Author Topic: Long-term battery storage  (Read 765 times)

jeromedawg

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Long-term battery storage
« on: August 22, 2018, 06:12:26 PM »
Hey all,

Besides the obvious of not removing batteries from their original packaging (which, I'm not even sure if that's the best way to store batteries long-term anyway), how do you guys go about storing your batteries for emergencies etc? I've heard taping at least one terminal end isn't a bad idea (with electrical tape) and storing in a non-metal box? What about preventing corrosion when the batteries are in a device that you may not use every day but would want to have around when needed (like a flashlight in a glovebox etc)? Tape the negative terminal end? What about if it's a flashlight requiring multiple batteries stacked on each other - is it enough to tape the last battery-end or would I want to tape each battery end individually?

Curious to hear what you guys do. It gets frustrating especially when you pull something out where the batteries have corroded the terminals and now the entire thing doesn't even work...

Systems101

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Re: Long-term battery storage
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 08:12:35 PM »
Let's start from the end.  The corrosion is because the battery died, produced hydrogen gas, which ruptured the casing and leaked the internal material (probably potassium carbonate).

To avoid that, you have to avoid having the batteries die.

Batteries die for a few reasons:
  • Discharge because they are in a device (a trickle current drains the batteries)
  • The chemistry degrades and discharges the battery slowly (over the course of 5-10 years depending on the battery type).  Discharge speed increases with temperature
  • The battery is subjected to moisture or high humidity that corrodes the battery casing and causes it to fail (which among other things, rapidly dehydrates the battery)
  • The battery is subjected to very low moisture and it slowly drains the battery of moisture, increasing internal resistance and reducing life

So to store batteries, store them in a moderate humidity and between about 50-70 degrees F.

Given that, some comments:
  • A glovebox gets very hot and will rapidly increase battery discharge.  It's a bad place for batteries
  • A refrigerator or (especially a frost-free) freezer will be low relative humidity and dry out batteries (if you refrigerate or freeze, they should be inside a water proof container, like sealed mylar)
  • It's possible taping the flat terminal with electrical tape would help supplement the plastic seal and slow drying of a battery, but I suspect that is minor
  • Taping a battery inside a device will help since it shuts down the trickle current that will kill the battery.  With multiple batteries, for stopping trickle current, you only need to tape one, as you just need to break the electrical circuit.

Store them in a cool, reasonable humidity location.  That's about the best you can do.

p.s. For a corroded terminal, if the corrosion is just crystal from the battery and not loss of the metal in the terminal, try a Q-tip and vinegar (with gloves).  The crystal the battery leaks is a base and will be dissolved by the vinegar.