Keeping battery in unit?


Quantified Performance
The search function didn't yield much help. I recently purchased a set of night vision. I'd heard the old wisdom of not keeping batteries in the unit and it made perfect sense to me with units that could run on alkaline batteries since I know they can leak over time. My question is:

With newer units that run on high quality cr123 batteries, is it OK to store the units with batteries in? I'm not talking about being stored on a shelf for months or years at a time.

Oak City Tactics

Staff member
I’ve only ever had some cheap Chinese Lithium batteries the agency bought cause any damage. Unless I was on some sort of alert posture I would stick with the habit of pulling them when not in use. At work I still load them at the beginning of a shift although I would at times keep them in for an entire period of night shifts some times. I used to remind folks that next to your car, it’s the most expensive piece of kit you are issued. Treat it accordingly.


Never leave alkalines in /anything/. But lithiums are safe essentially always. If anyone has anything they like, cheap or not, it better have lithums in it. I keep a lot of L91s in stock all the time, even aside from 123s, etc.

I use my NODs at all sorts of irregular times, am not a shift work type, so just leave it in. Have for years on many devices.

I also only leave in when the unit shuts OFF. Some lasers, for example, don't really shut off so will drain the battery and presumably is causing minor wear on the unit as it's energized. Those, as well as anything set up for long term storage, also get removal.

Especially if you are going to remove batteries constantly so are unscrewing the cap very often, get a small tube of dielectric grease and periodicaally (annually, unless in a very poor environment) clean and grease the o-ring and threads to be sure it stays un-worn (for electrical contact) and seals (for water/dust resistance). When the battery is out, install the cap again, don't leave it open; doesn't have to be fully tight, just enough to engage the O-ring; this prevents dirt from wherever you are storing it from getting in the battery bay or on threads/o-ring.


Just like has been said over and over, do not leave alkaline batteries in anything at all. I have seen them absolutely destroy the battery housing on more than one PVS14. Our PVS31's are the Lithium AA battery kind, and our armory is insistent on us storing them with the battery cap open to show no battery inside. When I asked why, it was explained to me that they understand that the lithium batteries will not cause damage like the alkaline will, but with how easy it is to leave or bump a pair of 31's on, they want the battery door open even for a night to keep hours off the optic and extend service life.

It might be B.S. and the Marine Corps living in the past, but we have never hesitated to throw out plenty of low use batteries just to ensure you have a full one in the optic before use.

On my personal NVG's and lasers, I keep the batteries out between uses as it could range from a week to several months of it sitting in the safe.


Regular Member
I'm with Shoobe01 here; I will constantly goof with my -14's at odd, but regular intervals. So I keep lithiums in there. Done this for 10+ years without issues. But if you go longer than say a week, I'd take them out. And yeah for safe storage, you bet.


It might be B.S. and the Marine Corps living in the past, but we have never hesitated to throw out plenty of low use batteries just to ensure you have a full one in the optic before use.
No, this is important. Don't start a mission with an unknown-full battery. If you never turned the unit on or otherwise know for sure just a few minutes here and there, fine. Otherwise, scrap it.

Now, I don't trash them. I have a whole bin of "not very used" batteries as I keep them, put those in clocks and remotes and stuff then. Occasionally a dead one, but mostly they last years in low-importance, low-draw things. I also have lots of spare 123 flashlights around the house so those go into the not-serious-use lights.

And as I put lithiums in these devices, it can save me from stuff like the clock and remote I both found this week with asploded batteries. Alkalines are crap.

Next: I was told by someone whose company has a CAGE code that some PVS-14s have a power supply oddity and don't necessarily like the additional starting voltage of Lithium AAs, so suggested rechargable NiMh. Which I use. And which work great also, can't explode, are easy to keep topped off, etc.

Regardless of truth to that, it makes me think how neat it would be if the Army would spec a rechargeable, include charge ports on the case, then when charging that disables unit draw so you plug them in while in the arms room, keep them topped up, ready to go, and are sure they aren't draining.

Ah... dreams.
Thanks for making this post. I'm looking for pvs14 new guys instruction thread.

How have the NiMH AA cells been in pvs 14s?

Do they make rechargeable 1.5v lithium AAs?