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How to Address Corrosion in a Battery Compartment

Updated: Dec 31, 2022


If you find a blue-ish white crusty substance coating the batteries or battery terminals in your camera or camera accessory, you should follow these steps. Depending on severity, you may be able to rescue the device.

First steps:


First, remove the batteries from the compartment and dispose of them properly. Corroded batteries can leak and cause further damage. Handle with care! Leaky batteries are harmful to your skin and eyes.


Now the batteries are out of the way, brush away any loose matter using a stiff toothbrush or small brush. Most of the excess clumps should be gone and you're now ready to get to down to business.


Options for cleaning the terminals:


Here are some options for properly cleaning off the corrosion and getting things working again.

  1. Use a baking soda and water solution. Mix a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to create a paste. Spread the paste over the terminals and let it sit for a few hours. Then, use the same brush to scrub the terminals and rinse them with water. Once finished, thoroughly clean or dispose of the brush.

  2. Try regular white vinegar. Spray or pour vinegar over the terminals and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use your brush to scrub the terminals and carefully wipe away with a wet rag. Repeat until all signs of corrosion are gone. Thoroughly clean or dispose of the brush.

  3. Use a commercial battery terminal cleaner. These are specially formulated solutions that are designed to remove corrosion from battery terminals. Follow the instructions on the product label to use.

  4. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to scrub away the corrosion. Be careful when using this method, as it can damage the terminals if you are not careful.

Use any combination of these options to complete the job. I like to use vinegar first and then scrape away and corrosion that's left. Always be sure to clean off any remnants of your cleaning substance of choice and ensure the compartment and terminals are completely dry before installing fresh batteries.


What batteries are most prone to corrode?


All types of batteries can corrode if they are not properly maintained, but some types are more prone to corrosion than others. Alkaline batteries can corrode due to the chemical reactions that occur inside the battery and can leak or corrode if they are not used properly or if they are left installed in a device for an extended period of time. Lithium-ion batteries can also corrode if they are not used or charged properly, or if they are left installed in a device for an extended period of time without being used. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are less prone to corrosion, but they can still corrode if they are not used or charged properly, or if they are left installed in a device for an extended period of time. To prevent corrosion, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for using and storing batteries, including properly charging the batteries, replacing them when necessary, and removing them from devices when they are not in use.


Why do batteries corrode?


Batteries corrode due to a chemical reaction between the metal terminals and the chemicals inside the battery. This reaction can cause a thin layer of corrosion to form on the terminals over time. There are several factors that can contribute to battery corrosion, including age, temperature, improper use, exposure to moisture, and poor quality. As batteries age, they become less efficient and can start to corrode. Extreme temperatures can also accelerate the corrosion process, with hot environments causing batteries to corrode more quickly and cold temperatures causing the chemicals inside the battery to freeze and lead to corrosion. Using a battery incorrectly, such as by overcharging or discharging it completely, can also cause it to corrode. Batteries that are exposed to moisture, such as from humidity or wet conditions, can corrode more quickly. Poor quality batteries are more prone to corrosion than high-quality batteries. By following the manufacturer's instructions for using and storing batteries, you can help prevent corrosion and extend the life of your batteries.



Not going to use it in a while? Remove the batteries.


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