Wednesday, July 28News That Matters

LPT: When storing electronics, be sure to remove any alkaline batteries before packing.

If you ever have a need to store battery-powered electronics for any length of time, remember to remove the batteries before packing for storage. Alkaline batteries will often leak acid if they're put into a very low-drain state, such as in an unused TV remote, camera flash, game controller, etc. and this acid can severely damage the contacts in the battery compartment or if it leaks badly enough, the printed circuit board of the device itself. I learned this the hard way and ruined a camera flash that was in storage for many months; I forgot to take the batteries out and when I finally unpacked, the leaking had damaged the contacts in the battery compartment so badly that then entirety of one of the contact springs completely snapped off when trying to change batteries, stuck to the battery itself. Simply removing the batteries would have saved it, and they don't need to be thrown away if they still have power since not having a load on them at all prevents them from leaking in most cases.

Additional protip: if this does happen to you, a battery change will often not allow the device to work because of corrosion on the contacts. Use a q-tip whetted with distilled white vinegar to break up the acid and corrosion that are on the contacts. The vinegar will react with and neutralize the crust left by the stronger acid in the batteries, and in fact you see/hear it bubble while it does its thing. Go over it several times until the crust is removed. If you're still having trouble getting good contact, a bit of fine sandpaper such as 80-grit will generally polish the contacts enough to allow for a good connection. If it's too deep in a battery compartment for you to get to, use a hole punch on the paper to get some small discs of paper that can be glued to the eraser end of a wooden pencil, and use that. Follow up with another cleaning of DWV. Make sure to clean this crust thoroughly because any residue will cause the new batteries to start leaking much more quickly than they would otherwise, but you can usually get your electronics back with this cleaning if the batteries leak.

If you're just moving and they'll be unpacked after only a week or so and go back into normal use this isn't as critical, but remembering to do this before storage of a month or more can save you some grief.

EDIT: thank you to anonymous Redditor and cleaned up some typos.

submitted by /u/Mr_Lumbergh
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