kbalage

Technic hub upgrade is imminent & the Zetros gets more parts to fix it

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3 hours ago, Void_S said:

They do, but in their case it is a kind of "unavoidable evil" possibly which TLG still wants not to jump in. 

That;s not true since Spike and Mindstorms DO use Lithium cells

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Just now, JaBaCaDaBra said:

That;s not true since Spike and Mindstorms DO use Lithium cells

Yes, but those are packaged with warning labels about batteries (in the external transport box) and presumably handled differently. Considering the way those sets are intended to be used, TLG has done the balancing calculation and decided that they indeed need rechargeable batteries while other sets don't.

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14 hours ago, howitzer said:

Stock models can't (most of the time) have rechargeable batteries because they create a huge logistical hassle due to the batteries' flammability. One option here would be to introduce a rechargeable battery pack that would be screwed to place and sold separately, which lessens the logistics hassle, as the whole set doesn't have to be treated as flammable.

---

This screw-cover is somewhat problematic also in that it makes the placement of the hub more limited, as a screwdriver now has to be able to fit in directly to the box. Would be a problem for example in the Volvo hauler, and I'm sure it'll be also problematic in MOC design...

I agree, including a rechargeable battery in all Control+ sets would cause a lot of headaches. TLG could offer it as a separate alternative though.

The remark about the accessibility is interesting, the Volvo hauler will definitely have some challenges with it. It's already quite tricky to access it even with the snap-on lid, so with the screws you either need to open the bed to have some access or remove the whole hub. The latter is not that difficult as it's only held in place by 4 pins.

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Yep, definitely getting time for a rechargeable option. No reason that couldn't replace the whole back cover, and have the charge port in the removable portion.

12 hours ago, gyenesvi said:

Would be great to see that, but even then that alone would not simplify builds, as they’d still have to be prepared for regular batteries (accessible). And it’d require a bigger change of the hub, as the current one does not have a charging port.

 

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4 minutes ago, amorti said:

Yep, definitely getting time for a rechargeable option.

Absolutely - as also others already said!

I mean, there are these valid safety fears and discussions - the development process of LiPo's (and the like!) is in full swing though, and they become far less a threat virtually every day. There was a time when blimps/Zeppelins were filled with dead cheap Hydrogen gas, that went terribly wrong, they replaced it with really expensive Helium and eventually figured out that the global supply of Helium is - well - limited. As everything else in/on a confined volume called planet is.

I have not really looked into the overall environmental footprint of using 2 or 3 LiPo cells and recharge them about 500 times versus using 3000 AA batteries of the one-way alkaline type. Yes, the latter are hopefully recycled (oh well ... see below), but the former as well.

In this study (out of several, simply don't have time) the environmental performance of LiIon, which mostly compare to LiPos, are compared to NiMH cells. Well, no doubt, that LiIon technology is far better in almost every regard:

https://www.mdpi.com/2313-0105/5/1/22/htm

And yes, there are many more, and maybe even more important aspects, when it comes to manufacturing Li-based rechargeables. This more recent study discusses some issues (>and< how to alleviate them):

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01735-z

Once again: Today, production of one-way chemical reactors (= batteries) will never be "better" than making multi-use reactors (= rechargeables). Usually, media and thus people tend to focus on things - such as LiPo's, since the Lithium resources are somewhat "focused" on Earth as well. It is terrible what is happening there, no doubts - none.

But for those who are interested (and have the time ...), this article sheds some light on the making and performance of alkaline type batteries:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978920307794/pdf?crasolve=1&amp;iv=5be49ba377d574fc121c7f2a1256a33b&amp;token=66373530373566396236616238333832633234333030636138303665643037623839376530333964316132373239393364663635393834323861386561353261393264336234363933626463383339623566333537363939393235663a363233343363393534373466386262663534323166366564&amp;text=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&amp;original=3f

Just as illustration [citation from the above referenced article, >I< have underlined the text]:

5. Conclusions
Alkaline batteries account for 80% of manufactured batteries in the US and over 10 billion individual batteries are
produced worldwide annually most of which are disposed of in landfills [7].
       

It could be that people are treating an expensive LiPo less disrespectable than a dead-cheap, apparently environmentally "felt-like-okeyish" alkaline battery, also recharge them enough times to easily break even on an overall scale. It is also conceivable that the "Hindenburg" memory regarding Zeppelins works along the same lines as the memory on exploding LiPo's.

My conclusion is that the caring family owned company located in a rural setting in Denmark should really strongly consider rechargeables as their way to go forward. And yes, I know, it is highly unlikely to happen (... money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich man's world ... :pir-laugh:).

All the best,
Thorsten

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1 minute ago, Toastie said:

My conclusion is that the caring family owned company located in a rural setting in Denmark should really strongly consider rechargeables as their way to go forward. And yes, I know, it is highly unlikely to happen (... money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich man's world ... :pir-laugh:).

Rechargeable AA/AAA batteries are still a totally viable option today. There's no real disadvantage compared to regular alkalines, the voltage difference is only noticeable when the alkalines are brand new, it disappears quickly with use. The benefits are obvious, and even though a proprietary rechargeable battery could potentially give us the luxury of in-hub charging, I think there are way more drawbacks. It would be definitely more expensive than 6 high quality rechargeable AAs, would be way less versatile as it could only be used in the hub and nowhere else, availability would be limited and so on. 

I don't say TLG should not release it as an option, but definitely not as a full replacement of the current solution. As an example for me the 51515 Mindstorms set and its hub is less convenient to use in general as the rechargeable battery is the only option there. You cannot buy additional batteries for it on lego.com, the one for Spike Prime might be accessible in some countries through LEGO Education if you are lucky, but it still has a whopping $70 price tag. For that sum I could buy 8 packs of 4 high-quality rechargeable AAs from IKEA, meaning I have 5 full sets for my Technic hub and even 2 spares for the TV remote.

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4 hours ago, Gimmick said:

Should be EN IEC 62115 : 2020.

Looks like 13.4.1 specifically, which calls out AAA and LR03 batteries but not AA batteries. Also it states that they must not be accessable without a tool. I didn't see anything that says that the tool can't be supplied with the product, that the tool has to be a screw driver, or that the retaining method has to be a single annoying screw let alone four. EN IEC standards usually forbid large flat slots that can be opened with a coin, however the technic axle hole wouldn't fall foul of that. So why not allow removal of the battery cover via a quarter turn of an inserted technic axle (as a tool), or having a shrouded little latch that can only be depressed by inserting an axle (tool) into a hole (this would remove the need for four screws, cost savings!), or some other such thing? 

As today's alkalines tend to leak if you look at them funny, I really wouldn't want to leave them in an expensive hub between uses. These 4 screws gonna be a PITA. Oh well, there's worse things in life to worry about :grin: 

Edited by allanp

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44 minutes ago, kbalage said:

Rechargeable AA/AAA batteries are still a totally viable option today. There's no real disadvantage compared to regular alkalines, the voltage difference is only noticeable when the alkalines are brand new, it disappears quickly with use. The benefits are obvious, and even though a proprietary rechargeable battery could potentially give us the luxury of in-hub charging, I think there are way more drawbacks. It would be definitely more expensive than 6 high quality rechargeable AAs, would be way less versatile as it could only be used in the hub and nowhere else, availability would be limited and so on. 

I don't say TLG should not release it as an option, but definitely not as a full replacement of the current solution. As an example for me the 51515 Mindstorms set and its hub is less convenient to use in general as the rechargeable battery is the only option there. You cannot buy additional batteries for it on lego.com, the one for Spike Prime might be accessible in some countries through LEGO Education if you are lucky, but it still has a whopping $70 price tag. For that sum I could buy 8 packs of 4 high-quality rechargeable AAs from IKEA, meaning I have 5 full sets for my Technic hub and even 2 spares for the TV remote.

There's always a tradeoff. Rechargeable AA/AAA batteries are indeed a good option, but changing them for recharge is a hassle, as opposed to Mindstorms hub which you can just plug into the charger and even (I think) run while plugged in. On the other hand, if you need replacement for a moving vehicle, you'll have to wait until the charging is complete, or get a second battery set, which indeed is difficult and expensive. If the battery breaks/wears out on use, you're also out of luck, as the standard rechargeables are easily and cheaply replaced, unlike the proprietary battery of the RI hub (though maybe TLG's customer service could help you there).

3 minutes ago, allanp said:

Looks like 13.4.1 specifically, which calls out AAA and LR03 batteries but not AA batteries. Also it states that they must not be accessable without a tool. I didn't see anything that says that the tool can't be supplied with the product, that the tool has to be a screw driver, or that the retaining method has to be a single annoying screw let alone four. EN IEC standards usually forbid large flat slots that can be opened with a coin, however the technic axle hole wouldn't fall foul of that. So why not allow removal of the battery cover via a quarter turn of an inserted technic axle (as a tool), or having a shrouded little latch that can only be depressed by inserting an axle (tool) into a hole (this would remove the need for four screws, cost savings!), or some other such thing? 

As today's alkalines tend to leak if you look at them funny, I really wouldn't want to leave them in an expensive hub between uses. These 4 screws gonna be a PITA. Oh well, there's worse things in life to worry about :grin: 

I guess the single screw option would be bad if you lose the screw or the threads wear out, then there's nothing holding it in place, while the current model probably stays on fine with 3 or even 2 screws. Though I'm pretty sure the axle-thing you describe could become problematic if there was an accident and it was brought to court.

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@kbalage

Wait, I didn't say "TLG should put proprietary rechargeables into each and every set", I said TLG "should really strongly consider rechargeables as their way to go forward".

With that I meant the entire recognition of this technology in and on their boxes/programs. And push for suggestions and or endorsements which ones to use. They promote Disney like crazy, so teaming up with an environmentally engaged and reasonably operating supplier of such renewable technology would be, in my opinion, are smart move away from the 1950's - 1980's approach (make, use, throw away, get new stuff, in cycles ever spinning faster, as resources are endless) towards a recognition that that approach may lead nowhere. That is what I tried to say.

I fully agree with you; NiMH AAs from IKEA represent one aspect of this approach.

Now, when it comes to the whopping $70: That would be another approach: Make rechargeable technology much more affordable. TLG also charges $30 for a wall wart charging their $70 LiPos, knowing that a $5 wall wart will do. TLG's LiPos are nice, but imagine BUWIZZ needing to put that into their intelligent bricks. I do see a pattern here regarding the price politics at over TLG. 

Best
Thorsten   

Edited by Toastie

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1 hour ago, Toastie said:

@kbalage

Wait, I didn't say "TLG should put proprietary rechargeables into each and every set", I said TLG "should really strongly consider rechargeables as their way to go forward".

With that I meant the entire recognition of this technology in and on their boxes/programs. And push for suggestions and or endorsements which ones to use. They promote Disney like crazy, so teaming up with an environmentally engaged and reasonably operating supplier of such renewable technology would be, in my opinion, are smart move away from the 1950's - 1980's approach (make, use, throw away, get new stuff, in cycles ever spinning faster, as resources are endless) towards a recognition that that approach may lead nowhere. That is what I tried to say.

I fully agree with you; NiMH AAs from IKEA represent one aspect of this approach.

Now, when it comes to the whopping $70: That would be another approach: Make rechargeable technology much more affordable. TLG also charges $30 for a wall wart charging their $70 LiPos, knowing that a $5 wall wart will do. TLG's LiPos are nice, but imagine BUWIZZ needing to put that into their intelligent bricks. I do see a pattern here regarding the price politics at over TLG. 

Best
Thorsten   

I think IKEA Ladda batteries are LiPo.

Anyway, TLG charges $30 from a $5 wall wart because they can. They know full well it's grossly overpriced, but it's not much different from for example Apple supplemental products, the wires and chargers and all that is much more expensive than it could be. Still, people buy them and of course the products themselves are of high quality and thus safe to use. Same can't be said for every third party device out there. Buwizz on the other hand is made by a small company, and they have to adjust their profit margin if they want to sell anything at all.

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1 hour ago, allanp said:

As today's alkalines tend to leak if you look at them funny

:pir-laugh:

... or use them to shovel away your front yard with the Liebherr :pir-wink:

No honestly, that is an almost unpreventable thing to occur when alkalines are either used to "the model's limit", i.e., maybe even above "their" own secure amperage rating (the motors attached to a dumb battery box don't care about that - as doesn't a PF receiver pumping juice into a stalled XL motor) - or have to supply tiny amounts of current for a very long time (this is why they usually don't leak when stored away removed from any current sucking device).

It's too bad that alkaline batteries don't have a brain that tells them not to crank out as much current as their chemistry allows flowing upon almost shortening them; would they have that (a current limiter would do as well) it would not happen by looking at them funny. Overcurrent rapidly causes H2 gas building-up in the cell leading to tiny ruptures - and within weeks or months, they corroded the battery box - not the H2 gas, but the NaOH leaking out through the cracks, reacting to Na2CO3 with the CO2 of in the air - that's the gunk showing up. Here is a good one for those interested: https://www.panasonic-batteries.com/en/news/battery-leakage-causes-and-prevention
 

Spoiler

 

(damned I sound arrogant, yes I know - I also know that many folks here all know that!!! I teach this for a living - "Chemistry for mechanical engineers" is one of the classes the Chemistry department offers as "service" to other schools/departments on campus, and guess, who - according to our beloved Dean - is better suited to do that than a PChemist? Bingo. On the other hand: It really is fun to teach, particularly electrochemistry, as there are many changes in the curricula for mechanical engineers with regard to electromobility and so on - and all that voltage/current they need to run their mechanical things comes from ... chemical reactions. Ha! Hahaha! :pir-grin:

BTW, this is one of the "unwanted" side reaction, when things go too wild: Zn + 2 H2O + 2OH- ->  [Zn(OH)4]2- + H2. The English wikipedia page does not list that one, you need to switch to the German page, last reaction (Nebenreaktionen :cannon:)

 

And then the time to crack or breach seals inside is certainly a function of manufacturing skills as well. So the $0.10 cells from a country far, far away may (but don't have to) fail earlier than others.

The LiPo chemistry does not have any significant pathway leading to gas production (not anymore that is)

Best
Thorsten

 

Edited by Toastie

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10 minutes ago, howitzer said:

Anyway, TLG charges $30 from a $5 wall wart because they can.

Oh, absolutely! I'd do the same, if I had consumers happily willing to pay that amount!

This was in reply to the "whopping $70" in @kbalage's comparison to what you pay for good rechargeables on the market. 

If TLG sold AA or AAA rechargeables, I'd say they would cost around $12 each, because 6 x $12 is a little more than 1x$70, which is equivalent to "better". There would be the LEGO sign on the cells, they would be all black, have the warnings, and maybe something like: Fully compatible with LEGO devices. Recommended to charge ONLY with THE LEGO charger. Since this one would charge 6 AA type LEGO rechargeables, it would be 6 times more expensive than the $30 wall wart minus the actual value of such a charger, which is may be around $40 (in Germany) - getting me to $140. And yes, because they a) certainly have fun coming up with the price tag and b) because they can.

Best,
Thorsten   

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@howitzer lose the screw, or throw it away :grin:

The regs aren't bothered about if you lose the screw or the threads strip. That's the fault of the customer not Lego. But still I don't see that screws are needed anyway unless I missed something.

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Two additional things and then I have to work :pir-huzzah2:

Just checked: Some of my LEGO trains run on decent NiMH cells. Two are operated by RCX 1.0 pbricks, 8 are PF equipped. 4 of the latter run on TLG's 8878, once upon a time they were within financial reach. On my layout, I use the since long phased out 9V LEGO track, which is permanently powered with 15V DC. The RCX as well as the LiPo trains have power pickups (= 9V train motor with motor removed, plugged directly into the jacks of the RCX/8878), so when there is no blackout, the RCX trains don't use the alkaline batteries at all, but run off from their power plug. (Yes, also once upon a time, there were 9V power plugs on TLG's pbricks ... securely running with 9 - 18 V DC, as does 8878 for charging). Then there are two trains which are trickle-charged all the time. Fully loaded NiMH cells deliver about 1.5 V. x6 = 9V. Power feed from the track = 15V, this goes through a bridge rectifier (voltage loss about 1.2 V) to 9V/1A regulator, which is directly soldered to the pack of 6 NiMHs. Normal operation = track power operates PF receiver or RC train receiver, both a very happy with about 14V. Upon running on "modern" all plastic track, the NiMHs kick in without power interruption. These tracks are very helpful for wye branches or back-loops (rail polarity change), etc. The cells are recharged whenever the power pickup is on metal track, but never with more than 9V/6 cells. The loading current is next to nothing (trickling ...). Also, overloading is hardly (not) possible.

Point is: None of these batteries have leaked in a period of three or more years. Neither the 1,5V alkalines in the RCX (which needs to be powered from the plug with >9V to avoid the batteries delivering current when being turned off!), nor the carefully trickle-charged NiMHs. The LiPos are fine by definition.

But guess what: Just opened a for long unused 2 port City hub with 6 AAA alkalines of decent make: 2 leaked. The hubs are always sucking a tiny amount of current, otherwise they would not recognize the green on button.

So all in all it seems to be OK with the chemistry :pir-laugh:

Best and over,
Thorsten

Edited by Toastie

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4 minutes ago, JaBaCaDaBra said:

Nothing leaks as hell but duracell

:roflmao: ...

:iamded_lol:... oh man, I need to close the EB browser window, otherwise I will never get these damned reviews done.

Their bunny was funny though - nothing more entertaining than having a bunny crashing the cymbals - forever ...

Have fun,
Thorsten 

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4 hours ago, allanp said:

@howitzer lose the screw, or throw it away :grin:

The regs aren't bothered about if you lose the screw or the threads strip. That's the fault of the customer not Lego. But still I don't see that screws are needed anyway unless I missed something.

Yeah, the regs aren't bothered about that, but the customer is, and through their complaints TLG. So they make it so that at least it's slightly harder to not have it become useless.

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5 hours ago, allanp said:

But still I don't see that screws are needed anyway unless I missed something.

Fun fact: The PUp City hubs (2 I/O) feature only two screws to render the battery pack compliant with New Regulations. They are secured with plastic washers; trying screwing them (well out, the screws that is) does not work without significant labor. I have around 8 of those hubs, fried two because I did bad things to them - in the beginning of PUp and before TLG purchased BL, these hubs were really cheap on BL (about 12€ new). All my City PUp hubs have the screws all the way out because the springs of the PCB connecting the battery pack as well as TLG's super precision moulds snap the battery pack securely to the enclosure and cover. But that is non-compliant with regulations, of course. No screwing, no compliance, and you are screwed.

BTW, this is pinned on the EB TrainTech forum, second entry from top. The second pic in the first post shows the screws (with the washers) exposed. They simply can't fall out:

Actually, it is very convenient to also "free" the top part (with the PCB, button, and motor jacks) from the battery enclosure by removing two Torx screws (haha - experts tools required to get that far :pir-devil:). Then unsolder the two power "springs" and add a two-wire cable instead. Then remove the two washer-secured screws of the bottom part and use that one to cover up the top part if desired, needs a bit of filing. As a result, you have an only 5 plates thick PUp brain with the original top cover, the motor jacks, and can use your own battery box as you see fit in your MOC. Good for 6-wide (my scale) trains for sure.

I also believe that they have to secure the screws; otherwise kids may eat them. I never figured out, why they don't eat 1x1 plates not secure with screws. So I believe it is less of a "2 is worse than 4" issue. No clue, maybe this is also regulated since long ... I mean "all the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department on Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now." Douglas Adams is my personal hero.

Best wishes,
Thorsten

 

Edited by Toastie

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On 1/10/2022 at 12:00 PM, JaBaCaDaBra said:

Duracell
Nothing leaks as hell but duracell

1 ouf of 6 isn't that bad, is it?  :pir_laugh2:

duracell.jpg

One good thing about the AA or AAA size is they are readily available.  Forgot the charger one time at a convention and was able run over to the hotel gift shop to buy some AA batteires.

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8 hours ago, dr_spock said:

1 ouf of 6 isn't that bad, is it?  :pir_laugh2:

duracell.jpg

One good thing about the AA or AAA size is they are readily available.  Forgot the charger one time at a convention and was able run over to the hotel gift shop to buy some AA batteires.

Duracell_ecg_recorder.jpg

Above:
Duracell professional destroys an over 10.000 costing euro's ECG recorder in universaty medical center Leiden
I once made some remarks on their facebook page...the scammers blocked me :head_back:
------------------
Under:
These are new never used batteries.

Important!
The picture was taken in 2012

 

Duracell.jpg

Edited by JaBaCaDaBra

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@JaBaCaDaBra

Wow! Chemistry@work :pir-murder::pir-skel:!

That looks horrible. I never encountered that bad behavior. Well, I did not use any Duracell's cells :pir-laugh:

However, before you ditch any >expensive< equipment that does not work anymore due to battery leakage: Send it to me :pir-grin:.

Spoiler

 

OK, it is a bit of labor, but this is what I do (hardly anymore, see my battery treatment above, low leakage levels here over the years):

Using protective gloves (latex, nitrile, whatever type not letting liquids reach your skin), remove the batteries. Take the device so that you can "bang out" most of the gunky sodium "carbonates". Then use a small brush (of any type, IKEA el cheapo's will certainly do) to wipe out remaining debris. Then use a wetted piece of cloth and wipe-out the battery compartment - there may be some residual, but diluted NaOH (any visible liquid is mostly a rather dilute aqueous NaOH solution, simply wipe away, with no fears). You should now see more or less (in your case MORE :pir-wink:) corroded metal contacts - the scene could be really pretty, provided you're not colorblind as I am, so I am missing out here: "Rusty" colors of brown and tan and whatever with a touch of blue and green (mixed copper/nickel/tin/zinc/... salts/oxides/hydroxides - I have learned their colors but never seen ;)). Remove again any loose stuff with the cleaned (water) brush and cloth. Let dry off. And now comes the fun part: Get your Dremel out, put on the wire brush bit and remove the metal oxides (etc) to the bare metal, at least at the contact area to the battery. After that, put on some protective spray, as now the nice and shiny silver plating (https://www.beadelectronics.com/blog/plating-for-electronic-connector-pins-and-contacts) is gone. The device should work for many years to come - if the gunk did not make it into the inside of the electronic box and corroded its way through the board(s). 

 

But I believe it is impossible to re-use the device after a treatment in a medical setting.

All the best,
Thorsten

 

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3 hours ago, Toastie said:

Well, I did not use any Duracell's cells

It's even so bad that they score very low in consumer batterie tests.
If you need energy, use GP of Panasonic
If you dont want leaks, use Energiser, they warrant their batteries 10 years for leaking, they're however not the best powercells
GP's rarely leak, I recently found my nitro 1:8 car back and the transmitter batteries didn't leak after 10 years.

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It's not the first and surely not the last time TLG does this. The Concrete Mixer Truck 42112 was also silently fixed and updated. The pistons were getting stuck due to the longer axles. Camshaft design and pistons had to be changed.

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