Skip to main content

I can't move to the Fediverse properly until I reproduce my famous pinned post from the birdsite, so here it is:

P.S.A. To all vintage computer and video game collectors:

Go through your collections and GET THE DAMN BATTERIES OUT!

Now! Don't wait! Seriously, put down the phone, go to your collection and take out all the batteries. Right now! Even if they look "okay" they are NOT SAFE after this much time.
A PCB board with blue copper corrosion on a copper trace that is normally protected by solder mask. The battery leakage got underneath the solder mask and destroyed the traces.
A computer motherboard with a leaking VARTA battery attached. Corrosion is visible on the legs of nearby components.
An arcade game PC board with visible corrosion from the still in-place leaking battery
A flexible ribbon cable with visibly damaged copper conductors due to a leaking laptop battery.
Defeat Varta, destroyer of boards
The *real* horror is a system board with a battery-backed NVRAM loaded with irreplaceable firmware or factory calibration data. If you don't know how to extract it from software, accepting the time bomb is the only "safe" option... :oh_no:
@niconiconi @48kRAM

Carefully grind the package off these. You can then solder a new battery on to it on flying leads.
I just did this with my Amiga, last year.
is this something to worry about for a PCjr? I haven鈥檛 had the time or space to open that one up to take a look inside, but it鈥檚 been in office use mostly so it鈥檚 probably in decent condition internally
I don't think the PCjr had a battery in the main unit. The keyboard, however, used AAs and those can leak badly and destroy the keyboard.
VARTA, the nemesis of retro computing...
after reading this I鈥檓 glad I don鈥檛 have any hardware like this at the back of my loft 馃槤
This reminded me of the time I found a "AA" battery soldered in place in an arcade cabinet

But, then, I've found some terrible stuff in arcade cabinets:

* isolation transformers connected with alligator jumpers
* replacement marquee lights with ground strap wired to neutral
* A GUN!
* tokens shorting every possible thing on the PCB

Never trust an arcade cabinet
what about 10 year old phone from lg? still using...
Lithium ion batteries can and do leak and swell. I separate all my LiIon batteries from devices I have packed away
I have an SE/30. It does *not* have a battery in it anymore.

Why they moved it from the back case (where damage would be noticed and contained) to the mainboard (which can only be reached with specialist tools) is beyond me.
I was given a Mac LC that unfortunately sat in a garage with a leaky battery eating the motherboard. Burned a large hole through it and chewed up a bunch of shielding.
Okay, now I feel like Mastodon is real.
We've been wanting old stuff like that, but don't have anything yet...

bet the Wii's new enough to be safe. I think the only battery it has is a CMOS battery in a little compartment.

What's dangerous about old tech's batteries? Something about the batteries themselves, or?
It's just the nature of batteries, sadly. They're made of angry chemicals and eventually the anger explodes all over the place.
also applies to some types of capacitors. They can be also very harmful when they start to leak.
Yup. Learned this the hard way with my IIGS as I had no clue about those deadly barrel batteries. I posted a pic of what happened on my main account but it's down for upgrades currently. I hope, *hope*, it's salvageable. 馃檹馃徎
How vintage are we talking here? The oldest computer I have is a Dreamcast, I think
Dreamcast has a rechargeable coin cell battery that you're going to want to replace sooner or later. It's in a location that's not likely to damage the main PCB, but could damage the controller ports. It's actually safe to run the DC without this battery at all -- I've removed it from my console and I just set the time on the occasions that I drag it out to play.
Japp. Killed my Amiga 2000 馃槶鈥
Done! 23-year-old batter is disconnected.