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08-05-2013, 03:23 AM   #1
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Battery went through a washing machine and dryer - toss it?

Yeah, not one of my finest moments - I thought I checked my pockets, but guess not well enough. So should I even try it or is there a chance of damaging the camera I put it in? It's a Q battery btw...

08-05-2013, 04:11 AM   #2
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I have no experience with this particular problem, but there are two main things to consider.
(1) This type of battery can be damaged if it is shorted out. We could assume that the battery will be discharged by the washing process (I think soapy water is an even better conductor than plain water). This may not be the same as shorting the battery, but it is unlikely to be good for it.
(2) If water gets past the seals and inside the battery I think it would definitely suffer damage and probably be unlikely to ever take a full charge again.
So that makes two possibilities, neither of which is good. As the battery is unlikely to still carry a charge there would be no point in putting it in the camera. But if there is no obvious water or anything else running out of the battery, you could leave it for a few days to ensure it is dry and then try it on the battery charger. If it appears to take a charge, you could then check voltage and capacity using a multimeter. If it looks about right, it probably is OK to use in your camera.
Personally, I would be inclined to bite the bullet and get a new battery. Sometimes it isn't worth the pain of finding out.
08-05-2013, 04:25 AM   #3
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Shorting a bettery does not necessariy ruin it. A lot of chargers short the battery to empty it completely before recharging.
It migth still work fine. Just see if it charges ok
If it refuses to charge full after several hours then it really is gone.
08-05-2013, 07:57 AM   #4
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I would not automatically discount it.

Dry it thoroughly over several days, might already be dry if it went through the dryer
Put it on the charger and see if it takes a charge.
Test the voltage if you can and see if it is nominal
Put it in the camera and try it. I think worst case is it just won't take a charge.

08-05-2013, 11:48 AM   #5
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Some chargers can discharge a battery beforehand, but that's done in a controlled way. The battery is definitively not shorted. Li-Ion batteries are potentially very dangerous and you must avoid shorting them under all circumstances, they can get extremely hot or explode. There are even special shipping rules for them to prevent accidents (IATA).

You can try to charge your battery, but I would certainly keep an eye on it and check its temperature. I personally wouldn't trust this one and dispose it.
08-05-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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I'm in the toss it camp, batteries weren't designed to washed and tumble dried.

So even if it works fine there would always be that nagging doubt in my mind, that it will fail at a very important moment.
08-05-2013, 04:59 PM   #7
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I've washed a couple of cell phones and never had any problem with the batteries afterwards. Test it with a voltage meter, if it has the proper voltage it shouldn't be a problem.
08-06-2013, 05:18 AM   #8
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If you do decide to put this battery on the charger, watch it carefully and make sure it is not becoming unusually warm during charging (all batteries heat up during charging, but there are reasonable limits).

08-06-2013, 05:22 AM   #9
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If it had shortened out you would definetily see (and in worst case smell and even hear ) it since the battery would be bulged, burned or even exploded. I think battery packs have somekind of a protection circuit to prevent the shortcircuit. Personally id make sure its dry, measure it, and if it has voltage left i would recharge it and if everything goes fine id use it.

And BTW, chargers wont discharge batteries because that would kill the (lithiumbased) battery. They dont have any memoryeffect like NiMh-batteries, and you can recharge them whenever you want/need.
08-06-2013, 05:38 AM   #10
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In short, yes. To go into more detail, yes, toss it out.

There is always a chance it will work however Lithium ion batteries do not like the washing machine treatment and it may be damaged in ways you can't tell from the outside. You can buy a replacement 3rd party battery from B&H for a very little amount.

Much better idea than risking exploding/burning/melting/leaking battery either on a charger or inside your very precious DSLR.
08-06-2013, 06:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monoloco Quote
Test it with a voltage meter, if it has the proper voltage it shouldn't be a problem.
Probably a stupid question, but the battery has 3 terminals. On a typical AA-adapter, it has 2 terminals and easy to check voltage. How do you do that on a 3-terminal battery?
08-06-2013, 06:33 AM   #12
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Thanks all for your feedback. I kind of new the answer - that I should toss it - but thought I should ask.
08-06-2013, 06:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote
Probably a stupid question, but the battery has 3 terminals. On a typical AA-adapter, it has 2 terminals and easy to check voltage. How do you do that on a 3-terminal battery?
Two outer terminals are + and -, the third center terminal is feedback to the charger about LiON battery status. The center terminal is not used on those cameras that can also use AA batteries.
08-06-2013, 07:00 AM   #14
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I have a feeling it will work just fine - especially after the drying process... .
08-06-2013, 09:57 AM   #15
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Your battery may still be OK but it's overall life and current capacity may be diminished. Lithium batteries have an minimum Voltage level they can be discharged to. If the battery went under that level then there is chance that performance is degraded. Considering that the water in the washer was at least somewhat conductive with whatever minerals are dissolved in it there was probably some discharge occurring but much less than say a straight short. The drier heat cycled it but I'm guessing it wasn't outputting any current so the stress on the chemicals may have been minimized although not eliminated.

Go ahead and try charging it. If you find that the charging seems to go on forever then you're battery should be tossed. The charger can't reach the charged cut-off level for it to turn off. You don't want to keep charging a battery that won't hold.
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