(Topic ID: 232664)

What’s the average life expectancy of a lithium button cell?


By Phat_Jay

5 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by Pin_Guy
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    Topic poll

    “What’s the average life expectancy of a lithium button cell?”

    • Less than 5 yrs 4 votes
      27%
    • 5-10 yrs 7 votes
      47%
    • 10- holy cow 4 votes
      27%

    (15 votes)

    Topic Gallery

    There have been 2 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    IMG_4900 (resized).JPG
    sys3-coincell-leak (resized).jpg

    #1 5 months ago

    Ok so I just pulled what I assumed to be an original lithium button cell from a system 3 gottleib board. I wanted to install a holder and replace the cell. I completed the work and wanted to check the voltage for giggles. It tested 3.34 volts yet! 20 yr old cell still good? It looked original, it was soldered in. Still holding memory without a problem, but I hate the unknown. Maybe it had been replaced, but it would’ve had to be done with original replacement parts then. Just blew me away. Wondering if anybody else has had unexpected life results with their batteries.

    #2 5 months ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    Ok so I just pulled what I assumed to be an original lithium button cell from a system 3 gottleib board. I wanted to install a holder and replace the cell. I completed the work and wanted to check the voltage for giggles. It tested 3.34 volts yet! 20 yr old cell still good? It looked original, it was soldered in. Still holding memory without a problem, but I hate the unknown. Maybe it had been replaced, but it would’ve had to be done with original replacement parts then. Just blew me away. Wondering if anybody else has had unexpected life results with their batteries.

    They do last an incredibly long time. I have lots of games that are well past 20 years old and still on the original lithiums.

    #3 5 months ago

    Just blows me away that lithium’s last so long, and alkalines take a crap after a relatively quick period of time. Maybe it’s because I was dealing with a more modern architecture and it’s power load is less.

    #4 5 months ago

    I *always* replace the batteries on sys3 boards. The are well past the age when they start to leak. If you catch it early, it isn't usually as messy as alkaline, but it can still do just as much damage if left unchecked. I've had a few that were fine, and a few that were leaking.

    You don't need a remote battery holder. Remove the old coin cell, and solder in a CR2032 holder and a CR2032 battery works just fine.

    However, this year, there was finally a working version of NVRAM released for sys3, so that's now an option too.

    #5 5 months ago

    Maybe I’ll go nvram route next. For now it has a new onboard button cell holder and battery. So how often should I replace a lithium, every 5 yrs? Also I have lithium aa’s in my bsd. Are those similar or more frequent. I know alkalines are annual, but what about the aa format lithium’s?

    #6 5 months ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    The are well past the age when they start to leak.

    What is the age that they start to leak? I have never seen this documented anywhere.

    I know Foreflow and I disagree on this but what is the age that they start to leak? I personally don't believe there is any age factor involved, that would cause leakage issues, and their life expectancy in storage is decades. On the very rare cases that these do leak, its far more likely they were subjected to an inadequate storage environment with large temperature swings, dampness, or excessive temperatures.

    #7 5 months ago
    Quoted from Pin_Guy:

    inadequate storage environment with large temperature swings, dampness, or excessive temperatures.

    I agree--storage conditions certainly play a big part. But batteries are still batteries, even if stored under perfect conditions.

    The lifespan is typically 7-12 years for coin cell batteries, although it's usually just stated as 10 years. Depending on the current draw, they could go dead before then, but that doesn't necessarily also mean they will leak after they are drained, or would leak immediately after the 10 year mark.

    System 3 games were made between 1989 and 1996. That's 22-29 years, depending on the age of the game, plus whatever amount of time the batteries were sitting on a shelf. That's well past their typical lifespan.

    I've replaced many coin cell batteries on system 3 MPUs in the past few years and have had to clean up after the mess they made (not nearly as bad as alkaline, but still requires some clean-up and the affected components to be replaced). Like I said, batteries are batteries, and it's better to replace them as a matter of preventative maintenance rather than wait for a problem to develop, especially if they are 20+ years old.

    sys3-coincell-leak (resized).jpg

    #8 5 months ago

    Related sidebar question: Do most people change the battery with the game on so they don't lose the settings/high scores? Ignoring the issues of inadvertently dropping the battery and shorting out something...but any harm in changing? I've always powered down. Don't know what the norm is tho.

    #9 5 months ago

    OK - I'm officially freaked out. I bought a RFM earlier this year that I'm sure is on it's original battery and I had no idea the lithiums leak.

    #10 5 months ago

    FYI and sort of related.
    System 3 CPU boards as shown in photo above use a DS1210 to control the memory and switch the coin cell over to powering the RAM during machine power down. This seemed to be the first IC (U6) taken out by battery leakage.

    The Dallas Semiconductor DS1210's (and DS1210+) used by the System 3s are no longer made.
    Replacement is the MXD1210 --> Full part number MXD1210CPA+.

    Yes, Lithiums do leak but not as rapidly as NiCads.

    Ed

    #11 5 months ago

    While not coin cells we use lithium AA batteries for some expensive boards at work. The package says 20 year shelf life. The batteries say December 2037.

    IMG_4900 (resized).JPG

    With average male lifespan at 75 or whatever I will probably be dead by then. Especially if the next 20 go as fast as the last 20.

    #12 5 months ago

    Check the datasheet of your ram chip for the "standby current" Then apply the math to the capacity of the battery. Its a little more complex than that... but give you rough idea....

    Is there a formula to convert a super cap charge to compare to a battery capacity?

    #13 5 months ago

    The game I changed the battery on is my strikes n spares, which is from 1995, at the end of the run for system 3. This machine was on route when I bought it. Assuming it spent most of its life on route, possibly powered on most of its life, that may account for the long battery life. It just wasn’t draining enough.

    #14 5 months ago
    Quoted from barakandl:

    Check the datasheet of your ram chip for the "standby current" Then apply the math to the capacity of the battery. Its a little more complex than that... but give you rough idea....

    The memory standby current is 10uA (0.000010A). Energizer AA Lithium batteries are rated at 2.8AH each, since they are in series the entire bank will proved roughly 5V for 2.8AH, this calculates out to battery depletion in approx 100 years. With this extremely low RAM standby current draw, the expected shelf life of the batteries is much lower (5x) than it would take to deplete them; however, the RTC likely draws more power in operation than the RAM does, this circuit is an unknown load on the batteries.

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