Monthly Science: Early Lithium Cell Failures

During my monthly data logging, I replace any weak CR2032 cells in the Hobo data loggers and, being that type of guy, I write the current date and the elapsed time since the last replacement on the top of the cells. This month I had to replace two cells:

Energizer CR2023 - early failures
Energizer CR2023 – early failures


It seems the previous Energizer CR2023 cells in those loggers lasted for more than the usual year, but these cells from the same lot with the same date code failed in two weeks (my last monthly science was unusually late, because distraction). The YA date code (printed on the other side of the cell) isn’t helpful (that Q&A  list shows the problem), but they’re supposed to have an eight year shelf life. As nearly as I can tell, these are getting on toward five years on my shelf, so maybe they spent a bit more time on somebody else’s shelf than the seller claimed.

I’d previously slandered one of the Hobo loggers by accusing it of high current drain, but it turned out to be different crappy batteries.

I know they encrypt the date codes so we can’t buy the freshest retail batteries, but I don’t have to like it…

2 thoughts on “Monthly Science: Early Lithium Cell Failures

  1. I don’t understand their thinking behind encrypting date codes. I looked at the referenced Q&A list, where they said (two years ago) that they’d be supplying the code. As far as I can tell, they haven’t. It seems to me that people would unknowingly buy old ones, have ’em fail in two weeks, come to the conclusion that Energizer makes crappy/unreliable products, and switch to an open-coded vendor (if any). The only winner is retailers who can sell old stock, and that too is a short term win, and a long term lose.

    1. come to the conclusion that Energizer makes crappy/unreliable products

      I’m not there yet, but I can see it looming over the horizon from where I’m standing.

      Maybe I’m just compulsive about having enough data to bound the problem?

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