Battery failure

So, with the forecasted bad weather a-coming, I decided to stage a few things in case the power went out. Grabbed the trusty Streamlight Siege and hit the switch. Fluttering, flickering light. What the heck? Opened it up and found, oddly, wetness/moisture on the bottom of the interior of the light. Apparently one of the batteries had sprung a leak and I caught it way early. As you can see in the image, the lower edge of the battery split open. I’ve had batteries go bad in MagLites and corrode in there, but I’ve never caught a battery issue right as it happened. Interesting. There appears to be no damage to the Siege…just wiped up the moisture and swapped out the batteries. The batteries in question, BTW, were some Duracells that had an expiration date of 2016.

Normally, I am loathe to leave batteries in something for an extended amount of time, but you can’t really leave critical gear un-batteried. The next best thing would be to regularly inspect the device for damage at a scheduled interval. Clearly I need to check on this sort of thing once every couple of months.

It’s a pain in the rear, but part of being prepared means having gear; and having gear means you have to maintain that gear, and that means regular inspections/function tests. I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t caught this, I’d be looking at having to replace this lantern in a month or two after the innards corroded.

19 thoughts on “Battery failure

  1. I don’t know if this does work but I was told years a go that if a battery leaks and even if there is no damage you should wipe the item out with a mix of baking soda and water as there will always be some acid left behind. Looking on the net I’m not the only one to be told this.

  2. I have never had good luck with Duracell. They like to swell and burst. I switched to Energizer years ago. Lithium are better but more expensive. Glad you caught this one early.

  3. I keep most of my battery powered gear sans batteries….But I do have a couple of flashlights ready to go, and the batteries in the freezer. My functioning flashlights let me get the other gear as needed.

    BTW, I am a big fan of the very inexpensive Ray-o-vac LED headlamps, available from Wal-Mart and other places. Small, lightweight, effective, long lived on AAA’s. And if you should lose one, or have it fail, they are inexpensive enough to have three or four around.

    LED lighting has certainly become a paradigm shift in portable lights. I used to keep a dozen (I actually counted once, cleaning out my truck) flashlights in my truck (used for SAR), in the hopes that a couple would actually work when needed. Then came Mag-lights, and later LED’s, and now, a few do the work of many.

  4. I would suggest considering the Eneloop Ni-MH batteries for your “stay in” devices. They don’t leak, hold a charge for quite a while (especially if you are checking them on a schedule), and are rechargeable.

    I keep alkaline around, but have been slowly moving over to the Eneloops.

    They come only in AA and AAA sizes but you can get adapters for C and D sizes.

    • Did exactly this also and have done well so far in the battery dept. LED headlamp is now my main light. Bad thing about that is bad guys know exactly where your head is at.

  5. What if you made the AA Seige your primary light source, install lithium Energizers, and then you don’t have to think about it anymore? Then you could keep the D Seige empty, and install batteries only when needed. Just a thought?

  6. The Tier Two stuff here stays unbatteried until needed. As for the Tier One stuff, it’s a pain in the butt and the wallet, but everything gets new batteries twice a year: Jan 1 and July 1 (guess what I’ll be doing this weekend…). The alkalines are always Energizers. I’ve had too much bad luck with Duracells.

    123A stuff is on the same schedule unless it’s an “active duty” light that’s on a hip all the time, those get fresh batts monthly, sooner if they see a burst of heavy use.

    Energizers are Amazon Subscribe and Save to conserve a few bucks, and 123s come from Surefire because while Amazon is cheaper I’ve gotten almost 4 year old 123s from Amazon, and the ones from Surefire have never been more than 4 months old.

    All this is expensive, but losing a $24 Maglite, not to mention a $40 Seige, to a $1 battery is poor economics.

    • I do the same thing, except only swapping out batteries once a year at the fall equinox.

      I don’t go though that many batteries, so swapping things out isn’t a big deal.

  7. i have trouble with both duracell and energizers. they are made of the same formula, probably in the same chinese factory. i use eneloops now, never a problem. i keep a charger full going at all times. i like the lithiums too and plan on adding them to the stash. most all my stuff is aaa/aa on purpose and i even got the siege in aa.

  8. I lost a Siege to battery leakage and it pissed me off mightily.

    I had to give some thought to convenience of having batteries in place but risk of leakage versus inconvenience of having to put in batteries whenneeded and have the security of leakage not being a concern.

    The solution was to tape three batteries (the Siege uses three) to the handle along with a chemlightstick.

    If the power goes out and I need the siege, I grab it, snap the light stick and that gives me the light to load the Siegeby.

  9. Alkaline cells don’t contain acid because…well, they’re alkaline! To neutralize the electrolyte from an alkaline cell leak use vinegar on a Q-tip. Keep applying until all of the bubbling stops. Then use water on the Q-tips to dilute the remaining vinegar until you can no longer smell it. A hair dryer on low should then be used to dry out the area.

    All battery powered equipment in my BOB is AA and holds Energizer Ultimate Lithium primary (non-rechargeable) cells. They have a 20+ year shelf life, never leak, and are rated to -40 degrees F (it was -20 here last night).

  10. The Duracell alkalines, including the 9v, are junk, and have been for some years now. I suspect that Costco/Kirkland batteries are also made by Duracell, as they have the same puking guts syndrome. They decided to change the chemical composition, instead of raising prices. Dumb move. In some businesses, reputation is everything.

    The bean-counters in businesses are especially stupid, as they care only about cost, and have no idea of value.

  11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Duracells are shit and their so-called warranty is worthless. It took a couple of ruined lights and a couple of insulting denials on warranty claims to bet that fact into my thick skull. “This light is corroded shut and the batteries can not be seen, why do you think it’s one of our batteries? Claim denied.” “You cut this light open to remove the batteries, the damage was caused by you. Claim denied.”

    You might as well just take a hammer and beat your light, radio or whatever into shattered pieces as place a Duracell product inside it.

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