical power. One of the results of that reaction, in alkaline batteries, is hydrogen gas. This happens as the batteries discharge, which can happen slowly on a shelf or more quickly inside a device, because most devices continue drawing tiny amounts of power from the batteries even when theyare turned off. This is obvious in some devices, when they have a small light to note on or off, or that have a display of some sort.
The discharge process can also be sped up by increased heat, such as outdoors in the summer.
This discharge’s hydrogen gas causes the pressure inside the cylinder to increase, and at some point, the seals of most brands of batteries become unable to retain their integrity and the gas and fluids are released through the damaged seals.
The fluid is potassium hydroxide, which can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs if contacted; be careful to rinse well after taking batteries that leaked out of a device.
What causes corrosion?
When the potassium hydroxide hits the air, the carbon dioxide reacts with it and the combination makes potassium carbonate. This is the white powdery substance that we call corrosion on the surface of the battery – usually on the negative end – and in the battery compartment. The reason it is most often seen on the negative end appears to be that the positive end has some venting built in.
The potassium carbonate is similar to rock salt; it is unlikely to cause problems, but it is wise to be careful when handling it to keep from ingesting it or inhaling it.
How do I fix corrosion?
The potassium carbonate can be removed with the help of an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. Add it gently with a cotton swab or a bit of paper towel; try to keep it on the corrosion so it will not negatively affect the other parts of the device. The liquid and the potassium carbonate will cause a fizzing reaction that softens the white powdery substance, allowing it to be removed with a toothbrush or a cloth.Inside a battery compartment, a cotton swab is the best option in most cases.
What batteries resist leaking and corrosion?
Most rechargeable batteries are resistant to leaking and corrosion. Lithium batteries react differently as they discharge, limiting the likelihood of leaking, even after a long time of not being used. However, there are some alkaline batteries that are guaranteed not to leak. These are Energizer brand batteries. The company is so certain that they have prevented leakage that they have a guarantee – if the battery leaks and causes damage to a device within the life of the battery and up to two years after the full life of the battery, the company will replace the device. That is some serious confidence in their product!
The main thing to remember is to remove batteries from any electronic device that is going to be unused for any length of time. This will prevent the problem. However, in case of forgetfulness, having chosen the right batteries will still allow the owners of the devices to have peace of mind.
Do not ever try to recharge alkaline batteries. This is very dangerous and could result in the battery exploding, causing bodily harm.
Do not put batteries in backward in an attempt to store them. Some devices may be damaged by reversing the polarity of the batteries in the battery compartment. It is much safer to remove them completely.
Panasonic K-KJ75MC64ZA eneloop Power Pack 6AA, 4AAA, 4 C Adapters, 4 D Adapters, “Advanced” Individual Battery Charger with USB Port and Plastic Storage Case
These batteries are made to be leak resistant to protect devices from leakage and corrosion. They hold power for up to ten years in storage.
Double-A batteries with the same leak-resistant construction as the above batteries, with the same repair-or-replace guarantee, come 24 in a package to meet all device power needs. These batteries can be stored for up to ten years and still retain power.
This is the longest lasting rechargeable battery – according to the Guinness Book of World Records! This ultimate lithium battery will hold power in storage for up to twenty years, and will work in extreme temperatures – from -40 Fahrenheit to 140!
This handy case of batteries includes a charger with USB port, six AA batteries, 4 AAA batteries, 4 each C and D size spacers to allow the AA batteries to function as Cs and Ds when needed. Automatic shut-off on the charger prevents overcharging. Eneloop batteries are Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) which allows them to be recharged from any level without the notorious “memory effect” that plagues older rechargeables.
Use the power of the sun to refill all types of rechargeable batteries from AAA to D and other sizes, two same-size and same-type batteries at a time. The lid is adjustable to obtain the best angle to receive sunlight. The meter included will show current status from the sun and to the battery.