Best way to clean mildly corroded battery contacts?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Deep Thought, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Guest

    Despite my loving care I found recently that one of my flashgun batteries
    had slightly leaked on to its spring contact (blue crystalline type
    deposit)... I gently used the point of a knife to scrape this residue off
    but the surface is still not ideal and have experienced the odd power supply
    problem when switching on the flash unit (i.e. not powering up)... what is
    the best way to deal with this, bearing in mind the spring is fairly
    inaccessible as it is within the battery compartment as opposed to being
    part of the battery compartment lid??
     
    Deep Thought, Dec 28, 2003
    #1
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  2. Deep Thought

    Steve Kramer Guest

    I may be off base here, but I've always used Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
    mixed with water to clean the corrosion off the battery terminals in my
    cars. Perhaps using the same mix on a Q-Tip would work for you. Just
    don't fill the battery compartment with the fluid. And find a second
    source to corroborate this idea before you try it!

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    http://www.photoenvisions.com
     
    Steve Kramer, Dec 28, 2003
    #2
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  3. Deep Thought

    Jean Guest

    | Despite my loving care I found recently that one of my flashgun batteries
    | had slightly leaked on to its spring contact (blue crystalline type
    | deposit)... I gently used the point of a knife to scrape this residue off
    | but the surface is still not ideal and have experienced the odd power
    supply
    | problem when switching on the flash unit (i.e. not powering up)... what
    is
    | the best way to deal with this, bearing in mind the spring is fairly
    | inaccessible as it is within the battery compartment as opposed to being
    | part of the battery compartment lid??
    |
    | --
    | -----------------------
    | Deep Thought
    | -----------------------
    |
    |


    Rub the contacts gently with a pencil erasure.

    Jean
     
    Jean, Dec 28, 2003
    #3
  4. Deep Thought

    JBee Guest

    I've used an ink eraser in the past, they are rougher texture than normal
    pencil erasers. Just make sure the "bits" don't fall inside.

    HTH,

    JB
     
    JBee, Dec 28, 2003
    #4
  5. One technique I have used successfully is a contact cleaner "pen" made of
    glass fibre strands. They are widely used in the electronics industry for
    cleaning printed circuit contacts and other metal surfaces. They are
    obtainable from Maplin in the UK but a good electronics hobby shop /
    supplier should be able to supply.

    Bill Harrison
     
    Bill Harrison, Dec 28, 2003
    #5
  6. Deep Thought

    Bandicoot Guest

    I second that. You may also get them from a graphic arts supplier, since
    they are sometimes used for erasing ink on drafting film.


    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Dec 28, 2003
    #6
  7. Deep Thought

    Bob Hickey Guest

    HAMA makes a fiber glass pen. Works wonders. But use it at arms length over
    the sink or garbage. The fibers are so superfine, they get right into your
    skin. Very scratchy and annoying.
    Bob Hickey
     
    Bob Hickey, Dec 28, 2003
    #7
  8. I've looked at the comments, and they're all correct to some extent -
    in my humble opinion.

    The thing to remember is that the contacts are plated, (usually nickel
    on brass) and it's very easy to damage the plating. Once this is done,
    (say, by scratching with a knife) you're never going to have good
    contact again - the unit should really be serviced and the contacts
    replaced.

    In general, I try a little Windex on a Q-tip first. It cleans pretty
    wellm and is easily available. If there is more electrolyte deposit
    than that, a little baking soda will help.

    Then you might try an ink eraser, but that's already harsh enough to
    erode the plating. A fiberglass brush WILL take the plating off to the
    bare brass if you keep at it, and if you get shiny metal the contact
    will work for a while - but the brass will oxidize in the air and
    you'll shortly have a poor contact again.
     
    Scott Schuckert, Dec 28, 2003
    #8
  9. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Guest

    Thanks for your suggestions... will try the Windex option first although I
    am not familiar with the product (same name in UK?)...
     
    Deep Thought, Dec 28, 2003
    #9
  10. Steve,

    Your advise is right on target. Baking Soda will neutralize any acids, from
    the battery or your fingers.

    Cheers
     
    Martin Riddle, Dec 28, 2003
    #10
  11. I use electrical contact cleaners and a Q-tip. The cleaners come in
    small bottles or spray cans. There's already some etching on the
    contacts so scratching them even more doesn't help in the long run.
    If you can't find contact cleaner, 91% (or higher) rubbing alcohol
    will work.

    headscratcher
     
    headscratcher, Dec 28, 2003
    #11
  12. Deep Thought

    Bandicoot Guest

    Yes indeed!

    I got my legs caught between two sinking fibreglass boat hulls as a kid, one
    with a gash in it exposing the fibres. By the time I'd got free and swum
    back to land my legs were bleeding pretty profusely. To this day I get fine
    pinpricks of blood on my shins every now and then as a few more of the
    fibres work their way to the surface. Doesn't really hurt, but is annoying.



    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Dec 28, 2003
    #12
  13. Deep Thought

    Alan Browne Guest

    Actually you are very "on base" as baking soda is "basic" in chemistry
    terms!

    Baking soda is high pH (basic), so appropriate for _automobile_ battery
    acid which is VERY low pH (acidic pH=0)...however...

    Disposable batteries (alkaline) these days are all high pH, so baking
    soda might in fact be the wrong thing to do...

    Tomato juice, lemon/orange juice, vinegar are slighly acid and might be
    the right thing for alkaline contaminated parts. In the lab, we often
    cleaned electronics with lab coffee.

    Please wear gloves and goggles and proceed at your own risk!!

    A 'gritty' eraser is often mentioned for cleaning corroded contacts.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 28, 2003
    #13
  14. Deep Thought

    Alan Browne Guest

    Actually you are very "on base" as baking soda is "basic" in chemistry
    terms!

    Baking soda is high pH (basic), so appropriate for _automobile_ battery
    acid which is VERY low pH (acidic pH=0)...however...

    Disposable batteries (alkaline) these days are all high pH, so baking
    soda might in fact be the wrong thing to do...

    Tomato juice, lemon/orange juice, vinegar are slighly acid and might be
    the right thing for alkaline contaminated parts. In the lab, we often
    cleaned electronics with lab coffee.

    Please wear gloves and goggles and proceed at your own risk!!

    A 'gritty' eraser is often mentioned for cleaning corroded contacts.

    Cheers,
    Alan

    e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 28, 2003
    #14
  15. Deep Thought

    Alan Browne Guest

    ....alkaline battery 'leakage' is alkaline, not acid. Baking soda is
    alkaline too....
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 28, 2003
    #15
  16. Deep Thought

    Mike Guest

    I use white vinegar followed by little water, very little water.
     
    Mike, Dec 28, 2003
    #16
  17. I used to have to occasionally work with a substance called, "glasstic". It
    was a wood substitute, pink in color, made of glass fibres imbedded in an
    epoxy filler. We used it because it was fireproof, and didn't conduct
    electricity, yet it was quite strong. It was miserable stuff to work with.
    If you had to saw it or drill it, the, "sawdust" was like itching powder. I
    still see it used as ladder rungs in hardware stores.
     
    William Graham, Dec 28, 2003
    #17
  18. The main ingredient in Windex is ammonia....It is chiefly a glass
    cleaner.......
     
    William Graham, Dec 28, 2003
    #18
  19. For "standard/heavy duty" batteries use a baking soda solution to wash
    the contacts to dissolve and neutralize the ammonium and zinc chloride
    salts. For alkaline batteries use vinegar to dissolve and neutralize
    the potassium hydroxide. If you don't get the corrosive salts
    neutralized and washed off, mechanical cleaning won't do any good as
    the salts will absorb water from the air and start corroding again.
    After the wash/neutralization step clean with an eraser or contact
    cleaning tool. You can get a glass fiber contact cleaning brush from
    most photo shops.
     
    Bob Kirkpatrick, Dec 29, 2003
    #19
  20. Deep Thought

    Alan Browne Guest


    Ammonia is basic, so the wrong thing to use on alkalais. Vinegar, lemon
    juice, tomato juice would be better.

    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 29, 2003
    #20
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