Alkaline battery leak. Damage control?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by lnrt, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. lnrt

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 1, 2014
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    I hope the question is appropriate for this forum.

    I have a digital radon monitor that have been running for a year and a half. Yesterday a battery indicator was shown in the display. Today I opened the monitor so I could change the batteries, but to my horror I found out they had leaked and there were white flakes everywhere. I removed the batteries and used some cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to clean out the battery compartment and terminals. Two of the terminals have been damaged, as it seems like they have got some kind of dull coating and do not shine like the other ones. However, I did manage to scrabe som of this coating off before running out of cotton swabs.

    Unfortunately I have now found out that vinegar should be used instead of isopropyl alcohol, as this would have been able to remove the coating.

    When I recieve more cotton swabs, should I then try to use vinegar on the terminals? or is this pointless now that I have used isopropyl alcohol? Is it possible that I have ruined my chances of cleaning the terminals?
     
  2. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    use the vinegar, the corrosive alkali will have to be nutralized to stop more corrosion.
     
  3. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Naw, you're ok. I wouldn't use vinegar. Clean the contacts with tap water. Scrap away any corrosion. Finish off with isopropyl alcohol on cotton swaps.
     
  4. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    The dull coating on the terminals may be from the removal of their plating by the alkaline from the battery. They should be still okay although they may be generate a higher resistance causing a premature battery-low indication.

    The moral is to periodically replace (or at least check) alkaline batteries in long use applications, even if the low battery indicator does not come on.
     
  5. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    It's surprising to me in this day and age that such a high proportion of batteries still fail this way. What is it, maybe 1 in 5 or more?

    The better battery makers sometimes have guarantees against damage caused by leakage. The "shipping and handling" charge usually negates the value of that guarantee, but it might be worth looking into if the device is worth it.
     
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I'd use the vinegar. Six months back I bought a Simpson 260 meter in excellent condition except as the seller stated "the ohms scale does not work." I snapped it up as that usually just means the battery is shot and I could get a classic for 1/3 it's worth.

    Sure nuff the battery was dead and leaked. Took several applications of vinegar to get rid of the white plague. Terminals do look a little dull and are not as good a conductor as they should be. I should polish them but it is working well enough for me (as it is more of a wall ornament then a working tool).
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I have thought about using some electroplating to fix these damaged terminals. It shouldn't require much mass. Gold seems obvious except for the price$$. What else would work? Nickle? Copper? Chrome?
     
  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    New terminals?
     
  9. DNA Robotics

    Member

    Jun 13, 2014
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    Baking soda neutralizes battery acid. Is alkaline different?
     
  10. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    the terminals if cheap should be plain brass. If high quality will be phosphur bronze. emery paper of 400 or finer grit will restore the contact surfaces. one note. highly polished surfaces are more resistant to corrosion.
     
  11. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    the terminals if cheap should be plain brass. If high quality will be phosphur bronze. emery paper of 400 or finer grit will restore the contact surfaces. highly polished surfaces are more resistant to corrosion. Also, baking soda is an alkali, and the electrolyte in the batteries under discussion is an alkali, hence the suggestion of an acid like vinegar.
     
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