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JM10
Level 8

Duracell Batteries can leak

Please be aware that Duracell Batteries can leak and damage or ruin your remote device.  I was once a loyal fan of Duracell copper top batteries.  But in the last 3 or 4 years, I have notice that they leak a few months after you start using them in a remote or other device. 

I had an expensive flash unit almost ruined that I was able to repair.  Several TV remotes that when I examined the battery compartment showed corrosion due to battery leakage.  Interesting in that remotes that came with other batteries, this never happened.  The problem is so bad, that I have had to examine every remote or battery operated device to make sure they didn't have Duracell batteries.  Doing so, I found other cases where the device with Duracell batteries were leaking.  It is interesting, that as long as they are on the shelf new, and not installed in a device, they never leak.  But, once you use them, look out for trouble.

My newest Roku device, Streaming Stick +, came with two Duracell AAA batteries.  I chose not to use them and installed another brand (not going to name them) that I have had much better luck with.  Suggest that any users with remotes, check the battery compartment to insure the batteries are not leaking.

Also, I hope ROKU company takes notice of this comment.  I expect that in a year or two, those Roku remotes that were supplied by ROKU with Duracell batteries are going to experience the same problem as me.  I would strongly urge ROKU to find a different battery manufacturer. 

Jack

10 REPLIES 10\
atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

All brands of batteries can leak over time. I have Duracell batteries that have been in use for close to a year, and there's no leakage. I have them in my weather station (has solar panels but batteries for night time) and they're more than two years old. It sounds like you simply got a bad batch. But as a brand I have no concern with Duracell, Eveready, or any major brand. It's the no-name brands that are often shipped with some remotes that tend to fail sooner in my experience. 

Dan

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JM10
Level 8

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

I've switched from Duracell to another major brand.  It might be too early to tell if the new brand is working better for me.  But I noticed this problem with Duracell several years ago and sort of wrote it off as a bad batch phenomena.  But since the first occurrence, and as a once loyal fan of Duracell, I continued to buy them over the years from big box stores in quantities of 20 or more.  So I am convinced this is not a bad batch problem.  In units such as my handheld GPS that draws some power and requires frequent battery replacement, there were no problems.  However in devices such as TV remotes and battery backup power for AC wall powered electronic products where the power draw is intermittent, the battery is going to remain in the device (unexamined) for a longer period of time, say a year or more.  This may also be the case for an emergency flashlight that you hardly use.  It is in these instances where I found leakage problems with Duracell.  Also, going out on the web, there are other people who have had similar problems with Duracell batteries.

I also want to point out that since many electronic manufacturers supply batteries with their product (typically for a handheld remote controller), I have used those off brand batteries as the initial batteries for the device.  You would think that this rather than using a well known brand would be more likely to produce a leaking battery situation.  However, when I checked remotes that I hadn't touched in years, those off brand batteries were still good, no leaks.  Not so with any device with Duracell batteries that had been in the device for a few months or a year.  I can't think of a case like that where the Duracell batteries were not leaking.  If I was lucky enough to catch it in time, I could clean up the battery compartment and be okay.  In one case, I lost an expensive Maglite Flashlight where the batteries had expanded to the point where I could not remove them without excessive force and the aluminum tube was seriously corroded.  In another case, an expensive camera flash unit was almost ruined.  I had to completely disassemble the flash unit and carefully remove the batteries, clean up the corrosion that was caused.  Also, one of the contacts was so badly corroded, I had to replace it.  A camera repair shop probably would have junked it.

The reason I bring this up is my new Roku streaming stick remote came supplied with Duracell batteries.  I am worried that down the road, Roku is going to have some unhappy users when they check their remotes after a few months of use.  Based on my long term experience with Duracell, I opted to put another major brand battery in this new remote.  

I want to make another important point:  Duracell and other major brands post shelf life dates several years into the future.  On the shelf before use, I have never had a Duracell battery leak.  It happens after they are installed in the device and well prior to the posted end of shelf life date.

Word to the wise:  Check you battery operated devices, particularly those where you haven't checked for a while. 

Jack

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Strega
Level 16

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

The good news about alkaline batteries is that when they leak, I just dust off some crystals and the thing works again.  I remember leaks with the carbon zinc and NiCD batteries that completely destroyed the contacts in the device. 

I just looked through some of my rarely-used remotes.  Two had Duracells with a good until 2017 date printed on them that were fine.  Another had Energizers with a 2016 date printed that were leaking a bit.  These batteries are usually dated 10 years out, so those have probably been in there since around 2007 and 2006.

I know there was another remote where, this year, I found the battery compartment completely filled with powder.  (It had even filled the gap all around the battery door.)  I didn't make any note of the brand on that (though I think they were the OEM-supplied off-brand batteries), but I dumped the powder, gave the contacts a wipe, and it's working with new batteries. 

Looking through other remotes, I found a variety of brands.  Of the Duracells, I found ones dated 2020, 2028, and 2029 and none of those were leaking.  Several remotes had some original "off-brand" battery.  None of those were leaking either, but with a sample size of one set each, that's not really comparable to all the Duracells and Energizers.  (Plus I think the remote mentioned earlier was probably an example of them failing, though I'm not sure.)

For flashes I only use NiMH due to their much lower IR/recycle time.  (Though I take them out for storage.)

 

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MilesT
Level 13

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

I believe that there has been instances of counterfeit Duracell batteries for sale worldwide. 

Worth buying from bigger more reputable retailers in the hope they don't carry counterfeits

 

Not a Roku employee
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RKUser777
Level 7

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

ALL Duracell batteries leak, so does Kirkland (Costco) as they are made by Duracell. It's a shame as Duracell was a good brand. The only batteries I found not to leak are Harbor Freight's Thunderbolt Edge (Blue Label).

I have tossed more flashlights and remotes in the last 5 years then I care to think about.

You can try and clean devices with Vinegar, but they are never the same.

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MilesT
Level 13

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

Electronics vlogger bigclivedotcom has recently suggested that modern NimH batteries are a direct swap for alkaline in almost all cases.  Recent changes to chemistry has improved the idle discharge rate to be comparable to alkaline which was an issue, and NiMH doesn't give off gas which causes leaking and splitting in alkaline.  Most devices should not have issues with slightly lower max voltage.  And rechargeable.

Buy the NiMH marked "precharged ready for use" to get the newer low idle discharge sort.

For special applications (e.g. wireless thermostats, smoke/CO detectors) are probably best served by specialist ultra long life (marketed as 10 year discharge I think), to minimize rate of replacement.

Not a Roku employee
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MilesT
Level 13

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

Hmm, can't discuss certain battery chemistries in this community, there is a block on the L word in posts....presumably because of the fact that there are medicines that are lithiated.

Not a Roku employee
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Strega
Level 16

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

I think it's hilarious when someone wants to talk about the **bleep** Van **bleep** show on this forum. Smiley Happy

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JM10
Level 8

Re: Duracell Batteries can leak

One responder claims that leaking alkaline batteries can't damage contacts and just produce a white crystalline power that can be easily cleaned out of the battery compartment.  True they produce a white power, but in my experience they also produce a corrosive liquid that can destroy contacts and wick up inside copper wiring and destroy that as well.  The damage can be significant that the product is ruined.

Concerning replacement for alkaline batteries, I have had good success with Lythium-metal type batteries.  They also have a very long shelf life.  The only downside is that they are about twice as expensive as alkaline batteries.

(Note I had to misspell the battery element metal to avoid censorship.)

Jack