In a survey of 3,000 watches with dead silver oxide batteries, 40% had
leaked. They contain zinc and lye, which can produce hydrogen, which
can burst seals. High-drain batteries have thinner separators and are
more likely to leak. Energizers are the least likely to leak.
Unbranded cells are the most likely.
Lithium cells won't leak from electrolysis.
I've noticed with the standard carbon batteries, if they are left under
load (as in leaving your flashlight on in the pre-LED days) they will
As to the computer CMOS batters...I have yet to see one leak
(and I work on hundreds of computers each year)
Those batteries are CR3032 Lithium Button Cells. I change them
for my established customers for free as a customer service
action. (Nice guy, huh?)
Maybe they don't leak because they are Lithium?
Come to think of it, I myself was given a broken camera that a guy had
in his pocket when he got in the swiimming pool or hottub on the cruise
boat. He got right out, but the camera didnt' work.
I took it apart and it had white crystals. I guess I thought they came
from the ocean, that the sea-water evaporated and this was sea salt.
But maybe they had something to do with the battery discharging through
the ion-laden water, and mayb it was leakage. But even if it was, I
scraped off the crystals and it looks perfect. No corrosion.
Unfortunately no one sells the battery anymore. So I bought one that's
one size bigger, and I think it's too big. Reassembling the camera has
dropped low on my todo list. I'm also hoping if a year or two goes by,
they'll start making that battery again. (They make the battery itself,
but not with solder tabs.)
Despite JB's warnings, for which I thank him, I'm going to go with the
majority, whom I thank, and feel good. I haven't changed the coin
battery in my setback thermostat for 30 years, and it occurred to me
that it must be dead by now. Actually it might have been dead 10 years
ago, but I didnt' have a fear of it leaking, so I didn't remove it.
The thermostat is hard to get to, so now that I "feel good", I'm not
going to rush.
Other than that camera, I've never seen one leak either, and the camera
cleaned up with no residue. (BTW, many or most digital cameras use a
replaceable maybe rechargeable battery, but still have another little
battery deep inside. I didn't know that until I took this one apart.
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