Why exactly does battery corrosion happen in toys? First, batteries contain an acidic or an alkaline solution which is corrosive in nature and can be quite destructive to the metallic terminals of toys and other electronic devices, such as television remotes.
Second, the solutions contained in these batteries, which make them transmit current in the first place, are susceptible to leaking. This mostly happens in cases where toys have not been used for some time or batteries have not been changed in a long time.
Why do Batteries Leak?
The main reason for these leakages is a simple fact that batteries discharge. There is a bit of science to this phenomenon, and it is important that you understand how it takes place.
Over time, the chemistry of the batteries undergoes some changes and hydrogen gas is produced. As the battery continues to produce hydrogen, the gas finds it difficult to escape given the fact that batteries are air-tight.
This causes swelling from within thus exerting enormous pressure on the battery casing. This pressure ruptures the insulating casing at the ends or the external metal canister and creates an escape route not just for the gas but also the liquid content of the battery.
It is this leaking solution that causes corrosion of the terminals.
How to Clean Battery Terminals on Toys
When either the external metal canister or insulating casing has been ruptured, the solution begins to leak out into the toy compartments meant to hold the batteries.
If not stopped in time, the acid/alkali can corrode the terminals thereby preventing power transmission from the battery to other electronic sections of the toy. If you want the toy to be functional again, you need to cautiously remove the corrosion.
However, be careful as you do this because the solution contained in batteries can be dangerous, and can be harmful to anything on its path including you.
Precautionary measures must be taken while removing this corrosion since any contact with the acid/alkali will mean damage to your skin. Removing this erosion is simple and safe to do if you are cautious.
Like most DIY jobs, cleaning the battery terminals on toys requires a step-by-step guide, and also some specific materials and equipment.
- A pair of strong, clean, rubber gloves (link to Amazon)
- A soft piece of cloth
- Distilled white vinegar (Most batteries used in toys contain an alkaline solution instead of acid, so the acidic nature of vinegar counters the ph of the alkaline and ensures easy removal of the corrosion.)
- Cotton swabs or cotton balls
- Screwdriver or dull knife
The recommended steps on how to clean battery terminals on toys
- Before anything else, put your gloves on. The main reason for this is simply that battery corrosion is made from harsh chemicals, and it is very harmful to the skin. Your skin should not make any contact with the solution as you will definitely experience severe skin burns
- Use a screwdriver or a dull knife to pry the corrosion from the battery terminals. This requires caution as well since any recklessness can result in damaged terminals or even more weakened battery exterior. A dull knife is preferred in this case to avoid any accidental self-inflicting cuts which can easily happen with a sharp knife
- Dispose of the batteries carefully once removed. Also, you need to wash the corrosion from either the screwdriver or dull knife, whichever you used
- Take the piece of cloth and wipe off the dry corrosion in the toy battery compartment as gently as possible
- The next step is to dip the cloth into the white vinegar. Gently rub the piece of cloth on the battery compartments including the terminals. There will be some fizzling, so don’t be alarmed. This is normal; it has to do with the fact that the solution used has an opposite PH to that of the alkaline content of the battery corrosions
- In cases where the battery compartments are small, as is usually the case with smaller toys, cotton swabs or balls can be used. Caution should also be taken during the entire cleaning process so that no liquid can leak back into the toy
- After removing the corrosion, wipe the entire compartment clean including the terminals with a clean cloth dipped in clean water
- Wipe the compartment including the terminals with a dry soft cloth and allow the compartment to dry further naturally in the air before use. Sun drying is not advisable due to the high temperature
I hope that this article has been helpful, and you now know how to clean battery terminals on toys. If there is anything I have missed or you have any questions, let me know in the comments!
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