Cleaning up Battery Acid

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Battery acid can cause significant corrosion to the battery terminals and can even end up on the console's circuit boards and corrode the traces. If you see any battery leakage, immediately remove the batteries and follow these steps.

A video covering these steps can be found on vuaeco's YouTube channel.

Determine the Battery Type

Examine the battery to determine if it is an alkaline or acid based battery.

  • Alkaline based: Generally, they are labelled as alkaline batteries. These include most AA/AAA batteries from the 1990s onward and rechargeable batteries such as nickel–cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel–metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries.
  • Acid based: Zinc–carbon batteries were the first commercially available battery type, so they may be present in devices prior to 1990. Some batteries marked "heavy-duty" still are zinc-carbon based. The batteries may be labelled as ammonium chloride or zinc chloride batteries.

Materials Needed

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Soaking solution, depending on battery type:
    • (Alkaline battery) Distilled white vinegar
    • (Acid battery) Baking soda and water mixed until liquid
  • Small cup or plastic/glass container to hold the soaking solution. A glass yogurt container works very well.
  • Tools to open console
  • Cotton swabs or old toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves (optional, the battery leakage may cause skin irritation)


  1. Lay out some paper towel on your work surface, as corrosive powder may come loose from the console and it makes for easier cleanup.
  2. Remove the batteries from the device and dispose of them.
  3. Disassemble the console.
  4. Remove the battery terminals (if easily doable) and soak them in the soaking solution for 5 minutes, occasionally moving them. To speed up the reaction, you can heat the soaking solution in a glass container for 30 seconds in the microwave to warm it prior to putting the battery terminals in it. It should immediately start generating small bubbles, possibly vigorously if there is a lot of visible corrosion.
    • If some of the battery terminals cannot be removed, dip a cotton swab or toothbrush in the soaking solution and then scrub them.
  5. Inspect the console's circuit board(s) for leakage. This may be in the form of liquid or powder. Use a cotton swab or toothbrush and soaking solution to scrub it off. If there are metal contacts that appear corroded, you can rip off a piece of paper towel, lay it on the board, and drip some soaking solution on top of it.
  6. Inspect the case of the console for leakage. This may be in the form of liquid or powder. Use a cotton swab or paper towel with the soaking solution to wipe it off.
  7. Use a paper towel to dry the terminals, circuit board, and case of the console.
  8. If any leakage was present on the circuit board, check for vias clogged with corrosion. If there are any, you can attempt to clear them out by gently prodding them with a fine pin or thru-hole leg and isopropyl alcohol.
  9. If you suspect that any circuit traces have been damaged by leakage, use a multimeter to test for continuity. Solder a bodge wire to repair any broken traces.
  10. Wipe any areas that the soaking solution touched with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab or paper towel, then allow it to dry. This will remove any remaining residue left behind from the soaking solution.