VOGONS


First post, by peido

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EDIT:

Original title of this thread was 'Leaking bios Batteries Damaging old Toshiba Laptops', I changed the subject because I want to extend the WARNING to all users that own laptops of other brands and models (NEC, Dell, Compaq, F.I.C. and others are also prone to battery leakage).

Confirmed Affected Laptops:
- Toshiba Satellite 230CX
- Toshiba Satellite 315CDS / 315CDT
- Toshiba Satellite Pro 440CDX / 440CDT
- Toshiba Tecra 520CDT / 530CDT
- Toshiba Tecra 710CDT / 720CDT
- Toshiba T2110 / T2110CS / T2115CS / T2130 / T2130CS / T2130CT / T2135
- Toshiba T3100 / T3100/20 / T3100e / T3100e/40 / T3100SX (Toshiba T5200 mods and upgrades)
- Toshiba T4900CT (Toshiba T4900CT)
- NEC Versa FX
- Compaq Armada 7380 / 7380DMT / 7380DT
- Compaq LTE 5000
- FIC (First International Computer) DESIGNote 5200CDT / 5220CDT - Leo Cedar
- many more... help needed to complete this list

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ORIGINAL POST:

Hi,

I recently bought 2 Toshiba laptops, a Satellite 230CX and a Tecra 520CDT, both of them seemed to be in excellent shape.

When testing them, the Tecra worked fine, but the Satellite wouldn't turn on. I began researching about the Satellite problem and found the following post about leaking batteries:
Toshiba Satellite 220CDS would not turn on

I decided to open the Satellite and, just as expected, I found a lot of leaked stuff:

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Although working fine, I decided to check the Tecra as well, and I also found a nasty surprise:

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The culprits:

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A big WARNING to everyone with laptops, even if they seem to be fine and working, you should open them just to make sure everything is ok.

I'm probably going to clean/scrub everything with ethyl alcohol. Do you recommend another product to clean?

Should I replace the batteries with new ones, or can I use the computers safely without any batteries?

I don't know if my Satellite will start to work fine after cleaning, but it will probably need extra repairs.

Thank you.

Last edited by peido on 2018-10-16, 12:05. Edited 20 times in total.

Reply 1 of 14, by KCompRoom2000

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Thanks for the heads up for everyone who has an old Toshiba laptop, although I would like to note that Toshiba isn't the only brand prone to this issue. I have an NEC Versa FX laptop that uses the same dreaded green cell RTC battery of doom, as someone who has taken these laptops apart during his childhood, I took note of that, so I recently opened it up to remove the CMOS battery, it was the right time to do so because it was just about to leak.

I know a lot of Dell laptops from that generation and later (including the Latitude C-series and their Inspiron counterparts) have used those batteries.

I'll be sure to remove the CMOS battery (or batteries) from my Toshiba Tecra 720CDT very soon. I've already removed the batteries from my Toshiba Satellite 315CDS so I don't have to worry about that one.

Off-topic: this is my 423th post (might be worth mentioning when post counts correspond to a socket model (in this case: Socket 423)).

I still post here, but only occasionally.

Reply 2 of 14, by peido

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Thanks for the information, I did not know that NECs and Dells were also susceptible to this problem. I'm sure that besides Toshiba, NEC and Dell, a lot of other brands will also suffer from this.

I usually open all old computers right after I buy them, doesn't matter the brand and model, to clean them and to check if everything is ok. I guess the lesson here is to also always remove anything that is prone to leaking sooner or later.

Reply 4 of 14, by mcobit

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I like to use a mild acid or acidic solvent to clean those battery corroded boards.

Like Vinegar and then Ethylacetate.

You should neutralize it somehow. You can also use destilled water a couple of times to rinse it. But be sure to dry it well.

Edit: I think it is unlikely but not impossible that it will work again after cleaning. check the boards for potential broken traces or corroded copper parts like IC legs etc.
If you can't see any damage, prepare for a long multimeter session.

Reply 5 of 14, by peido

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@BLockOUT I do the same in all my hardware, soldered or socketed, I remove the batteries (even lithium ones) and never put new ones. It's safer that way.
I also remove those capacitors used to store information or keep time, like the ones used on the original Xbox.
If a battery is required, I try to solder some wires leading to a socket where a CR2032 can be placed, that way I can remove the CR2032 when I'm not using it.

@mcobit I started to clean the Tecra, because it is the one in better shape and I don't want it to deteriorate even more. I will try to start cleaning the Satellite next weekend. I don't have ethylacetate, but I'm going to use vinegar like you suggested to remove the corrosion, and then I'll clean with ethyl alcohol and destiled water.

Thank you.

Reply 6 of 14, by peido

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This weekend I got to work on a laptop that I have, a Compaq Armada 7380DT.
This is one of those Compaq laptops that has a strange PSU connector, fortunately I have the PSU.

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The laptop never worked, but the PSU seems to be working. Anyway, I finally found time to open it up. I discovered a battery of doom, leaking all over the place.

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Will clean it all up when I have time, I hope I can fix it. It has a Pentium MMX 266Mhz and ESS ES1878.

------------------

About the Toshibas, I started cleaning the Satellite with cider vinegar (I didn't have white wine vinegar). I tried to remove all those corroded blue/green spots from the circuits with a toothbrush and vinegar, but some of them didn't come off. Should I scrub them harder until they come off, or is it OK for some of them to stay?
The blue/green corrosion, is it toxic? Should I wear gloves?

After that, I removed the vinegar with bi-demineralized water. In the end I cleaned the boards with ethylic alcohol.

Reply 7 of 14, by NoNameNeeded

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I have an Omnibook 800 with a dead CMOS battery but function-wise it doesn't matter at all since the battery (the big one) also holds the BIOS and time settings etc.
I know, this topic is about leaking batteries but if you're like me and aren't really good at taking things apart, it might be a better idea to leave the laptop as it is, because plastic can become brittle and break and then you might end up with a broken case even though the battery wasn't even leaking.
Not all batteries leak and even if they do it doesn't necessarily mean that anything important will be damaged so...

Reply 8 of 14, by peido

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NoNameNeeded wrote:

I have an Omnibook 800 with a dead CMOS battery but function-wise it doesn't matter at all since the battery (the big one) also holds the BIOS and time settings etc.
I know, this topic is about leaking batteries but if you're like me and aren't really good at taking things apart, it might be a better idea to leave the laptop as it is, because plastic can become brittle and break and then you might end up with a broken case even though the battery wasn't even leaking.
Not all batteries leak and even if they do it doesn't necessarily mean that anything important will be damaged so...

I had to break a little bit of the Armada 7380 DT case, because the battery had fully corroded one of the screws and I couldn't unscrew it 🙁
I should have used a driller to drill the head of the screw instead of cutting the plastic around the screw in order to remove it.

But I rather damage a little of the case instead of leaving the batteries inside. According to my experience, nothing good will come from leaving the batteries inside 🙁

Reply 9 of 14, by .legaCy

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My working Compaq LTE5000 series laptop is kept stored without ANY battery at all, when i got it it had his nicad cmos memory starting to leak, i guess i had good luck it only spread to the plastic casing of the battery.
Even my mobos with CR2032 batteries are stored without the battery, its pretty hard to CR2032 to leak but better be safe than sorry.
A nice way to sotre them are in a ESD safe plastic bag without the battery and some silica gel packs inside a black box on a place without heat.

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 10 of 14, by peido

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.legaCy wrote:

A nice way to sotre them are in a ESD safe plastic bag without the battery and some silica gel packs inside a black box on a place without heat.

That is a very good way of preserving your hardware. I store mine in a closed room with a dehumidifier (I only need to turn on the dehumidifier on Winter). I try to keep most of them out of the sun, but space is limited. I usually place towels on top of the ones that catch sun.
The batteries I remove and close them inside not ESD safe plastic bags.

Reply 11 of 14, by peido

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I still haven't finished dealing with my other laptops, and I already have more.

This time it's a FIC (First International Computer) DESIGNote 5200CDT / 5220CDT - Leo Cedar, same problematic batteries:

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The battery was leaking, but the laptop still works. I removed the battery (and I'm going to clean the leakage as soon as I end dealing with my other laptops). More information about this laptop here:
Re: Leo Cedar - laptop with logo similar to Peugeot

Last edited by peido on 2018-09-07, 22:23. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 12 of 14, by .legaCy

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peido wrote:
.legaCy wrote:

A nice way to sotre them are in a ESD safe plastic bag without the battery and some silica gel packs inside a black box on a place without heat.

That is a very good way of preserving your hardware. I store mine in a closed room with a dehumidifier (I only need to turn on the dehumidifier on Winter). I try to keep most of them out of the sun, but space is limited. I usually place towels on top of the ones that catch sun.
The batteries I remove and close them inside not ESD safe plastic bags.

I guess i didn't wrote in a clear way, i store all my hardware without the batteries and inside ESD safe, the hardware is stored this way, not the batteries, i store old batteries on a separated plastic container that usually go to proper battery disposal services.

Btw where i live it is the opposite, the summer is hot and wet and the winter is still hot but very very dry(esd discharges happen more often than corrosion/oxidization because of the humidity).

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 13 of 14, by peido

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More two Toshibas...

A Toshiba T2130CS:

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And a Toshiba Satellite Pro 440CDX:

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I find the inside of the Satellite Pro 440CDX very similar to the Satellite 230CX.

The first laptops I found without batteries leaking, but I removed them the same. It's best to prevent.

.legaCy wrote:

I guess i didn't wrote in a clear way, i store all my hardware without the batteries and inside ESD safe, the hardware is stored this way, not the batteries, i store old batteries on a separated plastic container that usually go to proper battery disposal services.

Btw where i live it is the opposite, the summer is hot and wet and the winter is still hot but very very dry(esd discharges happen more often than corrosion/oxidization because of the humidity).

Thanks for the clarification.
It's great that you have your hardware properly stored 😀 I hope that feature generations can appreciate what we preserved.

I didn't know that ESD discharges could be such a problem 😵

Reply 14 of 14, by manicgamer

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I've disassembled and repaired many laptops from the 80-90's era and I've found that the majority of these classic laptops/notebooks all have some from of leaking issues with the batteries and capacitors. Sometimes a battery may look fine but on closer inspection if you follow the wires from the battery to the board connector, the acid has travelled through the wire and onto the board. Only a slight leak is required to corrode the tracks and if the board is a multi-layer board the repair is not going to be easy.

I find it is always a good idea to replace internal backup batteries with the same type and not to just attach a CR3032 as this would
then affect the charging circuit if there is one and is also prone to leaking if it is a cheapie. A much better solution is to use a super capacitor or a large value capacitor in place of the battery. A super capacitor will not leak and to extend the amount of charge the capacitor holds, a 10k resistor could be used for current limiting.

Just my 2 cents on the issue.

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