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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 7th Mar 2014, 1:07 pm   #1
Ti Pwun
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Default The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Most here will know this and no doubt it has been covered before but this is part of what I found inside Barney's Sony ICF-SW1 radio:

http://i890.photobucket.com/albums/a...cid_damage.jpg

After cleaning off all the nasty battery acid, it has made a mes of it and all three of the traces here need to be repaired. Not a problem with a good iron but this is definitely a lesson for those who have things stuffed in a drawer with the batteries left inside. Take them out and store them in a zip-lok bag.

There are other areas of damage inside this radio so it will be a fun project to attempt a repair, for sure, and I'm doing so as a favour to a fellow forum member, but please take those batteries out folks! A perfectly good radio can easily be transformed into a pile of junk if you don't.
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 1:18 pm   #2
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

This good advice applies to anything with batteries in it, not just radios! My father ruined an expensive flash gun in this way, and corrosion is common in multimeters from batteries left inside. My vintage Sinclair Scientific calculator that got damaged by battery leakage. I could go on... and frequently do, people tell me
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 1:34 pm   #3
Ti Pwun
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Yes, it's nasty stuff.
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 3:19 pm   #4
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Not just acid leakage...

I have worked on several Syncal-30P transceivers, and they contain a NiCd battery to power the RAM that remembers the channel data. They are also hermetically sealed. After decades I have found that corrosive vapours from these batteries damage pretty much everything inside the box!!
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 6:27 pm   #5
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Set aside a special day each year to replace batteries in all your equipment. I have chosen New Years day.
John.
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 6:39 pm   #6
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Be very careful with burst NiCds, the cadmium is awfuly poisonous, makes lead look like sweeties. One of our kitchen drawers (why is it always the kitchen?) is well stocked with all the common sized cells/batteries, no excuse here at Merlin Towers. Also I get a trip to Maplin on occasion to re-stock and buy something silly too.
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 7:17 pm   #7
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHGibson View Post
Set aside a special day each year to replace batteries in all your equipment. I have chosen New Years day.
Presumably excluding any battery-powered gifts you received for Christmas?!
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 7:38 pm   #8
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Not just alkaline or Nicad batteries, but also those Lithium Ion things, such as old camera/ camcorder batteries, iPod batteries and suchlike.

I have one of those little Sony PSP consoles, and I'd left it for a good few months, then I plugged it in to charge up overnight. I woke up the next morning and noticed the charging light still glowing orange, which means it's still trying to charge. It normally took a few hours, but this had been over 8 hours! When I picked the unit up it was hot to touch around the battery, so it was unplugged very quickly. Upon trying to remove the battery cover I found it a tight fit, and the battery had swollen up! I wasn't taking any chances with it so threw it out the window (the battery, not the whole console!) and left it out to cool down. It did still power the console after that, but only for about 5 minutes before the low battery indicator started flashing. Sony were not interested in it...

I've also had a couple of quite old camcorder batteries start to swell up, which if they are left in the unit are quite difficult to remove, and might damage the unit. They also would not be safe to attempt recharging!

I also have a Panasonic DVD player with a Lithium Ion battery pack, that stopped working and I opened the battery pack and found the individual cells had leaked some nasty smelling white goo. That one went in the bin quickly too!

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Old 7th Mar 2014, 7:44 pm   #9
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

See here too... https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=100694
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 8:14 pm   #10
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

I have lost count of the amount of remote controls I have repaired due to leaking batteries!
I noticed a stickyness on the battery flap of my TV remote the other day, although the batteries were still working ok they were weeping a white jelly substance, luckily no damage had been caused this time....

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Old 7th Mar 2014, 11:45 pm   #11
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Note to self: check forum for like threads instead of starting a new one. This thing is in such a mess so I logged in and posted without checking - sorry, should have done that before posting.

Just found an area deep inside near the power socket where a couple of components are hanging on by half eaten traces that have separated from the PCB. Oh boy!

Still, I've repaired worse so we'll see. I enjoy a challenge...

Great posts by the way - I hope everyone not in the know is now checking their equipment.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 12:47 am   #12
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Doesn't harm to raise the subject again, although most of us on here should be aware.
It would be interesting to see how you tackle the damage, and hopefully prevent further deterioration.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 12:31 pm   #13
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Very carefully! Here's the worst of the damage:

http://i890.photobucket.com/albums/a...id_damage3.jpg

Fortunately, there are enough areas around the transistor package that was eaten (now removed) to make some connections, so it is repairable, but the area in the photo is extremely small so I will need to glue down the eaten traces that are usable and then make up a jigsaw piece with a new XN4608 and thin wire to remake those connections.

Incidentally, if anyone has that package that they would be willing to donate to Barney's cause, please PM me - it will be a few weeks before I am ordering any SMD parts and I don't have that or a usable replacement in stock. After seeing the damage to this radio I've taken this on as a "let's see what we can do" project so I'm not charging anything for what I'm doing.

As for preventing further deterioration, I'm gently scraping off the damaged areas and using a soft brush and alcohol, then repairing as necessary.

This is the last of the major damage though so hopefully after sorting this out, we'll have a working radio.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 4:13 pm   #14
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Quote:
As for preventing further deterioration
Conformal coating, used to be called varnish.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 8:46 pm   #15
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Fair way off from that stage but sure, when all the acid has been removed and repairs done I'll go over it with some clear nail polish. Some areas won't need it though - removing the build up between the traces will be enough.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 10:22 pm   #16
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

I always use conformal coating after washing off contamination. The MOD and American companies always used to specify PCBs being coated but pots and trimmers need to be masked off.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 1:17 pm   #17
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

I assumed AC/HL was referring to making sure the remaining acid doesn't continue to eat away at the traces, but for sure, re-coating any exposed traces is a given or it will tarnish and invite trouble.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 5:35 pm   #18
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

Are the zip-lok bags enough? Is the issue that not only are the batteries are corroding on the contacts, but also in the air?

Or can it happen if you have batteries next to each other? Should they be separated in the bag?
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 8:06 pm   #19
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

So long as they're not short circuited, it makes no difference whether or not they're touching in storage or not.

The culprits seem to leak after a year or so, usually when (partially) exhausted but not always. This usually happens in an appliance, but could conceivably happen in storage too.

I just store my unused cells/batteries in a little plastic box in a cool place, nothing special.

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Old 11th Mar 2014, 8:22 pm   #20
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Default Re: The hidden danger of dead batteries...

I have fixed damage to the very thin tracks on my mother's digibox remote using some conductive silver paint (the tracks are too thin to solder too, and no suitable pads are available to solder wire links to) but the repair hasn't lasted more than a few months. I shall have to try varnishing over the paint to see if it improves things as it has just gone again.
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