Duracell Batteries Leaked in 580EX - Stored just 9 Months - Climate Controlled!

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MMeticulous, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    Hello Everyone.

    I'm mad! Mad at myself, mad at Duracell, mad that I don't know what caused the problem or how to prevent it in the future, except to always remove my batteries from all stored electronics, which is a major pain in some instances.

    One of the AA Duracell copper top alkaline batteries inside my Canon Speedlite 580EX leaked and discharged a white powder corrosion on the internal battery contacts of my flash. The batteries have an expiration date on them of 2014, so it certainly shouldn't be from age.

    I had not used my flash in approximately 9 months, but it was stored inside my camera case in my climate controlled living area, never subjected to extreme temperatures of any kind. I wish I knew what caused this so I could prevent it in the future. I just went on a mad rant to remove batteries from every electronic device I don't use regularly, but I have several tools (for electronics) which require a screwdriver to remove the batteries, and this is a major inconvenience!

    To add insult to injury, about a year ago I had the exact same thing happen to a Nikon SB-26 Speedlight Flash, however in that case I'm not sure who the battery manufacturer was (I'm sure it was a name brand disposable alkaline, but I don't remember whether it was Duracell or Energizer) and in that instance the flash was stored in my basement, which is humidity controlled, but not temperature controlled. In my experience, flashes seem to be especially susceptible to this type of damage.

    In the case of the Nikon, the corrosion was so extensive, that I've written that flash off as lost. In the case of the 580EX, I'm hoping I can clean it up, but this really upsets me since this is a near new flash with hardly any hours on it.

    I've read many of your tips for cleaning with vinegar, etc... Does anyone know specifically WHY this happens, or how I can prevent it without removing all my batteries, or under what circumstances it is most likely to become a problem? Please don't answer if you don't really know. I have enough random thoughts, I need some FACTS.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    :confused: Jeff
     
  2. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    Geez I hope that doesn't happen to my 430EXII, I have rechargeable Duracells in it right now...
     
  3. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Not using your flash for 9 months is not good for the flash at all. Obviously, you are now aware of the battery problem, but electrolytic capacitors "dry" up without use. I get my flash gear out at least once every 3 weeks if I haven't used it and pop 5 or 7 shots off.
     
  4. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback, but I don't understand how using the flash helps the capacitors not "dry" up. Can you please elaborate?
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    From Wikipedia (Capacitors):

    "The capacitance of certain capacitors decreases as the component ages. In ceramic capacitors, this is caused by degradation of the dielectric. The type of dielectric and the ambient operating and storage temperatures are the most significant aging factors, while the operating voltage has a smaller effect. The aging process may be reversed by heating the component above the Curie Point."

    It's also known as capacitor 'forming.'
     
  6. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    OK...now in English...
     
  7. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    In english.....hmmmm...if you don't run electricity through the capacitors every now and then to get them warm, the crap inside goes to hell and stops doing its job.
     
  8. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    Similar to dry rot.

    However.... is it really a pain to remove your batteries? I bet it's more of a pain dealing with corroded batteries inside the thing you didn't remove them from.
     
  9. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Isn't it Duracell that guarantees their batteries won't leak or they'll pay to replace the damaged equipment?

    It's either Energizer or Duracell, you may want to look into it.
     

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