Cleaning blue green stuff in battery compartment

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jbclem

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I'm trying to get an old (but barely used) Regency HX1500 scanner working, and the first step is to get all the blue-green crud out of the battery compartment. I'd like to ask for some suggestions for doing this.

Thanks,

John
 

mm

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It sounds like alkaline battery leakage,

This is for cleaning regular alkaline batteries that have leaked which I have done and your color description is in line with this type of leakage. For other types of batteries I have no experience since all that ever seems to leak on me are the alkalines.

Most important, wear safety glasses and rubber gloves because the Potassium Hydroxide, from the leaking alkaline batteries gone bad, burns and you do not want any of the flakes to get it in your eyes or on your skin.

I usually just use regular vinegar and an old toothbrush to remove the crud from the contacts but be warned that even after this the metal may be so far worn away that electrical contact is poor even after cleaning.

Also remember 'Don't use water' or any other cleaning liquids either, remember just use vinegar to do the cleaning and you should be fine if the batteries were regular alkalines.

If after your finished cleaning and the metal contacts still look pitted with a brownish color to them then you can try a fine wire brush to see if you can improve the electrical contact but from my experience once the damage is done and the contacts are worn pitted and dark colored, the only other option is to replace the battery contacts.

Also the usual disclaimer applies: I'm Not responsible for any errors or injuries during the cleaning process.

Mike
 

oft

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you can also create a Arm-&-Hammer Baking Soda / water paste mix and apply with a old toothbrush or one of those cheap horse-hair knockoff acid brushes from Harbor Freight (with the bristles cut down to a stiff feel). Then come back with rubbing alcohol to remove and clean.

Like MM stated- the corrosion can be so severe that the conductive plating could have been eaten away, severe oxidation, or a form of black electrolysis (similar to unsealed marine electronics exposed to the elements) has taken place. You can try scraping the contact to gain conductivity. Sometimes on the contacts (not the springs) you can apply rosin-based (NOT ACID BASED) solder-paste flux and then a heated solder iron with solder and re-tin the contact and clean up with rubbing alcohol.
 

mm

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Just make sure that the mess is from an alkaline battery and not a lead acid type as the neutralizer is different,

Again If it was an alkaline battery try not to use baking soda on potassium hydroxide as baking soda is not acidic and it will not neutralize the alkaline battery solution.

If it were an acidic battery like a lead acid cell then you would neutralize it with an alkaline substance like baking soda but never apply water to the spill if it's acid.

Remember: To neutralize spills add a mild acid (vinegar) to the alkaline battery spill and for an acid battery spill add an alkaline (baking soda) to neutralize.

1. Use Baking soda which is an Alkaline neutralizer for acidic batteries
2. Use Baking powder or better yet vinegar (since you don't need to mix any liquid since it's already a liquid) which is an acidic neutralizer for alkaline batteries.

Also if there is damage remember that some battery manufacturers may replace damaged radios caused by their leaking batteries.
 

jbclem

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Thanks guys, for the quick help. Good information, especially the idea of re-tinning the contacts. I just tried cleaning with vinegar and a toothbrush, and also a wire brush (toothbrush style). Some came off from the elbow grease, but there's no sign that the vinegar is dissolving the blue-green deposits. Is it supposed to do that? The problem is that some of the blue-green is in cracks that the brush can't get to. I also read a suggestions somewhere else to try baking powder (not soda) to dissolve the blue-green. Has anyone tried that?

John
 

buddrousa

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The old HX-1000 and HX-1500 used NICAD rechargeable AA cells wrapped in a plastic wrap. He is cleaning leakage from NICAD batteries. So how knows what to use chime in because this is what he is dealing with.
 

N0GTG

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In the Army, we used to use a pencil eraser to clean oxidation off contacts. A typing eraser (looks like a pencil, but the lead is replaced by eraser) might also be convenient. This is only mildly abrasive, and not a bad start. I still use that method. You might try that before getting too heavy-duty with chemicals and such. A drop of water might soften up any crusty deposits.
 

jbclem

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This HX1500 was stored for many years, and there are no batteries in it now. I assume that I threw them away when I first looked at it and saw all the corrosion. But I don't know if I had replaced them years ago with regular alkaline AA batteries. Probably not because I never used it much when I first bought it...so there wouldn't have been a reason to replace them.

Since rubbing vinegar on the corrosion didn't dissolve it, I just tried baking soda, and then baking powder. No obvious results, so right now I'm applying vinegar again with a q-tip, leaving a blog of vinegar on the lower contacts for a while. We'll see what happens...

Might it be easier to try to remove the contact strips and clean/buff them away from the scanner's circuitry?
 

krokus

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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.973 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

You should be able to find those wheels in your favorite hardware store, too. Remove the tabs from the radio, prior to trying wire wheel on them.
 

W2PMX

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And don't hold them in your hand when you brush them - use a vise, or at least a pair of pliers. Holding them in your fingers can result in flensing (removing the flesh from a finger) - when the brush grabs the contact and spins it like a rotary knife. (Don't ask how I know.)
 

GTR8000

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Pick up a can of CRC Battery Cleaner from your local auto parts store. Spray it on the end of a Q-Tip and apply to battery contacts. Let it sit for a while, then wipe it off. You may have to repeat the application a few times, but it does work well.
 

jbclem

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I just tried using my Dremel with brass cone wheels. Couldn't find any Dremel brand ones, so I bought a set from Harbor Freight. Talk about chinese quality...the spinning cones immediately flatten out into a plate shape, then pieces of brass wire start shooting out, good thing I had on goggles because I could feel them hitting my face. I was able to clean off the contacts before the first cone self destructed, but couldn't get in underneath where there is still some of the blue green stuff. Next will be to try the CRC Battery cleaner.

I couldn't wait, so I put in eight new AA batteries, turned on the HX1500...it immediately start scanning through some settings I put in 15-20 years ago. What a radio, sounded like it was brand new.

I have a collapsible/extendable (about 36") antenna on it. Is there a critical length, or is it just the longer the better?

Lots of good suggestions, and no one has said that the blue-green stuff won't come off...so I'll keep trying to get down into the cracks until I get it all.

John
 

SCPD

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Pick up a can of CRC Battery Cleaner from your local auto parts store. Spray it on the end of a Q-Tip and apply to battery contacts. Let it sit for a while, then wipe it off. You may have to repeat the application a few times, but it does work well.
This WILL NOT work for alkaline batteries .. CRC Battery cleaner is for lead acid automotive batteries and not alkaline batteries. You should use vinegar and a qtip for alkaline batteries. Hope this helps .... you can also use like a fiberglass tip on your dremel. You do not want to use brass .. as the bristles break off and could short out the internal components of the radio should you do it without disassembling the radio.
 

jbclem

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Oops, I spoke too soon. The left side of keyboard, the column with numbers 1,4,7,and 0 , doesn't/don't respond to a press. No beep, nothing showing on the screen. All other keys seem to be working. I'm not an electronics expert, but it looks like I have to take this thing apart and see if there's something obvious.

John
 

jbclem

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edmscan, thanks for letting me know about the CRC battery cleaner. And I'll be looking for a fiberglass tip if I can fix the latest problem with the non responsive keys.

John
 

nwiscan

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In the Army, we used to use a pencil eraser to clean oxidation off contacts. A typing eraser (looks like a pencil, but the lead is replaced by eraser) might also be convenient. This is only mildly abrasive, and not a bad start. I still use that method. You might try that before getting too heavy-duty with chemicals and such. A drop of water might soften up any crusty deposits.
Good information here, this is step one.
 

W2PMX

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I have a collapsible/extendable (about 36") antenna on it. Is there a critical length, or is it just the longer the better?
One quarter wavelength at the frequency you're listening to is best - if you're holding the scanner, providing a ground plane. (That's about 18" on VHF-hi, 6" on 450 and 3" on 800. Fully extended on VHF-lo because 1/4 wavelength is longer than the antenna.) If you're not holding the scanner the math to figure out the best length isn't something I'd do for money. But the rule of thumb is that when you get the best signal, that's the best length.
 
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