|OddMix ELECTRONICS - BATTERIES|
Improperly Designed Battery Packages Partially Discharged Cells
|Picture 1. Red oxide spots on battery|
Initial reaction to the first "dead on arrival" was that it had to be a factory produced reject which somehow evaded all the careful quality controls. Commodities such as transistors or batteries witch are produced in massive amounts are seldom tested individually. Instead quality assurance is done by statistical sampling.
The factory reject idea was short lived, and unhapiness increased as one after another of the overadvertised, overpriced technological masterpieces were found unserviceable. Many of them had less life left in them, then the ones they were supposed to replace. The batteries weight was reasonable uniform, and similar to the old depleated units. This and that they were still sealed suggested that partial or complete electrolyte loss was out of the question. Also supportive of that idea was the fact that alkaline batteries (especially larger cells) do not usually dry out.
|Picture 2. Oxide spots on new batteries|
Unfortunately, the plastic wrapper forced the paper to stay in touch with both sides of the battery terminals. Under those conditions, all it reqired is some time to discharges the batteries. Although clear plastics was used, the conduction marks were completely invisible from the outside, as the battery terminals were blocking the contact points from view.
|Picture 3. Conduction marks|
It appears to be wise to stay away from similarly packaged batteries. Smaller cells pack lot less Ampere hours then larger ones. Therefore, they deplete lot faster under similar storage conditions. It is advisable to remove batteries from their packaging materials as soon after purchase as practical. It is a good idea to store them in the refrigerator, but without wrapping because of the moisture condensation that will occur. Always store them with one terminal free and clear of any objects.
|Picture 4. Conduction marks on cardboard|
Pictures 3. and 4. shows conduction marks on both the packaging materials and on the cell terminals. On cells out of a fresh package there should be absolutely no marks like those whatsoever. If a similarly rusted cell is discovered, and it still have some charge left, clean the terminals from all of the rust before putting them to use. Otherwise the rust will interfere with the flow of the current and the cells would appear worst then they actually are.
Do NOT try to recharge alkaline batteries. Since they are sealed, gas pressure buildup would ruin the experiment. If the charge current is large they can explode. Once the electrolyte is forced out by the increased internal pressure, it will corrode whatever it comes into contact. If a leaky cell is discovered and the electrolyte comes into contact with skin, wash it off at once! The alkaline electrolyte is capable to dissolve the skin, and it can severely damage the eyes if it comes in contact with them. Wear eye protection when working on batteries, and wash all affected areas promptly and thoroughly.