Clean rusted contacts?
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Old 06-25-2011   #1
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Default Clean rusted contacts?

Hi all, a family friend noticed me using a SB-28 and offered to give me his old one that he doesnt use. The next day I try it out and of course it doesnt work. I'm sure it worked the last time he used it, but that may have been some time ago! I looked inside and think this may be the cause for it not working:


Heres a comparison to a SB-28 I already own:




As you can see its pretty rusted, I just wondered if anyone on here knows if it can be salvaged in any way? Anything I can use to clean it? Or failing that, recommend anywhere in the UK that could repair it? As it was free I don't mind paying a bit to fix it up.

-chris

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Old 06-25-2011   #2
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

The tricky part will be cleaning the contacts down inside the battery compartment.

You will need:
  1. a flashlight
  2. a blower
  3. a small brush you be discarding when done with this cleaning
  4. a solution of baking soda and water (to neutralize acid)
  5. Q-tips
  6. Emory cloth or fine sand paper
  7. dielectric grease (visit an auto parts store and ask for)
Brush and blow as much of the battery acid (white residue) out of the battery compartment as possible.

Clean the inside contacts first.

Dip a Q-tip into the baking soda/water solution and squeeze excess solution out of the tip with your fingers but leave it wet enough to slightly wet the inside battery contacts and the walls of the battery compartment. You will need to repeat this step several times.

Next, wrap the end of the Q-tip with emory paper/fine sand paper and burnish the inside battery contacts.

Repeat all the above with the battery contacts on the battery compartment door.

Again, brush and blow inside the battery compartment to remove debris left from burnishing the contacts.

The last step is to put some of the dielectric grease on a q-tip and apply a light coat of the dielectric grease to the inside and battery compartment door contacts.

The batteries cannot be left in hot shoe flash units for more than a week or so at a time. I just make it a habit that when I am done with a hot shoe flash for the day I remove the batteries.
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Old 06-25-2011   #3
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KmH View Post
The tricky part will be cleaning the contacts down inside the battery compartment.

You will need:
  1. a flashlight
  2. a blower
  3. a small brush you be discarding when done with this cleaning
  4. a solution of baking soda and water (to neutralize acid)
  5. Q-tips
  6. Emory cloth or fine sand paper
  7. dielectric grease (visit an auto parts store and ask for)
Brush and blow as much of the battery acid (white residue) out of the battery compartment as possible.

Clean the inside contacts first.

Dip a Q-tip into the baking soda/water solution and squeeze excess solution out of the tip with your fingers but leave it wet enough to slightly wet the inside battery contacts and the walls of the battery compartment. You will need to repeat this step several times.

Next, wrap the end of the Q-tip with emory paper/fine sand paper and burnish the inside battery contacts.

Repeat all the above with the battery contacts on the battery compartment door.

Again, brush and blow inside the battery compartment to remove debris left from burnishing the contacts.

The last step is to put some of the dielectric grease on a q-tip and apply a light coat of the dielectric grease to the inside and battery compartment door contacts.

The batteries cannot be left in hot shoe flash units for more than a week or so at a time. I just make it a habit that when I am done with a hot shoe flash for the day I remove the batteries.
I would disagree with KmH on point #7. Use AZCP paste instead of dielectric grease.
http://www.sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm
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Old 06-25-2011   #4
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

As a retired chemist let me offer a bit of additional advice.

You need to clean the residue of baking soda off the case and contacts or that will promote future corrosion. The best way to do that is with distilled water (sold for use in steam irons).

The green corrosion is oxidized copper. White vinegar will work better than baking soda for cleaning that off. Follow that with baking soda if you want, or go straight to cleaning off any residue with distilled water.

After sanding down the contacts, a final cleaning with non-colored rubbing alcohol will leave things clean and dry.

Plain old petroleum jelly will also work about as well as any grease as a protective coating to help reduce further corrosion, but may not be as long lasting as a thicker grease.
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Old 06-26-2011   #5
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

Great info! Thanks, funnily enough, the contacts on the inside at the bottom are fine, its just the contacts on the hinge that are bad. I did try scratching the surface of one of the contacts with a nail file and it removed the layer, I only did this as a test an it looks clean underneath, but I think going down the chemical route may be more through and hopefully less damaging.

-chris
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Old 06-26-2011   #6
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

If the corrosion was caused by alkaline batteries, then baking soda, which is alkaline, will not neutralize the cause of the corrosion. Try an acid, ie, the weak acetic acid found in vinegar will work. Rinse it well, though.
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Old 06-26-2011   #7
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

I usually have good results by following up the fine sandpaper or emery cloth application with the use of an old fashioned Eberhardt Faber or similar pencil eraser, the grey rubber type that school kids used to throw at eachother. This step will tend to burnish the contacts and improve the surface contact. Vinegar 1st, baking soda solution to neutralize the vinegar and finally 70% rubbing alcohol (30% water) to remove the baking soda. The alcohol aids in the speed of evaporation of the water. Almost any type of non acidic grease with work with Vaseline being one of the best for room temp. applications.
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Old 06-26-2011   #8
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

Working in electronics many years we found that a pencil eraser works best. Use one of the typewriter ones made like a pencil they are a bit more agressive. Clean the whole area and then a brush and blower.
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Old 06-27-2011   #9
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

use vinegar and some fine steel wool - shoudl have cleaned up in minutes - and as noted above some petroleum jelly will work to protect them - though mostlikely caused by some battieries that leaked by being in the flash to long (alkalines for example)
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Old 06-27-2011   #10
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Default Re: Clean rusted contacts?

I agree Arrowind. I also worked in electronics, for over 30 years, and that method proved best for contacts that are reachable with the pencil type erasers. If the corrosion is heavy and caked on and around the contacts, it may require some judicious scraping with an Xacto knife first. Be VERY careful about using steel wool in any electronic equipment. Small particles of the steel wool will break off during cleaning and may lead to short circuits within the equipment. Also be careful blowing compressed air into the battery compartment as it may drive the corrosive acid deeper in the circuitry compartment. Good luck, it shouldn't be a major repair, I've done it countless times over the years.
John


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