Expanding on removing corrosion caused by batteries.

Recently in a Facebook chat, the question was asked: “How do I deal with battery acid damage so things don’t get worse?”.

Having recently dealt with both the Quadra 950 and the Amiga 2000, I felt eminently qualified. Here is my answer

This is my method. There are many like it but this is mine.
Remove the motherboard, rinse the affected area with white vinegar. It should “fizz”. Keep applying vinegar until the fizzing stops.
Rinse thoroughly with tap water and scrub the area. Rinse with distilled water. Rinse with isopropyl alcohol. (You need to get under the chips).
Place in a hot, dry environment. (I stick it in the sun for an hour or so) This’ll neutralise that alkaline from the battery completely.
You may need to scrub at tracks if the corrosion has got under the solder mask (Tracks will look “dirty” under the mask). If so, you need to remove the mask and clean the track with a very mild abrasive (ink eraser or fiberglass pen) until the corrosion is gone.
You’ll then need to seal the tracks. There are professional products out there, but I’m slack so I use nailpolish.

Now, while this is a good answer and barely fitted in a standard reply, I thought I’d expand on it a bit here.

Remove the motherboard, rinse the affected area with white vinegar. It should “fizz”. Keep applying vinegar until the fizzing stops.

To expand on this, I’d be using an old toothbrush to apply the vinegar, and scrubbing aggressively. Not “lift tracks” aggressively, but like you’re brushing your teeth. You really want to react as much of that alkaline as you can.

Rinse thoroughly with tap water and scrub the area. Rinse with distilled water. Rinse with isopropyl alcohol. (You need to get under the chips).

Each time you want to make sure you treat all the are of the previous step. With the tap water step, you really want to remove every last bit of alkaline, vinegar and any other by-products of the reactions, if possible. Distilled water can be a single pass. With the isopropanol, you’re trying to get rid of water trapped under things like chips and sockets. When I used to do this for a living, we had a big tin of it, and we’d soak the entire motherboard in the isopropyl for 15-30 minutes before drying.

Place in a hot, dry environment. (I stick it in the sun for an hour or so) This’ll neutralise that alkaline from the battery completely.

This is further drying. If it’s not sunny, once most of the iso is gone, you can stick it in an oven set to about 50°C for 15 to 20 minutes. That should dry it out.

You may need to scrub at tracks if the corrosion has got under the solder mask (Tracks will look “dirty” under the mask). If so, you need to remove the mask and clean the track with a very mild abrasive (ink eraser or fiberglass pen) until the corrosion is gone.

You can also scrape back the mask carefully with a fine flat bladed screwdriver. Also watch out for fibreglass pens. They drop itchy, irritating fibres everywhere. I always work over a piece of paper, which I fold and discard at the end.

You’ll then need to seal the tracks. There are professional products out there, but I’m slack so I use nailpolish.

Yep. Nail polish. A colour so hideous my wife, who collects nail polishes, didn’t want. Works well, and at least I know where I’ve covered tracks.

Published by ilike8bits

I collect old computers and consoles

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