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How To Clean Up After a Battery Leak:

from The ARRL Letter on March 14, 2019
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How To Clean Up After a Battery Leak:

Many hams have had the unfortunate experience of old batteries leaking in a piece of gear or a flashlight, creating a mess. Business technology news site ZDNet recently offered its procedure for cleaning it up. The brief online presentation recommends taking some precautions about coming in contact with the white discharge -- specifically potassium hydroxide in the case of alkaline cells, a caustic irritant. An old toothbrush or something similar can start the project, along with a small scraper, and cotton swabs dipped in water. Start by removing and properly disposing of the bad cells and then brushing out the worst of the material -- preferably outdoors or over a container to catch the remnants.

The article advises against using any sort of acid such as vinegar or lemon juice, lest it cause corrosion problems of its own. It suggests a fiberglass scratch brush for scrubbing the battery compartment contacts clean, although other tools may work as well. Deoxit D5 or similar contact cleaner also comes in handy, with a tiny dab of dielectric grease or silicone paste as a finishing touch to inhibit future corrosion if a leak occurs. Other tips to head off problems down the road include using only name-brand batteries, avoiding mixing old and new batteries, removing batteries from devices not in use, avoiding exposing batteries to extreme heat or cold, and minding battery expiration dates.


The ARRL Letter

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