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09-05-2013, 04:34 AM   #1
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Cleaning corroded battery contacts in a flash

Found a Pentax AF200T flash at a thrift for a buck, so I picked it up. There's corrosion on the spring battery terminals recessed deep inside the flash. Any good tricks I can use to clean this off? It's kinda tough to get to.

Cheers,
Bob :-)

09-05-2013, 05:13 AM   #2
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Maybe with a Dremel, flexshaft attachment and a wirebrush like below?

Dremel Wire and Bristle Brushes, Dremel Cut Off Wheels 1/8 Inch Shank
09-05-2013, 05:14 AM   #3
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Try white vinegar in a swab and a soft brush. Then clean with 91% isopropyl alcohol.
Depending on how much damage there is, the terminal can be weakened so be careful as it can break.
Good luck!
09-05-2013, 05:16 AM   #4
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This is going to be vague, so I apologize in advance, but I remember someone talking about making a solution of baking soda and distilled water and using a Q-tip to clean up battery corrosion. I can't remember how much baking soda to how much water. Sorry. I think the idea is that the base of the baking soda will stop the acid from the battery from doing any further damage. If you don't stop it, it will eventually eat its way up the wiring, I believe. But, hey, for a buck, what have you got to lose? lol

09-05-2013, 05:17 AM   #5
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I'll try some baking soda dissolved in warm water, add to the spring with a Q-tip., and some switch cleaner sprayed on to finish the cleaning process...

EDIT: I'd say a teaspoon of baking soda and a cup of water...
09-05-2013, 05:50 AM   #6
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Good tips, guys... Thanks much! I'll give 'em a try. :-)
09-05-2013, 06:08 AM   #7
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Use baking soda for acid residue from carbon-zinc batteries and a weak acid (vinegar or citric acid) on alkaline battery residue. Acid residue is usually orange/reddish/brown while alkaline residue is typically whitish. Then clean again with distilled water or alcohol. Does anybody use carbon zinc batteries in flash units? You can also use a product call DeoxIT which comes in spray cans or an applicator pen. I prefer the pen which has a fiber brush tip and doesn't waste the cleaner. You can buy it off the shelf at any Radio Shack. If there are large amounts of residue remove most of it with an old toothbrush first.

Make sure to position the unit so any excess fluids will be less likely to run into the unit - e.g. with the compartment door pointed towards the ground.

Last edited by Not a Number; 09-05-2013 at 06:13 AM.
09-05-2013, 09:08 AM   #8
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@Not a Number
So it's base for carbon-zinc and acid for alkaline?

As the AF200T is quite old, it could be also from rechargable CdS cells.
Do you happen to know what to use for this? Sorry, my chemistry lessons from university were >40 years ago (and it hadn't been my main subject).

As far as I remember, leaked CdS cells in my flashes caused whitish residue. And I had to repeat cleaning for years nearly every time I changed batteries.

09-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
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Eureka! Vinegar on a Q-tip followed by contact cleaner did the trick. Flash be flashin'. :-)

Oh... also a nice copy of this lens was included along with the flash. And a trashed A3000 body. For a buck, I can't complain.
09-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
So it's base for carbon-zinc and acid for alkaline?
Correct. Carbon-zinc batteries use an acidic electrolyte.

QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
As the AF200T is quite old, it could be also from rechargable CdS cells.
Do you happen to know what to use for this? Sorry, my chemistry lessons from university were >40 years ago (and it hadn't been my main subject).

As far as I remember, leaked CdS cells in my flashes caused whitish residue. And I had to repeat cleaning for years nearly every time I changed batteries.
Nickel-Cadmium batteries use an alkaline electrolyte.

The acid-base reaction usually produces a gas and if you put your ear near it you can hear it fizzing. No fizzing means either the acid or base has been neutralized or you need to switch to either a base or acid.

It's been about as long for me as well and chemistry was not one of my better subjects eiher.
09-05-2013, 09:04 PM   #11
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Glad it worked!
Now sell it for two bucks and make 100% profit margin
09-05-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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I have bright blue corrosion inside my Battery Grip M (for one of my K2 DMDs) and I've tried vinegar, baking soda, a toothbrush and a putty knife for scraping and can't get all of the residue off. Any suggestions? The corrosion ate through one of the metal contacts at the top of the battery holder where it bends to touch the contacts inside where I can't remove the corrosion. Also, would Eric H. be able to repair, clean this up and get it working again if I can't?
09-06-2013, 05:23 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Now sell it for two bucks and make 100% profit margin
LOL... With no bounce head, I wouldn't want to use it on the camera hot shoe, but it'll come in handy with a radio trigger. The Pentax A 35-70 that came with it is a surprisingly good performer. Not that I need it...
09-06-2013, 07:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by builttospill Quote
I have bright blue corrosion inside my Battery Grip M (for one of my K2 DMDs) and I've tried vinegar, baking soda, a toothbrush and a putty knife for scraping and can't get all of the residue off. Any suggestions? The corrosion ate through one of the metal contacts at the top of the battery holder where it bends to touch the contacts inside where I can't remove the corrosion. Also, would Eric H. be able to repair, clean this up and get it working again if I can't?
Blue is probably from the copper in the contacts.

Try a pipe cleaner or dental floss looped over the parts you can't get to.

You'd have to contact Eric and ask him.
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