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Duracell Battery warning

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by xevious, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    I may get some flack from Duracell fan boys, but frankly I can't understand why they'd be in the first place.

    I'm writing this to convey my dreadful experience with Duracell batteries over the last 10 years. So back about 10 years ago, I'd run into a problem with a flashlight that stopped working, an AA sized Maglite. When I went to open it, the batteries wouldn't come out. Why? Well... they'd leaked and corroded the inner wall of the flashlight. I tried all kinds of techniques to coax the old cells out, but they wouldn't budge. In my frustration, I used a sledge hammer to crush the damned thing. And when I looked at the debris, I saw "DURACELL". OK. Batteries can leak on occasion. I'll let it pass.

    In the years to follow, I'd find a remote control here, a radio there, and a few other flashlights that would suffer some damage from battery leakage. Time after time it was one brand guilty of the crime: DURACELL.

    Just a couple of years ago, after having a rash of battery leaks in a couple of devices at once, I decided to take photos and contact Duracell about this problem. After a week or so, I finally got a response. "We're sorry for your trouble. We've never ever had a complaint like this. We'll mail you a few coupons for your trouble." No complaints? That prompted me to search the Internet. Sure enough I found Amazon. Guess what? LEAKAGE REPORTS! Plenty of other people complaining about the same problem.

    Well, I thought maybe DURACELL might have just had a bad decade, but I'd thought that I'd make the effort to remove all of their batteries from my devices and swore never to buy the brand again. BUT... DURACELL got its last laugh on me. Sure enough, I didn't realize I'd used a DURACELL battery in a small electronic prop for Halloween the year before last. I opened it up and... leakage! The date on the battery? 2016!

    Screw Duracell and their substandard batteries. I will never ever buy them ever again. And I strongly recommend everyone here do the same. Do not torture your flashlights with the risk of death by battery leakage. Stay away from DURACELL. They ought to rename themselves LEAKACELL.

    FOOTNOTE: While encountering this rash of DURACELL battery leakages, I was also employing Energizer batteries in various devices as well, sometimes intermixed with a DURACELL battery. I only had ONE Energizer have a problem where I saw a bulge indicative of an impending leak. So, it wasn't just a blanket claim of "all alkaline cells will leak"... it was a certain brand exhibiting it far more often than a competitor brand. Note that I also use NiMH, Lithium Ion and LiPo batteries in most of my flashlights, at least the ones that support them. It's not advisable to use them in flashlights that will be potentially exposed to great heat, like ones you tuck away in the trunk of your car.
     
    Last edited by xevious, Jan 23, 2018
    #1 xevious, Jan 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  2. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    In my experience ALL alkaline batteries can leak especially in flashlights. To avoid the leaks I use eneloops(NiMH) and Energizer L91 lithiums in my flashlights. I have used various brands of alkalines over the years including the three big names,Energizer,Rayovac and Duracell and ran into leaking issues with every one.
     
  3. choombak

    choombak Loaded Pockets

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    I can attest to a similar experience. While all alkaline batteries can leak, Duracell is twice as likely to leak -- all my TV remote controls leaked with a few weeks of no use, haven't had any other battery brand crap on me like this.

    One possibility is they are present everywhere so we see more of them fail? Maybe. Maybe not. But no longer I trust Duracell.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    While I tend to use rechargeable cells more than standard alkaline cells, I do count on disposables for certain purposes. My other standard alkaline cell brand is Energizer. I had ONE leak on me, out of perhaps 30 batteries. So the ration I'm seeing is quite worse! And it was a small amount of white discharge that wasn't hard to clean up. The DURACELL batteries tend to leak a pasty, thick liquid accompanied by green and white powder.
     
  5. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    Most of the leaks I've run into were in REMOTE CONTROL devices. And the benchmark was for many, many years I'd have NO leakage whatsoever. It wasn't until about the last 10 years I started to see leakage and not just occasionally. It seemed almost a given that DURACELL batteries were acting as leakage time bombs. Guaranteed to leak, but you just don't know when.
     
  6. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    Leaking in remotes does sound like an issue usually low draw devices don't have frequent leak issues. I have been using Duracells in remotes without a problem for a while now (knock on wood). I wonder if the batteries at times are manufactured at different facilities or in a different country with a lower quality? In your case I would quit using them as well since they are leaking so much. Still I have read this same type of argument against Energizer alkalines in the past so I wonder what battery brand we can really trust in the end.
     
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  7. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    Exactly. A battery cell in a remote control shouldn't leak. I must add that not all Duracell batteries I've had leaked before running out. I had a medley of remotes for a variety of stereo equipment where I'd forgotten there were batteries inside. I did find a few with Duracells where leakage hadn't started (in a couple of cases I did notice a slight bulging at the bottom end). So it's not a guarantee. But if I look at percentages? Much higher than I'd ever encountered with other brands.

    YMMV. This is just a warning/caution. If you are confident to keep using the ones you have, fine. But I strongly recommend going with another brand next time. It's not like Duracell batteries show any notable performance improvements. I find Energizers just as long lasting... and they cost just a touch cheaper.

    Otherwise, try writing to Duracell and see how they respond. I'll bet you anything they make that same "What, our batteries leak?" response and say this is the first they've heard of it.
     
  8. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I Service/Install A/V and Electronics of all kinds and I go through a lot of batteries and I don't think Duracell are any more prone to leaking than others.

    I pretty much just buy Duracell & Energizer depending on which distributor I am nearest to is stocking and I try to keep a few cases of each size on the truck at all times as I can need a lot at any time.

    What I have determined though is that the Duracell seem to me to sit in storage longer and last longer than Energizer in AA&AAA sizes.

    Just my experience being a pretty heavy user.

    I also use Alkaline in my flash lights in those sizes that I EDC and I have had ZERO Leaking issues as long as I go through them pretty quickly.
    I might use 4 or more AA Alkalines in a day in a single light and used like this they have not leaked on me yet.
     
  9. Darth_Firebolt

    Darth_Firebolt Loaded Pockets

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    it's not a duracell problem, it's an alkaline problem. solution; stop buying alkaline batteries.
     
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  10. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    If it were generalized like that, I'd be finding Energizers leaking as much in the same applications. I don't. Granted, it's not a scientific account, but I'm being honest and have switched to Energizers since this debacle started to unfold. No leaks!
     
  11. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    As has been said, all alkalines leak. When and how often may vary by manufacturer, but in my experience usage has more to do with it. From some discussion on other forums (just anecdotal evidence, in other words), the worst case may be in devices that get SOME use, but then sit for a long period of time afterwards.

    Here is one of those usage cases where one might never encounter a leak... You go through them so quickly they never have a chance.

    Sounds like EZDog may be installing them in OTHER people's devices (who may not know about rechargeables or have the proper charger), but if you're going through that many primaries on your own, why not switch to NiMH?* It would be significantly cheaper in the long run.

    That said, I only ever use NiMH or lithium anymore. Depends mainly on how much use the device sees versus how long it sits.

    * - certain devices require 1.5V, not the 1.2V of NiMH. Certain pagers (remember those) were notorious for failing if one used rechargeables in them.
     
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  12. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    I've had cells from all sorts of manufacturers either leak (meaning liquid/gel) or emit a powder. Knowing how these things are manufactured (I started life out manufacturing electrolytic capacitors; in terms of physical design a 'kissing cousin' to cells!), and having had clients who ran battery manufacturing facilities, I reckon for the most part the leak is liquid which then can appear to be a gel or dries.

    Regardless. The point is leaks do occur. I'd blame almost equally the inherent technology design AND the manufacturing facility.

    For myself, I check my lights and my various 'stashes' of cells a couple of times a year. Knock wood, even lights and cells stored in the car trunk have so far been holding up real well. Which is where I'd expect trouble, just from temperature extremes.

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
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  13. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    I agree, they should stop making them, really old technology now.
     
  14. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    You think they should stop making Leakers all together?

    Then what?
     
  15. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    While I would agree that ALL alkaline cells have the capability of leaking, it doesn't mean every alkaline cell across every manufacturer has an equal potential. My anecdotal evidence is that under very similar circumstances, DURACELL batteries will tend to leak (either liquid or powder discharge) more often than Energizer batteries. I haven't tested other brands.

    I don't think they should stop making them, as the cost of an alkaline battery is much cheaper than a lithium or NiMH battery. There are valid use cases for disposable batteries. It's just that they should be manufactured with quality materials and processes to help keep the potential for leakage to a bare minimum.
     
    Last edited by xevious, Jan 23, 2018
    #15 xevious, Jan 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  16. Fusilier

    Fusilier Loaded Pockets

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    Energizers, at least some of them, are now guaranteed not to leak. Personally I’m in the process of switching everything I use over to eneloop rechargeables and lithium batteries, depending on the application. I’m tired of cleaning out leaked in compartments.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    #16 Fusilier, Jan 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
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  17. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    I've had a couple of aaa Duracells vent inside my lumitop light recently, I wondered why the soft touch tail switch were rock solid, the pop it made when I unscrewed it surprised me.

    I'd like to only buy lithium ones but they are too expensive.
     
  18. Fusilier

    Fusilier Loaded Pockets

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    Yep Lithiums are expensive but

    A I don't want to screw around with a light when I really need it, and

    B Good batteries are cheaper than replacing good equipment.

    And most of my stuff is now using rechargeables. Things like remote controls, kids' game controllers, etc.
     
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  19. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    That "guarantee" has been around for a long while and may be on its way out. If you read carefully, it only applies to flashlights. The reasoning on their part is that flashlights from the hardware store are typically just a few bucks. You could be using their batteries in some really expensive piece of electronics, they're not going to cover that.

    The reason I say that guarantee may be doomed is that, several years ago, I had some alkalines leak in one of my Fenix lights (don't recall if they were eveready or mallory). It was a flashlight, and the batteries did leak, and the light was now broke because of the leaky batteries, so I gave them a call.

    Guy I spoke to was really nice, he apologized for the damaged light and asked me how much it would cost to replace. So, while on the phone, I searched the web and found that particular light was still be sold and looked for the best price with shipping included. I told the guy "Looks like it would cost $47 to replace." I think I heard the sound of someone falling backwards in their chair. He eventually said "Wow, that's an expensive flashlight.", but I got a check in the mail for that amount with a bunch of coupons to use for future battery purchases. No questions asked (aside from asking for the date code off the batteries), didn't even ask that I send in the light or the batteries.

    Epilogue: I should mention that this was the point where I switched to only NiMH or lithium batteries. Of all the battery-powered devices I have, both at home and at work, I have only one device with an alkaline battery in it, and that would be the CO monitor in the basement at home. The instructions stated specifically to only use alkaline, no rechargeables, no lithium (voltage difference). I plan on replacing that monitor with a line-powered version in the near future.
     
    Last edited by Blackheart, Jan 24, 2018
    #19 Blackheart, Jan 24, 2018
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  20. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    @Blackheart: regarding line powered fire or CO monitors. For some reason I have it in my head that some building codes explicitly do not allow for these? Concern of course being if power is out then you are left without alarms. If you think about it, during a power outage folks may turn to alternative light/heat sources, some of which are burning fuel in one fashion or another and hence 'could' increase risk of fire and/or CO presence especially at night when people are sleeping... I only suggest you double check your local codes!

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David