Corroded Flashlite batteries fix

74man

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Sep 1, 2021
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Nor. Cal.
Just read and article about why flashlight batteries corrode in the metal flashlights ( like Mag Lites), especially the aluminum tube flashlights (MAG LITE) and how to fix the situation. The fix is to take a piece of unlined white, like typing paper and make a tube the length of the battery compartment. I checked my flashlights (MAG LITE) and they all had some amount of corrosion inside the compartment. I have some big around wire brushes which I used in my Battery Drill and broke the corrosion off the aluminum cases (MAG LITE). I then covered the batteries with white typing paper which is supposed to be a barrier against corrosion. The author went back in time when the Ray o Vac metal flashlights came out and they all had a paper tube, inside the battery compartmen,t which got him to thinking, it was a fix for the corrosion. He said that he did this fix to all his metal cased flashlights (Mostly Mag Lites) three years ago and yes he had some with dead batteries but the cases weren't corroded. I just did all my metal flashlights (MAG LITES) about 10 each, and even some of my plastic cased flashlights, We shall see if this fix stops the batteries from corroding in the case. Made sense to me. Hope it works cause a flashlight (especially MAG LITES) that costs $30-$40 dollars should last a lifetime, I even have a 3 cell Ray O Vac flashlight with the paper tube inside and there is not any corrosion inside and this light is about 50 years old. My brother gave me one of his 4 cell (MAG LITE) with corroded batteries and they were a bugger to remove, cleaned up the corrosion on the aluminum and they work fine, did the paper fix to that one also, we shall see. Cleaned the corrosion area with baking soda and then coated the inside with anti corrosion agent!! SOUNDS RIGHT TO ME.
 
The batteries generally leak only after they go dead if they are decent quality, so regular checks of the light and battery replacement as needed is another good preventive. Always replace all the batteries in a flashlight together as a set. Also, rechargeable batteries tend not to leak, so that's another option although rechargeable D cells can be a bit expensive.
 
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The normal build-up of gases inside the battery seeping out through the battery's vents over time can cause alkalines to leak corrosive potassium hydroxide from the battery. Nothing you do other than replace them regularly will stop that process. The better the alkaline battery the less likely to leak while they vent. If you don't use a flashlight often enough to notice that the light is getting weak (the batteries discharging), then a preventive maintenance schedule replacing batteries will help you remember to replace batteries. The other thing that helps, switch away from alkaline batteries. None of these other home preventative measures matter since venting and discharge are just part of time with these batteries.
 
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Just read and article about why flashlight batteries corrode in the metal flashlights ( like Mag Lites), especially the aluminum tube flashlights (MAG LITE) and how to fix the situation. The fix is to take a piece of unlined white, like typing paper and make a tube the length of the battery compartment. I checked my flashlights (MAG LITE) and they all had some amount of corrosion inside the compartment. I have some big around wire brushes which I used in my Battery Drill and broke the corrosion off the aluminum cases (MAG LITE). I then covered the batteries with white typing paper which is supposed to be a barrier against corrosion. The author went back in time when the Ray o Vac metal flashlights came out and they all had a paper tube, inside the battery compartmen,t which got him to thinking, it was a fix for the corrosion. He said that he did this fix to all his metal cased flashlights (Mostly Mag Lites) three years ago and yes he had some with dead batteries but the cases weren't corroded. I just did all my metal flashlights (MAG LITES) about 10 each, and even some of my plastic cased flashlights, We shall see if this fix stops the batteries from corroding in the case. Made sense to me. Hope it works cause a flashlight (especially MAG LITES) that costs $30-$40 dollars should last a lifetime, I even have a 3 cell Ray O Vac flashlight with the paper tube inside and there is not any corrosion inside and this light is about 50 years old. My brother gave me one of his 4 cell (MAG LITE) with corroded batteries and they were a bugger to remove, cleaned up the corrosion on the aluminum and they work fine, did the paper fix to that one also, we shall see. Cleaned the corrosion area with baking soda and then coated the inside with anti corrosion agent!! SOUNDS RIGHT TO ME.
Thanks for sharing. I think the paper would at least aid on extraction of the old batteries if they did leak. Thanks for sharing.
 
I switched to Energizer Ultimate Lithiums in all my flashlights and electronics (GPS, radios) that might sit for a period of time between uses. They never leak, they are lighter weight, hold charge longer, work better in extreme cold and they simply last longer in use. Well worth the $ IMHO
 
Is anyone here old enough to remember the "RAY-O-VAC" metal flashlights and the cardboard tube they has inside for the batteries? The tube was similar to the cardboard tube used in the paper towels. They didn't corrode cause the sleeve caught the leaking battery acid, this is before they had the ALKALINE OR LITHIUM BATTERIES, all they had was just the lead acid batteries. I was born in the 1940's and I remember them!!!
 
Is anyone here old enough to remember the "RAY-O-VAC" metal flashlights and the cardboard tube they has inside for the batteries? The tube was similar to the cardboard tube used in the paper towels. They didn't corrode cause the sleeve caught the leaking battery acid, this is before they had the ALKALINE OR LITHIUM BATTERIES, all they had was just the lead acid batteries. I was born in the 1940's and I remember them!!!
Is that what that tube was for? My grandmother always told me it was to hold the batteries in place so they don't dance around.
 
Sadly, as I was doing my annual PM battery checks, the name-brand alkaline battery in one of my single AAA Maglites had leaked so badly that it ate up the base cap significantly, but worse had swollen up so much that I couldn't get the battery out at all without warping the case body. :(
 
I learned the universal hard lesson about batteries in the 50s when I experienced some that had "gooped" in toys.

Seems that it was about in the 80s(late 70s?), with the advent of the Alkalines in volume perhaps, when I stopped running into the batteries gooping problem ...ever ... un-til several years ago when I experienced a disappointing series of such issues with Duracells. <sigh>

So ... I have found myself back on battery-condition-monitoring-patrol and, other than NiMH & Li-ion rechargeables, using only Eveready Alkalines.

At least the Evereadys haven't damaged any of my equipment ... yet. ;)

I do vaguely recall some of Dad's flashlights in the 50s sported the cardboard tubes. I'll have to give that a try in my mostly-MagLite metal flashlights. JIC.
 
Many flashlights here went circular file because of this. The lithium cells and NiMH batteries that are used now have eliminated that concern. I have some alkalies that dad had accumulated so I install those into devices that will be used immediately and remove them following use. Also glad that some manufacturers make their illuminating devices with a plastic composite. Leaking batteries are easier to clean if there is an issue. Except the springs that contact the battery terminals.
 
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