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Leaking camera batteries

How to limit damage

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mick H28/12/2018 15:46:01
726 forum posts
21 photos

Went to take a picture today and found that the Lithium AA cells in the camera had leaked. What can be used to neutralise the battery fluid and prevent further damage and corrosion. I think that anything water soluble will damage the circuitry and I am tempted to try a blast with an aerosol brake or carburettor cleaner. Any other ideas gents?


Maurice Taylor28/12/2018 16:56:48
128 forum posts
17 photos

I would not use brake or carb cleaner ,I would probably try switch contact cleaner. I think brake or carb cleaner would be too aggressive on delicate components.

Oldiron28/12/2018 17:02:14
525 forum posts
22 photos

I tend to use a small dry stiff brush to remove the worst. Then use WD40 on a cotton bud to clean off the rest of the detritus. Do as much as possible with the opening pointing  downwards to stop junk going into the works. Always works on battery boxes etc.


Edited By Oldiron on 28/12/2018 17:03:15

HOWARDT28/12/2018 18:48:01
595 forum posts
15 photos

Methylated spirit is recommended to neutralise the deposit, if I remember right!!

mick H28/12/2018 19:12:43
726 forum posts
21 photos

Thanks gents. I have got some switch cleaner, WD40  and meths. Will try it out tomorrow. Thanks again.


Edited By mick H on 28/12/2018 19:13:15

Nick Clarke 328/12/2018 19:32:19
883 forum posts
30 photos

I collect old cameras and lemon juice or citric acid applies with a cotton bud is what I use after having seen it recommended on camera collecting forums elsewhere.

Meths and WD40 will both leave a deposit and the latter is frowned upon by camera repairers. Switch cleaner may be ok if it is designed to leave nothing, however some contain lubricants to keep the contacts clean. This can migrate inside the camera. Personally after the citric acid I always spray it onto a cotton bud or use petrol lighter fuel instead. This will normally clean the contacts of chemical, however if there is corrosion or rust this can be removed by gentle application of a glass fibre pencil.

Sometimes you may need to bring a contact up to size and here a small section of the metal covering the cork of a prosecco or cava bottle can work - I haven't tried it with champagne as with model engineering and camera collecting as hobbies I can't afford the good stuff!

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 28/12/2018 19:37:01

Robin29/12/2018 00:29:16
355 forum posts

I do a lot of this for leaking alkaline batteries, is that the same? My technique is two minutes of harsh ultrasonics in Electrolube Safewash 2000, then a scrub under the hot tap using the plastic washing up brush,followed by a blow dry with shop air making sure it penetrates all those important little places. Leave for a few hours to dry completely and then a waft of Servisol Super 10 switch cleaner to give a bit of lasting protection. Whether it works really depends on getting there before it penetrates the gold to the copper beneath and whether it finds lead free solder. It does strange things to lead free solder especially close to the battery that leaked. Haven't quite figured that one.

Paul Lousick29/12/2018 00:57:56
1541 forum posts
578 photos

A scrub under the hot tap would not be advised for a camera. They do not like water.

Russell Eberhardt29/12/2018 09:11:32
2600 forum posts
85 photos

I wouldn't use tap water on any electronic product. It contains salts that make it conductive. Distilled water is better as it is an insulator. Following the water a rince in alcohol will help to remove the remaining water then leave open for 24 hours before fitting new batteries.


roy entwistle29/12/2018 10:34:33
1251 forum posts

I wouldn't advise putting a camera in water of any sort

See Paul's advice above


Vic29/12/2018 11:39:39
2607 forum posts
20 photos

An old mate who worked at a school had to deal with some electrical equipment that had rainwater inside them from a leaking roof. The equipment included a couple of computers. Luckily nothing was turned on at the time. He opened the equipment and flushed it with distilled water then dried them with a hair drier. All the equipment worked fine afterwards. Someone then told him the school had put in an insurance claim for the damaged equipment!

mick H29/12/2018 12:21:28
726 forum posts
21 photos

I had a go at it this morning, starting with what I consider to be the least innocuous, meths, and it worked very well as far as I can see. I am not getting the "change batteries" screen any more. Monitoring continues. Thank you all for your advice.


Russell Eberhardt30/12/2018 10:28:29
2600 forum posts
85 photos
Posted by roy entwistle on 29/12/2018 10:34:33:

I wouldn't advise putting a camera in water of any sort

See Paul's advice above


I would agree with you for a mechanical (film) camera, however the most common method of cleaning a pcb after soldering is to use water. So digital cameras are fine with water as long as they don't have any power at the time.


Howard Lewis30/12/2018 11:41:47
3605 forum posts
2 photos

To prevent or minimise this sort of thing, I coat the terminals with Vaseline (Petroleum jelly) before installation.

Seems to work pretty well.


Peter G. Shaw30/12/2018 11:59:23
1165 forum posts
44 photos

I think a lot depends on how fast one is when using water inside electronic equipment. We had a 6 month old TV on which "herself" had placed a vase complete with flowers and water, and as you might expect, it got knocked over by one of the children. I opened it up, and used the workshop wet/dry vac to suck out as much water as possible from the PCB followed by gentle application of a heat gun. 24 years later we scrapped the TV, having had no problems other than a few dried out electrolytic capacitors!

Peter G. Shaw


Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 30/12/2018 12:00:13

Mike Poole30/12/2018 12:25:12
2739 forum posts
64 photos

A favourite trick in our firestation watchroom was to tip sugared coffee in the bleeper system keyboard, I took it back to the workshop and washed it in tap water and detergent, a good blow out with compressed air and a spell near the radiator and it was fixed perfectly much to the disappointment of the watchroom staff.


Howard Lewis30/12/2018 15:49:04
3605 forum posts
2 photos

My experience, F W I W..

Had a battery which leaked, pre Vaseline, in a TV remote, so that it was non functioning. Cleaned out the corrosion, or as much as I could, with a wet toothbrush. It still failed to work! Left overnight by a hot air vent above the Central Heating boiler, to dry out, it has worked perfectly since!

The moisture allows just enough current to flow prevent/modify operation. Once free of the unwanted "circuit" operation returns to normal.


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