This question is about potentially leaking Ni-MH batteries.
Sorry for the length. I would greatly appreciate any expertise/experience regarding this.
I have a bunch of rechargeable AA/AAA IKEA LADDA batteries installed in various devices. Many of these have been discharged in the devices for many months, or even years. The devices seem to be draining the batteries even when switched off. They are devices that are rarely used. Example: fake candles.
The batteries do not show any signs of leaking, like one would find from traditional one-use alkaline cells. However, I am aware that Ni-MH do not contain as much liquid electrolyte as the non-rechargeable versions. So, although leaking is unlikely, it is supposed to be technically possible in rare cases.
If leaking did occur, I am worried I may not notice if the leak is very small.
I would hate to not notice a leak, and then contaminate my battery charger. Which would contaminate other non-leaking batteries. Which would then contaminate previously uncontaminated devices.
Additionally, I may unknowingly get some of the potassium hydroxide on my hands. Of course, this would lead to spreading it to other things like my eyes, keyboard, etc.
1. If I cannot see a leak with the naked eye, even if present, should I just treat the cell as if everything is fine?
2. If the leak is too small to notice, would any potential consequences/dangers be too insignificant to worry about?
3. Would wiping down the cell with alcohol, or other cleaning agent, help remove any imperceptible amounts of chemical leakage? I feel using vinegar might do more harm - for a leak that may not even exist.
4. Is there a way to use a multimeter, or other device, to determine if a leak did or did not occur? If so, what would be the voltages and settings to be aware of?
5. Any other suggestions or insights?
It would be better to not leave batteries in any of these devices longterm. However, it is a little easier said than done with a family full of autonomous people.
If I could understand more about the nature of Ni-MH batteries, I could be more confident about interacting with them.
Thanks for the help.