Thursday, October 18, 2012
And then I got thinking about all of the other electronic equipment that I own that is powered by one sort of battery or another - cameras, GPS receivers, compasses and headlamps for example. What kind of condition were they in? What started as a need for a light turned into an all-day campaigned to checkout all of my gear. Like a lot of people I suspect, I had fallen out of the habit of removing the batteries from my electronic equipment when I wasn't going to be using it for a while. In the end I ended up damaging three flashlights, one point-and-shoot camera that I hadn't used in a couple of years and a calculator!
Looking into the "leaky battery" syndrome a bit further I found out that it's not a good idea to mix brands of batteries. It doesn't appear that one brand is any less likely to leak than another. Leave them in a flashlight long enough and eventually they all leak. Following that thread a bit further the manufactures recommend not mixing batteries with unknown charges remaining in them. Despite spending several hours rummaging around on the internet I could not find any practical way to clean the battery compartment well enough to completely eliminate the corrosion problem. This is especially true of most flashlights - it is impossible to clean the bulb end of the battery tube.
The moral of the story? TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT OF ANY ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU'RE NOT USING IT.