8

When I bought a digital camera recently, the shopkeeper advised me "to remove the batteries when the camera is not used for a long time".

I have heard this kind of thing for other devices also (like torch).

Does having these devices with batteries in it(with full charge), kept idle for a long time damage the device ?

13

Many devices when turned off still use a bit of power (e.g. to detect when the on button is pushed when there is no real physical power cutoff) leading them to become dead sooner than when you had removed them when you don't need the device.

As vartec mentioned battery leaking can be damaging to the electronics, depending on the design of the battery compartment

Here's an Knol article about it.

When carbon or alkaline batteries have become discharged, the chemistry of the cells will degrade and some hydrogen gas will be generated. This out-gassing will result in increasing pressure within the battery. Eventually, the excess pressure will either rup- ture the insulating seals at the end of the battery, or bulge and rupture the outer metal canister, or both. When this happens, an acidic (for carbon cells) or caustic (for alka- line cells) electrolyte gel will ooze from the battery.

-snip-

The leaking electrolyte can corrode the metal housing and battery contacts of a simple flashlight, and it can damage or destroy the delicate circuitry of an expensive electronic flashlight. Furthermore, swelling of the battery canisters can render one or more of the batteries hopelessly jammed within the flashlight body. One leaking battery can cause a chain failure, when its leaking goo corrodes the adjacent ones so that they then leak. A five dollar set of dead batteries can and will destroy a five hundred dollar instrument if you let them.

  • Yup - had that happen to a radio and a torch:-) – Rory Alsop Aug 2 '11 at 21:46
  • +1, abandoned electronic wrist watches often meet their death this way. – sharptooth Aug 3 '11 at 6:14
  • had it happen to an expensive flashlight, sadly. And during normal use too, though in extreme conditions (very hot weather, shooting for extended periods, causing the thing to get very hot and putting high strain on the batteries, higher apparently than they'd been designed for). – jwenting Aug 3 '11 at 9:13

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