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Beware the "Batteries of Death"! #2999015 07/17/19 07:36 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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I've been going through some older gear that was in storage, and ran across quite a few where the backup battery for patch memory and such had leaked. Most of the time, the leakage didn't make it to the circuit board because I caught the battery in time, but some gear wasn't so fortunate.

So if you have some older gear lying around and you haven't opened it up to check the battery status...it's probably a good idea to do so!

This has been a public service announcement smile

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999045 07/17/19 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton

This has been a public service announcement smile


thanks, Craig. thu

please contact me about your Tascam unit if it is still available for sale.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999103 07/18/19 10:59 AM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I've been going through some older gear that was in storage, and ran across quite a few where the backup battery for patch memory and such had leaked. Most of the time, the leakage didn't make it to the circuit board because I caught the battery in time, but some gear wasn't so fortunate.
So if you have some older gear lying around and you haven't opened it up to check the battery status...it's probably a good idea to do so!


I've been wanting to do that for a few years now but I can't figure out how to safely open up my Kawai K-11 safely. I've never taken a keyboard instrument apart and I'm afraid that if I remove all the screws that I think I need to in order to open the case, I'll end up with a workbench full of loose keys or contacts. I know the battery is dead because I have to do a reset before I can get any sound out of it. The manual says take it to your dealer for battery replacement, and I haven't been successful in finding anyone at Kawai to either sent me a service manual/bulletin or tell me how to open it up safely.

[The next day] - Too hot to go outdoors today, so I brought the K-11 back to the bench, removed all the visible screws and got the bottom panel off without any springs flying out (my big worry as I wouldn't have known where they came from). Nine more screws to un-mount the main circuit board, and there was the battery. They lied to us. It's not soldered in, it's in a holder. A less common one, of course, CR2450. Not a trace of leakage or crud, and it still measured 3 volts. Took a 10 mA load to bring it down to 2.85 volts, so maybe it's really OK and there's another reason why it's losing its memory. Pretty good for 1993 vintage, though. New ones (I couldn't order just one) arrive Saturday. The second one will probably be dead before I need it - if anybody needs a CR2450, just ask.


Other places (at least around here) where batteries get ignored until too late are flashlights and rarely used or retired IR remote controllers.

Another component that leaks is electrolytic capacitors. I had a circuit board trace eaten away on a board in my Casio MIDI guitar from a leaky capacitor (I replaced all of them while I had it apart), and also one in the crossover network in a speaker, both about 35 years old.

Attached Files Kawai_K11_Guts.jpg
Last edited by Mike Rivers; 07/18/19 04:31 PM. Reason: More Info
Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999304 07/19/19 06:08 PM
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Yeah, I have a couple dead Korg Polysixes from that. Sometimes they can be repaired, sometimes not.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999614 07/21/19 02:53 PM
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I'm old enough to remember when they sold leak-proof batteries. Technology advanced in storage capacity and reversed in other ways.

It's good advice to take the batteries out before storing any gear. Thanks for the heads-up.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999646 07/21/19 08:08 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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I've had a few flashlights ruined by "leakproof" batteries. Ray-O-Vac used to guarantee that if a battery leaked in your flashlight, you could send it to them and they'd send you a new flashlight with batteries. I have two or three of those, pretty nice flashlights, actually.

One problem I have with today's electronics is that they draw little enough current so that batteries in something that you use intermittently like an IR remote controller can hold enough charge so the device will still work by the time the batteries start to leak.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #2999769 07/22/19 04:02 PM
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I had a computer on a manual treadmill that did that. Oh, well. The treadmill still worked and I really didn't need speed, miles, calories and so on. A half hour on it was good enough.

After wearing out two treadmills and two ellipticals I now walk on the road, and if the weather is nice, the beach.

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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3000656 07/28/19 03:09 PM
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Here's a story about an old battery for you: about two years ago I started rehabbing my OBXa (someday I hope to finish this job!). I was happy to see the 3V backup battery hadn't leaked, but assumed it was a goner as I hadn't used the synth in over 30 years. I bought & installed a new battery, then for grins decided to see if there was any juice left in the old one – remember, it's 35 years old:


Attached Files battvolts.jpg
Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3000677 07/28/19 05:36 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Cool! I had the same experience with a Kawai K3m (still a wonderful synth). I took it apart fearing the worst, breathed a sigh of relief when the battery looked okay visually, then was shocked when it read 3 volts.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Reezekeys] #3000694 07/28/19 07:22 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Here's a story about an old battery for you: about two years ago I started rehabbing my OBXa (someday I hope to finish this job!). I was happy to see the 3V backup battery hadn't leaked, but assumed it was a goner as I hadn't used the synth in over 30 years. I bought & installed a new battery, then for grins decided to see if there was any juice left in the old one – remember, it's 35 years old:


Same with the battery in my Kawai K-11 (26 years old), but when I put a load on it, the voltage dropped enough so that it didn't keep the memory alive. I find that the 2032 battery in the Mackie hard disk recorders lasts about 10 years, but when it's plugged in, there's no current drawn from the battery. So most of the "How do I fix Error 43?" were used until about 10 years ago, then sat in a closet for 10 years before the owner decided to sell it, so it's had 10 "unplugged" years on it, and probably dead enough so that the CMOS wakes up with the factory defaults, some of which need to be changed in order for the HDR to run.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3000873 07/29/19 03:57 PM
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That reminds me...I have to go through my active-pickup guitars that have been in cases for years.


"For instance" is not proof.
Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: zeronyne] #3000896 07/29/19 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by zeronyne
That reminds me...I have to go through my active-pickup guitars that have been in cases for years.


I HIGHLY recommend that!!!

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3001048 07/30/19 03:07 PM
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I have two active guitars, both Parkers. One I use for gigging, and it will tell me when the battery is low. The other I use for practice at home. I mostly practice fundamentals without the battery, and if I need to plug it in, the battery comes out when I put it on the stand.

A leaking batter can be a PITA or even a disaster.

Notes


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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3001890 08/05/19 05:58 PM
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A few weeks ago I pulled my ancient Roland SPD-8 (practice pads that play samples) from the shelf, and found that its CR2032 had, after some 20 years, ceased to maintain patch memory. I opened the SPD-8 up, removed the soldered-in (grrr...) cell, grabbed a replacement CR2032 and tried to solder in a new one. The solder refused to stick to the negative side of the CR2032.

Eventually, the heat buildup inside the cell caused it to explode. The top disk flew eight inches, pretty good since the "propellant" inside was only a millimeter or so thick.

After vacuuming out the CR2032 guts that had spread about, I ordered a ten-pack of button battery sockets from Amazon for $5.50. They arrived in about 36 hours, and I was able to solder one in where Roland had left the properly placed holes (again, grrr...) in the original manufacturing.

Clean livin' prevailed. And since I have nine more sockets left, I doubt I will ever again try to solder a button cell into a circuit board.


-Tom Williams
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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Tom Williams] #3001901 08/05/19 07:30 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Williams
removed the soldered-in (grrr...) cell, grabbed a replacement CR2032 and tried to solder in a new one. The solder refused to stick to the negative side of the CR2032.

Eventually, the heat buildup inside the cell caused it to explode. The top disk flew eight inches, pretty good since the "propellant" inside was only a millimeter or so thick.


That was particularly spectacular. Maybe that's why the warn you not to dispose of the cells in an open fire. FYI, the solder tabs are spot-welded to the cells, not soldered. I've soldered directly to alkaline cells, but the plating on the button cells is something that doesn't take well to solder unless you clean it very thoroughly and use a liquid flux.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3001917 08/05/19 09:16 PM
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I need to do this and am almost afraid to. Funny, my Emu XL-7 and Korg Wavestation SR have run for 20 years on the original battery with no problem. That is with lots of multi-year pauses in their use. My Yamaha Tenori-On was put in a closet for 6 months and the batteries made a mess. I've also had that happen in an active bass that was not used for a few months. AA and AAA batteries seems to be much worse about leakage than button batteries.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3001955 08/06/19 01:58 AM
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I kept this old M-AUDIO hand-held recorder -that one which started a small revolution in digital, portable recorders, the MicroTrack-

I had it around, you know, "just in case" I may ever need one.

Like two years ago I opened the drawer where it was... and wanted to play with it... only to discover it was "pregnant" or about to deliver an alien... freak


... yes, the battery was like a balloon about to explode... thanks god I found it "on time" somehow... but it ended in the electronics disposal bin. Sad.


Same happened with an old MacBook Pro (a 2008 model, I think). But replaced the battery, it was all good.


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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Gus Lozada] #3001961 08/06/19 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Lozada
I kept this old M-AUDIO hand-held recorder -that one which started a small revolution in digital, portable recorders, the MicroTrack-

I had it around, you know, "just in case" I may ever need one.

Like two years ago I opened the drawer where it was... and wanted to play with it... only to discover it was "pregnant" or about to deliver an alien... freak


... yes, the battery was like a balloon about to explode... thanks god I found it "on time" somehow... but it ended in the electronics disposal bin. Sad.


I remember reviewing that, and the non-user-replaceable battery was a major mark against it.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3001978 08/06/19 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton


I remember reviewing that [M-Audio MicroTrack], and the non-user-replaceable battery was a major mark against it.


And today, all new mobile phones are built with non-replaceable batteries.

The difference is that the 14-or-so year old MicroTrack would still be useful today (as would many old synthesizers) but phones become useless in just a few years as the network changes and interactive applications become obsolete and eventually whatever replaces them will no longer run on an older CPU. So phone makers decided that there was no need for a replaceable battery.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3002000 08/06/19 02:41 PM
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My old phone got pregnant. We use it when traveling for WiFi and GPS only and are thinking about a future trip. So we took it to a repair shop. The battery isn't user replaceable, but for $50 it'll be replaced as soon as the new one the tech ordered arrives.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3002138 08/07/19 12:04 PM
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The battery in my first "smart device," a Samsung Tab 10.1 that I won in a drawing at the NAB show 7 or 8 years ago was losing its capacity. Since it isn't user-replaceable, I looked to see if there was a solution on line and found a battery and instructions for replacing it, for about $30. I was tempted, as a learning experience, but came to my senses when I considered that

(a) I was hardly using it since I got a smart-enough phone
and
(b) It would still be an Android version 4 device with no hope of being updated, that many apps no longer worked and couldn't be updated on that device.

So much for "it's software-based so it'll never go out of date"

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3002207 08/07/19 10:28 PM
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I also had one of those MacBookPro's with the expanding battery. Before I realized what was happening the pressure damaged the touch pad. But, better to have a model with the expanding battery than the later model with the battery that would go up in flames.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3004032 08/19/19 06:40 PM
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Many many years ago, Ampeg made some guitars whose bodies were built from polymer. They weren't on the market for long as it was discovered that if they were used under hot stage lighting, the bodies would expand. Too much flour in the mix, I suppose...

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Reezekeys] #3004035 08/19/19 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Here's a story about an old battery for you: about two years ago I started rehabbing my OBXa (someday I hope to finish this job!). I was happy to see the 3V backup battery hadn't leaked, but assumed it was a goner as I hadn't used the synth in over 30 years. I bought & installed a new battery, then for grins decided to see if there was any juice left in the old one – remember, it's 35 years old:



Batteries can measure OK out of the circuit. In the circuit under load, it can be a whole different story.


BTW Mr. Anderton, I want to take this moment to express my displeasure at the bad influence you had on my decision to become an electronic engineer, which started by building circuits out of your Projects for Musicians book when I was a teenager. Now I maintain my own studio and restore "handymans special" gear for fun and enlightenment, especially replacing old batteries. It's all your fault. laugh

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: The Real MC] #3004094 08/20/19 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC

Batteries can measure OK out of the circuit. In the circuit under load, it can be a whole different story.


That's because all batteries have a certain amount of internal resistance, effectively a resistor in series between the cell itself and the terminal. When current is drawn from a battery, there's some voltage dropped across the internal resistance making what you see at the terminals somewhat lower voltage than when you measure the terminal voltage with a meter that draws practically no current. Different cell construction has both differences in the initial internal resistance and how much and how fast that resistance increases over time and use.

I forget the name of a famous guitar player who said he could tell what brand of battery was in his effect pedal by how the pedal responded to his playing. During that era, there was a guitar effects company that brought out a zinc-carbon 9v battery (which had been discontinued throughout the industry in favor of the much longer lasting alkaline battery) that lasted a lot longer and had a sharper discharge curve. Turned out that what he liked was the fact that as the level went up, the voltage drop across the internal resistance increased, reducing the voltage available to the pedal, hence the maximum output level. So it made the pedal act like a compressor in addition to whatever else it was supposed to do - probably add distortion.

Another product that came out of this was what I jokingly called a "dead battery simulator" - a wall wart with a series resistor that acted like a the internal resistance of a dying zinc-carbon battery that was just the right level of "used."

The market for neither of these products exploded.

Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: Anderton] #3004106 08/20/19 01:25 AM
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A good battery tester should test the battery by a built in load in the tester itself.

Whether it matches the load in your circuit or not is another story.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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Re: Beware the "Batteries of Death"! [Re: The Real MC] #3004190 08/20/19 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC

BTW Mr. Anderton, I want to take this moment to express my displeasure at the bad influence you had on my decision to become an electronic engineer, which started by building circuits out of your Projects for Musicians book when I was a teenager. Now I maintain my own studio and restore "handymans special" gear for fun and enlightenment, especially replacing old batteries. It's all your fault. laugh


I carry around a tremendous amount of guilt regarding all the people who did not get high-paying jobs in the defense industry because of that book,. Mea culpa!!

But here's my favorite example of what the book did. A guy came up to me after a seminar and said "My wife left me because of your book" I thought he was going to deck me. Instead, he added "best thing that ever happened!"


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