Exploding alkaline AAA batteries in TV Remote

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Our TV remote was dropped on carpet the other night. We heard a loud bang sound like what a reversed tantalum cap makes. We investigated and thought it was just the remote landing with a pair of glasses on the carpet. Last night the remote failed to work. I opened up the battery cover and noticed a powdery coating on the batteries. When I removed them I could see a slot shaped hole blown in the side of the battery near the plus end. Never seen that before. We replaced all 4 batteries and the remote worked OK again. Wonder how the remote could have caused such a violent end to the batteries?

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Never seen or heard of that before! Must have been some kind of flaw during manufacturing of the batteries i guess?

I have thrown alakaline batteries around on purpose and never had anything happen!

- Brian

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If one of the batteries went flat before the others, current through it could have decomposed the electrolyte and built up internal pressure. It just needed the right mechanical shock to let it out. The pressure build-up can be quite considerable if the seals are good. I've seen a half-AA lithium cell explode when the series diode went leaky and allowed it to charge, and that was really spectacular. If you'd been holding it in your hand at the time it would have cost a couple of fingers.

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Alkaline batteries are not noted for this behavior but Lithium-Ion ones are.

I wonder if there was not a momentary internal short during the shock of hitting the floor which cause high internal current and the explosive consequence. Given the normal resistance of these batteries to substantial abuse, it seems like poorly manufactured batteries.

Care to share the brand name?

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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Jim, They were Duracells. I have never seen this myself before. The interesting thing is the remote was still powered for another day. Then I guess the output dropped to the point that it started failing to communicate with the Dish box. The indicator LEDs still worked on the remote. I guess some google searching might turn up some other incidents of this? BTW the remote case is all plastic and the battery pocket area is all plastic except for the contacts.

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Did a quick google on the subject. A lot of comments about it. This government site says firemen have had flashlites explode when the H2 gas ignites in the flashlight. Also the more water tight the enclosure the harder to vent the gas. The remote is fairly well sealed.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fact0002.html

EDIT:
This link has a thread of about 36 Duracell explosion reports...

http://johnbokma.com/mexit/2007/06/22/exploding-9v-duracell-alkaline-battery/comments.html

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Hmmmm, I DO remember now. When alkaline batteries first came out, there was a spate of "explosions" in oceanographic applications where they were shipped in sealed pressure containers, ready to go into the water. I recall hearing a story of a tech seriously injured at sea with one of these. It was determined, as I recall, that the hazard was the unvented container. After that, batteries were not allowed to be shipped in pressure containers nor stored - only vented ones.

I have a hard time seeing a TV remote being that sealed - though a MagLite certainly.

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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ka7ehk wrote:
Alkaline batteries are not noted for this behavior but Lithium-Ion ones are.

Li-ion secondary cells should never do this. They have a pressure relief valve in them that should open before the steel case pops. They will of course burn in other ways - but pressure build up should cause the front or back to pop open worst case scenario. Not the side.

I am really surprised that the hole would appear in the side of the AAA. Would have expected a failure at an end, though I'm not terribly familiar with the construction of alkaline cells.

By the way - my memory is that Duracell has a policy of replacing anything damaged by their cells. So if your remote is busted - call them and I'm pretty sure they'll replace it.

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Agree on Li-Ion. There, its not the cell casing, but being inside a pressure housing which is NOT vented.

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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Interesting, seems that single cell devices might be safer(I just bought a three LED lamp on a headband - it runs from a single AAA cell, but I need it to explode like I need a hole in the head).

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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John_A_Brown wrote:
... I need it to explode like I need a hole in the head).
What is that saying "careful what you wish for" ...

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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valusoft wrote:
John_A_Brown wrote:
... I need it to explode like I need a hole in the head).
What is that saying "careful what you wish for" ...

Been away for new year, but the hole-in-head reference was what passes for humour round these parts.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Well, I'll be. Never heard of that.

Had an energizer make a fizzing sound once and squirt acid, or would that be base. Ruined a $50 train receiver. It was brand new and I'd just put it under like 0.4 amp load.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Just a comment on the lithium batteries. They USED to have a problem. I worked on a project once in the early 90's, and we had an incident.

One of the engineers was doing some testing, and the batteries exploded quite violently. Did some minor damage -- fortunately only to the property.

I think that they may now have a UL classification, and the manufacturers have to qualify their safety.

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Thank you all for your posts, as this isn't exactly my forte..a AA A Duracell just exploded in my ROKU remote and
Leaked acid, melting a hole in the remote Case!

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Take photos and item to Duracell... or your Better Business Bureau to issue a nation wide recall as a hazard... that should get someone's attention and maybe a bribe for you to stay quiet. laugh

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Sgould1029 wrote:
Thank you all for your posts, as this isn't exactly my forte..a AA A Duracell just exploded in my ROKU remote and Leaked acid, melting a hole in the remote Case!

 

Actually, if they are alkaline batteries, they leaked alkali and not acidcheeky

But it's corrosive nonetheless.