Small batteries for long term storage

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  • Sirex

    Powered by natural gas
    Oct 30, 2010
    9,134
    Westminster, MD
    So, back when I worked at Xerox, we could order supplies, like gloves, towels, cleaners, etc., to be shipped to us for our carstock. When I saw the writing on the wall, as many of us did, I ordered batteries, AA batteries to be specific. Energizer Lithium AA batteries, from 2002, expiration date of 2013. I just found a stash of them in a basement storage room, still sealed and decided to test them. Every single one still at 1.7v. They are also very light weight. I just bought a EoTech 512, the one that takes AA batteries, and am buying some new AA Energizer Lithium batteries for it. I just figured if anyone was interested in long term battery storage for small items, they seem to keep their charge a long time. I haven't done a drain test, but plan to hopefully soon with my son's R/C cars.
     

    willtill

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    May 15, 2007
    18,848
    Is refrigerating dry cell batteries for longer shelf life still a thing?
     

    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,805
    I believe that was debunked at some time.
    Nope. The cooler they are, the longer they’ll last. But you do NOT want to freeze them. Ideal storage temperature is around 40F.

    You are talking typically a doubling per 10C temp difference. Also same with storing too warm.
     

    2AUSA

    Disinformation Governor
    Oct 17, 2020
    2,499
    под скалой
    So, back when I worked at Xerox, we could order supplies, like gloves, towels, cleaners, etc., to be shipped to us for our carstock. When I saw the writing on the wall, as many of us did, I ordered batteries, AA batteries to be specific. Energizer Lithium AA batteries, from 2002, expiration date of 2013. I just found a stash of them in a basement storage room, still sealed and decided to test them. Every single one still at 1.7v. They are also very light weight. I just bought a EoTech 512, the one that takes AA batteries, and am buying some new AA Energizer Lithium batteries for it. I just figured if anyone was interested in long term battery storage for small items, they seem to keep their charge a long time. I haven't done a drain test, but plan to hopefully soon with my son's R/C cars.
    I'd stick with lithium batteries for critical applications and forgo alkaline that would leak if unused for a while. And definitely not rechargeable.

    Looks like it's the same with the newer 512s as the first gen.
    The battery checking function, which is based on the characteristics of alkaline
    batteries, does not operate properly when Lithium AA batteries are used in the
    model 512 and may not indicate a low battery condition until very little battery
    life is left.

     
    Last edited:

    CZ Peasy

    Member
    Jun 29, 2012
    131
    Eneloop NiMH rechargeable batteries hold their charge while sitting on the shelf, have a decent capacity, and won't leak like alkaline batteries. Not that expensive either. I have Eneloop batteries more than 10 years old that still work fine. They rarely go bad. For non-critical functions they are perfect.
     

    2AUSA

    Disinformation Governor
    Oct 17, 2020
    2,499
    под скалой
    Eneloop NiMH rechargeable batteries hold their charge while sitting on the shelf, have a decent capacity, and won't leak like alkaline batteries. Not that expensive either. I have Eneloop batteries more than 10 years old that still work fine. They rarely go bad. For non-critical functions they are perfect.
    I have different kinds of them and on the fence for certain applications. I have AA/AAA alkaline in remotes that last for maybe years but the NiMH seem to want to get charged probably quarterly. These are the crap OEM ones that come with the gear too. Could be that the dumb devices aren't programmed to read NiMH voltages properly and expect alkaline. I wait until someone yells that the remote doesn't work anymore before swapping and recharging. So much work.
     

    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,805
    I have different kinds of them and on the fence for certain applications. I have AA/AAA alkaline in remotes that last for maybe years but the NiMH seem to want to get charged probably quarterly. These are the crap OEM ones that come with the gear too. Could be that the dumb devices aren't programmed to read NiMH voltages properly and expect alkaline. I wait until someone yells that the remote doesn't work anymore before swapping and recharging. So much work.
    But are they low self discharge NiMH? Regular NiMH lose around 7% per month of charge. LSD NiMH lose in the range of 2-3% per month, depending on the exact chemistry. Even LSD are not good for very low discharge currents. And yes, a lot of it is just bad circuit design intended only for 1.5V and typically they'll shut off if they drop down to around 1.2V.

    An Alkaline battery has a relatively linear discharge from just over 1.5v when completely full down to around 1v when they are effectively totally dead. NiMH on the other hand are roughly 1.42v when fully charged, but dip to about 1.25v within the first 10% of discharge, but then hold that ~1.3-1.2v level until they dip to about 10% left and then they'll drop further and further. That is why they are listed as 1.2v nominal, because for like 80% of their discharge, they hold about 1.2v (actually it's a little more than 1.2v average, but are battery manufacturers really going to say 1.29-1.19v? Heck, Alkaline are not 1.5v average. The average over their discharge ability is about 1.2v also, but they start higher)

    So anyway, depending on the exact voltage tolerance depends on when they kick it. I have remotes that will tolerate down to about 1.15v and NiMH in it will last a couple of years. I have another one that is 1.25v and NiMH last 2-3 months before dying, even though they have like 80+% of their life left. My old thermostats that I just ditched could handle down to 1.25v on the AAA NiMH batteries in them before the low voltage warning would come on, and then they would power down at about 1.20v each. So I could get about 6 months per charge, even though the batteries had roughly 50-60% of their actual charge left. Alkaline would last around 18 months in the thermostats.

    Nickle-Zinc batteries are pretty interesting replacement options, but really only work well in high drain applications as they are pretty high self discharge. And the circuit has to be high voltage TOLERANT. They are 1.92v per cell full charged, but quickly discharge down to 1.6v and stay there until they are almost dry, and then they'll plummet down to 1.1v when they are considered exhausted (do not discharge below!). But they self-discharge about 10% a month, the number of charge cycles can be problematic and brand-new cell failure rates are high. I just picked up a set to try in my deer corn feeder. NiMH don't seem to work all that well in it, and the extra voltage can be a perk if it doesn't fry it (and they have VERY low internal resistance, so they can pump out extremely high power, which Alkaline cannot do, and NiMH can do, but only at relatively low voltage, so the circuit has to be designed for that low voltage to take advantage of it). Even at 1.6v average, that means about 15% high motor power if the voltage is not internally regulated. So it should throw corn a little further. And it should operate down to very little energy left in the batteries. I probably still want to swap them out every month or two to make sure they don't discharge too far and damage them (apparently only a few cycles of cell life if they discharge 100%, potentially a few hundred if you don't let is discharge too far). Also dirt cheap materials. Though right now, the tiny number of manufacturers they are slightly more than NiMH, but a lot cheaper than AA Lithium rechargeables.
     

    FakeID

    Junior Member
    Aug 5, 2022
    68
    AACo Maryland
    But are they low self discharge NiMH? Regular NiMH lose around 7% per month of charge. LSD NiMH lose in the range of 2-3% per month, depending on the exact chemistry. Even LSD are not good for very low discharge currents. And yes, a lot of it is just bad circuit design intended only for 1.5V and typically they'll shut off if they drop down to around 1.2V.

    An Alkaline battery has a relatively linear discharge from just over 1.5v when completely full down to around 1v when they are effectively totally dead. NiMH on the other hand are roughly 1.42v when fully charged, but dip to about 1.25v within the first 10% of discharge, but then hold that ~1.3-1.2v level until they dip to about 10% left and then they'll drop further and further. That is why they are listed as 1.2v nominal, because for like 80% of their discharge, they hold about 1.2v (actually it's a little more than 1.2v average, but are battery manufacturers really going to say 1.29-1.19v? Heck, Alkaline are not 1.5v average. The average over their discharge ability is about 1.2v also, but they start higher)

    So anyway, depending on the exact voltage tolerance depends on when they kick it. I have remotes that will tolerate down to about 1.15v and NiMH in it will last a couple of years. I have another one that is 1.25v and NiMH last 2-3 months before dying, even though they have like 80+% of their life left. My old thermostats that I just ditched could handle down to 1.25v on the AAA NiMH batteries in them before the low voltage warning would come on, and then they would power down at about 1.20v each. So I could get about 6 months per charge, even though the batteries had roughly 50-60% of their actual charge left. Alkaline would last around 18 months in the thermostats.

    Nickle-Zinc batteries are pretty interesting replacement options, but really only work well in high drain applications as they are pretty high self discharge. And the circuit has to be high voltage TOLERANT. They are 1.92v per cell full charged, but quickly discharge down to 1.6v and stay there until they are almost dry, and then they'll plummet down to 1.1v when they are considered exhausted (do not discharge below!). But they self-discharge about 10% a month, the number of charge cycles can be problematic and brand-new cell failure rates are high. I just picked up a set to try in my deer corn feeder. NiMH don't seem to work all that well in it, and the extra voltage can be a perk if it doesn't fry it (and they have VERY low internal resistance, so they can pump out extremely high power, which Alkaline cannot do, and NiMH can do, but only at relatively low voltage, so the circuit has to be designed for that low voltage to take advantage of it). Even at 1.6v average, that means about 15% high motor power if the voltage is not internally regulated. So it should throw corn a little further. And it should operate down to very little energy left in the batteries. I probably still want to swap them out every month or two to make sure they don't discharge too far and damage them (apparently only a few cycles of cell life if they discharge 100%, potentially a few hundred if you don't let is discharge too far). Also dirt cheap materials. Though right now, the tiny number of manufacturers they are slightly more than NiMH, but a lot cheaper than AA Lithium rechargeables.
    awesome post and food for thought on how/which batteries i use all over my home and shop. thanks
     

    2AUSA

    Disinformation Governor
    Oct 17, 2020
    2,499
    под скалой
    But are they low self discharge NiMH? Regular NiMH lose around 7% per month of charge. LSD NiMH lose in the range of 2-3% per month, depending on the exact chemistry. Even LSD are not good for very low discharge currents. And yes, a lot of it is just bad circuit design intended only for 1.5V and typically they'll shut off if they drop down to around 1.2V.

    An Alkaline battery has a relatively linear discharge from just over 1.5v when completely full down to around 1v when they are effectively totally dead. NiMH on the other hand are roughly 1.42v when fully charged, but dip to about 1.25v within the first 10% of discharge, but then hold that ~1.3-1.2v level until they dip to about 10% left and then they'll drop further and further. That is why they are listed as 1.2v nominal, because for like 80% of their discharge, they hold about 1.2v (actually it's a little more than 1.2v average, but are battery manufacturers really going to say 1.29-1.19v? Heck, Alkaline are not 1.5v average. The average over their discharge ability is about 1.2v also, but they start higher)

    So anyway, depending on the exact voltage tolerance depends on when they kick it. I have remotes that will tolerate down to about 1.15v and NiMH in it will last a couple of years. I have another one that is 1.25v and NiMH last 2-3 months before dying, even though they have like 80+% of their life left. My old thermostats that I just ditched could handle down to 1.25v on the AAA NiMH batteries in them before the low voltage warning would come on, and then they would power down at about 1.20v each. So I could get about 6 months per charge, even though the batteries had roughly 50-60% of their actual charge left. Alkaline would last around 18 months in the thermostats.

    Nickle-Zinc batteries are pretty interesting replacement options, but really only work well in high drain applications as they are pretty high self discharge. And the circuit has to be high voltage TOLERANT. They are 1.92v per cell full charged, but quickly discharge down to 1.6v and stay there until they are almost dry, and then they'll plummet down to 1.1v when they are considered exhausted (do not discharge below!). But they self-discharge about 10% a month, the number of charge cycles can be problematic and brand-new cell failure rates are high. I just picked up a set to try in my deer corn feeder. NiMH don't seem to work all that well in it, and the extra voltage can be a perk if it doesn't fry it (and they have VERY low internal resistance, so they can pump out extremely high power, which Alkaline cannot do, and NiMH can do, but only at relatively low voltage, so the circuit has to be designed for that low voltage to take advantage of it). Even at 1.6v average, that means about 15% high motor power if the voltage is not internally regulated. So it should throw corn a little further. And it should operate down to very little energy left in the batteries. I probably still want to swap them out every month or two to make sure they don't discharge too far and damage them (apparently only a few cycles of cell life if they discharge 100%, potentially a few hundred if you don't let is discharge too far). Also dirt cheap materials. Though right now, the tiny number of manufacturers they are slightly more than NiMH, but a lot cheaper than AA Lithium rechargeables.
    Rather lengthy details there...I use LSD and regular NiMH depending on the application.
     

    kstone803

    Official Meat Getter
    Feb 25, 2009
    3,791
    Ltown in the SMC
    Eneloop NiMH rechargeable batteries hold their charge while sitting on the shelf, have a decent capacity, and won't leak like alkaline batteries. Not that expensive either. I have Eneloop batteries more than 10 years old that still work fine. They rarely go bad. For non-critical functions they are perfect.

    I did this year's ago. Moved everything to eneloops. Probably have 100 by now. Don't have to worry about leaking alkalines ruining flashlights, kids toys, remotes etc anymore
     

    Overboost44

    Sonic
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 10, 2013
    6,136
    Kent Island
    I have some Eneloops that I keep around for many things and they are great. I just had to buy 12 AA Energizer Lithiums for my Nest smoke alarms and damn they are expensive. $36, but they will last 3-5 years.
     

    jef955

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Feb 26, 2011
    586
    Maryland
    The Duracell and Costco batteries are notorious for leaking.
    I'll second that.. 2 packages of Duracell AAA'S just went in the bad battery bucket, because they all leaked in unopened packages. 48 batteries total. Marked 2025 expiration. NEVER again !!
     

    AliasNeo07

    Active Member
    Feb 12, 2009
    6,086
    MD
    I keep tons of lithium batteries on hand. I just rotate them through my devices, but they're great long term storage options.
     

    KRC

    Member
    Sep 30, 2018
    481
    Cecil County MD
    I have Panasonic Eneloop Ni-MH AA batteries that I've been recharging and rotating through my trail cameras for years. The only disadvantage of the Ni-MH's is they are not as good as Lithiums in very cold temperatures.

    I have also found that when a device full of Lithium (Ultimate Energizer) batteries fails, it is usually only one or two of the six or eight batteries that has depleted, and the others still have significant usefull life remaining.
     

    Sirex

    Powered by natural gas
    Oct 30, 2010
    9,134
    Westminster, MD
    Walgreens had 2AA Energizer Lithium batteries, a 2 pack for 5.99 if anyone is looking. Expiration date of 2042 on mine.
     

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    wpage

    Member
    Oct 17, 2022
    566
    Delaware
    Batteries like powder, best kept in a cool dark and dry place for extended life.
     

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