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Thread: How to remove a corroded battery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Santa Maria, CA

    Help How to remove a corroded battery

    This is my first post and I know very little about the subject. However, I have a problem that I would like help in solving. I keep a small metal pen flashlight (MINI MAGLITE) in my bed stand for emergencies. It takes two AAA batteries and unfortunately, I have been remiss about changing the batteries or doing any maintenance. Because of this, the batteries have corroded in the pen portion and I have only been able to get one of the batteries out. The other battery is stuck like glue to the side of the metal, and I have tried everything that I know to get it out with no success. The last thing I tried was putting an "x-acto" knife down the side to try and loosen the corrosion and free the battery, but that did not work because the blade could not get down past the corrosion at the top of the battery. Is there any liquid I can use to dissolve the corrosion without ruining the entire flashlight? Does anyone have any suggestions, or is my MINI MAGLITE just a goner.

    I don't know anything about collecting flashlights, but this MINI MAGLITE flashlight was one that I got back in 1988 and it has imprinted on the screw-on head of it, "Kodak Official Film and Batteries of the 1988 Olympic Games" with the Olympic Rings below. Because of this, I would think it is worth trying to salvage, not too mention that it is a nice, heavy metal pen light that I would like to continue to use.

    Please let me know if anyone has any ideas I can try to get the remaining corroded battery out of this pen flashlight. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* VegasF6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Las Vegas

    Default Re: How to remove a corroded battery

    This question has come up quite a few times:
    Do a search for corroded batteries.
    If you can access both ends I would just run a drill down through them. Or up through the bottom most of the way. The battery swells and locks in place quite tightly.

    Oh, completely wrong forum by the way. Please request a mod to move it to battery forum.
    Edit Edit:
    I guess it was moved.
    Last edited by VegasF6; 11-01-2008 at 01:17 PM.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southern California

    Default Re: How to remove a corroded battery

    A drill seems a little drastic until it becomes a last resort. Before trying that I would suggest to remove both ends of the light, put a large wooden dowel inside the open battery tube and try to knock the stuck battery out with a hammer (place the end of the light on a wooden block). Once it is out, clean up the inside of the tube with a bottle brush and some vinegar, or some of the household cleaning spray that says it is good for removing lime scale from bathtubs and the like (wear rubber gloves and safety glasses because of splashes from the brush). However, don't soak the light in that stuff or use it for very long since it will eat the aluminum. When you have finished cleaning it, rinse it really well under running water and dry it off.

    [Edit: don't try to clean an aluminum light with anything caustic or alkaline as it will tend to remove the anodized finish.]
    Last edited by Mr Happy; 11-01-2008 at 02:13 PM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* 22hornet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Province of Antwerp / Belgium

    Default Re: How to remove a corroded battery


    A lot of us started with the famous Minimags. When it works again, consider getting a dropin upgrade like the Terralux TLE-20.
    You will be pleasantly surprised.

    Where to buy?

    Kind regards,

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to remove a corroded battery

    As Mr. Happy suggested...

    In the past, I have used wooden dowel rods and a hammer to get the corroded batteries out. A tip, make sure the dowel rod is not too small or it will go right through the center of the battery discharging the guts and leave the outer casing still stuck in the battery, been there done that.

    Definitely wash it out with white vinegar afterwards, it will help dissolve the crusty stuff left from the electolyte that probably leaked out. You can soak it a little bit but not too long (5 minutes or so), as it can have adverse effects on some of the finishes/aluminum if left too long.

    Then a final washing with plain water. Dry it off, inside and out.

    You should be all set.

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