How To Test AA Batteries With A Digital Multimeter

You might have discovered a couple of old AA batteries and you would like to know if they are actually working. They might not be able to provide a lot of power but they can help in powering simple devices like the television remote or flashlights.

How to test AA Batteries with a Multimeter, is it possible? Yes, although this is only possible if you are sure of what metric you are going for. As they are old AA batteries, they might show insignificant values that you will not be able to work with.

If the batteries have been unused for quite some time, then only alkaline AA batteries are worth keeping. You might be in a dilemma as to either measure voltage, power or even current. A multimeter might help but only if you know how to use it.

How to Use a Multimeter for Old AA Batteries

First, you will have to feel the weight of each battery. A normal AA battery weighs not less than 20 grams. Anything below this point is just junk and is worthless.

When using a multimeter, you will have to set it at a high current interval, say more than 10A and less than the 20A mark. Corrosion on the battery will have to be cleared using an appropriate material. You can then hold both the negative and positive probe in position.

A good AA alkaline cell will indicate an ampere level between 5 and 10A. however, if they have been significantly drained, they will indicate a lower level than this. A dead one will be in the range of 1 to 3A. However, if a cell indicates a level below 1A, you will have to dispose of it as soon as you can.

You will realise that for the non-alkaline AA cells the level would be significantly lower.
Using a multimeter is in some way a fun way of discovering how to do new things. As you learn you also get to save instead of buying new cells, you can instead just use old cells that you had disposed of and which can still work for low demanding devices.

Here is the great YouTube video I found for you below:

Storage of AA Batteries

Most AA batteries in the market today are long-lasting as they are designed with a longer lifespan than their predecessors. For your AA battery to realize its required shelf life, you will have to take it through good maintenance and care practices. The following are recommended care practices:

• Keep them away from young children
• Store them in a cool and dry place
• Before use, keep them as they are packaged, this helps distinguish old cells from brand new ones
• Do not connect them in gadgets if you are not going to utilize them soon
• Separate used and new batteries by tagging either of them
• Keep them away from metal items to avoid cases of short-circuiting
• Avoid letting the AA batteries get fully discharged as this damages them. You will have to recharge those that can be charged and have their levels as close to full capacity as possible
• Do not expose any battery by torching, crushing or even disassembling
• Do not charge a non-rechargeable battery
• Avoid storing batteries in any type of charger you have

Why Would a AA Battery Leak?

It is common for AA batteries to leak, especially alkaline AA ones. This is the case if you leave them unused for a very long time, meaning you have them in a place you would not notice even as the leaking starts.

Batteries leak because they are in some way going through a process of self-discharging even as they are not being used in a device. in the case of the alkaline cells the self-discharging provokes the emission of hydrogen gas which leads to build up of pressure in the battery. Eventually, little bits of a material from within the battery will come out because of the rise in pressure within.

What comes out is usually corrosive and needs to be kept away from the skin as soon as possible. this is harmful even for electric components in the device to which the battery is connected.

To prevent a scenario of the battery leaking you have to replace batteries frequently. Proper storage measures should also be adhered to in order to avoid the battery from leaking. Otherwise, lithium AA cells are an excellent option to go for if you need to use them on an occasional but not often basis.

Can AA Batteries Be Recycled?

It is a common mistake that any type of battery can be recycled, but this is not mandatory even as most of them can be recycled. Rechargeable batteries can be sent back for recycling but for alkaline batteries it is advisable that you just dispose them with any house waste-but do not burn them. You should also be careful to prevent them from short-circuiting with metallic objects like cans and foils.

For the good of the environment, it is advisable that you recycle AA batteries if you can. This solely depends on the type of AA battery in question. Most AA batteries can in fact be recycled. This can be done by taking it back to where you bought it.


A multimeter may not be the best tool for figuring out whether a couple of old cells are actually worth using. However, following the appropriate procedures ensure that you get to this successfully. The multimeter can also be used to discover cells that can power up low demanding devices like flashlights and remotes for televisions and radios.

You should also know that to avoid losing quality batteries, you need to practice good maintenance and care. This will help avoid cases such as leaking and even exploding of the cells you have with you.

1. Everything You Need To Know About AA Batteries – RC Components